Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Within American religious culture, there is a small but significant and growing movement that overlaps and interacts with the environmental movement. It's known by many names, including Contemporary Paganism, Neo-Paganism, Earth Religion, and Nature Religion. A few years of observation at Starwood Festival, the largest annual Pagan gathering in North America, revealed that many individuals who identify as Pagan (or Wiccan, Druid, animist, or another of the identities that fall under the Pagan umbrella) include in their spiritual practice engagement with faeries or other nature spirits. My research employed qualitative methods including participant observation and interviews to examine the extent to which engagement with faeries and other nature spirits among Pagan festival attendees affects their relationships with nature and their behaviors in the natural world. The Pagan understanding of the Earth and all of its inhabitants and elements as animate or inspirited, as exemplified in the phenomenon of faery faith, conflates the wellbeing of the Earth and wild nature with the psychological wellbeing of each individual human, making this worldview highly compatible with the emerging field of ecopsychology. Drawing on theories of enchantment, consciousness, multiple realities, imagination, and play, my interpretations of the stories of my informants contribute additional perspective to the contemporary practice of Paganism as a small but growing countercultural movement within the dominant Western culture, particularly as it informs the human-(in)-nature relationship.
Number of Pages
Goodrich, Sarah, "Human-Nature Relationship And Faery Faith In The American Pagan Subculture" (2015). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 402.