Interview with Kimberly Hendrick, PhD about the groundbreaking Pagan Health Survey

by Masery

Kimberly Hendrick is one of the founders of the TriWinds Institute triwindsinstitute.org for social and environmental research and outreach in Forest Falls, CA. She is a cultural anthropologist, Pagan, and Druid who spent several years interviewing Pagans and conducting a survey to further understand their health care views and needs. The overall costs including fees for attending and presenting at the American Public Health Association (APHA) www.apha.org/meetings annual meeting was around $2000. Some of the costs were covered by donations from other individuals. The results of the Pagan Health Survey: The worldviews and health care choices of Wiccans, Druids, and Witches is a gift of data to her spiritual community.

I had the opportunity to read over Kimberly’s APHA presentation notes and interview her through e-mail.

Masery: Kimberly, you have a PhD in Cultural Anthropology. What university did you attend? What got you interested in anthropology?

Kimberly: I received my doctorate from the University of California, Riverside in 2007. I originally majored in Biomedical Sciences with the intent to become a surgeon. In my freshman year of my undergraduate studies I was volunteering with Riverside Hospice, offering enrichment programs at a local nursing home for women who were dying and were wards of the state. It was in the blessing of working with these women and hearing their stories, in seeing the negative impact that the social environment had on their capacity to achieve a good death, that I realized what I wanted to heal in humanity wasn’t their bodies, but rather social or perhaps even spiritual brokenness or disconnect.

I began researching other disciplines and on the top of my list were anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, and religious studies. After interviewing people from various academic departments about the content of their research, their approach and methodology, I concluded cultural anthropology was the best fit for me. I switched majors to that, with a minor (nearly a double-major) in religious studies, and after receiving my BA in anthropology, continued on to graduate school, focusing more specifically on applied cognitive anthropology.

I primarily seek to understand how the way people learn, share knowledge in groups, perceive the world around them, and make decisions is influenced by broader social and natural processes and how these individual-to-group interactions shape the social and natural worlds we live in. I am especially interested in public awareness, policy, and large-scale systems and how these impact individuals’ capacity to have equality, justice, harmony, happiness, and ultimately their capacity to reach their full potential as human beings.

Masery: What other field studies have you enjoyed that were conducted either through a university as part of your education, with TriWinds, or another organization?

Kimberly: My doctoral research is the study I have conducted the longest, for about eight years now. This was research on how cattle ranchers in the Eastern Sierras of California perceive the natural environment, share knowledge, and interact with environmental policy to make decisions about economic and environmental management.

I just shipped the first part of my book to publishers and hope my first ethnography will be published in 2011, which focuses on the dynamics of political power, class discourse, conflict, and perception of nature in relationship to on-the-ground decision-making and environmental condition. Other projects I’ve worked on include cultural models of love and romance, environmental education and knowledge among mainstream suburban folks, geospatial modeling for public health applications, and more recently, trying to understand how Pagan approaches to nature might alter how people perceive the natural world and make decisions related to the environment, such as the problem of consumerism.

I’ve enjoyed more or less all of the research I’ve ever done; I derive a lot of satisfaction from designing research programs, collecting data, analyzing it, and particularly in gaining a greater gestalt of what it is to be human, our potential and what limits us, and the process of discovery about not only the world around me, but also myself.

Masery: Tell me how you got involved with the TriWinds Institute in Forest Falls, CA and what the institute is about.

Kimberly: I am one of the founding Board members of the Institute, which we began in late 2008. We’re actually still in a planning process, working on strategic planning and Board development. The Institute originated as an idea that my mother, sister, and I shared. We have all worked in research, in different areas, and had the idea of a network of scientists and educators that would do research that was participatory, grassroots, and attentive to the interactions between individuals and the larger social systems in which they live, with the intent of working toward positive change in society from both “bottom-up” and “top-down” approaches.

It’s been a very interesting and challenging process to figure out how to take an idea like that and create a viable nonprofit organization, but we hope to have it fully off the ground in a few more years. It is a work of the heart, of the soul, and it is something we do in our spare time, as all three of us are employed elsewhere.

Meanwhile, we continue to do our respective research and can use TriWinds as a vehicle to conduct small-scale community-based research projects that are not so costly they necessitate a large infrastructure like a university.

Masery: You spent at least five years conducting this study so it must have really interested you. What inspired you to reach out to the Pagan community to discover their health care values?

Kimberly: I began studying Druidry in 2003, joining the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids in 2005 and began my independent study under T. Thorn Coyle in 2009. The more I learned about the Pagan community, being both “insider” (a Pagan myself) and “outsider” (perpetually an anthropologist), the more interested I was in the ubiquitous presence of healing as part of Pagan traditions. At the same time, I recognized that the distinctive practices and experiences that some, perhaps many, Pagans have could put them in a position of being misunderstood by health care professionals, or at minimum, feeling their needs are not fully met (though I am not sure most Americans needs are met in the complex and often inefficient health care system we currently have).

Ultimately, the research arose out of my personal interest as a Pagan (and someone who has managed a chronic pain condition for years), as well as my desire to help non-Pagans understand alternate ways of thinking about health and healing.

Masery: What about this survey surprised you?

Kimberly: Two things considerably surprised me: the extent to which the Pagan community overlapped with the LGBTQ community and the relative degree of conformity in responses. I expected that the rate of LGBTQ and non-duality in gender identification would be significantly higher in the Pagan community than in mainstream American populations, both based on my experience of being in the community and because it would be logical for LGBTQ individuals to gravitate to spiritual groups that are accepting and do not frame non-heterosexuality as a negative attribute. However, I didn’t expect that almost 40% of the Pagan community would be LGBTQ – a tremendously high number. In terms of health care, this is even more important, because it means that many Pagans are people who have multiple minority identities and are therefore more likely to be inadequately served.

The other surprise for me was that Pagans had remarkably strong cultural models of health and healing. There is a general idea in the Pagan community, I think, that we are a group made up of individualistic people who can’t speak for anyone else. Because our groups are often small and local, and very tolerant of diversity, the overall perception Pagans have seem to have of themselves is that there is a lack of consistency or uniformity – that we don’t share a whole lot with each other. I think perhaps this is partly because in Christian-dominated culture, we learn that what unites people under one religion is organizational authority, sacred text, and holding the same beliefs in common, especially about deity.

Pagans seem to be united by different cultural attributes, things like practices and perceptions of (or assumptions about) the world that are less obvious, but still present. The Pagan Health Survey pointed toward strong underlying commonalities in how we think about health and healing, and what we consider optimal health care to be, despite a wide variety in our traditions.

Masery: Where there any responses that you expected?

Kimberly: I did expect that Pagans would often use non-biomedical practices, particularly as a supplementary or complementary means to effect healing (as opposed to avoiding biomedicine altogether), and this was borne out in the survey results. I had expected this based on my years of study as a Pagan and observing online discussion groups and in-person workshops.

I rather expected, but was still saddened to find, that Pagans particularly feel misunderstood and underserved in the area of mental health. Because that aspect of health is so culturally constructed, it is natural that Pagans would be worried that their spiritual experiences or practices might be mistaken by a mental health professional for mental illness, but it is still unfortunate. The issue of mental health is a particular area I am interested in pursuing in future studies on Pagans and health care experience.

I am curious what practices and experiences, specifically, Pagans feel would be perceived as mental illness, and also if mental health professionals would indeed be unable or unwilling to open the cultural box on how reality is to be perceived wide enough to accommodate Pagans, while still recognizing mental illness (as well as just mental health needs that are not necessarily illness, such as mild depression).

Masery: Your methodology included an on-line survey and 2-4 hour long interviews with nine Pagan clergy and health care practitioners. Were these Pagan clergy who were also health care practitioners?

Kimberly: A few of them were both clergy and health care practitioners, while a few were only clergy, and another few were only health care practitioners.

Masery: The 1,598 survey respondents represented a diverse socioeconomic group with varying levels of income and education level. 82% indicated that health insurance was important and valuable, though a majority, despite income level, felt that insurance was not affordable. This seems to reflect a common attitude among most Americans in general, despite their religion. Did you expect this?

Kimberly: Yes. What was important to show the public health community, however, were the statistics that demonstrate that Pagans, unlike say, Christian Scientists, want insurance and feel it is important even though their views of health and healing are a bit different than the mainstream American. Additionally, I thought it was interesting that Pagans seemed to frequently relate to health insurance as a measure against catastrophic illness or injury, more often engaging in self-treatment or use of complementary/alternative medicine for minor illnesses or chronic problems.

This may be linked to the predominant view that what health insurance covers isn’t necessarily adequate for physical and mental health, especially given that Pagans often viewed health as something much broader and more encompassing than being free from illness or injury. Health was equated more with a sense of well-being and happiness, and our health care system is designed to deal more with problems as they arise, rather than optimizing people’s quality of life.

Masery: The average respondent was female, between the ages of 36 and 50, and white. Do you think the results would have been different if there average was younger or male? (After the interview I learned that the majority of the respondents identified as Wiccan, Witch, or Druid. 40% being Wiccan or Witch. 45% of respondents are also Buddhist or Unitarian.)

Kimberly: I really don’t know. I would guess that younger individuals would more often have fewer health care issues and experiences from which to form an opinion, since most people experience relative health in youth. I am not sure about if more respondents are male. I will know better after I finish the full analysis (expected to take about six months), which will look at breaking down the Pagan community into various sub-sets and seeing if these sub-groups have different trends (of which one could be separating males and females, though considering about 17% of the respondents preferred a non-dual gender system, that casts questions on how we even address the issue of gendered identity and experience).

Masery: Are there any plans to conduct a second study among Pagan males?

Kimberly: Not exactly. I do intend to do the more fine-grained analysis that will provide some information on if males are substantially different from females in their perceptions of health and their health care choices. But my primary interest in secondary studies are to address some seemingly big issues for Pagan health in general, particularly the issue of mental health.

Masery: “Pagans’ top concerns about both treatments and practitioners were pragmatic, not religious. The most important factors in choosing treatments included that they were non-invasive, holistic, and delivered in a comfortable atmosphere.” How was holistic defined for this survey?

Kimberly: I didn’t define it. Part of what any survey like this relies on is the inherent diversity in how people will talk about these things. As an anthropologist, I prefer to study the messiness of human life as it is, rather than try to construct more tightly constrained environments in which people respond. I prefer a bit of openness in how something might be interpreted. What came out of this in the cultural model part of the survey is that Pagans seem to associate health with “holism” or “holistic” practice (their words), and this seems to be related to a high incidence of also responding with such phrases as “mind, body, spirit” or “mind and body,” as well as various phrases that indicate seeing the body non-mechanically, or systemically rather than symptom-by-symptom.

So far as I can tell from the cultural model responses, Pagans interpret holism to encompass a meaning that includes both seeing the body as a total organism, as a bunch of connected systems (rather than as a mechanism that can be reduced to sub-parts and treated symptomatically) and that sees the health of the self as being related to more than the body – to also addressing the mind and the soul or spirit.

Masery: Because I am disabled with multiple illnesses, I am at the doctor quite a lot, at least when I can afford it. I consider a comfortable atmosphere include clean facilities and staff who are patient, courteous, and willing to answer all of my questions in a way I can understand them. Did any respondent leave further comments about what they thought was a comfortable atmosphere?

Kimberly: Some did, and it is information I’m still working on analyzing. So far, there are responses ranging from clean facilities with staff who listen to people who would prefer a clinic that is more casual, informal, and that houses multiple types of treatment in one building. If the Pagan community were ever to decide to create its own health clinic, in urban areas where there are many of us, for example, the issue of what constitutes a comfortable atmosphere would be something necessitating its own survey and interviews, as it is more complex than most might think. Initially, I just wanted to understand what overarching variables drove Pagans’ decisions about ranking treatments and practitioners, but now that I have this information, it leads to more detailed and nuanced questions about what they feel these variables mean.

Masery: You wrote that, “In choosing health care practitioners, the most important factors were knowledge, keeping up with recent research, spending enough time with their patients, being a good listener, and empowering the patient.” This is just one of many things about the survey that really excited me. I didn’t realize my health care views were so similar to other Pagans. I’m sure the disabled Pagans reading the blog can relate to how important a compassionate intelligent physician is.

After years of seeing doctors, I’m lucky to have found one who does take time to listen. When I come in with a long list of ailments, he doesn’t tell me we’ll discuss them another time. He thinks about how they relate to each other and what treatments or tests we can try not only to ease discomfort but also to move toward better health and well-being.

Kimberly: It’s wonderful you’ve found such an effective physician. One thing that came up in a podcast for which I was recently interviewed was the idea of a Pagan health care directory – an online database to which people could upload reviews (both good and bad) of local health care practitioners. This way, Pagans could take charge of their own health care decisions without taking so much risk in trying out various practitioners. We could share information with each other and thus “vote with our feet” in terms of supporting health care practitioners that are not just Pagan-friendly, but are just plain good at what they do.

Masery: Because modern Paganism is new and we are often spread out over vast distances, we often have to study on our own, reading literature and websites that we have to then compare and discern. In the presentation you stated that “While Pagans may have non-mainstream beliefs, their methods of investigation are often closer to the scientific paradigm than other modes of inquiry.

Lacking faith in an external authority and without communal doctrine, individuals use observation, research, experimentation, and creativity to build spiritual practice. As a result, Pagans widely reported that the biomedical model and scientific approach were compatible with their beliefs.” This is one reason Pagans are willing to utilize Western medicine, do you think this is also why Pagans expect health care providers to be up to date with current studies?

Kimberly: Yes. While this is merely my impression, as I’ve not conducted comparative studies, I tend to find Pagans have higher expectations of professionals of all sorts than non-Pagan Americans. I think because many Pagan traditions have a model of study and gradual accumulation of knowledge and experience, much like a university system, this means many long-time Pagans will be quite dedicated to study and personal development, and perhaps these high standards for oneself are then projected onto others, including our health care providers.

Masery: The part of the survey that fascinated me the most was concern with Pagan beliefs being misunderstood as part of mental illness. You mentioned in your presentation that “If a mental health professional does not have knowledge of how to separate mental illness from spiritual practice among Pagans, this can generate significant problems for the patient as s/he attempts to cure the patient of [his/her] religion.”

This reminded me of how homosexuality was once considered a mental illness and there are still programs and retreats set up to cure people of their sexual preferences. Even though the respondents reflect the average American socioeconomic status, the biggest difference was cultural. “… Pagan community is very accepting of sexual lifestyles outside the heterosexual monogamous norm. 39.2% of Pagans identify as non-heterosexual: 28.9% as bi- or pan-sexual and another 8.4% as homosexual. Furthermore, 17.1% identified their gender as other than only woman or man, most commonly as gender-fluid or androgynous.”

Kimberly: Yes, sadly, there are still people out there who think there is only one right kind of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, even though this is clearly not supported by cross-cultural data. I think many people think any substantial difference (and sometimes even minor ones!) is a threat, and so they think of people different from them as mentally ill, or as willfully bad, or some other way to dismiss them as individuals with valid ways of living and experiencing the world. I have a lot of ideas, some from anthropology but most from my practice as a mystic, about what goes awry in humans that lead to this constant fear of difference and therefore unfortunately common treatment of other beings as inferior.

Masery: Pagans were also concerned about their religious preference being respected when they check into a hospital. Are there any plans to present material to health care professionals to inform them about Pagan beliefs and health care attitudes?

Kimberly: Yes. Aside from presenting the material at the APHA, which was recorded and is available for continuing education credits through the association, I plan to publish the findings as a series of articles once the full analysis is complete (and therefore can be broken into particular topics, such as LGBTQ health in the Pagan community, effects of socioeconomic class, etc.).

I also plan to contact Cherry Hill Seminary, who is aware of the research, and ask if there is some way I could team up with a group of Pagan clergy to perhaps help build linkages between clergy and ways to help Pagans meet their health care needs (not so much issues with economy, which while substantial, are really in the realm of systemic public health change, but issues with how to talk to a doctor or other provider, how to optimize the use of complementary medicine safely, etc.).

Masery: If you could advise a doctor or a nurse about these concerns over misunderstood beliefs or gender identity and sexual orientation, what would you say?

Kimberly: About gender identity and sexual orientation – I would say that for most people, as we’re raised in a gender binary culture, we have a view of this aspect of humanity that is not scientifically grounded and is constructed to be limiting. I’ve done lectures on gender identity and sexual orientation, and most students are amazed to find that so many things they considered “natural” are, in fact, culturally constructed.

While doctors and nurses are well-educated, our education does not typically release us from our cultural constructions of ourselves and the world around us. Gender and sexuality are some of the most internalized and naturalized parts of cultural knowledge; we learn them at a very young age and generally don’t question them. Research indicates that most humans are plastic in their gender and sexuality – that is, they are more context-driven and can learn through culture a variety of ways to experience gender and sexuality, all of which will seem natural.

It seems to me that it is only when someone is inherently different enough (or perhaps awake enough to themselves, or resistant enough to enculturation, for whatever reason), that people question mainstream constructs of gender and sexuality – not only what it is to be man/woman/other and who to be attracted to, but also what attraction means, how we are attracted to others, and our constructions about relationship (such as how many we are permitted by our culture to love, how we ought to organize our relationships, and how we construct our family). Cross-culturally and across time, we find that humans are fabulously diverse in how they approach the foundational experience of attraction, lust, love, commitment, family, selfhood, work/roles, sex, and so on. And in every one of these cultures, people tend to be
absolutely sure that their way of experiencing these things is the “right” and “natural” way, which means that individuals who simply are innately different from that construction (and there will always be some, because whatever you construct will fail to take in the full range of human experience) will experience some level of discomfort and lack of belonging.

When we fully realize this at a visceral level, we are able to recognize love and attraction, and ways of raising children and forming lasting social bonds in many ways and see a certain beauty in it, I think. We aren’t threatened anymore by other people’s life and experiences. Instead, we can use the diversity as a means by which to understand ourselves, our limitations, and to be more self-directed in whether we hold onto the limitations we’ve learned.

I think religious or spiritual belief is very similar. While what a doctor or nurse needs to know is in part informational – that is, facts about what people believe and do and how to be culturally competent in one’s interactions with them – the difficulty is that what really is behind people’s prejudices is fear. When people know themselves and no longer feel a need to justify their own perception and experience of life, when they grow comfortable with not knowing, with change, with the development of the self, then people can usually more adequately recognize and address their own biases (we all have them) and choose to see others as an opportunity to learn, rather than a threat.

Whether we talk about diversity in gender, sexuality, class, religion, ethnicity, or any other category, I believe that at the heart of people’s capacity to learn from others, to free themselves from their own culturally constructed boxes, and ultimately to truly love other beings and recognize their beauty is their choice to face fear and overcome it. This is a gradual process and it is often an uncomfortable one, but I think it is worthwhile.

I love anthropology and academia in general because I think the intellect is one of the safer entrance points for this development of courage and facing fear and uncertainty, of taking risks with one’s worldview and sense of self. There are many ways toward this goal, of which the academic road is only one… and not a guaranteed one. There are many academics who fail to liberate themselves from fear. But I think it is one good tool we have as human beings to work toward love and beauty through the challenging work of recognizing our collectively imposed limitations and constructions and then attempting to move beyond them.

Masery: Two of the hot topics in the Pagan community are; 1) clergy training and pay, and 2) who are our elders and how do we care for them. The Pagan Health Survey includes data that can shed some light on these debates.

First lets look at Pagan clergy.
“A Pagan for an average of 17 years, 33.9% are clergy or in training. Because local groups are small, with an average of 24 members, many individuals serve as clergy on a part-time basis. Those who serve the spiritual community full-time, often in regional or national capacities, are often underpaid due to the small size of the community. 42.5% of survey respondents had a household income of under $35,000 per year.” Paganism will have to expand a great deal before it can pay clergy let alone offer health benefits.

Kimberly: I disagree. There are approximately 2.7 million Jews in the United States, according to the American Religious Identification Survey conducted in 2008. There are approximately one to two million Pagans who self-identify as Pagan, and it’s one of the fastest growing religions. I think at issue is more how the Pagan community has constructed its ideas about itself than actual resources. The more involved I’ve become in the community, the more I find this is the case.

Are we willing to gather together and put aside our differences enough to support teachers, to have common ground (literally, sanctuaries or temples or stone circles or what have you)? Are we willing to pay our artists and craftspersons? Are we willing to commit our time, gifts, and financial resources at a level that many Christians and Jews do in order to form more infrastructural support to their members? I think there is a faulty construction of our world as being either totally like organized religions or completely disorganized. But we are already naturally organizing as our numbers grow – there are national organizations, Pagan Pride, and so on. There are many wonderful things about Paganism, but I sometimes feel frustrated at the lack of willingness to commit at a level that causes inconvenience.

People in my area are often unwilling to drive to events, even if they’re only an hour away. They complain about the cost of having a teacher give workshops or the potential legal battle to gain the right to have public temples or other sacred grounds. But if we don’t commit to our own community and band together for our rights and capacity to support our teachers, who will? The Jewish community, from what I’ve seen (albeit limited), also faces being a minority tradition and with a small population. But they manage to support clergy and build public spaces for study and community-building and spiritual practice – and their members are willing to commit to supporting this, with their time, presence, and resources.

I think as Pagans we can do more than we are doing. We are limiting ourselves, which is unfortunate because I think we have many wonderful traditions that are geared for self-empowerment and liberation. I think we need to look at the boxes we feel we are in and question them, asking ourselves individually and collectively what we truly can give and expect.

Masery: “ … more than 20% of Pagans are approaching retirement age” I think the age of retirement was recently increased. For this survey, did you use 65 as retirement age?

Kimberly: Yes. This question is tricky because the age of retirement varies by occupation and employer. Many employers use age 65, some government agencies use other calculations, and some employers do not have a retirement age. Social Security is in the process of gradually raising the full retirement age to 67, but people can start receiving benefits at 62.

Masery: About a fourth of our community are in their silver years and it can be assumed that about 34% of them are clergy or in training. When they pass, that will be a lot of tradition and knowledge lost. Out of curiosity, how many respondents were already at retirement age?

Kimberly: I would guess that perhaps the rate of being clergy is even higher among those who are older, partly because they’ve had more time to go through training and partly because they might be semi-retired and begin functioning in a greater clergy role as they have the time. Only 1.6% of respondents were over the age of 65. I think this in part reflects the original wave of Pagan tradition-building in the 1940s compared to the explosion that happened after the rise of the internet. But it may also reflect the lower incidence of older Americans using online communication, which would limit their participation in the survey. I hope that instead of losing tradition and knowledge, we increasingly support our elders in their capacity to teach the rest of us.

Masery: Could you speculate on how hospice or long term care needs to be different for the Pagan elderly?

Kimberly: This is purely speculation, but I think the biggest issues would be empowering the patient and ensuring they have the ability to practice their religion. Pagans have a model of self-empowerment, both in their religious practice and in their desires in health care. They like being involved in their own health. I think hospice does very nicely with this, particularly when supporting at-home care. However, the standard models for nursing homes, hospitals, and other long-term care facilities are really to not let the patient do anything, which is known to accelerate the deterioration of the body and mind. The longer someone is active and the more they can do for themselves, the better for their health. So I think there needs to be more of a look at how long term care facilities could be restructured (not just for Pagans, but for everyone!) to honor the abilities of those that live in them.

This might include people contributing to nutritional planning, cooking, setting a table, or offering a blessing. It could be people mentoring local children or telling stories or reading poetry. I know when I volunteered in the nursing home, the women with whom I worked were given nothing to really do. They were treated like children – provided some activities but not involved as adults, in planning and executing activities. And their experiences of the dying process, which so moved me and assisted me in processing my own ideas about death, were lost to the rest of the world. They were ignored, treated as though they were senile, and lacked human touch and camaraderie as they slipped into the Otherworld. Mostly, they wanted someone to listen, to hold their hand, and to learn from them. I was blessed by their willingness to share those last sacred weeks with me. I think it isn’t just Pagans who need different ways of caring for the elderly, it is everyone. We all miss out when an elder dies without passing on their knowledge, wisdom, and life experiences.

Masery: Paganism is quickly growing in the US. The expansion is mainly from adults or young teens choosing to join. We have reached a time where Pagan parents are raising their children as Pagan though allowing them to choose their level of participation. Where there any comments about what kind of health care Pagans want for their children?

Kimberly: No, but it wasn’t really a part of the survey. That may be a very interesting question for a future survey of Pagan parents.

Masery: Tell me what you discovered about Pagan view on health care both prenatal and during birth.

Kimberly: Pagans overwhelmingly preferred midwives and natural childbirth (whether this is what they do versus what they prefer is an unanswered question). The majority opinion was that drugs and surgery were undesirable in childbirth.

Masery: Would you like to add anything else about the results or methodology?

Kimberly: Only that a summary report should be finished in mid-2011 (I’m working on it as fast as I can, given I am doing it in my spare time and I work full time, currently not as an anthropology researcher), and that I hope to have a full report that breaks down the trends by sub-groups (including age, class, sexual orientation, gender/identity, tradition, etc.) in late 2011. These will discuss the results and methodology in greater detail and provide references for those who wish to learn more about cognitive anthropology, cultural model theory, and decision-making modeling.

There were over 15,000 short qualitative responses to code and analyze, over 400 long qualitative responses, and 60 pages of interview notes, plus the statistics… so it’s a big project with just me doing it!

Masery: Thank you for your time and for sharing this survey with the world and the Pagan community.

Kimberly: Thank you for the opportunity to share.

Update:

Charlton Hall, MMFT, LMFT, therapist and member of the Universal Order of Druids is conducting a survey concerning Pagan perspectives on marriage. You can participate here. Here is the full link to share with other members of the community. www.surveymonkey.com/s/67JKXMG

I introduced Kimberly to Charlton. They have been in contact to discuss ideas for a Pagan Health Care Directory.

For more information about the Pagan Health Survey: The worldviews and health care choices of Wiccans, Druids, and Witches:

Read the APHA summary of th research and presentation at http://apha.confex.com/apha/138am/webprogram/Paper227683.html

Listen to the Pagan Centered Podcast interview with Kimberly. Episode 178 imbleedingprofusely.com/archives/4193 They kick the idea around of a Pagan Health Care Directory and could be a major voice in getting it started.

Special thanks to Jason for all of his posting at The Wild Hunt wildhunt.org/blog. I’m a daily reader and it was there I found out about Patheos and the Pagan community of Pantheos, Kimberly and her survey, Charlton and his survey, and the Pagan Centered Podcast

About Tara "Masery" Miller

Tara "Masery" Miller is a Neo-Pagan panentheist Gaian mage living in the Ozarks with her husband and pets. She's also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. She is the editor of Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul which you can find at Immanion press. www.immanion-press.com/info/books.asp She has a minor is religion from Southeast Missouri State Missouri State University with an emphasis in mysticism. Masery has lead various groups over the years and organized Pagan Pride Day events. Her magic and author page is at www.taramaserymiller.com

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