'Heal thy Self - thy Planet': ConFest, Eco-Spirituality and the Self/Earth Nexus


  • Graham StJohn


Australia's popular calendar event of alternatives, ConFest (Conference/Festival), is a principal location for the (re)affirmation of alternative lifestyle sacra. Attending to Victor Turner's "cultural drama", this article draws on fieldwork and archival research to circumscribe the complications of Self and Earth within this public event. After charting the manifestations of personal growth and environmental consciousness at ConFest, I demonstrate that, for the alternative lifestyler, the Self and the Earth are embroiled in a complex 'web of significance'. What I call the Self-Earth nexus - signalled by the ConFest theme "Heal thy Self - thy Planet" - is characterised by interconnection (a sense of profound interdependence) and responsibility (an ethical self-commitment). I give detail to on-site expressions of Neo-Pagan eco-spirituality which 'dramatise' this nexus.