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‘It was magical’: intersections of pilgrimage, nature, gender and enchantment as a potential bridge to environmental action in the Anthropocene

Maddrell, A. (2022) ‘It was magical’: intersections of pilgrimage, nature, gender and enchantment as a potential bridge to environmental action in the Anthropocene. Religions, 13 (4). e319. ISSN 2077-1444

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/rel13040319


Centring on embodiment, gendered eco-spiritual responses to nature, enchantment and environmental crises in the Anthropocene, this paper explores engagement with nature as a spiritual experience and resource through ‘Celtic’ Christian prayer walks in the Isle of Man. Web-based and printed materials for the walks are analysed for references to nature and environmental responsibility, and the complexities of personal, gendered and theological relation to nature and the environment are explored through participants’ accounts. The analysis is attentive to participants professing Christian faith and institutional affiliation as well as those without affiliation or faith and to their gendered experience. Themes identified include nature-inspired ‘Celtic’ spirituality; personal relation to the non-human (the divine, nature and nature-as-divine); the landscape as a liminal ‘thin place’; and social and environmental responsibility. The paper concludes by signalling the potential for bridging between pilgrimage-centred enchantment and eco-spirituality in order to mobilise engagement with and for the environment in the Anthropocene, including environmental conservation activities, lobbying or protest. Whilst eschewing gendered stereotypes, empirical findings evidence gendered patterns of engagement and responses to different expressions of spirituality. Attention to these differences could facilitate the engaging and mobilising of different cohorts of pilgrims with environmental agendas, inspiring personal and collective environmental action.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:104511
Uncontrolled Keywords:nature, landscape, pilgrimage, gender, eco-spirituality, environmental consciousness, Anthropocene, Celtic, enchantment, Isle of Man


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