Accepted paper:

Pilgrimage in Scotland: recovering and reframing a land of lost content

Authors:

Marion Bowman (The Open University)

Paper short abstract:

Post Reformation, the routes, practices, materiality and relationality of Scottish pilgrimage were fractured. Since the late 20th century, however, pilgrimage has increasingly been rediscovered, reframed and revived in nominally Protestant Scotland, in a quest for lost content/ content.

Paper long abstract:

As a result of the Reformation, pilgrimage in Scotland ceased to be part of mainstream religiosity in a predominantly protestant, Presbyterian context. The routes, practices, materiality and relationality of pilgrimage were fractured. In the late 20th century, however, pilgrimage has increasingly been rediscovered, reframed and revived. Iona has become a pilgrimage destination for a range of protestant Christians; the Presbyterian church in Luss created a pilgrimage centre and path, reframing the landscape of Luss as a site of faith tourism and anti-sectarianism. The Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum campaigns 'to develop and promote Christian Pilgrimage Walking Routes throughout Scotland', while Scotland's Churches Trust promotes (initially) six ancient Scottish pilgrim routes. Christian Scottish-based business Holy Socks is founded on 'a combination of novelty socks and the ancient idea of life as pilgrimage' This paper examines how the restoration and reframing of the lost content of Scottish pilgrimage praxis and infrastructure is being envisaged as a way of reclaiming what is now presented as an era of lost content in Scottish religiosity. Elements of Celticism, anti-sectarianism, vernacular religiosity, heritage and roots tourism, contemporary non-aligned spirituality, materiality, topophilia, nationalism, proselytism and pragmatism combine to present and promote pilgrimage in Scotland in the 21st century.

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Walking back to happiness? Protestant pilgrimage in relation to utopias, realities and heritages