The Power of Place

January 21, 2016


The Power of Place was the first spiritual book I ever bought. I was 15 years old. Twenty years later I was to experience the real meaning of this.

It was Spring Equinox and this was a big weekend for me and I was so excited. I had recently been made redundant from my corporate job as senior sustainability manager for a major construction firm. The job had been really demanding, and this coupled with my workaholic tendencies meant I had spent many years busying myself with modern world dramas.

The redundancy meant that for the first time in fifteen years I had time and space, and plenty of it. I didn’t feel able or ready to go back to full time work, so I decided to take some time off, a sabbatical if you like, to figure out what to do with my life, and at the same time start to make moves to set up my own sustainability consultancy business to keep the bills paid.

So I had all this time, and was able to still myself and allow myself to emerge, and pay attention to small details that were popping into my life. One of those was an email that came into my inbox about something called a shamanic medicine wheel, run by Jayne Johnson up in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire. I am a big believer in the solutions being on our doorstep, so I signed up. What drew me to it was connecting in with a group of people to celebrate the Celtic wheel of the year, as I had been doing this on my own for several years, learning out of a book. I didn’t spot the word ‘medicine’ in the title, and I hadn’t heard of shamanism before. I just thought it sounded jolly good fun.

So I rocked up at the beautiful Roeburndale, and that weekend my life changed forever


See, Roeburndale has this way of working with you. After that weekend I spent over fifty days there spread over three years, as I underwent my shamanic practitioner training. Roeburndale was the place I went to work on exactly what I needed to work on to undergo my necessary transformation.

That first weekend I saw real magic happen for the first time, and for the first time I knew I was in the right place, and the right time, with the right people. It was my sign, for the first time ever, that I was on the right path. I held onto that realisation tightly for the following two years, and my whole life turned totally upside down. Six weeks after that first weekend I left my home and all the security I had ever known. From an outsiders perspective it looked like total madness, like I had completely lost the plot. But from within, I had never been so certain of anything in my life. It was the right thing to do, and whilst my life fell apart around me, for the first time I truly felt at the core of me, and I knew I was going to be OK in the long run.

Over the coming weeks I’d love to share some of those magical moments that happened to me on that weekend. I haven’t shared these stories via the world wide web before, and only shared them a couple of times in workshops. I am drawn to now as we are running a couple of weekend retreats up in this extraordinary place this Spring, and I want to share how Roeburndale drew me in, and helped me realise what my work was to be in the world, supporting me in making the life changes necessary so that I could do it. In doing so, maybe I can tempt you to come along and experience the magic of Roeburndale yourself.

If you have enjoyed this blog and want to find our more about our retreats please read on.


Screenshot 2015-11-21 19.38.03Ignite the Spark – dream your ideas into being
Friday 19th – Sunday 21st February 2016
The time is upon us to step up and grab that life we have always dreamed of. We might not know exactly what it is we want, but we have an inkling of what it might be, and can feel it in our bones. The intention of the weekend is to give space and time to tease that idea out into reality, which will take us firmly forward on our path, leading us to our soul purpose here on Earth. Price is £245 which includes accommodation and all food. Click here to read more.


Screenshot 2016-01-19 14.57.25Spring into Life – embrace life on Earth
Friday 8th – Sunday 10th April 2016
Drawing on the spring energies to fully embrace our life here on Earth, we will explore what stands in our way to walking the shamanic path more fully, and step into our power to go forward into life with shamanism at its core. Click here to read more.


Roeburndale is a valley in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, about 25 minutes from Lancaster, and 1.5 hours from Manchester. It is a mixture of ancient woodland, moorland, meadows and orchards, farmed organically with permaculture principles by Rod and Jane Everett.

About the Author


Nicola Smalley is an edge-dweller, shamanic practitioner and writer living in Anglezarke on the edge of the West Pennine Moors in Lancashire, England.
Following a career in corporate sustainability, she now runs The Way of the Buzzard with her husband Jason. Her passion is anything connected to nature and the mysteries of the Earth.

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