A Space to Emerge

January 23, 2018

If you are reading this, whether you know it or not you are in the business of awakening…

…that is awakening to the realisation that we are collectively finding a new way to live here on Earth.

This journey takes many forms, in many guises, but for the majority of us somewhere early on in the journey it involves a good hard look at ourselves, our lives and what it is that we need to change.

We look back on life choices in our teens, twenties and beyond and see that it hasn’t necessarily panned out how we had hoped. The promised dream of wealth and happiness that we were fed at school, and by our Western culture hasn’t turned out to be true.

This was certainly the case for me, and I was searching for two decades. It was a tricky business as I didn’t actually know what it was I was searching for. It was just a feeling deep inside, and it was a lonely path. I loved my friends and my family, but they weren’t in the search with me, as they seemed to be content with what modern life was offering them.  I had a hunger for something else, I just didn’t know what.


Stumbling across a pinch point

That niggle inside lead me to a new and small festival called The Sunrise Festival. I discovered it during a random search online back in 2005, following a trip to celebrate the Summer Solstice at Stone Henge with my party friends. Back in those days I didn’t celebrate the sabbats with any kind of sacred intention other than to have a jolly good time and let off a bit of steam accumulated in my office job.

So, the following year me and a group of friends hit the Sunrise Festival down in the southwest.

That weekend changed my life. It opened me up to something new, yet familiar.

During those few days I couldn’t have been happier. Everything I did just felt like sheer joy. Although I had gone with my chums, and camped with them, I ended up spending most of the weekend on my own. You see as they drank their way through the days and nights, nursing hangovers in between, I was exploring all the different workshops that were on offer.

I began my day with Qigong, and then followed on with all kinds of delights such as meditation, reiki, drumming, singing and listening to talks. I was trying new things I had never even heard of before. The talks were on all kinds of things I had never heard of but relished in hearing about. I can’t remember now exactly what all those talks were about except for one by Graham Hancock on the shift of consciousness through the history of humanity, linking with cave art (still one of my favourite topics!). Those talks led me to buying books, which at the time were all about 2012 and the shift in human consciousness.

Following the bread crumb trail

When I got home I carried on the thread. I developed my own Qigong practice and found a local teacher. I carried that on for five years, and it led me to being introduced to Gorton Monastery in Manchester, where I met Liz my therapist of now coming into our ninth year together.

That in turn led me to going on a Shamanic Medicine Wheel, which was by then six years after the Sunrise Festival where I met Jason. Two years later we were married in Gorton Monastery, and two years after that I quit the corporate world forever and went full time working as a Shamanic Practitioner in The Way of the Buzzard.

The shamanic path led me to rekindling my childhood passion of of horse riding, and all the friendships which have sprung from this. It has lead me to finally nailing my diet and fitness so I lead a healthy life, sugar free, grain free and full of energy. It led me to closing the door on my corporate career that I had found so stressful since the day I began fifteen years earlier. As I walked away I no longer had to cry my way into work and back, lie awake at night worrying about this meeting and that presentation. It was my biggest release into freedom.


Meeting the crossroad

Attending the Sunrise Festival led me to a complete change in my life.

So this is one of the driving forces behind why Jason and I have set up Space to Emerge.

You see up here in the Northwest of England there aren’t so many of these kinds of events. They seem to be predominately in the Southwest or Scotland, although they are of course lightly scattered around in all regions of the UK.

It kind of happened by ‘accident’, as these things so often do. After our handfasting which was in a stone circle and special woodland setting on the coast of Lancashire five years ago, our friends asked if we could all get together again the following year. So we decided to arrange a weekend gathering. That was four years ago, and each year the weekend has grown bigger and more diverse, whilst still retaining that feeling of small and communal.

Our idea was to explore the answer to the question “what would happen if a group of awakening people ran away to the woods together?”

It has been a magical process finding out. We are blown away with the outcome and the space which is created when like-minded souls come together in nature.

What we work really hard on at Space to Emerge is variety. We bring as many different kinds of workshops to the table so people can touch in and have the widest range of experience.

It is collectively all of our Space to Emerge. We all need a space like this to come to, absorb whatever we need and then release ourselves back into the World and seek the changes that we most need in our lives.

This is life changing stuff.


My own personal space to emerge

It has also been my own personal space to emerge too. Running an event on this scale has made the leader and project manager in me step up. Building a team, writing event management plans, covering off health and safety plans, website development, marketing, the list of new skills goes on, as does the administration.

When I rise early in the morning during the weekend of Space to Emerge and walk around the site before anyone wakes up, I get a feeling inside me which is impossible to describe.

Seeing everyones little camping set ups nestled in the bluebells and listening to the soft snoring from the tents.

Watching the nuthatch glide up and down the yew trees in the yew grove. Seeing the sun set over lake Windermere.

Hearing people share poetry for the first time in the open mic night, or dancing their first dance.

Watching life bonds being made through the weekend, as people who are used to walking this path on their own meet like-minded souls.



Feeling together and not alone

Space to Emerge is all about inclusion. When people come on their own we make space to help them meet and get to know fellow travelers.

We have a Lone Wolf camping area, and time in the opening ceremony to strike up early friendships. Many of the workshops are really interactive so people work together, chat, share, laugh and sometimes cry.

We create a place where we can come together and instead of that usual feeling of ‘being different’, we can just for a few days feel normal.

Our guides have told us that at this time of change building community is one of the most important things that we can do, and Space to Emerge is the perfect place for us all to gather.


Coming back to nature

Another really important aspect about Space to Emerge is the place we have chosen to hold it. We are all about finding solutions on our doorstep, and we have struck gold with discovering Fell Foot Wood in the Lake District.

This is the most idyllic setting, with sixty acres of woodland covered in bluebells, on a hillside rising up from Lake Windermere. In the evening, as you walk down from the yew grove you can stop and watch the sun setting over the water. We have created a Green Man altar here, and at one of the deepest points of the woodland hidden away behind the moon pond we decorate a Mother Earth altar where people can write messages of gratitude to our Earth.

Hidden in a woodland glade we have a seven circuit Labyrinth, and there is also a stone circle. In the evening we gather round a campfire in the heart of the woodland, and dance, sing, laugh and natter our way through the night.

The only thing to stress about is which workshops to choose! We really are spoilt for choice.



Trying something different

With the workshops, you can learn new skills, gain new perspectives, discover something new about yourself and take another step on your healing journey.

Experience sound healing, or do something crafty and make a dream-catcher or a sacred item from clay .

Find your creative self through dance or chant to the Earth at the Earth mother altar.

Shift your consciousness through trance drumming or take a pilgrimage to your soul through the labyrinth.

Experience the power of shamanic journeying or learn how to deepen your connection with nature.

Make space to be creative and draw out your inner poet or sculptor. Explore your inner wildness or learn how to work with weeds and wild medicine for natural healing.

Create your own Flower Essence, or immerse yourself with kindred women in the Red Tent.

Find that place of stillness through Zen meditation or dance your inner deva.

Give yourself some space to tune more deeply into listening, seeing and feeling.

My heart always beats faster when I read through the assortment of workshops and healing sessions we have planned!


A few words from fellow travellers

I approached a few fellow travellers who have attended Space to Emerge in previous years, to ask them if they would like to contribute a little piece to this blog about what attending Space to Emerge has done for them. Here are their responses:

“Space to Emerge 2017 opened up many new paths for me, for which I will always be grateful. From the deeply cleansing gong bath at the start of the weekend, to the workshops, therapies and natural magic of the woods, these precious days of spiritual community gave me a much-needed loving shove in the direction of my heart and the courage to follow it with all my heart. Thank you for these life-changing revelations born among the bluebells!” Angela.

“Space to emerge has become a regular feature in my annual calendar of events, it is such an amazing festival, I make sure nothing gets in the way of attending ! It is a place of sanctuary, an opportunity to unplug from the pressures of my world and reconnect with nature in a beautiful setting, my senses are reawakened. I love the workshop and events that are available over the weekend, with lots of learning and opportunities to share with likeminded people, it really feeds my spirit. Becoming “unplugged” from the outside world for a short period has lots of advantages, but I have become very aware that this  experience needs careful handling, feeling spaced/floaty  means I need to take special care of myself as I start to re-engage with the   outside world again”. Rita.


Creating a new world

So that is why we created Space to Emerge!

If you find you don’t fit into the world you were born into, then it is because you were born to create a new one.

So let’s do it together!



Securing your place

If you have made it to the end of this blog, the chances are that you are thinking about joining us for the weekend. We run Space to Emerge over the May Day bank holiday, from Friday 4th to Monday 7th May 2018.

With a full weekend ticket you can choose to camp onsite with us, or book into a local B&B. Or just come for one day as we have day tickets available this year.

We have a dedicated Space to Emerge website which will take you through all the information that you need at spacetoemerge.com.

We hope to see you there 🙂

About the Author


Nicola Smalley is an edge-dweller, shamanic practitioner and writer living in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Natural Beauty in north 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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