My week was pretty standard. The quest for paid work continues, my mood is pretty flat, and I am procrastinating like a fiend.

My weekend, however, was magical.

As some of you might know, I am an aspiring shamanic practitioner. Over the years I have journeyed, struggled to make meaning of the work and of my life, and used various other labels to describe what I am trying to do. But it always comes back to shamanism, as appropriative as that label is.

The problem, I have no formal training.

Emma's prayer tree

Well, it shouldn’t really be a problem. A certificate isn’t going to change what I do, but somehow my practice feels invalid (to me) because I have no lineage, no mentor and no physical ‘proof’ of what is a personal practice. I have looked into training in the past, but it was either prohibitively expensive or involved travelling far from home, something I struggle with.

But a chance came up. There was an “Introduction to Shamanism” course being organised in Glasgow under the auspices of The Three Ravens College of Therapeutic Shamanism. So I signed up and took part.

Although the material covered was all stuff I had learned before in my solitary practice, it was empowering to be able to talk openly about my experiences with a group of real, physical people. It has been a long time since I’ve been amongst spiritually-inclined people.

Over the course of the day, we had the change to do three journeys. I was nervous as I hadn’t journeyed for almost a year, but our instructor took great care to prepare us and ease us into the work. I feel like I have made a real breakthrough, and I am so grateful.

That was my Saturday. My Sunday was spent with family as we scattered my mum’s ashes.

A young oak tree, dedicated to Emma's mum.

Photo by @bekarwar

There was a break in the weather while we gathered at the tree dedicated to mum, and completed the marking of her passing. This time last year was horrible. Mum was in and out of hospitals, and we were trying desperately to find someone to help her. She knew she didn’t have long, but her remaining life goals were modest. The cancer didn’t care. She couldn’t even do the one simple thing anyone in her position would want to do.

This year things are a lot more settled, but for all the wrong reasons.

Mum,I’m so lost without you. It took a long time, but you finally understood me and were my biggest cheerleader even as you lay dying. Life is too hard, too big, and too confusing without you. I miss you so, so much.