encountering your wild self
Are you ready to go to the next level and fully embrace your Untamed Self? Join Vanessa Chakour, founder of Sacred Warrior, for a heart centered, soul powered transformational journey in the magical Kilmartin Glen in Scotland, June 14th-20th 2018.

Imagine sitting atop Dunadd Hill, your breathing slow and even, your face glowing from the late evening sun. On your left you can see the waters of the Sound of Jura reflecting the surrounding hills, before you lies 8,000 years of history as standing stones and ceremonial sites stretch into the distance. A falcon sweeps overhead. It’s quiet.
Around you sit your fellow journeymen, without glancing at them you can feel what they are feeling: a powerful calmness, a deep seated feeling of connection – with your companions, with the land . . . and with yourself. It’s almost as though the collective sigh releases the breeze, stirring the grasses and sending lapwings into the air. You follow them with your gaze, as grounded as you are, you can feel your heart go with them into the great expanse of brilliant light.

What a glorious experience this will be!

What might I gain from this journey?
You have the ability to align with medicinal plants, working intuitively to create your own healing essences and elixirs.
You feel grounded and strong through conscious movement meditations, increasing your body awareness and self confidence.
You’ll listen to your inner voice and be guided by your innate wisdom to nourish yourself with ritual and self care. As you step more fully into your Wild Self your inner voice will sound loud and clear, drowning out the inner critic.
You’ll recognize kinship with the Natural World, feel the elements in ways you’ve never felt before, experience connection with the land and all her beautiful inhabitants.

Why doubt?
This is the place to step into a deeper relationship with your True Self. This is a magical place, the greatest concentration of sacred sites of Ancient Europe, it’s the place to honor your True Self.
This is the time. With such turmoil in the world, it’s time to deepen your commitment to your truth. Only in being true to ourselves can we shine out to others. It’s so important to connect with like minded souls and commit to protecting all that we hold sacred.
Working with the spirits of the land and the plants and animals, working with the elementals has never been so important. To deepen your intuition and to heed the voice of your True Self is so needed.
The understanding of medicinal plants you will gain will enrich not only your life, but will spread out to help and enrich the lives of your friends and family.
Storytelling as a tool for healing is the bomb!

Why Scotland?

The West of Scotland is one of the oldest land masses in the world. Standing on a rocky outcrop, or on the pebbled shores of a loch, you can feel the ancient tug of the earth. It’s an amazing place to regain your soul’s feet.
Kilmartin Glen has the greatest concentration of ceremonial sites of Ancient Europe. There are more than 360 ancient monuments within 6 miles of the village, 150 of which are prehistoric. Who knows how many more lie undiscovered. Dunadd Hill, which lies at the southern end of the Valley, was the sacred site for the crowning of kings. Monarchs would have to match their foot to the natural footprint in the rock to prove their ability to rule. Loch Awe, where the retreat is held, is believed to have been created by the Cailleach (the creator goddess of Celtic peoples) herself.

This is a powerful land. A place of transformation. Drawing pilgrims and healers from all across Europe since before recorded history. That magic remains. What better place to reconnect with your true self, your ancient voice, your wild soul.

And yet we are modern ‘pilgrims’, will there be hot showers?
Yes! And luxurious hot tubs and saunas! We are very honored to be the first non yoga retreat to be held at the EcoYoga Retreat Center at Loch Awe. The Center is known for its outstanding facilities, bathing opportunities and delicious organic vegetarian meals.

Maximum occupancy for a retreat is 12, ensuring great service and the warmest hospitality. EcoYoga is also carbon neutral, creating their own hydropower from the River Leiver.
During your stay there will be plenty of time for a long relaxing soak in the forest or riverside baths. You’ll enjoy journaling in the library or walking the organic vegetable gardens, perhaps picking some healing herbs for a cup of delicious tea. Fall into deep conversation with fellow journey women under the late night sun in the solar heated yoga studio. (Yes, we’ll be there at the Summer Solstice, where darkness only descends in the wee small hours of the morning).

The Journey
We’ll use the elements: earth, water, fire and air to bring us into presence and the natural world.

Earth: It’s a joy to tap into earth energy in this place: the ground we stand on is some of the oldest on earth. We can feel the pull and power grounding and settling us as we begin our week together. With a solid foundation we can reach up and out into the world.

Water: As we begin to coalesce we work with the water element. We can respond to our environment more easily. Water flows effortlessly around obstacles and can wear seemingly impenetrable barriers down. Here we can bathe in pure, crystal clear water, heated by the very energy of water flowing.

Fire: If water represents our emotions, fire is our passion and our most turbulent emotions. It is also our inner light, our primal self and often our driving force. Fire is always a catalyst, in our fire ceremony honoring the summer solstice, what will it change in you?

Air: This is breath, movement, change. Air is often how we relate to the world: our voice is carried in the air, we hear through vibrations of sound touching our inner ear. It’s an intimate relationship, and one where we can become stuck. Working with the boundary less qualities of air can help us shift our perspective and experience.

The benefits
Craving connection? Needing some soul care?
We are a powerful group, bringing together so much life experience and innate wisdom, and we are gathering together to channel our energy into enriching our lives. That’s a lot of potential for magic to happen! Creating this community of like minded, open hearted soul seekers is going to bring all sorts of awesomeness into our lives. Especially in this mother lode of scared sites!
In this magical experience you will
open the door to your intuitive self, through our specific exercises and meditations
recognize just how powerful and strong you really are, feel grateful for your being and acknowledge all that you’ve accomplished
reconnect with what is truly important in your life and strengthen your commitment to living in your truth
step up to your innate ability to hold space for yourself and others
see what’s holding you back and understand how to enter change

And if you’ve been running yourself ragged in mind, body and spirit, if you’ve exhausted yourself taking care of others or business first, if you feel that you’re on the edge of something: this is the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in self care, whether that’s through soaking, wandering the amazing grounds, journaling, artistic work or big beautiful heart felt conversations.
Together we can create magic.

This journey is absolutely for you if you:
feel called to connect deeply with your innate wisdom
want to plunge into self exploration
are ready to embrace your wild soul
desire to work more fluidly with the plant realm in creating healing medicines
are ready to tell your story

But stay at home if you:
are afraid of change
worry about what others might think of your wild nature
don’t like wide open spaces, fresh air and pure water
don’t believe in faeries (or witches)

Our gifts to you:
access to a private retreat facebook page, to meet each other before our journey and share insights and stories about where we’ll be and what we’ll experience
a beautiful notebook for journaling to reflect your beautiful journey
access to a series of guided meditations and rich folk and faerie stories carefully and lovingly prepared by Vanessa and Ancel

What’s Included:
7 fabulous days of soul enrichment through meditations, conscious movement, herbal medicine crafting, storytelling and much more!
8 nights all inclusive accommodation at the amazing EcoYoga Center
healthy organic vegetarian breakfasts lunches and dinners for the duration of the retreat
transport to the EcoYoga center from a centralized collection point on Thursday 13th and transport back to the drop off location on Thursday 21st June
paid entry to historic sites

What’s Not Included:
round trip airfare from home
transportation to and from the EcoYoga centre OUTSIDE of our designated time for arrival and departure
any souvenir shopping, personal phone calls, laundry, any extra spa or class services at EcoYoga, tips
personal, medical or trip cancellation insurance

Retreat Leaders
Vanessa Chakour
Sacred Warrior evolved out of founder, Vanessa Chakour’s 15+ year journey of healing through visual art, athletic training, competitive fighting and meditation, and is fused with her work as an herbalist, activist, trainer and teacher. After a series of physical issues at a young age, including chronic asthma and a car accident in which she fractured her back and neck, Vanessa found healing and release of internal limitations through creative expression, athletic training, and meditation. While slowly rehabilitating herself after the accident, she became fascinated by what held her back physically. Generally it was a belief or story to examine and uproot and move beyond. Visual art and writing were instrumental in her process of revealing the source of perceived limitations. The more she reached within through the creative process, the more she was able to uncover sources of internal doubt and shed limiting stories to strengthen and embrace her body. She continued pushing boundaries to become a personal trainer and eventually train as both an amateur and professional boxer, continuing these combined methods to increase awareness and performance.
A personal trainer since 1998, Vanessa has studied various approaches to therapeutic movement from martial arts to yogic practices. She began a disciplined meditation practice in 2000 while she was training as a professional boxer in Brooklyn, NY. She began with a study of Zen meditation, and moved on to study other traditions and methods such as Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism and Plant Spirit Meditation. She continues to explore integrated methods, using training and sports as an extension of mindfulness practice. She approaches boxing as an internal and external martial art, using it as a vehicle to cultivate self-awareness. She is a retreat leader and sustainability advisor for the True Athlete Project and recently presented at the Muhammad Ali Sports and Social Justice Forum on Sports, Self-Awareness and Sustainability.
An avid environmentalist, Vanessa’s exploration led her to study herbal medicine and pursue a sustainable lifestyle. She is passionate about helping to deepen people’s relationships to their own bodies and the body of the earth. Many of her workshops inspire a connection to the wild—inside and out—and the multitude of healing plants in urban areas. She has studied and taught with renowned Herbalists such as Robin Rose Bennett and Matthew Wood and has partnered with Hidden Garden Wellness center in Costa Rica where she teaches, runs retreats and studies the local indigenous, latin and afro-caribbean medicines. She has developed partnerships with Wolf Conservation Center in So Salem NY, See Turtles, and other wildlife organizations with whom she offers Sacred Warrior workshops and Rewilding retreats. Through these healing experiences, participants learn first hand about the vital role each animal plays in ensuring a healthy, vital ecosystem. Her work as an activist also led her to create events & initiatives on behalf of luminaries such as His Holiness, The Dalai Lama and Hip Hop Legend, KRS One. She often consults companies that are seeking a more sustainable, earth centered approach.
Vanessa’s explorative artwork continues to be a daily practice and has been featured in prominent private collections, art publications and public exhibitions. She shares her methods of creative exploration in many of her workshops and retreats. As an inspirational speaker, she has spoken at Northeastern University, The Muhammad Ali Center, Brown University and The United Nations.

Ancel Mitchell
Born and raised in Scotland, Ancel grew up in the woods and fields, engaging both with the elements and the elementals from an early age. She studied medieval mystical poetry at University before training as a Waldorf / Steiner teacher. Ancel taught in waldorf and waldorf inspired schools in the UK, the US and Costa Rica for over twenty years. She now teaches plant medicine to adults, leads plant meditations and practices the magical art of storytelling. As a celebrant she often has the joy and honor of holding sacred space. Her website, http://www.plantpaths.org, offers online classes as well as stories and guided meditations.
Ancel is also a Cranial Sacral Therapist, specializing in mothers-to-be. Having worked with children from 16 months to 16 years she recognizes the tremendously important role early pregnancy plays in the development of the child’s mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and is delighted to lavish attention and support on those big bellies and the women who have made the sacred promise with their incarnating child. Embryology is one of her favourite classes to teach. It’s said that gnomes are fascinated with young children as they are so magical. Well she is kinda short, and whiskers are continually threatening to appear on her chin.
Ancel lives on a permaculture farm in Costa Rica with her husband and a growing family of dogs, rabbits, chickens, budgies, ducks, quail and fish. Working and living with animals is crucial for her. That and the powerful forest she is blessed to live with.
She produces her own line of organic raw chocolate bars with cacao grown on the farm. Using flavors from the farm and forest, she includes gemstones and sound vibrations in her chocolate making and is also incorporating elements from the biodynamic calendar to make chocolate that feeds people on a soul level.
Ancel met Vanessa in a class she was teaching in Costa Rica. They have worked together for the past 3 years and love that their teaching styles and beliefs resonate so well. Ancel is absolutely delighted to be co-hosting this retreat in her native land!