Sacred Warrior Teachers

Vanessa Chakour

 A visual artist, herbalist, holistic arts educator, former pro-boxer, and environmental activist, Vanessa’s work is a dynamic blend of her vast personal experiences over the last two decades. Her unique approach is rooted in the belief that healing happens through reclaiming an intuitive connection to ourselves, the natural world, and our own “inner-wild.” As the founder of Sacred Warrior, she inspires personal relationships with the plants and animals that share our ecosystem and curates embodied experiences in her workshops, herbal apprenticeships, and rewilding retreats.

A fierce defender and advocate of the land, Vanessa embodies the practices she teaches. She has spearheaded land-based education programs to inspire ecological awareness and land stewardship. As an inspirational speaker, she has spoken at the United Nations, Brown University, and the Muhammad Ali Center. Her work has been featured in Aligned Magazine, Ravenous Zine, Culture Trip, and more. She leads ongoing courses and workshops in NYC and throughout the Northeast and runs Rewilding Retreats in New York, Costa Rica, and Scotland. Her upcoming book, Awakening Artemis: Deepening Intimacy with The Living Earth and Reclaiming Our Wild Nature, will be published December 2021 with Viking in the US, Penguin in the UK, and Ullstein Press in Germany.

 

Nathalie Fischer-Rodriguez

Nathalie is an herbalist, mother, bilingual psychotherapist, and contemplative practitioner descended from a long lineage of Afro-Cuban healers and Spanish intuitives. Her work is guided by a joyful spirit, ancestral wisdom, contemplative training, and lived experience with cancer and death. Nathalie is skilled at creating space for liminal times of initiation and transformation. She weaves contemplative practice, ritual, and movement into her personal herbalism practice and teaching. Nathalie is committed to teaching and practicing herbalism from a trauma-informed, justice-oriented, and decolonizing framework. In her free time, Nathalie loves cooking for her family, savoring moments of stillness, and playing in the woods with her toddler.

 



Àdhamh Ó Broin

Àdhamh hails from Cowal in Argyle and is of mixed Irish and Scottish Highland descent.  He is the first person in 80 years to raise a family of fluent speakers of his local Gaelic dialect which remains on the verge of extinction.  Àdhamh has absorbed a huge storehouse of lore over many years traveling the length and breadth of the Scottish Highlands, spending time with the few mainland tradition bearers who now remain.  This experience has fostered a particular concern with the maintenance of the native cosmology of the Highlands and in particular with the manner in which the natural world has come to be viewed as incidental to the human experience.  Although globally renowned for his work as Scottish Gaelic advisor to the Outlander film production, Àdhamh’s daily preoccupation keeps him much closer to home and the long-overdue decolonization of Scotland’s people through reconnection with the carrying stream of indigenous culture, language and spirituality.

Natalia Schwien

Natalia is an herbalist, scholar, and environmental advocate. She recently completed a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School with a focus on the intersection of ecology and spiritual practice. Her research is primarily around expanded ontologies of personhood, neoanimism, and posthuman ethics. She currently serves as the Assistant Program Director for the Harvard Divinity School Program for the Evolution of Spirituality under Dr. Dan McKanan. The aim of the program is to support the scholarly study of emerging spiritual movements, marginalized spiritualities, and the innovative edges of established religious traditions. Natalia also leads the HDS Animism Reading Group which has featured a variety of scholars, writers, scientists, filmmakers, and animacy practitioners over the past three years since its inception. Her re-wilding initiative at Harvard, “The Harvard Micro-Prairie Project,” has been a recipient two years in a row of the Harvard Office of Sustainability Living Labs Grant. She also worked on a waste reduction group, creating case studies of waste management around Harvard’s campus.

Natalia has worked alongside friend and herbalism teacher, Vanessa Chakour of Sacred Warrior since 2017, leading plant walks around Brooklyn and Cambridge as well as camping retreats to the New York Wolf Conservation Center. She has also assisted in Sacred Warrior’s eco-defense work in Costa Rica and with the Alladale Wilderness Reserve in Scotland. As a Sacred Warrior teacher, she will be offering courses in animism and offering what she calls “Vocal Meditation,” which engages in group harmonization and the activation of different brainwaves using binaural beats. She has led and taught this practice at a variety of healing houses as well as at Harvard Divinity School. She releases music under the moniker Ellayo. Her work has been featured in New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, Vice, For The Wild, and more.

Andrea Stopa

Andrea is a counselor, herbalist, circle leader, and group facilitator. She has worked in the non-profit sector with teens and young adults across the boroughs of New York City, cultivating self-empowerment and self-discovery through self-expression and community building. Andrea is a dedicated student to the practices that remind us of our most authentic selves and cycles, including herbalism, yoga, and divine feminine rituals. Her work is rooted in her core passion for building meaningful and authentic relationships, to self, to others, and to the world around us. Andrea brings all of herself and her learning to her courses and invites a compassionate and tender approach to the deep discovery and remembrance that herbal practices invoke.

 

Jessica Strom

Jessica is an herbalist and pianist. She also worked as a counselor, a preK-12 educator, and an editor for psychological scholarly writings. In October 2020, she released an album entitled Sky Improvisations inspired by the world between us and the stars. Her studies as an herbalist focus on trusting intuition, learning from plants, and spiritual connection to ancestors. Jessica comes from Tagalog and Ilonggo lineage and is learning the precolonial mythology and folklore of her motherland, what today is called the Philippines. She hears her soul clearly and feels portals to liminality when she is listening to the Land. As an educator, Jessica hopes her guidance will help students towards reciprocal connection with the earth through the plant life around them, to discover plant lore, and to be inspired to create from this connection. Mabuhay & Ingat ~ To Life & Take Care.

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