Gaelic Roots: Autumn’s Embrace
with Vanessa Chakour & Àdhamh Ó Broin
Autumn in Scotland offers a visible expression of the life, death, life cycle as the vibrant energy of nature moves underground. This is a liminal time to honor the healing power of darkness, introspection, and hibernation as we shed what we no longer need. In darkness and silence, we recharge. In the mystery and stillness of darker days, we can recover inspiration and let go of noise, voices, and ideas preventing us from hearing our own.
During this retreat, we’ll explore the embrace of autumn through Gaelic language, story and song as we strengthen our innate connection to nature through elemental herbalism and holistic healing practices. We’ll work with root medicines that reach below the surface of the soil, and deep within our bodies to connect us to the source energy of mother earth. You’ll learn about plants like mugwort whose medicine moves into inner depths for conscious dreaming, helping us see what it is we need to heal. Through Gaelic language, story, and song, we’ll reclaim and honor Scotland’s ancestral roots as you dive into your own for reconnection and embodied healing. Through creative writing, drawing, and storytelling, we’ll dive into inner wells to uncover inspiration and restore flow.
Together, we’ll make nourishing herbal infusions, tinctures, healing broths, soups, and stews to give you simple, yet powerful health-building skills to kindle the hearth of home. Each day will begin with movement and meditation practice for all levels to align with our elemental theme of the day: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. Come away ready to face the darkness with newfound depth, perspective, and empowering tools toward healing.
YOUR EXPERIENCE WILL INCLUDE:
• Holistic Herbalism • Gaelic Language, Story & Song • Daily Movement & Meditation Practice • Hiking & Nature Connection • Creative Exploration • Cooking Workshops • Medicine Making • Healing Ritual & Supportive Community •
Vanessa Chakour is the founder of Sacred Warrior whose mission is to deepen relationship with ourselves and our environment. An herbalist, artist, writer, meditation teacher, former competitive boxer, and trainer, Vanessa’s teachings are 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 re-awakening an intuitive connection to ourselves, the natural world, and our own “inner-wild.” Vanessa works as a matchmaker between participants and nature, inspiring personal relationships with the plants and animals that share our ecosystem. These intimate understandings create eco-defenders and Sacred Warriors, impassioned to defend our planet and home, so necessary at this time. She accomplishes this through curating embodied experiences in her workshops, herbal apprenticeships, and retreats. A fierce defender and advocate of the land, Vanessa embodies the practices she teaches and has spearheaded collaborative land-based education programs to inspire ecological awareness and land stewardship for the benefit of the earth and all species. Based in Brooklyn, Vanessa teaches throughout the Northeastern United States and runs Rewilding Retreats in New York, Costa Rica, and Scotland. Being of Scottish descent, this retreat has a special place in her heart.
Àdhamh Ó Broin hails from Cowal in Argyle and is of mixed Irish and 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 decolonisation of Scotland’s people through reconnection with the carrying stream of indigenous culture, language, and spirituality.
Nicola Orr began her career as a microbiologist. However, she felt drawn to travel and seeing an ad in a local paper, got her first job cooking in the French Alps. This is where her journey with food began. She was called to use her skills in nutrition, wellbeing, and holistic health around the world and has traveled extensively to study and cook for retreats. Now grounding back home in Scotland, Nicola is integrating her teachings and experience to create nourishing and delicious food that blends science, ancient wisdom and reconnects us to the land. She is committed to a sustainable lifestyle through foraging and ethically sourced food. Her passion is to empower people to heal themselves by giving them simple tools toward healing through food and rekindling the hearth in all homes.