Magic, Medicine & Myth: Scotland
There’s a word used in Scotland, ‘ken’, which means a balance of knowledge and understanding; it speaks to your instinctual self, your deepest self. This retreat is a chance to reconnect with the earth, your wild intuitive soul, and ken the ‘magic’ of the land – its spirit, history, and feeling.
Sacred Warrior founder, Vanessa Chakour will be joined by renowned herbalist and Scottish storyteller, Ancel Mitchell to lead this healing adventure in the intensely beautiful landscape. Guided by the transformative power of magic, medicine, and myth, the retreat features visits to the nearby Standing Stones and Neolithic ‘womb’ tombs, the strongholds of kings, ancient mysterious sacred sites and ancient wells. With fully-catered vegetarian meals featuring vegetables fresh from the Center’s garden, guests will go hiking, foraging, and wildcrafting as they re-kindle a relationship with the land by tapping into ancestral roots and into their innate connection to nature.
Powered by a hydro-turbine and solar panels, ecoYoga is surrounded by hills, lochs, rivers, and forests in the old kingdom of Argyll – only walking distance from an ancient well. The glazed studio overlooks the gorge of the River Liever and features under-floor heating with a calming ambiance soothed by the sounds of the nearby waterfalls. Inspired by the Japanese bathing house tradition of ‘Sento’, guests can soak in the natural wooden hot tubs in the Center’s Dome, or choose a more private hideaway tucked into the forest or alongside the river bank.
Daily, Chakour will guide a unique movement and meditation practice, helping develop strength and connection. She combines this practice with elemental herbalism, teaching the names and uses of local medicinal and culinary plants to experience the interdependence between the individual and environment. Through storytelling, guests will explore not only the cultural mythology of the land but the roots of their own personal story so that they may better understand how their narrative influences every experience.
• European herbalism in folklore in healing & ritual •
•Daily movement & meditation practice • Creative writing & journaling •
• Hikes & Excursions To Standing Stones & Ancient Sites •
• Plant Medicine & wildcrafting •
Delicious Organic Meals by Nourish By Nicola •
• Outdoor Bathing, Sauna & Hot Tub • Immersion in Nature •
WE’LL STAY AT THE BEAUTIFUL ECOYOGA CENTRE
RATES & LODGING OPTIONS HERE
Rates include lodging, all workshops, excursions and meals at Ecoyoga Centre
2020 Dates TBA
Learn about the EcoYoga Centre’s incredible outdoor bathing HERE
TRAVEL DETAILS HERE
Getting settled & arrival dinner
Earth: Grounding & Growth
Getting to know the land where we are. The West of Scotland is one of the oldest land masses in the world and we can feel the ancient life beneath our feet. Here we stand on the back of the great mother, admiring her glacial curves and appreciating her exposed beauty. Exploring our relationship to our bodies & the body of the earth through movement, meditation & creative writing. Root medicines. Earth Ally work. Grounding meals in house. Free time for self reflection.
Water: Cleansing & Flow
Here, we are never far from water. We’ll hike between loch and sea, between sweet and salt water, appreciating always the flow and communication that water brings. Until the 19th Century people used water to move through this landscape: it was transport, community, livelihood and life. We can experience the beauty of this soft water through the dynamic, babbling brooks to the passive reflective waters of the lochs. Water medicines. Letting go. Creative writing exercises. Wildcrafting.
Fire: Passion & Purification
To the Ancients, fire meant life; ceremonies centered around it, the hearth fire never went out and embers were carried and gifted on journeys. In prehistoric forts and ceremonial centers we’ll look deep into the magic and perhaps even smell the smoke from their altars. Bonfire & Sacred Fire Ceremony. Magic, transformation
Air: Movement & Breath
Nodding foxglove and swaying broom, rustling reeds and the sombre music of oaklands: there is a stillness in Nature that encompasses the movement of air, a quietness which embraces the lonely sound of the peewee and the plip of a seal breaking surface water. Today through our breath we shall become one with the beings around us, both seen and unseen. The air here is damp and gentle, embracing, drawing us out and in to the land.
Ether: Vision & Space
The magic is palpable, in our journey we have come close to the Ancients, we have touched and been touched by Nature and we have experienced ourselves as stories and storytellers. We are capable of standing between the known and unknown. Today we shall seek out a special place, a portal between the worlds of water and air. We shall go to the very brink and see ourselves reflected there.
A last soak in the waters of the EcoYoga Center, a farewell walk by the loch or through the woods, an ending circle.
Ancel Mitchell was born and raised in Scotland and has lived in England, the US and currently lives in Costa Rica. Her deep connection to nature and sense of place feeds her creativity and curiosity which push her ever deeper into exploring the natural environment. A waldorf educator for over 20 years, Ancel delights in bringing new and different perspectives into her teaching, making her classes rich, fresh and fun. Bouyed along by a sense of magic and an ability to consciously listen she holds space for story: “Stories hold us, they rock us to sleep in their arms, they allow us to venture forth into territory we fear, they have our back when the terrain gets rough. Through story we can meet ourselves anywhere, we can find ourselves at home anywhere. Stories connect our inner and outer selves, they are our two way bridge to nature, and home.”
Ancel teaches plant ally and western herbalism on Sacred Warrior Costa Rican retreats. When she’s not teaching she’s enjoying working with plants and animals, making medicines and chocolate and enjoying her farm.
Vanessa Chakour is the founder of Sacred Warrior whose mission is to deepen relationship with ourselves and the living earth. The concept and method of teaching evolved out of her journey of healing and teaching as an herbalist, artist, activist, meditation teacher, former pro boxer & trainer. With connection to Nature as Self at its core, Vanessa’s unique blend of sensitive awareness and deep ecology plus over twenty years of inner work and refining her skills, creates an opportunity to experience the “inner wild”. Having lived her adult life in New York City, Vanessa is familiar with the disconnect so many feel from the natural world. It’s this that drives her work: helping others to understand that they are not alone, or apart from Life. Her work, from holistic training to herbal apprenticeships to retreats focuses on reconnection. A spokeswoman for nature, Vanessa works as mediator and match-maker, helping people form one on one relationships with plants or animals, building bridges and creating bonds. It’s these small understandings and relationships which develop that create eco-defenders and sacred warriors: so necessary at this time. Learn more about Vanessa and her journey HERE