A herbalist, artist, activist, meditation teacher, former competitive boxer and trainer, Vanessa Chakour’s teachings are rooted in the belief that healing happens through re-awakening an intuitive connection to ourselves, the natural world and our own “inner-wild.”
“Healing happens through re-awakening an intuitive connection to ourselves, the natural world and our own ‘inner-wild’.”Vanessa Chakour
We met Vanessa in Manhattan and discovered just how easy it is to reconnect with nature, regardless of being in the city or the countryside.
My name is Vanessa Chakour, I grew up in western Massachusetts in the woods, always very deeply connected to nature and I’m the founder of Sacred Warrior, whose mission is to deepen relationship with ourselves and with the earth.
Sacred Warrior really evolved through my own journey of healing, as I mentioned as a child I was really really really connected to nature, and I feel like many kids we had this innate ability to really connect and communicate with the natural world. But growing up at a lot of health issues. I had a horrible horrible asthma; I was in and out of the hospital all the time as a kid and really had this feeling of disempowerment in terms of my relationship with my body so I founded Sacred Warrior. It’s very much an outcome of my own journey of healing and also what I feel the most strongly about. My deepest grief has always been the way we treat the earth and other species.
During my teenage years I sort of disconnected from myself and from the land, and a car accident actually wound up being a catalyst for coming back into my body and almost like breaking everything open. I fractured my back and my neck when I was 15, but it was that experience that was really the catalyst for the path I’m on today. My whole life became about healing, I couldn’t avoid any aspects of myself, I started to make the connection between my belief systems and what I wasn’t dealing with in my own journey of healing. Writing and art became my method of releasing what I was holding inside. From that moment on, of course I didn’t realise that when I was 15, but I started this journey. I started really exploring what I was capable of if I committed to healing my whole self.
Part of my work is bringing people into experiences of connection to nature not only through herbalism and plant walks. I try to make all of my courses as hands-on as possible but I also bring people into experiences of connection to nature through retreats.
Part of what I do here in Brooklyn and in my retreats in Scotland and in Costa Rica, is help people develop relationships with the land through the lens of the medicinal plants that are growing where they live, and what happens when people realise this plant they’ve been walking by every single day, even a weed sometimes especially the weeds, are medicine and have this rich history in rich folklore. It shifts their perception of the particular plant and then it kind of awakens them to the magic that’s been hiding in plain sight and it’s sort of awakens that sense of wonder that we have when we were children.