The Alchemist’s Kitchen will be hosting a free virtual book launch for Vanessa Chakour’s “Awakening Artemis” on Sunday, January 30 at 6 pm.

It is an opportunity to explore how connecting with Artemis, the Greek Goddess of wild animals and plants, can help us invigorate our relationship with nature.

Listen to Vanessa talk about the book here.

Click here to join the event.

Vanessa has graciously provided a sneak peek at the Introduction.

Our bodies are living ecosystems, and like the cycles of nature, we also ebb flow, go backward and forward, contract and expand, and move through necessary phases of growth, death, and restoration. Contrary to what we might want to believe, healing is not a linear process but an ongoing spiral into subterranean spaces of darkness where we confront the unknown. Where we rest, regenerate, and eventually expand outward into bloom. We might resist the dark spaces inside us but the truth is, most of our healing and growth happens underground and under our skin. We need dark, protected spaces to let the most tender parts of ourselves form. Rest and retreat are just as necessary as the warmth and illumination of light.

Through working with the plants and practices I share in Awakening Artemis, I’ve rewritten my own stories, again and again, revealing blind spots and spiraling inward to shed old skins, confront shadows, and become more of who I always was. Plants entered my life as medicine but the real transformation occurred when I realized I was living among profound healers. All around me were green allies; strange and wondrous fungi; trees with rich history, life purpose, generations of family, and essential roles in our environment. As I began awakening to this complex, animate world, I understood, in a truly embodied way, the vast web of life that I was part of. I was in awe and compelled to share this wonder with others. I began to reintroduce plants, trees, and fungi to my friends and family, and eventually to the students I would teach; I pointed out healers like mugwort, dandelion, red clover, burdock, eyebright, and pine and asked my kin to look—really look—and listen to who these plants are. I apprenticed with herbalists, studied constantly, led plant walks and rewilding retreats. I began uncovering the ancestral roots of Earth-based healing that had been buried for generations in my family. I am still digging, exploring, learning, and awakening to more of nature’s abundance.

True abundance is not a wealth we can acquire but the infinite peace, wisdom, and stability that comes from knowing that the most valuable aspects of life are already sprouting under our feet, flowing through water, flying above us in air, and waiting patiently inside our bodies to be revealed. Intimacy with the inner and outer wild offers us a profound sense of belonging, something that no one— nor any life event, lost job, or missed mark— can ever take away. The faster we come to understand that we are nature and not separate from the web of life, the better off we’ll be as individuals, and the better off our shared home, our planet, will be. The information we need to heal this world is not more statistics and stories of doom but stories about our interconnection, along with practices that slow us down and reinforce symbiosis. When we realize the incredible generosity of Mother Earth and our bodies and truly see the awe-inspiring creatures we are related to, I believe we cannot help but fall in love. And when we fall in love, we become protectors and defenders like Artemis.

This discussion with Mallory Lance, editor in chief of Ravenous Zine, and author and herbalist Vanessa Chakour will explore what is happening on the land, in the skies, and in our bodies as the season’s turn. Vanessa will share aspects of her healing journey and rewilding the self through the lens of the 24 plants featured in her book, AWAKENING ARTEMIS. We’ll explore their properties, relationships, and ecology, as well as how flora intersect with folklore, medicine, the arts, and our own bodies. The talk is a reminder that both healing and time are circular, not linear, and that we are an expression of nature, woven in the wild web of life.


Author, visual artist, herbalist, holistic arts educator, former pro-boxer, and environmental activist, Vanessa Chakour’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.” She is the founder of Sacred Warrior— a multidisciplinary educational and experiential “school” offering plant medicine, wildlife conservation, and meditation through courses, workshops, and 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. She works in partnership with wildlife organizations like the Wolf Conservation Center in New York, The Jaguar Rescue Center in Costa Rica, and Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the Scottish Highlands. Vanessa has shared her work as a speaker at the United Nations, Brown University, and the Muhammad Ali Center, and as an artist in New York City galleries from DUMBO to Chelsea. Her new book, Awakening Artemis is now available from Penguin Life. 


Ezza Valdez

Ezza Valdez is an explorer with a creative passion for "DIY" projects. Growing up in the Philippines, she rallied her friends to adventures in outdoor cooking (using milk cans as pots), paper doll theatrics, and making their own musical instruments for caroling. "You can make beautiful music with a wire and a ton of bottle caps". A veteran of the IT industry with an academic background in Computer Science and Technology, she is currently a student at David Winston's Herbal Studies 2-year program.

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