Combining Vanessa’s story of her own healing journey with practical plant-based knowledge, Awakening Artemis is rooted in the belief that healing happens through reclaiming an intuitive connection to ourselves, to the natural world, and to our own “inner wild.”
Having experienced a series of physical traumas growing up–including chronic asthma, a car accident that fractured her back and neck, and sexual trauma–Vanessa pursued various approaches to therapeutic movement from martial arts to yogic practices and explored traditions honoring the mind-body connection while forging a path to recovery. Twenty years now into her journey to reconcile her daily routines with her yearning for greater purpose and connection, Vanessa shares the eclectic mix of elements that have brought her deeper self-awareness, a richer understanding of her place in the world, and the confidence and clear boundaries to truly connect with her loved ones.
Organized into five sections that move from the present moment to the forest edge, and into the healing darkness, each chapter focuses on a single plant: on their power to connect us to our bodies and our environment. Using storytelling from her own life, Vanessa connects the plants’ power and characteristics to issues we all grapple to heal from and even to understand–from the alienating consequences of cultural appropriation to the intersection between a forest’s mycelial network and the neural pathways of our brains.
For those seeking to recognize the power and omnipresence of the natural world–from the mugwort sprouting in the city sidewalk to the majesty of a three-thousand-year-old yew in rural Scotland–and harness that to push into new realms of self-discovery, Awakening Artemis is an intimate, unforgettable resource capturing one woman’s journey to heal her traumas that opens up a world of potential growth and healing for us all.
Vanessa Chakour is an herbalist, visual artist, educator, former pro-boxer, environmental activist, and founder of Sacred Warrior—a multidisciplinary educational and experiential “school” offering plant medicine, wildlife conservation, and meditation through courses, workshops, and retreats with a diverse group of teachers. Sacred Warrior’s Rewilding Retreats are in partnership with 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. She lives in Western Massachusetts and teaches around the world.