We *virtually* sat down with Nadine Artemis from Living Libations to talk about botanicals, plants as teachers, and the healing power of nature.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you love to do?
I love to walk on our land and admire the abundance of life that lives in the forest and the lake and in the swampy places in between. I always take my camera on my walks to capture photos of the wildflowers and creatures that I encounter. My favorite thing to do in the summer is to swim in our spring-fed lake with my family.
How did you come to create Living Libations?
My first foray into the world of botanical oils was re-creating L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci with essential oils for a school science fair. Later, when I was in university, I started making pure perfumes and some skin care items for my friends and family. Within months of graduation, I opened Osmosis, North America’s first full-concept aromatherapy store. Yet I longed to live in nature, and craved a pause in life to think, so after a few years I closed the store. Then I met Ron, my partner. After days of playing with botanical oils and elixirs, Ron became impassioned about working together. So, we did. And the beginning of Living Libations bloomed.
What do you hope people experience working with the Living Libations line?
Over the last twenty years, thousands of people have come to me with their health and beauty questions. These people, (many are women), are distraught with dilemmas, and the nature of their questions is complex: psoriasis, eczema, acne, inflammatory issues, bleeding gums, decaying teeth… and the list goes on. I have the pleasure of introducing them to the gentle and pure power of botanical oils. Almost daily I receive emails from people who have started using botanicals in their self-care, and they are overflowing with gratitude because they are finally healing. I hear from women who now feel so confident with their skin that they feel free to leave their home without makeup! I love that Living Libations can provide relief and help to people, and what I love even more is that we are introducing people to the power of essential oils, and that means returning the power of self-care into the people’s own hands — and that is true empowerment!
You speak on your site about Plants being your true teachers! Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Yes! My hands (and my heart), serve at the pleasure of plants and flowers, the original owners of essences and oils. Every formula I create is a translation from infinite plant intelligence into physical form. Plants live with us and share with us, yet they do not exist simply for our use. It can be easy to fall into reductionist thinking and treat plants as mere tools for our health — as our food or as little “essential oil makers” that support our health. Yet they have their own telos and their own spiritual significance apart from anything human. My reverence for plants transcends their usefulness; I am amazed by their life power.
Plants are endlessly generous with their gifts; they freely invite everyone to enjoy their beauty and aroma. They embody the adage that health is beauty; a healthy rose bush produces an abundance of green leaves and beautiful rose blooms. And this is unselfconscious beauty, too. As the philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote, “A lily or a rose never pretends, and its beauty is that it is what it is.”
I am also endlessly inspired by the botanical world’s adaptability and resilience. One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned from plants is to adapt to environmental challenges. A few years ago, our house and business burned to the ground, and between all of the firemen’s footsteps and the high-pressure water from the fire hoses, what had been a garden was burned, trampled, and muddy the morning after. Yet, mere days after the fire, the wildflowers were sending up green shoots through the mud and char. There are many species of plants that require a big fire to thrive, and if you looked at our garden now, the plants and trees have fully recovered. There is no indication that a fire ever happened and no “memento” of trauma. This is amazing resilience, and worthy of our respect and study.
If you could have a tea or take a Boketto moment (a moment of daydreaming and of rest) with any person dead or alive who would it be? What kind of tea would you have?
I am fascinated by Avincenna of the 9th and 10th centuries, who is regarded as one of the most brilliant thinkers of all time. I consider him a founding father of aroma-medicine. He studied mathematics and metaphysics as a boy, and by sixteen he began his exploration of medicine. By eighteen he was a full-fledged physician. He wrote more than 400 texts including poetry and materia medicas about the elements, astronomy, and more. I found copies of his Canon of Medicine and The Book of Healing, in which he described skilled massage techniques with aromatic oils and the virtues of hundreds of plants. Avicenna also invented the art of using steam distillation to capture the essence of plants as we know it today.
If I were to have the pleasure of sharing teatime with Avincenna, I would allow him to select the type of tea he would like for us to drink. My best guess is that he would pick chamomile.
What does a moment of rest, recharging, or nourishment look like for you?
My soul is nourished by nature. Enjoying a beautiful sunrise and basking in the sun to dry off after a lake swim recharges my spirit. In the quiet, restful moments at the end of the day, I soak in the wisdom and beauty of the great poets. I especially love to read Rumi, the Sufi mystic poet.
What's something you want people to know about you that I wouldn't think to ask?
I think people may be surprised to learn that I was a class clown; I spent much energy in school generating giggles. Fortunately, the school principal, Ms. Palazzi, was a towering feminine figure, perfectly coiffed and styled as well as highly educated and inspiring. My frequent forays into class clownism provided me with several opportunities to sort things out in her office. Through it all, she remained composed and exhibited leadership and grace.
Aquarius is my sun sign. Virgo is my rising, and Pisces is my moon sign.
Shop Living Libations at Boketto Health & Wellness here.