Interview by Lauren Ash. Photography by michael pierce.
When Zakkiyyah and I discovered that Bri Luna, often referred to as The Hoodwitch, is a woman of color, we were so excited! We’ve been drawn to her beautiful crystals and aesthetics for awhile now and she was so kind to gift us some sage, rose quartz, citrine, and the most beautiful abalone shell I’ve ever seen. She is a giver, a healer (both of herself and others), and a light. It was a joy to be able to connect with Bri about sisterhood, ritual, and the magic we all contain as women of color. Be sure to follow Bri on Instagram @TheHoodwitch and Twitter @ThatHoodwitch for more inspiration related to wellness through ritual!
LA: Alrighty, so … Ms. Hoodwitch [chuckles], I think one thing that I first noticed, the first thing that attracted me to your platform was your imagery, to be honest. Really striking colors, crystals, your own hands, where you always have the flyest manicure of all time, alongside some tarot cards or candles or crystals. Obviously, we live in this really visual culture now, where there’s a lot of people out there doing and promoting wellness and spirituality, but not necessarily in a way that really will catch your eye right away. I’m just curious for some of your thoughts in the intention behind it. Because it’s clear that it’s intentional. That you’re an artist, perhaps, and that you’re really attune to aesthetics.
BL: I am a very visual person, so color and pattern and all of those things I’m really connected to my senses visually. I’m a very aesthetically driven person and so, for me, this is just very natural. I look at things the way that I would want to see them presented. Like holding a crystal … I kind of just do what feels natural to me and what looks really beautiful to me via my own personal alter or just having these pictures in my mind of what I want to see before I even really do it, if that makes sense.
LA: Oh, it does make sense! And I feel that probably rings true also with generally creating this platform, too. Like, you saw something in your mind that didn’t already exist and then you went about creating it.
LA: Another thing that I really appreciate is that you do really give space and allow for the voices of other women that you deem “Goddesses” [chuckles] to be shared every week. So, what was your motivation behind these Goddess of the Week spotlights? And what have you learned from speaking with all these women from really all over? Is it international too or have you mostly stuck to the US?
BL: It’s international as well. I feel like my biggest inspiration behind Goddess of the Week, to be honest, was reading all of these wonderful stories throughout history and through mythology and just historical figures that I always found very fascinating. I feel that all women truly have this inner magic, inner … something that you can’t quite describe with words and I know that every woman … just really embodies this goddess, this goddess archetype and I’m always very intrigued to know, like, who they relate to? You know? Because I feel like reading through all of these interviews and speaking to all of these women, it’s just like, you’re like, “Ahh!” Like a light comes on, you’re like “Ahh! That makes sense!” I totally feel like, you know, “Oh, I see Lilith in her,” or “I totally see her as an Athena.” You know what I mean? Like you see these, “oh she’s definitely like an Isis.” You can kind of … you understand them more on a subconscious level of, like, how their mind works and how they relate to these goddess archetypes. For me, it’s just been such a joy to have these women be able to share this information with me and to learn and read more about these goddesses, their strengths and how they affect other women!
LA: The focus of Issue 003 is spirituality, so I thought it would be really appropriate to get you in time for it. You just seem very spiritual, from identifying with different goddess through mythology and through history, to even speaking about sexual health to talking about different rituals that we can practice that really help us have clarity about who we are, where we’re going in life. What are some of your favorite rituals? Perhaps, at this point in your life? So, what do you try to cultivate maybe daily, maybe weekly, maybe monthly that you would also recommend other people try?
BL: One of my daily rituals that I absolutely have to do and that I love, and I know this is going to sound really strange, but I really love to wake up early early in the morning. I wake up before anyone else in my house is up and I like watching the sun rise. I have a really huge window, I mean like, my apartment is pretty awesome [laughs] so I have this crazy window that overlooks the whole city and I just ... I like to light some candles and depending on my mood I’ll hold a crystal. My favorite crystal at this moment, I’ve definitely been working with amethyst a lot. So, I will hold a crystal, whatever I’m feeling drawn to at that specific time and I’ll just sit and I like to really focus on what my intention is going to be for that day. What is it that I would like to accomplish for that day. If I have any friends that are not feeling well or they’re going through really difficult times, if I’m going through a difficult time, I like to just sit with that or I like to send healing to them, I like to send love to them to help them get through, you know, whatever situation that they’re going through. And then for me, I like to just call on my own guides and, I guess, just listening to what information that they have to give for me to help me to focus on that day and, you know, either with signs … I’m really big on paying attention to signs or certain symbols via, like, numbers, or repetitive numbers, or you know just little things … a song or something that will come on or a book title, or you know just anything, ... there’s always that moment when you’re like, “Oh, wow. That totally connects into what I was thinking about.” That’s one of my daily rituals, just really holding space and sitting in silence, being completely quiet and having that time to myself is just really, really important. And with each new moon, I like to start with having an intention … on my Instagram and on my website I’ll post up a different new moon ritual or a releasing ritual or a letting go ritual. So, I like to really time those depending on what astrological signs the moon is going to be in. I will work with that energy. For full moons, I love having big dinners. So, I’ll invite my friends to come over for dinner or it’ll just be myself and my family and I’ll cook a big dinner and we just laugh and talk about our day and what good stuff has happened for us and we call it a moon party.
Bri: I always do moon ritual and, like I said, I share those. I share a lot of those and working with crystals, that’s something I just do daily anyway and it’s kind of like not … I don’t really think of it anymore, it’s such a part of my life. I’m either wearing pieces, like big chunky pieces of something like Quartz, or I’m having something in my bra. Yes, I carry lots of crystals in my bra!
LA: Hey, you just gave me an idea! [laughs]
BL: I really do, I literally have ... like what do I have right now? I have a piece a Yellow Calcite in my bra right now. \ Lauren: love it! [laughs]
BL: I mean, it’s giving me, it gives you lots of energy lots of creativity. Really helps add a little sunshine to your life.
LA: Ok, I’m going to try this now and I’m going to let you know how it impacts me because, I’m not kidding Bri, I went from probably in January having two crystals to now having probably about 10; which probably to you is not that much, but considering…
BL: No, that’s a good amount! That’s a good collection.
LA: And they’ve all been gifts! How crazy! That’s a sign that I’m supposed to be having them in my life.
BL: Yes! That’s the best way to receive them. Definitely by having loving intention behind them and the people who love you feeling like “you know you could really use this” I love crystals as gifts.
LA: Well beautiful, I’m glad you’ve shared some of your rituals because I’m going to try them. I’ve also tried to start getting up early lately and the way that you feel when you do it, just to clear your mind when no one else is there distracting you, is the best. It’s the best!
BL: It really is, it’s such a [sighs in relief] it’s like, a really, it’s like magic and you’re like, “Wow, I can see the world while its sleeping and I’m already awake and just getting ready to start my day.” I don’t know ... it feels like such a powerful time for me.
LA: So, obviously, there's this idea of energy and we've both used this word during our conversation today. What do you think about negative energy? How do you cleanse? How do you keep the haters and the hating away, so to speak? What are your practices for that?
BL: My first practice is looking at myself. I know that sounds corny, but I know I feel like if I’m attracting … I hate even say this, like “negative energy” because the way that I’ve always felt is like energy is energy. Just like money is money and this is, you know, it’s really the intent…it’s the intention of where it’s coming from. So, a lot of stuff where it’s like, “Oh, this person’s hating on me,” and this, that and the other, I know in my heart that we’re all mirroring each other. People who are hating on you are definitely reflecting back to you parts of yourself that are still needing a little bit of work. You know? A little bit of tweaking. So, I definitely feel like if I’m being bombarded by negativity from someone else, it usually makes me stop and I’m kind of like … I like to sit back and really think to myself and I like to meditate and I’m just like this, “What is it that I’m projecting? What energy? What am I giving off that is drawing this type of attention in?” And so with that being said, I like to … I feel that there’s a lot of things you can do to just keep yourself protected from receiving other people’s energy anyway. So, I do a lot of space clearing, be that with white sage or working with different incense. I love Frankincense, I love Myrrh, Cedar, I like … what else? I like working with sprays. I have a lot of friends who make me custom sprays, like essential oil blends, because a lot of those oils can help with space clearing. They’re really good for that. This is one of my favorites to do, if you definitely feel like you’ve been in a negative environment or you’re in a place where the energy is very mucky, kind of heavy and just not making you feel healthy, a lot of times I feel like people know this because you won’t feel like yourself. If you’re in an area or you’re in a situation that leaves you feeling drained or really irritable, really grumpy, you’re just not feeling like yourself, a lot of times you are picking up on other people’s energies and it is important to clear.
LA: Wooo, I do that far too often!
BL: Yeah, you have to keep yourself protected! Especially if you’re doing a lot of spiritual or energy work, you’re doing yoga or you’re doing a type of mediation and stuff, sometimes you are going to interact with people who you know that you don’t really necessarily vibe with; and sometimes their energy can affect your mood and it can just make you not feel so good. So, I love ritual baths. Cleansing baths are key, essential to me. Especially if I’m doing tarot work or any type of tarot readings for people who are experiencing a lot of negativity. It’s very … you know, you can feel it, or just even interactions with people.
So, one ritual bath I love is called the Aura Protection Bath which is using some sea salt, white vinegar some people like to even add baking soda to it. I don’t. You can add lemons ... but what you do is, you mix all of those ingredients into the bath and you get in. Some people like to light a white candle, lighting a white candle, you’re purifying the room. You can light some white sage and then set an intention, say a prayer and, you know, just speak with your guides. Speak with your higher self of releasing any energy that doesn’t serve you, releasing energy that doesn’t belong to you and that, I feel like, is key. Where you just, like, “You know what? Cleanse me of any energy that is not mine, that’s not coming from me.” And so yeah, I have this on my site as well. So, I’m really big into ritual baths, space clearing, be that with really good uplifting music, white sage, using essential oils, even singing. I love to sing in my apartment and I feel like that definitely helps.
You know what else clears the space? Opening windows, getting lots of fresh air, not letting the air get too mucky or stagnant in your living space is really important. Getting rid of old documents, old stuff that you don’t use, broken things. And I feel like that all comes into play with even Feng Shui, you know? Just getting rid of broken stuff, things that you don’t use anymore. Because your home and your workspace and your living area, those are all direct reflections of your mental state. So, if you have a really junky, cluttered, icky kind of office, you’re probably not going to be feeling too good mentally anyway.
LA: Everything you’re saying is particularly speaking to me right now, too, because I am on the cusp of being a little bit of a nomad for a while. My lease is up in July, but then we’re planning on traveling a lot for BGIO, so I made a decision to not actually sign a lease right away. But to kind of just see what happens. So everything you’re saying is really food for thought for when I do decide to get my next place. It’s so important when based off of people or things or experiences that happen in your space, that energy totally can linger there, and it is so important to cleanse that or just remove yourself from it if you’re able to!
BL: Oh my god, even with my clients in this business, sometimes people will come in and they’ll just have icky energy, you can feel it, or they’re like, “Oh, my day has just been horrible! And my husband is pissing me off,” and generally I’ll tell them, “You know what, before we get started, I just want you to lay on the table and I want you to just close your eyes and I want you to inhale and breath in through your nose…” we have candles going, and we talk. I feel like it’s almost like a therapy session. [laughs] I feel like they end up talking it out. I think it really helps them. But for me, to not take that on, you know I already have black Turmaline in my bra.
LA: Nice. Yaasss.
BL: I have really protective stones, especially if I know I’m going into … I don’t know, let’s say, for example, I don’t know … what are some places that I would go? I don’t really go to places that I feel like people are going to be mean to me [laughs] I guess, when I do have those kind of interactions with people, I like to just, I try not to internalize those things and just release them by, like I told you, doing a ritual bath, meditating really helps me because I feel like I can just let it go, like, “You know what? I don’t even need to keep this on, like that’s that person’s” Either they’re projecting something deeply rooted inside of them onto myself or I’m projecting something. One way or the other it’s like I release this energy from my being, releasing it from myself, and then I just hold unto my black Turmaline and I feel Turmaline mediation and I’ll just sit and just feel more rooted. I’ll do a grounding meditation sometimes, where I’m just like, “You know what? I need to be more reconnected, like re-center me because something’s off.” I feel like bad interactions, a lot of times, with people let me know that there’s something that’s not aligned, something’s off balance with me.
LA: Balance. I feel like a lot of us need to focus more on that, because a lot of us focus on things manifesting in our lives and focus on relationships and all that stuff, and at the end of the day, you have to go home to yourself. I mean, we sometimes live with people too, I guess [laughs] But at the end of the day, when you fall asleep you’re in your own head, you’re in your own body and soul and spirit; and to be able to be comfortable with that, I think, is what a lot of people are not even focused on. And this is my own journey, too. This is not me speaking from a soapbox …
BL: No, I understand that totally. I feel like there’s so much of my life is filled with so many rituals that it really is hard to pick a daily ritual. It fluctuates from day-to-day. One day I could feel doing naked yoga, the next day I could feel like making myself a beautiful bath product or a scrub or making my own tea blend; and I feel like all of those things can be pretty ritualistic. You know what I mean? When you’re setting up for all of your supplies, you’re working with your hands, you’re doing a meditation or any of those things – I feel like you can add and make so many mundane activities into a ritual for yourself.
LA: That’s beautiful and then that’s all about intention, bringing intention into our lives and bringing our attention to the present moment, which is also just really hard to do sometimes with the way that everything is so go! go! go! I think the last thing, is just, what else might you want to share with our community? You know our community is mostly women of color, but we have some lovely Brothas who love to support us as well. What support or words of advice or wisdom you might offer to people who want to dive a little bit more into what it means to be spiritual beings with ritual or with crystals or with whatever else you’re advocating through your platform?
BL: You’re going to make me cry [voice shakes] I feel like, most importantly for me, being a woman of color is like learning to trust your intuition. Being okay with being different and being okay that a lot of people might not understand your practices or a lot of people might not understand why you’re outside with no shoes on looking at the moon and just being happy with that. It’s okay for people to not understand your practices and I feel that you should always honor yourself and honor your heart. Just truly trust yourself. And inside of you, you have all of the answers that you need. You don’t need to have a teacher or you don’t need to even understand what the word “metaphysical” means. If you like a crystal or you feel really drawn to something in nature, that’s beautiful, let that be your teacher and learn to trust nature and trust yourself and know that you’ll never be weird or wrong because nature is the best teacher. I feel like more people, especially more women of color … just trust yourself, because you’re magic and you’re magical and you just have these innate … you’re innately powerful and you are magic! Just learn to trust yourself, that’s all I’m hearing in my mind right now. My higher self is just saying to tell more women like me to learn how to trust yourself and connecting with nature and really just giving yourself that love and nurturing that only you can really give yourself. I guess, that’s my biggest thing. Intuition is the only word that keeps really flashing for me.
LA: Just as you got emotional saying that and feeling this wisdom kind of bubbling up, I feel like women really need to hear that. Especially women of color, because a lot us grew up in households where a lot of these things that you’re advocating on your site—that are really just powerful and beautiful and cultivating our creativity and cultivating our spirits and cultivating expressions—were shunned for various reasons. I think it’s really beautiful to reconnect with a lot of these things or connect with it for the first time and see what it can teach us.
BL: Yes, and cultivating these beautiful and natural self loving practices are our birthright. Women are the healers, and life givers. Learning to heal ourselves is the only way we will be able to heal others. We can truly do anything, and that in itself is magic!