An online community and website, The Hoodwitch is devoted to sharing metaphysics, folk medicine, and wellness in a modern and accessible way. “Magic is creating change by connecting with the energies of nature, at will,” says founder Bri Luna, who works to honor the inner knowledge we so often forget or learn to ignore. It’s a welcoming and intuitive approach to magic, and it is no surprise that it resonates deeply with the many people who turn to Luna’s site and Instagram for guidance in meditation, crystal healing, horoscopes, and moon rituals. Haute Macabre loves The Hoodwitch and I recently chatted with Luna about everything from her most-necessary daily ritual to which historical women she would welcome into her coven. We hope you find her answers as illuminating as we did.
“Magic is creating change by connecting with the energies of nature, at will”
HM: You do a series called Goddess of the Week, and you’ve mentioned in other interviews that you are intrigued by archetypes. That when you’re getting to know someone you’ll think, “She’s an Artemis,” or “I see Isis in her,” and in Sabat Magazine you say you identify most with Hathor, a nurturing Mother Goddess. Why do you think archetypes are so fundamental to an understanding of the world?
BL: Archetypes can be thought of as containers and these containers hold interconnected figures, motifs, or themes that continuously appear in myths, folktales, religions, literature, and the arts. These archetypes are spread widely across cultures and eras. The figures, motifs, and themes are not the archetypes themselves but they are the content of the archetype (i.e the trickster, the wise woman) if that makes any sense? I admire the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung a great deal and I study his work. He didn’t invent the word “archetype” but he is responsible for bringing the concept of archetypes to the field of psychology. He developed a theory that described archetypes as primordial patterns that stem from what he called the “collective unconscious,” or the deep layer of the unconscious that transcends individuals and traverses humanity. Carl Jung saw the collective unconscious as the most essential source of inner empowerment, transformation, and wholeness. Which is quite powerful, don’t you think?
Which historical women, witches or otherwise, would you want in your coven?
This is a tough question, because I admire many courageous women that have walked this Earth before me. I would say Marie Laveau, Frida Kahlo, Bjork, Grace Jones, Eartha Kitt, and Vali Myers. These women are all dynamic, fierce power houses. Can you imagine what a dinner party would be like with all of them? I really resonate with the unapologetic wild women, the sexual vamps, and the creatives that reject societal norms. These are all women that have embraced their innate magic, they knew/know who and what they are. This would be one powerful coven. I wouldn’t fuck with any of them!
You have a lot of finger tattoos, and I’ve always found my finger tattoos to be particularly centering and representative. Especially since I, like you, take so many photographs of my hands. There is something very powerful in having symbols on your hands, which are this tool of strength and nurturing. Was there any kind of ritual performed around your tattoos? And how do you spiritually reconcile tattooing with the importance of letting things go? I think in a way tattoos speak to our individual feelings about intention and permanence, and I’d love to hear your take on that.
Hands are very symbolic, and have been used as powerful references of energy, power, and courage in many ancient cultures. In fact, the Latin word for manifestation is formed around the word manus which is the Latin word for hand. Photos of my hands with my signature stiletto shaped manicures have become synonymous with my business. My tattoos contain important alchemic symbols and numbers that are deeply meaningful for me. Most of my tattoos have happened during major transitionary periods of my life. My most recent being a small crescent moon and scythe which symbolizes death and the cycles of rebirth. A reminder that the only thing permanent in life is change.
When you lived in LA you were an aesthetician — how did you come to that path? Makeup and other elements of that profession are very ritualistic. How do aesthetics and magic inform each other in your life?
Well, when I was living in LA I worked as a professional MUA for television. I specialized in special FX make-up artistry. Years later, I began working as an aesthetician where I opened my own beauty studio. What lead me initially down that path as a teen was that I wanted to become a cinematographer. Being that I am what I like to call a “visual story teller” and growing up in Los Angeles Hollywood film culture and history played a major role in my life. I enjoyed the power of glamour, and transformation. The art of illusion, which in itself IS the very basis of magic. Glamour is very ritualistic, the process of a person coming to sit in your chair and becoming a completely different person with the use of cosmetics is modern alchemy. It gives me such a thrill. Creating characters and sets that fit the story being told is an art-form and a very special type of magic. I have a lot of respect for the legends of old Hollywood.
What are your favorite fragrances? Do you have a “signature scent”?
I don’t tell anyone my signature scent haha I like to have some mystery. Besides, it wouldn’t smell the same on anyone else. I do love heavy floral perfumes. Roses, patchouli, jasmine, or things like Amber, and violets. I like things that smell “old fashioned.” As a teenager I really loved Chanel no.5 — while most girls thought it smelled like a “granny” I thought it smelled refined, and sophisticated. Some of my favorite brands include Frederic Malle and Byredo.
How did Abracadabra, the community formed around The Hoodwitch, begin? Do you think magic is possible without community?
Abracadabra started when we launched the site. I wanted to create a special place away from social media where people could open up, without judgement with other like-minded members. I believe we now have over 15,000 users from just about magical/spiritual practice you can think of. Magic is possible without community, because it starts and ends with you and only you. It’s nice to have a group that supports and inspires you that’s for sure, but you don’t necessarily NEED to have anyone else to manifest magic in your life.
Right now, what is your most-necessary daily ritual?
Meditation. I have made it a point to start off and end my days with 10-30 minutes of undisturbed “me” time. I light a few white candles and just sit with my thoughts. I allow anything that has been festering in the back of my mind to float to the surface and out. Starting a regular meditation practice has been life changing.
Though your grandmothers on both sides were mystics you’ve said you came into your own beliefs a little later in life; that you initially found their practices old-fashioned or superstitious. Are there elements of your practice now that mirror how your grandmother’s practiced? What do you think is the most meaningful thing you learned from them?
As a witch and a mother, I found that my grandmother’s wisdom really began to speak through me when I was pregnant. Their ways came to me in how I cared for my family and my home. Be it through herbal remedies for things like the common cold, or for cleansing & removing energies after negative interactions with people during the day. It’s all meaningful, and once you’re exposed to traditional methods that have been used in your family for generations you never forget about them. As teens, it’s easy to be dismissive and act like a know-it-all. We want to be independent of our families to discover on our own, but when you see what’s out there and learn that your elders knew what they were talking about, we come back to what’s real and that’s exactly how I feel about my abuelas.
What have you been reading/watching/listening to lately?
I hardly have time to watch television on a regular basis but when I find something I love I’ll devote entire weekends to binge watching it on Netflix. The last one I finished was called the OA, I also loved Stranger Things! I love sci-fi, and horror movies, plus nature documentaries and alien conspiracies! We have a vintage book section on our website called “Bruja Books.” I hand pick every title that gets listed, so you can imagine what my own personal book collection looks like! The amount of esoteric, occult, and metaphysical books in my home is pretty next level: my goal someday is to own a house with a haunted study/library with a friendly ghost that loves books as much as me, of course. Also, I usually read multiple books at once, and I’m currently really into Anne Rice audio books (don’t laugh) they’re so good! And easy to listen to in the car. As for music, I listen to a lot of stuff, from Billie Holiday to Black Sabbath and everything else in between.
If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
I’d tell myself to keep being the amazing visionary that I was. To have confidence in knowing that the people who laughed and criticised me for my style back then would be the same ones to copy it YEARS later. Be proud of your body and your uniqueness.
Any final words?
Drink water, love yourself, and don’t join any cults!