We speak to Bri Luna, the bruja behind the wildly successful Hoodwitch account, about showcasing the diverse history of mysticism.
Instagram Spotlight is a new column featuring the minds behind wonderful, weird, and wildly popular Instagram accounts. Head over to @Broadly to see more from Hoodwitch, including her live tarot reading.
Witchcraft has never been more popular. For Bri Luna, the founder and creative head at @Hoodwitch, an Instagram account and website dedicated to sharing the knowledge of spiritual practice and self healing through crystals, meditation, and lunar rituals, this immense and growing popularity is no surprise—it’s actually a logical outgrowth of history.
“As we move further away from patriarchal beliefs, traditions, and political systems, we’re reclaiming parts of ourselves that have been suppressed, beaten down, and hidden throughout history,” Luna tells Broadly. “In the past, if you were psychic, or even just more sensitive, society taught you to dismiss and suppress those feelings. Now, we’re finally starting to move away from male dominated beliefs that demand only hard facts.”
“Growing up, many women have never been taught about goddesses and the strong women archetype. Now, it’s time to educate ourselves. We can’t dismiss spirits and stick only to facts. We can’t have a god and no goddess. There must be a balance between the two. Now witchcraft and alternative healing practices are allowing us to restore that balance.”
Broadly spoke with Luna about her early witchcraft education, the practice’s rapidly changing public face, and dealing with social media fatigue.
You grew up with two spiritual witchcraft-practicing grandmothers, one you’ve described as a curandera and another who practiced southern style conjure and healing remedies. Can you remember your earliest memory of witchcraft with your grandmothers?
It’s hard to pinpoint. I think that my earliest recollection would be from my childhood when I was first introduced to be the use of candles, going to my neighborhood botanica, and working with plants. One of my grandmothers also had a really beautiful garden.
After first being introduced to witchcraft by your grandmothers, how did you continue your own spiritual journey?
I was about 10 years old when I started discovering and exploring witchcraft on my own. I really loved going to the witchcraft book section and I spent countless hours there reading and trying to learn as much I possibly could about a multitude of magical practices and traditions throughout the world. For me, that type of self-discovery was what really led me onto my witchcraft journey. Many years later, I was then brought back again to my own ancestral practices through my grandmothers.
You’re previously said , “I grew up thinking of witches as white women who were very ethereal or Lord of the Rings .” Do you think that view of witchcraft has changed with the increasing visibility of people like you, who want to show the diversity of the community
Yes. I feel so honored and grateful that my site, my presence, and my visibility has now opened up this doorway for many women of color to start witch businesses or to make their businesses more public, to embrace their cultural traditions, like African spiritual practices such as voodoo and hoodoo. Even Santeria. For so long, as woman and people of color, we were persecuted for sharing our beliefs. I believe African spirituality is very misunderstood and misrepresented in mainstream media. Even a lot of black people, a lot of people of color, are scared of working with spiritual traditions that have been stolen from us. The internet has certainly made it possible for us to have more visibility and it is so great to see this resurgence of spiritual practice from people color.
When you first meet someone, how do you explain what you do?
It depends on who it is! If I’m in a very conservative setting and someone asks me that question, I say, well, I’m a small business owner. If they ask me what kind of business then I say, “I’m in the business of spiritual wellness” then I like to share a concept that would be easy to understand like, “I have a web store and we sell gems, minerals, and books.”
I try to get a feel and see if someone understands what I’m saying. If it seems like it’s going completely over their heads, I stop at, “I sell gems and minerals,” The funniest thing, too, a lot of people don’t understand how strong e-commerce has become. To them, they’re thinking oh she just has a small little crystal business and I’m thinking, actually I’ve been featured in Vogue.
In addition to your Instagram, you have a website, Hoodwitch , which is a little bit of everything: a blog, an online shop, somewhere you can check your horoscope. Where should one start if they’re new to witchcraft?
What I love about the Hoodwitch site is that I don’t even know how many articles and blogs we’ve written. If you’re just getting your feet wet, start off with learning about our lunar rituals. We post them every new and full moon and they’re very inclusive. You don’t have to be initiated into any specific religion or tradition, it’s all very natural and Earth-based. You can also customize it to make it fit whatever intuitively feels good for you.
What differs between your website and your Instagram account?
I’m more interactive on Instagram because I like to share everything on Instagram. I like to do small blurbs about a specific topic whether it’s about symbolism, on color, on books, or tarot decks. I also share lots of visual art and lots of contemporary art pieces from some of my favorite magicians, witches, and authors.
How do you balance your mission of sharing knowledge about witchcraft and also owning a lifestyle brand that sells products?
I am very much so a practicing witch. I’m also very stylish, and I’m a creative person. My style and my spirituality are of course going to intermingle. I don’t want to be this commodified thing, saying things like, this is how you become a witch. You have to buy this outfit, and buy this nail polish. It’s really not about that. But because it’s a part of who I am, and I’m the owner of my brand, of course I’m going to make products that reflect my style. I’m going to make things that I feel speak to me and that I would want to buy. If someone else has the same similar interests or tastes, that’s cool. You can buy candles and nail polish. I think it’s fun and playful and I’m not Amazon, I’m not a major corporation, I’m a small business owner and this is a part of my life.
Your business and practice is primarily on Instagram. Do you ever find yourself tired of using social media and how do you work with those feelings?
I trust my body and intuition. In my life, my intuition guides me so if I don’t feel like posting on Instagram, I don’t post. If I don’t have anything to say, I don’t say anything. Then sometimes, I’ll find inspiration in others works. I’ll post a quote that I think is very empowering for me or for someone else. I’m constantly inspired by books, and art, and interesting people, and cultures. All of those things are inspiring to me but there are some days where I’m not feeling it and I won’t post.
If you could only watch the Instagram stories of one account who would it be?
Well on Twitter, I love RuPaul. Now, I’m wondering does RuPaul have a good Instagram? This might be the hardest question that anyone has ever asked me. I follow a lot of great artists that I truly love and admire but I also really truly love museums, so I would have to go with the MoMA.
If you could only be tagged in one kind of post, what would it be?
I love being tagged in things that make me laugh, like memes. Witch memes are really funny. I also really like videos and watch the most ridiculous video posts. I know it’s only one thing but I also really love rare and out of print books. So it would be great if someone was tagging me in memes and posts of old books.