Since starting my business in 2018, I have experienced all sorts of surprising challenges and joys, but one of the most magical and unexpected gifts has been the community that I have discovered. I have connected with herbalists, artists, educators, and activists, all bravely sharing their magic with the world, and I am continually in awe of these inspiring humans.
“Tending the Hedge” highlights some of these individuals who engage in a practice of “magical stewardship,” living and working with intention. I see this as a form of mutual aid and raising each other up, and as a rejection of competition and scarcity culture. Moreover, in a time when many of us (myself included!) can feel hopeless in light of all that’s happening in the world, I hope to counter this narrative by highlighting ways in which folks are tending the hedges of their communities, so to speak!
For the second installment of this series, I’m thrilled to highlight another true dynamo, Brieanna Lewis of Queen Brie Yoga. Brieanna is a shining example of pursuing your purpose with clarity, compassion, and a commitment to justice. Here she shares how she brings her warrior witch magic to the world.
What are your pronouns and what is your sign?
She/her/hers; and Sagittarius sun, Taurus moon, Capricorn rising.
Are you a witch? If so, what does that word mean to you?
Being a witch is an integral part of my identity. Witch, to me, refers to the wise women, the healers, the seers, the seekers, the philosophers, the activists. For me, witchcraft means finding magic and meaning in every aspect of life; it is the understanding that we are governed by nature and by the universe, that science is sacred, and the meaning of life is simply to learn all that you can and to be of service, without expectation.
What drew you to your work? Why is it important?
When I was in college, I saw a billboard advertising yoga teacher certification and I thought to myself “wow…I wish that I could do that…but I’d never be successful in this body.” I’ve struggled with disordered eating and body dysmorphia my entire life; it got in the way of things when I was younger, but now the tides have shifted and we’re seeing many more body positive yogis. Seeing bodies that look like mine practicing yoga inspired me to pursue yoga teacher training and become a certified yoga teacher. A mysterious call from the universe drew me to my work; local yoga teachers guided me down the path of the asanas (poses), and my trainer showed me yoga beyond the physical practice.
Yoga is important because it’s about connection… the word Yoga means “Unity” in Sanskrit. Yoga helps build the connection between body, mind, and the source of all things. Yoga also helps build community and, for me, having a sense of community and a space to exist as you are is important. In yoga, your practice is your own; there is no expectation, just observation. There is no pressure to execute the poses perfectly, just the responsibility to listen to what your body, as it is right now, needs from you.
How can others engage with this work and tend the hedge in their own communities?
Historically, yogis are warriors. It’s written in the holy text, the Bhagavad Gita, that a warrior, Arjuna, is being instructed by the God, Krishna, to live a life of integrity and of service; his purpose in life is to protect the people. Yogis must fight for what is right. Yoga is not just physical movement…it is being of service…it is social justice and advocating for the voiceless. Yoga is a warrior’s practice; the goal is living a life of service, self-awareness, and integrity. To tend the hedge in our own communities, to engage in the practice of yoga, we must take our gaze within and heal ourselves. Whether this is through movement or meditation, it’s all magick. By healing ourselves, we heal the world.
We are here to help and to heal, we are here to be of service. Witches have always been those who are sought out for solutions to problems, witches have always been healers, educators, and activists. In these trying times of adversity and division, it is our responsibility to sow seeds of yoga (unity) and community…it starts with us. Power lies dormant in those on the fringes; it’s up to us to ignite it.