When Seattle-based bruja Bri Luna founded her website, The Hood Witch, 10 years ago, it served as a spiritual intervention of sorts.

In 2013, witches were all the rage on social media. Young white women flooded Tumblr and Instagram feeds with their lacy, gothic apparel, immaculately curated altars and strikingly alabaster skin. That same year, FX television series “American Horror Story” had just debuted its season, “Coven” — which drew much fanfare — but also criticism for its clumsy and sensationalist portrayal of Black women, namely in the role of Marie Laveau, known as the “Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.”

Luna, who was born in Los Angeles to Indigenous Mexican and African American parents, decided that the witching world needed a fresh perspective — and a more inclusive resource for young witches of color. What began as a blog and platform for Luna’s Tarot offerings also generated a robust online community, as well as her personal brand of cosmetic and spiritual products.

Now, the resources she shared in Hood Witch are taking the form of a book, released suitably this Halloween.

Titled “Blood Sex Magic,” Luna’s debut book is a sumptuous tapestry of magic spells and memories. It details the author’s most formative experiences with the craft, as well as the primordial goddesses and real-life women who led her to it — not to mention the string of nightmarish exes and adversaries who threatened to snuff her magic out.

“Writing my book became a way to contribute to the growing body of literature on witchcraft from a Black and Latina perspective,” she said via email.

“Blood Sex Magic” is also a memorial for Luna’s grandmothers, who imparted her customs that she has both honored and remixed for the witches of today.

Take the chismosa-proofing “Tapa Bocas” spell inspired by her Mexican grandmother, Sylvia, who was once troubled by a nosy neighbor — or home protection rituals she learned from her devout Christian grandma Althea, which Luna eventually learned were consistent with the African American hoodoo tradition.

“My ideas surrounding witchcraft and magic were clouded in Hollywood nonsense,” she wrote. “As a child, I believed that witches were white, ugly, haggard and mean. My grandmama was quite the opposite: She was Black and beautiful, well-dressed and fabulous.”

“Both of my grandmothers also passed down their knowledge of folk magic, which I carry with me as a source of comfort, healing, and connection,” Luna said.
Ahead of Día de Muertos, we spoke with Luna about her ancestral ties, the magic of L.A. and some practical magic you can use in your everyday life.

How and when did you first become interested in practicing magic?

I’ve always been drawn to the unknown. I really got into discovering my own magical practice around the age of 10. When I was young, I didn’t see my grandmothers at that time as magical, but as I got older I came back to my own ancestral traditions and also incorporated my own.

Witches, historically, have possessed some sort of wisdom or ability that was considered taboo in patriarchal societies. There’s a smidgen of that when being confronted by skeptics. How did you eventually become empowered to start your own business and write this book?

As a Black and Latina witch, being confronted with skeptics can initially be challenging, especially when faced with doubts about my beliefs and practices. However, I found empowerment in embracing my own truth and reclaiming the narrative surrounding witchcraft. By connecting with like-minded individuals, seeking knowledge and embracing my own unique experiences and heritage, I was able to build confidence and establish my own path.

Starting my own business allowed me to share my passion and expertise with others, creating a space where individuals can explore their own spirituality and find support within a community.

Ultimately, empowerment comes from embracing our own authenticity and owning our unique identities and abilities. By embracing the wisdom of our ancestors and challenging societal norms, we can pave the way for a more inclusive and diverse understanding of witchcraft and spirituality.

You describe your upbringing in Los Angeles through a number of zany characters, including your relatives and your neighbors. What about this city is most magical to you?

As a true L.A. native, I understand the duality of this city — the illusions and the deeper truths that lie beneath the surface. What I find most magical about this city is its undeniable energy and diversity. Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures, traditions and stories, all interwoven into its neighborhoods.

From the grimy streets of Hollywood to the chill vibes of Venice, there is a sense of home for me that permeates within the smog.

Whether it’s stumbling upon a hidden gem of a restaurant or discovering an underground art show, there is always something new and exciting to explore in L.A. But beyond the glitz and glamour often associated with Hollywood, I believe that the true magic of Los Angeles lies in its deeper history and the resilience of its communities.

This city has seen its fair share of struggles and challenges — my family has lived here for over 100 years! It has been a place of profound creativity, activism and cultural expression. It’s a city where dreams are born and also some nightmares. While I may not currently live where I grew up, Los Angeles will always hold a special place in my heart.

You dedicate a special chapter to each of your grandmothers — your tough-as-nails Mexican grandma, Sylvia, and your church-going Southern Black grandma, Althea — who were not witches per se but practiced their own kinds of folk magic. How do you continue to carry them in your life?

I carry Sylvia in my life by embracing the resilience and strength she embodied. She taught me the importance of hard work, perseverance and standing up for what I believe in. I find myself drawing upon her spirit when faced with challenges, channeling her determination to overcome obstacles and thrive.

Similarly, Althea instilled in me a deep sense of faith and spirituality. Her connection to her community and her commitment to her beliefs continue to guide me in my own spiritual journey. I honor her legacy by staying grounded in my faith, seeking solace and strength in times of uncertainty and nurturing connections with others.

Whether it’s through creating herbal remedies, practicing rituals or tapping into the power of intuition, I keep their traditions alive by incorporating elements of folk magic into my daily life.

Something you really drive home in this book are the many forms of practical magic that we inherit from the (mostly) women before us. What are some examples of everyday applications that anyone can implement?

Practical magic is a powerful tool that anyone can incorporate into their daily lives. It’s about tapping into the energy of the natural world and harnessing it to create positive change. Here are a few examples of everyday applications of practical magic that anyone can implement:

Setting intentions: Begin your day by setting clear intentions for what you want to achieve or experience. By focusing your energy and thoughts on your goals, you can manifest them into reality. Write down your intentions, visualize them or speak them aloud to the universe.

Rituals for self-care: Create simple rituals that help you connect with yourself and promote self-care. This could be as simple as lighting a scented candle, taking a relaxing bath or incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine. These rituals help you nourish your mind, body and spirit, and bring a sense of peace and balance to your life.

Herbal remedies: Explore the healing properties of herbs and incorporate them into your life. For example, chamomile tea can promote relaxation and sleep, while lavender oil can be used for calming and relieving stress. Experiment with different herbs and their benefits to find what works best for you.

Moon rituals: The moon holds powerful energy that can be utilized for manifestation and release. Aligning yourself with the different phases of the moon can be a transformative practice. For example, during the new moon, set intentions for new beginnings, while during the full moon, release what no longer serves you. You can perform simple rituals like lighting candles, meditating or journaling during these moon phases.

Remember, practical magic is about embracing your own intuition and finding what resonates with you. The key is to approach every day life with intention, mindfulness and a willingness to connect with the energies around you.