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Plant Person Profile
Meet Brittany, a botanical designer, flower alchemist and Plant Person we love.
Hi Brittany! Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a botanical designer and wellness practitioner harmonizing with the natural world to explore sensuality, ancestral connection, inheritance and surrealism. I help people bring the outdoors into the interior spaces via houseplants, create quirky floral designs, make lush herbal medicine and create ceremonies for play, exploration and connection.
What's your relationship to the world of “wellness”?
I have an intimate relationship to wellness and spirituality that’s definitely cultivated on my own terms. I’ve been in the world of wellness and spirituality for almost 10 years now. I started when I was 17 years old. In those beginning years, my experience of wellness served me profoundly in many ways and other ways, it didn’t serve me and sometimes it harmed me. Where I’m at now, I’ve put myself, my personhood and my cultural heritage at the center of wellness. Practicing African healing traditions has brought me reclamation and peace.
What’s worth celebrating within this world?
I celebrate all of the incredible communal wellness spaces that focus on marginalized communities. They’re so necessary. It’s what I’ve had the joy of doing as the co-founder of Black Girl Magik creating space for Black women to connect to their roots, cultivate sisterhood and reclaim their well-being over the past 5 years.
Within the world of mainstress wellness, what needs to be changed?
My change is simple - money needs to be redistributed to marginalized communities, practitioners, publications within the world of mainstream wellness. Money is power. Power gives people access not just to be present, but to take care of themselves, show up for their work, grow their skills and serve community. Historically and presently, marginalized communities are underfunded. Providing money helps give those people the room to show up, do their work and change the paradigm.
While you were earning your BA in psychology and fine arts, did you anticipate expanding your formal education to include studies of Reiki and Herbalism? Why or why not?
I didn’t really know what reiki was during college, but I had my own connection to herbalism. There were a few herbalism programs that I wanted to join but finances were always a barrier. I pursued reiki after college when I had powerful, next-level transformations with the healing modality. It’s really at that point that I began understanding the importance of energetic health and the ways I didn’t know how to master my energy.
What do you think is the biggest misconception when it comes to plant medicine?
I think a simple, profound misconception people have about plant medicine is that it’s not already intimately interwoven into their life - and thus feel it’s not accessible. Think about the age-old trick to drink lemon ginger tea to soothe stomach aches, bloating and nausea. This is a beloved traditional medicine passed down from generation to generation across many cultures. We may not think twice about it but herbalism is present in our lives. In my experience, I can reflect on the elders in my family who nonchalantly prescribed me homeopathic remedies for any issue I had that I now know were plant medicine recipes.
What can we (as a community) do to rectify this?
Archiving, education and storytelling our cultural heritages is how we demystify herbalism. Just imagine listening to stories, reading through books, creating family archives of traditions, talking to people in our lives about the various ways plant medicine interacts with our lives. The cultural pride, acknowledgement, witnessing and respect would be profound. This is how we support an environment of approachability, respect and education. I feel this would be a balm for many people, particularly people across the African Diaspora who may feel like they can’t trace their history or feel they don’t have a relationship to plant medicine from an ancestral perspective. I used to feel aspects of that sentiment until I began exploring, reading and learning about my history as a descendant of Jamaican, African, Irish and African American farmers, herbalists, rootworkers, healers. I want to uplift and center in this conversation that African Americans have over 400 years of traditional (plant) medicine that demonstrate our perseverance, immense knowledge and ingenuity.
Were you aware of your ancestral connection to Nature and regenerative medicine before you started your own journey? If not, how did it make you feel once you discovered this part of your own history?
I am a woman of the earth. Before the age of 18, I spent undoubtedly over 20,000 hours out in nature planting seeds, swimming in the ocean, watering fruits, vegetables, flowers and bushes, landscaping, raking leaves, playing with sticks and bugs, eating off the fruits of me and my family’s labor. The list really goes on. I am thoroughly grateful for the environment I was born into. My parents are big on nature and it’s what I knew. When I entered my wellness and spiritual journey in teenagehood, I was learning about regenerative medicine from a non-African Diasporic context. At that time, the African Diasporic perspective was not accessible, uplifted or prioritized in mainstream wellness. Though I learned a lot, there was definitely a sense of “something is missing”. When I began discovering parts of my own ancestral history, it helped me realize the way my ancestors had always been moving through and communicating with me. The historical repercussion of African enslavement in America is pervasive and the impacts of not seeing yourself in so many facets removes African descent people from their self-connection.
How would you describe energy work to someone who is new to the concept?
I would describe energy work as processing stuck trapped energy and clearing the emotional charge. It happens on a sensory level not a cerebral level. This is key to note because people can experience energetic blocks that they can’t identify the root cause of - but the experience of an unprocessed energy is very much present. Energetic blocks include, mental blocks, relationship blocks, spiritual blocks, goal blocks. Through energy work, you learn how to emotionally self-regulate, keep your nervous system balanced and run your energy.
Who do you think benefits most from energy work?
Everyone benefits from energy work. Just like we have physical health, mental health, even social health, we also have energetic health. On a daily basis, we mingle with subtle energy outside of ourselves. Our bodies hold emotional trauma expressions within our physical body. Even when the threat of the trauma is gone, our nervous system and energetic field needs restoration and alignment. Energy work is how we call back our energy, clear outside energies and ground in ourselves so that we can be in flow, listen to our heart, be present and true to ourselves. Some familiar pathways to receiving energy work include acupuncture, chiropractic treatment and reiki.
What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman by Malidoma Patrice Some.
Who are three people we should follow right now - or - three podcasts we should listen to?
Three people you should follow right now are Evelynn Escobar the glorious founder of Hike Clerb, Cami Árboles a majestic dancer, and Lenea Sims the dynamic founder of Inner Play. I admire and celebrate all three of them.
What's your #1 must-do tip to feel whole, nourished, grounded?
My number 1 must-do tip to feel whole, nourished and grounded is putting on house music and allowing myself to get lost in the music through dance. That is my energy medicine. Movement.