Living in right relationship with the earth is how I pray.
I'm Brianna Bliss Gardner, namesake cultivator of joy, self-identified art priestess and animist. I currently live in so-called North Carolina, dividing my time between what are historically Iswa and Tsalagi lands.
As an artist I am constantly making peace with my world as a creatrix. The act of expression is an alchemy, as it allows us to transmute and witness all that we encounter, within and outside of ourselves, into beauty.
As an artist, I recognize my co-creative power with the Divine and I take responsibility for this world. I am living my magic for the resistance against capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and colonialism.
To be a creator is to make a daily practice of asking myself: what do I make? And from what place inside me do I create? How can I heal myself and this world with art? To steadily build my bridge between art and justice activism.
As a spectator on the creative journey with me, you will watch me weave together toward belonging and come undone in fits of creative ecstasy, as I write, make, and move: transparent he(art) process through all the wounding, all the staunched bleeding to scarring, to Love most astonishingly bright.
Art is magic. Art is activism. Art is community. Art is not always "pretty," but it is always beautiful.
I am student of ancestral wisdom and more-than-human realms. I first learned that I could lean on my well ancestors through the work of Darla Antoine, and with the guidance of an online class she created, I made my first ancestral altar.
This understanding is the foundation of all of the work that I do. Living in right relationship with the earth is how I pray.
I descend from European ancestors, those of whom pre-Christian/Roman colonization were either Celtic or Druid. It is from these lineages I draw my spiritual practice. When I say I work with the land, this is what I mean. Plants are among some of my most esteemed teachers in this life, particularly Rose, Dandelion, Mugwort, Blackthorn, Rosemary, Lavender, Oak, Maple, Birch and all urban plants that grow through concrete.
Credentials are a capitalist construct; below I share what I’ve studied when, and how I came to the work I do today. Roots are important, and I have several amazing teachers.
I attended University, because I thought I had to. Even so, I am glad I did. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from a liberal arts college, which has undoubtedly shaped my thirst for justice and affected my work as an artist. While academia saw me depressed as my creative practice took a backseat to non-existent, this four years of study peeled back several layers of cultural shadow. Once I began to see clearly, I couldn’t stop rubbing my eyes. I’ll say I’m an ongoing student, and this “degree” has simply served to teach me how to forever be learning.
I facilitate art-as-ritual workshops and practice various forms of divination. I am proud to have completed 200 hours of Yoga Teacher training through Living Mandala School of Yoga, (led by Danielle Dulsky) even as I choose intentionally never to register with Yoga Alliance. As such, I am an ongoing practitioner -student of embodiment, and the unification of parts to make a whole. I now choose to mostly move intuitively, which may or may not include Asana Yoga from the lineages of Southeast Asian/ Indian people.
I completed the Conscious Women’s Leadership Intensive facilitated by Yochaved Angelique Arroyo, an online cohort exploring new paradigms of leadership, with a focus on understanding my background and privilege(s) as the foundation of my manifestation of leadership.
In 2018 I attended a 3-day (un)conference called Tending the Threshold, in Ashland, OR. Through lenses of deep democracy, we grieved, held questions surrounding what it means to be human and have community in late stage Capitalism/ the Anthropocene, with an emphasis on naming whiteness and white supremacy as tools of empire. I have to mention this 3-day experience as it changed the framework of how I see myself and my life and purpose. In doing grief work on some land in this territory (Takelma, Cow Creek Umpqua) I first heard land speak to me. I began to see the aliveness of every being.
And currently I belong to an online cohort, ANCHOR, facilitated by Abigail Rose Clark. We are an ongoing emerging community exploring somatics as cultural healing on the personal and collective levels. It is how I am holding myself these days, with the help of this group!