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Inside Queen Hippie Gypsy, Oakland’s First Black Woman-Owned Botanica



Lilly Ayers, owner of Queen Hippie Gypsy. Photo courtesy of Visit Oakland. 

By Makiah Hiley

Known as “the hood alchemist,” Lilly Ayers founded and runs Oakland’s first Black woman owned crystal botanica, Queen Hippie Gypsy.

Located in Downtown Oakland, Ayers’ ground floor space sells metaphysical tools like crystals, handmade intention candles, incense, books, and herbs that can be used for metaphysical and health-aiding purposes.

Ayers gives tarot readings and hosts yoga sessions, healing circles and wellness classes in the top floor of the shop. She also has a program for youth getting started in their spiritual journey.

The storefront’s debut was in 2018 before the pandemic struck and is one of the small businesses in Oakland still standing after the mass closings of businesses due to quarantine restrictions. “There were times we were closed for months at a time,” Ayers said.

However, Ayers also described challenges on more than one level. She said that as the business fluctuated, “I realized that the rate I was going wasn’t healthy for me, so I had to re-evaluate,” she said.

She also found herself confronting the ignorance and misconceptions surrounding religion and holistic wellness within the Black community.

“People would come in and steal incense and have these ideas that spirituality is evil. It’s what we are programmed to think,” said Ayers.

Items like intention candles and herbal blends are handmade by Ayers herself, and she includes bible scriptures. She blesses the tools used as well as her store every day.

Ayers explained that certain bible scriptures can be used to bring protection and love among other intentions one would wish to manifest.

Of course, as is the case with other health supplements, it is recommended to consult a healthcare provider before using herbs for healthcare needs.

“Spirituality is what you make it. Everything around us is energy and you can’t have good without the bad,” says Ayers.

Ayers explained that she grew up in the Baptist church, but she always knew she was spiritual in different ways beyond the church.

As a child, she was always playing in her backyard, wanting to be closer to nature. After using spirituality to help her cope with her traumas, she felt called to bring love and healing to the rest of the community, thus creating Queen Hippie Gypsy.

Her advice for anyone getting into alternative forms of spirituality is as follows: listen to your intuition, your heart, and do your own research in order to know what is right for you.

“Only you and God are in control,” Ayers said in a message to the spiritual collective. “Gratitude is the attitude.”

The post Inside Queen Hippie Gypsy, Oakland’s First Black Woman-Owned Botanica first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.


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