We had the good fortune of connecting with Chloe Bee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chloe, can you tell us about what you are most excited or proud of in terms of the business you’ve built?
The structures surrounding capitalism in America have shown to be supported by the scaffolding of coloniality, racism, sexism…and trust in the pharmaceutical industry complex. We have been carried into a negative feedback loop of being severed from our roots and from our seeds by policies and procedures designed to blind the practical magic of mother Earth, sister Ocean, father Sky, brother Fire. Not to gender the elements through these words, but more so I intend to create sensual imagery for whoever comes to read or hear or see these words. I believe the senses inform a conformity or rejection of the “norm.” In America, we are a heavily medicated society with senses collectively dimmed by refined white sugar, white flour, white supremacy, and white pills. Our out-of-body and into-the-workforce (police) state has become naturalized, thus promoting a (mis)conception of alienship within our own cosmic and physical bodies. If a human fails to routinely discern what is nourishing, what is wholesome, if their kidneys are aching, or if their sex life provides pleasure becuase they are numb, over-worked, or in high stress situations for the sake of survival and providing for their beautiful families, then they are more likely to formulate dis-ease. As a dancer and an herbalist, I believe that touch and general relations with the flesh, organs, and senses are prerequisites to effective criticism and discernment. Intelligence guides life and perhaps consciousness guides discernment.
Back to the question.. Hmmm: Well decoloniality is a mode rather than a metaphor, that generates action towards overturning, link by link, a systematic structure of colonial rule, racism, classism, and selective genocide. Decoloniality reinvents technology (like fire, water, air, earth and components of combining the elements) using logic and knowledge to shift political power. Through Earth medicines in the form of tinctures, salves, free public classes, bioregional remedies, dried herbal teas, herbs for poultices, nervous system and immune system tonics, aphrodisiacs, potions, and aromatic oils; we at Happy Healthy High Horny Herbs provide a link to rejecting the assimilation of a white settler lens into a previously indigenous earthscape of the Sonoran Desert. As a community member, I’m focused on action and integration.
Where there has been colonial rule, there has been systemic oppression and institutions to enforce the ideology and practice of privatized extraction . If an individual or group focuses on the catharsis to forgive this, then the heart and solar plexus are left wide open to further injury, further extending forgiveness to the settler, maybe a further “splat” of trauma to the public. So I see an overarching process of creation through natural remedies and also intuitive teamwork & staff formulation through essential process and logic that organizes group dynamics into a remembered state of connection to place and elemental power. I can’t claim I am contributing to a paradigm of reparation and restoration. I would like to be able to provide consistent community education while my business and all the badass, independent, intellectual, down-to-earth, up-to-good humans who provide, and work for HHHHH and Rainbow Bliss Botanicals grow.
HHHHH currently employs six humans who all love to dance, drink tea, cackle in the moonlight, share recipes, help other people be comfortable in their skin. These beings are aware of their privilege and have the supporting platform to speak to humans with kindness and honesty on an everyday basis. Honesty is what drives our approach to consultations, listening, sales, and procedures within our apothecary. I call it “ours” because it is. It is not “my” place. I tried to sustain operations there (@ HHHHH) by myself when I first started in 2012, and I collapsed into exhaustion. Overtime, I found people..or people found me… that love to boogie and be botanical, and it truly takes a team. I can’t say village, because we don’t live in community….yet. Currently my team is composed of my aroma-centric mom who makes many of the topical medicines, my sister who does graphic design, Shannon who holds a whimsically unquenchable thirst for knowledge, phyto-chemistry and ecology, Connor who is a skilled pscyho-naut and nootropic mastermind, Samara who offers counseling on womb & trauma healing, Christina who professionally approaches subtle medicines of flower essences with realness, Jax whos laughter breaks through the cracks of discomfort into a realm of pure comfortable joy and authentically useful everyday botanical information, and Patrick who is a fresh young man studying molecular biosciences and ways to protect the environment. We love plants and act on a mission statement of: “for the sake of all creatures.”
Maybe this was a heavy answer to your question. I could have told you that we recycle and compost. I could have said we win awards often and people refer to us as their sanctuary. When the quarantine started, my personal cell phone, emails, work phone, and instagram were flooded with concerns of us being open, or still being able to serve during this time. It was a potent reminder of what it means to be an urban place of medicine. We are open, we are staying open, and we will continuously serve people whether they are actively withdrawing from street substances, or just need a mood lifter. The human experience is broad, and we believe that plant medicine can meet every color and every tone of the rainbow spectrum of human expression.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
With rhythm & plants as teachers, I identify as a dancer with 16 years of training in post-modern contemporary, Sylvestre technique (Brazil), African contemporary, Afro-Brazilian, Hawaiian Hula, Jamaican dancehall, Vogue, ballet and American modern dance. Fueled by facing an unstable environment, I earned a Summa Cum Laude Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Ecosystems and Soil Science with undergraduate studies in Dance Media & Choreography at Arizona State University and Dance Performance at University of Waikato in New Zealand. Since graduation, I occasionally lead classes in Urban Contemporary and free-form or contact dance jams paired with plant medicines as a social tool for camaraderie. Professionally, I have performed with international companies and projects based in coastal Salvador, Brasil and Lisbon, Portugal while training in their contemporary movement specialties. In my home-city of Phoenix, Arizona I continuously sought out invigorating ways to create & train as an artist while regularly performing for live musical artists at various activism-centric festivals and venues. As a full-time certified herbalist, I subtly encourage the holistic approach of movement as a way to heal through psycho-nueroimmunology.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ooo!! I relax at Oak Flats Campground near Superior, Arizona. You can sleep there and wake up and walk across boulders and descend into mini-canyons and cruise around for hours in the bright desert sunshine. There is amazing rock climbing all around too!! I love the Desert Botanical Gardens, so pretty and full of bodacious blossoms in the spring time. For a drink, I would take a friend to sip on some mead at The Lost Leaf on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix, then walk over to Meerkat Market and Buds Glass to say hi to some friends! If we wanted some fresh and delicious food made with lions mane mushrooms (my fave!!), I would take a homie, or an auntie to The Giving Tree Cafe and get some mega lush plant-based nourishment.. or go to Guanaquito El Salvadorean food for pupusas and horchatas.. depends on the mood. Ohh, waiitttt then there is Abyssinia Ethiopian restaurant on 9th Ave and Indian School.. woah. Yes, let go there..
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Sweeet! Alright this shoutout goes out to the farmers in Phoenix, like Shannon Stapleton and Lila Rodriguez. The farmers who provide for Pacific Botanicals, the famers at Oshala Farms, the farmers who supply Mountain Rose Herbs, the farmers across the world who supply organic herbs for Starwest Botanicals, and the organizations that save seeds across the Southwest!
Other: https://www.instagram.com/rainbowblissbotanicals/?hl=en https://www.facebook.com/rainbowblissbotanicals/
Connor McDonnell Samara Kennedy Shannon Stapleton Chloe Groom