There’s one big life question that unfortunately, people are often too afraid to ask or, the other way around, to answer. It’s understandable, honestly, for that one tiny word is intimidating and requires facing truths that feel better to avoid. Either way, what people tend to overlook is the fact that everything that this question—why?—involves, the process that we go through to give it a response, promises to lead to such beautiful unfoldings. Take it from Tyler Perry’s ‘Sistas’ actress Novi Brown whose curiosity, she confesses during this exclusive interview with ‘Work The Magic Within’, opened her up to her spirituality and, ultimately, gave birth to ‘Conversation & Constellations’, her new (and already promising) web series centered around astrology.
Inquisitiveness: A Journey To The Inner World
When Brown first tells me about her spirituality and the things that prompted her intentional self-discovery journey, I understand that her curious mind has always been at the center of everything. It’s a trait that she was gifted with at birth, and also a trait that the lifestyle that she was obligated to follow as a little girl and the lifestyle that she chose to live today have both enhanced.
Indeed, Novi Brown, also known as Ashley Brown, was born in Berlin, Germany, where she was raised for the first couple of years of her childhood. “My mother has always been an avid traveler,” says Brown. “She’s been out in the world, doing her thing—I was on a plane by myself at six years old. Many of my friends and family members liked to coin me as fearless, but I just thought I was a curious person who wants to go out in the world and do things. I guess [my spirituality grew from] having those moments of trust within the universe like traveling from one country to another, knowing two languages at a young age…having some kind of life between two worlds. And then, the older you get, those [worlds] become more complex within themselves, you know, the world of a woman, of a woman of color…they become so many more things.”
If taking trips around the world while also exploring the worlds within has been a big theme in Brown’s soul awakening, it hasn’t been the only theme. There were times when logic and rationality just didn’t sit right with her, particularly when it comes to her complicated relationship with her father, whom she felt disconnected from and unloved by. So, the only thing that the actress could turn to in order to reach a place of understanding and acceptance was spirituality.
“There were moments where God and I weren’t on the same page. I wasn’t with it. I did not understand it, especially when you’re young and see so much suffering, so much hatred. They’re things that you can’t explain. And then you just realize that it’s bigger than you.”
A lot of my spiritual journey was about getting more real with myself and accepting that humans have so many different complexities and facets to them that there’s no room for judgment. A lot of people call that “owning your shadow side,” owning the other side of who you are, meaning that you own the other portion of humanity just as much as you own the greatness and the goodness.— Novi Brown
“I really started pouring into that, especially being an actor because I can’t judge my characters. I’m not in the space to do that; I’m in the space to live my characters. And that’s when I started having a really deeper relationship with spirituality because I realized that spirituality isn’t about perfection [like it was pitched to me when I was younger]. It’s about understanding. So, yeah, I’ve just been in so many different places in my life, and a lot of them have been internal. [I’ve done] a lot of internal work because the world only approaches me the way I approach myself.”
Astrology As A Poetic Language
Among other things, Novi Brown is a multifaceted artist. And what artists do is create art in every form, every shape, and every language. Some people would recognize Brown’s art as acting—and we sure can’t blame them as the actress has proven to have talent—but if you ask her, she’ll tell you that her best poetic language is astrology.
“I feel like God is a poet first, and astrology is my best poetic language. Some people speak through music, some speak through songs, and others speak through dance…I speak through astrology. I speak through energy.”
Astrology is a subject that has long confused the skeptics and, I can tell from my own experience, rebuked the believers. It still does; I’m sure that they have good reasons. However, over the past few years, we’ve observed a significant increase in the interest of millennials and younger souls to become more inclined to spirituality and use the tools that can help them tune in with their true essence.
“I studied [astrology] by myself in secret,” confesses the Scorpio woman. According to her, being secretive is very much a trait of her zodiac sign. “I didn’t tell anybody. I was just studying and studying, and it made sense of all of the things I was expressing before [as in Brown has been like that]. […] I finally found a conduit, a pathway in which to express what I’m really trying to say. And it’s something that everyone is secretly interested in anyways. It’s one of those things; a neat little party trick. It’s a great icebreaker. And, of course, a lot of people are skeptical because the information has been diluted. Watered down. It hasn’t been integrated properly into our educational system.”
“I’m an actor, a student, an observer of life. I’m observing people and how they act or react, how they do the things they do, and what they’re like. So this makes all the sense for me. […] I feel like it’s my gift. I’ve always been able to read energy, but now I have, I guess, the science to put behind that. […] Once you have certain ideas or concepts to put with what you’re trying to explain, it creates freedom. It creates liberation for you.”
Throughout our conversation, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Brown include God in her vision of astrology. When I asked her why she thinks that the two can live in the context of the other, she elaborated on the fact that God comes through many concepts.
God is clarity. God never confuses. God never creates fear. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about. Truthfulness, honesty and surrendering to the process.— Novi Brown
“I don’t want to force anybody to believe anything. I’m a student of find-what-works-for-you. I believe that there’s something happening in the background; we call it God, but that’s just the word we use. It’s a word. And I feel like if you believe that God made the moon, the stars, the water and the rivers, the land and the desert…and if our ancestors, who did not have Wi-Fi or GPS and were just using land, maps, and stars to navigate their lives, there’s something to be said of that.”
“People deal with nature. This is why, you know, being grounded is very important. When did we get so disconnected from the Earth? Now we have so much climate this and pollution that because we are being so disrespectful to Mother Earth. This is a huge lesson that we’re going to have to learn as a collective: We cannot disrespect our home.”
“I feel like God has a lot to do with what we’re doing, but God is just sitting back like, What are you gonna do? That’s how I really feel it is because a lot of people think that we should be saved and mind you, we’re still in the age of Pisces and Pisces deals with religion. This is why people are so spiritual, yet nobody wants to take any responsibility for anything because Pisces just like to project and be like, Oh, it’ll go away. No, we have to do the work to make it go away.”
“God comes through music, fashion, the birth of your child, a premonition…through whatever you can explain. In my opinion, if it makes you feel good and it makes you feel like, OK, you got my back, that’s God. And astrology is just another tool that God has given us to use. So is tarot and so is numerology. God will have many people do a lot of different things. If there’s a lot of energy readers, we can’t all be reading the same type of stuff. We need different people to do different things. We need people to do chakras, people to do Reiki. We need people to do spiritual readings and spiritual baths or whatever the case may be.”
“This is why I don’t try to push religion on anyone. I say, just go for what makes you feel good. Go for where you hear God the clearest. Meaning that God is clarity. God never confuses. God never creates fear. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about truthfulness, honesty and surrendering to the process. For me, God shows me through astrology.”
‘Conversation & Constellations’: A Web Series Dedicated To Learning Astrology & Creating Connections
Already four episodes in as I’m writing this, ‘Conversation & Constellations’ is a newly released YouTube series created and produced by Novi Brown and her crew. (The fact that there’s a whole production team behind the project should give you an idea of its top-tier quality in all aspects you can think of—of course, that’s an objective opinion.) Brown describes ‘Conversation & Constellation’ as “a show that teaches us about our charts and where she connects with people and their charts.”
Perhaps two to three years ago, the star began to position herself as a reliable astrology source on Twitter. Aside from TV show ‘Sistas’ in which she plays the role of Sabrina Hollins, astrology was the only topic she wished to talk about. It all started with a tweet that went viral and initiated entire conversations on the platform. Afterward, Brown explains that she kept tweeting astrology facts to eventually come to a point where her growing community was so engaged, not only were people engaging with Brown’s tweets but with each other’s tweets as well.
“I feel like if you ask the right question, people will journey to the answers for themselves, you know? You don’t have to tell people who they are. You just got to ask the right questions so they can answer it themselves. And I felt like that’s what was happening.”— Novi Brown
But what about the novices (like me) for whom astrology can get really complicated to get a grasp of once you go past the usual “what’s your zodiac sign?” and, now more popular, “Mercury goes retrograde” conversations? Anyone who knows more of astrology than that definitely sounds like an expert to us, including Brown, who has never claimed such a title despite the way we view her. So, is the show really accessible to us?
“You don’t need to be an astrology expert at all to watch [the show]. I highly recommend people who don’t know about astrology to come over because those are actually my target audience. I want to see how good I can get at simplifying the energies and bringing in people who don’t know about it. I don’t know everything [myself]. I’m still learning. I’m still reading every single day. The point [of the show] is just to have an open dialog, a conversation, and to show how the same energies can play out in different vibrational ways in your own life. And also just letting you know that you’re not alone. If you’ve gone through homelessness, suffered abuse or divorce, or have a disconnection with God…whatever it may be, you’re not alone. Everybody goes through these things. And so I just want people to stop feeling shameful and guilty for how they transform and how they get to the other side.”
I just want people to stop feeling shameful and guilty for how they transform and how they get to the other side.— Novi Brown
When asked about how the idea for the show drove itself to her, Brown explains: “Out of those conversations I was having with my ‘Astro Fam’, I was doing lives and was answering questions for people, I realized, Damn, I wish I could do something longer format, because a reading really can take hours. Twitter doesn’t give me that many ways to explain things. So I was just sitting with my partner one day, we were talking and I said, what if we turn this into something? Then he came up with the name ‘Conversation & Constellations’—which I think is a great freaking name.”
Each show’s episode is met with lots of enthusiasm and applause coming from the ‘Astro Fam’. Brown also knows how to take pride in her accomplishments and isn’t afraid to expand her vision. She even has a dream guest: Samuel L. Jackson.
“I’m excited to see where this will go; the first episode got almost 6000 views. That’s insane. I don’t think anyone’s really created anything like this before—I could be wrong. I think Walter Mercado was the closest person to do something like this. […] I would love for [the show] to go on a streaming service like Netflix or maybe Hulu, Apple TV…somewhere big. I want it to be big. I want it to be taken very, very seriously, you know, as a talk show. Media is such a powerful tool, too. If you combine the media world with astrology, it can start being taken more seriously. Then things like Reiki and Shiatsu massages, cryotherapy, acupuncture…all these things can start becoming regulated. And maybe we can even get that in the health care system. That’s really what’s important for me. Mental, spiritual health is at the top for me because I would never be where I am if I was not consistently advocating and working on it.”
Watch the full interview on our YouTube channel
To keep up with Novi Brown, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @iamnovibrown and watch season one of Conversation & Constellations on YouTube.
Featured image Getty Images; illustration by Indigo Wind