Photo by Kaylyn Jones
Southern Miss graduates Brandiilyne Mangum-Dear and her wife Susan Mangum own the Red Jasper, a metaphysical shop located directly across from Southern Miss’ Hattiesburg campus.
According to the shop’s Facebook page, it specializes in gemstones, aromatherapy, different healing modalities, Reiki and supplies for all faith paths.
Mangum-Dear said she and her wife moved from Laurel to Hattiesburg, in order to allow locals to experience what the shop has to offer. Along with an assortment of handmade jewelry and boxes, she explained that they sell smudges such as sage, cedar, rosemary and plenty more. While also selling pendulums, singing bowls and herbs, Mangum-Dear explained that the store’s purpose is to create a space for others to express their spirituality.
“We believe that everybody deserves an outlet for spirituality, and that’s just the way it should be,” Mangum-Dear said. “People shouldn’t have to worry about discrimination or being judged.”
The Red Jasper opened in 2017 and has become a safe place for those seeking to explore their spirituality. Mangum said that fear has kept people from expressing themselves, and the shop has allowed others to release that fear and be themselves.
The shop has had multiple visitors looking for a safe haven to relax and explore. Psychology doctoral student Mary Medlin says that the shop has been one of the few places she can go to relax and recharge. She said that the shop is full of positive energy and that every experience she’s had has been great.
“When I leave, I always feel better than I did when I came in,” Medlin said. “[Brandiilyne] and Susan always make sure that you get what you need.”
Senior psychology major Anisah Heathcock said she truly enjoys the aura of the Red Jasper. Heathcock said that she usually travels to New Orleans to get stones, but The Red Jasper being located in Hattiesburg makes shopping for her metaphysical needs convenient.
“I’ve been multiple times, and every experience was awesome,” Heathcock said.
In regard to their success, Mangum-Dear and Mangum agreed that their customers are the reason the business has done so well. They said that people who used to feel excluded from the community are now thankful to be welcomed into the shop.
“There’s a big spiritual community in Hattiesburg,” Mangum said. “People feel ostracized, and fear has kept them away, but it’s safe here.”
Both women feel that Hattiesburg is home to them, as their families also reside in town. They love the community and the diversity of customers that come into the shop daily.
Being one of four metaphysical shops in the state of Mississippi, Mangum-Dear and Mangum feel that it is important to provide their products and services to the public in order for people to express their spirituality.
Mangum-Dear often provides oracle readings for her customers. During the readings, she focuses on the outcome of the cards, which leads her to create an amulet according to the reading for the customer. In addition to holding public meetings and occasional classes taught by others in the area, Mangum-Dear will soon begin teaching an oracle class online to those wishing to learn more about psychic readings.
Even though the shop has had its own amount of negativity from the general public, they hope others are open-minded.
“We believe that God is in everything,” Mangum said. “And everything is in God.”