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Liz Migliorelli is the witchy herbalist behind Sister Spinster, an herbal apothecary that draws from the folk medicine traditions of her Old Europe ancestral lineages. She believes in affordable, community-based health care, and helping people empower themselves through self-care and communion with powerful plant allies. Each elixir is a different formulation of flower and gem essences, and is specially crafted to aid specific intentions for spiritual healing and growth, like offering protection and fortitude during one’s Saturn Return, or helping one enhance their third eye for deeper perception.

I spoke with Liz about how she got into herbal magic, how best to work with her powerful flower/gem formulas, her ancestral magic roots, the story behind the name “Sister Spinster,” and more.

 

How did you get interested in herbal medicine and magic? 

I have always believed in magic, but I was very sick about 10 years ago and western medicine wasn’t helping, it was only covering up symptoms. A friend of mine suggested that I look into using plant medicine and the road just opened from that moment onward as I took my health into my own hands. 

What’s the story behind the name Sister Spinster? 

Sister Spinster was a DJ name I used to have for a radio show I did in Olympia way back in the day. Then I read a book called Healing Wise by Susan Weed when I was first opening to the plant world, and she refers to Stinging Nettle as Sister Spinster. Nettles were, at the time, a plant that saved my life, my first true plant ally. I owe so much to them. So later when I started making medicine and offering it publicly, it just felt right to continue honoring the lineage of nettles. Since then, I have been really exploring the etymology of the word and just gets juicier the deeper I go. Spinster was a term for unmarried women who were expected to occupy themselves by spinning thread. It was basically a word to describe an old hag, a woman who was by patriarchy’s standards “past her prime.” For me, I’ve always seen spinsters as uncompromising women, women who did not want to follow the cultural norm, who chose to spin their own webs and connect their lineage to the mythic-threads of spinner goddesses, such as the Three Fates, Arachne, Athena, Frigg, Holda, Leto, etc. Spinning is an act of dedicated creation, with much intention and magic imbedded within. I use the name Sister Spinster to honor this tangled, ancient and powerfully woven web.

What’s the process behind coming up with the flower & gem combinations for the different formulas? 

Each formula starts with an intention of what the formula is working on. Some of these intentions have been things that I am personally working on, but most are informed by the clients I have and patterns around what folks are working on. Sometimes I dream the entire formula, sometimes I work with a few different options before I settle on the final formula. I always test a formula for a year or two before I release it with friends + clients + community. This allows me to see the way in which the formula resonates with folks.

 

Are there are any particular flowers or gems that are your favorite to work with? 

It really depends on the day and the intention! At the moment I am taking blackberry flower essence, which is a great one for motivating personal willpower and getting projects going.

What indigenous lineages of folk medicine traditions influence your own practice? 

I am speaking from lineages of southern and central Italy, Slavic (Polish), Celtic and Anglo Saxon and they all inform my work and human experience. I spend a lot of time learning about the folk medicine and magic traditions of my people, as it creates context for the work I am committed to doing in this life. I teach a class called the Folk Medicine and Magic of Old Europe, which really is about ancestral remembrance and connection to old healing ways. It’s powerful work and I am so lucky to be able to do it!

Do you have any suggestions for how people can deepen their engagement with your formulas, and with plants in general, to fully access the invisible, super sensory realms that they reveal?

The more you engage with flower essences, the more you feel them. Flower essences are subtle, but profound. I recommend using them in any way you can – in your water, in the food you are cooking, in the bath, on your pillow at night, on a chakra point, in your body lotion, etc. The possibilities are endless. And so if the transformation available with flower essences! 

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Check out Sister Spinster at The Alchemist’s Kitchen

http://www.sisterspinster.net/

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