I have learned that it is good to begin by naming your place and people.
I am currently writing this blog post in the town of Mill Valley in California, on the occupied lands of the coastal Miwok people. My people are almost entirely from the European continent, representing the Celtic, Pict, Nordic, Slavic and Germanic peoples. I am of the maternal haplogroup H – likely having originated in modern-day southern France during the Ice Age.
The reason I begin this way is because I have been on a journey of reclaiming home within myself.
And, as a white woman of privilege who has claimed to be “culture-less” for much of my early life, I have the DNA of thousands of my ancestors in my bones and blood who would firmly disagree. My journey back to remembering them, their lands, and their ways has been deeply powerful and a path to my own sense of belonging.
Over the past year, I have been learning about European folk magic, medicine, and working to decolonize my own ancestral history with this magical woman – Liz Migliorelli (aka Sister Spinster).
Liz with her sweet pup Rosetta (via her instagram)
Liz is an herbalist with a clinic, who also sells potions in herbal and witchy stores across the country, and an amazing teacher of ancestral folk medicine and magic to womxn with European ancestry. Her purpose in life is to re-enchant the world.
It means so much to me to share Liz with you because it is so so important to name and credit our teachers. They are a part of the lineage of wisdom and insight in the ever-unfolding tapestry that is your body of work over a lifetime.
Liz and I sat down next to the wood stove in her cozy workshop to chat about connecting more with our European ancestry, cultivating our dream practices, tending to feelings of connection in this age of loneliness, and ancestral rituals for thriving in winter.
I invite you to make yourself a cup of tea and click play below to listen in below. (The audio quality isn’t great as I recorded it on my phone, so be sure to turn up your volume!)
Some snippets of what we talked about:
3:35 – How we can work with our dreams to connect with our ancestors (if we don’t have access through family, adoption, or DNA test)
6:15 – Why you should throw out those dream dictionaries and create a dream vocabulary of your own
8:10 – Looking to ancestral clues in areas that aren’t affected by empire—like folk and fairy tales, foods, dances, and music.
12:12 – Why it’s important to look to the land and tribes when researching your ancestors, instead of having attachment to national identity defined by borders
14:02 – Overcoming the myth of whiteness meaning you are devoid of culture
15:05 – How to feel deep belonging in this Age of Loneliness
“Connect to the land around you to feel at home with the plants, trees, and neighbors that are your living community here and now.”
18:03 – The importance of looking at the way your ancestors dealt with loneliness through folk tales.
19:30 – The ways our (mine and Liz’s) European ancestors celebrated and thrived during the winter, including sun worship, communal gathering, and what keeps the hearth lit.
“Who is it that you want to bring into your life to be well fed with you? Who is it that holds the vision with you for the spring to come, and will hold that seed in the darkness for the actions that you want to have come forth in spring?”
25:00 – Surrendering to the dip of the season and resist the cultural expectation to be the most productive and active this time of year.
Here’s what we mentioned during the chat:
The class I took with Liz is called The Folk Medicine and Magic of Old Europe. If you’re local, I encourage you to sign up for the spring session!
Liz recommends her Grounding Potion if you are feeling disconnected and overwhelmed this time of year. It includes essences of manzanita to honor the spirit of the physical body, tobacco to encourage connection to our deepest feelings in order to fully ground and be peaceful on this planet, rose quartz for healing wounds and revealing tension, and amethyst for protection.
You can find more from Liz on her instagram @sister_spinster
I want to hear from you!
What are your takeaways from our conversation? Have you connected with your own ancestry? What’s your dream practice? How are you approaching this season of dreaming and rest?
Leave a comment below.