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Dec 7, 2022

What you know about alchemy might only be a scratch on the surface. Metal to gold? It’s so much more than that! We’re joined by Sara Norja, who is teaching us the history of alchemy. Also featuring PhD swords, philology, and the alchemy of ISAAC NEWTON??


Content Warning: This episode contains conversations about or mentions of pseudoscience, stillbirth, death, and medical issues. 



Sara Norja dreams in two languages and has a predilection for tea. Born in England to Finnish parents and settled in Helsinki, Finland, she lives for words, dance, and moments of wonder. She has a PhD in English language history; her dissertation was on early English alchemical manuscript texts. She writes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in English and Finnish.



- Recommendation: This week, Julia recommends The Wisteria Society for Lady Scoundrels by India Holton. 

- Books: Check out our previous book recommendations, guests’ books, and more at

- Call to Action: Check out Join the Party, a collaborative storytelling and roleplaying podcast co-hosted in part by Julia and Amanda. Search for Join the Party in your podcast app, or go to



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About Us

Spirits was created by Julia Schifini, Amanda McLoughlin and Eric Schneider. We are founding members of Multitude, an independent podcast collective and production studio. Our music is "Danger Storm" by Kevin MacLeod (, licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.