Baba Yaga is the focus of many stories used to teach children a reverence for nature, the spirit world and manners in Eastern European Slavic and Russian folklore.
|One of the earliest depictions of Baba Yaga, riding a pig and fighting Crocodile.|
She is a mythic creature, a fearsome witch with iron teeth is also known for her Boney Legs because she’s as thin as a skeleton despite her voracious appetite. She sometimes has two older sisters who are also known as Baba Yaga. Her nose is so long it taps against the ceiling of her hut when she sleeps on her ancient brick oven. She travels perched in her mortar with her knees up under her chin pushing herself along with a pestle. And this witch uses a broom made of silver birch to sweep away traces of herself as she goes along so as to not leave a trail. As she goes, so goes a wild wind, the creak of trees and a swirl of leaves that accompany a host of shrieking spirits who are also pulled along by her.
|Notice the actual "bony" legs this artist has given the Baba Yaga.|
|Here, our old lady has grabbed up a child--probably to make a meal out of it's fat little body!|
Ruling over the elements, Baba Yaga’s faithful servants are the White Horseman, the Red Horseman and the Black Horseman. Her Bright Dawn, Red Sun of morning and a night of Dark Midnight. Three bodiless pairs of hands also serve the witch and they appear out of thin air to assist her. They are her “soul friends” or what she sometimes refers to as “friends of her bosom”. Finally, Koshchey the Deathless sorcerer serves as her herdsman.
She lives in a seemingly living, moving hut in the forest deep. It has large legs like that of an extra-large chicken and they usually keep the hut spinning so as to defend against intruders. Sometimes it’s surrounded with a fence made of bones topped with skulls that emit light from it’s eye sockets to illuminate the darkness.
Though she is mostly thought of as a scary old crone, nearly as often she plays the helper and wise woman. This Earth Mother, like all of nature’s forces, can be kind on occasion.
Through death and rebirth, loss of ego and wisdom of spirit, the Baba Yaga is the guardian spirit of the fountain of life and death. This crone is also the Goddess of Wisdom and death, the Bone Mother who is wild and untamable. All-knowing, all-seeing and all-revealing to those who would dare to ask. To those brave few who quest for wisdom, knowledge and truth she is equally the answer and the question.
For your enjoyment, the first part of the tale of...
Vasillisa and Baba Yaga
(For the rest, follow over to YouTube!)
And now your witchy song send-off of the night.
It's Joni Mitchell with...