The wicked witch from fairy tales or a goddess in disguise? We have as much, and sometimes more, to learn from our tormentors as we do from our teachers. Baba Yaga is one who teaches through fear.
Baba Yaga is a slavic Witch/Goddess. She turns up in many fairy tales, always a rather scary character. She is a Goddess that strips away all the crap and gets right down to the bones of a situation. She reminds us of the need for a strong foundation. A foundation that is solid, not littered with fears and illusions.Hers is not a fun energy to live in. Baba Yaga teaches us that we cannot pretend. We cannot pretend that everything is okay when it is not. We cannot pretend that we are someone we are not. It is easy to get caught up in distractions and illusion. They are what keep us from facing often painful realities. Baba Yaga will strip that all away. She teaches us that the only way to happiness and peace is through honesty. She will be painfully honest in assessing your situation, she will not mince words. She doesn’t care. She has no time for sugarcoating, she will not enable. She demands that you step up and be accountable, be responsible for your choices and your decisions or she will not allow you to go further. You will never leave her bone yard alive.
The choice is enlightenment or death. She will trick you, twist you and test you. It’s only painful if you fight. Surrender to the honesty, let the illusions fall away. Rip off the proverbial band-aid, it will make it a whole lot easier.
You are in a small clearing in a birchwood forest. There is a large rock near a path through the trees. Here you sit and remove your shoes. With a deep breath you stand and begin to walk in bare feet at night. The Moon grows cold. You look up at the waning crescent, up to Her light and Her gleaming white fingers point the way for you to follow. Mesmerized you follow Her gaze deep into the forest and begin to walk the bone littered path. You chose your steps carefully to avoid the sharpness of potentially splintered bones, rocks and twigs. You take deep slow breaths inhaling the crisp fall air. You smell autumn on the breeze, dying leaves and cold earth. You steady your heart and focus on your breath, slowing your thoughts. You begin to hear a rhythmic pounding, somewhat muffled by the trees. At first you think it’s your heart, but you realize it is the sound of pestle in mortar. It’s beat is steady and you match your own body’s rhythm to its sound. As you near a clearing that is just around the next bend, the pounding grows louder and you feel an icy breath on the wind.
As you turn the corner you see through the trees a small crooked woman squatting in a clearing. As you approach Grandmother Yaga, you take another breath, deep and cleansing. She is sitting outside of her deformed hut within a fence made of bones. Crows perched about her in the trees watch you closely, but they stay quiet.Though she does not look at you she has known of your presence since you first began your journey. She is pounding her herbs and whispering incantations. You kneel and wait quietly before her with respect, until she is finished and chooses to acknowledge you. As her fierce and ancient eyes lift to meet yours, you speak:
“Grandmother, I come before you, clothed and afraid, not knowing if I will be allowed to leave. And in your horrible gaze, may you find me worthy. And with your horrible teeth may you tear away my flesh, leaving nothing behind but my bones. My bones, as gleaming white as the moon. The moon, with her thin fingers that sooth my tears and smooth my hair.
Bone Mother, take no mercy on me! Tear apart my soul, free me from my flesh. Leave me clean as bone. Rip away my fears as a lover tears away clothes, until I am exposed, raw and emptied. And when I leave your embrace, if I am allowed, I will leave gleaming white as the moon and as strong as bone.”
As she assesses you and your situation, you wait quietly, you do not speak. She may give you words of advice, she may send you on your way, she may give you a gift to take with you. Whatever Her response, thank her and move away quietly back through the woods.
Continue to breathe the crisp autumn air as you walk slowly back down the path.
The moon will guide your way. Once you have returned to the rock, replace your shoes which you left behind and begin to move slowly back into your own space, your own body.
Remember that Baba works in ways we cannot question, in ways we cannot fathom. She often gives you a gift that you may initially see as a curse, look closer. Enlightenment will come if you allow it.