Baba Yaga And The House Of Chicken Feet
Baba Yaga is the well known witch and goddess of the Witches in the Slavic tradition, her name means “Old Woman Hag” and there are many stories about Baba Yaga that were told as bedtime stories to children throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. She is known as Jezda in Poland and Jazi Baba in the Czech Republic. She is a mysterious character who rides around the sky in her mortar and pestle; she can be deceitful and tricky however she is also helpful and will keep her word. Baba Yaga has many gifts and can bestow many gifts, the gifts of shape-changing and prophecy however are probably her most famous. Baba Yaga is quite a complex character with a few different epithets; she is the personification of death and she also is also thought to have a strong role in relation to fertility and fate. The ancient Slavs attributed every unexplained occurrence in their lives to the will of mystical creatures and deities. Because sometimes disease and death came without warning they related this to one of Baba Yaga’s temper tantrums, she could get so mad that she might just eat people that offended her or did not complete their duties.
Baba Yaga’s house is one of the most evocative creations in the tales about her. It can move about through the forest, as sits upon four chicken legs one on each corner of the house; she is often seen inside weaving the innards of the dead on her spinning wheel. Baba Yaga could tell you anything about anyone at any time or place, however to reach her and ask her any question one would have to journey in the most inaccessible part of the forest and there they would find Baba Yaga’s house moving silently through it. Once you reached Baba Yaga’s house you would have to survive the many perilous tasks that she would set you before she would let you ask her a single question, if you failed one of the tasks your bones would be used for the fence outside her home and your innards would be taken inside to be woven.
Throughout Russia and most of Eastern Europe Baba Yaga is well known and many tales survive of her house and those that have tried to get to it. Despite years of Academics and Scholars analysing the tales of Baba Yaga, she remains an enigma, with one actually commenting, “Baba Yaga hails from the place where fear and wisdom meet, she straddles the gap between life and death and holds the secrets from both.” When Christianity came to Russia and Eastern Europe, many of the tales and legends of Baba Yaga where toned down, as they were too gruesome, what is amusing though is that in some Christian Sect’s legends, she is personified as the mother of Jesus Christ, what an interesting confusion.
Baba Yaga is one of the Spiritual Beings that holds the keys to life and death, growth or demise, she knows all and is very helpful for those of us who undertake a spiritual path relating to old Russia. Perhaps we should go hunting in the forest for her house, we are sure that we could think of a few questions.
Brad & Saskia
May 20, 2011 Friday at 10:03 am