by Jeanine Lesniak
Baba Yaga is one of the most prominent figures in Russian and Slavic fairy tales. There is a wealth of stories about Her, but She is complicated and not easily defined. She can appear to be fickle, inconsistent or even crazy, but really, She just bases her decisions upon being able to see people deep beneath their exterior—down to their deepest fears, darkest dreams and most ignoble motives.
When Baba Yaga speaks or acts, it may seem irrational to the observer because She is addressing the deep subconscious, which speaks a different “language” than the conscious mind. Because She usually plays an antagonistic role in myths and legends, Baba Yaga has been called a hag or demon, but She actually is both shapeshifter and Goddess.
Baba Yaga helps us to develop our authentic selves by pointing out our arrogance, pride and self-absorption, and, conversely, our low self-esteem, self pity, false humility and self-abuse. She urges us toward a healthy balance of honesty, integrity, purity of purpose, self-esteem and true humility. Her methods are of the “tried in the fire” variety, but when She gets the desired results, we will be favored with a boon of power. It could be the gift of fire, a magick horse or some other exotic and empowering treat.
Always approach Baba Yaga in innocent boldness and honest humility. Never try to fool Her, and always be prepared to be tested.
Jeanine Lesniak is the High Priestess of Golden Thread Grove – ATC in Boise, ID as well as the proprietor of the Crones Cupboard with her High Priest and husband, Jon.
Jeanine and Jon Lesniak will be presenting Baba Yaga and Dazbog on the Slavic path at this year’s 25th anniversary of Hekate’s Sickle Festival.