Unknown Date, The Road to Baba Yaga’s

10 09 2006

Unknown Date, The Road to Baba Yaga’s

The music of the

Island of
Ancestors, the voices of the women whose lives gave birth to my own, haunted me. I did not talk on the way back to the mainland. Anita Marie was sensitive to my mood and shared my quiet. I did not hear the tale of her decapitated friend, perhaps another time.

Bluebird Woman and Wren Woman were quiet as well. I spent the morning pondering the story my ancestor gave me, the retelling of the Creation myth of Genesis in language and order very different from the King James Version.

One of the few things I recall from college Anthropology is creation myths are vitally important because they provide the paradigm upon which the entire culture is based. I compared this new story with the old. The first obvious difference was the gender neutral language.

What would life be like if God were whole? The popular male god is diminished because half of itself is denied to exist. Male and female are both The HOLY ONE. To be blunt a skewed vision of god is a screwed vision.

But what has that to do with who I am?

Sitting on a stone bench in the shade of an apple tree, my thoughts drifted with the fluttering of sun between leaves. My thoughts flowed like water over stones. My heart opened like clouds of rain. And I just knew.

“I am created in the image of The HOLY ONE. I am loved by the ONE WHO MADE ALL. Because The HOLY ONE WHO MADE ALL THINGS created and loves me, I have worth simply because I exist.”

This is who I am. Beloved. Human. Valuable.

I sat until evening, basking in the all encompassing love of The HOLY ONE. I meditated on the identity of The HOLY ONE. Goddess. God. Neither. Both. Life giver. Life taker. Hope. Seasons turning and returning. Being born. Being born again. Immanent. Transcendent. Infinite. Eternal. Temporal. Ephemeral. Everything. Always. Everywhere. Everywhen. Ever within. Without beginning. Without end. This infinite power created me. This infinite heart loves me.

The song of my Ancestors swelled in my heart to flow out of my mouth. I sang until I could sing no more. I danced as I had never danced before, not the dignified, worship dance of the

Island of
Ancestors, but a jubilant dance of praise. I danced until I could not dance more. Then I sat still, resonating with the echoes of the Music of the Spheres, my heart pounding the rhythm of Creation’s Dance.

Bluebird Woman and Wren Woman came to me, holding out their hands and smiling. I rose and went to them.

“You know who you are.” Their happiness for me shone from their faces.

“Yes. I know who I am. I do not know my name; I do not remember who I was. But I know who I am.”

Wren Woman pulled a small hand mirror from her pocket. “Look.”

I looked. My hair was grown to my shoulders. It was the radiant copper of my ancestor. It was my hair and it was beautiful.

We sat in the garden to eat a simple supper. I sat on the ground between them. Bluebird Woman stroked my hair as we ate. They fed me apples, bread, cheese and wine, placing each tidbit in my mouth with their own hands. I lay my head on Wren Woman’s knee, exhausted and ecstatic. We watched the sun set and the moon rise, full of pregnant light as my heart was full of love.

Bluebird woman sighed.

“Dear one, it is time for you to go. You are wholly healed now. You can continue your journey.”

“Go?” I didn’t understand.

“Go.” Wren Woman was firm in her reply. “You need to go back over the mountains into the dark

forest of
Baba Yaga.”

“Baba Yaga?” The name was familiar, but I could not recall how.

“Baba Yaga is a hag, hagia, a wise woman,” Bluebird Woman explained. “Her name means ‘to know, to see, to foresee’ in Russian.”

“She’s a witch and dangerous,” snorted Wren Woman.

“Yes, that too,” agreed Bluebird Woman, drawling out the words as she thought them over. “Wise Women are dangerous, sometimes, if you aren’t honest with them.”

Bluebird Woman reached in to her pocket and pulled out a small doll. The doll was smaller than a coin, pale with dark eyes and rose-red mouth. Golden hair was crowned with a white lace headdress as Russian folk heroines wore. It wore shimmering white, moonbeams woven with gossamer. On her feet were gold slippers. She quivered when Bluebird Woman laid her in my palm.

“I give you this doll with my blessing. She will guide you, advise you. Feed her when she is hungry. Give her drink when she is thirsty. Keep her close and keep her secret. Ask her anything, and she will answer with truth. Plain truth, no oracles.” Bluebird Woman chuckled.

Wren Woman helped me to my feet. She gave me a bag. “Here. These are provisions for your journey. They will last you until you get to Baba’s.”

They walked with me up the mountain path to the peak.

“Well, here we leave you.” Wren Woman was matter of fact. “Walk at night and sleep by day, you cannot find Baba Yaga in the light.”

“How do I find her?” I asked.

“Just follow your nose. It is rather hard to not find Baba Yaga, even when you would rather not.” Wren Woman answered.

“Blessed be, my dear.” Bluebird Woman kissed my cheek.

Wren Woman hugged me fiercely. “Blessings upon you.”

With my little doll tucked safely in my pocket, a bag of provisions over my shoulder, I carefully worked my way down the mountain in the darkness.

I walked until day break. I found a venerable oak and climbed up into its gnarled branches until I was hidden away in a nook behind branches. I opened my pack and found wine, bread, cheese and oil. As I began to eat, I felt a quivering in my pocket. The little doll!

I pulled her out, apologizing profusely. Then I gave her bread and oil and a little wine.

“Thank you.” Her voice was clear and melodic, like water rippling over stones.

“You are very welcome.” I looked at her until she blushed. I apologized again.

“I must seem very rude,” I felt as if my mouth were full of marbles. “It’s just that you are so remarkable, so tiny and so perfect. I can’t help but admire you.”

“I understand,” the little doll murmured.

“Can you tell me about Baba Yaga?” I asked, eager to change the subject from my ineptitude to something more cheerful.

“Oh, yes,” she replied. “Baba Yaga is evil and ugly. She is ancient old, older than god, older than dirt. She is very tall, and bone thin. Her eyes are jet black, and her vision is very good. She can tell the difference between a she flea and a he flea at fifty paces. Hair grows out of her ears, but she can hear a snowflake fall. She understands the speech of every living thing, plant and animal, and things that are not living as well – the stones, water, wind and fire. Her nose is like the beak of a vulture, her chin pointed as a spear. She is gnarled and grey. She has never bathed and stinks of decay. What little hair she has is matted and greasy. Her hands are covered in warts, her feet with corns. Her fingernails are long and jagged. You don’t want to know what is encrusted under those nails. Her teeth are iron and spark when she gnashes them.

“Baba Yaga is a Black Goddess. She cannot die and cannot be fooled. She eats children and drinks blood. She commands the sun and it obeys her, she changes the stars in their course, she causes clouds to form in the air and makes it possible to walk on them and travel the country. She can transform herself into anything. She can turn herself into a young woman and then, in a twinkling of an eye turn herself back into an old woman. She likes to transform into toads, snakes, flies. She has to the power to turn people into animals.

“She travels hither and yon in a mortar propelled by its pestle, and covers her tracks with her broom. She travels freely over the world and gathers herbs and other things for potions. She casts spells, discovers secrets for blackmail. She is wise, and if she befriends you there is no better ally. If you offend her there is no escaping her doom.

“Her house is on chicken legs, it travels through time and place. It is surrounded by a fence of human and animal bones and skulls. The gate is latched with a skull clenching tight its teeth. Her cauldron boils in the yard day and night. To be sent to Baba Yaga is to be sent to your death.”

The little doll looked at me. “But you have faced her. You have died and been reborn. You have nothing to fear, as long as you treat Baba Yaga with the respect due an elder.”

The doll looked at me again, as if to gauge my soul. “Yes, you have nothing to fear. Respecting others, even the mean spirited, is imprinted on every fiber of your being. You will succeed. If you need help, I will help you.”

“I have faced her before?” I was staggered, as if the little doll had hit me over the head with a rock rather than spoke to me quietly.

“Yes, when you met Ereshkigal. When everything you were was taken away.”

“Oh.” I was tired and my head hurt.

The little doll looked at me with empathy in her eyes. “Be at peace. When you gave up everything you were, it left everything you are. Let us rest now. Night will be here too soon.”

“When do you think we will find Baba Yaga?”

“Tonight at the soonest, seven nights hence at the latest.”

“Thank you.”

I curled with in the tree branches as best I could, pondering what the little doll told me. At last sleep overcame me, and I had one more night of peaceful sleep.


Wendy Olson


Doll of Wish and Hurry

5 08 2006

Santinto was very old – older than dirt they say; but I don’t trust in gossipy ‘they’ any more than scripture mouthed by hypocrites.  Yet, I trusted that he might know – be able to help, so I sought him out – or rather allowed him to find me.  I say ‘he’, but any sexual identity was lost in crooked form and scraggly mane and skin so mottled, hairless and furled that …  well just look to a wisteria in winter’s shadows.

“I must craft a doll,”  I said.  “To take to Baba Yaga as foretold.”  Then I stood silent – and very alone.

A fist slammed into my chest with a force beyond his meager size – and I might have staggered back and fallen had I not been somewhat prepared – always prepared as a warrior.  A whirling staff struck at branches above seemingly woven with tendril clouds and veeing birds of fall.  Three things fell at once towards my head; a globe of golden fruit, a thorny branch and a flower blossom.  I could only deal with one while darting aside – more a dance step methinks than planned.  Which one?  You decide when your time comes, my friend.  I handed this gift to Santinto.  Then I followed.

I had not found this meadow before, though I have passed this way a time or two.  There were many such, perhaps – before freeways, malls and parking lots.  Hardly greater in span than a bowling green, it held a complexity of grasses, vetch, bush and tree.  Choose venturesome vines or dainty wisps of moss – natural wreaths of tiny buds or fir tips soft as down.  My universe closed in!

The ‘bloodless one’ selected a number of these and plaited a simple chain – then added more in clumps and draw, and formed then a manlike figure no larger than a mystic’s cross.  I thought of clay images I have seen in books of ancient representations of Mother Earth – featureless and plump with creation – but this had texture and entwined colors and many imperfections.  He swept his arms in expansive, open bidding – and I might have copied his figurine had he not tossed it onto a bed of glowing coals – from a fire lit long ago, but unnoticed by me ‘til now.  I assembled a variety of materials from the glade, some that simply appealed to me, and others that seemed to reach unto my aching fingers.  So clumsy!

This doll I now carry within my pouch needs no description – two legs and arms and lumpy head – bound with nature’s twine and intricate knots of folly.  Somehow its blend of choosing and chance will tell a story of who I am, that Baba will be able to read – no longer my concern. 

 I must prepare for the fire!


Enchanteur on the Road to Baba’s

2 08 2006


Enchanteur travels
on the road to Baba’s
with her favourite
wee wooden man
A startled look?
A gasp!
Who can this
unlikely pair
have met
on the road to Baba’s?

2 08 2006

The Monkey DollIn my bag, the Monkey Doll, Sandora the Graceful,

sleeps until the sun has set

Then she comes dancing


calling me to travel with her

high above the palm trees

leaping from branch to branch

and I


cling to her back but often close my eyes


The Goddess Doll Speaks (Edith)

31 07 2006

I am the Goddess, the personification of the Divine Feminine. You are to take me with you wherever you go as a tangible reminder that I am with you always. By following my path, you shall grow into a Warrior of the Sisterhood of the Divine Feminine. Every time you call on me for help I shall grace you with a gift. Sometimes my gift to you will be one of Courage, or Power; other times it might be Hope, or Faith. Each time it will be just what you need to help you move forward on your spiritual journey. As you progress along this path you will grow into Wisdom, Compassion, and Beauty. You will learn to hear and follow your intuition and inner guidance, which already lies deep within you, but which is only beginning to rise slowly.

As you begin this journey I want you to listen for the voices of all the Goddesses who have always been, and who await your call. Remember then Kali from India, Tara in Tibet, Kwan Yin in China, the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, and many of their sisters. Learn from them. They have much to teach you. Remember too that Baba Yaga, she whom you fear, is also a Goddess. She is the Goddess of Strength, Change, Life Cycles and Transformations. She will help you learn how to face your fears.

But first I want you to meditate on the following Four Noble Truths. These truths have been guiding principles for many diverse cultures through the millenia, and are rich and deep sources of ancient wisdoms. Learn them and they will serve you well.

1.SHOW UP and choose to be present to all that life offers. Be a good model — by walking your talk.

2. PAY ATTENTION to what has heart and meaning for you and resonates within your soul.

3. TELL THE TRUTH without blame or judgement. Say what you mean and mean what you say (indigenous peoples call this ‘’speaking with spirit tongue’’ ) or KEEP NOBLE SILENCE. From an empowered position, choose to remain silent.

4. STAY OPEN, BUT NOT ATTACHED TO THE OUTCOME. Deeply care, from an objective place. Break old patterns. Practice discernment.

(The Four Noble Truths are taken from The Woman’s Book of Spirit by Sue Patton Thoele.)

Beaded Goddess Doll

29 07 2006

Beaded Goddess Doll

Here is my doll that I am making to accompany me on my journey to Baba Yaga’s. I am making her from a piece of cotton that I hand dyed and painted, and then beaded. When she is finished she will have a beaded picot edging and a fringe hanging from her ‘feet’, along with hand spun and dyed yarn draped over her arms and in her hair. Maybe she will find a branch to swing out of……..

P.S. The reason I am uploading her image now before she is finished is simply cos I don’t own a digital camera, and she can’t be scanned when she is stuffed.

Hardly a doll

28 07 2006

So we are of to endure Baba Yaga are we?

For some reason unknown she recoils from

my being touched by the Myrddin Current; though,

throughout the centuries we have supported her

against false claims of stealing children.

At any rate, Cher-Lynne refuses to go there

so I must amble by ‘shanks-mare’ once again –or so I thought.

While musing on Imogen’s Gibran quote at the Abbey,

I noticed a flicker of delight near the fringe of Attention.

Must be a Horse

Someone watches me from the shadows

who I pretend to never see,

but I know it must be a horse,

for I am an Alani warrior,

so who else would follow me?

I am one with the wind

and son of the rain,

born to ride ‘neath the singing moon;

and this mare is a gift

of our Mother Earth

that I will fly free again.

Someone walks with me ‘cross the meadow

though I never utter a word,

but I’ll braid a rope of flowers

and tease her with golden apples

‘till she can but cherish me.

We’ll be one with the wind

and laugh at the rain,

born to ride ‘neath the singing moon;

to both share a gift

of our Mother Earth

that we might dream again.


papa (this editor sure makes a mess of line breaks)