|"Baba Yaga" by Rima Staines|
So the time has come for me to step into Baba Yaga's forest again. I have been here many times before. Of all the stories in my collection, the Slavic folktale of Vasalisa and Baba Yaga is one of my favourites. You can’t step into the same river twice – and the same goes for stories. And every time I tell this story I find myself stepping foot into a new forest and coming face to face with a new aspect of Baba Yaga.
There are some truly gruesome tales about Baba Yaga. She can be both dangerous and helpful. One might wonder if she is good or evil. I would say both, or neither. She is so much older than the kinds of stories that have tried to catergorize the world in terms of "good versus evil." Baba Yaga belongs to the group of mythological Crones/Wise Women//Bone Women that appear in various forms throughout the stories and myths of the world. The Ancient Grandmothers who form the land and sing the bones to life.
Baba Yaga stands by the hearth of life/death/rebirth. She stands guard by the portal of initiation, here to test us, open our eyes and give us the lessons we need in order to wake up and see with all of our senses intact. If you pass her tests, she will give you fire, a flame to guide your way through the darkness and the power to transform your inner shadows to ash.
Now, Baba Yaga will be joining me for a Vildkvinnans Väg (Path of Wild Woman) rewilding women's retreat in Stjärnsund, Sweden on the 13 - 15 of November. This retreat has now been fully booked three years in a row! The retreat will of course be a bit different this year as we will keep a safe distance and (if the weather allows) be outdoors as much as possible. All the same, after holding courses and telling stories online for most of this year, I am REALLY looking forward to gathering with the wild women in Stjärnsund!