Baba Yaga is a Slavic, Crone Goddess associated with death, intuition, magic and the shadow aspects of the self.
She is portrayed as an old woman who lives in the forest in a house perched on top of chicken legs. One of her popular myths is the story of Vasilisa and her doll. Vasilisa is given a small doll by her mother upon her mothers death. She tells Vasilisa to consult the doll whenever she is in need or has to make a choice. The girl is then eventually sent into the forest to meet the fearful Baba Yaga in order to complete a series of tasks. Each time Baba Yaga gives the girl a new task to complete, she consults the wisdom of her doll before making a choice. The moral of the story is that the girl is learning to use and trust her intuition and Baba Yaga is essentially helping her do that.
Baba Yaga represents deep, ancient wisdom and intuition.
She is a mature woman with many, many years of experience under her belt and is now filled with tons of knowledge. She is commonly portrayed as the scary crone or the quintessential witch figure of folklore. I believe the reason for portraying her in this way (beyond the patriarchal view) is because she can represent the shadow aspects of ourselves and many people are frightened by their darkness. They ignore it and suppress it and project it out into the world in the form of “evil” or “bad” things.
Baba Yaga teaches us that to have a shadow, is to be human and that the shadow is just as beautiful and lovable, as the light.
And that in order to ever truly be whole, we need to love both aspects of ourselves. When we approach Baba Yaga, she sees through our mask. She sees the vulnerable parts of ourselves and the parts we try to hide. Those are the things that stand out to her the most because that is her specialty. She brings those things out in us in order to help us grow and to know ourselves better.
In this painting, Baba Yaga stands in front of her house in the deep forest. She holds her sacred broom which she uses to fly through the sky. The fence surrounding her property has skulls with fires blazing in them to light the way for passerby’s. She has magic mushrooms growing on her land which represents her connection to exploring other worlds, magic and altered states of consciousness. The story of Baba Yaga has many deep, hidden and symbolic meanings. Which is very appropriate to what she essentially represents, which is the hidden aspects of ourselves.
How do you connect with your shadow self?
Prints and prayer cards of this piece are available in my shop.