The Rowdy Goddess

An Ecstatic Vision of the Goddess, dancing in harmony with the Universe.

Winter’s Grip and Spring’s Embrace

Yesterday, the sun was shining very brightly here in Central New York, and it was also snowing.  I was watching the tiny flakes being driven by a fierce, frigid wind.  I smiled, or tried to, at the sun and frowned, with no effort at all, at the snow.  Today it is overcast with a cold wind and occasional snow flurries.  Even though we are now in spring, it is not apparent down here on earth.  I have whined and kvetched a great deal to anyone who will listen and there is a general crankiness wherever I go.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the stern winter Goddess, Morana and how her fierceness and unyielding coldness reflects the harshness of winters.  Her husband is the Jarilo, the God of Spring.  Jarilo is the son of the thunder God, Perun and twin brother to Morana, goddess of winter and death.
Jarilo is associated with the time of springtime to harvest. Jarilo is stolen from his father and taken to the underworld where he is adopted by his father’s enemy, Velez, god of the Underworld. In the spring, Jarilo returns to the world and his return is noticed by his sister and goddess. They court according to established rituals and are married. He is, however,unfaithful, and she slays him and he returns to the underworld. She becomes a withered and stern hag, bringing the harshness of winter to the world.  He is reborn and they are reunited for a very brief time every year.

Where she is hard, he is soft.  Where he is new and fresh, she is old,and wearisome.  Where he is vulnerable and approachable, she is unyielding and stern.  They are the bifurcation of the year and their story is played out again and again, just as the Wheel of the Year keeps on turning.

He is a reminder to us, a hope and a prayer in this interminable weather, that Spring does come and bless us with warmth, delight, and play.

The Charge of Jarilo

I call to you, Children of Winter
To remember the spring.
As you walk and work in the landscapes
Of winter and darkness,
Remember the turning of the wheel.
Know that the wheel turns and
The cycle begins again.

What happens in one cycle, we cannot have in the others
That is the strange, sad truth of joy
And the hopeful, happy truth of sorrow.
Each phase and each turning is different
With the joys and challenges of its own truth.
Remember as you dwell in the present.
Hope and warmth are on the way.
Live in coldness and seek that wisdom.
Blessed be the darkness and the cold.
Blessed Be to you. Children of Winter.

The Gifts of Durga

A little more than a week ago, I wrote a post on the Goddess Durga and finding fierce compassion for myself.  I must admit that one of the people I find hardest to treat with compassion is myself.  I seem to be especially harsh on myself.  I also noted that Durga holds items in each of her hands and each of these might become tools for me to use in finding compassion within and using it in a loving and supportive manner.  I think, also, that this cold and brutal winter has a lot to do with the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness I feel on this first day of spring.

Sorry to be such a buzzkill!  I’ve always been called a “Little Miss Fix-it” and I certainly have that in my personality.  I haven’t fixed this.  But I am making a start by finding what the gifts Durga holds out to us.  A little bit of rather cursory research nets me a wealth of information to think about, journey on, meditate on, and to breathe in.

Durga has three eyes!  The left is desire or the moon, accessing the vision of the sacred feminine; and the right is action or the sun, accessing the vision of the sacred masculine.  The third and center eye is knowledge and fire.  I think the third eye takes these two opposites and melds them together in an alchemical blend of power and love.

She sits on a lion or tiger, both of which mean power, will, determination and ferocity.  Like my favorite Major Arcana card, Strength, Durga acts according to her nature and respects the nature of the powerful animal she rides.  They have formed a partnership of mutual respect and determination.  They ride forward in unison and harmony fulfilling their mutual purpose as well as their individual desires.

In her hands she holds a number of items, important in symbolic ways;  the conch shell is assigned the sound “om” and Durga is holding onto god in the form of sound;  the bow and arrow is control over both forms of energy, the kinetic and potential; the thunderbolt is about firmness of convictions and firmness in general; The lotus is not fully in bloom and talks of the certainty of success but not the final outcome; the discus spins above her index finger without touching, indicating that the entire world bows to her will; the sword if freedom from doubt; and  the trident indicates three qualities of action, inactivity, non-activity, activity and the remover of the three miseries, physical, mental and spiritual.

This is what my research tells me.  Over the next few weeks I will be journeying to Durga to ask her what wisdom she has for me about each of these tools.  Her stance tells us “fear not,” and already I feel more hopeful than I did when I started writing.  Perhaps like the lotus not fully in bloom, the turning of the wheel is opening up a little window of hope and happiness.  lotus 08 001 (Small)

Finding Fierce Compassion for Myself

In working with the goddesses of other cultures, I believe it’s important to understand who are they now.  I think the goddesses of myth, legend, and story evolve just as we evolve.  The Athena of now is different than the goddess of ancient Athens.  She has experienced change and growth just as humans do.  In addition, I think when a Wiccan or Pagan works with them, we share with them a special interaction and energy.  For me the experience is a combination of manifestation, meditation or prayer, and journeying.  No disrespect is meant when working with a god or goddess of another culture.  The gods tend to choose me rather than the other way around.

I have been working with Durga for quite awhile and she keeps manifesting.  A statue of her astride a tiger sits on my altar and I see it every morning and every night to remind me to treat myself with fierce compassion, something I do not always do.  She has become very persistent lately, manifesting in different ways.  At a Full Moon Meditation on Valentine’s Day, I pulled a stone with the word, “Decide” on it.  I’m still not sure what that means to me other than Durga appeared in the meditation and told me to explore the gifts held in each hand.  I looked them up immediately but have not yet explored them.

Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince www.darkgoddesstarot.com

Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
http://www.darkgoddesstarot.com

Today, I decided to pull a card from the Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince.  The card I pulled — surprise, surprise — was Durga, the Seven of Fire.  I usually read the Seven of Fire (Wands) as being judicious about fighting.  You have options, the ability to run from the fight or the ability to engage.  The key is that you must decide.  The affirmation for the Durga card is “Rise up or the demons will win.”  I realized that my particular demons at this time in my life is my interior self-talk.  At a time when most things in my life are good, my interior voice has become very harsh towards me.  Compassion, it seems, is reserved for others.  The card was a reminder that I associate Durga with that fierce compassion, accepting nothing but the best for myself as well as others.  I was reminded of a charge I wrote for my circle when Durga first came into my life.

Hear now the charge of Durga

I who am known by many names.

Many are my names and many are my gifts.

Beauty, courage, merriment, compassion,

Fearlessness, and power are all who I am.

Seek all of them with all your heart and soul.

Find companions in human and animals,

Treat them well and demand that they treat you well.

Be strong, brave, and powerful.

Love fiercely and live in compassion.

You have been given weapons

For your defense, and for your greater good.

Defend yourself with passion,

And give yourself with joy.

Love yourself with all your being.

Fight what seeks to harm you

And seize the power to be strong.

Love others fiercely

And love your true self without doubt.

Turn and swirl in the energy of power and love.

Remember the companions of hoof, feather, and fin.

Be at one with All That Is

And live in the fire of your own divine flame.

Burn bright and burn long.

Blessed Be.

May your day be filled with many gifts including compassion and ferocity!

Here Comes the Susie Snowflake

Suzy Snowflake sheet music

Suzy Snowflake sheet music

There is another snow storm predicted for our area later this week.  This is no news for the people to the west of this area since they will be getting it first.  The forecasters warn us that predicting springtime storms is difficult so we may get freezing rain and sleet mixed in.  I’d rather have snow.  I’m tired of my own kvetching about the snow so I’m trying to be peppy about it.  I’m of the generation of Captain Kangaroo with all his stories, songs, skits, and laughter.  “I learned that from Mr. Greenjeans,” or “I heard that on Captain Kangaroo” was something often said by me and others of my generation.  One of the songs is Susie Snowflake tap, tap, tapping at my window pane.

Not many people seem to remember the cartoon  from the show.  I don’t remember the cartoon but I remember the song vividly.   Still less remember that it was sung by Rosemary Clooney, one of the sisters in the movie White Christmas.  Danny Kaye was in that movie, a very clever and talented performer.  One of his best movie skits was in the movie Court Jesterwhere he did a spectacular tongue twister about the Chalice with the Palace.

I’m cheered up.  Nothing like a song and a laugh along with a trip to memory lane to make me more cheerful.  Another thing that helps is a tarot reading.  Below is a tarot spread based on the expression that no two snowflakes are alike to remind us that not only are no two snowflakes alike but no two snowstorms are identical.

 

Each One Unique Spread

Use this spread to ask a question about your situation when you are confused or certain things are not as they appear.  It’s a good way to help you keep on the path to reach your goal(s).

Each One Unique Spread

Each One Unique Spread

  

Card One:       What is nearest and dearest to your heart in this matter?

Card Two:      What does your intuition tell you about the situation?

Card Three:    What does your imagination tell you about the situation?

Card Four:     What is hidden beneath the surface?

Card Five:      What is out of reach at this time?

Card Six:        What does logic say about this situation?

Card Seven:    What is the possible outcome?

May your day be filled with cheerful song, funny word-play, and a little wisdom!

 

Howling at the Moon Tarot Spread

Last week I wrote about Howling in Winter and the power of the Wolf.  Today, by tapping into that power, I’m posting a Tarot spread based on the Wolf’s Howl.  A-Whhhhooooooooo!

This spread can  be used to help clarify situations; to help you see things that you are not seeing and to provide guidance for avoiding pitfalls as well as what is needed to move forward.

Tarot spread

 

 Card One:       The Heart of the Matter

Card Two:      How does the situation express itself?

Card Three:    Inner wisdom needed

Card Four:     Fears or what is to be avoided.

Card Five:      What are the next steps to move forward?

  May your journey follow your voice of freedom and release!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Praise of Creepy Crawlies

I have been complaining interminably about the cold, bleak weather of winter.  Just for today, I decided to turn my thoughts in the direction of spring.  It is only a couple of weeks away and I think this year, it’s more eagerly anticipated than ever.  March full moon, in some of the indigenous traditions of the Americas, is called, “Earthworm Moon.”  I think that’s pretty cool so I pulled some of the things I’ve written about earthworms to share.  Another version of this blog post appeared in Pagan Pages.earthworm

The March moon is called Full Worm Moon in some Native American lore, according to The Farmers’ Almanac.  It was so named because the warming weather and the warmer rains caused the worms to rise to the top of the soil, where they sometimes drowned.  For my college roommate, walking across campus after a rain caused a lot of screaming terror because she hated that particular sign of spring, wriggling or dead worms on the sidewalks.  For someone raised with a multitude of male relatives, this behavior was almost incomprehensible.  I learned early not to be repulsed by insects, worms, and other creepy animals, living or dead, that might been left out for an unsuspecting girl, tossed down her shirt, or held out for her inspection.

As a young person who was a little weird and then as a pagan, I learned to have a fondness and even a love for creatures with bad reputations or a less than normal appearance.  Bats, spiders, snakes, vultures and more are interesting.  Later, I learned they were sacred to various deities as guardians of the darkness, of death, and of those borderlands most preferred not to travel.  I look at it this way, life brings us to the edge of those borderlands and sometimes pushes us in.  If we already know and understand its creatures, we then have allies and friends as we move into uncharted territories.

So what of the lowly earthworm?  Without earthworms, we would not have the fertile soil we need to plant our crops.  Even their tiny feces, called casts, provide an abundance of fertilizer to nurture seeds.  The worm crawls through the soil like tiny plows, bringing more air and nutrients to the soil.  The earthworm is essential to an abundant and productive ground.  They consume the organic matter from the fields and the resulting residue is an indication of high quality, fertile soil.

It takes some doing to regard the earthworm as a friend an ally.  The can teach us a lot, as a totem and spirit guide.  They teach us to seek moisture, to balance our lives with an appropriate amount of water; water that symbol of emotions and matters of the soul.  The worm teaches us to look to inward to tend the soil of our heart and to grow a strong, healthy soul.

The earthworm also teaches us of our bodies and helps us understand our ability to stay strong in our bodies.  The flexibility of the worm body teaches us to move in and out of barriers, to be flexible and go around things when it does not serve us to break them down, and to work persistently to knock down barriers when it serves us to do so.

The earthworm is a sure sign that spring is on its way.  In March, in the cold regions of the central New York, it’s hard to believe that spring will come.  We are still shivering in below freezing temperature and looking to the skies for snow.  And yet deep within the awakening earth, the earthworms are working their magic and will soon rise to the top to create the new and ever-renewing fertility of the earth, of springtime.

To move in harmony with this creepy crawly, settle yourself comfortably for the following meditation:

Take a long cleansing breath, filling yourself with breath from the tip of your toes, to the tip of your fingers to the top of your head.  Exhale and let go of cares and concerns.  Take a second long deep breath and close your eyes, letting go of inhibitions. Continue to breathe deeply and connect with Mother Earth as she begins to awaken from her slumbers.

As you breathe deeply, you find yourself standing in the middle of a field in the early morning in that betwixt and between time of night and day.  The memory of the full moon’s rays is in your being and sunlight is only just beginning to peep out at you.  The field has been farmed in the past and it seems very familiar to you.  As you walk along, you recognize various things that you see, reveling in the familiarity of it.  You have been here before, in your dreams, in your journeys and perhaps in your life.

In the distance you see a woman standing in the field, looking down at the ground.  As you get closer, she looks up at you and grins.  She points to the ground and you see a mass of earth worms squirming on the ground.  The two of you watch as they dig in and out of the ground.

She looks at you and says, “Do you know why this was so familiar to you?  It’s because this earth is your body.  These worms tell us the story of you as you live in your body.  She then tells you of the things you need to know about your body and your life.  She picks up an earthworm and holds it gently in her hand before letting it go back into the earth; she whispers one word that means something to you about your body.  Remember, she says, this word and the wisdom of the earthworm for your health and physical well being.

She looks at you and says, “The earthworm speaks to you of your heart and what you need for understanding your emotions and the matters of your heart.  Watch.”  As you watch, words form in your head as the earthworms give you the wisdom you need to grow a fertile and productive emotional life.  Your heart opens to receive this wisdom.

A third and last time, she looks at you and says, “The earthworm speaks of your soul and what you need for your spiritual path.”  In your sou you form a knowing of what needs to be understood or done.  You hold this knowledge as she speaks of your soul as revealed by the worms working the ground.

Finally she looks at you and you understand the things you have felt, known and heard in this field.  Some of the things are a welcome surprise and still others have the sting of truth.  At the end, she hugs you and says “And most of all, you are a loveable and loving.”  She places her hand over your heart and you feel healing energy move through your body like the earthworm moving through the soil.  You thank her and she says goodbye.  She disappears. With a long deep breath, you are back in the here and now.  With a second deep breath, you open your eyes. With a third deep breath, you reconnect with your centeredness and reconnect with Mother Earth.

As you return to your everyday place and time, record your journey in your journal or find some other way to record the wisdom you have learned.  Make a promise to yourself to work this wisdom into your life.

May your life be blessed with vision to see the beauty in everything, including the creepy crawlies!

 

Caribou: The Winter Traveler

On cold days like today, I’m never sure that having a car with a temperature gauge is a good idea.  When the temperature reads at negativecaribou 5 degrees, all I can think is that I’m sliding my (well-padded) bottom on to a freezing seat.  Yikes.  My car transports me over the miles, to work and to home and anywhere I want or am compelled to go.  In winter, traveling is a journey, even routine trips.  A totem to help us travel the winter terrains is the caribou, or reindeer.

Caribou, or reindeer, are a nomadic animal, traveling up to 300 miles per year over long distances in a cold, inhospitable winter terrain..  They can run as fast as 80 miles an hour, as one of my circle sisters put it, “no wonder people thought they could fly!  Both male and female have antlers, unlike other species of deer, and the antlers are used for protection and for dominance.  Males use antlers in rutting, an often dangerous display, although the males are rarely hurt.  A male can have a harem of up to 40 females.  When calves are born, the mothers split up into nursing bands, rejoining the whole herd when they reach their summer destinations.

Caribou are hunted by wolf, bear, lynx, and humans but the real threat is mosquitoes.  The insects can take half a pint of blood at a time.  Caribou will submerge in water and even stampede when there are too many mosquitoes.  According to stories, caribou were the last animal to come into the world and the most important for people to hunt.

Caribou as a totem is concerned with perseverance, endurance in the dark times.  Caribou has the power of adaptability, strength in social skills and communication.  Adaptation and strong ties to the homeland are also evident in this totem.  Caribou is concerned with equality, family/herd orientation as well as protection, caution, and alertness.  Caribou has the urge to travel to the point of wanderlust and ultimately finding inner peace as you walk through life.

 Travel with me into wintry realms,

Landscapes of cold, dark, and danger

Find strength, power, and endurance

In our journeys together.

We become courageous in the lands of winter,

Persevering through storms, scarcity, and bleakness.

We find the warmth of home and family,

Banding together in love, need, and protection.


We discover the mystery of beauty

In the lands of winter

And the warmth of love

As we walk through the land to peace.

May your journeys be filled with magic, delights, endurance, warmth and peace!  B*B

 

SpiritualiTEA: Pachamama and Mate

Modern depictions of Pachamama

Modern depictions of Pachamama

I checked this morning and it’s still winter and predictions of snow and storms are still filling most of the news for various parts of the U.S. including ours.  In addition to the complaining and kvetching, most of us seek something to release the burden of snow and darkness from our minds.   For me, one of the most uplifiting things in life is tea in all its varieties.  Tea preparation, experiementation, and drinking it is part of my connection to the Goddess and the sacred; tea is an important part of my spiritual practice and daily routine.    Imagine my delight when research an earth goddess for a meeting of my circle, I came across another connection to one of my favorite, mate!   There are no ancient pictures or statues of her but plenty of modern ones.  She is also a really great of example of the Rowdy Goddess.  She was not content to stay as the ancients portrayed her and she has evolved into a goddess for the 21st century.

Pachamama is an Earth and Time Goddess revered by the indigenous peoples of the Andes Mountains, a range that covers Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina.  She was seen as Mother Earth and was often depicted as a dragon that could cause earthquakes when things no longer pleased her.  In the time of the Incas, she was a fertility goddess who presided over planting and harvesting.  Llamas and clothing were sacrificed to her and she was seen a cruel goddess who eagerly demanded her sacrifices.  Her husband was the Supreme God, of whom it is said that she birthed him from her own body.  Her children are the sun and the moon. After the Spanish Conquest and the forcible conversions to Catholicism, she became associated with the Virgin Mary.  As Peru and the other nations evolved, so did she.  To this day, she is seen as a benevolent goddess, ever present, self-sufficient with a creative power to sustain and nurture the earth.   Now when people talk of taking too much from the earth, they phrase it as taking too much from Pachamama.  Many environmental activist groups take her name in honor of the earth.

There are a number of festivals in her name, both community and in the home.  Most of her festivals involve food, pouring food and drink onto the ground, or honoring her with thanks and celebrations.  August in the southern hemisphere is the coldest month and many rituals involve protection the people, the crops, and the earth.  People drink mate to bring them luck.

Mate is a South American caffeinated drink made from steeping the dried leaves of the yerba mate.  There are many traditional preparations and rituals surrounding the drink.  In the industrialized world, it is sold as a tea and while technically not a tea, it is often used as a substitute for coffee because of its strong, rich, bold, caffeinated flavor.  The legends of the Guarani (Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina) say that mate was created when the Moon and the Cloud came to Earth to visit.  Instead of a friendly greeting, they were met by a jaguar, ready to attack them.  An old man rescued them and with gratitude, these Goddesses gave him a new plant from which he could make the “drink of friendship.[1]”  In tribute to Her and the great Earth she is and protects, I add a simple ritual to my morning mate routine.

Mate Ritual for Pachamama

This is a morning ritual for your first warm beverage of the morning, preferably mate.  Brew a pot or cup of mate in your preferred method.   Pour yourself a cup of the mate with this charm:

I pour this liquid in my cup

So all day long I’ll have good luck.

Add sweetener (honey or sugar) and cream, if you prefer.  Regardless of whether you add or not, stir the liquid deosil and say these words:

Sweetness and nourishment combine

With flavors rich, bold and strong

And stay with me, Goddess, all day long.

Take your drink to a special place outdoors[2], and pour a portion onto the ground with this prayer:

In gratitude and blessings, I call to Pachamama

Mother of Earth, Mother of Time

She of the sowing, weeding, reaping and storing,

She who brings forth the bounty and nurtures the earth

I thank you for the beauty of the green earth

The strength and illumination of the sun and moon,

I honor the sacrifice, benevolence, and love

With this drink made with your leaves.

Thank you for this day lit well with sunlight

And thank you for the night illuminated by moonlight!

Blessed Be.


[1] Wikipedia articles “Pachamama” and “Yerba Mate.”

[2] If the weather or situation means you must stay indoors, pour your gift to the Goddess into a small bowl of soil to be left outdoors at another time.  B*B

Howling in Winter

1344862-bigthumbnailIt’s another cold day in Rowdy Goddess Land.  Not quite negative numbers but pretty darn close.  This week has been full of kvetching and teeth gritting as we are just trying to get and stay warm.  There is an edginess to everything while the snow keeps blowing and the winds keep howling.  It seems that a lot of the talk and news is difficult.  It’s time to release that frenetic energy, I think.  Much of my spiritual practice involves being connected to the sacred and being grounded in the steadfast stability of Mother Earth.

I developed this grounding during the Full Wolf Moon in January and I think it’s a gift that keeps on giving.  In addition, the howling whether at the moon or at the winter that lingers too long, is an excellent release of that nervous energy that doesn’t allow us stillness or peace.  So please howl and find joy again!  Note:  For a group, you might want to have everyone say their name and to end it with a tone and encourage them to keep toning until everyone is done and the meld into the meditation.

 You are standing at the edge of a field on a wintry night.  There is a light, fluffy snow falling and a dusting on the ground.  The full moon is big and round, illuminating the world with magical light.  You hear wolves howling in the distance.  A-Whoooooo, they call.  A-Whoooo you answer.  Within the music of the wolves, you look around the field, you see a forest edging the field, filled with trees of all kinds.  One of them calls to you. 

 You walk to the tree and put your hand on its bark.  You are pulled slowly and lovingly towards the tree until you are in its embrace.  You feel the sap, and the bark, and the branches as you slowly and lovingly meld with the tree.

 You begin to feel your treeness, your trunk firm and solid, warm and strong.  What was once your feet and toes reach down, down down into Mother Earth.  You feel the Earth embrace you and hold you as you move down, down, and down.  You find a place to loop your roots and you do so firmly and flexibly.

 Feel the energy of Mother Earth in your roots and in your trunk.  You feel your sap stir as her energy feeds you and invigorates you.  And you are filled with energy as your arms and branches lift out into the sky and up to the Moon.  The Full Moon reaches out and embraces you and you are filled with her energy.  She keeps you strong and loved and full of her illuminating light. 

 As you stand there in grace and beauty, you realize your roots and branches mingle with the other trees in the forest.  You feel their energy flowing through you to the next as you share love, blessings, and joy.

 With a long deep breath, you come back to the here and now.  With a second deep breath, you open your eyes, grounded in Mother Earth, embraced by the Full Moon, and encircled by your brothers and sisters. 

 AWOOOOOOOOOH AWOOOOOh

 

Celebrating the Hag! Baba Yaga, the Hag of Winter

Baba Yaga 2

Baba Yaga by Kinuko Y. Craft

This eternal winter, dubbed the Polar Express by the press, has turned into a polar depression for many people.  The persistent cold and sudden snow squall is peppered by blizzards, traffic accidents, and cruel, teasing almost-thaws.  It can lay siege to our hearts and our nerves.  How do we melt our frozen wills?  By celebrating.

Our circle celebrates the hag.  We laugh, we kvetch, we keen, and we laugh some more.  Two of our witches have decided to bypass the wisdom of the crone and, as they say, “go straight to hag,” because the hag doesn’t care.  She wears what she likes, she says what’s on her mind, and she does as she pleases.  If children cross the street to avoid the hag’s house?  So what, the hag views that with glee!  And that is what the hag has become for us:  a woman of a certain age who stands in her power and acts as she wills.

Each quarter this year, we are identifying a Witch of legend and lore to celebrate and explore.  In the grip of a cold, harsh winter, we celebrate the Hag, Baba Yaga.

There is no character in folk-tales or mythology who is so irredeemable and wicked as Baba Yaga. She is a fearsome, ugly old hag who lives on the edge of the forest. Her house is surrounded by a fence of bones and topped with skulls whose eyes glow red in the dark. The house itself is set on chicken legs and can move around with great noise and frightening disruption.

The hag herself is not a pretty sight. Her nose is so large, it is said that it touches the ceiling when she sleeps. She has iron teeth and is frequently called, Baba Yaga Boney Legs. While she is said to have no control over the pure in heart, she does have a reputation for baking young children in her huge oven and crunching on their bones.

She rides around in a mortar using a pestle to propel her and when she arrives a great winds begins and stirs up the world around her. When she leaves, she removes all traces of herself with a broom made of silver birch. Sometimes her conveyance is a huge kettle. Other times, she appears as a kindly old crone, assisting people in distress.

Like so many legends and stories of the mythic creatures and the gods, there is great power underneath. Who was she before these stories; and who will she become as we work with her. The author Deborah Blake describes her journey of creating a modern-day story with Baba Yaga in it. You can read it at her blog. I am very much looking forward to reading her first novel published by a major house–it now has a cover.

As Blake points out, John and Caitlin Matthews in The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures have researched the story behind the story of Baba Yaga, pointing that although she is portrayed as an “archetypal bogey-woman, she is actually a primal goddess. The mortar and pestle are symbols of creation and destruction, and her broom cleanses and cleans.

She inhabits the borderlands, those places between life and death, the places between this world and other worlds. She gave Koshei the Deathless, a dragon with human shape, his mortality. She also controls another fire-breathing dragon, Chudo-Yudo who guards the Water of Life and death.  She has fierce companions and friends.  She befriends the friendless and empowers the powerless.  She is one of those teachers you strive to meet her standards, because she hold the bar high and demands your achievement.

It’s obvious she’s a great witch of power.  I met her during a healing journey.  She was fierce, strong, and in good fighting shape.  She gave me strong words of wisdom for my protection and healing.  I’m working through a lot of uncertainty and sorrow at this point in my life, and she made it clear that she was at my back.  She joked about the chicken legged house, saying a lot of disruption and noise is not a bad thing.  She changed her visage from kindly old crone, to girl, to hot chick and back to fearsome hag before me; and then told me people see what they need to see where she is concerned.  She gave me some advice about some of my struggles and then said “I leave that with you to do or not do.”  Then she gave me a very fierce hug and was off again.

Baba Yaga

I am the wild, untamed nature of the world
I am the whirling music of nature
And the strange heartbeat
Of life and death.

I fly the world in my vessel of change
Propelled by creation and destruction.
I sweep from this world to the others
Clearing and cleansing the way.

I am in love with the unusual
Finding beauty and interest in the odd.
Wonder and curiosity move me
From marvel to marvel.
Shift your vision and you will see it too!

My the paralysis you feel about certain things be melted in glee, delight, and fierce determination.

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