I Am Baba Yaga
The older I get the more I find myself thinking about Baba Yaga -- and the more I read about her, the more I think she is whispering in my ear and has been doing so for quite some time.
Who is Baba Yaga
A long time ago I asked someone who was traveling to the area of Russia on business if he could bring back anything for me from that part of the world. I immediately thought about Baba Yaga and asked him to see if he could find a small effigy of her. Apparently, he asked local merchants where he could find something associated with Baba Yaga as a gift, they responded with a worried look and explained that Baba Yaga is far too ugly for any sane person to want to have a representation of her in their home. Clearly Baba Yaga is a most misunderstood character, even from the neck of the woods that should be familiar with her story.
My research reveals that Baba Yaga is the Arch-Crone, the Goddess of Wisdom and Death, the Bone Mother from the Slavic region. Wild and untamable, she is a larger than life nature spirit bringing wisdom and death of ego, and through death, rebirth. To give you a more familiar reference; let’s just say that Baba Yaga is most commonly portrayed as a witchy character with fantastic and terrifying powers. She is depicted in folklore as a crafty old crone, but historically she also plays the role of helper and wise woman to other women in need of advise or medicine. As the 'Earth Mother', and like all forces of nature, she is rightly wild and untamed. In her guise as wise hag, she sometimes gives advice and magical gifts to heroes and heroines who seek her out in search of wisdom, knowledge and truth. She is all knowing, all seeing and all revealing to those who have the courage to ask for her help and advice. She is said to be a guardian spirit of the fountain of the Waters of Life and of Death. But I imagine Baba Yaga to also be a healer with profound knowledge of the natural herbs and substances found in a wild forest. I can also imagine that she would contain the deepest wisdom a woman can carry, handed down through long generations of midwifery.
The 21st Century Baba Yaga
From my perspective Baba Yaga is a rather flamboyant representation of everything it means to become an enlightened mature female human being living on the planet earth. My deeper sense of the character tells me that the reason she is so often depicted as repulsive has to do with the fear that such profound life-giving knowledge provoked in early Christian leaders – all male, of course – and all terrified of what true female power might do to them.
So, similar to what was done to other archetypal characters at the time (such as turning Bacchus from the god of wine and generosity into the cloven hoofed devil), Baba Yaga was cast into a likeness that would naturally repel good Christian followers, hoping that her story soon would be lost. I must also say that there is a real sense of freedom coming from the mindset represented by Baba Yaga such that as a wise woman she can just let loose and be wholly who she is – particularly appealing today in a society that favors glitzy ‘reality’ shows, everlasting youthfulness and ‘body sculpting’ over a wise mind, craggy wrinkles and arthritic fingers.
How she speaks to me
Baba Yaga and I share a few key characteristics, even more so now that I begin to inhabit an aging body that morphs my sense of personhood on a daily basis. I also have a richly mystical frame of reference that includes an appreciation for the wildness of nature, an awareness of Gaia (Mother Creator) as a sentient force and a fondness for 2nd dimensional divas and elementals – ideas that don’t always quite fit into the modern world of geeks and aging yuppies.
My years spent caring for the dying while volunteering for hospice gave me a peek into the deep well of knowledge and understanding only a Goddess of Wisdom and Death could share. A personal and lifelong quest for spiritual equilibrium in a chaotically modern world has taken me ever closer to squelching the ego and brought me nearer to rebirthing my true self - also Baba Yaga’s territory. And I would bet that my interest in herbals, crystals, minerals and energy medicine would resonate with all of the earthy ideals portrayed by the real Baba Yaga.
A visit from a Baba Yaga wannabe
Baba Yaga came to mind recently when I began to realize that the energy of a long dead, blind old crone has been pressing herself into my nonphysical field of awareness –and she’s been invading my field for far too long, though just under the surface and not quite visible.
As an energy healer it finally dawned on me that recently, rather than flowing healing energy to people in need – I had been actually and physically taking on the ills and ailments of the people around me. For example a friend of the family told me all about her painful breast ailment, which I dutifully and quite unconsciously absorbed into my own experience. Another friend of mine mentioned something about ‘thinking too much about death’, and voila! – months later my life is consumed by background noise filled with sad feelings of death and dying. And more recently, a concern over my grandson’s sinus infection had me awake in the middle of the night, completely and inexplicably congested and unable to breath.
Personifying the dark aspects of healing
So, during meditation I gradually became aware of a vision of an old woman and as I put my full attention on this energy, I received information that this blind, crippled up old woman had been a healer in her own lifetime – which was a very long time ago. She chose her particular expression of life as penance for previous lifetimes when she was overly cruel and hateful. As a way to karmically pay her ‘debt’ she chose to become a healer, and the way she healed people involved physically taking on every disease, affliction, pain and sufferance that she lifted from her clients.
The vision of her in my mind’s eye reminded me vividly of Baba Yaga, only in a very dark sense. This spirit may have been a healer in life, but she was quietly filled with a twisted sense of ‘dutiful pain’ – something she seemed to savor in a warped and almost perverted sense. Once I realized this spirit had somehow become attached to me, either via a shared past life, or through some errant and unconscious vibration I was sending out – I became determined to remove her from my field.
Empowering my inner Baba Yaga
Casting out attachments is a fairly easy process – and one I am sure many are familiar with. And so, my morning meditation revolve around peeling this spirit’s attachments off and away from my energy field – and along with the individual attachment came an even larger vortex of energy filled with heavy dark matter. Apparently, it was the dark matter that continued to fuel this long dead spirit’s insatiable lust for self-punishment through the absorption of other people's sickness.
In my experience, awareness is nine-tenths the battle when dealing with your own spiritual ‘stuff’ and so it was a pretty straightforward process to cast out these negative energies and watch them spin harmlessly out of my field.
After the dust cleared (so to speak) what was left was a healthy archetypal representation of the powerful old woman character, and as a result, a more healthy and robust Baba Yaga has come to life once again in my awareness. I will no doubt continue to ponder the positive aspects of tapping into the archetype of such a wildly wise old crone, and I willing and joyfully embrace the possibility that I too will be able to express myself with abandon and purposefulness – just like Baba Yaga in the forest of my dreams.
When you understand what your dream means it helps guide you through situations you may currently be experiencing in your life. Discovering the deeper meanings of a dream can help on many levels from personal to work. This understanding can shine light on relationships and provide you with new ideas and inspiration to achieve your goals and help you to break out of old patterns that may be stifling your personal growth.