Baba Yaga: The Fearsome Witch of Slavic Lore

The Witch Archetype

Baba Yaga is a powerful and terrifying witch depicted in Slavic folklore. She lives in a small hut, located deep in the forest. Her property is surrounded by a massive fence, decorated with human bones as if they were ornamental wind chimes. Often, her hut is described as being set upon chicken legs, an unsettling image any way it is illustrated. Her primary mode of transportation is a mortar and pestle set. She sits within the bowl of the mortar and uses the pestle like an oar to move through the sky. This shows attention to the practice of alchemy or herbal work, which is an integral part of witchcraft. It is said she appears as a long, skeletal figure with an enormous hooked nose which reaches the ceiling of her hut when she rests. Her legacy is as erratic as she is, as she is often said to be the guardian of her dark and wild land, a matriarch, and a wise teacher, but also a fickle and treacherous eater of men. The earliest recognizable mention of her is found in a Russian text written by Mikhail V. Lomonosov in which he presents a series of tales from Slavic tradition. Most surviving stories involving Baba Yaga don’t revolve around her, but around heroes or villains who come in contact with her.

Baba Yaga, taken from https://images.app.goo.gl/M7deYA9CLmQBsmVa7

Baba Yaga and the Trinity

Some tales of Baba Yaga describe her as being more frightening than she appears in other tellings of her deeds. Some say that she abducts and consumes those who wander in the forest, and that she tends to prefer the flesh of children. These stories draw a similarity between her and other witches of folklore, such as Black Annis of England, and the witch with a candy house in the story of Hansel and Gretel. Baba Yaga is unique here however, as it is said she never seeks out victims to consume. She tends to only feed on those foolish enough to approach her or her home.

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History degree, freelance writer, novice metal worker and mechanic, adventure and horror enthusiast. https://www.patreon.com/YamunaHrodvitnir

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Yamuna Hrodvitnir

History degree, freelance writer, novice metal worker and mechanic, adventure and horror enthusiast. https://www.patreon.com/YamunaHrodvitnir