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  • Writer's pictureJuly Strozyk

Julie Strozyk: Hey! I could do that!

Baba Yaga is the “Wild Woman”. She does what she wants and answers to no one. She eats whatever and whenever she wants. She lets her hair and nails grow. When she itches she scratches and she doesn’t care where.” When I first heard this description from my teacher while studying the book “Women Who Run with the Wolves”, I immediately thought “Hey! I could do that!” And my alternate persona was born. I guess I always figured if I couldn’t be beautiful at least I could be fierce.

Baba is very fierce. The last part of her name, “Yaga,” means horror. She has teeth of iron. She lives in a house that stands on chicken legs, surrounded by a fence of human bones with skulls on the fence posts. Their eyes shine in the dark. She can be cruel, but often she can also be a helper to the hero or heroine of a story. While appearing as a wild, destructive force she can also be benevolent to those who respect her.

I have frequently pondered the similarity between Baba Yaga and the Hindu goddess Kali. Kali wears a necklace of skulls, like Baba’s fence.  She embodies chaos, death and destruction also. Although in Hindu mythology, the skulls, rather than representing death, actually represent the seat of the intellect. Hidden in the darkness of both of these goddesses is an alternate, positive force that balances them. Baba is indeed a wise woman. Just don’t make her cranky!

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