Baba Jaga, the Black Shaman

While living in Bulgaria, I was thrilled to participate in exchanging Martinitsa. Red and white yarn braided into a bracelet or made into a small doll shape to represent Baba Yaga. It was the Spring tradition to give Martinitsa to your friends and family who wore them on their wrist or pinned to clothing until a budding fruit tree or a stork was seen and then you tied it to a tree branch. The Martinitsa’s were for sale on every corner and I stopped to buy some coming out of the super market. As I walked away with my purchase from a young man, his mother came after me and handed me a larger handmade Martinitsa shaped like a woman and her son translated a blessing from her to me. It was a heartfelt moment in strange and sometimes scary land. Baba Yaga was present.

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By Phoenix of Elder Mountain ~In Slavic and some Balkan folklore, there are many stories of Baba Yaga, the fearsome one, the one so powerful she see’s the hideousness in others, and this makes it far too intense to look upon her. And she has a nature to match this power, which is closest to mother earth. She is also known to devours Demons with her iron teeth as a Black Shaman and the shadows of others. You see, those who feared the old ways, reversed everything she was, she was one who hunted demons, but her power was too great, so the fearful projected her as the demon.

Now people accept the tame and dishonored version through fairy tales but her folklore in Slavic villages, although still beloved, her part is played by men in condescending ways (a joke), but those of us who remember, we never accepted such…

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