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| Baba Yaga
from Goddesses and Heroines
|Exerpt from Goddess & Heroines by Patricia
[Used by permission. This text is NOT included in the Goddess Oracle]
The "old woman" of autumn was called Baba by the Slavic inhabitants of eastern
Europe, Boba by the Lithuanians. This seasonal divinity lived in the last sheaf
of grain harvested in a year, and the woman who bound it would bear a child
that year. Baba passed into Russian folk legend as the awesome Baba Yaga, a
witchlike woman who rowed through the air in a mortar, using a pestle for her
oar, sweeping the traces of her flight from the air with a broom.
A prototype of the fairytale witch, Baba Yaga lived deep in the forest and scared passersby to death just by appearing to them. She then devoured her victims, which is why her picket fence was topped with skulls. Behind this fierce legend looms the figure of the ancient birth-and-death goddess, one whose autumn death in the cornfield led to a new birth in spring.
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Published by Llewellyn, copyright 1997. Used by permission of the author.