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A Deity Encyclopedia


Aphrodite | Artemis | Athena | Baba Yaga | Brigid | Demeter | Dionysus/Bacchus | Eostre/Ostara | Eros/Cupid | The Green Man | The Holly King | Lugh | Maia | The Oak King | Persephone
Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga is the old woman of autumn, the archetype of the fearsome witch. Her roots lie in the ancient Slavic goddess of death and birth, whose wheat sheaves in the autumn fields hold the promise of winter survival and spring's growth. Baba Yaga flies through the air in a mortar, rowing with a pestle, or in a cauldron, sweeping the traces of her path with a broom. In some tales, she is the guardian of the fountain of the waters of life; in other tales, she lives in a hut surrounded by a fence of bones. In all cases, she is a crone, hideous to look upon, and much to be feared. Her realm is the birch forests, birch being the tree of beginnings and endings. Baba Yaga represents the power of old age, the power of the archetype of witch, and most of all, the power of the cycles of life, death and rebirth.

Related essences: Patchouli, sandalwood, geranium

Related gemstones: Garnet, bloodstone, tourmaline, smoky quartz (red stones), scapolite, amazonite, chiastolite, prase

The ancient Slavic goddess Baba Yaga is the wild old crone guardian of the Water of Life and Death. She is the goddess of death and birth associated with Autumn, who sings while sprinkling corpses with the Water of Life to let them be reborn. Although she is fearsome to look upon, like all forces of nature that are often wild and untamed, she can also be kind.

Often depicted living in the deep centre of earth, or in a hut surrounded by a fence of bones, she represents the power of old age, of witch, and of the life cycle that is birth, death and rebirth. She is therefore also associated with birch forests (birch being the tree of beginnings and endings). Another image is that of "White Lady", or Death Crone, as she is stiff and white and carved of bone (she can also be referred to as Goddess of Old Bones).