Baba is Grandmother. In Tibet, fierce demons are Yagas. So she is the Grandmother Demon, Grandmother Dragon, the fearsome, the fierce.
Baba Yaga is the subject of many Russian folk tales or fairy tales. She is very very old.
How do we know? We are told her nose curves down and her chin curves up and they nearly meet. Since the cartilage in our noses, chins and ears continues to grow throughout our lives, only someone a hundred or more would have such a remarkable face. Her fingernails, it is said, are as thick and ridged as roof tiles. My, what a mineral-rich diet she must have! And they are stained brown. Any herbalists here who have noticed such a staining on their hands after a summer of harvesting? I have. In one of the first profiles of me ever published, the interviewer remarks on my brown-stained fingernails.
Baba Yaga lives in a house that nearly defies description, yet any herbalist would feel right at home there, overlooking perhaps that the latches on the cupboards, windows, and doors are human fingers, and that the door knocker is a toothed snout, and that the fence is made of bones and skulls. But that all pales when we step back and see that the whole house stands atop scaly yellow chicken legs. It moves about at its own whim, whirling like an ecstatic dancer around and around in a trance. Baba Yaga is Whirlwind Woman, Woman with Drum of the deep north, Shaman Woman, Deep-Dreaming Woman.
Baba Yaga is the keeper of the eternal fire, the spark of divine consciousness that informs the best of every profession, that lives in the best healers and the most intuitive herbalists. Baba Yaga, like all muses, like all guardians, like treasure-bestriding dragons everywhere, is not averse to sharing but she is demanding.
You must give to her, must do her bidding, before she will do yours and give to you.
With wrinkles enough to hide the world’s secrets and a store of tales enough to fast talk my way out of any situation, I am surely the most fearsome thing ever seen, ever imagined: A powerful old woman at home with herself. I am Baba Yaga, and this is one of the stories in my basket. custom grip socks