Friday, January 27, 2012

Baba Yaga


I was first exposed to Baba Yaga as a somewhat watered down character in the story of Hansel and Gretel. The next time I found myself face to face with the Baba Yaga was while going through a divorce. I had decided it was time to remove myself from a marriage that had nothing to do with me. I had no idea who I was, and happened to come across a book titled, Women Who RunWith the Wolves, written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
I immediately resonated with the author and found the stories she retold to speak to me in a much deeper way than I had ever expected. The first point of resonance for me was that this woman is Polish and Hispanic. I am Polish on my mother’s side and had been married into a Hispanic family for 13 years. I was able to identify with the feeling of cultural confusion and then personal emptiness.

 As a young person I was raised with every derogatory comment or joke being told around me, focused towards “Pollocks”… I learned that part of who I am is stupid, bumbling, foolish, and someone to be disrespected. As a young adult, married into a Hispanic family I learned “my place”… women were to serve, you were expected to be “fiery”, and yet you better shut the hell up and do what is expected. The role of woman in this culture was confusing to me, especially since it was the women who treated me the worst.  I had no idea who I was or what I was doing here on this planet. 

While reading Women Who run with the Wolves, I found the story of Vasalisa and the Baba Yaga.  I have read this story over and over many times. Each time I read the story or see images of Baba Yaga, I immediately remember being really small and going to my mother’s grandmother’s house to visit. When we got there Busha (Grandmother in Americanized Polish pronounced BOO-shah) would be there at the table. She was old… I mean OLD… she looked like the witch in the fairy tales my dad would read to me at night.

She always wore a heavy black dress, with heavy grandma shoes. To top things off she was always wearing a babushka (scarf tied on her head, it is actually a Russian word for grandmother).  Looking back at my memories of Busha, she definitely could have been Baba Yaga, flying through the air in her mortar, using a pestle as a rudder and dragging a broom behind her to sweep up and move the clouds.
The story of Baba Yaga is a story that reflects the transition from naivety or innocent youth to the wise crone. Now that I am a grandmother and moving towards menopause, I am struggling with the identity of the old woman… I don’t want to be the scary, witch figure, Busha represented to me as a child. 

The common story girls and women are raised on in today’s world is a story of beautiful, slender, youth ruling and being the desired prize of men and is in direct conflict with our image of a wizened up old woman who is ugly, fat/thin, dependent, and mean; something to be cast aside like yesterdays wilted and rotten dinner salad. The Baba Yaga challenges us to look deeper at ourselves as women.

I originally was going to tell the story of Baba Yaga for this post, but instead, I decided to tell the story of how she has influenced my life, through my Busha, who incidentally, happened to be a witch. My mother will never admit her grandmother was anything but Catholic, but the stories Mom tells of Busha’s "wives tales", tells me Busha was a wise woman. she made a huge impression on me and has returned to me in the story of Baba Yaga

I encourage you to read Women Who Run With the Wolves. You can also read an excellent essay on Baba Yaga at  and you can find more info by checking out the links in the text.

Have a Wicked Good Day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Moon

Depending where you live, sometime last night or this morning was the apex of the New Moon.  The passing of the moon from Full to New and back again is often and integral part of magickal practices. Often times these practices are focused on fishing, planting, breeding, hunting, harvesting and birthing.
This information can be found in a number of Almanacs, ranging from the Farmer’s Almanac  to the Witches Almanac.

This is where the similarities seem to get a little thin. When talking with other magickal practitioners and reading the many different books, newsletters and blogs; I’ve found  the attributes associated with the different phases of the moon are slightly different from each other depending on the path followed or the individual practitioner's understanding. There are some who feel the moon has female qualities while others fee the moon carries male qualities. We’ve all heard of the Man in the Moon and Grandmother Moon. 

I feel the most empowering aspect of the moon is the way it feels as I stand beneath the beams of energy emanating from it. I often stand beneath the night sky and watch as the Full moon beams seem to stretch towards me. Other times, I feel a great sense that all obstacles are being drawn from my life and consumed by the dark moon; only to be transmuted into the bright beams I will feel, filling my being during the Full phase. 

There are many rituals and magickal practices associated with the moon. We offer ritual kits for either the New or the Full moon phase. These are great kits that can get you started on your journey of working with Moon energy.

Have a Wicked Good Day!

Friday, January 20, 2012


This concept of balance is something that can be explained in scientific terms as a lever balanced, equidistant from each other, across a fulcrum. When one side of the lever is heavier, either by placing heavier objects on either end or sliding the fulcrum so that it is no longer in equal proportions to each other in relation to the fulcrum, we find that one side of the lever drops and the other is lifted. This is what being out of balance looks like from a scientific understanding.


We have all seen this while playing on the teeter totter/see saw as children. Sometimes, as children we went to great lengths to bring balance to this playground toy, by adding children to one end or the other or sliding forward or back on the arm, in order to steady the beam perfectly level.

Often you hear people from all walks of life talking about need to have balance in their lives. There are those seeking to balance their work life with their family/personal life. Many are trying to balance their budget or are demanding their government balance theirs. 

Balance is one of those words that seem to have application in just about everything we do. Buddhists tend to walk the middle path, which is a balanced approach to everything, one where nothing is experienced to an excess.  To understand this concept we as westerners have to wrap our minds around the idea that deprivation and sacrifice can also be experienced in an excessive amount. Not only can we live as gluttons, but we can also live as self-sacrificers. 

Many of us have seen the YinYang, where a balance of black and white is shown as two halves of a circle in bent teardrop form. The black half represents dark energy with a tiny dot of light from within and the white half representing light energy with a tiny dot of dark energy contained within it. This has been interpreted or understood as male and female energy, positive and negative, good and evil (bad). They are always in equal proportions, in balance.

We also see this concept in the Tarot cards; it is most obvious in the Justice card where we often see lady justice holding the scales of justice. We can also see a subtler representation of balance in the Temperance card, Lovers, and two of cups.

In the magickal world we often find ourselves out of balance in one respect or another. Either we are so focused on the experience of magick and other worldly energies that we forget to function effectively in the mundane world. Other times we will find ourselves so rooted in the mundane world and the processes of everyday living that we no longer are able to interact with the world of Magick. Our spells and prayers seem to fail and we no longer have a desire to participate in our rituals and celebrations, because it feels as if “the Magick is gone”.

As a practitioner of the magick arts, (modern shamanic practices and witchcraft) I find that, although I strive to function equally well in both the magickal and mundane worlds, I fail to do this on a grand scale. I tend to gravitate towards one end of the spectrum or the other in a mad search for balance. If I was to observe myself from an outsider’s point of view, I would appear to be a pendulum swinging wildly from one extreme to the next.   

There are times when for a brief moment I seem to find that place of balance. This is always when I’ve removed my focus from either side of the fulcrum back to the center… 

That place where we stood as kids with one foot on either side of the teeter totter.  We dared not move to quickly or too far in either direction, all the while breathing steadily so that we could keep the teeter totter balanced and somehow feel at peace with the playground and then the rest of the world.

Have a Wicked Good Day!