Baba Yaga – Slavic Earth Goddess
By: Natalia Clarke – Moon Books, $10.95
Description: Slavic Earth Goddess is a unique perspective on working with Baba Yaga, Slavic Earth Goddess of mystery, intrigue and ambiguity, through apprenticing into her magic.
Verdict: In this introductory work Baba Yaga is re-defined outside of the dogmatic portrayals and becomes one of the most powerful and influential figures in an individual spiritual practice. An accessible guide to building a devotional practice, Pagan Portals – Baba Yaga is a journey of discovery and collaboration with deity, written to aid your own psycho-spiritual progression and offer a unique presentation of how we might work with the Goddess, psychologically and spiritually. In what is a most personal, beautifully written and highly informative new book from Natalia, the author brings forth lots of teaching and insight, all culled from decades of experience within the genre and of the writing style itself. For those unknowing, Baba Yaga is, in Slavic folklore, the wild old woman; the witch; mistress of magic; a mythical creature. She is also seen as a forest spirit, leading hosts of spirits. Stories about Baba Yaga have been used in teaching children the importance of reverence for the delicacy of nature and the spirit world. They were also used by worried parents in an attempt to frighten children from wandering far from home. Furthermore, Baba Yaga’s legacy is derived from several Eastern European cultural groups and her character differs depending on who tells it. The outcome of the story, however, usually emphasizes a purity of spirit and polite manners. Baba Yaga can also be a source of guidance when approached correctly. When Baba Yaga is approached without good preparation, sincerity, and due respect, she is dangerous. When too many questions (or the wrong questions) are asked, she is also dangerous. Only by maintaining pure heart and faith, proper respect for her as one’s elder, and loving care of her creatures can the encounter be successful. Here within Baba Yaga – Slavic Earth Goddess, Natalia shines her educational light and turns her personal beliefs on, what she believes to be, a serious lack of materials/teachings for those working with Baba Yaga; which makes this offering a real treat for those wanting to delve deeper into the myth (?) known as Baba Yaga. Thus whilst herself informing us of Baba Yaga in her own words, through her own experiences and beliefs, she also explores stories, tales told down the decades, exploring and even examining them as though she was a surgeon dissecting the good from the bad, so to speak. Merging together her very own Slavic origins, her extensive training in deep psychology, and natural spiritual practices, Natalia is our guide, our companion as we deep dive into the mysteries surrounding this most mysterious, and yet widely feared effigy known as Baba Yaga.
About the Author – Natalia Clarke is a transpersonal psychotherapist, writer, nature lover and an intuitive practitioner. A fiction, non-fiction and poetry writer with a passion for nature, emotions and magic, Natalia writes about intuitive living, magical practice, nature spirituality and soul relationship with the land. She lives on the outskirts of London, UK. Official Book Purchase Linkwww.JohnHuntPublishing.com
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I set out to write Baba Yaga: Slavic Earth Goddess at the time when the collective was screaming with pain and fear and the call for making unconscious conscious was becoming ever stronger all around. My work with Baba Yaga intensified a few months prior when she was not just coming forward more but staying around for longer. That is unusual for an elusive and highly private deity. Yes, to me, she’s beyond literary and cultural archetype and a folklore figure. To me she represents the world in both its dark and light manifestations. She is the ultimate alchemist and magician of the highest rank.
Why now, I wondered after seemingly eternity waiting for her to speak? It was time she disclosed a path for collective to take, if unafraid and prepared. It was time for her to whisper, if not speak openly. Feeling overwhelmed and deeply honoured I began to listen to what she said and in that discovering who she really was beyond her collective labels.
The book was born that speaks of Baba Yaga in ways of who she really is. My journey was only just beginning when in 2020 she stayed around for longer than she, perhaps, wanted. She first appears around Samhain and remains throughout winter dwelling in dreams and shadows and post Ostara she begins to loosen her grip on the Earth and allows the Maiden to step forward. This time she stayed for longer to bare witness to events that unfolded and to offer assistance and wisdom, however, unheard of, to myself in writing the book and to the world in its state of chaotic fear.
Apprenticing into her magic is a difficult task, perhaps, one of the most difficult tasks one can undertake as once on the path turning back has serious consequences and if staying transformation is inevitable and profound.
Baba Yaga is a world-famous character with which we are familiarised from early childhood and she stays for many of us in our consciousness for the rest of our lives. This speaks of her power and universal appeal, but why? I believe that is because her mysteries are deep and limitless. She inspires questions and sparks endless curiosity, yet she often remains as a static archetype of a scary Crone who lives in the woods and devours children. She continues to live in fairy tales that tells stories over and over in the same way they had always been told. In our consciousness she does not evolve and that is also for a reason. She’s full of darkness and darkness is a place of immense fear and avoidance for us humans. So, she remains hidden via the narrative and via our lives, as who dares look darkness in the face? Now we are faced with it in all areas of our existence. “Facing the demise of what is familiar and precious and becoming wild again is the quest of brave and raw ones. Are you one?” The thing that I discovered was just how much she resents repetition and lack of evolution and her imprisonment in the collective hive mind infuriates her. As I began my relationship with Baba Yaga, I discovered the light behind the darkness, kindness behind hatred, the well-hidden nuances of this folklore figure, her character, spirit, attributes, and magic.
She calls for a revolution and evolution, for rediscovery of spirit like never before. She is hugely relevant today to all of us individually and the world. For the first time in very long, perhaps, she is willing to offer some wisdom, however unnatural it might seem, as she is private and does not come forward unless there is someone truly ready on the other side. Are we ready? Many of us are. She can offer perspectives on balance, climate change, beauty and aging, motherhood, belonging and connection, partnerships, and gender roles. She is the world, the Earth, nature all wrapped into one energy that is immensely powerful and important and to know her is to know the deepest, the most meaningful and profound truths about yourself, others, and the world.