As the days become shorter, the winds change their tune, and the trees become bare, I feel Baba Yaga close by.
We have a relationship that goes back years, and continues to evolve. My roots are her roots, singing down the bloodlines.
I see her as a spirit being of divine Nature itself: at times giving and full of bountiful blessings, and at other times stingy and dangerous. None of this is either “good” nor “evil” – it simply just is. Her wisdom, vision, and power goes far beyond human limitations. She is all, and ever-present.
But Winter is when you can truly feel how near Baba Yaga is. You can smell her in the decay of summer’s garden and the crispness of the evergreens. You can feel her touch as the wind cuts through your clothes and the branches brush against you with long bony fingers. Her voice is heard in the rustling of leaves and the crunch of frozen ground. You can feel her eyes upon you as the crows watch warily by, taking measure. The rain collects in the muddy crevices and overnight ditches left behind by her chicken-footed hut.
Baba Yaga doesn’t suffer fools. She sees into your heart.You come to her feeling raw, open, and vulnerable – in this state, she lets you into her hut. The dense interior is illuminated by firelight, the shadows dancing shapes all around. Baba Yaga sets down a steaming and pungent cup of tea in front of you. You take a sip and look up into eyes that can pierce the proudest soul, yet balm the most worn spirit. The tea warms like fire yet burns like ice, invigorating your soul. You offer up your burden to her.
As she listens to your plea, she extends a leathery smooth hand and grasps your palm with a grip that would rein in a runaway stallion. Baba Yaga checks the map on your hand, looking into the coming year. She places a small item in your hand, curls your fingers over it, then fixes her steely gaze upon you, soft wrinkles around the edges. She nods, smiles, and says, “I shall see you again next year my dear. Don’t forget the song.”
You wake up with sunlight breaking through a heavy blanket of clouds, the glare so similar to hers. The air tastes of lingering woodfire and spices.
You will make it another year, without fail.