Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Baba-Yaga - Leg-Bone

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Not finding (yet) anything  suitable to the theme "Witches in fiction... To The Bone" in actual fiction I've read, I again come back to folklore. Russian folklore of course, and my favorite witch Baba-Yaga. Sometimes her name gets that funny sounding in Russian "Kostyanaya-Noga", what means Leg-Bone. Why is that so? Let's find out of course. 
Baba-Yaga has many archetypal references and linked to the pagan tradition of ancient Rus'. I personally incline to the version that under her name is hidden (and most probably forgotten nowadays) image of ancient Slavic Goddess Makosh', you can read a nice article about her here.  In the Russian fairy tales Baba-Yaga always lives in the hut in the deepest part of the forest, and the hut where she dwells is not an ordinary one. It has so called chicken-feet on which it stands..and turns and maybe dances. Now be ready for a scary historical fact:  in ancient times the dead were buried in Domowina - - houses, located above the ground at very high stumps with roots peeking out of the ground, like chicken feet. Domowina staged so that the hole in which it was drawn was turned in the opposite direction of the settlement (village). As you can see in the picture below, Baba-Yaga actually lives in such "house" hence she has connections to the world of the dead, though herself is not dead at all. She is in between, and this is the explanation (according to one of the versions) WHY she is called Leg-Bone.
You can also see that the skulls with shining eye holes usually depicted in the fairy tales as a necessary attribute of hut's exterior. Yes, Baba-Yaga likes bones. I stumbled upon interesting thought  that "Baba-Yaga is the Arch-Crone, the Goddess of Wisdom and Death, the Bone Mother. Wild and untamable, she is a nature spirit bringing wisdom and death of ego, and through death, rebirth" **.
Here is a cute illustration of my dear witch I found in the internet. 
Another one, more realistic, and scary. But don't be afraid, we are just celebrating To The Bone!
Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and More.

*Image credit (in order from top to bottom):


  1. I learned about Baba Yaga when I was a little girl, from a story in the old "Jack and Jill" magazine for kids. I've always had a thing for her! And then now, of course, as a devotee of the Goddess, I recognize her for the Crone Goddess that she is! Thanks for the link to info about Makosh -- I'm going to that site next!

  2. Thanks Anna, this is an excellent view into the whys of the Baba Yaga tale. I too will take the opportunity to go and find out about Makosh. Thanks for a lovely posting. Oma Linda

  3. I just finished reading Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 4 by Bill Willingham, Baba-Yaga is a very important character in book 3. Her imagination is endless and her magic mildly terrifying. Like Debra, I too can see the angry aspects of the Crone Goddess.

    Great Bone post!

  4. Great post! I have learned something new today! Thank you! This was so interesting!

  5. Interesting post! It's fun to read about different countries' legends.