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Baba Yaga Stories - by Susun Weed

Who is Baba Yaga? She is the Goddess, she is the Witch, she is the Wise Woman, she is the Crone, she is aged Artemis.

 

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.

 

           

Baba Yaga's Story of Sassafras

by way, I believe, of Doug Eliott

 

Old woman and old man lived together and each did their chores and they were happy. One cold winter evening, coming in from tending the animals, old man ventured: "Old woman, when I'm out on such a cold night my feet stay warm because you knit me such fine warm socks. I wouldn't want you to think I was complaining, but my hands are cold. Do you think you could knit me some socks for my hands?

 

Old woman thought for a while, a short while, then she smiled and said: "Old man, I would love to knit some socks for your hands. And she took out her yarn, and she took out her needles, and click clack click clack, she knit socks for old man's hands.

 

Old man was very happy and his hands were warm. Still, one evening, coming in from tending the animals, old man ventured: "Old woman. I sure am happy. My hands are warm now, as warm as my feet in those fine socks you knit me. But I have to take those hand socks off to do some of the chores, times when I need to use my thumbs, and then my hands are cold. Do you think you could knit me some socks for my hands that had thumbs?

 

Old woman thought for a while; she thought for a good long while; she thought all that night and all the next day and well into the next night and all through the whole next day too. Late that evening, before the warming fire, after all the chores were done, she smiled and said: "Old man, I would love to knit some socks with thumbs and trigger fingers for your hands."

 

And she took out her yarn, and she took out her needles, and click clack click clack, she knit new socks - with thumbs - and trigger fingers - for old man. Then she took the old hand socks, the one with a thumb on the left and the one with the thumb on the right, and she tossed them out back, by the edge of the woods.

 

Neither old woman nor old man was happy with the new hand socks. The trigger fingers weren't next to the thumb, but across from it. They looked at each other and smiled.

 

Old man went out to do the chores with strange socks on his hands and old woman, she hardly had to think at all, this time. She took out her yarn, and she took out her needles, and click clack click clack, she knit socks with five thumbs for old man's hands.

 

It took some time, but when she was done with the last one, she gave them to old man with a grin. Then she took the hand socks with a thumb on each side and she tossed them out back, by the edge of the woods. And old man was very, very happy.

 

In the spring, out back, by the edge of the woods, a tree grew, with hand socks for leaves and the sweet smell of love lived long by two old folks. We call it sassafras.


Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health.

 

Visit her site  for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more or contact her at:


Susun Weed

PO Box 64

Woodstock, NY 12498

Fax:  1-845-246-8081


For permission to reprint this article, contact us at:
susunweed@herbshealing.com

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Legal Disclaimer: This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner with a specific formula for you. All material contained herein is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Contact a reputable healthcare practitioner if you are in need of medical care. Exercise self-empowerment by seeking a second opinion.

 

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Browse the publishing site - Ash Tree Publishing - to learn more about her alternative health books.

 

Venture into the NEW Menopause site to learn all about the Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.

Or Join the Forum! Susun Weed’s Wise Woman Forum - an open space for discussion. Make yourself at home, post a message or start a discussion. This place is for you to share your questions, concerns, and comments with other wise women like you. Take a moment to register and become part of the community. Enjoy!
 

 

Susun Weed’s books include:

 

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year

Author: Susun S. Weed. Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control. Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $11.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

 
Healing Wise 

Author: Susun S. Weed. Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston. 312 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $17.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

 

New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

Author: Susun S. Weed. The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Foreword by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $16.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

For more great info on menopause, visit the site.

 
Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

Author: Susun S. Weed. Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen. Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. 380 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $14.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

For more great info on Breast Health, visit Susun's Breast Health site.



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