Research: Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga is the Arch-Crone, the Goddess of Wisdom and Death, the Bone Mother. In Varisian folklore there are many stories of Baba Yaga, the fearsome witch with iron teeth.

She is also known as Babu Jaga; Varisian for Grandmother, always spoken with respect. Also Baba Yaga Boney Legs, because, in spite of a ferocious appetite, she is as thin as a skeleton. In Varisian that’s: ‘Babu Jaga Kostianaya Noga’.

Not fitting a conventional witch as viewed by most of the inner sea, she does not wear a hat, and has never been seen on a broomstick. She travels perched in a large mortar and pushes herself across the sky with a pestle. Whenever she appears on the scene, a wild wind begins to blow, the trees around creak and groan and leaves whirl through the air. Shrieking and wailing, a host of fey often accompany her on her way.

Being a somewhat secretive lady, in spite of the din she makes, she sweeps away all traces of herself with a broom made of silver Baba Yaga lives in a hut deep in the forest. Her hut seems to have a personality of its own and can move about on its extra-large chicken legs. Usually the hut is either spinning around as it moves through the forest or stands at rest with its back to the visitor. The windows of the hut seem to serve as eyes. All the while it is spinning round; it emits blood-curdling screeches and will only come to a halt, amid much creaking and groaning, when a secret incantation is said. When it stops, it turns to face the visitor and lowers itself down on its chicken legs, throwing open the door with a loud crash. The dancing hut is surrounded by a fence made of bones. The fence is topped with skulls whose blazing eye sockets illuminate the darkness.

When a visitor enters her hut, tradition demands that she asks them whether they came of their own free will, or whether they were sent. Usually servants or those sent by others are taken to the oven to be made in to cakes.
Baba Yaga also has a reputation of power over the elements. This is represented by her faithful servants; the White Horseman, the Red Horseman and the Black Horseman. There are stories of the virtuous asking her about her horsemen to which she replies: ‘They are my Bright Dawn, my Red Sun and my Dark Midnight.’

Also amongst her other servants are three bodiless and somewhat menacing pairs of hands, which appear out of thin air to do her bidding. She calls them “my soul friends” or “friends of my bosom”.

She has no power over or respects the pure of heart. Taking young girls from small villages a girl of pure heart can learn much from her grandmother and will return home with gifts and knowledge of magic.

Although she is a terrifying old crone, Baba Yaga can also play the role of a helper and wise woman. The Earth Mother, like all forces of nature, though often wild and untamed, can also be kind.

What her current plans are in the Inner Sea region is completely unknown only that after a life time of inspiring fear from a distances she has taken the first steps for making a greater name for herself.

Notes from researches in the Pathfinder library – background for current writings of Ellie Konstantinov

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