Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dia de Muertos



I wondered as I left the House of Baba Yaga if the strange creatures who live here know of Dia de Muertos, The Day of the Dead.

It seems like something she would celebrate....

From mid-October through the first week of November, markets and shops all over Mexico are replete with the special accouterments for the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). These include all manner of skeletons and other macabre toys; intricate tissue paper cut-outs called papel picado; elaborate wreaths and crosses decorated with paper or silk flowers; candles and votive lights; and fresh seasonal flowers, particularly cempazuchiles (marigolds) and barro de obispo (cockscomb). Among the edible goodies offered are skulls, coffins and the like made from sugar, chocolate or amaranth seeds and special baked goods, notably sugary sweet rolls called pan de muerto that come in various sizes invariably topped with bits of dough shaped like bones and, in some regions, unadorned dark breads molded into humanoid figures called animas (souls). All of these goods are destined for the buyer's ofrenda de muertos (offering to the dead).

In most localities November 1 is set aside for remembrance of deceased infants and children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels). Those who have died as adults are honored November 2.

Anita Marie

Entering Baba's Realm

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Baba Yaga Dreams



She bothers me, this woman who comes to me in my dreams wrapped in Snakes.

She tries to tell me her name but I won't listen. She holds the Serpents out but I won't touch them. She offers to tell me her secrets but I've been warned nothing on this journey is free.

It all costs.

Like the Main de Glorie I used to steal my lock of hair back from the Baba Yaga in the House of Bones.

I took the Main de Glorie in and lit it's waxed covered fingers and when the flames jumped up everything in the House of Bones fell asleep.

I was able to move from room to room and saw people on hooks and racks and hearts in wicker baskets and I saw Baba Yaga herself sitting in a rocking chair with a little doll dressed in red with strands of my hair pinned to it's head on the table next to her.

Its eyes were taped shut and before I peeled the tape away I knew why I wasn't able to sleep or waken. Why I'd been walking in twilight for almost a month.

I left the tape on. I didn't want to wake up in this place. I didn't want to know where I really was.

I placed the little doll in my pocket and leaned close to Baba Yaga and asked her sleeping form, " Why, why me? "

And from the place Baba Yaga goes when she dreams I heard her whisper, " I'm not really asleep you know. "

I expected her eyes to snap open, for her claw like hand to grab me by my throat and squeeze until my face turned black. But she slept and dreamed and I guessed things like the Baba Yaga that live in Nightmare Worlds never sleep.

They're always there waiting for you to shut your eyes.

" I spent the night in a house built by a Devil because of you. I won't forget that...ever. It's all about you and me and revenge Baba Yaga. The things I see now...the things I hear, all of that because of you. It costs Baba Yaga. It's going to cost you. "

I went out of the House of Bones and walked down that dark road filled with bones and whispers and I took the doll from my pocket and pulled the tape away from the dolls eyes.

The light from the Main de Glorie's fingers flared blue and orange and died out.

I was plunged into darkness...and it didn't matter. I could see just fine. I could move sure footed through the Deadwood Forest.

I belonged in this place now.

That was the price you see that I paid for using the Main de Glorie.

It all costs.

And I’ve paid in full.


© anita marie moscoso 2005-text

Monday, August 29, 2005

Camp Lucky?

I've seen what's behind the Big House at " Camp Lucky "...I do believe I'll be keeping myself busy ...
Anita Marie

More Useful

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The one on the right, in le Enchanteur's photo, having such a nice time in the sun, is far more use now. A charming vase don't you think? With poppies of remembrance to remind everyone else that this is not Camp Lucky Dog. Well! The dogs that cleaned the bones were lucky I guess!

What do they think this is? Camp Lucky?

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No wonder Ferdinand was caught red handed in the barn. Look at the lazy lot, lolling about in the sun having a good time. When Baba hears about this there is going to be feathers flying around the chook house and it won't be the rooster's feathers. I think I might make myself a bit scarce.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Caught Red Handed in the Barn

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Ex ovo omnia - Everything comes from an egg. Wily Ferdinand isn't in to Latin and he has just been caught red handed near the freshly laid eggs in Baba's barn. If I were him I would make myself really scarce. Between Baba and the house rooster he could be in for a drubbing. Were you supposed to be looking after the chooks and collecting the eggs Lois?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Spinning Stories

I have just returned after a few lessons in Spindling ...I was fine in the Weaving and an expert in the Spinning ,but needed to learn the art of Spindling....It was fascinating ... I found this tiny little hobbit like woman living on a small farm not far from the Hermitage.. The stable hands told me of her, so off I went in search of a good teacher, one who has lots of patience as I am a learner by the ROTE method as Madame will tell you.

I tapped on the door of the old farmhouse and noticed the handle was very low down on the front entrance and when it opened, I knew why.... She was about 2ft tall and as I am only 4'11" myself ,it was the only time I felt I was able to seem normal..........

Her voice did not match her height, she bellowed "Don't stand there girly come in" she said....When one is short a louder than usual voice is a must I find....."I'm Lois I said (The Muse of the Sea) " Oh you come with a title do you" I felt foolish , why did she need to know what I called myself I thought.

"They call me Henny the Hobbit" she said... .I knew why as I was often called Short and a friend calls me Low Low... .nice friend.

We exchanged pleasantries and as her time was precious (She had other appointments that day with, Leonie, Gail, Anita, Karen etc etc) we got down to the lesson at hand... Spindling....

Very different to weaving and spinning ,much more difficult..."Its all in the rhythm" said Henny....."Here sit by the fire ,and lets get at it"

Well after an hour and a half I was still not in the rhythm and Henny was getting a little on edge"Yep you are a slow learner all right" she said.

I assured that once I got a grasp of something I usually did it well, and I am a stayer .I don't think she believed me one bit....

I was given a spindle and some gold and silver thread and was sent on my way, back to the Hermitage and practice for at least 2 hours morning and night she said. Henny and I said our farewells.......... I may have been her one and only failure I thought as I walked with low shoulders and bowed head on the path home.

BUT... practice I did all that morning , quick break for lunch then back to the spindle for another few hours before afternoon tea ... As I practiced I thought of those wonderful tapestries depicting history in lands I had not visited and how they were woven by women of the village or others who had been spirited away from their homelands ,never to return....... I had a thought ..
Why don't I try and weave a tapestry on a loom telling the story of these wonderful village women whose talents are still seen today in museums and famous galleries all around the world .... I perhaps could record some of their life with the hope of leaving a tale depicting their wonderful craft... Not of war and deeds by men in battle... but of women who were not only weavers and spinners but Mothers, Wives, Daughters, Carers, Friends .. They worked in industries to record history as well as the role they played in looking after their families.

They were the heroines of these times, going unrecognised, as only the men in battle held that claim in history....I would make a small attempt to right this wrong ....I will weave THEIR STORY......

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 23.8.05

In Baba's Garden

When I left the small cottage of Baba Yaga and travelled back home to the Hermitage I thought this was the end of it...A good sleep in, and a pleasant day sitting out in the sun reading and writing up my journal.

I returned to my bedroom after breakfast with the girls, to gather up my bits and pieces and there sitting on the windowsill was a raven ..black as black ,they are beautiful creatures I thought....." I havn't any bread for you my pet" I said.The raven was perfectly still ,it was then I noticed that he had a piece of cloth tied with a band to his leg...I approached quietly thinking he may fly away,but he perched perfectly still and let me undo the fine leather band ,then in a whosh he was off (I think it was a he) ....

I undid the cloth and and written on it was a message from the Baba Yaga which said...." Heard you were into gardening in a big way Lois ,and you are pretty damm good,my vegie and herb patch need a makeover...get here today before lunch and I will tell you what I want done".
Who did she remind me of....I won't name a few of my bossy women friends but the message was familiar...

I thought that a secret between friends was just that but this Crone Baba Yaga was a hear all ,see all ,sort of woman.....But you know I liked her when we first met,she was my kind of girl.... so I didn''t mind doing a bit of gardening for her .....

Realising from the first visit that it was a fair walk,I went down to the Hermitage stables and borrowed a tame horse to travel to the forest cottage.
I arrived there in less than 1/2 an hour ,nice ride in that beautiful part of the mountains.Baba Yaga was already out in the garden ..with an array of shovels,forks,rakes and hessian bags."Already for you my Dear Lois" she said smiling ...Still wearing that long blue skirt and the red pullover I noticed....no fashion plate is Baba Yaga.

I tied up Rainbow my horse, gave him some hay to eat and there was a tin tub of water I lugged over for him as well. I had done a days work already I thought.

Instructions given by BabaYaga would fill a book,so I got going hoping I could finish it all in one day.....(Funny girl Lois) Two hours had gone and it didn't look as if I had done much ...."Lunch time" Baba Yaga called.

So down tools and in for a bowl of home made soup and bread...very welcome ....

"How much longer will it take Lois" she said......" Well if I work till say ,4 o'clock I will have done about half of it" "How long since its had a good going over" I said........"It's ages since I had a go at it" she said "Do you know Lois I'v'e had a stream of travellers , all women except 2 blokes, and they've been calling in , one after another I think I need a revolving front door".

"Questions needing answers,problems needing sorting,fortunes told,and if I hear another story about embarassing bath house experiences I'll scream,"she said.I could not but smile.

I finished the clearing out of the vegie and herb patch at about 4pm ,but there was a lot more to do..like staking up the tomatoes and the beans ,thining out the carrots and parsnips and on and on it went....So I knew I would have to come back tomorrow for the whole day to get it all in order.

Baba Yaga was dozing by the wood fire when I let myself in to tell her I had finished for the day and would be back tomorrow....."Good Girl" she said "See you later. love"..(She reminded me of my Mum )

I climbed up on Rainbow ,and was glad he knew the way back to the Hermitage as I think I dozed on the return journey...

As I arrived at the stables ,others had already returned their steeds after a day out to the lake for a picnic...I had been conned by the Baba Yaga ,why did this raven select me for the gardening makeover...Someone had been dropping hints at my expertise in the vegie patch....but who.......?
I would find out and keep them in mind...if not .I thought,this old Crone had the power to see into the other world,so perhaps it was why she had chosen me for my skills.......I was tired ,a quick lie down before tea after a hot wash sounded good to me...........

No sooner my head touched the pillow and I was asleep...

I was on my bed of feathers ,the small bedroom window blowing a nice evening breeze across my face ,my knitted rug warm against my tired but healthy body,
what else could a woman want.????????????????????

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 21/8/05.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Word from The Road



To All My Friends Back Home,

I'm on my way to the House of Baba Yaga...or the House of Bones as I've been calling it. This is my first stop, it's a house in the middle of the Desert outside of town called Cavern. Isn't that a weird name?

The locals tell me it was built by a Devil. Not THE devil...but "a Devil". They seem to take some weird sort of comfort in that.

I'll be in touch soon,
Anita Marie

At Baba Yaga's

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Blogger and Image Shack Instructions

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To become really familiar with Blogger you need to open it and have a good look around. There are a number of tricks that can make life so much simpler for you.

This screen shows all the posts. If you have administration powers this is what your screen will look like. See the edit boxes. If you click this box the original post will come up in a Create box. Administrators can scroll over this and copy - html code and all - and then copy into the blog you are responsible for. I always sign in twice, have two sets of screens showing and use the minimize button to move between screens.

So long as you do not hit Publish nothing will change during this edit process. I always just go back out once I have copied and paste into the other blog and only publish there.

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This screen will pop up if you click Settings. There are a series of options - most of which you never need to worry about. The members one at the end of the right hand side is the one where you can invite members to join the team. Otherwise I wouldn't worry about settings.

Template requires knowledge of html so it is best to leave that alone.

Image Shack

Image Shack is a very user friendly program for uploading images that can be inserted into blogger.
Save an image on your computer but make sure it is only small. I use photoshop to change size but there are other programs

Go to http://imageshack.de

This screen will appear

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Click browse and select your image.

Click host it

This screen will now appear

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Highlight the link I have highlighted in this image - the web link and copy and paste it straight into the blogger compose box.

Publish and your image will be there.

Good luck
Sibyl Enchanteur

Baba Yaga

soul hand

Friday, August 19, 2005

Main de Glorie




We were standing in front of the House of Bones last night and Marie turned to me and asked, " still dreaming about this place?"

I nodded because in my dreams I can't read and in some of my dreams I can't speak. Tonight I found myself mute.

I'm sure Marie could see the panic in my eyes, on my face. I had been dreaming about this House of Bones every single night, everytime I closed my eyes and then opened them I could still see it.

" It's alright Anita, here... come here and look here " Marie pointed to the spot between her eyes " look here Anita, this is where the Soul lives. Look here. "

And I did.

I reached out and knocked on the door of Baba Yaga and the door swung open and I could smell cinnamon. " Whose house is this? " I called in

I saw the shadows gather and pull itself apart at the threshold several times before they took shape.

" This is my home, "

" Who are you? " I asked

" Baba Yaga, come in ... come in "

Her face was old but not offensive, certainly not demonic but there are ways to hide your face. It's a parlor trick in the world of magic.

Faces are only masks after all.

There was no hiding her expression though; she didn't like standing here and she didn't like showing herself.

" I received your Invitation Baba Yaga, it came to me in a dream and in omens. I don't like that sort of thing. " I said.

" Ah, a non-believer. " she said smugly.

" Oh Baba Yaga, call me anything but don't call me a non-believer. No, I believe in the direct approach. Besides, " I said lighting a candle that sat on the kitchen table " I don't like it when people take what's mine. "

Baba Yaga grabbed at my hand and threw it back then she took the candle from the table and thrust it very, very close to my face...to my eyes.

" Laveau " she spat, " Marie Laveau, you and your tricks. "

" In my world Baba Yaga this is no trick. Possession is no parlor game to us. "

" What do you want?"

" I'm this woman's...spiritual advisor, I want to know why you are in her dreams. "

" I have something of hers and she knows it. She just doesn't know WHAT it is and you know Laveau, I don't have to tell her and I don't have to tell you either. "

I reached back and pushed Anita's hair over her shoulders and smiled her crooked smile and shrugged. " Oh, we both can appreciate the challenge Baba Yaga, but you can't take what isn't hers. Don't even try. This won't be the last time we cross paths Baba Yaga, but I'm warning you. Don't make it necessary for me to come at you from those paths with vengeance in my heart. Don't make me come to you from the shadows. Are we agreed? "

Baba Yaga held her hands up and nodded. " Agreed. "

But neither of us trusted her.

Marie was waiting for me the Next Night and this time I could speak.

" What does she mean, she has something of mine? " I asked Marie.

" Could be anything, strand of your hair, a book, a dress...anything. But unless you find out the dreams will get worse. "

The Sun was just coming up in my dream, but I was sleeping at home in my bed and I'll bet it wasn't even Midnight yet. The Sun was coming up in my dreams because Marie was going to show me something.

" Luis is taking you to a place called Yakima this weekend. You're going to stop in a town called Ryderwood to buy gas. Look, behind the station is this tree. It was a hanging tree back in the late 1800's. The last man to be hung there was buried under it. You won't have to dig far to find him. It's all sand out there in Ryderwood. It's in the middle of the desert and he’s been mummified by the elements. He's buried face down and his hands are tied behind his back. Take his left hand. "

" It's not like the legend, he doesn't have to be hanging to make this work..."

" Why do I need it? " I asked.

" Main de Glorie, Anita. Hand of Glory, you'll need it where you'll be going."



I found the hand where Marie said I would and Luis waited in the car while I completed my task. I came to the car with the hand wrapped in a clean white sheet and I put it in the trunk.

" Are you done? " he asked me.

I shook my head, " I've only just started. "


© anita marie moscoso 2005-text

Crypt lake and Baba Yaga

After a mere cat’s lick of a wash and a mug of tea, hastily swallowed down, I went to join the others in the courtyard as instructed. I just had time to say farewell to Hiss who gave me a beautiful little carved wooden snake which, he told me, might come in useful one day, if only to remind me of the few days we had spent together.

The Enchantress came to greet us and told us that our guides would be the dolls she was currently handing out to everyone. Her parting words were that we should use the things she gave us when we first set out on this trip and, if we need any help, we should ask the doll. She proceeded to give us further instructions about the doll and informed us that it would be quite a few days before we reached the Camp of the Amazon Queen.

What the **** I thought we were supposed to be returning to the House of Serpents, not gadding off to God knows where, when we’ve only just got here. She’s a hard task mistress is our Enchantress.



My hand wrapped itself comfortably around my bad angel. She fits neatly into the palm of my hand. She’s been carved from some honey-coloured stone. I have no idea how old she is. She is also accompanied by a doll. Perhaps it’s meant to be a symbol of myself holding my doll?

I told her who I am. She smiled and told me that “Traveller” was a good name for me. She introduced herself as Melita and the doll as Comino. I was tempted to ask her about her doll but decided that it might not do to ask possibly indiscreet questions at this stage. I was so engrossed with our conversation that when I next glanced up, there was no one else in sight. I was completely alone. Now where had they all gone? Gail and I had only just started reminiscing about childhood books and obviously had lots more to chat about and now everyone seemed to have gone off and left me.

Melita touched my arm and reminded me that she was still there. She told me that we would have to go through the woods and ask the old lady who lives by the lake (did she say it was called “Crypt Lake”?) the way to the Camp of Amazons. As an afterthought she told me the name of this old lady – Baba Yaga. I nearly fainted. Without taking any notice of my malaise she continued to regale me about Baba Yaga. I knew a fair amount already but what she added did nothing to reassure me. Baba Yaga’s house – a hut on chicken’s legs – sounded as if it had been put together by a pantomime stage set designer high on magic mushrooms. He wasn’t the only one I thought grimly as snatches of Mussorsgky’s music entitled “the hut on legs” from the Pictures at an Exhibition suite floated through my mind. Very disturbing pictures they were too, if I remembered right. I was not at all reassured.

I assumed that, yet again, we had little choice in the matter and the Enchantress obviously knew what she was doing (?). I checked the contents of my bag again and found a visiting card with an internet address on it for Baba Yaga. I would have a look at that website next time I came across a computer to see if it would provide any clues as to what I was letting myself in for.

I headed down the mountain, past Heather’s bridge and the old mill, with its wheel turning with a splash of water. Out past the gypsy camp, so full of life the previous night but now silent. A dog barked in the distance.

The first part of the route was easy going over level pastureland dotted with summer flowers reminiscent of the high Swiss Alpine pastures and I walked knee deep in perfumed waves. Bees buzzed in the sunshine. As we walked Melita filled me in on some of the more unpleasant facts she knew about Baba Yaga. It soon became apparent that they knew each other quite well although Melita refrained from telling me how they had first become acquainted.

From time to time we stopped to refresh ourselves at streams as we came across them and nibbled some of the fresh rolls cook had put in a red spotted handkerchief for me to bring on the journey. I would miss her tasty offerings.

I hadn’t taken much notice of our surroundings until I realised that we had been slowly climbing and were now approaching the edge of the plateau. I looked down and saw below me a bright green lake with steam rising from the surface. It looked an idyllic spot but Melita turned me away saying, “that is not the lake of our destination, that is the lake of lies. Its beauty hides poison in its depths. Anyone who seeks to quench their thirst in it will perish”.


She led me down a side track, through a wooded copse and we came out on to a valley floor covered with stones and sparse bushes. The mountains in the distance had snow on them.


“This is Crypt Lake” said Melita and indeed I had never seen such a beautiful but desolate place and a cold wind nipped suddenly at my ears. As we walked along the valley floor we came across a noticeboard stuck in the stones with

TRESPASSERS WILL

written on it. Trespassers will what, I wondered, looking more closely to see if I had missed something. And I had. Down in the bottom right hand corner were three letters PTO. “Please turn over”. I walked round to the other side of the notice and the message now made much more sense

BE:
1) GRILLED
2) PICKLED
3) ROASTED

Tick where applicable.

I took out my pen with the everlasting ink and marked a large cross next to the first option. It was just possible that someone was playing mind games and "grilled" didn’t necessarily have any culinary connotations.

“Well done” said Melita, nodding approvingly. “We’ve no time to waste now, we must get to Baba Yaga’s cottage before nightfall or else it will be the wolves making a meal of us”. She started to walk so fast that I had difficulty keeping up with her. As we rounded the bend in front of us, the sight before our eyes was so incongruous that I came to an abrupt standstill. There on a patch of beautiful greensward – totally at odds with its surroundings – was a fence made of bones with skulls perched atop. But it was the cottage that really took my breath away. No ordinary cottage this for it seemed to have legs. As we approached, the legs stood up and the cottage waved somewhat shakily in the air as it leaned towards us, as if it was trying to get a better look at us. “It knows we’re here” said Melita, rather stating the obvious. “Now just remember what I told you about the food”.

We went through the little gate and I tried to make myself as thin as possible to keep out of range of the sharp teeth that formed the gate posts. I didn’t fancy being someone else’s meal. A rope ladder was let down from the front door of the cottage, now high above my head. “It’s alright, up you go” said my companion, “but just to make sure, I’ll go up first and give you the all clear”. So saying, she climbed the ladder with, what I thought, remarkable agility for a stone carving. Inside the cottage, the floor sloped dangerously and someone was desperately trying to prevent the crockery from cascading off the table. “Down” said a stern voice, and immediately the cottage began to descend slowly and somewhat unevenly as the legs folded themselves up again, hitting the ground with a slight bump.

“Greetings Melita, I see you have a traveller with you” said the owner of the stern voice. She was old, "as old as the hills" one might be tempted to say, for the wrinkles of her face had formed a most dramatic landscape in which her eyes were the merest twinkles of light in the shadows on a river at the bottom of a valley. Her nose was a jagged escarpment and her mouth a cavernous crater. Her hair resembled a hedge with an assortment of wild plants twining through it. Old man’s beard held sway amongst the hop vines and berries of red bryony adorned her ears. Her clothes were made of leaves bound together with grasses and on her feet she wore the husks from a horse chestnut tree, once summer green but now autumn hardened. “The spikes help keep me feet dry” she explained as if I had asked the question.

“But I haven’t introduced myself yet,” she said. “I am Baba Yaga and you are ?” “My name is Traveller and and thus I do” I replied. “Well, “ she said, “you must be a little hungry by now. What was on the menu tonight? Let me see, grilled, pickled or roasted. Which is to be?” “Grilled” I replied hurriedly, hoping I had guessed right. ”Oh, so you want to be grilled do you, my fine friend. In that case, who are you really and who sent you here?” she shot her questions out like machine gunfire. ”I really am a traveller” I started, beginning to think a bit more about who and what I was. “When I first joined the Lemurian Abbey I was travelling in search of something although I wasn’t quite sure what it was I was looking for and since I was doing a lot of travelling at the time, the name stuck in preference to my other world name. I’m still travelling but of late, it has been more in my imagination. I started out with a group of people, most of whom I have still to meet as we keep getting separated, but that’s another story. We are on our way to the camp of the Amazon Queen and I’m told that you can perhaps point me in the right direction”.

A long silence ensued while she digested my reply. "If I tell you how to get to the camp of the Amazon Queen, in return, will you do something for me?" she asked. "Somebody has mixed earth into my poppy seeds and I haven´t the time to sort them out for myself. Perhaps you could do that for me?" Before I had a chance to reply, she continued "just go back down the ladder and you'll find them in a basket at the bottom of the steps. You can throw the earth away of course, but please put the seeds into this handkerchief".

I climbed down the steps and Melita came with me. "How on earth am I supposed to do this?" I asked. "Oh, that´s easy," she replied. "The ants will do that for you. All you have to do is ask them to help you." We set off to explore the garden to see if we could find any ants and finally found some busying themselves in a clump of poppies in the corner of the garden. "Go on, don't be afraid" encouraged Melita.

"Ahem" I started. "My name is Traveller and Baba Yaga has told me that I must separate the earth from her poppy seeds before she will tell me the way to the Camp of the Amazon Queen and I was wondering if you could help". Big intake of breath as I had uttered this request without taking one. Ant Number Two (ANT) looked up at me. "What will you give us in return?" Oh help, I thought, now I'm really stuck. But again Melita gave me the answer. Tell them you will give them the rest of the rolls Cook gave you. That should be sufficient. Ant Number Two decided that this was acceptable. "Bring the handkerchief and the basket over here, tip the contents of the basket on to the handkerchief and we will do the rest for you". I did as instructed and watched in amazement as hundreds of ants swarmed out from under the poppy plants and began to carry away the earth leaving just the tiny black seeds on the handkerchief. In no time at all there was not a speck of dirt remaining. I broke the rolls into tiny pieces and laid them on the ground for the ants to carry away to their lair and triumphantly carried the handkerchief of seeds back up the ladder where I restored them to their owner.



"Thank you, Traveller, that was well done", said Baba Yaga warmly. "Now I can get on with preparing for the next planting". "It has to be done when the moon is right, you see, and that is tomorrow. I'm so glad you came along".

My Soul Hand


Whenever I take time out to go inside, I have open hands. For me they are a symbol of being open to the universe, being open to the power within myself and being open to life.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Milagro means Miracle



Milagros are prayers of a sort, created in Mexico, and, I assume, other Latin American countries that are Catholic. They are often in the shape of the thing prayed for...eyes for good vision, hearts for safe journey through open heart surgery or love, etc...I loved this idea, and this hand is one of my visions of the milagro. Hands can plant all sorts of seeds, some of which I have listed around the border. May our hands be miracles of the everyday.

Fearsome Help from Baba

Reading Heather's latest post and Lois' comments reminded me of something I had forgotten, I've been so busy, and got the urge to post it here. It made me think of a black doll of mine, tiny and made of rubber, with a dress and shoes and socks on. She is small enough to hold, unseen, in the palm of my hand, and hides permanently in the pocket of my raincoat. I also had another black doll my father brought home from a business trip to New Guinea, and I happened to call her "Mary" when I was about nine, I think. She had full tribal dress on and was adorned with beads and shells. In "The Maiden King" Marion Woodman writes with Robert Bly copiously on the Baba. She's the one who gives that piece of uncompromising advice you wish someone would say, but no-one has the endless bottomed well of wisdom that she has. What looks tame and wonderful to the outside world is distasteful to her. What looks tame and wonderful often to society is the death for soul. She is protective, but fierce, and her laws must be obeyed. Hers is an uncommon wisdom, not reachable by children - it's too complex. Her eye sees deeper fathoms in the darkness than any other. I have no idea why my father chose that gift for me, but I am glad he did. I had other teddies and dolls, conventional toys. Must have been the reason for my little black doll I keep in adulthood. These things had been forgotten by me, in the hustle and bustle of daily life in the modern world, but the hem of the ancient is never far away, it seems. Thanks for letting me remember the connection with these dolls and their importance in the craziness of the modern world.

Delphie Joins Me



An exquisite fairy doll, named Delphie, made by Winnie Rose Reyes, has arrived safely after being lost between the Phillipines and Australia. She was exhausted after her two month journey but is happy to guide me during my stay with Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga has much to teach me and I plan to stay in her house for awhile.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

To Baba Yaga's

Some have travelled by night,some by horse,some by magic others like me prefer the old fashioned way... I decided that night as I slept on a feather mattress I would in the morning set off to meet the Baba Yaga.... She was the arch crone of whom I knew little except the rumours of her reputation as the Goddess of Wisdom Death of Ego and also of Our Rebirth, Bone Mother was one I needed more information on.

I had spent the last few days catching up with women friends and travellers... It was good to chat to Anita.... who constantly is looking left then right then upwards then downwards no wonder she has one eye in the past and one in the future... she does have an aura of magic and mystery around her, her flowing green frock and gold sandles long black tresses add to the mystery.... Catching up with Gail and Karen with reams of paper in hand was no surprise,,,as I had heard of their writing skills.( I had a quick word with Karen about our love of Walt Whitman's Writing) .... The last time I had seen Leonie she was dripping wet and was rushing up on stage for a performance as The Lady Lotus just emerged from the muddy waters of the lake ..now dry I hardly recognsed her out of her long flowing silky blue green cloak...many others come to mind but time is wasting and I must be off.

I had decided to walk through the forest as the day was warm and as I picked up my purple draw-string bag containing all I neededand a bread roll and a container of water from the kitchen I was on my way.

Canopies of high trees and beautiful fern glades made the journey a joy and I did not notice that I had been walking for several hours until I sat down to drink and have a bite to eat... This done I set off once again to find the Cottage of the Crone as described to me. The path meandered upwards and I thought that the mountain was becoming bathed in sunshine as the tree canopy became lighter..... A cleared space appeared and nestled in within its fence boundary was a small 2 room thatched cottage... smoke coming out of the tiny chimney...

The gate was made of old skeletons, but in its centre was a timber sign saying "All Welcome" nothing sinister in this I thought.

Knocking on the red painted door of the small cottage (No bell or knocker) just a heavy iron handle...I knocked again no footsteps to be heard or heavy breathing so I thought hat no one was home...I turned to go and it was then the door creaked and opened about half way, to reveal a small older woman her long grey hair tied back with a piece of vine...Her long dark blue skirt was complimented by a red wool pullover..no fashion worries in this cottage ..my sort of place I thought.....". Come in,the kettles on, I knew you were on your way" said she.

"I am Lois " I said..." I am Margaret, Maggie for short" she said.

Once introduced she directed me to sit on a chair beside the wood fire stove ,two old rocking chairs covered in hand spun wool rugs looked comfortable..... Maggie poured me out a cup of rose hip tea after asking me if I liked herbal tea .. "Yes" I said, anything that's hot will do me", Maggie opened a tin and offered me a piece of cake, home made of course.

We chatted about my travels, I was excited to be able to share with her my wonderous journey from Australia starting in the Umbrian Mountains, she told me she had travelled widely in her youth ,much more than I, but we could share the same exciting experiences of having visited Greece and wallowed in the history of the Muses.... I told her of my wish to be known as the Muse of the Sea... "Great title" she said....... We did not mention her role as one of any less importance than mine except to say she had lived more than a lifetime so as she was able to bestow wisdom on those seeking it.....I said I had matters that had worried me over the last 10 years and was seeking an answer to them, if not an answer perhaps a re-affirmation of what I had decided was the right way of handling these concerns...

Maggie listened intently ,nodding now and again as I related my story.

Another cup of fresh rose-hip tea was poured ,another slice of cake eaten.

I kicked off my walking boots to warm my slightly damp socks. "Sorry Maggie I hope they don't smell" I said" There is no smell on earth I can't cope with" she said.laughing loudly as she looked down at my bright red socks, her colour I thought, what a coincidence..

Maggie had not answered my concerns ,instead she she offered to show me her room of herbs, spices,potions etc ... We crossed the kitchen come lounge room, come bedroom, comeeverything... altogether in one space which in a forest was the most sensible way to keep warm.... A small room was the only other part of the cottage ..not a large space but compact with shelves on three walls ... there must be hundreds if not thousands of pottery containers with labels in blue, red, orange, yellow, green, purple,black,white etc etc...... Each container she explained was filled with potions of various kinds,some for stomach pain,,some for nervous complaints,some for fertility,some for happiness,some to help you sleep,some to kick on your appetite (For what I did not dare ask)............ everything one could want seemed to be catered for..... She took down a jar with a white label, beckoning me to return to the warmth of the wood fire stove.

"Now Lois" she said....."This jar is for you" I will tell you what it contains and how often you need to take out the leaves and make a brew of tea with them,and also there is a little bottle of oil inside as well" Maggie went on to relate that the leaves of the Eucalyptus Tree had many uses but in the world of plants & trees it had a special meaning.. it is this she said " The leaf and the Flower are for you and they say to you when in doubt say about yourself "I Change but in death only" you are not in need of drastic changes in you ways of living and need not re-visit the past- the past is now part of your good memories and life now is for learning,loving and living.

The Eucalyptus will invigorate & clarify your mind & help with any joint pain, it will clarify much in your life...... Sip it in tea in the evenings and also put some of the oil on a handkerchief or on your pillow for a resful nights sleep.

Maggie's words rang true , perhaps a medical person might have a much more long winded explanation for my troubled mind at times...

Two hours had slipped by as Maggie and I talked,it was time for her afternoon nap and on looking at her old timber bed with its brightly coloured patchwork eiderdown , I looked foward to an afternoon nap in my feather bed on returning to the Hermitage............... We said our goodbyes,I held my hand out to thank her ,she squeezed it tightly ,and said "You are not unlike your Grandmother Charlotte ,in looks and nature or should it be nurture "she added.,with a laugh...

This had been a day I would hold in my heart I hoped, forever.

I never did ask Maggie what was a "Bone Mother"

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 18/8/05

Meeting the young Baba Yaga


I rode my horse through the wood. With me was the magical bag that the Enchantress had given me, all its articles intact, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking of the doll I had found lying next to the bag. She had no face, no features, was merely a blob of felt and a bit of yarn. Very primitive. I’d stuffed her in the sack along with the other items. Frankly, my energy was low, and I’d begun to tire of the entire journey, life, all of it. These phases hit me once in a while, and unlike my cheerful little Katy who runs beside me and wags her tail, I have another travel companion. This black dog walks silently, menacingly, and lies close to me, almost too close, when I sleep. I feel suffocated by its attentions. Katy had long returned to my home in Kansas, missing her bed and her biscuits, so I travel on with this other dog, also familiar, but not welcome.

As I enter a clearing, I see a woman standing under a tree. She is young, slightly dirty, and has wild hair. She gestures to me, and I slow.

“A ride to the village, Mistress?”

I can smell her unwashed body and I'm sure I look uncertain.

“If you take me, Mistress, I’ll tell you something you want to know. I’ve the gift, y’know.”

Sighing inwardly at what is likely a lie, I nonetheless allow her to climb aboard behind me, noting with distaste the dirt and sores on her hands as she clasps them around my waist. We ride on. I do not speak. My companion tries to draw me out, but my answers—short, terse, unfriendly—silence her. Still we ride, and I glance down to see the large black dog running at my side. I wish for a moment that I could ride off a cliff, fall into nothingness, part ways with the black dog once and for all. I feel an emptiness; a void, deep within my chest. Suddenly, I feel cold steel at my throat.

“I can accommodate you, Mistress,” the girl says, “if that is truly what you wish.”

My astonishment at both turns—her perception of my thoughts and her immediate threat to my life—is great. I feel the blood running through my veins, my pulse throbbing at the base of my neck, just near the edge of the keen blade, which nicks me as my horse jumps over a log. I feel the hot breath of the girl, and expect her hand to reach for my bag, to snatch away all the magical gifts I had been given. I look to the dog. Its teeth are bared, breath ragged. I think of…nothing. I surrender to my fate, leaning back into the girl, allowing my hands to fall free of the reins. Tears course down my cheeks, and I sob, openly.

“It is as I thought, my dear,” the girl said, only now her voice was cracked and rusty, that of a crone. I twisted in my saddle, feeling the blade yet again. “Ye don’t even know who ye’re fighting, do you?” She reaches for the reins, urges my horse to a halt, and slides off. I see that she has changed. Before me stands a crone, all angles and wrinkles, almost toothless. I lie across the horse’s neck, limply watching her for signs of her next move.

“Life is tricksy, my dear. So are ye, and I, and all of Her creation. I thought to bring ye back to the fight, make ye see what ye hold dear, close to the heart. But instead, ye surrendered yourself—an unusual choice, but an honorable one. There is much to learn in surrender, mistress. I shall not take ye this day, it is not your time to go downriver. Instead, I shall leave you with this blade, and this wisdom: It is important to know just who it is you’re fighting. Is it outside ye, or are ye fighting that one that looks out the mirror at ye?” She handed me the blade, turned, and walked into the forest.

I hardly knew what to do. I placed the blade inside my belt, mounted my horse, and rode on. In the distance, I saw the dog, running parallel, but so far from me he was a mere shadow.

Reflection

Baba Yaga has led me on a very interesting journey over the last day or so. In reading her story and struggling to write about my visit to see her, I decided to make my special doll. What a surprise this turned out to be!




To understand my surprise, one would have to know that I love colour and things more on the 'pretty' side. My doll has a very earthy feel, is rather shapeless and has a lovely big double chin. So I dialogued with her, telling her that I was surprised at the way she looked and wondered how she could help me. She replied that she would know what I had to do, so that all I had to do was to ask her in trust.
I was then led in a very mysterious way to read some words of wisdom in my book, 'Women Who Run With The Wolves'. These are the words that struck a chord with me:
"......A wise woman keeps her psyche environ uncluttered. She accomplishes such by keeping a clear head, keeping a clear space for her work, working at completing her ideas and projects.......because it is Baba Yaga's hut that Vasalisa sweeps, because it Baba Yaga's yard, we are also speaking of keeping unusual ideas clear and ordered. These ideas include those which are uncommon, soulful and uncanny.
......to cook for the Yaga one lays a fire - a woman must be willing to burn hot, burn with passion, burn with words, with ideas, with desire for whatever it really is that she loves. It is actually this passion which causes the cooking, and a woman's ideas of substance are what is cooked. To cook for the Yaga, one will arrange that one's creative life has a consistent fire under it. Most of us would do better if we became more adept at watching the fire under our work.........the fire bears watching, for it is easy to let it go out. The Yaga must be fed. There's hell to pay if she goes hungry. So it is the cooking up of new things, of new directions, of commitments to one's art and work that continuously nourishes the wild soul.
.....Women's cycles according to Vasalisa's tasks are these: To cleanse one's thinking, renewing one's values, on a regular basis. To clear one's psyche of trivia, sweep one's self, clean up one's thinking and feeling states on a regular basis and especially to cook up a lot, to feed the relationship between oneself and the wildish nature."
My doll is now called Clarissa and she has pride of place on my table where I do my work.

My Soul Hand

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My Soul Hand


My hand came complete with homework notes to keep me on track

The quotes are by:
Words are a lens to focus one’s mind. - Ayn Rand
Beauty is in the heart of the beholder. - Al Bernstein
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. - Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Soul Hand


The Soul Hand that assists me on my journey.
This hand has all the features of of the senses: touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste.

Working For Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga is a real slave driver. While you are at this stage she intends to get you all up to speed with blogging. Forget the laundry and the cooking. You have to come out of the house able to

1. upload an image - cut and paste code from imageshack or picasso and insert an image into a post with accompanying
2. run a blogger and invite people to join the blog you are in charge of - to do this go to Settings in the blog you are in charge of. Then select members and invite more to join the team. I will invite any new members who wander into my web.
3. copy and paste older posts from le Enchanteur into the blog you are in charge of. For example Barbara is in charge of House of the Serpents so she needs to put all the Gorgon songs in there.
4. Send out reminder emails to people to make sure that their work is shown. Encourage them to post.
5. Take prime responsibility for commenting on posts on the blogger you are in charge of.

Night of Dreams



Marie and I were standing in front of the House of Bones last night.

She looked over at me and shook her head, " this is no good for you Anita " she warned me " there's much danger here for you. "

I nodded and reached out for the door handle and she snatched at my wrist " Ask who's house this is before you go in, bring her a gift and don't eat anything she offers you. "

" I'll remember. " I said.

" Anita, don't fall asleep in this place either. Go in awake or go in asleep. But don't do both. Otherwise you'll get lost. "

I woke up and found that it was just after three in the morning I spent some time wondering about Marie's warnings. Funny, she should be warning me about a writing project...a blogg.

Funny.

Almost as funny as the little doll I found on the pillow next to me when the sun came up. Even funnier was the message carved into the wall above my bed.

Beware the House of Baba Yaga...
Marie L.
© anita marie moscoso 2005-text

My Meditation on staying with Baba Yaga

``We have to go through the woods, to the house of an old lady who lives by the lake,” Mei Ling said, as I stowed her carefully in the bag so she wouldn’t fall out. ``we have to ask her the way to the camp of the Amazons.”
An old lady who lived in the woods? ``Will we be leaving a breadcrumb trail,” I said, only half joking.
``There will be no need – I know all the ways through the woods,” Mei Ling said.
So we set off on foot. It was a sunny day, but not too warm for my jacket. I felt quite festive and all I heard as we set off was the lonely barking of a dog from the gypsy camp.
On the way over the bridge I called into the mill for some bread for the journey and the baker wished me luck. He was a bonny young man, with a nut brown face and curly hair. I saw two pretty children playing outside as I left.
On the way, Mei Ling told me some hair raising things about Baba Yaga, the old woman who lived in the forest. I found her description of the fence around the cottage quite unnerving – apparently it was made of human bones.
She sounded like an evil old witch, but it was clear that Mei Ling had a lot of respect for her, and she seemed unafraid. But then, she was a china doll. I got less optimistic when we reached the forest. As we walked along a narrow, twisting path overgrown with tree roots and hedged in by thick shrubs, it seemed to me we were going into an area where light could not penetrate.
When I judged the time to be about mid morning, we stopped and ate some of the bread. Mei Ling ate daintily, refusing the crusts. I had some water with me and we sipped from the bottle, but I realised I should have brought more food with me – I had thought there would be berries and other wild food, but the forest was too dense and dark to offer much in the way of berries. There were mushrooms – or some sort of fungi – but I thought it wise not to experiment.
In spite of Mei Ling’s assurance that she knew where we were going, I felt completely lost, as if we were going round in circlers. I was certain we were passing the same glowering oak tree several times.
But it seemed she did know, because all of a sudden the path forked. One fork led off into some unprepossessing undergrowth – the other had a rickety sign that said No Junk Male, although I couldn’t see a mail box anywhere. This was the path Mei Ling told me to choose.
Ahead of me was the fence Mei Ling had spoken of – the palings were jagged splinters of bone topped with grinning skulls. The gate hung lopsided on its hinges, swinging back and forth with a mournful squeaking noise.
Over the top of the gate I could see a house leaning at an odd angle and – moving.
``The house is falling over,” I said in alarm.
``No, it’s probably just having a scratch.”
I saw what she meant as I inched through the gate. The house was scratching – it stood on two scrawny chicken legs and it was scratching the earth like a chicken – two steps forward, scratch, scratch, then one step back to see what it had exposed. There were two windows either side of a porched door, and these looked for all the world like eyes and a beak. Even the walls and the roof were covered with russet red feathers.
Seeing me, the house stopped scratching and folded its chicken legs neatly. Now it looked like a proper little house, foursquare on the ground.
``Knock on the door,” Mei Ling urged.
There was a knocker hanging there – a human skeleton hand curled into a fist. As I reached gingerly out to take hold of it, the skeletal fingers suddenly straightened out and shook my hand cordially. Then the door swung open and I found myself looking at the ugliest old woman I had ever seen.
She had warts on her face with hairs growing out of them. Her legs were the same as the house, scrawny and chickenlike, and she was dressed in an eclectic collection of skirts, aprons and a peasant blouse and vest that had certainly seen better days.
The first thing she said to me was, ``Do you come here of your own free will, or because someone sent you?”
I was about to protest my free will, and then I hesitated. Suddenly I wasn’t sure.
``Well – I said - ``actually, on the one hand I was told to come here – but on the other hand, I did choose to go – so I’m not really sure.”
She smiled at that, baring a formidable set of teeth that looked like iron.
``Good answer,” she said. ``Well, it looks as if I don’t get to eat you today. Pity,” she added, eyeing my ample hips. She stood aside and I went into her extraordinary home.
I found it strangely comforting. It looked like my Grandmother Bridget’s caravan, with bundles of herbs and onions hanging from the roof, and handcrafted items everywhere. There was a good smell coming from the pot on the stove, that made me twitch with hunger. Baba Yaga cleared a small rickety table – by tossing everything onto a spare chair – and indicated I should sit down. Soon I was tucking into a thick stew fragrant with herbs. To my relief, there was no meat in it, just turnips and barley and thick wedges of potato.
Mei Ling had a small amount as well, and a sip of water. She and Baba Yaga seemed to know each other well, and chatted happily through the meal. It was growing dark outside, and the warmth of the cottage, and the heavy meal, was making me feel sleepy.
``Our guest is tired,” Baba Yaga cackled. ``Well, you should sleep now, because we rise with the dawn here and I have some work for you to do.”
She gave me a rough cot by the fire, and I lay thankfully down, my bag on the floor beside me, and Mei Ling resting on the pillow. In no time at all, I was asleep.

The sound of a horse’s hooves woke me, galloping up to the cottage. I jumped out of bed, pausing only to pick up Mei Ling, as Baba Yaga opened the front door and light flooded in. But what a changed Baba Yaga! Now she was a graceful young woman – only the flash of her iron teeth as she smiled at her visitor gave her away.
I peeked over her shoulder. I saw a knight on a white horse, his armor so bright that it cast rays of light.
``Good morning, my bright dawn,” Baba Yaga said playfully. ``What does the morning bring?”
``Fresh mushrooms, sorrel and wild thyme for your breakfast eggs,” the knight said, bowing low and offering her a basket filled with these goodies. ``And a daisy from the dew sprinkled fields.”
Baba Yaga took the daisy, and gave her white knight a flirtatious smile.
``Nothing else to report, my lady,” he said, ``the morning dawns fair and clear on your forest.” And with that he turned the horse and galloped away.
``Mushrooms for breakfast,” Baba Yaga cackled. She was a crone again, and she stood the basket on the table. ``That’s your first task,” she said to me. ``Collect the eggs.”
I followed her out of the cottage. She spoke some strange incantation at it, and at once it rose, with a great cackling and ruffling of feathers. Lying underneath it, between the chicken legs, were six freshly laid brown eggs.
``These eggs are not free,” Baba Yaga said. ``If you want them you must pay for them – the cottage, not me. Leave something of value, or the cottage will sit on you and squash you before you can escape.”
What would a cottage that looked like a chicken (or a chicken that looked like a cottage) consider to be just exchange for its eggs? I looked helplessly at Mei Ling.
``You must give up one of your songs,” she whispered. ``A favourite, one you value – sing to it when you take the eggs.”
So I started singing as I walked between the legs of the chicken house. I was singing as I bent to pick up the eggs one by one, and singing as I turned to walk back to Baba Yaga. The legs remained upright, so I continued to sing as I walked safely out from under the house.
And do you know, I cannot for the life of me remember what song it was I sang to the chicken house. It has gone forever, and all I know is that it was precious to me.
Another incantation from Baba Yaga, and the house once again sat down. She cooked a fine breakfast of scrambled eggs with sorrel and wild thyme, and mushrooms on the side.
After breakfast, Baba Yaga wanted to go herb gathering in the woods, so Mei Ling and I followed her through the twisting paths. She stopped frequently to pick some plant or another and told me what each one was for – I realised I was in the presence of great natural wisdom and tried to make notes so I wouldn’t forget. I made little sketches of some of the herbs as well.
On the way back to the cottage we met another knight, this time in red armour and riding a chestnut horse. I looked back at Baba Yaga and was not surprised to see she had changed again. Now she was a mature woman in the full bloom of her beauty, but with lines of experience and wisdom just beginning to be etched around her eyes and mouth.
``Hail, my Red Sun,” she said. ``What does the day bring?”
``Tomatoes ripe from the vine,” the knight said, bowing low to both of us. ``And full blown roses to reflect your beauty.”
``Salad for lunch,” Baba Yaga said happily as the knight rode away. Her gnarled fingers touched the bloom of the roses gently.
After a very good lunch of salad greens and tomatoes tossed with herbs, she handed me a scroll of parchment.
``Your second task is written here,” she said. But when I unfurled it, the parchment was blank.
My face must have looked much the same, because Mei Ling rolled her expressive eyes and sighed gently. Obviously, the answer was very simple and I should know it already.
``My glasses!” I said, and I grabbed the purple specs from my bag. With these on, I could clearly see Baba Yaga’s spidery writing.
``Name that,” it said, ``which you fear most, so much that it blinds you to what you already have. Cast this parchment into the fire and be rid of it forever.”
I thought for a while, and wondered what I would be like without that fear – would I really be myself any more? But then I took up the quill, and I wrote – but I can’t remember what I wrote, because as soon as the parchment burned up in the flames, I was free of it, and I saw that there was so much else in my life that was more important and I knew I could pursue my creative dreams unhindered by it.
So in one morning I had given up something very precious to me for a few eggs, and something I no longer needed. Mei Ling and Baba Yaga were nodding at each other in a conspiratorial manner and I wonder what else they had in store for me.
As the afternoon wore on, I helped Baba Yaga prepare some of her potions and wrote the recipes down for future reference. She used the petals of the rose to make an exquisite lotion which she gave to me in a small bottle.
We settled by the fire and I wondered what my third task would be. I had a feeling it would be the last, and that I would be leaving Baba Yaga very soon. I was sad about that – I found her company delightful, and I had lost my fear of the old fairy tales. Baba Yaga had so far proved to be a vegetarian, anyway.
Suddenly we heard the thunder of hooves approaching the cottage. Baba Yaga opened the door, but this time she did not change. Looking over her shoulder, I saw a black knight on a black horse, studded with stars. There was a silver crescent moon on his helmet, which he raised. I saw the kindly and wise face of an old man.
``Good Eve, my Dark Midnight,” Baba Yaga said. ``What does the night bring?”
``News of travellers heading to the Camp of the Amazon Queen, and your guest must join them,” he said. ``And a star from the sky for my dear love.” He handed her a diamond so bright it flashed with a million rainbow sparkles.
After the black horse and rider vanished into the darkness, Baba Yaga turned to me.
``One more task,” she said, ``then you must be on your way.” She looked at me with her wise old eyes. ``I am the guardian of the waters of life and death,” she said. ``I can command the Sun, the Moon and the Stars in their courses. I can change time.” She delved into her capacious pocket and drew out three objects hanging from leather thongs, which she laid on the table. One was a small daisy with a heart of gold, and next to it was a finely wrought rose in full bloom. Lastly there was a lump of coal, twisted in a loop of silver wire.
``Choose carefully,” she said.
I understood, as I looked at the pendants, what each one represented. The daisy was the morning of my life – the young woman, setting out with freshness and hope. The rose was the afternoon of my life – the mother caring for her children and nurturing their dreams. But the lump of coal – surely that could not represent the years ahead?
My hand reached out for the rose, because the happiest years I had known were those when my children were young. But they were grown now, and I had grandchildren. If I changed my time, I would be changing theirs as well.
I reached out for the daisy, and again I hesitated. It would be wonderful to be young again, but why would I go that far back when I had finally learned not to long for the past, or fear the future?
So my hand closed around the lump of coal – and as I lifted it up to hang around my neck, it changed into a diamond.

Soul Friend To Do Your Bidding

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In Russian folklore there are many stories of Baba Yaga, the fearsome witch with iron teeth.

She is also known as Baba Yaga Boney Legs, because, in spite of a ferocious appetite, she is as thin as a skeleton. In Russian that's: 'Baba Yaga Kostianaya Noga'

In some stories she has two older sisters, who are also called Baba Yaga, just to confuse you!

Her nose is so long that it rattles against the ceiling of her hut when she snores, stretched out in all directions upon her ancient brick oven.

Not being a boringly-conventional witch, she does not wear a hat, and has never been seen on a broomstick. She travels perched in a large mortar with her knees almost touching her chin, and pushes herself across the forest floor 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 spirits often accompany her on her way.

Being a somewhat secretive lady, (in spite of all the din she makes,) she sweeps away all traces of herself with a broom made of silver birch (what are brooms for anyway?).

She can also fly through the air in the same manner.

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 hut is sometimes surrounded by a fence made of bones, which helps to keep out intruders! The fence is topped with skulls whose blazing eye sockets illuminate the darkness.

When a visitor enters her hut, (not too often) Baba Yaga asks them whether they came of their own free will, or whether they were sent. (One answer is the right one!)

Thankfully, she appears to have no power over the pure of heart, such as Vasilisa and those of us who are 'blessed' (protected by the power of love, virtue, or a mother's blessing.)

Baba Yaga rules over the elements. Her faithful servants are the White Horseman, the Red Horseman and the Black Horseman.

When Vasilissa asks her who these mysterious horsemen are, she replies: 'My Bright Dawn, my Red Sun and my Dark Midnight.'

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" and she is more than a little reticent about discussing them with Vasilisa.

Another strange character who served as a herdsman for Baba Yaga is the sorcerer Koshchey the Deathless.

And here's a mystery for you: While she is giving instructions to Vasilisa, Baba Yaga mentions that 'someone spiteful' had mixed earth in with her poppy-seeds.

What could she have meant? Could Baba Yaga possibly have an enemy? Would anyone dare to risk incurring her wrath?

Although she is mostly portrayed as 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.

In her guise as wise hag, she sometimes gives advice and magical gifts to heroes and the pure of heart. The hero or heroine of the story often enters the crone's domain searching for wisdom, knowledge and truth. She is all-knowing, all seeing and all-revealing to those who would dare to ask.

She is said to be a guardian spirit of the fountain of the Waters of Life and of Death.

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.

Trace your hand and create a soul friend who will do your bidding

Source: Old Russia Net

Hand Puppet Doll

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My doll is in the form of a hand puppet, a soul friend who will guide me and advise me while I am with the Baba Yaga.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ancestral Protection Doll



This is my doll; it's an ancestral protection voodoo doll and I would never ever embark on any journey without asking for guidance and protection from my Ancestors.


As I ride out to visit the Gypsies, the House of Baba Yaga, my beloved Duwamish or even the Chamber of Horrors I always ask for help from my Ancestors. In turn I offer them my thanks and prayers and respect.

When I come to the dark places in this world too I ask for their guidance and protection and when I visit the light places I thank them for their help and protection in getting there.

This is my Doll, and I am Anita Marie.

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga
waiting in her
chicken leg house
with bones as
pickets with skulls atop
deep in the forest
awaiting her next
victim

Baba Yaga
traveling in
her mortar chariot
guided by the
pestle oar
clearing the path
with a broom
of human hair

Baba Yaga
controls the
night and day
the rising sun
and the stars
in the sky

Baba Yaga
set me my task
cleaning the house
laundering clothes
sorting the seeds
from the dirt

Baba Yaga
wicked witch
or wise old
crone
ancient goddess
of birth
and death

© Megan Warren 15/8/2004

On the Way to Baba's...

My doll


I checked the contents of my bag. Mysteriously, all the stuff I had given away had returned. There was the unicorn medallion – I hoped it would mean I would meet the White Lady again. My wings, so tiny, yet so magically able to hold me up – and the anchor, minus its chain. I wondered if the tiny fishermen had found their own anchor and was grateful they had been thoughtful enough to return mine. There was also a special gift for me – a beautiful embroidered green jacket to wear on my journey. The label said `Enchantress’ and I smiled.
My guide this time was a doll. She introduced herself as Mei Ling and apologized for her head being loose.
``In my time,” she said sweetly, ``I have been with many children.”
So off to Baba Yaga's house we go...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

My Doll


The Doll that the Enchantress gave me to guide me to Baba Yaga's House. the photo unfortunately does not do her justice. She is a deep purple colour with metallic thread bound about her middle.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The House of Baba Yaga

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Baba Yaga is the fearsome creature, the crooked woman whose nose is hooked like a bird of prey. Her name means 'to know, to see, to forsee' and she is the seer associated with the moon crescent. The Baba Yaga has the power to transform herself into a myriad of shapes, often a toad, sometimes a hedgehog, frequently a bird. The Baba Yaga is often depicted as an evil old hag who eats humans, especially children, but she is known by many to be a wise, prophetic old woman. In appearance she is tall, bony legged, pointy headed and has dishevelled hair.

Worse the doll informs you that the hut she lives in has a fence around it made of human bones and topped with human skulls and eyes intact. The gate is fastened with human legs and arms instead of bolts and a mouth with sharp teeth serves as the lock.

According to the doll, who seems to be a font of information, one person who lived to tell the story said that "she commands the sun and it obeys her, she changes the stars in their course, she causes clouds to form in the air and makes it possible to walk on them and travel the country. She can turn herself into a young woman and then, in a twinkling of an eye turn herself back into an old woman. She has to the power to turn a man into an animal and she likes to move freely along roads and valleys and over mountains. Her business is to cast spells, gather herbs and stones, make pacts and agreements."

Baba Yaga

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Baba Yaga by Ivan Bilibin.

There are many stories of Baba Yaga in Russian folklore. A fearsome witch, she is hideous to look upon (apart from her iron teeth, which can be quite attractive from some angles).

In this picture, she is seen driving over the forest floor in her mortar, urging it along with her pestle. With her left hand she is wiping away her traces with a broomstick (made of silver birch).

Friday, August 12, 2005

To Baba Yaga's

In the courtyard at dawn.

Everyone gathers, expectant, surprised that we have to go back to the House of the Serpents by foot. The Enchantress comes and tells us all that our guide is the doll she is giving each of us. (Find a doll or make one) Her final words are to use the things we had in our bag, the one she gave each of us at Duwamish and that if we should lose our way, or be in need of help, all we have to do is ask the doll what to do. She says that the doll will assist, that we must keep her with us at all times, that we must not tell anyone we meet about her and that we must feed her when she is hungry and give her drinks if she is thirsty. She tells us that it will be quite a few days before we reach the Camp of the Amazon Queen.

Amazon Queen? But what about the House of Sssserp....?

You greet your doll and introduce yourself and when you look up again everyone has gone. What is it with everyone rushing off like this? The dolls says that you have to go through the woods and ask the old lady who lives by the lake the way to the Camp of the Amazons. She assures you that she will know how to get there. Having read all your fairy stories you realise that going to ask the Baba Yaga anything could prove interesting.

Baba Yaga is the fearsome creature, the crooked woman whose nose is hooked like a bird of prey. Her name means 'to know, to see, to forsee' and she is the seer associated with the moon crescent. The Baba Yaga has the power to transform herself into a myriad of shapes, often a toad, sometimes a hedgehog, frequently a bird. The Baba Yaga is often depicted as an evil old hag who eats humans, especially children, but she is known by many to be a wise, prophetic old woman. In appearance she is tall, bony legged, pointy headed and has dishevelled hair.

Worse the doll informs you that the hut she lives in has a fence around it made of human bones and topped with human skulls and eyes intact. The gate is fastened with human legs and arms instead of bolts and a mouth with sharp teeth serves as the lock.

According to the doll, who seems to be a font of information, one person who lived to tell the story said that "she commands the sun and it obeys her, she changes the stars in their course, she causes clouds to form in the air and makes it possible to walk on them and travel the country. She can turn herself into a young woman and then, in a twinkling of an eye turn herself back into an old woman. She has to the power to turn a man into an animal and she likes to move freely along roads and valleys and over mountains. Her business is to cast spells, gather herbs and stones, make pacts and agreements."

Right! you think. If this is the only way to get to the Amazon Queens camp....

You check your bag for the journal, sketch book, spectacles with fairy qualities of sight, anchor, unicorn talisman etc and find someone has added a card with the address http://babayaga.blogspot.com

You head down the mountain, over the bridge that Heather sketched, past the mill and the Gypsy Camp which is silent now, bar for a barking dog.

Document your time with the Baba Yaga who, of course, sets you tasks before helping you to reach the Camp of the Amazons where the Queen will greet you warmly and be anxious to hear about your journey. Do remember to send any art work by courier raven to the Hermitage Art Room for Leonie to display - when she is there and not at Baba Yaga's place.

Your tasks will appear on the Baba Yaga site or by mail.