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

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.


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