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