Any fairytale and folklore fanatic will tell you that across all cultures, you find many similarities between mythological figures. Baba Yaga could also be three different women that are never apart - hello Fates, Norns and Wayward Sisters! - but in general, she is depicted as that one with the cloak and the walking stick and the shack in the woods with a suspiciously large cauldron or fireplace.
In new age mysticism, the trope of Three Women – Maiden, Mother, Crone – embodies stages of a woman’s life, and as time has passed, we have become much kinder to the Crone, for she is wisdom, she is grace, she is nature, she is twilight come to kiss the sky of your last horizon.
She is not ugly or wicked or prone to bathing in virgins’ blood for immortality because we have finally grown to see her as she truly is: she is you and she is me. She is our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our grandmothers, our girlfriends, our girl frenemies.
She is your wife.
And as she ages, she is really quite glorious. She is the embodiment of #effyourbeautystandards.
When I first saw this Dove commercial “Each and Every Day,” I didn’t expect the ending to touch me a bit in my soul, but it did. I doubt the ad execs portrayed the new and improved Crone archetype intentionally, but they did and they did it perfectly. Not in magical terms, but you know . . . come to think of it, chocolate is magic, so it probably is no accident at all when you see pop culture and folklore so eloquently depict a new spin on an ancient archetype.
Just Watch and You’ll Get Me:
The Magic and Madness of Baba Yaga
She inspired a Mussorgsky opus from Pictures at an Exhibition – “The Hut on Fowl’s Legs”.
And yes, in Russia, this particular witch’s hut dances on chicken legs because maybe houses drink vodka too? Let’s back this up with even more geek culture references and a scene from MST3K taking on a Russo-Finnish production called Jack Frost. You’ve really got to see it to believe it.
In Russian folklore, Baba Yaga is most prevalent in the fairytale Vasilisa the Beautiful, and although by first appearances, the witch is frightening and murderous and seems hell-bent on snuffing out the light of our fair heroine, you could argue that her madness imparts a deep and important magic. Through a series of arduous trials and battles of wit and will, heroine and anti-heroine soon discover a great and terrible beauty within each other that they never expected to find: themselves. Bravery in beauty and shadows in the light that form a woman’s depth. A lesson for every age and truly an ageless tale.