Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 1st. 2019 ...
Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Lady on the Stairs
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
April 20th. 2018 ...
Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
An Open Mind and Heart
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Apprenticing With Baba Yaga
Article ID: 14265
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,089
Times Read: 11,738
RSS Views: 15,752
Author: Sarah Anne Lawless
Posted: November 7th. 2010
Times Viewed: 11,738
When I was twenty years old I moved back to the province of my birth, my home. But no safe home did I move into, no, instead I lived with Baba Yaga upon my return. A small old one-story Victorian house with a Witch’s overgrown weedy garden and sacred trees guarding it all; she opened the front door for me and I willingly went inside. What had I to fear? I had done everything right. I had talked to her many times first, met her, met her friends, and visited her home before agreeing to become her apprentice.
At first I was glamoured by perfectly witchy interior. Plants hung from the ceiling and covered every surface. Brooms and slotted iron spoons hung over the front and back doors. There were shelves on the walls filled with oils, tinctures, and herbs. There were beautiful statues of gods, altars, and a Witch’s usual magpie collection of sticks, bones, and stones.
The Witch gave me a mat for my bed on her dining room floor. Laying there at night I started to see through the glamour’s veneer like a piece of fairy gold from a tale turning into crumbling brown leaves. Moss grew on the windows, seedlings on the edges of the walls, and mold on the ceiling like a tainted virus taking over the house.
For three months I swept and washed her floors, scrubbed her bathroom and kitchen of their eternal mould, cooked meals, took out the garbage, and watered the plants. I was Baba Yaga’s servant. In return she told me she would teach me the arts of Cunning. She said she was a healer, an herbalist, a diviner, a witch. Her words and promises charmed me, but little did I receive from her in exchange for three months of servitude.
I met her past apprentices during this time. They were shells of human beings, bodies with no souls, who had become mad, listless, and schizophrenic. It worried me she saw nothing amiss with this. The glamour she had cast over herself began to crack. I was new to the town and she wouldn’t tell me where to purchase a bus pass and which bus routes would go where I needed.
She wanted me to be dependent on her and keep me close so I would believe her every word. She told me of how men would only take advantage of me and that at my work I would be raped and coming home from work I would be robbed and beaten.
I began to realize how ill Baba Yaga was, both physically and mentally. She should’ve been dead with all her illnesses. “How could she heal others when she can not heal herself?” I thought. Ah, but she could heal herself, but herself alone for she had unintentionally become a dark sorcerer warned of in the old Russian folktales. She fed off the souls of others to stay alive.
She would speak to me of my power and potential and how it could be harnessed, but she did not mean by me. Baba Yaga meant to eat me, to shove me into her oven, to feast of my soul as she had on the others before me.
But like Vassilisa the brave and beautiful I was cunning and pure of heart. I listened to my intuition, the little voice of truth, and I tricked the witch. I escaped her clutches, not unscathed, but with my soul still intact. I left at the midnight hour and did not tell her where I was going. A friend picked me and what little belongings I had with me in her van and drove me to my new apartment. When I arrived at my new home I burned all she had given me and anything of mine she had touched. I quickly learned how to shield and protect myself lest she find me through magical means.
It was not for nothing that I apprenticed with the evil Baba Yaga. She had many lessons to teach me, but at the time I did not value them. She was a mirror of myself, my soul. What I could become if I made the same choices she had made. I was innocent, naive, and trusting before I walked through her door, but when I left I was wary, watchful, and aware of the evils that could dwell within the world as well as a woman’s soul; the lies, bitterness, resentment, and anger, but most of all the fear. Fear to trust and fear to love, lest you be hurt, and also fear to die. If I let fear rule my life I would become her and therefore like my enemies.
She was not truly evil this Baba Yaga, but much evil had been done to her in her lifetime – great evil. She did not tell me so directly, but in the hints she let slip I could read the stains of it on her soul as plain as day. Those she had loved and trusted had hurt her deeply. Instead of letting the evil pass through her and finding forgiveness for herself and the evildoers, she became that which she despised so much and, as many ill and abused people do, she became the abuser.
But unlike her I refused to be abused and left her to her wicked ways. I once wished her dead, but now I only wish her peace, as her soul will not find rest in the underworld due to all her wickedness and the innocent souls she has harmed.
I wish I could say this tale weren’t true, that it was fiction or happened to someone else, but alas not. Sometimes when you go to Baba Yaga for light she gives you darkness instead, reflecting the darkness within your own soul. If you do not accept this truth of yourself you will go mad and live in fear of it, but if you accept your inner darkness and know it is only ever potential, never realized unless you make it so — you will follow the true path of your soul’s journey once more and be gifted with more than you first sought.
This is why Baba Yaga is known in her country of origin as the initiator of children into adults. She is a goddess of transformation and death. For every change that is made, something too must die. To become an adult, the child you were first must die. I hope my story will be a lesson to all you seekers of knowledge and wisdom. Be wary of falling into the clutches of your own Baba Yaga.
If you have doubts about a Witchcraft teacher always ask the wider community and not that teacher’s friends. And for those who have had similar experiences, do not hide them in shame. There is no guilt in falling prey to a predator. It is better to speak ill of those who harm than to allow them to harm again.
For every teacher who led a student into madness, for every teacher who raped a student, and for every teacher who has done much worse - let there be many more who will call them out and never ever let it happen again.
Copyright: Copyright 2010 Sarah Lawless. Please do not distribute or use without permission of the author.
Sarah Anne Lawless
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Author's Profile: To learn more about Sarah Anne Lawless - Click HERE
Other Articles: Sarah Anne Lawless has posted 3 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Sarah Anne Lawless... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2019 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections
(including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.)
are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc.
TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).