Tag Archive: lithuanian


Goddess Baba Yaga

“Baba Yaga” by ~sgorbissa

“Baba Yaga’s themes are the harvest, rest, providence, thankfulness and cycles. Her symbols are corn sheafs, wreaths of wheat, corn, rye and wild flowers.  This Lithuanian/Russian Goddess of regeneration, Baba Yaga is typically represented as the last sheaf of corn in today’s festivities – Obzinky. As both young and old, She reawakens in us an awareness of time’s ever-moving wheel, the seasons and the significance of both to our Goddess-centered magic.

Follow with the tradition and make or buy a wreath or bundle of corn shucks or other harvest items. Keep this in your home to inspire Baba Yaga’s providence and prosperity for everyone who lives there.

For breakfast, consume a multigrain cereal, rye bagels or wheat toast. Keep a few pieces of dried grains or toasted breads with you. This way you’ll internalize Baba Yaga’s timeliness for coping with your day more effectively and efficiently, and you’ll carry Her providence with you no matter the circumstances.

Feast on newly harvested foods, thanking Baba Yaga as the maker of your meal. Make sure you put away one piece of corn that will not be consumed today, however. Dry it and hang it up to ensure a good harvest the next year, for your garden, pocketbook or heart.

Finally, decorate your home or office with a handful of wild flowers (even dandelions qualify). Baba Yaga’s energy will follow them and you to where it’s most needed.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Baba Yaga” by Hrana Janto

Patricia Monaghan writes that “the ‘old woman’ of autumn was called Baba by the Slavic inhabitants of eastern Europe, Boba by the Lithuanians. This seasonal divinity lived in the last sheaf of grain harvested in a year, and the woman who bound it would bear a child that year. Baba passed into Russian folk legend as the awesome Baba Yaga, a witchlike woman who rowed through the air in a mortar, using a pestle for Her oar, sweeping the traces of Her flight from the air with a broom.

A prototype of the fairytale witch, Baba Yaga lived deep in the forest and scared passersby to death just by appearing to them. She then devoured Her victims, which is why Her picket fence was topped with skulls. Behind this fierce legend looms the figure of the ancient birth-and-death Goddess, one whose autumn death in the cornfield led to a new birth in spring” (p. 65).

“Baba” by Karlen Tam

As explained by Freya: “Usually, Baba Yaga is a frightening Witch who lives in the middle of a very deep forest, in a place which is often difficult to find unless a magic clue (a ball of yarn or thread) or a magic feather shows the way. The old hag lives in a wooden hut on two chicken legs (sometimes three or four legs are described). Usually the hut is turned with its back towards a traveler, and only magical words can make it turn around on its chicken legs to face the newcomer. Very often, the hut revolves with loud noises and painful screams that make a visitor cringe. This serves to frighten the reader, showing the hut’s old age, and to show that Baba Yaga does not care about her hut’s well being. It is also fascinating that some fairy tales describe the hut as being a unique evil entity: firstly, it has the ability to move on its chicken legs. Secondly, it understands human language and is able to decide whether and when to let a visitor enter its premises. Finally, the hut is often depicted as being able ‘to see’ with its eyes (its windows) and ‘to speak’ with its mouth (its doorway). I also cannot help feeling that the hut is able ‘to think’, and one can observe these thoughts as wild powerful clouds of steam emerging from the hut’s chimney. What powerful imagery!

Baba Yaga’s hut is often surrounded by fence made of human bones and topped with human skulls with eyes. Instead of wooden poles onto which the gates are hung, human legs are used; instead of bolts, human hands are put in; instead of the keyhole, a mouth with sharp teeth is mounted. Very often Baba Yaga has her hut is protected by hungry dogs or is being watched over by evil geese-swans or is being guarded by a black cat. The gates of Baba Yaga’s villa are also often found to be guardians of Yaga’s hut as they either lock out or lock in the Witch’s prey.” [1]  (You can click on the [1] to finish reading the imagery).

“Baba Yaga” by ~lpeters

She quite reminds me of another well known Goddess, Kali.  Freya goes onto explain: “Baba Yaga is a Slavic version of Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Death, the Dancer on Gravestones. Although, more often than not, we consider Baba Yaga as a symbol of death, She is a representation of the Crone in the Triple Goddess symbolism. She is the Death that leads to Rebirth. It is curious that some Slavic fairy tales show Baba Yaga living in Her hut with Her two other sisters, also Baba Yagas. In this sense, Baba Yaga becomes full Triple Goddess, representing Virgin, Mother, and the Crone. Baba Yaga is also sometimes described as a guardian of the Water of Life and Death. When one is killed by sword or by fire, when sprinkled with the Water of Death, all wounds heal, and after that, when the corpse is sprinkled with the Water of Life, it is reborn. The symbolism of oven in the Baba Yaga fairy tales is very powerful since from primordial times the oven has been a representation of womb and of baked bread. The womb, of course, is a symbol of life and birth, and the baked bread is a very powerful the image of earth, a place where one’s body is buried to be reborn again. It is interesting that Baba Yaga invites Her guests to clean up and eat before eating them, as though preparing them for their final journey, for entering the death, which will result in a new clean rebirth. Baba Yaga also gives Her prey a choice when She asks them to sit on Her spatula to be placed inside the oven: if one is strong or witty, he or she escapes the fires of the oven, for weak or dim-witted ones, the road to death becomes clear.” [2]

As Fiana Sidhe explains: “Baba Yaga is a very misunderstood Goddess. She is not just the stereotypical wicked witch. She often appears as a frightening old hag, but can also appear as a beautiful woman who bestows gifts.

She is wild and untamed but also can be kind and generous. Even in Her haggard form, Baba Yaga has many gifts to share.

Baba Yaga is the old crone who guards The Waters of Life and Death. She is the White Lady of Death and Rebirth, and is also known as The Ancient Goddess of Old Bones. The old bones are symbolic of the things we cling to, but must finally let lie. When we experience a death, darkness, depression, or spiritual emptiness in our lives, we journey to Baba Yaga’s hut, where She washes new life into us. She collects our bones and pours the waters on them, while She sings and chants and causes us to be reborn. She destroys and then She resurrects. Baba Yaga symbolizes the death of ignorance. She forces us to see our true, darkest selves, then She grants us a deep wisdom that we can attain by accepting the dark shadows within ourselves. We can only receive help from Baba Yaga by learning humility. Her gifts can destroy or enlighten us.” [3]

I absolutely love this explanation of Baby Yaga as the Wild Woman written by Sr. Dea Phoebe: “So, while She is certainly a dark Goddess, a death Goddess, and may even seem ‘wicked’ in ways, Baba Yaga is hardly the villain of Her stories. But also, Baba Yaga is not a nice, clean, civilized Goddess. In the story of Valalisa the Wise, triple Goddess imagery repeats throughout – in Valalisa and her doll’s white, red, and black clothing, (colors traditionally associated with the Maiden, Mother, and Crone,) in the repetition of threes throughout the story (three colors, three enemies in the stepfamily, three riders, three tasks, three questions, three pairs of hands) and in Valalisa, (the maiden beginning her journey), her mother (who has given Valalisa gifts to guide her), and of course, in Baba Yaga as the crone. As a denizen of the deep forest, Baba Yaga is the wild aspect of the psyche, what Estés calls [in her book Women Who Run with the Wolves] the Wild Hag or the Wild Woman —not the gentle grandmother that bakes you cookies and tells you stories, but the stern grandmother that might just smack your rear with a spoon and tell you to smarten up! She is not pretty to look at, and she represents the deepest mysteries of death. No wonder she has a reputation of a scary old witch!

“Baba Yaga” by *MarkTarrisse

When we work with Baba Yaga, when we take that path into the deep forest to face the mysteries of death and emerge with the light of wisdom, we also face the wild aspects of ourselves. They may not be pretty, they may have long stringy hair and iron teeth and a wild cackle, but they also hold mysteries our more civilized day-to-day selves never think upon. Baba Yaga is not tied by social norms and mores. She flies about in yet another symbol of transformation; She wipes away the signs of Her passing so you’re never sure if She’s really been there. She’s rude, She’s crude, and She lives in a hut that doesn’t have the manners to sit down and stay like we expect a house should—and you can bet She enjoys all of this. She is less concerned about what is civilized and polite than what is true.

When you find yourself in need of true wisdom, when you find yourself being too nice, too polite in the face of ongoing boundary violations, when you find yourself stagnated by the expectations of others, it might just be time to retrieve your Wild Woman (or Man.) It might be time to brave the forest and meet Baba Yaga.” [4]

ASSOCIATIONS:

Astrological Sign: Scorpio

Colors: White, red, and black

Gemstones: Garnet, bloodstone, tourmaline, smoky quartz

Goddesses: Hecate, Hel, Kali

Goddess Aspect: Crone

Festival Date: January 20

Herbs/Flowers: Patchouli, sandalwood, geranium

Moon Phase: Waning/Dark

Other Names: Baba, Boba, Baba Den, Jezi Baba

Sacred Animals: Snake, cat

Season: Autumn

Symbols: Mortar and pestle, broom

Tree: Birch                                   [5]

 

 

 

Sources:

Arteal. Order of the White Moon, “Baba Yaga“.

Freya. Realmagick.com, “Baba Yaga: A Demon or A Goddess?

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Baba Yaga”.

Phoebe, Sr. Dea. Order of Our Lady of Salt, “The Goddess and the Wheel: Baba Yaga – Wicked Witches and Wild Women“.

Sidhe, Fiana. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga, The Bone Mother“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Goddess-guide.com, “Crone Goddesses“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Baba Yaga – Wild Woman“.

Oldrussia.net, “Baba Yaga“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Baba Yaga: cross the shadow side – then come out!

Russianclub.com.ua, “Baba-Yaga“.

Russiapedia.rt.com, “Of Russina origin: Baba Yaga“.

Sacred-texts.com, “Baba Yaga“.

Weed, Susun. Matrifocus.com, “Baba Yaga Stories“.

Wikipedia, “Baba Yaga“.

Goddess Laima

“Brigit” by Pamela Matthews

“Laima’s themes are love, unity, blessing, luck, destiny and magic. Her symbols are wreaths and swans.  The Lithuanian Goddess of fate, luck, beauty and magic swoops into our lives in the form of a swan (* please see “UPDATE”) reminding us of the transformative power of love. Traditionally, all Laima needs to change from one from to another is a swan feather, alluding to Her nature as a shape-shifter who uses magical charms to manifest Her will.

Around this time of year, young people in Lithuania gather in a temple at sunset, then go into the forest to harvest summer flowers. From these, circlets and strings are made to crown and bind lovers together in Laima’s and nature’s beauty. Then the young people dance to together round a birch tree (rather like a Maypole) singing to the Goddess and asking for Her blessing. This is a lovely tradition that can be adopted by gathering summer flowers and holding hands around them at your family supper table. Allow Laima to renew your love and unity in a moment of silence before dinner. If you live alone, invite a close friend to join you instead.

Also, find a small rose-vine wreath at a craft shop. Adhere the image of a swan to this somehow (representing Laima), and hand it where you can easilty see the wreath regularlily. Each time you do, remind yourself that love is the most pwerful of all the Goddess’s magic – and that includes loving yourself.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“The 3 Fates” by watergal28

Patricia Monaghan tells us that this “Baltic Goddess of fate sometimes appears as three [with Her sisters Kārta and Dēkla] or seven Goddesses to symbolize the many fates possible.  Laima, like the Norns and Fates, measures the length and happiness of a person’s life.  Sometimes called Laima-Dalia, ‘happy fate’, She was invoked in prayers: ‘Oh, Laima, thou art healthy; give me thy health.’  Often mentioned in the same prayer was the sun Goddess Saule, for Laima measured the length of the sun’s day as well as a woman’s life.  Laima was Her name in Latvia; She was Laime in in Lithuania; in both countries She was sometimes pictured as a swan maiden (please see “UPDATE”) or as a multiple Goddess” (p. 189).

“Dalia Lithuanian Goddess of Fate” by Emily Balivet

“Laima…[is] generally associated with the linden tree. Together with Dievs, the sky, and Saule, the sun, Laima determines the length and fortune of human life. In the course of each life She helps arrange marriages, oversees weddings, protects pregnant women, and appears at childbirth to pronounce each infant’s destiny.

Revered as patroness of cows and horses, Laima decides the life span of plants and animals and determines the length of the day.” [1]

I did come across one piece of conflicting information.  Monaghan states that “Laima was Her name in Latvia; She was Laime in Lithuania” (p. 189).  Wikipedia states that “In the Lithuanian mythology, Laima (fate, destiny) is often confused with Laimė (good fortune) and Laumė (fairy). Other related deities include Dalia (fate) and Giltinė (The Reaper).” [2]  However, Encyclopedia Britannica states that “Laima, also called Laima-dalia, (from Lithuanian laimė, ‘happiness,’ ‘luck’)” [3].

 

 

* UPDATE  (06/25/2013):

A very knowledgeable native Latvian lady I exchanged emails with shared some wonderful information with me that contradicted what Patricia Telesco and Patricia Monaghan wrote concerning Laima’s association with swans.  She stated that Laima is “connected to a cockoo, a black or white chicken or a black or blue snake, but never with a swan.”  She also stated that “Laima appears with a green linden or birch sauna besom like this: pirtsslota2

 

Also, the information found in the Wikipedia is very accurate: “The most important goddess of fate is Laima (luck). She lives on Earth and is closely involved in human life. Her basic function is related to birth of child and deciding its fate. Traditionally women would give birth in bathhouse. The path to it would be cleaned so Laima could easily make her way to help in the birthing process. The woman would be ritually cleansed and would offer prayers and give ritual offerings to Laima. After successful birth married women would feast, with Laima being reserved a place of honour, in the bathhouse as sign of gratitude. She would also determine persons fate – a decision even she herself could not alter afterwards. She was expected to help in other important aspects of life as well and cared for well being of the people in general. Unmarried girls would pray to her to give them good husbands and happy marriage. She also ensured fertility of fields and animals (horses in particular) to some extent.  Another two goddesses with similar function are Kārta and Dēkla.  Goddess Māra also has several functions in common with Laima.  Although this view has been criticized, many researchers agree that Māra is synonymous with Saint Mary. It has been suggested that Mary took over some functions of earlier deities, including Laima.  However, Māra was used to refer to Saint Mary, who was also called upon during childbirth and to help with number of ailments by either her modern Latvian name Marija or number of Christian euphemisms.  All these were also used as euphemisms to refer to uterus in folk magic.  The opposing view, based on comparative linguistics linking her with wide range of other Indoeuropean deities, is that she was important pre-Christian chthonic deity that both gives and takes life.” [4]

 

 

 

Sources:

Britannica Online Encyclopedia, “Laima“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Laima”.

Wikipedia, “Laima“.

Wikipedia, “Latvian Mythology: Fate goddesses“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Bookrags.com, “Laima Research and Articles“.

Covenantofrhiannon.org, “Ancient Lithuanian Mythology and Religion“.

Latvianstuff.com, “Latvian Earth and Water Deities“.

Mallory, J.P. & Douglas Q. Adams. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, “Fortune Goddesses” (p. 212).

Motz, Lotte. The Faces of the Goddess, “Laima: Goddess of Birth and Fate” (p. 80 – 83).

Ortega, Pedro. Heresy and Beauty, “Lithuanian Goddess“.

Wikipedia, “Latvian Mythology“.

crdmwritingroad

Coralie Raia's Writing Road Blog

Moody Moons

A Celebration of the Seasons & the Spirit

Nicole Evelina - USA Today Bestselling Author

Stories of Strong Women from History and Today

Eternal Haunted Summer

pagan songs & tales

Whispers of Yggdrasil

A personal journal to share my artistic works, to write about Norse shamanism and traditional paganism, European History, Archaeology, Runes, Working with the Gods and my personal experiences in Norse shamanic practices.

Sleeping Bee Studio

Art, Design, Batik & Murals

Pagan at Heart

At peace with myself and the world... or at least headed that way

McGlaun Massage Therapy, LLC

Real Healing for the Real You

TheVikingQueen

A modern Viking Blog written by an ancient soul

The World According to Hazey

I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right. I'm the Witch. You're the world.

Migdalit Or

Veils and Shadows

Of Axe and Plough

Anglo-Saxon Heathenry and Roman Polytheism

Walking the Druid Path

Just another WordPress.com site

body divine yoga

unlock your kundalini power, ignite your third eye, awaken your inner oracle

Joyous Woman! with Sukhvinder Sircar

Leadership of the Divine Feminine

The Raven's Knoll Quork

Spirituality - Nature - Community - Sacred Spaces - Celebration

Journeying to the Goddess

Journey with me as I research, rediscover and explore the Goddess in Her many aspects, forms and guises...

witchery

trapped in the broom closet

Rune Wisdom

Ancient Sacred Knowledge-Daily Wisdom Practices: A place to explore Runic relevance in today's world.

Sarenth Odinsson's Blog

Exploring Myself and the Northern Shaman Path

Stone of Destiny

Musings of a Polytheistic Nature

1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Adventures in Vanaheim

Musings on Vanic Paganism (and life in general) from a lesbian feminist geek

Flame in Bloom

Dancing for Freyja

Golden Trail

A wayfarer's path

The Druid's Well

Falling in Love with the Whole World

Georgia Heathen Society's Blog

Heathen's in Georgia

Mystic Fire Blog

A Spiritual Blog by Dipali Desai. Awaken to your true nature.

art and healing Blog

Art heals yourself, others, community and the earth

My Moonlit Path.....

The Story of My Everyday Life.....

Raising Natural Kids

Because knowledge is the key to making informed decisions for your family.

Philip Carr-Gomm

Philip Carr Gomm

Works of Literata

Magic, fiber, cats

The Northern Grove

Celebrating Pagan History and Culture of Northern Europe

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

The Witch of Forest Grove

Animism, Folk Magic, and Spirit Work in the Pacific Northwest

WoodsPriestess

Exploring the intersection between Nature, the Goddess, art, and poetry as well as the practical work of priestessing.