For all that I’m terribly head blind and pretty “dumb” to signs…spirits terrify me.
- Baba Yaga
I can explain that, even if it is a bit convoluted.
See, for the domovoi there are a few reasons. After all, they are the spirit of your household, protector and someone to be treated well. You are supposed to honor them, because otherwise they can cause harm to you and yours. And for me, household and home are not safe things.
So in some respects, I’m afraid of a domovoi. After all…after the hellacious home I spent almost half of my childhood in, and the situations I was thrust into, I’m not sure if I would be able to correctly honor, welcome, and respect a domovoi. Considering the stories I’ve read about what a domovoi is said to do when it is not treated well, I am afraid to work with them. Concern for what I grew up with, I am leery of working with a being that requires full respect in the home. I need to learn better how a real, warm, loving home is supposed to function before I ever think about inviting a domovoi into any dwelling I inhabit.
Someday, perhaps far into the future, I will feel ready to actually work more closely with home-bound spirits.
Then there’s Baba Yaga/Baba Jaga.
That’s one that actually frightens me. I remember reading a story about her when I was little. It was the only Slavic story in a collection I found in the library, amongst French and German fairy tales. I don’t remember any details of the plot. I do remember the chicken-footed house, and traveling in her mortar with the pestle. That’s it.
But more recently, in getting into studying more, there’s something terribly frightening to me about her. The stories, and I’ve read some people’s experiences with her are…tense to say the least. I know that it is difficult to work with her. She is, from what I’ve seen of others interactions, difficult to work with. And that might just be charitable to say.
For all that I don’t sense much of anything, and I’m functionally unable to know when something is trying to thwap me on the head…something is probably dangerous about working with any spirit or being that is known as being dangerous. While the domovoi is worrisome, the folklore on Baba Yaga is downright terrifying to me.
After all, someone who can help or hinder…and who is known in a lot of the folklore to be somewhat bloodthirsty (I remember her wanting to eat Ivan in one of the folklore), well that’s something else entirely. I’m sure there’s some deep rooted thing as to why she scares me more. I admit I’ve never dug too deeply into it, as I’ve been too nervous to do so.
Though, I do have to admit, as one of those beings within the greater Slavic tradition–I do feel drawn to understand more about her. Even if I never work with her, part of healthy respect is to understand and respect those of the greater mythos.
And it is hardly respectful to not know much. I don’t have any desire to work with Baba Yaga. That would not happen, not with how I feel right now. However, a healthy respect and working knowledge of those spirits is something that should be cultivated.
I guess at some point I’ll delve into understanding more of what is behind my wariness about certain spirits.
Regardless, healthy respect is a good place to start my journey to learning more.∗