Source of Nightmares

Baba Yaga by Ivan Bilibin

Baba Yaga is a great source of nightmares. I’ve said it before, but of all the creatures, spirits or entities out of Slavic folklore–she’s the one who freaks me out the most. Far more than any other that I know of, even Koschei isn’t nearly as frightening, not to me.

She’s the one who is…well vastly unpredictable. Lots of lore says she’ll gladly rip you to shreds and eat you–that she opposes all humans and will do her right best to kill you. There’s lots of stories about her going off to sharpen her teeth to devour people. But then there are other tales where if you’re respectful and clever enough, she actually is quite helpful. Such as the times she tells the hero or heroine important information.

Sometimes there’s 1 Baba Yaga, other times there are 3. And the sisters are sometimes helpful, sometimes not. One story tells of the sisters telling the hero Ivan how to stop the next one down the line from killing and eating him.

There’s 3 versions of the name I’ve put here:

  • Baba Yaga
  • Baba Jaga
  • Ježibaba

Because I kind of feel I should recognize all 3 equally. While most of the knowledge I have of her is from Russian folklore (Baba Yaga) – my family is Polish (Baba Jaga) and Czech (Ježibaba), so those should be acknowledged as well.

Vasilisa by Ivan Bilibin

I’m hopeful to be able to eventually get my hands on some folklore sources from Poland or Czech Republic about different Slavic figures, myths, legends and stories. So that’s on the bucket list, and one day I should hopefully be able to get more information from all the sources; that way I could get a better understanding of folklore belief and patterns.

Because right now, with only Russian sources–I’m limited on what I can learn about. So there’s stories about, say Ivan (multiple ones) and his adventure; and Vasilisa. I’m fond of them, because they’re interesting and very contrasting. The contrast is fun to look at and wonder about.

I’ll be honest, she’s the most frightening of folklore I’ve found.  There’s something about the folklore and stories that just deeply freaks me out at even the best of times.

Still, I deeply respect this one, because I’m not stupid enough to think that I would ever want to cross her without being fully prepared. That’s a recipe for disaster waiting to happen–folklore says that. And I in no way think I would be prepared to do any work with her, not at this point.

There’s something about it, just the general idea of working with her that gives me major pause. Maybe some day down the line I’ll be comfortable to approach her or work with her–but for now, no way. And of course, I’m not really ready to confront or work with the type of nightmares she might bring. But someday down the line, I know I will be…and with her, respect is best.*


5 thoughts on “Source of Nightmares

  1. Hell, she’s so frightening she’s actually the bed time story told to slavic kids by their parents to keep them good 😉


    1. The first comment somehow got eaten, and then popped up later, strangely.

      I could definitely see people (once you get further from the deep origins), trying to “clean up” entities.


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