Baba Yaga

“Baba Yaga” Natalya Filinova 2011.


in Slavic mythology wise, evil and hideous witch. According to tradition (degraded to the folkloristic level) Baba Yaga resided deep within the forest in a hut standing on a chicken leg. Her gloomy dwelling was full of chthonic and infernal elements, which evidenced the atrocious murders committed on the passers-by; Baba Yaga was considered eating children. She lived in harmony with wild animals and was commonly accompanied by cat, crow, owl and snake. The above features point at the original role of Baba Yaga as a ruler of wild animals and world of the dead as well as a priestess in the ritual initiation of youths. Epithet Yaga is derived from Proto-Slavic *(j)ęga; compare Bulgarian jezá “torment, torture”, Serbian-Croatian jéza “horror”, jéziv “dangerous”, Polish jędza. See also related: Sanskrit aghá “evil”, old Icelandic ekki “pain”, Lithuanian nu-engti “to torture, flay”. Baba Yaga has many counterparts such as: ➚ Circe, ➚ Syqenëza, Ossetian kūlbadäg-ūs (literally “woman sitting on a hillside”), Romanian Vîjbaba, German Frau Holle etc.


N. T o p o r o v, Chiettskaya SALŠU.GI y slavyanskaya Baba-Yaga, in group work: Kratkiye soobshcheniya Instituta slavyanovyedeniya 38, 1963; K. D. L a u s h k i n, Baba-Yaga y odnonogiye bogi, in group work: Folklor y etnografiya, Moskva 1970.


Back to the post on Baba Yaga.