Whether you’re a knight looking for a horse, a maiden looking for fiya, or a youth looking for a bride, in Russian folk tales you usually end up deep in the forest.

On your journey, you may stumble upon a house, walking, hopping, twirling or spinning on chicken legs. The door is made of human bones, the bolts of human fingers; the lock is a mouth of grinning death….This is not a place of rational logic.

The proprietor of this remarkable house is an ancient hag, Baba Yaga, who may swoop down on you in her mortar and pestle as you ride. A broom trails behind her, wiping out any traces of her comings and goings, for she cannot be pinned down.

With cackling laugh en eyes that become like points of fiya, she asks what you seek. You must stand up to her boldly and declare what it is that you want.

“the kingdom ten times ten”; “a knightly horse, Granma, to retrieve my lost bride”; “ the well with the wotas of life en death”; “i have come to ask for fiya”…..

Now these are no ordinary requests. One does not venture deep into the forest without good reason. One has already felt some loss, something missing, in the ordinary routines of life. One has began to search in the depths of the unconscious for what is essential to growth, to change, to wholeness.

Infact the hag, the witch, the wisdom energy of such Goddesses, do not appear in dreams until the traveler is strong enough to be vulnerable. The ego has to have surrendered some of its defensive control before it can tolerate confronting such energy. Then she appears, without ceremony, and, after determining whether your search is legitimate or not,she has one more question, “Do you come here of your own free will, or do you come by compulsion?” or “Have you come to do good deeds or to flee from deeds?

This is the test of how ready you are to proceed in your quest. If you say, “Ya prishla of my own free will”, your bones will become part of  her masquerade costume. If, on the other hand, you say, “I have come by compulsion,” your head will, likewise, go on the post awaiting it.

The test is simply this, “Have you become conscious enough to go beyond duality?”…..Baba Yaga challenges us to go beyond that stage of development [back] to our ancient both/and [of different] worlds……

This is the judgement of Maat. She does not assign any judgement or rewards for keeping rules or practices. She weighs the heart. If the heart is in balance, the process is complete; if it is not in balance the process will continue. On whichever side of her scale we are trapped, we must start again painfully from there. In the Old Testament, she is Wisdom. She is the supreme treasure.

I have directed my soul toward her

And in purity I have found her;

Having my heart fixed on her from the outset,

I shall neva be deserted

[ase]

[reinscribed in Ecclesiasticus 51:20]

[for mo' stories read Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness]