There was a panel at Wiscon, about Baba Yaga and hidden goddesses.
I saw half the panel and had to leave due to a schedule conflict. I wish I could have stayed!.
My notes are … not very coherent. I was trying to write everything down and my handwriting suffered.
Here, though, is the gist I got from the panel.
Baba Yaga is neither good nor evil. She helps or hinders people who cross her path according to a metric that … that runs sideways to fairy tale good and bad.
Baba Yaga is the figure who tells you the truth, even when she’s lying. She doesn’t help you out, she offers you opportunities to educate yourself about the world.
Life is hard, and unfair.
Don’t whine or blame others.
You will be given choices.
You will be given challenges.
What you do will make you into what you will be.
If you fail — if you are stupid, or deceitful, or self-aggrandizing, or rude, or careless — Baba Yaga will probably suck the marrow from your bones.
If you succeed — if you learn and grow — Baba Yaga will tell you something that makes no sense, give you something you don’t need. In time the person she knows you will become will understand and appreciate her gift.
I kinda want to be Baba Yaga when I grow up.