April 18th, 2022
There are brave souls, holding up lanterns and candles in the night. They unfold the quilts, the books with quickly written directions, they tell the salty stories of home.
There once was a house that held those it loved and healing was its gift. A house whose walls were draped in stories. The spice cabinet was full of exotic things and a mortar and pestle sat on the wooden countertop, ready to work. The house was alive and its caretaker was wise. Baba Yaga was a sharp-tongued newt of a lady, comfortable in her wildness. She honored the importance of salt in the stories.
Baba was born in the house and she know she would give her last breath to it as well. The house had legs, which made traveling easy, but Baba was unable to sink her roots down into the fertile ground. He roots grew inside. A Yaga house is a container, this one was full of old woman magic.
At night, when the town slept, she gifted the candles around her house a flame and intention; a warm glow drawing people nearby. One night in particular, a woman wandered the woods, seeking the house and the witch. Salted tears on her cheeks, she saw the glow of the candles and it pulled her closer and closer. The woman knocked on the door, hoping for respite or death, she would be fine with either at this point. The door opened, as if the Yaga had been expecting her. The old woman gathered her in her withered arms, but the woman could not stop crying. The witch set out collecting vessels to collet the tears.
Where ever the Yaga travelled, stories seem to follow her forming a spiked fence around her gifts. The words were barbed, to keep people away from her wild. It has always been the object of the townsfolk to surround the Baba Yaga in stories of dark witchery. This is sure to keep folks in fear of her instead of letting the light shire on healing. Healed women are much harder to control.
Baba Yaga held the woman like she was a child and told her stories of old women who survived. The house held them both as a great soul mending wove the woman back together. After the tears stopped, the Yaga heated them in a bath. She told the woman that her tears held magic. The gritty bits of her story served as the spell. The Yaga did not take the woman’s pain. She taught her how to put herself back together.
And in the days that followed, the towns folk told stories of how Baba Yaga would steal children who wandered in the woods, cooking them in her pot and eating them up. But the woman knew this was not true. She knew the Baba Yaga had tenderly fed her magic The Baba Yaga, the old witch, the wild woman, the old mother, the hag in the house, had mended her soul with salted tears and a needle, threaded with stories.
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My Dearest Witch is a term of endearment. A love story between my heart and my hands.