Baba Yaga – A medicine woman

Name: Katya

Text: “Baba yaga is a slavic witch that lives in the woods and i heard about her growing up cuz i had a russian nanny.She lives in the woods and is known to have a house that has chicken legs on it which I always really loved as an image and she kind of represents this very powerful woman figure that I think a lot of people do fear but when you really dig into the fairy tales about her she really is a healing witch and I remember learning about her having like all these potions and what I didn’t realize at the time is that she’s basically like an herbal medicine practice practitioner so I feel like Baba Yaga is really cool and I heard since then that basically every Eastern European country has some version of Baba Yaga but she has like a bunch of different names so her reach is far and I feel like there’s something about her as a character that really resonates with people definitely really resonated with me . 


Where did u learn it from?

Like I feel like as a kid I don’t know exactly where but my nanny would read me Bedtime Stories and stuff like that so I must have been then 

where was your where is your Nanny from?

 She’s from Kazakhstan but her ancestry is Russian 

how do you think people use it? 

I feel like she’s a symbol for a very powerful mother figure “


This is a tale. This is because Baba Yaga has chicken feet and we understand as humans we cannot have that. This genre is often used to make things more child-like and fantasy related. There has been a history of labeling powerful women figures into negative connotations such as witches, and to this informant, represents the mother. Baba Yaga is feared, coming from the notion of a woman having power. Thus, they have created her into a tale that depicts her as fake and as something that is dangerous (as a traveling witch with chicken feet, who in other versions eat children). When my informant mentioned there is a version of her in every Eastern European country, it further emphasizes that this is a tale as it spreads easily.  It also proves to have had a great impact on individuals, especially children, as they pass it down when they grow up. In other tales, Baba Yaga was a donor figure, but in Katya’s telling she mentions how Baba Yaga had negative connotations to many. This highlights that despite what is widely known, the individual could have their own spin on it which illustrates the multiplicity and variation of meaning on the individual scale – i.e. instead of seeing a witch, she sees a positive alternate healing figure.