|Baba Yaga by Ivan Bilibin, Wikipedia creative commons|
In a Christmas blog ('Christmas cheer & Baba Yaga'), I wrote about Baba Yaga – that fierce and fearsome witch of the Russian fairytales who eats people.
In summary, I spoke of the need to incorporate what Jungians call the Shadow into our consciousness. (In fairy tales, these unconscious 'subpersonalities' often appear as the ugly hag, the wicked stepmother, the bad fairy, the giant, -the ogre etc.)
All of us have parts of ourselves that we are ashamed of, or dislike, or someone else has disliked, or that we fear. We tend to deal with these aspects by repressing them very firmly. However, in this case they become constellations of energy in the psyche which, when triggered, can cause enormous unpleasantness as we suddenly succumb to a mood, or a rage, or an out-of-proportion upset that can tear us or others apart. When this happens, it's worth asking what it is in us that needs to be brought to the surface.
Often, we can get some measure of these psychic, 'hot', bundles of energy by noticing our moods and affects; often, too, by becoming aware of what really gets us going in another – if we don't meet our own Shadow aspects face-to-face, we'll tend to meet them 'out there', in the guise of another. (This goes for our positive but unrecognised aspects as much as our negatives – what we really admire in another gives us a clue as to what we need to work on in ourselves to liberate.) The wise way is to look them square in the face.
I've written much about all this, on this blog and also elsewhere, so I'm going to leave it at that, except to post a poem that addresses this, emailed to me yesterday by a long-time friend. Thank you, Sheena.
Sheena writes: '...have only just had a chance to catch up with your wonderful blogs. The one about the Baba Yaga within really struck a chord; it's a concept which has preoccupied me for years. I once wrote a piece about it which I called 'The Visitor' – although I think 'The Sitting Tenant' might be nearer the mark!'
I am your uninvited guest
at the feast
you eat alone we share a name
but mine is mirror-writ and odd
you know it all the same
I am the little voice
that wakes you
long before the light is due
whispers the thoughts that you were dreaming
tells you your dream was true
naming casts a powerful spell
shall I name you or you name me?
and will we be coupled closer then
or will we set each other free?
© Sheena Odle 2014