Baba Yaga isn’t your ordinary Crone Goddess. For starters, she lives in what can only be described as “the original mobile home”; literally, a house with chicken legs that can dance and run. She’s moody, a hermit (more or less), and is possibly the inspiration behind the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, who had a house made of candy and ate small children for dinner. She’s not exactly what I’d consider to be a “warm and fuzzy” goddess… but I’ll tell you something, when she gives advice, it gets straight to the heart of the matter!
Taisia Kitaiskaia has done a brilliant job of bringing Baba Yaga to life in her book “Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles”. The first thing I noticed upon the book’s arrival was the stark but detailed artwork of the cover. It has a very “old world fairy story” feel to the illustrations, but with that same dry humor that I feel like Baba Yaga has.
From page 1, I was hooked. If you’ve ever read a Dear Abbey column, this has that same kind of feeling. The questions are very “everyday” sorts of things, like “how do I get out of a bad relationship?”, “My roommate sucks, should I make them move out?”, “When is the best time to tell someone you love them?”. Yet the answers are deeply, richly, embroidered with the dry, sharp tongue of Baba Yaga’s humor and honesty. She is a Goddess who will strip you bare and lay before you your own entrails, so that you can see the truth in your gut.
One of my favorites was Her advice on how to protect oneself from having to listen to family drama.
“Into yr ear is being poured a black syrup from someone else’s teapot. ; It is not yr teapot, but it is yr ear–”
Even the writing stylization of the author to delineate where “human query” ends and “Baba Yaga” begins is delightful, charming, and dare I say, endearing!
I’ve read through this pretty little book twice, and flagged the pages that I wanted to go back to and re-read. Sometimes good advice is even better the second or third time around. Needless to say, this is one of those books that I will continue to keep coming back to, time and time again.
If you’re looking for some honest advice, gorgeously straightforward illustrations, and a little of that wry Baba Yaga feel that I’ve come to love and enjoy, “Ask Baba Yaga” is for you!