Baba Yaga’s Apprentice:
A Faerie Tale Ritual
If ever we needed ways to stay focused and whole, and experience some gentleness, this is the time.
Baba Yaga’s Apprentice is my gentle enchantment that creates focus and wholeness. I believe this magic is all the more powerful and effective for its gentleness.
This storybook is for grown-ups . . . but the sort of adults who remain, or want to remain, childlike at heart.
This book’s format: PDF.
The tale is my revisioning of Baba Yaga folklore.
As the book’s story proceeds, a ritual simultaneously unfolds for the reader.
Baba Yaga’s Apprentice is fun, easy reading.
Along with being a Faerie tale and a gentle ritual, this book is also a work of art for you. Trying to evoke the embellishments in old Faerie tale books and add a layer of enchantment to the magical foundation I’d spun with the text, I ornamented every page with my original full color art. Most of the art is my spin on Poland’s folk art.
I have felt immense mojo on the project; I wanted this spell to happen so much.
From the preface:
“The spell is very easy to do. You don’t even have to “do” it. The sheer reading of the Faerie tale to oneself, just for fun, even silently, and enjoying my paintings, is all it takes for the spell to work.”
“The storybook’s magical current helps you:
* Focus on what’s important to you.
* Follow through on it.
* Stay centered in your power and your love.
* Protect your dear heart from being hurt or blocked.
* Feed your witchy soul.
“The ritual also supports you if you are introverted, empathic, exceptionally magical, or sensitive psychically.
“And when you are fearful or nervous, this is a good tale for you.”
The book is 7000 words and 46 pages.
This volume was created with my sincerest hope that the gentle love and hope with which the Muse infused the pages will sustain and empower you … over and over.
Available only from the author.
I take my work as a shaman seriously, hold myself to a high standard, and do everything in my power to reach that standard. That doesn’t require pompousness. Fun is important. It adds lightheartedness to the shamanic journey. I teach ecstatic shamanic witchcraft—we have fun in our process. The end is the means.
Writing the ditty below to promote my newsletter was fun. So was making the little painting above, to accompany the ditty. The newsletter helps people, so spreading word about it is a service, and service can be fun.
Come one, come all,
join the Faerie Circus!
This is no movie, no metaphor.
This is the real deal,
this is going somewhere—
get my newsletters:
The sky’s my big tent,
a star’s my trapeze.
Come swirl through the air with me:
click here now for magic,
the self love you need,
and other awesome breakthroughs.
Your witchcraft will thrive
more than ever before.
Check out my mailings;
they open the door.
Plus you’ll get freebies
that only go to
my newsletter readers.
Click here—that’s your cue!
Sometimes our friends/clients don’t need “help,” even if we have skills capable of creating positive change for those we serve. Sometimes we serve a person best by investing our skill set in honoring them—and their circumstances—exactly as they are.
Here’s an example. I know someone who’s suffered extraordinary difficulties for years. I foolishly wanted to meddle—”save” her. I wanted to give her spiritual healings. I wanted to teach her shamanic exercises to become stronger. I wanted to show her abilities she doesn’t know she has. I wanted to make a protective amulet to ward off negative energy around her. I wanted to, I wanted, I wanted. None of it was what she wanted … or needed.
Mind you, everything I longed to do for her is perfect for many of my clients. And could be perfect for her at another time.
But the following is what I did. I made her a totem. As I chose objects for it, I let go of what I thought was “right” for her. Instead, I selected items to honor and celebrate who she already is.
The totem’s sole purpose (oh my, voice-recognition translated that as “soul purpose”) was to represent how wonderful she is. I completely let go of all other agendas. That included releasing the thought that her experience of my celebration might empower her to make changes I felt could help her with her struggles. She knows best, not me.
So there’s a long bone bead with stars in it, because if anybody has stars in her bones, it’s this woman. The wood is European Elder—sambucus nigra—and is a piece so young that it’s mostly soft, spongy pulp—fragile, as are we all. Its youth also gives it a wondrous sensitivity like my friend’s, and a gentle, subtle, yet dynamic magic that my friend has. The ladybug portrays another aspect of that.
Three luminescent cobalt beads represent the mysteries she lovingly serves. A bead that is probably tiger’s eye and one that is probably goat horn represent how down-to-earth she is; she modestly infuses sacredness into her daily mundane responsibilities, though they are immense and humble.
A purple bead symbolizes the beauty of her spirit and the beauty she gifts people around her. A leaf indicates her care of Gaia’s children. I made the wool bead on top because … well, she’ll know why. And I had to add something sparkly because she is Fey.
At some point in its creation, this wall-hanging chose to be a doll. (Heh, a wall-doll.) So I spun yarn (which I felted a bit to help it set, since its winding wouldn’t be held tight by a weaving or the like) to shape the body.
Is “totem doll” an actual term? … This totem doll represents her spirit. … The term “spirit doll” is popular nowadays. … I could call it a “poppet,” because that’s a term for a doll used in magic. Not that I expect my friend to do spells with this, unless she wants to, but this doll was used magically in that I blessed it. And to play with words, “poppet” is a traditional term of endearment; making this artifact was an expression of love.
Creating the poppet was an unexpected gift to myself: I no longer need to fret about someone I hold dear. Affirming some of this woman’s wonderful attributes reminded me she has many other amazing powers, so needs no rescuer; she has every resource she needs within her, including the ability to ask for help when she requires it.
In case someone reads this post as an either/or proposition: I do not usually choose between helping friends/clients create positive change and honoring them exactly as they are. Most of the time, serving them both ways is beneficial.
Facilitating shifts they want in themselves and in their lives is a more respectful process if I also mirror back to them, in word, visual art, or ritual, their beauty and power—including that which is hidden to most eyes and that which they do not even see themselves.
It feels important to mention this sort of mirroring and affirming of those around us can require as much skill, thoughtfulness, and magic as does helping them make changes. For example, I have the psychic ability to see the beauty and power in people, even if they cannot.
Why is it important to mention the skills involved? Because people with lots of skills for creating change can feel frustrated when they can’t use those abilities for someone they care about. But you can apply your gifts another way—to honoring someone just as they are—and accomplish something vitally important. People need to be respected for who they already are. People need to be fully met right where they are.
Sometimes trying to “help” someone robs them of dignity. If instead, we honor them as they follow whatever path they choose, achieve victories that are important to them (as opposed to victories you think they need to gain), make the mistakes they need to make, and explore the parts of themselves they think vital to explore, we give an invaluable respect. That respect is also known as “love.” So mote it be.
This is excerpted from the two-volume Third Road Book of Shadows, available here: http://stardrenched.com/2016/10/01/book-of-shadows/
This subtle current dances about me all day, even in my sleeping hours, empowering me and making me whole. It heals me, delights me, and celebrates me. It relieves me of my pains, doubts, and flaws. It removes obstacles.
Oppressors deny magic, lest we use its ever available power to live wild and free, with direct access to Deity and the gifts Deity bestows, independent of dour religious institutions and oppressive societal hierarchies.
But magic is real and a Goddess-given right. I would go further to say magic is a living aspect of my Goddess. No one will rob me of my Goddess and Her power. I live in magic.
In the two-volume Third Road Book of Shadows set, the above prose-poem is ornamented with more detailed art than I could post here if I wanted this webpage to load in less than a decade.
But the graphic at the top of this post is part of the art in question. And I made the little graphic at the side especially for this post, because I love ya!
Did you enjoy the post? Get the book set here, available only from the author: http://stardrenched.com/2016/10/01/book-of-shadows/
My beloved witch,
The Goddess blesses your rituals. I wrote/painted the above picture-poem as the third and last meme in my mini-series about the sacredness and beauty of witchcraft.
(All three memes blurred a bit, because I shrunk the files so their webpages would appear quickly for you.)
I call them poems, though they could be viewed as prose. To me, they’re poems or prose-poems, both in that they are lyric and evoke magic.
I believe one of my jobs as a bard is to evoke magic. I’ve not seen that description of a bard in a historical text, but I know in my bones and past life memories that the Gods choose some bards to create ritual aka bardic poems.
My class lectures are sometimes lyric and other times straightahead prose, but on some level they are still my concept of bardic poetry.
Are you a bard who creates ritual? Or were you chosen to do bardic work other than ritual creation? We all are given such different jobs by the Faerie Queen.
I combine words with art to further the experience. Even when I first started teaching shamanism, class handouts sometimes had my calligraphy and artwork, though they were far more primitive than they are now. But I feel that extra effort added blessings.
I make memes like this not just for my site but also as Book of Shadow pages for myself and students (aka handouts). I’m fascinated with painting borders around my words to add magic for Book of Shadow pages. I even had to paint a border for the newsletter button below this post.
… Oh, if you wonder what the newsletter button has to do with Books of Shadows, bear with my following explanation, since at first it may seem to have no relation to the topic:
Ok, to me a Book of Shadows page points to your day and how you can live it magically. In the same vein, I teach oral tradition—which the written word cannot convey—and you only grasp oral tradition when you use its lessons by living magically in your day. So, in the final analysis, your day is your ultimate Book of Shadows, because it is your life that holds the most magic, not any text. Your life is the real ritual, not the words on any page.
And my newsletter is a doorway into that oral tradition, because it announces upcoming classes. So I can think of one of my newsletter buttons as the front cover to a Book of Shadows. So mote it be.
Since I view life as the ritual, it might seem contradictory that I work hard crafting my words and visually ornamenting them. But I want my pages to be really good pointers to the magic available in the world around us, so they can help me—and hopefully other people—see how to live a day magically. I believe that is why Goddess gave me gifts with words and art. Blessed be.
Here’s another picture-poem I wrote/painted:
The border I painted for a previous picture poem (check it out here) was almost the right magic for the above picture-poem. I just needed to change the background color, and rotate the frame … and I might’ve tweaked a few other things, too … I forget, because it’s been a few weeks.
I’d written both poems around the same time, and consider them part of a larger whole. So I’d wanted almost identical borders.
I worked hard on the border, so it feels satisfying to find more than one appropriate use for it.
I was striving for the look of an old Book of Shadows page, with a personal and modern twist—something that evokes traditional witchcraft, but feels like it is here with me, in the now.
My beloved Faerie witch, stay tuned for one more meme that is part of this mini-series.
(The art work blurred a bit and what-not, when I made the file smaller so the webpage would appear quickly for you.)
Remember your magic. Use your magic. Revel in your magic. Blessed be.
After having the above thought, I painted a border for it. To add Faerie magic, I paint everything I can: memes I write, the newsletter button below, my clothes—including my shoes …
(The art work blurred a bit and what-not, when I made the file smaller so the webpage would appear quickly for you.)
This was my first needle felting.
Whenever I see felt gnomes—almost any style—I have to either grin or outright laugh in delight.
So I conjured three gnomes friends. Sure enough, these fellows have me grinning and laughing. They’re also good conversationalists, as long as you talk about things that interest gnomes.
Call them gnomes or Tomte—they do not care, as long as you give them a loving home. They definitely bless a home.
I’d only seen felt gnomes with one or two non-wool parts, eg a wood head. I wanted mine all wool instead, because I love working with it. Plus I hoped all wool might make them look roughhewn; I envisioned rough and tumble Tomte.
The only non-wool was a little needle and thread work to reshape one gnome’s base into a stable foundation.
I expected to make the fellows completely by wet felting, but when I couldn’t do everything by wet felting, I tried my hand at needle felting. It was easier than I expected.
I loved watching each fellow’s unique personality emerge as I made them. For example, the gray bearded guy is a big-hearted mischief-maker and ruffian-warrior who enjoys good ale.
Bragging rights! I have a great sense of accomplishment. Finished making over 60 Yule ornaments. It’s my job as a Yule elf: I designed, painted, personally printed, and hand cut ornaments for my friends and me. It was a labor of love, gifting loved ones and helping Santa spread magic. Happy holidays!