Seeking Baba Yaga (under rocks & stones mostly)
I’ve been boiling up wild mushrooms, onion skins, and lots of different types of tea, in an attempt to distill the tones of Mother Earth for dying-up the fabric which will become the skin of my Baba Yaga puppet. I do love a bit of kitchen-witchery and am very much at home with various strange-smelling pans boiling away.
As an aspect of the Goddess in the guise of the Wise Crone, Baba Yaga is at once a creative and destructive force, neither good or bad (although she may be a little bad-tempered and cranky in her role as the grandmother-Baba). As a facet of the Triple-Mother, she holds the blood mysteries in symbolic form within her story, specifically as the Horses of the Sun who ride past Vasilisa, depicting her transition into womanhood and her new position within the maiden-mother-crone trypich. (I would also add that the phase of motherhood is bridged by menarche and the potential for actual pregnancy, as well as the seeding of wisdom and knowledge that comes from this primal transition.)
So, back to Baba Yaga. What will she look like? I’ve been researching one of my favourite puppets; Aguhra from The Dark Crystal, who was created by Jim Henson and designed Brian Froud. I love her wild hair and red dress. She’s such an elemental creature, here is her song;
“Of the race of Aughra, I, Aughra, am alone, the first and last. Born from the need for rocks and trees for an eye to see the world. The wind blew and the blind trees sang and roots twisted in the dark rocks and the roots sang and the rocks cracked and I was Aughra. This is my song. The rocks will me to be their eye; the roots willed me to be their eye. Blind rocks that felt the heartbeat of the World; blind trees swaying in the breathing of the wind made to view for them all the shapes of the World. Slowly, slowly the roots split the rock and I was free. The First Age of Aughra was of innocence and it was long. Then it was Aughra and the race of the Gelfling who shared the World. The Gelfling sang and danced for the joy of their lives, and I was part of their joy.”
And here are some puppet making in process pictures from this afternoon… I’ve been working on a new pattern base and focusing on head and neck movement plus bag-doll constructing with padding; getting very excited about building her costume and hair into the design.