Welcome to Saga Kraft: myths, fairytales, legends stories, comfort us, inspire us and heal us. Please join us. As we share our stories, both old and new, more than anything, we are open to the story and it's unfolding at times. It may be one story told by one person at times it's the same story told through three different voices.
In the end, we go where the story takes us and we invite you to follow. I'm C a writer, artist, and storyteller. I'm Betsy, a medium and teacher of mystery. I'm Gabriela, an artist and practitioner of folk magic. We are magical in training today. I would like to share a story from the Eastern Slavic lands of Russia.
And it's a story about Vesta Lisa, the beautiful. A long time ago in a certain stardom eMerchants and his wife who have been married for a long time. We're finally blessed with the birth of a daughter. They named her vest Salisa sadly, when vessel Lisa was only eight years old, her mother became gravely ill as a final gift to her daughter.
Vesselis has mother gave her a doll. She said my dear sweet listen carefully for this is important. I am dying. But with my final maternal blessing, I give you the make sure you always keep her clothes and don't let anybody see her. If you were ever endanger feed her and ask her for advice, she will always help you with these final words and a kiss.
Best Elise has a mother died. The merchant mourn the death of his wife, but after some time he considered marrying again, he decided to marry a widow, a woman close to his age who also had two daughters of her own. He was hoping that this mature woman and her daughters would be a great family to vest Salisa, but he was mistaken.
The widow and her daughters were deeply jealous of bacilli, says beauty and were very cruel to her. They gave her all kinds of harsh chores to complete and hopes that she would grow skinny and frail in turn Fest. Lisa accomplished all of her chores and hot sun, strong winds and cold rain, and grew more full and beautiful each day to the dismay of her stepmother and stepsisters.
They were the ones who grew more ugly and shriveled with resentment as the time passed. How did vast Salisa remain so joyful and then changed against the resentment she was facing? Well, as her mother instructed vest, Elisa fed her doll who aided her and all of her chores, no matter how difficult they may have been.
She always set aside morsel of food for the doll. Even if it meant she didn't eat much herself. It's all her mother gave her, was always fed and had returned. She listened to vessel. Lisa gave her advice, did her chores and even taught her what herbs to use to keep her skin from burning. When the stepmother would send her out into the scorching sun to work a few years, went by and Lisa became of age to Mary being the most beautiful young girl in the village.
She had many suitors. Nobody paid any attention to her ugly stepsisters, which drove their mother to rage. And she would punish vessel Lisa with painful beatings. She saw this Elisa as a reason why her daughters would never marry when the merchant had to leave home on business for a long time, she found another house to move to this house was near thick forest and deep in this forest was a hut, which was the dwelling of Baba Yaga.
Well, by Yaga wanted to be left alone. Didn't like people and even ate them like chickens. If she felt like it. Needless to say with the forest, so close to this house by Salisa stepmother found all kinds of reasons to send her to the woods, to complete various chores of hopes of Baba Yaga, seeing and capturing her.
So she would never return, but somehow Vasily sun never came upon the hut of Baba Yaga because the doll always advised her which paths to avoid and how to get safely home. One autumn evening, the three maidens were tasked with sewing work to complete. When the only candle was snuffed out, less Elisa was forced to go to Baba Yaga hut to bring back more light Vesta.
Lisa fed her doll and shared the new server terrifying journey to come and how she was scared for her life. The doll ate her supper and with gleaming eyes comforted vessel Lisa, if you're not facili sushi, Scott with me hidden in your pocket, no harm will come to you from Baba Yaga. Vesta. Lisa started her journey into the dark night, trembling and cold.
She walked for some time, a white horseman rode past her dressed in white, on a white horse. And David came, she kept walking. I read horsemen galloped past her dressed in red on a red horse, sun Rose high into the sky all night and all day. And the following evening, she came upon Baba Yaga hut, which was a terrifying sight.
The hut was fenced by human bones. And it was surrounded by spikes with human skulls, with glaring eyes, a black horseman approached his horse. This was black, and he was dressed in black and night King, but not for long. The horses it's been galloped into the hut and was swallowed by it and the eyes and all the skulls lit up and everywhere was no bright light day.
And then the trees parted and Baba Yaga came flying through the air and a mortar steering it toward with a pestle. She sniffed the air and shouted. Phew. Phew. What is that human smell? Who dares to come here? It is. I grinded mother said vessel Lisa bowing, her head low. I was sent here to bring home some light.
Very well then, but first you must work for me and do whatever I ask of you or I will eat. You said Baba Yaga. She opened up the hut and let facility son side time went by invest. Salisa fulfilled all of Baba Yaga requests. She cooked, she cleaned, she spun and she sewed all along. She fed her doll and made sure even the most impossible if tasks were performed perfectly.
So then Baba Yaga had no reason to complain. One day, Baba Yaga turned her nose at buss Elisa and asked, how is it that you accomplish whatever I ask of you? Well, grandmother, best Elisa replied. I am helped by the blessing of my mother, Baba Yaga, recoiled. Oh, I see. That's what it is. I will not have any blessing in my house.
Get out of here. Bless a daughter, and take the light for which you came. Shoo. Vesta, Lisa run out of the hut, grabbing one of the skulls with fiery eyes, from defense and headed for home. She hesitated for a moment and thought about hiding it somewhere. It looked so dangerous and surely there must be light at home by now, but the skull whispered to her, take me through your stepmother and stepsisters.
And as vessel Lisa approached closer to the house and saw that it was dark, she decided to bring the glowing skull with her. She was greeted warmly by her step-family for the first time. They told her they were unable to light a match during her absence. And we're so grateful for vessel. Lisa has returned the skull with glowing eyes, stared at the stepmother and stepsister so intensely that they burned no matter where they hid the burning eyes would find them.
And by morning they were nothing. But Ash vessels, Lisa remained on touched and harmed by the school's fire. She buried the skull in the yard, secured the house and left. She found an elderly childless woman who gave her shelter as vessel. Lisa waited for her father's return sometime during her stay. She said, grandmother, I am restless with no work.
Bring me some flax and I will take up spinning again. She also asked her doll for a loom. The doll said, bring me an old comb, a shuttle and some horse hair. And I shall make you alone with this fine loom vessel. Lisa was able to leave the most beautiful linen worthy of a star. The old woman told vessel Lisa to make some shirts and she would take them to the palace to present at court that SAR has never seen such fine clothing and requested to meet the creatrix of the woven gifts upon meeting beautiful vessel.
Lisa, he fell madly in love with her and asked her to marry and she agreed the wedding was celebrated right away for the SAR could not imagine another day without vessels. He set aside. Soon after her father returned and was ask to live at the palace with the happy couple. Vessel ISA asked for the old woman to be invited to the palace as well, and ended up living there to facili son, never forgot about her Dole and kept her clothes and fed her for the rest of her life until she died.
It's hard not to applaud. Well, I have to say, I really wanted doll like that. Myself. Perhaps we should make some, that'd be fun. Well, thank you. I loved it. And actually this brings up the question for me. Why did she get some doll? You know what I mean? Why what's the place? Well, I have a practical answer that is culturally accurate.
There are dolls made in Eastern Europe. They are made of clothing that belonged to the parent, usually the mother and they are protective dolls. So the smell well of the mother would be on the clothing of the doll. And so when mothers would go to work or would have to go away. They would leave these dolls who are called McConkey, which just means a meddling Pancha means something metals together sort of fastened together.
And these dolls would protect and sooth children. So there really is a very, an accurate connection to the doll. And the doll having magical and protective powers and one that you can tell your sorrows too. So it is part of the folk culture, perhaps, and perhaps the doll was a doll that her mother gave her the mother's daughter, the grandmother.
How do you think also Lisa felt about it? Burning them off? I don't believe that she would on her own desire that I think vice Salisa more than anything, wanted to please everybody and wanted change to occur. Yeah. I mean, I think as much as she wanted to please, everybody too, I'm really struck by how whatever came at her.
She encompassed, you know, with strengthened by the doll strengthened by the knowledge that she would get the advice or the help or whatever. She really took a lot of things in her stride. Even the marriage, he falls madly in love with her and she agrees. Why not? You know, But it sounds like what you're talking about is the possible power of blessing that comes down maybe through the ancestral field.
Yes. And how that is something that even Baba Yaga could acknowledge as being a very formidable power. Yes. Well, when that in its own, right, might even interfere with Bobby yogas magic or whatever, whatever it is that she decided, you know, to ask Lisa to leave, you know, to finally say, okay, we're done with everything here.
That's very interesting. And the story is really worthy of a book. There is so much, there, there is so much in this story. And the fact that there's more than one story about vessel Lisa and Baba Yaga, and they are different. Each story is different, almost shows a different phase or a different aspect of these two women interacting.
It's fascinating to, to witness and to honor the different phases of a person's life and how they can be changed based on in what type of heroin they appear or what type of a villain they appear. In this story, bubble Yaga can be seen as a villain or as a savior. One who bestows the revenge that vessel Lisa herself would not be able to administer because when she arrives at Baba Yaga hut, Baba Yaga, doesn't let her leave without the light.
She came for. Knowing what the light would do. And knowing the bus Elisa would be safe from disliked, just like she was safe from any of her rafts that would normally come upon anybody else in her home. Any other human that would come to her home? Yeah. And also I'm wondering if by virtue of the, the experience that boss Elisa has had with the doll, too, that whatever, the confidence that it gave her to be able to approach Baba Yaga, and also the stepmother and the sisters prepared her for Baba Yaga by ordering her around, giving her impossible tasks to do.
Baba Yaga is just a big step up. It sounds like from this, so that unlike many people that maybe had a better childhood and better opportunities who would not have been prepared for somebody like Baba Yaga, and also Lisa was ready for her. Does she become more cunning and some of the other versions or.
How would you describe her? She really doesn't. She's a strong character, but seems unchanged by whatever thrown her way. She seems to be the light carrier, the light bear, and many of them representations of the different stories she's often seen as the initiate tricks as the, as the initiated, as the persevering light of in many ways as the eternal maiden with eternal hope.
And access to other powers, other worldly powers in many ways she's seen as Baba Yaga as apprentice. And it's just a striking image of her emerging from the dark wood, with the raging skull fire. That's gorgeous for enemies. I was just pondering the thought of a light pair and their shoes. He is the light that she's carrying is really like a double edged sword in a way that brings the light, but it also brings stuff and a leveling, a reckoning, if you will.
Yeah, there's something about tough taking the light from a source by oppressing it and torturing it into giving your light actually blows up in your face
into the perspective. Another aspect here is Baba Yaga, the judge of character here. Is she weighing the worthy against the unworthy of her gifts of her transformative powerful gifts. I certainly look at it that way because there are plenty of people that approach by bio-gas hut yet clearly by the, by the posts with the schools.
Many of them do not return except for a few. And Vasily says one. Invite Lisa also in approaching Baba Yaga gives her the due respect. She bows to her. She's recognizing what she's walking into and that if she's still walk out, she really has to show up and recognize the person an hour of Baba Yaga. And love that.
I had never heard her of like get out before I hadn't heard that version. And I really liked that. Like, you have a blessing, you cannot be here. Cause that could go anyway at any time that's an untrustworthy thing. But I also really loved the thought and that I've heard the story many times in different ways, but not this one.
I love the idea of her getting back and burying the skull. And it made me really think about the journey of the person who had that skull. Clearly they showed up at it, father yogas, hut, and fail. Until they could do this one thing to redeem themselves and then they were put to peace to rest. There was something very lovely to me in that it's almost like a weird Bobby younger purgatory.
We'll just sit on the stake for a while. Till you learn your lesson, then you get to repair a tone and then you can last. I haven't looked at it that way, but it's absolutely, you're absolutely right. That is, that is how it happened. And to be buried, to, to have a final resting place and then be engaged because festival visa was going to bury it anywhere and leave it into forest.
She was afraid of it. It wasn't really sure what was going to happen with the skull and the spirit that's school said to her, let me come with you. I have work to do. And therefore ended up being buried and laid to rest. We've got to do the slumping ban thing until somebody else had buried it. Maybe. I don't know.
I also was curious. So in the grim stories, they, you know, now the grim stories are filled with stepmothers. But originally they were not. When the Grimms originally went around and interviewed everybody for the stories, those were genuine mothers who are destroying their children and then the Grimms they're brothers.
And I suppose they probably have a mother who don't want up this off. And so they wrote mothers out and wrote in stepmothers everywhere so that there wouldn't be any condemnation of mothers in their work. And so I wonder if that's also true in the story. I do not know if that is true in the story, and it seems that the mother's death is auspicious and it's part of the power that vessel Lisa is taking from the doll.
So I think in this version, The death of the mother is real the stepmother and the stepsisters. I'm not sure if there is a version without them, a version of the story without them, but it does strike me on that with the step sisters and the step mother. There's a certain element of the other. A wonder if it's a cross cultural element, just like.
For example, when I read this story, there are several versions of one vessel or any other human approaches, Baba Yaga hut. What is often said by Baba Yaga is when she smells, she says, what is that Russian smell? She will often be referring to a person, a Russian person, which this is a Russian story. And in another version, it's about the human.
She smells the human, but bring it back into that stepmother aspect. Is it, the people we're marrying into different with people of different countries that became this place of misunderstanding of assuming cruelty that the other might have where its own family, its own clan would not. I bring it up because it's consistent in a lot of these stories of smelling of a person that's different.
So the stepmother could be just the other. An unknown factor, a foreign factor influencing the law and order of a community as it's been developed, somebody new infiltrating it, not knowing its ways causing havoc, causing pain and sorrow to the family or to the community. It comes up quite a bit. So I wonder too, if that's an aspect of the stepmother.
Well, and what a perfect setup for that to be the case too. I would think with the father being a merchant and somebody who travels possibly to other lands and you know, where he might be finding somebody who brings back the other in that kind of way, but the others also there with Bobby Yaga and in a certain kind of way, the other is there with us, Alyssa herself too.
I mean, she's so full of grace for lack of a better word, but that's kind of other worldly right there. Absolutely. And even her birth is auspicious because her parents were married for a long time. Her parents were married for 12 years before she was born. So her birth itself is magical, is somewhat miraculous.
So even that indeed she, Avast Elisa is, is another, she's a, of a different time or have a different she's made of a difference tapestry than the rest of her world and is punished for it and has to suffer for it until she's recognized first by Baba Yaga. And then by the star who, you know, in this story has the place of seeing her truly seeing her and finding.
Out of all the women in the community, in the land, whatever princesses were nearby, he chooses her. And that type of story is I think it's 5% of stories are where the protagonist is not changed. Usually in the story, the protagonist is changed a great deal, but in 5% of stories, the protagonist doesn't change.
They change everyone around them. By their being there. And when you were talking, so honestly thinking of the Carlo, Ginzburg one where he's describing witches and the way that, that now is linked, at least in my mind to so many neuro diversities. I was like, wow. So also it's just kind of neuro diverse, you know, she's out there in super on task and super focused.
She got the knife and making her way in her different way. And that forces everyone around her to change, including Baba Yaga, because it brings out such a different version of Baba Yaga and kind of waiting for the wrath of Baba Yaga or the. Penances or whatever it is that Baba Yaga might cast on a person, but seemed almost immune to them by virtue of the doll.
And I totally see it as probably recognizing her own
any here's a skull to give you a few seconds. A few kind of what coping tools to deal with urea.
And perhaps while I can't punish you, but I need to punish someone
I know. Well, and Baba Yaga really it's a little, none of her powers are described in the story, except for the fact that she was the three times of day. The white horseman, the red horsemen and the night horsemen, they are Dawn daybreak and they work for her. She controls time and she controls destiny and she is part of nature.
She is outside of nature. She can change it. There are so many aspects here that are hidden above biogas power, and yet. Upon meeting with Vasa Lisa, she's able to share that destiny shift with vast Elisa and bring Vassilis into her true self and into her. She alive Bobby, I got aligned her with the potential.
That's always been hers. Wouldn't doesn't even take credit except to the people who are observing her. She's the villain in the story, but yet. She's the great, helpful grandmother was not an ordinary change agent. I mean, it seems as though the stepmother's the real villain, but, and Bobby Abby could have eclipsed her, but Vasa Lisa neutralized her in some way.
Exactly. Yeah. That's one of the things that I really love about. Bobby Yaga is in my mind. She's so always the villain and the savior, like she was just both. She's the test that either allows you to, you know, take it a step up or just not chair right back down. And her artifacts, the skull of light, same thing.
It's a savior, but it also takes everyone down that needs to be taken down. Yes. And then certain it taught muscle. Lusa quite a lot. I'm certain it did too. And Vasa Lisa's responses are so mild to no matter what comes her way. She, I mean, she has the emergency scared. She's worried. And yet she has this mense trust and surrender to the wisdom of her mother.
And she listens to what she's told. She pays attention. She's always the observer, she's the worker and the observer, and she knows how to honor. Her world and her circumstances in some versions that Salisa is referred to either Vista Lisa, the beautiful, but more often she is vessel Lisa, the brave known for her, her courage and perseverance.
I think of her as the vessel. These are the blessed also. Exactly. I guess it comes up for me too. So back to the why does boss Elisa get a blessing? Okay. Wonder about where it really comes from. I know the story, she she's given it by her mother. And I question that that's a standard way to get it. I think there is something inherent in that blessing.
There is definitely something inherent in that blessing and more so because her mother dies when she's only eight and something. So once again, we are talking about Slavic culture. It is really, the belief has held that if a family member dies or if a mother or a father die, usually a mother, if a mother dies early, when the child is, is still very young, her spirit, her protection, that ancestral wealth.
And bounty remains with the child. So, so with the doll it's all right. Vessel Lisa's ancestral power and her mother, her mother's blessings, and her mother's almost activated in that doll because she cannot be there physically. But she somehow embeds herself into the magic of the doll to continue on and guide vessel Lisa through her life.
So it's really an ancestral gift and a blessing of the lineage under circumstances when the lineage is broken or the parent dies early, which I'm guessing happened often. And a lot of the time in these stories, it is often the orphan that. Is the heroin. So it's the person who is left without who's left abandoned, or who's left without a parent one or two that is given these magical abilities and magical gifts and magical protections under a suspicious circumstances.
I suspect that's true, but I'm also really a little obsessed with the horseman. I've always wanted to know more about the horsemen. Where did they come from? Where are they going? How do we get to know the horseman? Do you have any idea? And I'm treating you like an expert here because you know, so much more than me.
I'm sorry about that. I will certainly not appear to be an expert because I know very little other than reading these stories and loving these stories, the three horsemen, just like the fate of the three. Sisters and the turn of the three magical times that everything is blessed and represent the times of day.
And I see them as time and I see them as the turning of time and as changing from one phase to another and Baba Yaga, being the great initiator. The power of the woods, power of faith, the spinner and the guardian of eternal life and the mistress of death. It's power overdose times. So in turn, she is like the three and she is like the three weavers.
She is the spinner, the Weaver and the cutter, depending on at what time you meet her. And she can Fasten those times and change those times. But the horseman. They are not part of her, but they, they work for her. They're aligned with her and they are seen around her. They announced a time at which she will arrive.
That's all I will say about that for now without further, further investigation, but they are certainly a part of the story, letting the observer know that time is changing. At time has changing and a time is changing again. And when all three are seen, that is one, she makes her appearance when Baba Yaga arrives, after the all three are seen, after a full day has passed and to the night.
And it does feel to me like they are like the wheel of a loom and the knife. Yes. I suspect that the colors on the times of the day really meant something to the audience too. And that maybe even particular magic happened with particular colors and that particular time, um, that an uninitiated non Russian person, I don't know what any of that means, but I feel the importance of it in some kind of way.
It's true. It's true. That those, those are powerful times that the time when the sun daybreak, meaning when the night just first disappears and things are light. That's the time for beginnings. It's the time to rise. It's the time to start new things. Red is the sun at noon. It's the most powerful time of the day.
It is the is at its highest are most protected at noon. From possibly Baba Yaga and then the dark and black indicates the time for, for night, which is the time for spirits and the time for change and death to appear if it is meant to appear, it's the time of midnight. Where most of the real magic happens.
And indeed Baba Yaga is the real magic and the story she appears with the black writer. And also we're talking, you know, once again, the black writer arrives, it represents the dark one, the dark time, the underworld going under and Baba Yaga is very much about reversal to see her one really must reverse oneself.
That writer, that black writer indicates the turning inside out as well. I mean, could it be argued that for us Alisa, when you turn her inside out, she's just the same as she is the other way too. Absolutely. Yes. I love that thought that she's just pure integrity in my mind. That's pure integrity. Open her up.
It's just the same. It's just my mom.
So is, this is this story. Then the beginning of her apprenticeship, that Baba Yaga gives her the scope gives her the light, not through her own agency at that point, buss Elisa. Well, but through following through with her directives, she brings the light back to her family and they're taking care of their decimated.
Yeah, absolutely. I do think it's an initiation for vessel Lisa also. That was not really her family. Yeah, she does bring the light to her family. Who's her father and the woman who takes her in and takes care of her, who should have been the mother who should have been the wife that her father would have, should have taken.
So she makes her own family. She chooses her own family who is willing to see her, and then she makes provisions for them once. Um, Hmm. But does Baba Yaga turn her into, or does she even turned inside out by Baba Yaga? Does she just remain with Lisa? I think she remains my Solexa. I feel like Baba Yaga is the one that's turned inside out in this story.
But she often is depending on who approaches her and how she has approached. I think Baba Yaga wants to be surprised. Yeah. For a terrifying being she's. I think that she must be bored sometimes to have somebody who can be a changer for her. Yeah. Maybe that's a good thing. She has lots of power and everybody's afraid that becomes pretty unimpressive.
Probably people come there with the intention of taking her power, taking her over, which is impossible, or trying to get her to do something for you without giving her her due. I wonder if she misses fossil Noosa, then I think they visit Vesta. Lisa is a courageous soul and has abilities for housing, all kinds of guests and Baba Yaga can fly.
So, so are you thinking that she was invited to the wedding? NA if you wouldn't have wanted to go to the wedding. Now with Baba Yaga. I think she likes to observe. She likes to know because she knows, she knows who the stepmother is and she knows what the stepsisters are. She knows that she knows everyone, but you can only come to her.
She won't come to you. You can only come to her. And you can only come to her. If you look upside down through your legs and find a path, you have to reverse yourself, you have to walk backwards. You will not find her under ordinary circumstances unless you don't want to. If you don't want to find her, then you're more likely to find her.
If you're afraid of her, you're likely to find her because she can smell that fear, but it wouldn't go as quite, as well for you. I imagine. Probably not. It ended up being a skull of waiting for us. So, Lisa, exactly, exactly. Or Vesta Lisa's daughters, I'm guessing Vesta Lisa's daughters are probably learn the path to Baba Yaga hut, which stands on chicken legs.
So yes, there are birds in the story as well. Well, I guess for me, when I think of going forward into the week with this story, the blessing of the mother feels to me a bit like. The Armenia in the Northern tradition, the palpable blessing that comes down through the ancestral line that can help you and inform you and support you.
And it makes me want to make a doll or have that sense of connection to what those strengths that are palpable and the blessings too, but also the. You know, in these strangely turbulent times to have not a naivete, but the wise ness to know that we can reach, I can reach for a blessing that comes from a more ancient time that has seen everything and can help me understand, or at least cope moment by moment.
So that's, we'll be doing in the next week. I have to admit that I kind of stick with the thought of her bringing back the stone and having that mixed feeling of relief and in my mind, some guilt or a self-condemnation about the depth of them and the fact that she needs to forgive herself. So that's what sticks with me.
So I'll be looking at different ways that I need to look at the ways that. The things that happen have to happen. And how do I forgive me for that in conjunction with when seeking power, you need to like look backwards between your legs and the amazing vulnerability that's in that as well as the disorientation and in what way would it behoove me to disorient myself and become more vulnerable so that I can achieve my own greater power.
Those are both beautiful aspirations for the week. I feel like I will want to incorporate both of them as well as Ewing, the death of the stepmother and the step sisters as the death of the naysayer as the death of. The words of dismay the words that one hears about oneself that are negative. I want to see them not as people, but as the belief systems around, you're not good enough.
You're incapable. We will take you over. That's what was burned to Ash by the power of the transformative light and the light of initiation. And I will stand at the end. I will remain the truth of me will remain that would a sacred and me will remain regardless of what voices around me say different, because I don't want to have any guilt around it.
I will look at it that way. I will look at that. That is the, that is the affiliation. Okay. Of the voices of the disbeliever. And the Scottish side of my family, the Scott side, if we were to go to the funeral of the stepmother and the two step sisters, we would just do all the right things. And at the end of it, we would say, well, that's a relief.
Fair enough. Good riddance.
Yeah. Well, thank you. That was something. Thank you for letting me share this story with you. It is one of my absolute favorite stories for many reasons. Beautiful. And it's telling thank you.