‘Vasalisa’ is the old Russian tale of woman’s initiation; one that concerns the realisation that most things are not as they seem; to remind us to use all our senses to sniff out the truth, to extract nourishment from our own ideas, to be keepers of our own creative fires and to have intimate knowing of the life/death/life cycles. One of Vasalisa’s tasks is to stand the face of the fearsome wild hag without wavering.
“facing the imago of the fierce mother (meeting up with the Baba Yaga), familiarising oneself with the arcane, the odd, the ‘otherness’ of the wild (residing at Baba Yaga’s house for a while). Bringing some of her values into our lives, thereby ourselves becoming a little odd in a goodly way (eating her food). Learning to face great power – in others, and subsequently one’s own power. Letting the frail and too-sweet child die back”
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves, Rider, 1998, p87