Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Baba Yaga Brand Flour

Times being what they are, it's the (I think, rather endearing) habit of contemporary polytheist cultures to name commercial products after deities.

If you don't believe me, check out your nearest Indian grocer; you'll find various Laxmi Brand foodstuffs on practically every shelf (Lakshmi being the goddess of wealth and opulence).

That's how I came by 10 pounds of Baba Yagá brand flour.

A friend of mine is priest-in-residence at a Slavic temple over in “St” Paul. Among the resident deities there is Baba Yagá, the scary old hag-witch of Russian folklore. (She's the one that lives in the hut with chicken legs and flies in a mortar and pestle.)

There Baba Yagá receives offerings daily, in a fine old pagan tradition known as propitiation. It's never a bad idea to keep the dangerous ones happy.

(I might add that the Great Recession didn't hit the Twin Cities with anywhere near the impact that it did elsewhere, and that our unemployment rate here is low compared to the rest of the country. Whether or not this has anything to do with Baba Yagá, I'm not qualified to say. It's certainly an interesting coincidence.)

After the ritual every day, it's customary to remove the offerings from the altar, and to consume this consecrated food, which now packs an extra little zing of goodness.

That's how I came to have 50 pounds of whole wheat berries on my back porch. The friend of a friend who owns a mill (welcome to the New Pagan Economy) has been grinding it for me into flour, 5 pounds at a time.

It bakes into delicious whole wheat bread with a rich, nutty savor.

Courtesy of Baba Yagá.



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Tagged in: baba yaga propitiation
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert Sunday, 22 October 2017

    Always loved Baba Yaga ever since I read about her in my Jack and Jill magazine as a child. Of course they didn't emphasize the negative aspects of her. Someone else wrote a wonderful novel with hr in it as well, can't remember the author but he is well known (sigh). She is the quintessential crone goddess, capricious and wise.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Sunday, 22 October 2017

    I hear that she has two sisters.
    They're both Baba Yaga, too.

  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert Sunday, 22 October 2017

    Perhaps an echo of the triple goddess?

    Just wonderin'...

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