Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baba Yaga via Hellboy

Click image(s) to see the larger version(s).

This awesome, albeit unfinished, tattoo comes from the Flickrstream of Armchairdj and is licensed under Creative Commons and, according to Armchairdj, was inspired by the Hellboy version of Baba Yaga. The more finished tattoo, seen here, is not listed under Creative Commons hence the link instead of that unpleasant copyright infringement thing.
The playing card is from an official Hellboy game and, just like the comics, features the art of Mike Mignola.
Baba Yaga is a fairly evil witchy character who lives in a hut set on chicken legs in the forests of Eastern Europe. She is surrounded by the usual skulls and bones and also somewhat typically devours the foolish who wander into her midst. In ancient Slavic myth Baba Yaga was probably one of the many Great Goddesses who suffered demonization under the comparatively new religion of Christianity. The fact that she travels via a mortar and pestle and sweeps her tracks clean with a broom points to her older, more authentic status as an Earth and healing goddess as a mortar and pestle was/is used to grind herbs with the intention to heal the sick. The broom is an obvious reference to cleaning a physical space but was/is also used by witches to ritually cleanse an area of negative emotions and so further compounds the idea that Baba Yaga can rightly be interpreted as a benevolent deity.

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