The Pagan Portals series from Moon Books is an interesting imprint. Rather than being an outlet for practice-shaping manuals or explorations of whole traditions, a Pagan Portals book will be a deep dive into a specific facet of pagan spirituality, be it a method like Candle Magic or a particular deity like The Morrigan. As of this writing, their newest release is Baba Yaga, Slavic Earth Goddess by Natalia Clarke. Baba Yaga is a fascinating choice for this book; they are not a bringer of bouquets nor a lifter of spirits. If you are in a place in your life where you are, or are considering, doing some serious shadow work then this book would be a valuable resource.
Despite some of the publisher's blurbs, the book is not as much a practical manual as it is a recounting of the author's personal gnosis. This is not a criticism per se; I've seen just enough of the publishing world to more than suspect that Clarke had little to do with how the book is sold. That said, there are numerous lessons to take away from their recounting. I found Chapter 4, "The Three Horsemen and The Masculine", fascinating. (These three horsemen are not a man down from your classical Four Horsemen, but a part of Baba Yagan imagery.) Clarke equates them to aspects of the sacred masculine, arrayed about Baba Yaga as being in service to the sacred feminine. And certainly, some sections of the book *do* lend themselves to being guideposts for your own research. Chapter 11, "Baba Yaga's Apprenticeship", is largely an examination of the author's own beginning on the journey of working with Baba Yaga, but it is hardly a stretch to extrapolate from it numerous suggestions for beginning the same path on your own.
This goes without saying for some of our readers, but I'm obligated to point out the fact that just reading this book can be tempting your shadow side to come out for examination. Not in some hyper-mystical "this book is haaaauunted" fashion; more simply, reading this much about an aspect who is so entirely steeped in that part of life is hard to do without stirring up similar questions in your mind. You may find yourself deep into shadow work that you weren't prepared for. On the other hand, if you are going to end up down in the mines, a shovel and a lantern are your friends; in other word, forewarned is forearmed, and having Clarke's concise treatise on Baba Yaga with you is a good place to begin.
~review by Patricia Mullen
Author: Natalia Clarke
Moon books, 2022
pp. 104, $10.95