(Essay 3) Baba Part III: The Smile (A tale of Vasilisa) by Jillian Parker

Mother of the World, Nikolai Roerich, 1924

Mother of the World, Nikolai Roerich, 1924

Vasilisa reached for a long, flat black lacquer box from its hiding place atop a roughly-hewn shelf. She slid open the box and let her hand rest on its contents for the briefest sigh of a moment. It was a shirt, sewn by her hands, crafted from the finest cloth she had ever woven. If she were to remove it from its hiding spot, she knew she would be able to thread it effortlessly through the small filigree ring on her finger. Within the folds of the shirt lurked a faded piece of parchment. She slid the box shut. “Thank you, dearest friend, for teaching me to weave,” she whispered.

For one last time, or so she thought, she walked out the door. A pair of clouds was hovering near a crescent moon. She closed her eyes, and it was as if the moon kissed her brows and became a boat there, swaying back and forth. Absent-mindedly, she plucked a white aster growing near her door, and held it close while shuffling over to her bed.

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(Essay 2) Baba Part II: The Drowned Girls (A tale of Vasilisa) by Jillian Parker

With a sudden clatter, Marya, Varya, Darya, Varya, and Zarya began to shift back and forth on the table, as if attempting to dance, and they squeaked all at once, “You’d better take us outside to see Vasilisa.” So Vera, with fumbling fingers, assembled the dolls in their proper order, slipped them into her apron pocket, grabbed her own coat, and donned her own summer shoes, which, like Vasilisa’s, were plaited from birch bark.

Vasilisa the Beautiful, Ivan Bilibin

Vasilisa the Beautiful, Ivan Bilibin

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(Essay 1) Baba part I: A Tale of Vasilisa the Wise by Jillian Parker

Evening came to the izba. The loom ceased its clatter. Vasilisa filled a dark iron kettle from a bucket of spring water, and set it on the shelf of the white-washed pechka, and the few droplets on it spoke with a satisfying hiss. She walked over to the wardrobe and took out a quilted coat. The coat was patched together from the odd ends of her woven work, and embroidered with curious symbols and flowers. Vasilisa slipped it over her shoulders, and reached for a pale spiderweb-knit scarf to cover her hair.
“Verochka,” she murmured, “I’ll be back in a bit.”

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(Poem) Eurydice, delayed by Jillian Parker

I thought I was dead, she kept repeating.
Only the wrong ones paid any attention.
A policeman spotted the pile of rags
and bundled her off to the hospital.

To pay for a room in a dormitory,
she put on a uniform and knelt before shelves,
counting cans as she stacked. A sort of chant.
A reminder of an existence she could not place.

In Spring, she fingered the new-formed leaves,
and watched the curling of bark into scrolls.
One evening she opened a room-mate’s book
and wept at the sight of her own name.

JP blackcurrant

Read Meet Mago Contributor Jillian Parker.

We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. You may donate to us. No amount is too small for us. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (magoism@gmail.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings!

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(Poem) Winter by Jillian Parker

Long had the last currants fluttered to the earth,
Raspberries and blueberries melted in the frost,
Splitted logs were waiting on the hearth,
The first mitten already had been lost,
But the red rowan berries still hung waiting
For the rustling and the fluttering
For the shuddering and the clustering
The sudden mustering of red wings.
One hundred wings and fifty carmine coats
Twenty minutes’ allotment for their grand attack
Stuffing rowan berries down their scarlet throats
Straightaway they’re gone, next year they’ll be back.
Bohemian Waxwing Photo courtesy of www.adn.com

Bohemian Waxwing
Photo courtesy of http://www.adn.com

Read Meet Mago Contributor, Jillian Parker.

(Poem) Red Shoes by Jillian Parker

It's nothing
no one is in that closet
no sobs muffled between folds of cloth

all right, all right
so I shut her in there
she was causing trouble again
she with her little red shoes

what's she saying?
that I'm nice to everyone else but her--
that I failed to protect her again
and that those are my shoes, too--

come here, she whispers
I lean into her wild voice,
and I climb in with her and sit

she hands me a bleeding key
and I know it's time
to return to the bone room

there is a long silence
the scent of belladonna
we don't have to speak
we know the routine

I'm so tired of it

"This is the last time, I promise,"
I mutter and stare at my bare feet
callused and bruised
they twitch, sensing the River
I lose myself into my wrinkled soles
because they are the only part of me that Knows
and I let the knowing flow like healing sap
until it reaches the center 

now she's snickering at me
"While you sat there, moping," she taunts,
"I went and killed the brute,threw his bones to the wind,
and visited Baba Yaga."

into my blood-encrusted hand she presses a pole
topped by a skull ablaze,
every orifice emitting flame

she laughs
puts on the red shoes
and disappears

and then I decide
that the closet is no place
for such an incendiary device

so I open the door
and come out.

The image is by the Canada-based artists, Pat Shewchuk and Marek Colek, and their art can be viewed at http://tincanforest.com/.

The image is by the Canada-based artists, Pat Shewchuk and Marek Colek, and their art can be viewed at http://tincanforest.com/.

Read Meet Mago Contributor, Jillian Parker.

(Essay) Such as it is… by Jillian Parker

It is now October, and the arc of the sun’s light has slowly begun shifting, the days are growing shorter in the North, where I live above the 61st parallel. The mornings present a biting chill and the bitter-cloying scent of decay. Birch and poplar leaves sift onto the forest floor, the roads and even the hoods of the vehicles.  At this juncture, it is tempting to want to linger in the amber splendor, or to send a yearning glance back at summer’s infusion of chlorophyll.

Autumn's Edge 002
And yet again, perhaps it is time take stock of the stores at hand: to sort over the harvest, to perform an accounting of where I am along the path. I seize a calendar to assist in this task.

Among the commemorations of October 9 include World Post Day, Leif Erikson Day, the Takayama Autumn Festival and Independence Day in Uganda. South Korea marks the day with a celebration of the 566th anniversary of the creation of the creation of the Korean alphabet, by King Sejong the Great. This holiday is known as Hangul Day (한글날). It is also the feast-day of the mysterious Dionysius the Areopagite.

In my house, on this day, I am drawn to ponder and remember the words of a writer I became acquainted with while still practically a child: Iulia de Beausobre. Iulia was the wife of a Russian aristocrat who survived years of imprisonment and ordeals in Stalin’s concentration camps before immigrating to England. When my worries overcome me, when obstacles appear insurmountable, I remember Iulia. My invisible mentor’s writing left such an imprint on me, there have actually been times I have looked for her, imagined her silhouette standing in the shadows, watching over me during my darkest days. In turn, it is as if I sense her thoughts and yearnings, during the time of her greatest anguish, while she was incarcerated, when she had a vision she later described thusly:

“Then came a Voice:
Out of the confines of eternity I flew to humanity as light.
From person to person I flow as warmth.
When the great sun rises in the heart of humanity,
I flow back to the limits of eternity as love.
I am the pivot of the human world.
I am eternity.
My breath is Peace.
Seek in the miracle of warmth
flowing from harrowed person to harrowed person.
Seek and you will find me.”

–Iulia de Beausobre, from The Woman Who Could Not Die

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Meet Mago Contributor, Jillian Parker

Jillian Parker photoAka “Momster”, is a mother of five, employed as an analyst, active in the autism community, and a Russian-English interpreter. She lives in Eagle River, Alaska in a little green house hugging the skirts of a mountain.  Her alter ego Flame in the Snow sometimes emerges from hiding in order to write a poem.

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(Poem) Command, O Mistress! by Jillian Parker aka Flame in the Snow

Swift her strokes in dizzy
rumble ramble burning
scarlet gulps she glides

crimson Flicker-Tail

no net has gained a purchase
no wall could bar her from her

no words have ever marred
her murmurs to the moon

like red hair that skips a generation
like a royal-blue poppy sprouting along the highway
like long-lost notes to a Requiem

she waits

flip-flopping alone in a shallow canal,
she’s spent her seed
till nothing’s left
but a throbbing center

those lazy breadcrumb-munching mallards don’t care,
they’re watching a grey gull preen himself

perched on a rusting shopping cart,
Salmon Woman nods

and the spindle-legged white crane turns
step-dancing, bends and tears out her heart

together they ascend

a single silhouette
a smog-scented


Sacramento Fall-run Chinook Salmon
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association



(Poem) medusa cantadera by Jillian Parker aka Flame in the Snow

(for michelle escobedo)

wrapped in black electric exile
a mantle of guilt and shame
she drags her fingers in the river

her locks just might be serpents
slithering down to the water
her visage lethal for a mortal

but you are powerless to resist her
La Llorona weeping in the dark
her eyes antimony

she will lure you and shatter you
and drive you to grope for her
ever elusive in the sable mists

because she is the starving dark
she will devour your heart whole
leave muddy wolfprints on your chest

and a blue murmur of chanting:
if you fall upon your own knife
dipped in the blood of truth

you will arise

Michelle for Jillian's poem