“The witches in fairy tales are another manifestation of the Madwoman. Russia’s Baba Yaga is one of many. Often, by confronting the witch, fairy-tale heroines are transformed into mature young women of great power who have faced the darkest parts of themselves, who have recognized their inner Madwoman and integrated her energies into their lives in a conscious, active way. In the Middle Ages and later, Christian patriarchs projected the witch onto women who didn’t conform, burning them at the stake, as they did Joan of Arc. Most hold in common the mysteries of life and death, light and dark, creation and destruction. When life is not honored, when Mother Earth is not revered, when the feminine is defiled, they warn us with natural cataclysms, disasters, and physical and environmental punishments, as well as emotional and psychological storms and upheavals in the psyche. But at the same time, they are creators, renewing the cycle of existence, transforming old life-forms into new.”

— Linda Schierse Leonard, Meeting the Madwoman: Empowering the Feminine Spirit