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Yaga - alive cosmetic from Russian family homestead

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  • Written by Yury Smirnov
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This article was originally published in all-Russian monthly newspaper 
"Encyclopedia of human environment", №6 (11), November 2011.


Svetlana Ksenz: "The name of our project has appeared without a special effort. One beautiful day It has come …"
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Please browse Svetlana's natural cosmetic products here: http://ecominded.net/natural-cosmetics.html and place an order!


Svetlana, what was your life like before you decided to move to the country house?
We lived in Krasnodar and had a rather common business – cabinet furniture assembly. It was very different life. We dreamed to leave the city and were looking for the piece of land not far from the city. And we found at 45 km from the city, in Ilsky village. It was an ancient Caucasian settlement. People lived there for centuries and there were many dolmens around. There was also Sinegorje – Vedrussia, a Kins domain settlement nearby where we have our own family homestead (Kins domain) now.

Svetlana, what is your educational background?
I am a dress-designer and I am still making clothes for my family and friends… But five years ago, when we moved to the country side, I realized that my mission was very different one.

Are you happy now?
Yes, of course. Though the first year was very difficult for me, we all were settling into a new life. Perhaps, it was difficult because I lived in the city for a long time and everything was new for me in the country side, and I couldn`t see my friends often. We could not feel the place and what we could do there. The business in the city was shut down, and there was no new activity. All the first year we were trying to forget the city life and get ajusted into the country life. Then I got pregnant.
How many children do you have?
We have two daughters. The elder is Anastasia – she is 15, the younger one is 4. Something has happened to my mind during the pregnancy. It doesn’t matter you mean it or you don’t, the Earth makes you go inside yourself, makes you remember yourself. Exactly that happened to us. When my daughter was born I had a feeling that I knew how to make a cosmetic! I don’t know how I can explain it. But I remember the day I was walking with my friend around our garden and the park by the river, telling her that I could do cosmetic though I didn’t know how that knowledge had come to me. She was laughing and convincing me to go on making the clothes. “How are you going to do cosmetic? It’s only your imagination.” But I held my ground and told her that I would manage to do it.
Several months later I was so much obsessed with the idea that I couldn’t even sleep and eat, so I asked my husband to buy some things for me. That was the moment I made my first cream. It was very good!

Have you ever read any articles about making cosmetic?
No. I even didn`t have an internet connection that time but I was obsessed with the idea.

How did you know that wax was needed in a cream?
I thought about the Egyptians, how did they make their cosmetic? The researchers still find the amphora filled with oil and wax. This mixture has been remaining unchanged for a long time. I think there are no preservatives in it. I didn’t focus on making the cosmetic without conserving agents. But when I did it I realized that my cosmetic was natural. So, it is possible to make natural cosmetic! Why don’t other manufacturers do it?
Then I got obsessed with night dreams about plants. In fact I had night dreams about certain plants, for example, I saw a plant and the direct message "this plant can be useful for a fading breast skin"… I didn’t take those dreams seriously and I didn’t understand them, but I wrote down all the information.

Do you keep these notes?
Of course. Later I managed to put all pieces of puzzle together. I could interpret this information; I could feel the plants, the Earth. And some of the plants spoke to me, and they grew near our house.

Have you ever had a guess that that was the nearest dolmen's spirit that saw your activity and began to help you in getting the knowledge? Is not it strange that you think about Egyptian recipes? Maybe an ancient spirit helps you?
Now I know this spirit. It had appeared shortly before I made the first cream. It was feminine…

It is very interesting; tell us about her, please.
It is very intimate for me. I have never told about this on public… I had a.., how to explain it… a night dream at the moment of awakening. Egyptian goddess Isis left the message for me. We named the first hair care product in her honor. Recalling the memories in details I can say now that our cosmetic activity had started with making finishing hair rinse, and now it is called "Finishing hair rinse "Isis". The most amazing thing for me was that I had never been interested in Egyptian mythology and I knew nothing about goddess Isis (to my embarrassment!)

I was breast-feeding my baby during that period – my daughter had been born recently and my mother had passed away. That happened unexpectedly. She lived with us in the house and we were good friends. It was almost impossible for me to go through these extremely opposite events: my mother`s death and my daughter`s birth. The sorrow and joy. I had a stress and perhaps that led to hormonal shift – my skin and hair were suffering greatly. Together with my husband we were looking for hair and skin care products that can stop hair fall and make the skin softer. We had a friend who was herbalist, he told my husband about one plant. We tested this plant and later we made a mixture of several plants and used it. These procedures helped to reduce the hair fall and encouraged hair growth. My hairdresser noticed that fact and told me. About three months later my hairdresser mentioned spotty growth of my hair. She asked me about this and I told her about the plant. She recommended me to apply the herb lotion (mixture) all over the head because the effect was very positive.

Talking about spiritual things – one certain "ancient spirit" revealed itself to me and everything has become clear to me. I had a feeling like "I knew and I could". And all these things occurred side by side though I didn’t see the connection. They were like pieces of a puzzle.


I was making one cream after another. And later when the roses were blossoming – I had not noticed them before as I was removed from the earth, obsessed with fabrics and making clothes, I didn’t even realize that earth connected all processes – I felt like it opened my eyes! I looked out of the kitchen window and DID SEE Japanese button tree flowers, Rose damascena (that my mother planted, by the way) and Ground ivy. And suddenly I got an idea to make a lotion. My first lotion was "Rose bloom", and then "Morning flowers" appeared, I made it out of Lonicera. We recognized its anti-inflammatory effect when my teen-age daughter Anastasia tested the lotion. Our friend (herbalist) even shook my hand. ))) He was surprised at the fact that I had made such a good lotion without any practice.

What were the ingredients of the lotion? Rose alcohol extract?
Alcohol extracts are made with the use of alcohol. We do not use alcohol. This is an infusion. It’s not a decoction because we do not boil it. We put the petals in cold water, raise the water temperature, but do not boil, let it settle down and infuse it. And finally we filter it.

How do you avoid fermentation?

There is a red bilberry extract that helps to avoid unnecessary processes. Our friend (herbalist) suggested us to adding it. There are many acids in red bilberry (cowberry) that preserve the products.

Is it natural preservative?
Yes, it is. It is natural and not chemical. So, everything seemed to be clear and simple for us. We didn’t value that knowledge at that moment; we just made the lotion for our own use. Of course, my friends were aware of my postnatal problems; they tried to help and gave me different cosmetic products. But that cosmetic didn’t work. When they saw me looking much better – my hair and skin – they asked me to make those lotions for them. The fact was that all the women I knew suffered the same problem – hair fall.

Did you eat only natural vegetarian food at that time?
Yes, we did. Everything has changed when we moved to the country side. I can’t say that we grow everything in our garden, it's impossible! We would like to, but it's difficult to grow as many vegetables as is enough for a year.

Have you got artichoke (topinambour) in your garden?
It grows everywhere in our garden like a weed plant. As a matter of fact we have many different plants and herbs, but only some of them speak to me. We work with those that speak to us.

Let’s talk about your intuition. Do you have it now? Is it connected to your mother's passing?
I connect it both with my mother`s passing and with my daughter`s birth. My mother liked to live in the country. We lived together for two years. Perhaps, there was another reason - my father was an organic chemist and ecologist, a famous scientist. He lived in the Urals and passed away a year ago. He had cancer. His last years he worked at the chemical plant in Solikamsk; he was deactivating nuclear waste materials. He had many problems and his life wasn’t easy…

When I came to him to say good bye, he said: "I was a chemist-ecologist and you are an ecologist-alchemist." I asked him if I needed to get some education to understand all the processes I was involved in... He laughed and replied: "Don't worry about the education, just go on!"

That’s was the real blessing of my father. The most important thing is that we do everything with my husband. He joined the process naturally. My husband, Valeriy is more sensitive than me. He was brought up in the country side. He always suggests me making experiments, mixing different ingredients with each other.

Our little Vita gathers herbs with us, and she began to pronounce the herbs' names as soon as she began to speak.
We gather thuja, juniper and Hedera colchica (Ivy) on the coast of the Black sea. These herbs are not common for our region. My elder daughter was not interested in our new business originally but recently it happened so that she had to make lotion "Rose bloom" by herself. We were out for 4 days. And four days is a critical time for rose as it blooms only for 10 days per year. And Nastya took this responsibility of gathering rose petals every morning and making all necessary processing the same day. In fact it was impossible to postpone the processing, especially rose processing. So, she had made everything by herself. She squeezed the petals out, let them settle down, filtered them, then bottled the lotion and labeled the bottles. She was so proud of herself. )))

How did you choose the name Yaga for your cosmetic? Did you have this name from the very beginning or did it come later?

In fact, our cosmetic was without a name for a long time as we didn’t sell it and made it for our friends only. One day we met with good likeminded people, they saw our cosmetic and asked us to give it a name for it and bottle it for sale… So, for the whole month we were "struggling" to give it a name. And there was a feeling like we already had this name in our mind and were trying to recall it. The first that came to my mind was "Baba Yaga" (an old wise witch, an enchantress from Russian folklore, fairytales)… But we were scared by this name and ignored it, we tried to think about something cheerful: a "raylet" like my friends call me, a "Ray of Light" and that kind. But all these didn’t work for us, we didn’t like them. One day Valeriy pronounced "Yaga", stressing "Ya". And we recognized it – that was the name!

Have you explored the word’s origin?
In fact, "Yaga" is a wise woman, enchantress, she is ageless. She helps to all women to recall themselves. She is a patroness, inspirer and protectress of all the feminine. And the word is consonant with "Yoga".

Can you say that "spirit of Yaga" has helped you?
She has helped, I am sure. She has been staying with me since my childhood. I played role of Yaga in amateur school performances. And it was a success every time. I always played an ageless cheerful and naughty girl-witch. And I see her like that girl now. We call her YAga but not YagA with the first stressed syllable. Yaga is the other part of YagA – she is ageless. When we call her YAga people don’t associate her with YagA.

According to my life experience you can't escape yourself and you need to fulfill your potential. Now I understand that my experience was like a recall of myself and it is getting deeper every day. And the plants guide me, because when you are in contact with them you feel very natural. People ask me how I tune myself. As soon as I pick a plant I get in a state of "knowing everything", mind expension and mergence… Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with feelings that I even cry. And it's no wonder for me now. I don't need any specific procedures when I make a cream out from the ready-made oils either. I take my wooden spoon and I am getting into this state and my heart is beating in a different way. I can't get used to this. I told myself many times: "You should get used to that, every time you do it you feel like you are at your first date!" But it is impossible to get used to that. I feel this excitement until I close the last bottle of the set.

Somewhere deep inside me I can feel that it is not only about cosmetics… This is our way to communicate with the World, this is our path to our true self, this is our path to God...
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Please browse Svetlana's natural cosmetic products here: http://ecominded.net/natural-cosmetics.html and place an order!