Gaby Lukas from the novel, Takakush, serves the Lithuanian goddess of fire Gabija. The first of February is her feast day. On that day, they bake a special loaf of bread to honor her and her Christian aspect, Saint Agota. Notice the traditional woodcut of the saint on the left is stand in front of a house carrying bread on a platter.
To celebrate, they divide the finished bread among members of the household and place leftovers along beams and behind pictures of ancestors and holy figures for additional protection. I don’t know how they keep the mice away.
Ancient Lithuanians offered bread to Gabija to protect their home from catching fire. A loaf on the roof stopped lighting from striking the home and a loaf buried in the foundation of a new house protected it from burning down. The placed bread consecrated to Gabija in a vehicle or luggage before taking a long trip. Mothers give it to their sons, heading off to war. A farmer attached the bread to their plow shafts on the first day of plowing to prevent the crops from burning. Offering Bees some stimulated the production of honey. Carrying bread in a handkerchief while taking a hike protected from snake bite and attaching it to a cow’s horn to encouraged milk production. Wash sores with water soaked in Gabija’s bread to aid healing. It’s very useful stuff.
Should all this fail and the building still catches fire, here is a backup plan. Run around the building three times while holding the holy bread over your head, then throw it in the middle of the flames. Gabija should take pity on you and the fire will go out. But don’t forget to call 911, just in case.
Happy Gabija’s Day. Here is a recipe to help your observance.
Ruginė Duona, Lithuanian Dark Rye
Starter (Raugas) Ingredients
Store in a glass jar in a warm place for there days. Mix every 12 hours. It will bubble and smell yeasty.
2 bowls (small and large)
9” x 12” bread pans (lined with parchment paper)
Takakush is available on Amazon at http://tiny.cc/TakakushNovel.
In ancient China there once was a monster name Nianshou (年快). Most of the time he lived deep in the sea and bothered no one until each New Year’s Eve.
At midnight on that one night, Nianshou crept on shore to destroyed nearby villages and eat all the villagers and livestock. Fearing for their lives, the people fled to the mountains for safety.
One year, all the people in the village were packing up to leave. An old beggar with long silver hair and beard, sharp black eyes, and a long walking stick limped into town.
“Where are you going?” he asked a man shuttering his doors and window. The man didn’t answer so the stranger moved on.
Farther down the street, the beggar met a young mother and her children carrying bundles to a cart. “Why are you packing to leave here?” he asked. But they were too busy to chat, so he moved on once more.
The silver-haired man stopped in front of a tidy little cottage.
The granny came out the front door and saw the man in the middle of the street with a smile on his face. “Why are you standing there and not leaving town?” she asked.
He looking around and shrugged his shoulders.
“Aren’t you afraid of Nianshou’s sharp fangs and horns?”
The stranger stroked his long white beard, chuckled, and shook his head. “No, I’m not afraid,” he said. “Leave me a bowl of rice, let me stay in your home for one night, and in exchange I will protect your all property from destruction.”
The granny argued with him. “It’s foolish to stay, come with me.” She pleaded and begged but he wouldn’t change his mind.
Near sunset, the woman gave up and left for the mountains alone.
When midnight came and the new year arrived, Nianshou attacked the village, roaring and slashing with his horn. The horrible beast was having a grand time until he arrived at the grandmother home. Instead of being boarded up, a hundred candles burned in all the window.
Someone is home, fresh meat. Nianshou giggled and licked his lips while spittle ran down his chin.
The monster charged the door, then froze in place. Red paper flags in all the doors and windows flapped and fluttered in the wind.
Nianshou stared at the strange sight, and a low growl rose from his throat.
Bang. The door burst open, and the dressed in a dressed all in read and banging a gone, the beggar jumped out. He picked up a firecracker, lit it on a candle and threw it. The projectile exploded in the monster’s face. Nianshou jumped back into a crouch.
The stranger roared with laughter and holding another firecracker slowly raised his arm.
The monster Nianshou screamed and fled into the night.
In the morning, the villagers returned. They saw the old woman’s cottage undamaged and realized red decorations, loud noises, and bright lights must have scared the monster away. The next year they did the same and Nianshou was never seen again.
That story is one Chinese New Year legend. Another is manic house cleaning, red flags, bright light, and explosives ward off plague spirits and keep the family from becoming ill. In the time of Covid, I’m ready to try anything.
新年快乐 my Friends!
Today is the official release of Takakush – Genus Magica Book One. Check it out @ http://tiny.cc/TakakushNovel
Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels
Thorrablot, the Icelandic midwinter festival was on January 14th. After the winter solstice, Icelander’s celebrates the return of light. Don’t worry, people don’t sing the exploits of the Frost King or sacrifice to the God of Thunder any more.
In modern Iceland, people commemorate the midwinter festival with a grand feast where family and friends play games, sing songs, tell stories and read poems. Traditionally, the host arranged food in a wooden through because common people didn’t own platters.
In an elegant Reykjavik restaurant expect to find Fermented Shark, Sour Ram Testicles, and Blood Sausage on the menu. :(
But I’ll stick with Icelandic Thunder Bread with fresh butter. Here is a recipe.
Remove bread and serve with butter and cold meats, smoked fish and heirloom cheeses. Don’t forget to wash it down with Brennivin (Iceland’s strong schnapps).
Imagine a world where stories of a mythological creature has an element of truth but the creatures are very rare.
The Korean a nine-tailed fox, Gumiho, a shape-shifting succubus tricks unsuspecting travelers, Brazil’s pink dolphin, Boto Cor De Rosa, wanders the banks of the Amazon, or the Hiisi, an elf-king of Finland rides his hundred horned elk through the remote hills. Real, but uncommon and seldom seen, and creatures hiding in wild places in the world.
Until today. Human beings invade every part of the planet, from the headlands of the Amazon river to the remote ice flows of the Arctic, or the highest mountains of the Himalayas. People are driving these creatures into the open.
Like the black bear or cougar wander into a subdivision, mythological creatures tangle with humans at greater and greater frequency. Even more frightening, these creatures are now invasive species migrating, like a poisonous tropical spider appearing in a midwestern Safeway with the bananas.
This is the magical world of Takakush, a dark paranormal fantasy. The Lukas family of hereditary priestesses living ordinary lives in Olympia, Washington. They run a business, pay bills, and go to school. These powerful women also are avatars for four Lithuanian Goddesses. They channel the deities and the goddess’ gift them with powers, but at a cost.
Mother Mina Lukas volunteers at the children’s hospital and local nursing homes and uses her gift of healing to help the patients. She also cares for her ancient mother, Regana, the mentally declining goddess of the occult, fate, and magic and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Gabby, who struggles to control her fire goddess powers.
Eldest daughter Professor Elena Lukas’ fiance cancels their wedding, she returns home to her eccentric family and faces her destiny. Dedicated at her birth to the Lithuanian Forest Goddess Mediena, Elena must decide if she will commit to serve as a priestess and avatar for her lifetime. Or turn her back on the bonding and live a normal life.
Prepared to hide in a local liberal arts university, Elena arrives to find that a series of so-called animal attacks have terrorized her forest. Early investigations lead her to believe this may be a deadly creature of dark magic.
Takakush offers readers magic, mythology, mystery, and a small touch of romance.
Takakush, the first book in the Genus Magica series, releases in January 2021 and available on Amazon in kindle unlimited, paperback and ebook format. http://tiny.cc/TakakushNovel. Genus Magica Book Two publishes in late 2021.
Follow Raine on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and http://www.twanohpress.com/.
Raine Reiter weaves together an empowered, female-centered narrative with rich descriptions of nature and an ever-present sense of mystery. Her vivid, flowing prose takes readers of dark fantasy into a world that looks and feels real, while still evoking the enticing paranormal creativity shared by authors such as Richelle Mead and Kat Richardson. Follow Raine on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Check out Pinterest to see the world of Takakush.