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.
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.