Gabija

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Gabija (also known as Gabieta, Gabeta) is the spirit of the fire in Lithuanian mythology. She is the protector of home and family. Her name is derived from gaubti (to cover, to protect)[1] or from St. Agatha (Russian: Gafiya).[2] Gabija is only mentioned in a list of Lithuanian gods by the Christian theologian Jan Łasicki in his treatise on idolatry (published in 1615). She is found in Lithuanian folklore.[2]

Gabija could take zoomorphic forms of a cat, stork or rooster,[1] or she could appear as a woman clothed in red.[3] Gabija was greatly respected and cared for like a living creature. People would feed Gabija by offering bread and salt.[1] Fire had to be laid to bed – women would cover charcoal with ashes every evening so that fire would not wander around.[1] Just as Gabija was the protector of the house, mother of the household was the protector of fire.[4] Sometimes a bowl of clean water would be left near the hearth so that Gabija could wash herself.[3] If angered, Gabija would "go for a walk" burning the house. Much folklore describes ill fate of those who offended Gabija by stomping, spitting, or urinating on fire.[3]

Matka Gabia is the Polish goddess of home, hearth, and patron of their care. Gabia most likely originates from Gabija.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Gimbutas, Marija; Miriam Robbins Dexter (2001). The Living Goddesses. University of California Press. p. 203. ISBN 0-520-22915-0. 
  2. ^ a b Bojtár, Endre (1999). Foreword to the Past: A Cultural History of the Baltic People. CEU Press. p. 298. ISBN 963-9116-42-4. 
  3. ^ a b c Jonas Trikūnas, ed. (1999). Of Gods & Holidays: The Baltic Heritage. Tvermė. pp. 85–87. ISBN 9986-476-27-5. 
  4. ^ Johnson, Cait (2002). Earth, Water, Fire, and Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to Spirit. SkyLight Paths Publishing. p. 135. ISBN 1-893361-65-9.