Gabija The Lithuanian Goddess Of Fire  

Posted by Stella Clark

Gabija The Lithuanian Goddess Of Fire Image
"GABIJA" IS A SPIRIT OF FIRE IN LITHUANIAN MYTHOLOGY, A PRIMORDIAL FIRE GODDESS. SHE IS THE GODDESS OF THE FAMILY BONDS WHO PROTECTS THE HOME AND FAMILY, BRINGS FERTILITY AND HAPPINESS, AND STIMULATES CATTLE AND AND THE GROWTH OF THE CROPS. AS THE "MISTRESS OF THE HEARTH," SHE IS FAR FROM THE PASSIVE MAIDEN ARCHETYPE OF EITHER "VESTA" OR "HESTIA". FIRE WAS ONE OF THE MOST SACRED ELEMENTS TO THE LITHUANIANS; HENCE, "GABIJA" IS LOOKED UPON AS THE FLAMING SYMBOL OF ALL THAT WHICH IS TRULY ALIVE, A DEITY AND POWER THAT MUST BE TREATED WITH THE UTMOST RESPECT, FOR THE FIRE WAS BELIEVED TO BE THE CONNECTION WITH THE WORLD OF THE ANCESTORS WHO CONTINUED TO LIVE IN THE HEARTH FLAME.

IN PRE-CHRISTIAN TIMES, THE LITHUANIANS HAD COMMUNAL SACRED FIRES WHICH WERE TENDED TO BY PRIESTESSES, BUT THE LAST LITHUANIAN FIRE WAS EXTINGUISHED IN 1413. THEN, THE TRADITION WAS MOVED INTO THE HOME AS THE "GABIJA", AND, BECAUSE ONLY WOMEN COULD CARE FOR HER, EVERY EVENING THE MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE CAREFULLY TENDED THE FIRE AND PRAYED TO IT TO ENSURE THE FAMILY'S GOOD FORTUNE. PEOPLE FED HER BY OFFERING BREAD AND SALT. SOMETIMES A BOWL OF CLEAN WATER WOULD BE LEFT NEAR THE HEARTH SO THAT SHE COULD WASH HERSELF. PROFANING FIRE IN ANY WAY WAS SACRILEGE, AND THERE IS MUCH FOLKLORE THAT DESCRIBES THE FATE OF THOSE WHO OFFENDED THE GODDESS. SOMETIMES, IT IS SAID, SHE WOULD "GO FOR A WALK" BURNING THE HOUSE.

THE SACRED CULT OF GABIJA WITH ITS PREHISTORIC ROOTS HAS SURVIVED TO THE PRESENT, AND THE HEARTH FIRE IS THE FOCUS DURING EVERY TRADITIONAL BALTIC HOLIDAY...A FIRE IS LIT, WHETHER SUCH IS IN AN ALTAR OR BONFIRE, OR BY CANDLE FOR ALL FAMILY RITUALS AND RITES OF PASSAGE. EACH RITUAL BEGINS WITH INVOKING HER PRESENCE WITHOUT WHICH RITES WOULD BE POSSIBLE. THIS FIRE GODDESS IS STILL HELD IN REVERENCE, AND, LIKE" BRIGID", SHE HAD SPECIAL FESTIVALS AT THE BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY DEDICATED TO THE HER AND THE RENEWAL OF FIRE. SACRIFICES OF POWER TO GABIJA ARE BREAD, SALT, WATER.

"THANK YOU, LITTLE FIRE, FOR THIS OUR DAY, LET US GREET OUR GOOD LITTLE NIGHT, AND PROTECT OURSELVES FROM THOSE WISH US BAD, AND LET THOSE WHO ARE LOST FIND THEIR ROAD.

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This entry was posted on 15 July 2011 at Friday, July 15, 2011 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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