I received a pair of shisa dogs from a friend, as a symbol of good luck. One has its mouth open to scare away evil spirits. The other has its mouth closed to keep the good spirits in. At least that is the Okinawan mythology concerning these two figurines. Although this particular tradition is new to me, symbols representing good fortune are not.

In southern America, we usually have an upturned horseshoe over an entrance, rosemary planted by the door, pennies in the footing of new construction. We toss a little salt over our shoulder when cooking, eat pork, collards, and black-eyed-peas on New Year’s Day, and collect four leaf clovers which we often press between the pages of a book.

I’ll take a little good luck anywhere I can find it.

So, my guardian dogs are up on the mantle, like little gargoyles, protecting me from harm while keeping all the good chi, or energy, inside.

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