Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sacred Uses Of Salt

We put it in our food; it's used as a cleaning agent. In many faith traditions,it holds mystical qualities.It repels and protects. Truly, salt is one of the Earth's most useful  substances.

Known as NaCl on the periodic table, salt is a natural substance formed by the combination of sodium and chlorine. Salt forms in crystals and in it's natural state is known as 'rock salt' or halite. Halite, along with other trace minerals, is a substance formed by the evaporation  of water found both underground and on the Earth's surface. Vast amounts of the mineral are found throughout the world, many found near petroleum  deposits. Salt has a lower freeze point than water, which is why it melts ice. Rock salt is found in a variety of colors: white, pink, blue, purple, grey and green. Sea salt is ground fine and used in cooking and as a condiment. Salt is also used as a curing agent to preserve food. However, comparatively, little of the salt taken from Nature is used in food: it's used in processes such as water conditioning and manufacturing of other materials.

My main focus in this post is the use of salt as a metaphysical tool, because it seems that salt has been used for spiritual purposes since the beginning of recorded history. It is frequently combined with water and sanctified ritualistically in countless religions as a spiritual tool used for blessing and protection. This sanctification is usually a type of exorcism performed to cast out any absorbed negativity. Salt is also an ingredient of holy incense, as stated in the Christian Bible ( Exodus 30:35 "And thou shalt make of it incense, a perfume after the art of the perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy..."). The process used in the Jewish tradition of koshering meat is a rather complicated series of actions which ensures the product adheres to strict religious dietary laws known as kashrut. The meat is washed and coated in koshering salt to draw out the blood during this preparation (consuming blood is prohibited by most forms of Judaism). Kosher salt is certified through vetting by the proper religious authority; not all sea salt is kosher because it is 'natural'. Just because this particular variety is kosher, that does not mean it has been blessed by a Rabbi.

It is widely known by occult practitioners that salt alone can neutralize and disperse malevolent energies. As a cleanser, it removes what is toxic and transforms what is corrupt through purification. Numerous cultures use salt as a talisman for warding off undesirable spirits. Charms using salt are created by placing a pinch in a pouch or small bottle to be carried or worn around the neck. A bit of fabric can be rubbed with salt or sprinkled with holy water containing salt and used as a prayer cloth ( the modern version used by various Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christian sects). An old world tradition of Roman Catholicism is to carry a saints' medal or scapular that has been blessed with salt and water. A ritual popularized by the Hebrew tradition with roots in the Old Testament known as a Covenant of Salt is the act of combining individual grains of salt into a bowl or jar during the wedding ceremony to be kept in the home thereafter because it represents a perpetual vow to both keep God in the home and to be kept by Him based on the knowledge of salt as a preservative.

If you've been watching  the TV series Supernatural for any length of time, then you've seen primary characters Sam and Dean Winchester salt and burn a body in a grave ( or less frequently, another location). The grave is opened, a few appropriate prayers are said, and the body is purified by pouring copious amounts of salt over the bones and the corpse set on fire to destroy a hostile spirit. That ritual follows the custom of salting the ground of a conquered city so nothing would grow there. ( The Romans, I believe, did this with Carthage.)

For centuries, salt has been used as a talisman to ward off undesirable spirits, pieces being worn around the neck. Modern day believers in the occult draw a line of salt across window ledges and thresholds to keep away nativity and to keep spirits from entering.

Himalayan salt lamps have become popular for deflecting negativity. Users swear that they also cleanse the space they're used in and aides in promoting a good nights rest. I've had one for years. Does it work? I can't say that I've noticed a difference other than it does wick moisture from the surrounding air; so much, in fact, that I've poured off the accumulated fluid from the dish it sits in and dried it, then used the remaining salt in ritual. I've also poured it into my bath water. I'm frugal that way. Also, it's growing some very nice crystals around the bottom. It gives off a lovely pink/yellow light when the candle inside is lit,which is very calming. I've used salt alone and combined with herbs in ritual baths for a long time, and I do believe salt alone or in combination does remove negativity. Himalayan salt (color really doesn't matter unless you want to ascribe a color correspondence to it) is best because it's processed the least. Common table salt would work, too, but I like the Himalayan salt because of it's purity and esthetics. In my experience, it seems to work better with aromatherapy oils and herbs.

But what about black salt? Hawaiian black salt, or black lava salt is simply common sea salt which is combined with activated charcoal as a coloring agent. It's main use in cooking is as a garnish. In occult terms, because it is black, it is said to absorb negativity. A segment of the magical community prefers to use it in their spell work. As always, it's about intention, adaptation and preferences.

How to Make and Use a Salt JarAny jar or bowl with a lid can be used, just make certain it's clean and dry. It can be as plain (like a mason jar), or ornate as you wish. The traditional color vessel used for this tool is either red or blue, but you may choose any color you like, or correspond the color to your intention. I recommend using course salt; kosher or pickling salt is fine. If you want something different, you can use colored Himalayan, which comes in white, pink, red, grey, blue and green of varying intensities depending on the trace minerals left in the salt after evaporation.. If you're searching at the grocery store, these are also known as  finishing salts because they're used mainly for garnish.

On a small piece of paper, write out your intention or petition.fold the paper away from you into quarters or thirds and place it in the jar you're using. Pour enough salt into the jar to cover the paper completely, leaving a bit of headspace between the top of the jar and the lid. Holding the jar in both hands, breathe into the jar to fill it with your essence and seal it. You may place any herbs ( onion/garlic for protection or to absorb negativity;sugar to keep things sweet or favorable; rosemary for blessing/ peace are a few) you wish into the jar along with the salt to boost the vibration. Other things, such as a bit of precious metal ( gold, silver, copper) or a stone/crystal ( your choice) may also be added. Salt jars are used primarily for blessing and cleansing. They work by sympathetic magic, just as a sugar or honey jar would. There is a lovely Jewish tradition of keeping a salt jar in the home in a place of honor to bless the home and its inhabitants.

Salt jars are worked in much the same way as a sugar jar [  see my earlier post, Sweetness and Light  ]. If you use a jar with a metal lid, you can add a candle to burn on the top. If you use a secure lid you can use the jar as a shaker (without the candle!) as a meditation aid. I know practitioners who fill their jars with salt and edible herbs and use the contents in cooking to take the blessing into their bodies. Personally, I don't recommend this, because even though salt is a preservative, there is still a change of something growing in the jar which will taint the contents and render it inedible. You can, of course, do as you wish, but I'm not comfortable with the idea.

Other ways you can use your salt jar:

In a sick room instead of burning sage

Sprinkling  some of the salt in the corners of a room to cleanse and raise vibration

Give one as a house warming or wedding gift

Have any other ideas? Leave them in the comments section of this post or email me.