Let’s Talk Witch – Salt’s Usages & Superstitions
Since time immemorial, amazing properties and superstitions have been attributed to salt. Salt is a crystalline substance that is produced as if by magic in water… and disappears in water. Salt is a pure product – that is, it does not contain any additional substances – that is white in color, and for this reason is considered to be “sacred.” We must remember that in days of yore, salt was extremely valuable, expensive, and indispensable to human life. Salt was so expensive that in many countries, gathering and mining salt was the monopoly of the king or ruler. Salt has good and bad properties.
The first superstition states that salt protects the person against the devil. This is why, when salt is spilled, it is a sign that the devil is in the vicinity, and the person’s guardian angel caused him to spill the salt. Since the guardian angel is stationed behind the person’s right shoulder, and the devil is behind his left shoulder, he must immediately take a pinch of the salt and throw it over his left shoulder in order to blind the devil! However, spilled salt also foretells an imminent quarrel between the members of a couple, perhaps as a result of the fact that in the past, salt was very expensive. “A quarrel with a husband always starts with spilled salt!”
Spilled salt is not only the sign of a quarrel, but also foretells days of sadness. In North America, it is believed that salt predicts sadness… since many tears are needed to “rinse out” the salt. For this reason, it is customary to pour salt onto fire, or onto a range – in order to “dry up” the tears of sadness. Obviously, the fact that tears are salty is connected to this superstition.
When salt is sprinkled on the threshold of the home, the devil and his henchmen cannot get in. (In fact, when salt or ash is sprinkled on the floor, the devil won’t come because he is afraid of leaving tracks.)
In order to greet an important or beloved guest, he is received with a gift in the form of bread and salt, or by placing a pinch of salt in his right hand.
If a pinch of salt is placed on a baby’s tongue, he will have a long, happy, and healthy life.
Incidentally, salt was used as currency in the past, both in trade, and especially as soldiers’ salaries. In fact, the word “salary” comes from “sal”, the Latin word for “salt.” This in fact means that “he is worth his salt.” There is a belief that salt provides immunity against poisons. This belief stems from the custom of former rulers, who would take a pinch of poison with their food in order to fortify their immunity against genuine poisoning. They mixed the poison with salt. This is the origin of the expression, “A pinch of salt a day prevents a change of ruler.”
The expression, “salt of the earth,” describes the cream of humanity. A Muslim proverb states that “salt was spilled between us,” meaning that a covenant was sworn between people. In the East, salt is still a purifying and sanctifying substance. Salt is sprinkled in the Sumo wrestling ring before every match in order to purify it of the evil eye.
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