Salt: myths, legends, superstitions and other historical (unverified) data
Common Words & Sayings
- Ancient Greece: the expression “not worth his salt” stems from the practice of trading slaves for salt.
- “The salt of the earth,” that is to be a force capable of keeping men from the corruption of sin.
- The word “salary” is derived from the Latin word “salarium” and has the root “sal”, or “salt.”
- In ancient Rome, it specifically meant the amount of money allotted to a Roman soldier to buy salt, which was an expensive but essential commodity.
- Covenants are said to have been sealed with salt: hence the origin of the word “salvation.”
Unlucky Superstitions. Maybe, just maybe … better safe than sorry
- Never ever run out of salt in your home, It’s a very bad omen indeed: “Short of salt, short of money“
- Do not “lend” salt, it is equally bad luck to lend someone salt. Give it as a free gift…to return the salt is plain bad luck for the giver and the receiver.
- Spilling of any salt is considered unlucky: The only way to turn your luck around is to take a pinch of salt and throw it over your left shoulder. This would hopefully keep the evil spirit away.
- Why the left shoulder you ask? It is believed that your Guardian Angel is behind/sits on your right shoulder.
- Never pass salt to someone at the table. There are a couple old sayings about this matter; “Pass the salt, pass the sorrow” and “Help me to salt, help me to sorrow”.
- The solution: if someone at the table needs the salt, be sure to set the salt down in front or close to them and let the other person pick it up for himself.
- There are those who fear bad luck will befall them if they should chance to drop salt on the floor.
- Solution: pick up a little and throw over your left shoulder.
The spiritual significance of salt. Myths & Facts & Curiosity’s
Salt has played a significant part in religious and spiritual rituals in many cultures on planet Earth symbolizing purity with a long history of use in rituals of purification, magical protection, mostly used throughout the ages warding off negative energies and evil spirits. Salt is still used as the most important ingredient for inspiration and creation of wondrous and joyful blessings.
Salt has a long tradition for protection.
Good Omens & Protection strategies, the power of salt is world-wide and centuries old.
- Good Luck: to make a wish…hold a little salt in your left hand, close your eyes and make your wish, then cast salt into a fire or a body of water.
- Baptism: salt is/has been used in a variety of purification rituals, history states at baptisms, a small taste of salt would be placed on a baby’s lip during the blessing
- Shinto religion: salt to purify an area. Before Sumo wrestlers enter the ring for a match a handful of salt is thrown into the center to drive off malicious and evil spirits. This is said to be an elaborate Shinto rite.
- Holy water: is prepared by exorcising and blessing salt and water separately, after which the salt is dissolved in the water and a benediction pronounced upon the mixture.
- Safety: ensure a safe journey
- Scorned Lovers: women would sprinkle a fine circle of salt around the entire bed to keep away ill-wishes by any scorned lover.
- Newborns: up to the 9th century it was believed salt could protect newborn children in Britain. A small bundle of salt wrapped up in cloth could be placed in the cradle to protect a child who was not yet baptized.
- Child’s first outing: a little pinch of salt was placed in the pocket of the baby’s clothes for protection the first time the infant left the house.
- On the 8th Day ancient Rome: on the eight day following a baby’s birth, a piece of salt was rubbed on the baby to ward off demons and evil spirits.
- While you sleep: on the corners of your bed, or on the floor under your bed, ideally hang from all posts.
- Newly-weds: place salt into the outside corners of the home where newlyweds will/do reside to dispel any “bad” or negative energy.
- 19th century England sprinkled salt in every room of a new home before moving bringing in the furniture. This was believed to protect the home form evil spirits.
- Unwanted company: if you had a visitor in your home and preferred that person not return, sprinkle salt on your entrance doorstep immediately after that person leaves. Sweep up the salt and then burn it. You may not receive another visit.
- OR discreetly sprinkle salt behind unwanted guest/s as they leave. Make sure they don’t look back and see you.
- Spilled oil in the kitchen: many believed in its power to drive away and exorcise evil spirits by sprinkling it on spilled cooking oil.
- Salt and fishermen: if one were to sprinkle a little salt on a fisherman it would bring him luck. Avoiding their eyes.
- Beer: in Scotland salt was added in the brewing of beer, which would otherwise have been ruined by witches and evil spirits. But…mainly fungus.
- Welcoming visitors with bread and salt was once considered good etiquette
- Before burial: an old and popular custom in European countries required that a handful of salt be thrown in the coffin before the burial. The salt is a symbol of incorruptibility and immortality, would hence keep away the devil.
- Displayed Open coffins: many would/may still fill a bowl with salt and place it in a room to absorb negative energy.
- After a funeral: it was and may still be a custom to throw salt over your shoulder before re-entering your house, thus repelling evil spirits, believing it scares off any evil spirits that may be venture home with you. In Europe it was common many places to put salt in the coffin of the deceased to prevent the devil taking possession of the departed.
- Holy salt: there are many literary and religious references to salt, including use of salt on altars representing purity, and use of “holy salt”.
- The word “salvation” Sal is Latin for salt where salt. has been used traditionally in the churches for purifying rituals.
- Temple offerings: included salt; on the Sabbath, people of that faith dip their bread in salt as a remembrance of those sacrifices.