Cat’s Bits for November 11-18 A Trip Down The Salt Road
Nov. 11 Veteran’s Day
Nov. 18 New Moon at 6:42 am EST
Nov. 21 Sun enters Sagittarius at 10:05 pm EST
Nov. 23 Thanksgiving Day USA
Nov. 25 Celtic Tree Month of Elder begins
A Trip Down The Salt Road
Most people tend to view salt as a common household item. It can be found lurking in cupboards everywhere. But in ages past salt was viewed quite differently. For thousands of years was an important but difficult to obtain commodity. It contributed to civilization as we know it. By using salt our ancestors were able to preserve seasonal foods and made it possible to ship food over great distances. By the Bronze Age specially constructed roads called “salt roads had been established which helped make salt more accessible. One of these roads can still be seen in Germany and runs from Luneburg to the German Baltic coast.
This mineral that we take for granted now was a highly valued trade item and was used as a form of currency. Salt could be used to obtain other goods including slaves. The phrase “not worth his salt” is said to have come from ancient Greece, where one could trade salt for slaves. During the Middle Ages only the very rich could afford to have salt at their table. It was during this period that “master salt cellars” became the in thing. The master salt cellar would be prominently placed at the head of the table as a symbol of status. People knew how they were ranked by their position to the master salt cellar. If you were important you sat “above the salt” and if you were not you “sat below the salt.” Because of it’s value the sharing of salt was a symbol of trust and friendship. Woe to he , or she, who spilled salt as it was seen as a grievous insult as can be seen by this German proverb, “whoever spills salt arouses enmity”.
One thing that has remained constant through the centuries is the use of salt in religious practices. It can be found on altars as a symbol of purity. References to salt appear 30 times within the Bible in both Old and New Testament. it is used in the Jewish faith as a remembrance of sacrifice and in the Catholic church it is used in a variety of purification rituals and for exorcisms. For Pagans and Wiccans it is an altar staple that represents the element of earth or sometimes water depending on your tradition. It is also used for purification, cleansing and protection spells. According to Buddhist tradition, salt repels evil spirits and in the Shinto religion salt is used for purification. This can be seen during sumo matches when a handful of salt is thrown into the ring to drive away evil spirits. In the American Southwest there is a Hopi legend about the Warrior Twins punishing man by making it hard work to extract the salt they needed. The Zuni people honor Salt Woman ( Ma’l Oyattsik’i) who lives in the Zuni Salt Lake. This is a sacred site for many of the southwest tribes who collect the salt during summer when the water evaporates for ceremonies.
Finally, salt has it’s place in superstition as well. In European lore spilling salt is an evil omen. One theory for this is that during the last supper Judas Iscariot spilled the salt. In fact you can see this in da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper”. ( I had to look at it myself) If you actually spill salt you can avert bad luck by tossing a pinch over your left shoulder. This remedy is of Christian origin and has to do with the Devil. By throwing a pinch of salt over your left shoulder you are throwing it in the Devil’s eye. It’s supposed to blind him and fend off the bad luck he has in store for you. There are other superstitions about salt and if you are interested you can read about them here: http://superstitiondictionary.com/superstitions-about-salt/
I hope that you have enjoyed our little journey down the “salt road”
Bright Blessings for a Magickal Week!
Laura (Cat) Bolotin has been following an eclectic pagan/spiritual path for over 25 years. She currently lives in Western Colorado where she enjoys communing with nature, desert crawling, belly dancing, nature photography, jewelry crafting and writing stuff she hopes will help others along their path. She is married and owned by 6 cats.
Please feel free to check out my websites!
The Desert Path: The Dusty Ramblings of a Desert Pagan. https://catsister.wordpress.com
Sacred Spirals on Facebook: The Place Where All Paths Meet https://www.facebook.com/groups/sacredSpirals/
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