Salt is one of the almost ubiquitous elements of modern day witchcraft practice. We have a pot on our altar, we sprinkle it in our baths, we bury crystals with is and wash our services down with it. It is an important part of western magical practice so I’m going to take a moment to look into it.
Use of Salt
Many of the uses of salt relate to its folklore and mythology. Throughout Europe salt is associated with repelling get evil spirits and entities. For example in Scotland housewives would sprinkle salt around the butter churn to stop witches from souring the butter whilst the Irish believed that combining salt with the Lord’s Prayer would protect the against Fay and their enchantments.
A lot of the salt folklore comes from the relative expense of the mineral. Salt was one of the driving forces of the La Tène culture expansion and the Roman army would sometimes pay their soldiers in salt so that they did not have to then buy something so important to the preservation of food. Given its importance and expense as a commodity it is not a surprise that the spilling if salt became associated with bad luck and quarrels. This association was further enforced by artists incorporating the spilling of salt in their paintings to indicate a sinister aspect. The most famous example of this can be found in such as Leonardo da Vinci’s depiction of the Last Supper, with Judas Iscariot spilling the salt indicating his intention to betray Christ the next day, who himself is referred to in the Bible as the ‘salt of the earth’.
Of course for every contraindication there is a remedy, and this is where the tradition of casting spilt salt over the shoulder comes from. The believe that such discord was caused by devils and negative spirits and that by casting the salt over the left shoulder would ensure that they were driven away when the salt filled their eyes.
As a result salt is used a number of magical operations including (but not limited to)
- Used to represent the element of Earth
- To define circles
- Repels / Absorbs many types of negative energy
These are a lot of potential uses but it is important to remember that before it can be used salt must be purified for use. This is because of its tendency to absorb energy. Whilst this can be useful in the grounding of energies it does mean that salt often contains energies which would be counterproductive to magical operations. There are a number of different methods to achieve this cleansing but the most common can be found in the various internet books of shadows out there in the greater world wide web.
Consecration of Salt
Whilst drawing a pentagram of Earth in the salt say
“Blessings be upon this Creature of Salt; let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hence, and let all good enter herein; wherefore so I bless thee, that thou mayest aid me.”
Thus the salt is made pure and ready for use in magic. Primarily it is added to water that has been purified with the same actions and words to create holy water which can be used for purification, consecration and the casting of magical circles.
Types Of Salt
There are lots of different types of salts available on the market, each having their own magical attributes. This list is not entirely exhaustive however these are some of the most common, and the different types that have caught my eye.
Common table salt could really be the start and end of this part of the post. It is cheap, readily available and universal in its uses. Because it is so common it is perfect to use in bulk to create physical barriers! And it’s small uniform crystal make up make it easier to dilute in water and tidy up at the end of a ritual.
That being said table salt is often highly processed, with additives such as iodine and anti-caulking agents. Although this doesn’t negatively impact it’s effectiveness some may prefer a salt which has undergone fewer processes such ass…
Sea salt undergoes fewer processes and is obtained through the evaporation of saltwater. This produces large irregularly shaped flakes which can vary in taste and colour. You can obtain your own sea salt however you are only going to achieve small yields and it is just as available as table salt and can be picked up in any well stocked supermarket. It is somewhat more expensive and this may mean it is more cost effective to use in small pinches and diluted in water.
The pink tint to this form of salt is due to the higher iron content found in the region’s where it forms. This emails the sale with all the attributes of iron, heightening the protective and averting qualities of the salt. Some of its specific uses relate to astral journeying and out of body experiences. Himalayan Salt is expensive, but can be found in larger supermarkets and in many new age stores. Because of the cost I recommend using it sparingly.
Black Salt – Lava
Black Lava Salt is a form of sea salt which is mixed with active charcoal and is available from countries with active volcanoes on the sea coast, like Hawaii and Cyprus. Although mainly used for cullentary and cosmetic purposes, the qualities of charcoal to absorb and remove negative toxins can be extended to include negative energies as well. This means that in small amounts black lava salt is useful in purification rituals and process. Whilst this can be bought in some limited stores at a price it is possible to make your own by grinding food grade active charcoal into sea salt, covering the salt in a layer of black.
Black Salt – Soot and Char
The other way you can make black salt is by using standard table salt and combining it with lamp black (soot) which you can gather from candles by holding a metal object directly over the flame or from around open fire places and then scraping the resultant smut into the salt. This can take a very long time if you are working from candles and a quicker way of doing it is to add the burned remains of ritual herbs and incense to the salt. Not only is the same absorbing and trapping effect achieved the salt also takes on the attributes of the herbs, lending the black salt further qualities. Black Salt made in this way often uses uncrossing herbs as their base to increase the salts potency in relation to breaking magical workings.
Fire Salts are an entirely new one on me, but I was looking for an alternative way of representing fire when flames were not an option and this seemed like a good one which would double up as a nice condiment. Once you get over the idea that Fire Salt is something that you collect from the bodies of Fire Atronachs in Skyrim I think it is quite an appealing idea.
Fire salts are a mixture of salts and herbs which can be used to add the element of fire to your rituals and spells. They can be used to heat up relationship spells, add a spicy edge to protection spells and wake energies up. The salt forms the base whilst spices like paprika, red peppers and garlic bring ties to the element of fire. Other fire related spices can be used to create fire salts and can be substituted according to spell/ritual purpose.
To make fire salts you will need
- 2 parts table/sea salt
- 1 part paprika,
- 1 part red pepper
- 1 part garlic
Unlike black salt simply mixing the herbs and salt together is not enough to activate the fire salt, particular if you are intending to use it in ritual as symbolic fire. You will also need to use a process of charging and/or visualisation to achieve this.
If you have a gas hob put all the ingredients into a pan over heat and stir the mixture well. Visualise the energy of the flame imbuing the mixture with intent.
If you don’t have a flame based hob or oven but access to candles perform the mixing process in front of a candle lit in honour of the element and perform the same visualisation.
if you are making the mixture as an alternative to open flames to represent the element of fire and you have neither candles or gas hob then heating over an electric heating element will suffice, just add to the process a visualisation of the pan being filled with flames which are absorbed by the mixture.
There are a large number of other types of magical salts, including a variety of herb salts where the protective, cleansing effects of the salt are increased and complemented by various magical herbs. I am not going to attempt to cover them all and will leave it to the reader to research, or imagine, such salts for themselves.
When using salt one must always be cautions. Salt easily absorbs energies from its surrounding, quickly becoming energetically impure, and it is best practice to ensure that salt is consecrated anew for each use. Equally you should be aware of scattering salt, or salt water, in your local environment as it can have a negative impact on local fauna and flora. Small amounts are usually easily absorbed but dumping a large chalice of water so salty it may as well have come from the dead sea by your begonias isn’t going to do them much good. Just be a little cautious and circumspect and I see no problems with having salt water out in nature.