The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Food and Drink
Salt’s use as a natural preservative reveals its magical power. Salt’s primary magical use is protection. The simplest protection spell of all consists of casting a circle with salt and sitting within it until all danger passes. Allegedly no evil power can transgress that salt circle. Salt is carried in amulet bags for protection.
Salt is also used for magical purification and cleansing rituals: the simplest personal cleansing spell involves bathing in water to which sea salt has been added.
It is considered among the lunar foods: most salt is white, and salt is extracted from water, whether from the sea or laboriously through the evaporation of brine water in salt mines.
Salt’s associations with water enhanced its identification with lunar goddesses and with psychic, protective, magic power. The constant presence of the saltshaker on the table derives from its magical use: once upon a time, open saltcellars were preferred as this way salt emanates more power than when tightly enclosed.
It was once commonly believed that evil spirits wishing to take possession of a body or otherwise cause harm were likely to enter through the mouth together with food. Salt added to food allegedly foils these plans.
Many spirits allegedly hate salt, particularly Djinn and sidhe (fairies), and will avoid it at all cost. They reject offerings made with salt; those cooking for these spirits are advised to omit salt entirely. Those wishing to prevent these spirits from partaking of a meal are conversely encouraged to use it. Some anthropologists believe that references to spirits’ dislike of salt (usually accompanied by an equal hatred of iron) indicates references to aboriginal people without knowledge of iron or salt, and first introduced into their territory by invaders.
Not all spirits hate salt:
Ogun, West Africa’s Spirit of Iron accepts bags of salt as a ritual offering
Russia’s horned spirits, the Leshii, accept offerings with salt
An ancient Bavarian salt mine is named Berchtesgaden or Berchta’s (Perchta’s) Hall
The notion that spirits despised salt carried over to Christian mythology of the devil. During the witch-hunt era, it was commonly believed that the devil hates salt. Witch-hunters claimed that salt was omitted during sabbat feasts. A legend developed that witches too despised salt; allegedly one way to identify a witch was merely to pay attention at table. The witch was the one complaining that the food was too salty. To cook without salt was thus to leave oneself vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft. Needless to say, many sought safety and protection by lavishly, ostentatiously, and publicly salting their food.
Salt is used to cast magic spells. Salt is an excellent conductor of energy and so is a primary tool of Russian whispering spells:
1. Murmur your desires over salt, then slip it into someone’s drink, although it may be more discreetly added to food.
2. Feed this enchanted salt to your heart’s desire as a seduction or romance charm.
See CALENDAR: Sabbats; DICTIONARY: Sabbat; DIVINE WITCH: Perchta; FAIRIES: Nature-spirit Fairies: Sidhe; HORNED ONE: Cain, The Devil, Leshii; MAGICAL PROFESSIONS: Metalworkers.