Protection against evil Spirits: Salt
Salt can be used to protect against malicious spirits. If you make a circle of salt around yourself, supposedly nothing can harm you. If you make an unbroken line of salt across doorways and windowsills, its said that evil spirits can’t cross it.
From a sprinkle of salt over the shoulder to “chase away evil” to the full-blown circle of salt, the humble sea mineral’s protective and purifying power stretches back through antiquity.
Anyone who has watched a supernatural thriller movie involving angry ghosts or demons knows that salt is Hollywood’s prescription for protection. The hugely popular TV series Supernatural—which is a huge fan favoirite—has the “doubting heroes” throwing salt at every spirit and ghost in sight. They blast away merrily with shotguns filled with rock salt, and pour liberal lines of salt on doorways and windowsills. They scatter salt on spirits of any religious tradition, taking down demons, “evil” pagan gods, atheist ghosts and wendigos. (Okay, I know, they use fire on Wendigos, and wooden stakes on evil pagan gods, but let’s keep it simple). Is this purely fiction? In our real world, does it help? The answer believed by many people is…yes.
Why is Salt Considered Pure?
At one time, salt was so valuable it was the currency of the realm, more coveted than gems or gold. This was partially because it was relatively rare, mostly found in dry coastal areas. It’s reputation for magic and purity and protection came from its near miraculous ability to preserve food. Preserves of all kind were made from salt, leading to the assumption that it could preserve and protect anything. It became so valuable that ancient civilizations levied taxes in salt, and once it traded on par with gold, ounce for ounce.*
Circles of Salt
In the most dire of circumstances an unbroken line of salt is recommended for protection from a nasty spirit, preferably in a circle around the person/object being protected. Traditionally, spirits cannot cross a line of salt, and many say that salt transcends physical. Salt—and many gems—are considered living spirits in their own right by many, and for this reason are thought to exist in all realms simultaneously. A ring of salt in the physical world, also exists in the astral, according to some experts.
Circles are powerful in protection against paranormal phenomenon even when they are not made of salt. Many pagans, Wiccans or ceremonial magicians use painted circles, imagined circles or rings of rope, stones, gems or candles. However, against truly malicious spirits a border of salt, especially in a circle, is the most effective.
Protecting a House or Property
A house or property is difficult to protect with a ring of salt, since the amount of salt would be staggering. Most traditions, however, believe that spirits have trouble crossing thresholds into homes due to the naturally positive energy of home and family. Usually a line of salt on the threshold and windows is enough to “seal” a home where absolute protection from a malicious spirit is required. Thresholds and window sills may not be enough for a commercial venture.
In a nasty situation, a bowl of salt in front of mirrors is also recommended, since many believe mirrors are portals to “other worlds.” Like thresholds and windowsills, they should be warded.
Many people seeking to discourage harmful spirits find that a simple bowl of rock salt in the each room is enough, in the same way other people might burn a high-frequency incense such as sage to purify and exorcise.
How Does It Work
Anecdotally, it works. But how and why? Salt is of both earth and water (the sea) and this may be part of it. It’s unusual purifying power (on food, people, disease) is part of the answer. Some explain it’s power as a “damper” cutting off the connection to “other worlds” by removing the natural conductive paths. These conductive paths are typically through doors, windows, mirrors in buildings. In people, they are often the eyes or the mouth/nose.
Types of Salt
All salts are effective purifiers, but traditional holds that sea salt and raw or rock salt is more effective. More effective still would be blessed salt—blessed in the tradition of the person seeking protection. A Christian might bless in the name of the Holy Trinity, a Buddhist in the name of Buddha or a Bodhisattva, a pagan in the name of her devotional goddess/god. What matters is that the person in need of protection be reinforced. In most anecdotal evidence, the “spiritual discipline” of the spirit is less important than that of the person in need of protection. And, unlike amulets, which should be charged with intention, salt appears to work without blessing or intent. Throughout history, salt has anecdotally been proven to be effective whether you believe in it or not.