Welcome to Superstition Sunday #3 at Soulless, our bi-weekly look at some weird and wild superstitions from different cultures across the world. For this week's edition, we're focusing on the superstitions surrounding the spilling of salt. Salt, believe it or not, is believed to have many magical properties and for those of you who are familiar with the basics of modern witchcraft, you definitely keep plenty of salt around for use! I thought this was a fun topic to cover, so check out some of these cool superstitions!
GET IT TOGETHER, JUDAS!
During the Middle Ages, salt was expensive so it was important to avoid spillage whenever possible. But for those who did spill it, you just surrounded yourself with bad luck! It is believed that the idea that spilling salt is bad luck stemmed from the Last Supper, when Judas apparently knocked over the salt during the meal! This can actually be seen in DaVinci's painting of the Last Supper.
GET 'EM WHERE IT HURTS!
If you're a clutz and manage to spill the salt at the table, quick - grab it and throw the spilt salt over your left shoulder! It is believed that by doing so, you are throwing the salt into the eyes of the evil spirits that bring sickness with them. These spirits were thought to be creeping over your shoulder, just waiting to strike and inflict you with the worst of the worst!
Salt has a very lasting quality - it is known for helping to preserve foods and prevent them from spoiling. Because of this, it was common to present guests with salt. Salt was considered a sign of friendship - and the strength of the salt would help bind and preserve the friendship for many years to come. But if you manage to spill salt, you might be saying goodbye to your BFF - it is believed that spilling salt leads to the loss of a friendship and the breaking of that special bond!
FUCK OFF, EVIL SPIRITS!
In many cultures, salt was used to fight off evil spirits and prevent them from entering into the home. French Canadians would sprinkle salt around the doors to their stables to prevent the evil goblins of the night from entering the stables and messing with the horses. Salt was also used during baptisms and was put into the mouth of the newborn or in the holy water used to bless the child. And in many Scottish households, the salt container would be kept on top of the family's Bible. And in Eastern Europe, there was a simple way of telling if your child has been in league with the devil himself - lick his or her forehead. If you taste salt, you could be assured that you got some evil in your kid!
While a surprising amount of people actually fully believe the superstitions surrounding salt, not everyone is so quick to believe it. Herbert Spencer, the English philosopher known for coining the phrase "survival of the fittest," wrote this about it: "A consciousness in which there lives the idea that spilling salt will be followed by some evil, obviously allied as it is to the consciousness of the savage, filled with beliefs in omens and charms, gives a home to other beliefs like those of the savage."
But please, be sure to take these superstitions... with a grain of salt.