Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Rock We Eat

Salt. It’s the rock we eat. It’s the crystal everyone uses every day. Most people don’t think about it as a crystal, but of course it is. It comes in all colors, all textures, and all prices. And in the 21st century, we are fortunate because it’s so plentiful that we take it for granted. Salt is vital to our human health and society. But there’s a lot more you can do with salt than sprinkle it on food.

It has been used as currency and paid as wages (the origin of the word salary). It was regularly mixed with green vegetables (leading to the word salad). It has been carved out of mountains, evaporated from rivers, scraped off dry lakebeds, and boiled out of brine. It has preserved mummies, provided a tax base, cured meats, manipulated economies, been used as building materials, inspired a Bible story, and influenced trade routes.

Too much salt in your diet will kill you; too little and you’ll die as well. Just as the ocean is balanced in its salinity, so are our bodies. We have to take it in with our meals. We love the taste it gives food. Eat a high meat diet and you won’t have to add much to your plate to get enough. Eat a vegetarian diet and you’ll have to add more than the meat eaters require.

Any magical housekeeper worth her salt (pun intended!) will be versed in the many other, metaphysical, uses for salt. Here are a few. I’d love to hear yours.

Adding salt to bath water makes a soak that not only soothes sore muscles, but draws out impurities, negative energy, and restores vitality. A cup or two in a typical bathtub of water and a twenty-minute soak will change your outlook. Taken four or more times per week and it will change your life. This is especially true if you suffer from any chronic disease such as arthritis, experience muscle fatigue from overuse, or are tense from stress or depression. It’s lovely to use fragrant salts and exotic grains from faraway lands (I’m addicted to Dead Sea Salts and Utah Salt Flat Salts), but the truth of it is, any table salt will do the trick and do it on a budget. When I’m low on cash I get a canister of Morton’s. It’s good for about two baths. Take your soak consciously. It’s a healing calm time for you.

Mix essential oils such as lavender or geranium with some canola oil and pour into a jar full of medium salt crystals. Voila! You’ve got a salt scrub to rival the ones at the expensive spas. (These also make excellent gifts). Use it regularly and you’ll have the skin of a baby.

Salt water is excellent for cleansing most crystals (obviously not the friable ones, or ones set in metal that will pit easily). Placed in the corners of your house, it will dispel negative energy. Sprinkled across your threshold and no negative entities will cross. Several Texas friends of mine maintain a circle of salt around their homes at all times. They swear by it for protection. A Beverly Hills friend sprinkles salt in all the rooms of her house at the edges of the walls, to the detriment of her carpeting. Hey, it’s priorities.

Salt lamps are easily found in shops for not much money now and, in addition to a hypnotic and calming glow, emit negative ions that are very healthful. Placed near a computer, a salt lamp will help counteract some of the electromagnetic smog that is now recognized as causing subtle negative health changes. I have salt lamps in every room of my house, and I will often find my cats dozing in front of one, paws folded in under their chins, in feline meditation.

I have lumps and bricks of salt in various locations of my house as well. I’ve noticed the house has better energy since placing them. Occasionally the cats lick them. You can find bricks of salt in gourmet cooking shops. They are as heavy as marble and have a gorgeous look and feel.

I’m reading a fantastic book on salt’s history. If you’re as curious as me, give it a read: It’s entitled Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky. The book is riveting to any history buff.

And yes, I’ve been to the salt mines. While in the Salzburg region with my friend Doug years ago I donned a silly outfit and descended into the Salzkammergut, a mother lode of salt that fueled entire societies in the middle ages. The atmosphere in that underground cavern was mystical and intoxicating. As we glided on a barge onto a subterranean lake I felt a stillness I’ve not felt since.

So when you next pick up your saltshaker, take a moment. Pour some into your hand and examine it. This is the stuff of stars. This is one of the primary crystals on Planet Earth. You owe your life to it. Use it consciously. Use it magically. Use it gratefully.

1 comment:

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