Sunday, September 16, 2012


HUNDREDS OF PRACTICAL EVERYDAY USES                                      
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Salt seasons, cures, preserves, draws, cleans,  is a styptic and antiseptic; it has hundreds of practical everyday household uses.  It is necessary for the health of every mammal.
Historically, the salt trade was of critical economic importance to many cultures over a wide geographic range, sought after and paid dearly for by many.

Morton Salt's iconic packaging
Many significant ancient roads, including the Via Salarium in Italy, began as salt collection and trade routes. Roman Legionnaires were either partially paid in salt, or a portion of their recompense was given them specifically for the purchase of salt (the word salary has it's origin in the Latin word "salarium", meaning "of salt", or "a salt cellar".).


How fundamental salt is in our lives is reflected in many common phrases, such as "the salt of the earth" (from the Bible, Matthew 5:13; in common parlance, this refers to one who is reliable, practical, and not given to airs);  "worth his salt" (worth one's pay); "below (or above) the salt" (originally referring to medieval English royal court seating arrangements; those seated by the salt being noble, those below, common), "take it with a grain of salt" (maintain a healthy skepticism).

With so many varieties of salt to choose from, which should a Hoodoo practitioner or other practical occultist choose?

Aside from epsom salt, which is high in magnesium, the salt we use is sodium chloride (NaCl).   You may use table salt or the much larger-grained, harder rock salt; you may use sea salt or kosher salt.  These later two are usually coarsely grained, although sea salt is sometimes available in a smaller grain size.  I suppose you could even use one of the costly culinary specialty salts now on the market. 

Sometimes folks believe that kosher salt is especially good to use in hoodoo spells and spiritual preparations because they've been told that this salt been blessed by a Rabbi.  It has not. Kosher certification does not involve blessing, and being a Rabbi is not required of the examiner.

A rabbi can certify that food is Kosher
 Kosher salt is so-named because it is used in koshering meat.  This culinary process involves first soaking the meat or fowl in water, then covering it with a thick crust of salt prior to cooking, in order to extract blood.  This process renders the dish fit for kosher tables.  Why?  Jewish dietary law prohibits the consumption of blood.  Blood must be drained from meat and poultry, or thoroughly broiled out of it by fire. 

The source of this injunction is found in the Old Testament here, amongst other Biblical references: 

Magnolia Salt "flows freely in any weather"

"But be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat."  (Deuteronomy 12:23, NIV)

Salt is a mineral, and as such is automatically kosher.  Salt in itself cannot be otherwise, unless it has become mixed with other elements which are not kosher.   Rabbis or other observant Jews who validate kosher certification check food processing plants and factories to be sure that all kosher injunctions are being followed.  If the food, the preparation processes, machinery, utensils, etc. are in accordance with kosher beliefs, the food is deemed kosher.

 However, the food, or salt, is not blessed.  It's simply certified as kosher - something that all pure salt already is.


Try our Road Opener Spiritual Bath!

Table salt is fine to use in your hoodoo work, as is rock salt, sea salt, and kosher salt.   All of these salts are purifying and will act similarly on the spiritual level.  However, when used in bath preparations, some are easier on the body and provide additional benefits, while others are terribly drying; many people find them unpleasant to use due to their caustic effect upon the skin. 

I have chosen to use the very highest quality of Dead Sea salt from the Holy Land in the creation of Hoodoo Roots brand Spiritual Baths.  Direct from an ancient sea, this salt is so beautiful, so lovely on skin, and so mineral-dense, that the result is a qualitative difference in your spiritual bathing experience.  It makes a difference that you will feel!  

 CLARITY Spiritual Bath Crystals
All Hoodoo Roots Spiritual Baths are prepared using spiritually active organic herbs which I grow myself, conscientiously wild-craft from the purest of regions, or purchase from reputable organic growers.  In addition, the essential oils, absolutes, ottos and attars used in the preparation of these baths are the finest available, carefully sourced from harvests around the world.

All of my Spiritual Baths are hand-made by me from start to finish, as are all of my oils, powders, mists, and other products. You can count on Hoodoo Roots for purity, tradition, and effectiveness!  Try any of the Hoodoo Roots Spiritual Bath Crystals for yourself, and see what I mean!


Salt is - and has long been - used in many cultures as a spiritually potent,  purifying substance.  From Jewish ceremonial uses described in the Torah and Old Testament to Japanese Shinto practices, from Tibetan traditions in the high Himalayas to Navajo traditions in the American Southwest, salt plays a significant spiritual and religious role virtually worldwide. 

Sumo wrestlers throw salt to purify the ring
In several religious traditions, salt is believed to purify and to repel evil spirits.  In Japan, one commonly sees little piles of salt outside of homes, placed there to purify those who pass through the door.

A handful of salt is thrown into the center of the ring by Sumo wrestlers for purification, and to drive away unwholesome spirits.  This ritual is depicted in a scene in the beautiful movie "Memoirs of a Geisha".

In the Scottish highlands and Wales, a bowl of salt was placed upon the breast of the deceased  to prevent the devil from disturbing the body.

Judas spills salt, 
an unlucky omen

In the Middle East, salt is used to protect against the evil eye.

Salt is used in some traditions as a purification after attending a funeral.  By scattering salt onto your body, it is believed that any evil spirits which may have clung to you will be shaken off, and unable to follow.

An Italian tradition to ensure a good life before moving into a new home involves placing salt in the four corners of each room before sweeping with a brand-new broom.   This is a wise practice!

When about to move into a new home, a Japanese custom is to place salt at the four corners of the lot, in order to purify the property.

Vacant lots may have salt scattered upon them, to make peace with the spirits of the land, before buildings are erected.  Also in Shinto tradition, salt is scattered around the perimeter of a house to prevent impurities from entering.  This is done on the first day of the month.

In "The Last Supper", Leonardo Da Vinci's iconic painting, the traitor Judas Escariot is shown having just spilled salt onto the table, a portent of evil and ill luck.  The detail to the left is from Giacomo Raffaelli's mosaic of Da Vinci's painting. 

When the Dalai Lama died in 1933, he was ceremonially buried sitting upright in salt.

1921's Morton Salt Girl


Some believe that accidentally dropping salt on the ground will bring rain.
A little bag of salt worn about the neck is said to provide protection from misfortune and illness.  

A little bag of salt hung on the neck of cattle or horses,
or over the door of their stalls, protects them from witchcraft and misfortune.

A gift of salt is a mark of good-will.

Never return salt which you have borrowed: it brings bad luck.

To quiet the unsettling cries of a screech owl, burn some salt on your stove.
Coax a plum tree to bear fruit with a little salt

Salt, bread, and new broom should be the first things carried into a new home, to ensure prosperity and peace. 

If you salt a bird's tail, you may catch it!
A plum tree which blooms but doesn't bear fruit may do so if salt is sprinkled about it's roots.

If you spill salt while handing it to another person, the two of you will soon quarrel. 

Never hand an open salt container to another, or ill luck will ensue.
If you place a bit of salt in your right shoe, at the heel and toe, you will be very lucky.  To make your left shoe lucky, place salt and pepper inside of it.

In my childhood home, salt was never allowed to run out.  I abide by this today: one must always have salt in the home for protection, for prosperity, and to ensure a savory life.  It pays to have a backup container of salt in your pantry!

If I spilled salt back then - and if I spill it today - I immediately sweep it into my hand and throw it over my left shoulder, to reverse any bad luck I may have otherwise incurred.  This is actually an old Christian belief, as the devil is thought to be there, waiting for his chance to bring us ill fortune and calamity.  Salt tossed into his face thwarts this.

One of our fine, original Spiritual formulas
 Grains of rice in the bottom of salt-shakers help to ensure that salt remains free-flowing, even in humid summers or during thunderstorms.  Incidentally, rice, which in itself is kept (or thrown) as a blessing for fertility and prosperity, combines nicely with salt to ensure these qualities in your home.

Put salt upon a bird's tail, and you will catch it, and have great good luck.  I recall mulling this over quite a bit when I was little, trying to figure out how to get close enough to a wild bird to accomplish this.

If you feel that someone is working against you or has cursed you, throw a pinch of salt in their direction to counter their ability to do you harm.

Not really salt at all - but fun!

Hanging a little bag of salt over a baby's crib will protect it from all harm.

To ensure that unpleasant visitors never return, throw salt after them as they leave.  Some people add pepper, which is fine - but salt itself will do the trick.

I will post specific hoodoo beliefs and practices involving salt within the next couple of days.  Thank you so much for reading!

Dara Anzlowar                                                                          

Sunday, September 16
A beautiful, sunny, breezy California day

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* The color woodblock print of Sumo wrestlers is by Utagawa Kunisawa.  Japanese, early to mid-19th century.  
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

  Detail of Giacomo Raffaelli's mosaic of Da Vinci's Last Supper courtesy of Wikipedia

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Monday, September 10, 2012


AT THE LAKE                                                    Return to

Looking through the woods towards 
the lake at twilight

Every summer during my childhood, teenage,    and young adult years, I spent many happy weeks at my family's summer home, up the steep wooded hillside from an beautiful, glimmering lake.  Nestled deeply between forested hills, this ancient glacial lake was formed some 11,000 years ago, as the last ice age receded.  When I was young, it was said that the lake was so deep it had never been plumbed.

Our old house had a large yard which brought forth purple-blue lupines in the early spring and delicious, tiny, wild alpine strawberries throughout the summer.  An old Strawberry apple tree - a rare heritage specimen - stood in the yard, along with two enormous evergreens, alert sentinels always guarding our home.
Red raspberries grew at the edge of the wood

At wood's edge grew fat and juicy raspberries, sun-sweetened blackberries, gooseberries, prolific high-bush blueberries, and my father's trellised grapes.  All around the yard, the deep elder forest stood:  pine and spruce, aspen and maple, beech, birch, and graceful tamarack.  And always, the birds, their clear sweet song filling the air.


Indian Paintbrush with Swallowtail

Further up the hillside from our summer home was an old, abandoned Queen Anne-style cottage, complete with princess-worthy turrets, which had long ago been built by an English professor from Columbia University for the summertime pleasure of his French wife and their daughters.

In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, when I was young, we would sometimes trek up through the woods to see this home, which stood abandoned throughout all of those years.  We'd amble down it's long grassy driveway, still rutted from the carriages of long ago.  The trees canopied this long, winding drive, with shadowy forest on either side.

Lace curtains hung long ago
As we drew nearer to the home, a hush always came over us; there was something about this property which every one of us, even the most prosaic, recognized as being not of this world, enchanted.  Then the woods cleared, and before us stood the Gingerbread House, surrounded by a wildly overgrown yard, smaller every year as the forest reclaimed it's own, thick with Queen Anne's lace, sky-blue chicory, Indian paintbrush, black-eyed Susans, and everywhere, fragrant, exuberantly arching wild roses.

Charmed by the Gingerbread House's elaborate curlicued fretwork, the flower-choked grounds, and entranced by the antique Victorian furniture visible through the wavering glass windows, I urged my parents to purchase the home, it's outbuildings and acreage.  My mother shook her head in absolute refusal.  "Never," she stated flatly.  "This property needs to be exorcised by a priest, and the grounds sown with salt".

Queen Anne's Lace grew everywhere

Though extraordinarily perceptive and mediumistic, my mother was also very practical; for her to state so emphatically that a property needed such a serious uncrossing was very rare.  I was 10 or so at the time.  My mother's intention there was not the destruction of the soil's fecundity, needless to say!  Rather, it was the permanent removal of what she perceived as an unwholesome, even malevolent, spiritual presence.  Salt has long been recognized as having the power to do just this.

 These photos only approximate the Gingerbread House, which was purchased some 20 years ago and razed, a hunting lodge erected in it's place.  As of now, it resides only in my memory, and the memories of a very select few. 

The Gingerbread House, abandoned for decades, stood alone in the woods. 
House photos courtesy of Janie Fortenberry

Over the next few days, I'll be posting much more about the spiritual properties of salt and it's worldwide use as a purifying and protective substance, including some practical salt magic specific to hoodoo. Stay tuned!

Dara Anzlowar

on a beautiful golden September Monday

Many thanks to Janie Fortenberry of Southern Lagniappe Photography, for allowing me to post her lovely and evocative house photos here. Visit Janie at: 

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© Dara Anzlowar and HoodooRoots, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The material on this site may be not be reproduced in print, electronic or broadcast media,
and may not be mirrored in whole or in part on any other internet websites, nor reprinted for distribution in any format.