The Meaning of Salt

The Meaning of Salt

In Swiss Masonry, the Fellowcrafts wages are corn, wine, oil and salt. The purity of salt represents immortality. It was named after the Roman goddess of health called Salus. Romans used to put salt on the lips of newborns as a protection from danger. This is also referred to in the Bible (Ezekiel 16:4) where salt is rubbed on new-born children, and again in Mark 9:49-59 "for everyone shall be salted with fire and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt".

Homer called salt divine, and it is extensively used in many cultures for purification and cleansing ceremonies. The Bible, in Ezekiel 43 mentions "And thou shall offer them before the Lord, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt offer unto the Lord." In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ referred to his disciples as the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).Salt also symbolizes incorruptibility. That is why the covenant of salt (Chronicles 13:5) denotes a covenant that God cannot break.

Salt also shows duality, in that it is a preserver of foods, but can also act as a corrosive. The Romans sprinkled salt over the sites of cities they razed to the ground to make permanently barren the soil. More importantly, salt symbolized friendship and hospitality because it is shared during eating occasions, and is a symbol of a binding promise because it is indestructible. The Greeks, Muslims and the Children of Israel regarded eating bread and salt communally as a must. The same significance recurs in the food eaten on the Sabbath by the Therapeutic, a pre-Christian Jewish monastic community in Egypt, who consumed bread, salt, hyssop (a plant used in purificatory sprinkling rites by the ancient Hebrews) and water as part of their ritual.

Salt is also sprinkled over the foundation stone of a new lodge.

A copy, of unknown date, of "The Last Supper" - used to illustrate details. Judas can be seen reaching for the salt he spilled (Third left from Christ)

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