By Way of Salt

Elijah Matthew Tubbs


Salvation is made from salt. Preservation is the use of salt. Life cannot survive in salt but is born of it. My grandfather adds salt to everything, his beer and watermelon too. He is a religious man.



Light of the world, salt of the earth. With all offerings offer salt. Toss a pinch over the left shoulder because Judas spilt it. Seal a covenant and a baby's lips with the holy mineral to protect it. Look behind you and be cast as a pillar of it, a garrison to keep watch over the dead. Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's wife, the dead sea.



In Buddhist tradition too one throws salt over the shoulder when entering a house, not specifically the left though. The act removes malicious spirits clinging to one's back. Sumo wrestlers in Japan perform a similar ritual to pay respect to Shinto deities, flinging handfuls of the rock into the center mat to purify the match.


When the moon is high, as is the incoming salty tide, a baby is born. Protected by Shiotsuchi-Oji no kami, the god of salt and tide. Follow the ancient salt road to the southern islands and you will find him.

Follow the ancient salt road inland and you will find Kazakiri Jizo. Guardian of travelers, guardian of crops. Banisher of pests and malevolent spirit.

The Luck of the Mountains, Hohodemi, found further down that road, wept of loneliness on the beach. Shiotsuchi-Oji no kami forged him a small vessel, manashiktsuma, and piloted him to the fish scaled palace far out. There Hohodemi married the sea-god's daughter, Toyotama, earning his title, The Luck of the Mountains, or in my opinion, The Luck of Salt.


The Aztecs too had a god of salt and tide. Huixtocihuatl, the fertility goddess. She gained power through a battle with her younger sisters, the Tlaloques, the rain gods. In an attempt to drown Huixtocihuatl they tossed all their salt water at her, but Huixtocihuatl only absorbed it. Her male extension is Tlaloc, the supreme god of rain and freshwater.



Passing salt is an act of friendship, and accepting it is a vow of loyalty. I add salt to foods sparely. I always offer it but I rarely accept it. And often a darkness lies on my shoulder. I ache for a stronger taste, but reject the clutch on my tongue. My sperm count is low. I abandoned faith years ago. I do not put the pink kind in my bath to relax.

High salt consumption spikes blood pressure, a direct relative of cardiovascular disease.



Our bodies pang for salt as Audhumbla the cow once did. By nourishing the hermaphrodite giant Ymir with her cosmic milk, Audhumbla in turn received some of Ymir's coveted salt-lick in ice.

Odin and his band of brothers later killed Ymir and from that salty corpse erected the world as we know it.

If deprived, the primordial Norsemen stood barefoot for the next storm to arrive when the gods will wash more onto their land and into their needy pores in Asgardian fashion. We however (without much of a show) drive to a grocery store.