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Witchcraft Recipes: Black Salt

What's up my Witches??? I thought tonight I'd share with you a little bit about black salt, and how to make your own! It's easy to make and fantastic to have on hand for energetic emergencies! So let's get to it so you can start filling up that empty Witch cupboard, shall we?

There are about as many different recipes for black salt as there are different witches. If you are new to the craft, let me clarify something before we begin: this is RITUAL black salt, which is not for eating. The gourmet black salt you may have seen in upscale grocery stores is often called Hawaiian black lava salt, which is NOT the same thing. That salt is for eating, the ritual salt is NOT. You wouldn't want to take the salt we are about to make to a picnic and sprinkle it everywhere (unless the people at the picnic have really, really bad energy.) If you decide to make some to sell or give away, please make certain to mark that it is not for consumption so non-witches don't get confused (the picture is of one of the vials I sell or give away- note the instructions banded to it that say in all caps : USE OUTSIDE. DO NOT EAT. We don't want the poor people at poison control to have to learn witchcraft on the fly because of a mix-up.)

Okay, so if we're not sprinkling it on food, what is it for? Black Salt is used to drive away negative energy. For those of you new to the path, everything around us has a magickal correspondence. If you've ever been to a metaphysical shop and looked in the crystal and stones section, you've noticed that every stone has a magickal use. Quartz crystals are to raise energy, tiger's eye may lessen the pain of separation, and soldiers used to carry hematite to ward off situations where they might bleed to death. Well, colors have a magickal use, as do herbs and other substances. So, let's break down the ingredients in a simple black salt recipe:

  • Sea salt

  • Black Pepper

  • Incense Ashes

  • Activated Charcoal

  • Bay Leaf Ashes

Why are these ingredients in the recipe? To begin with, salt is thought to purify, cleanse, and drive out negative energy. If you think about it, a visit to the seaside often gives us a similar feeling of cleansing and renewal. The salt is from the sea, and traditions around the world see bathing in sea water as cleansing and healing. Many witches sprinkle salt in the corners or room or in a ritual space before sweeping it away with their besom (witch's broom) in order to clean negativity from a space and reset the energy around them, So, sea salt is good for our recipe. It makes sense that it is in there.

Black is the color of protection, and so here comes black pepper to our recipe. What happens when people get around black pepper? They sneeze. Think about the fact that people still say "God bless you!" when they hear someone sneeze. That's because long ago it was believed that your soul left your body when you sneezed, and people would say, "God bless you" to make sure a malevolent disembodied body entity couldn't pop into your body while your soul was out. Now, while I doubt that many of us have ever sneezed so hard that we blew our soul out of our nostrils, we can all agree that a sneeze is very cleansing, and often gives you the sensation that you've just gotten rid of something that isn't supposed to be in your head. The late, great Scott Cunningham (his books are, in my opinion, the absolute BEST way to start learning about witchcraft) recommended mixing pepper with salt and sprinkling it across thresholds for protection or putting black peppercorns in an amulet to wear to keep bad energy at bay. The cleansing properties of black pepper on the body and its coloration make it a great ingredient for our recipe.

Incense Ashes: Since burning incense is a ritualistic activity meant to cleanse and purify a space, the ashes carry that quality, too. Bonus points if you burn an incense thought to have cleansing effects such as sage, cedar, copal, dragon's blood or sandalwood and then use those ashes! And for you witches who don't like waste, how cool is it that you can use your incense ashes to make something? Don't have or like incense? You can use ashes from your fireplace too. I'm partial to campfire ashes from a campfire people sang around; I think the beautiful energy of that experience travels with the ashes.

Activated charcoal: I like to buy this in powder form, and yes, you can just get a bag off of Amazon or at the drugstore. Why is it here? Well, people have used activated charcoal to help purge the body of poisons for centuries. So if you are trying to purge a poison from your life, why not add it to your ritual salts? A word of warning: this stuff will not only make your black salt a lovely color, but it will stain everything around you and get everywhere. DO NOT do this over the antique white carpet! Black salts are meant for outside use. This is CHARCOAL, people, made from burning hardwoods. Don't let your three-year-old do the mixing or you will have a long night of cleaning ahead of you.

Bay leaf ashes: Bay is an herb associated with protection that I like, but you can use any herbs you have around that have protective qualities. Rosemary, sage (grab those smudge stick ashes!), thyme, lavender, basil, chamomile...any of these will work, or you can also just leave this step out.

A word of magickal caution: you might have an elder tree or bush in your yard, and you may know that elder is a very protective plant, and that for centuries people planted elder to keep away negative energies and hung branches of the leaves by the door to keep bad fortune away. Should we burn some elder leaves for our black salt? I would caution against it for two reasons: one, the leaves are considered toxic, and I don't know that we want to be breathing the smoke, and two, elders are supposed to be the homes to extremely powerful dryads. It's said that if you take part of the elder to use...berries, bark, leaves, or fruit...that you are supposed to ask first and leave an offering to the spirit in the tree or your house may catch fire. So...I'm going to steer clear of potentially angering any dryads, thankyouverymuch, and just be happy that I have been able to harvest the berries for elderflower syrup unscathed. Before you burn any leaves, just check out online if there's any reason not to.

Now that we have our ingredients, what's the exact recipe? Where are the measuring cups?

For those of you who like precise measuring, there are lots of recipes online that say, "1 part this to two parts that." Me? I mix by intuition. I add the salt in a big bowl, add some pepper and ashes, add the charcoal, and mix with my hand in a clockwise manner to blend and raise energy while singing to the ingredients and thanking them for their help. If you don't want black fingernails for a bit go ahead and grab your wooden spoon, but I love the feel of mixing by hand. Mix until all ingredients are blended and it's a lovely dark color, or until you don't feel like singing any more. (You don't have to sing, that's just me: I sing to spices, trees, bones, rocks, you name it. Just offer some words of gratitude, out loud or in your head.) Once it's the way I want it, I scoop it up in small vials, drip candle wax on the corks to seal them (use your color magick correspondences for this if you like, or simply grab the candle from your altar that feels like a good match for the activity), and label them as suggested above. Boom! Black salt. Now, how do we use it?

Black salt is protective and drives away bad vibes. Sprinkle it outside the four corners of your house, or in the path of someone with rotten energy to try and prevent them and their energy from returning to you. Tie a sealed vial of it to your headboard to ward off bad dreams. Got a neighbor who just makes you feel yucky? Sprinkle it on the boundary between the two properties. It's supposed to send jinxes and curses back the way they came. Pop some in the soil of that potted plant at work to help protect you from the psychic vampire in accounting. I've seen people add water to some black salt in a squirt bottle and spritz a big circle around their house...just make sure you do it outside unless you want charcoal stains everywhere.

Black salt is an essential tool of the witch's cupboard...and now you know how to add it to yours!

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