I have lived in many homes over the last 25 years. In most of those places I have preformed a Salt Purification ceremony before moving in — Mori Shio (盛り塩 ). I borrowed the ceremony while living in Japan where I first needed to do it to appease the mother of my Japanese girlfriend. But the ceremony grew on me: In each corner of the house, I place a small pile of table salt. I then give thanks to those who lived in the house before me and thanks to the future I will enjoy in the house. A few days later I sweep up the salt with gratitude. I must confess that the Japanese also do this to avoid bad luck in the house and I am sure part of my psyche is infected with this thought.
Salt is also used at Japanese funerals. Sumo wrestlers scatter salt to purify their wrestling ring. Just like many try to justify Jewish Kosher laws with scientific explanations, some Japanese have said the salt makes sense because it helps kill bacteria. But it is clear that magic, fear, tribalism, ritual purity and much more are responsible for these traditions no matter how they try to sanctify them with science.
But for me Mori Shio is pure ceremony, tradition and specialness. It is my way of marking house transitions. I don’t belief in spirits (well, the majority of me does not), but I do belief in the power of ceremony and the beauty of filling the mundane with meaning.
Question for readers: Do any of you embrace superstitions you don’t really believe in?
Related posts of mine: