Numa Tradition- Mola Salsa

From the statue in Rome. Costume of a chief ve...

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Mola Salsa is a meal and salt combination that was traditionally used as a purification device for offerings. The Vestal Virgins made the mola salsa for use in Roman State religious sacrifices; I’m not certain if virgin daughters traditionally made mola salsa for home use or whether it fell to the lady of the house.

The Mola in mola salsa is emmer, one of the oldest grains cultivated in the world. It fell out of use when higher-producing hybrids were introduced and is mainly a boutique grain now, available at health food stores.   The salsa is salt, including “boiled salt”, or salt reduced from sea water or brine, and “hard salt” or rock salt. You can read about the production of mola salsa by the Vestales here:  Mola Salsa: Sacred Flour from the Hearth of Rome’s Vestal Virgins. Some sources contend that mola salsa were cakes and not loose meal, but if mola salsa were cakes, by the description of its use it got crumbled back into meal anyhow. If it was formed into cakes, I suspect it was probably done for convenience for transport or storage.

Numa said that no sacrifice should be performed without mola salsa, and given the premise in Tully’s Sacred Flour article linked to above, that’s probably because the mola salsa is the instrument of purification and dedication that marks the sacrifice as the property of the Gods.  If you have a hearth fire/fireplace in your house, adding a little mola salsa to any sacrifices offered there isn’t too difficult, assuming that you feel that you can make mola salsa without the services of a Vestal Virgin.  For incense offerings and offerings offered to a smaller flame, the mola salsa becomes a bit more problematic.  One way to deal with it would be to keep a special bowl to put mola salsa offerings in and then burn them at a later date.



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