A Pillar of Salt

The pillar of salt is a highly visual analogy and often takes the center stage in this biblical story from the book of Genesis (19:15-26). Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back, longing for what had been rather than looking forward to what would be. She is a metaphor for our being stuck in the past and unable to move forward when change knocks upon our door.  

pillar of saltBut there is so much more to the story; salt, a valley or low place that is burning, angels who deliver a message, men who guide the family toward the hills, and the hills themselves. This story not only warns us of the trouble with being stuck in the past, it also gives us a roadmap for navigating change.

Salt, is both a seasoning and a preservative. It represents being preserved or frozen in time, unable to move forward. The city behind Lot and his family were being destroyed. There was nothing to go back to. They were urged to go to the hills and not look back.

Often, when dramatic changes occur in our lives, especially those that cause great upheaval, we long for the way things were in the past. We want to cling to what has been familiar and comfortable. Whether the change is desired or not, lingering in the past can make it difficult or even impossible to move into a new chapter in our life. Here, the story of Lot and his wife encourages us to head for the hills, or higher ground.

First, angels encourage the family to leave the city and later men hasten them toward the hills. Angels are messengers of God. They represent Divine Inspiration or Divine Ideas. When change or turmoil of any kind appears in our lives, there is always a divine idea being whispered in our spiritual ears.  To hear it though, we must quiet the chatter of the fearful ego consciousness.  We may be aware that there are positive possibilities or opportunities enfolded in the change before us, but it may be difficult to embrace while we cling to the way things have always been.

While angels represent Divine Ideas, men represent thoughts, the intellect, and the physical manifestation of those ideas. We may initially be propelled toward some new action by a Divine Idea, a vague inner stirring. But soon that inner stirring begins to take shape around us. The idea begins to manifest itself. The way things were may become uncomfortable or unsustainable. People, places, and opportunities may appear, calling you more urgently toward that initial inner stirring. Concrete thoughts may begin to form in your mind, consciously or unconsciously. They key to moving through change with ease and grace is consciously choosing your thoughts.

Lot’s family could have gone anywhere but they were specifically guided to leave the valley, a low place, and move with haste to the hills. A hill is higher ground, a higher place. Metaphysically, this represents a higher place in consciousness, where we remember we are one with God. From this high place in mind, we can consciously form a new thought about whatever change is occurring in our lives. It is this new thought, formed in the higher consciousness that leads us through the change with ease, grace and peace. In fact, a higher thought may even lead us through change with a sense of adventure and excitement.

© 2018. Rev. Eileen Patra