In Egyptian, Semitic, and Graeco-Roman magic ritual, spit and spitting can take on sacred significance. Theoretically, they are viewed as extensions of the body, just like hair, semen, and nail clippings in voodoo, and therefore of the sacred essence. Spit is a part of your power, and so spitting is a use of your power in sympathetic magic, for good or evil. Examples abound. Jesus mixes his spit with mud to cure a blind man. The Roman poet Tibullus has:

haec mihi composuit cantus quis fallere posses
ter cane ter dictis despue carminibus
ille nihil poterit de nobis credere cuiquam
non sibi si in molli viderit ipse toro

"The witch wrote for me this curse to deceive him: chant it thrice and spit while you say the words, and nobody will be able to know anything about us, not even if they see me lying in your soft bed. (Tibullus I.2.55ff) Here it is used as part of a curse, as very often in the Greek Magical Papyri.

Similarly, an Egyptian text has: "I have brought natron and a ball of incense, to do away with the spittle in your mouths. I have come to remove the evil from your hearts." Here again, the removal of saliva from your enemies' mouths is equated to a removal of their ability to do you harm.

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