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EmpyreanKnight  EmpyreanKnight is offline
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Join Date: 23 Oct 2015
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EmpyreanKnight 

I think there may be two possible explanations here:

1. The left symbol is for saltpeter, not salt. However, a majority of the sources I read state that the four alchemical symbols are indeed, from the bottom one counter-clockwise: water, sulfur, mercury, and salt. These would represent the Water of Dissolution and the Three Principles of Alchemy (sulfur, mercury, and salt), so for the sake of a unified idea and the many resources that say so, I would posit that the left glyph is indeed salt.

2. I agree that the left glyph is salt. However, notice that in the sulfur symbol, he let the line bisect the triangle, even if the actual alchemical glyph shows a clean triangle with no line inside. In the same way, he could have let the horizontal line bisect the salt symbol, and still added the (now vertical since it is rotated) original salt glyph line. In this case, it would look like a circle with a cross inside. However he does not want to do this, because a crosed circle is also the symbol for Planet Earth, and not salt (which signifies elemental earth). This would be confusing since we already have mercury on top, and the alchemical glyph for the planet Mercury and the chemical element mercury is basically the same. People versed in symbols might confuse the two alchemical glyphs for mercury and salt to the planetary symbols for Mercury and Earth, so Waite and/or Smith may have decided to just dispense with the rotated vertical line in the salt glyph and let it stay as it is now.

Btw as Richard said, a crossed circle also represents the Sun, although other people prefer a circle with a dot in the center as the solar symbol and assign that one to planet Earth. In any case, it'd still be as confusing (if not more) if a crossed circle is used.
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