Religion Past and Present

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[German Version]

Even today saliva evokes intense but ambivalent feelings – revulsion when it is spat, delight in the context of kissing (Kiss). In early times people thought that saliva, like other bodily fluids, contained the vital force of individuals; when outside the body, it could be used for positive or negative, good or evil purposes, depending on the individual, the intention, and the situation. The saliva of the gods can be productive: in Norse mythology (Germanic religion), the saliva that the Æsir and Vanir spit into a vessel to make peace gives birth to the wis…

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Kraatz, Martin, “Saliva”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 22 November 2019 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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