The Witche’s Cauldron
The spark of the spirit here within
will make the magick now begin.
Fire burn, Cauldron churn
Make this wheel of magick turn!
The Witche’s cauldron and besom are two additional tools that are closely related to a Witch than anything else, although the wand, cup, athame and pentacle to some are considered the four primary tools.
When one sees a picture of a Witch, she is usually depicted with either a cauldron or besom or both, as there is much association between a Witch and her cauldron. In the Wiccan tradition, the cup/chalice is considered a Witche’s tool and even in the Great Rite, it is said "so the cup is to the female" but it is the cauldron that is the true womb of the Goddess. Because of the association between the Witch and her cauldron, this gives great power to the cauldron.
The cauldron has the reputation as the utensil used for brewing magickal concoctions. An indispensable tool for the Witch is the cauldron, which combines the influences of the four elements. When it is filled with water for divinatory rites, it symbolizes the element of water. That it stands on a tripod emphasizes the triple aspect of the Goddess of Maiden, Mother and Crone. Objects from the Earth (wood, herbs, flowers, resins, etc.,) then when lighted produce fire are placed in the cauldron. The subsequent smoke that swirls up into the air is symbolic of the element of air. Thus, all four elements and the triple aspect of the Godess combine into one tool making it a very magickal tool for the Witch. Its shape represents the womb of the Goddess.
Cauldrons never were those large huge pots that illustrators fancy when they draw old hags brewing up potions. Rather, the cauldron had to be small so it would heat quickly and evenly over a wood fire. Besides, I know we witches can perform magick but trying to lift a huge iron cauldron is quite a piece of magick in it of itself! In the ancient days of medieval widwives, the cauldron was most likely used to heat water for the birthing of a baby or preparing the wash water with herbs for cleansing the dead. From birth to death, the cauldron was used for a variety of purposes, including remedies and medicines for healing the sick or bringing love.
The cauldron can be the main point of interest in a ritual, used for developing your own oils or brews, and for divination purposes by scrying with still water, steam or dripping wax into the water and watching the patterns as the wax expands.
The Celts associated the cauldron with fertility, abundance and rebirth. Cauldrons were also said to have been sometimes used in human sacrifices. The poor victims were drowned in cauldrons or had their throats cut over the cauldron. Sacrificial cauldrons also appear in some shamanic traditions.
In Greek mytholody, Hecate, Queen of Witches, could restore Her subjects to youth in Her magickal cauldron.
Often, the powers of male deities even come through with their interaction of the cauldron. Odin stole his power from three cauldrons of wise blood (menstrual blood) located in a cave (womb) in the Earth. The God Cernunnos was dismembered and boiled in a cauldron in order to rise again from the dead. Boiling cauldrons also rebirthed Minos, Aeson, Pelops, the emperor Elagabalus and even St. John the Evangelist. Why visions of being dismembered and boiled in a cauldron are a necessary part of Siberian shamanistic initiation. But when one thinks of the cup/chalice, one thinks of the Cup of the Holy Grail which held the blood of Christ and/or spiritual enlightenment, depending upon which legend you read. Also, one thinks of the Tarot. The athame, wand, cup and pentacle may be the tools of a magician, but the Cauldron and besom are true tools of the Witch. King Solomon had the athame, cup, wand and pentacle sitting on his altar, and he, for one, did not pray to any Goddess or even consider the chalice to be a vessel of the Goddess.
The magick of the cauldron is the magick of the female. The symbol of the cauldron allows us to approach the Mystery of the Goddess and our connection to it and to Her in a variety of ways. From the Cauldron we are born. Unto it we return. Throughout our lives we dance on its rim.
The great symbol of the Goddess is the cauldron. Its use and symbology runs throughout many rituals in many Witches’ homes which offers the Witch a variety of opportunities to explore the value of this symbol in a variety of meaningful ways. The more a Witch works with her cauldron, the better she will understand it.
The cauldron, the primary symbol of women’s Witchcraft, sits in the center of many Circles. The center of the Circle, like the center of the altar, is the place of spirit. It is where the Goddess comes through to Her women, our point of contact with Her. It is the focal point of our magick and our invocations. Power unites in a single body which is in the center of the Circle and is contained and amplified by the Circle itself. Through the sacred center, the cone of Magickal power is released into the world or into the care of the Goddess.
The cauldron has three different functions. The cauldron is seen as rebirth and transformation in that we go from life to death to life again. As such, the Cauldron is associated with the Crone Goddess such as Hecate and with the womb of every woman. Another function of the Cauldron is the Cauldron of inspiration–of initiation and the source of the beginnings of wisdom. This cauldron corresponds with the Maiden aspect of the Goddess–the protectress of those entering the Mysteries. It is also a divinatory tool–a vessel of water in which to scry–a method of receiving inspiration. Here is the water of the womb and the vastness of the ocean/lake. The third cauldron is the source of plenty, the cauldron seen as a vessel for food. Its spiritual nourishment is endless and bottomless. This is the Mother, the provider of eternal plenty, both physically and spiritually. Here also is the womb of the Goddess and the womb of every woman.
At Samhain and/or Dark Moon rituals, many Witches put water in their cauldrons to facilitate meditation/visualization and also scrying as well. Looking in a cauldron full of water helps put one in a meditative state of mind. Some witches stir the cauldron of water and then scry at the ripples in the water. So, stir briefly and peer within to see dimly what lies ahead.
During the dark moon, some witches make a list of things they wish to banish and put it on parchment paper and then throw the paper into the fire of Hecate. Naturally, during a a full moon, one makes a list of positive things they wish to bring into their lives and then throws it into the fire of Hecate.
Another magickal working with the cauldron is to once again have water in the cauldron symbolizing a birth of something new which you wish in your life. Also inscribe on a magickal candle what you want and place the lit candle next to the cauldron. Then stir the waters in the cauldron which represents bringing life to your spell, because the movement within the waters is the release of your spell and the quickening of your desires.
You can say the following chant with any cauldron workings:
Fire burn and Cauldron churn
to make this Wheel of magick turn,
By North and South,
by East and West
Grant me what I request.
In ancient times the cauldron held fire, so the tool was traditionally constructed of cast iron. In this day and time, the fire it contains usually takes the form of incense, candles, or paper requests burned on smoldering herbs so nearly any metal will do. If you cannot find a cast iron cauldron, put a "calling" out there for one and then look over your shoulder for there soon shall be one. I have several cauldrons, myself.
Remember, the cauldron can also be used for parchment paper spells wherein you make a poppet and then burn it in the Cauldron of Hecate on top of lit charcoals along with incense, thereby leaving the magick to Her.
Like your other tools, your cauldron must be blessed and then consecrated, and the best appropriate time to do this is when the moon is either Dark or Full.
Cast a circle in the usual manner. Then do your blessing and consecration during the Body of the ritual. You can find very detailed magickal Dark and Full Moon Rituals in my website.
Pass the cauldron through the blessed and consecrated incense of frankincense and myrrh and say: (Note: If your cauldron is too large and/or heavy to pass over the incense and fire, then work around your cauldron with the incense and fire)
With scented Air so light and free
I give you breath now. Blessed Be.
Pass the cauldron over a red lit candle and say:
With fire that dances wild and free
I give you passion. Blessed Be.
Lightly sprinkle the cauldron with blessed and consecrated salt and water which has been mixed together and say:
With water so pure, I give to Thee
The blood of life now. Blessed Be.
With salt of the Earth, I give to Thee
Roots in magick, Blessed Be.
Cauldron Consecration Ceremony
After the Blessing ceremony, take the cauldron outside and sit comfortably beside it. If you cannot take it outside, then just stay in your temple and perform the ceremony. Light a charcoal block, place it in the cauldron and scatter a little frankincense and myrrh (or sage) on top. Watch the smoke curl up to the sky. Open your arms to the sky and say:
Gracious Goddess Hecate of Magick and Might
O Goddess of wonder and wisdom and sight
And the wisdom of birth, death and birth yet again.
I offer this tool to You on this night
Enhance its success; let its magick take flight.
Bring it the spark from which all magick flows
Allow it to heal transformation woes;
And all of the other things that it must do
To serve both us well as a ritual tool.
Your blessings I ask on this cauldron tonight
O Goddess of Wisdom and Wonder and Sight.
Then close circle.
The cauldron is now ready for magickal use. Feel free to use this consecration anytime you feel you need to reconsecrate the cauldron from all the workings that you have done in it and most particularly if you have performed a lot of banishing rituals.
Blessings ~Lady Hecate~
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