definitions, The turning of the wheel

The Cauldron

In my Samhain post I mentioned the time for resting within the cauldron. But what does that mean?

My wee alter cauldron

A cauldron traditionally is a metal pot used for cooking, a bit like a modern dutch oven (picture the witches in Macbeth ’round about the cauldron go’ and you’ll get there). These days they tend to be cast iron but can be made from a variety of metals and used for many things not just cooking. You can use any cooking pot really. They are symbolic and sacred.

Symbology

The cauldron represents many things for me, firstly, a place of transformation. You throw in all the required ingredients and with patience, focus and passion (stirring adds energy, intention adds focus and heat is passion action and magic); it is transformed into something else as if by magic 😉

It’s use as a cooking pot means it can be used to represent abundance and nourishment not only for the body but for the soul by providing reflection, knowledge and understanding.

The cauldron represents the element of water (arguably it is also Earth, Air and Fire, being from the earth and cast in fire, it’s steams and perfumes being Air -more transformation) which holds dominion over emotions, dreams, intuition, the subconscious and communication. It can be a portal to the otherworld or used for divination when water is added to it much like a well. A little in-house well.

Like all water, you can cast things into it or draw things out such as knowledge and answers. The transformative energy and connections to the spirit also represent transmutation which is the altering of a state of something rather than just a physical form. In my own cauldron times (between the death and rebirth of something) this is what I tend to focus on. The altering of my spiritual state seeking knowledge and inspiration. Its alchemy darlings!

The cauldron also represents the womb, for all of the reasons above and as the place where all life begins. When reflecting on the life, death, rebirth cycle: after death all is returned to the cauldron to rest and be re-imagined before being reborn. Within the pagan cycle of the year this is the time between Samhain (death) and Yule (rebirth). At this time we should be reflecting on what has gone before, what was successful? what needs to be shed? What needs to be transformed to refresh your goals. This can be done through many means; journaling, divination (the cauldron itself can be used as a divination tool), meditations but mostly resting and allowing the natural creativity of the cauldron to work its magic.

The Cauldron in Mythology

The cauldron appears in the stories of many gods and goddesses in paganism, demonstrating its power. To me it is Hecate’s cauldron of rebirth. Hecate in her crone form watches over it. Again relating to this time of year as we move into the Crone time of winter.

In Welsh mythology the cauldron is sacred to Cerridwen another Crone goddess who rules over grain and prophecy. In it she had brewing a potion of inspiration and divine knowledge meant for her son though it never reached his lips.

In norse mythology the knowledge giving mead sought by Odin was brewed in the cauldron of inspiration.

In Irish mythology the father of the Tuatha de’nanaan (the golden ones) owned a cauldron which could feed an army and never empty.

I could go on and on here… There’s the fable of the magic pot that keeps on providing food until it is told to stop, teaching children to listen to all instruction; Macbeth as mentioned before… Cauldrons are part of our daily lives and though we might not recognise their importance as much these days, our ancestors knew they were valuable in day to day life to nourish ones body and spirit. Is a tea pot also a cauldron I wonder? I suppose in ways it is. Anyway that is a post for another time.

So to sum up: The cauldron is a powerful tool for nourishing our lives; body and spirit. It is also a state of being where one can rest, reflect, seek answers, transform your life, transmute your state of mind. Now is the cauldron time, peer into it and be open to the knowledge to be gained be warned though, transformation is often uncomfortable.

Take care of yourselves in this time. Peace out witches!

Love Kate xxx