Wednesday, February 6, 2013
C is for Cauldron
"The womb of twansformation? That sounds a widdle sexy..."
- Penn Jillette
The symbolic meaning of the cauldron is not particularly difficult to grasp. Anyone with a cursory education in neo-Wiccan or Grail mythology understands what a cauldron represents. Largely the result of Celtic legends, the cauldron represents the womb of the Divine Feminine - a place of rebirth. It signifies endless bounty and the process of transformation. It is considered once of the staple tools in a witch's arsenal, so much so that to this day it appears on Halloween decorations.
Mine's a mess.
My cauldron was purchased in the early 2000s from a shop with the frou-frou name of Crystals, Dreams, and Magical Themes (I hated the name then, and I hate it now. Why not just call it Unicorn Farts? Yeesh.) It's about five and a half inches in diameter, and made of cast iron. Much like the slate pentagram I purchased at the same store, it was at the time a luxury item for me and something I had to save up for.
Initially I considered using it solely for potions... which I never make. So naturally enough it instead became a place in which to set things on fire. Consequently the interior is extremely sooty.
In the ten-plus years I've owned my cauldron, I have evolved in both my spiritual and magical life. In the process of moving away from eclectic-new-Wiccan-101, I went through a period in which I shunned using tools associated with that practice. The cauldron was the first of those tools to be taken out of storage years later. Why? ...I needed a place to burn things.
As with most of my practical tools, the symbolic meaning behind the item was either something I never considered, or that I gently mocked. I no longer considered my ritual framework influenced by concepts of duality, four elements, or vaguely Celtic cosmology; the cauldron was as much of a womb to me as an ashtray.
With age and practice, I have found that things begin to synthesize - disparate elements gel in the mind and become a whole in which the stuff that resonates with you can exist without justification. I find that is the case with the cauldron and its symbolism. It's a tool often associated with water, and yet it's used most frequently for working with fire. Odd, until you consider its trans formative properties. ...which is where we came in.
The cauldron - MY cauldron - is both womb and ashtray.