Cauldron Magic (Excerpt)
The cauldron is the tool of creation in magic, whether you are stirring up a pot of homemade soup or homemade soap. This vessel is usually found standing on three legs, honoring the Triple Goddess—maiden, mother, crone—, the three phases of the Moon—waxing, full, waning—and the Trinity—Father, Son, Holy Spirit/Mother. The cauldron, and all tools which contain, symbolizes and manifests transformation and brings enlightenment, wisdom, and rebirth.
The cauldron and its powers are associated with Hecate—protectress of wise women, Greek goddesses Demeter and her daughter Persephone, Circe and Medea—Greek enchantresses, Siris—the Babylonian goddess of fate and mother of the stars whose cauldron was made of lapis lazuli, and the Celtic goddess Cerridwen, from whose cauldron bubbled forth gifts of wisdom and inspiration. Odin, Norse king of the gods and the Hindu sky god, Indra, both acquired their ability to shape-shift by drinking from a cauldron of wise blood. Other males connected to the cauldron include Bran the Blessed, the Welsh god of the sacred cauldron, and Cernurnos, the Celtic horned god who was cut apart and boiled into a cauldron to be reborn.
The cauldron’s magic is closely linked to the Holy Grail, the chalice believed to be used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. Before Christianity, however, the grail belonged to the pagans as a symbol of reincarnation (all life begins in water) and rebirth through the divine womb of the Goddess. All vessels are sacred to the aware.
A working cauldron should be cast iron with a tight fitting lid, three sturdy legs, and a strong handle. When you first acquire a new cauldron, wash it yourself with soap and water. Rinse it well and dry it immediately and thoroughly. Rub vegetable shortening (Crisco) or vegetable oil into its interior surfaces. Put it into a pre-heated oven (350°) and let it get smoking hot (about 20–30 minutes). Using a double oven mitt, take it out, place it on the stove top, and let it cool.
You can wash your cast iron with soap and water, just get it out of the water as fast as you can. Set it on your stove top and turn on the burner to dry it well. When cool enough to touch, rub with shortening or oil, and wipe with a paper towel. Heat the pan till it smokes, turning it to be sure the heat spreads evenly. When hot, rub one more time with that same paper towel. Let it cool before you put it away.
If you have a large cauldron, you can place it next to your altar, or on either side if necessary, according to your dominant hand. If you have a small cauldron, such as one used for burning incense, it can be placed directly onto your altar.
Keep track of your cauldron at all times, never allowing anyone else to use your magical tool. The blending of someone else’s energy into yours will not work well for them. If you discover that you have lost your cauldron’s lid, or forgotten to replace it over the cauldron when not in use, expect company, most likely a stranger.
All of these suggestions for working with fire require you to be safety conscious. Do these outside in a cleared open space so that nothing catches fire. Have a fire extinguisher, fire blanket, and your lid at hand. I like to use flour to smother fire but not make the mess of a fire extinguisher. If you burn yourself, run the burned area under cool water, then apply aloe vera.