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A cauldron is a large pot for cooking or boiling over an open fire, with a lid and frequently with an arc-shaped hanger or integral handles or feet. There is a rich history of cauldron lore in religion, mythology, and folklore. The word cauldron is first recorded in Middle English as caudroun.

Symbolism and Mythology

Cauldrons have largely fallen out of use in the developed world as cooking vessels. While still used for practical purposes, a more common association in Western culture is the cauldron’s use in Witchcraft. In Witches often prepare their potions in a cauldron.

In some forms of Witchcraft, appropriating aspects of Celtic mythology, the cauldron is associated with the goddess Cerridwen. In Witchcraft and some other forms of neopagan or pagan belief systems, the cauldron is still used in magical practices. Most often a cauldron is made of cast iron and is used to burn loose incense on a charcoal disc, to make black salt, for mixing herbs, or to burn petitions. Cauldrons symbolize not only the Goddess but also represent the womb and on an altar, it represents earth because it is a working tool.

No surprise, cauldrons started out as a cooking tool. Warm soups and stews were concocted in them to give nourishment to families. They were the heart of the home and life-giving in cold seasons. As cauldrons became more commonplace and important to families, mothers and grandmothers started using them for healing herbal blends and eventually potions.

After being used for centuries as a cooking and healing tool, cauldrons started to take on more sacred and magical meanings. The cauldron began to represent the Goddess, the Sacred Divine, and a vessel for transformation, healing, and abundance.

Represent the Four Elements on Your Altar

  • Earth: The iron the cauldron is made out of represents earth.
  • Water: The water used while cooking in a cauldron represents the water.
  • Fire: A cauldron would traditionally be heated from a fire underneath it which represents fire.
  • Air: The air around and blow on the soup or potion inside represents the air.

The elements are purely symbolic for this use, no need to always have a fire burning underneath your cauldron. You can read more about the four elements here. There are several rituals that call for fire and burning. Whether it’s incense, candles, or burning a piece of paper, a cauldron will not only serve as a sacred tool but will also give you a safe tool for ritual fires. Here are a few ways to use your cauldron for any fire-related rituals.

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