What do you think of when you imagine a cauldron? Witches, Halloween, and deathly potions perhaps? Along with witches, cauldrons have been given a bad rap, but their mystical meanings and uses go way back and might have a more spiritual meaning than you originally thought!
If you’re always on the hunt for meaningful additions to your altar, search no more, the cauldron is a staple and I’m going to share 5 reasons why. First I want to share some history behind its use so you have a complete understanding of what it represents.
History of Cauldrons
Cauldrons of varying types can be traced back to a variety of cultures. In fact, one found in Denmark has been traced back to between 200 BC and 300 AD. So basically, they’ve been around for a long ass time.
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.
Cauldrons & The Divine Feminine
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.
The timing of when cauldrons started to be viewed as magical tools is unknown but the reasons why are obvious. The cauldron symbolizes life and abundance through nourishment, transformation by turning herbs into healing concoctions, and the shape of the cauldron itself mimics that of an expectant mother. These reasons combined make the cauldron one of the most sacred tools you can add to your arsenal.
What Kind of Cauldron Should You Get?
Before you jump into the meanings and uses of a cauldron, let’s cover what kinds of cauldrons are best to purchase because there’s no shortage of options.
Hands down, the best cauldron to purchase (if you plan on using it for anything other than sitting on a shelf) is a cast-iron cauldron. Pass by anything that says it’s made out of anything other than cast iron or is plated because it won’t last. You can also purchase earth and wear pottery cauldrons that will work well too. If you go with a ceramic cauldron, ensure that it’s food safe before using it for anything you’ll be ingesting.
5 Cauldron Uses & Meanings
At a loss for what to use your life-giving, transformative, and holy cauldron for? Here are 5 ways to put your cauldron to work:
Looking for a way to represent the four elements on your altar? The cauldron has you covered. Placing a cauldron on your altar is an easy way to represent all four elements with one item.
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.
Incense, Herbs & Burning Rituals
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.
- A safe and meaningful receptacle to burn incense, herbs, or a candle for rituals.
- Write a letter to your ancestors or lost loved ones and burn it in the altar for them to receive it.
- During the waning moon, write down a habit you’re trying to break or something you’re trying to release on a small piece of paper, then burn it in your cauldron.
- Create a small fire in your cauldron to represent light or a God or Goddess of light for a ritual.
Transform with the Triple Goddess Cerridwen
Cerridwen is the Welsh Goddess that represents the triple Goddess or the mother, maiden, and crone. She reminds us that life is all about transitions and transformations. Cerridwen is often shown with a cauldron because she brews a magical potion that grants knowledge and inspiration using a cauldron.
Anytime you’re going through a difficult transition place a cauldron on your altar or in your sacred space as a reminder of Cerridwen. As you navigate through your transition take a few minutes daily in front of your cauldron to imagine Cerridwen taking your fears about your transition, putting them in her cauldron, and taking them out transformed into what you need most.
This excerpt from writer Judith Shaw outlines perfectly the magic Cerridwen wants to bring into your life: “When Cerridwen calls your name, know that the need for change is upon you; transformation is at hand. It is time to examine what circumstances in your life no longer serve you. Something must die so that something new and better can be born. Forging these fires of transformation will bring true inspiration into your life.”
Cauldrons can also be used for a variety of divination purposes. The most common being scrying. To use your cauldron for scrying fill your cauldron with water, wait for the surface to become very still, and begin looking for symbolism. To learn more about scrying you can read this post all about scrying, it’s based on using a crystal ball but the techniques are the same that used for water scrying.
Because cauldrons have been used as life-giving and nourishing tools, they represent abundance and can be incorporated into any abundance rituals you do. The cauldron can represent abundance of all kinds: money, happiness, friends, etc.
If you’re trying to bring more abundance into your life, place your cauldron somewhere you’ll see it regularly. Let its presence serve as a reminder of your goal to bring more abundance into your life. You can incorporate stones, candle colors, or herbs by placing them in or around your cauldron to strengthen your desire for abundance.
Cauldrons are sacred tools that are often overlooked, but I hope the next time you see a kitschy cauldron decoration for Halloween you’ll smile because you have a greater appreciation for it.
Cassie Uhl is a published author, artist, intuitive, and founder of Zenned Out. She created Zenned Out in 2012 with the mission to build a brand that normalizes spirituality. In 2018 she self-published her popular and interactive Goddess Discovery Book series. In 2020 her writing and art became more mainstream with Understanding Auras, Understanding Crystals, and Understanding Chakras, published by The Quarto Group. Her writing style and art combine to help marry accessibility with deep spiritual topics. It is her goal to help others understand and live spiritual practices that can change the world. Inspired by her open-minded grandmother, Cassie has been meditating and working with her energy since her teenage years. She received her 200hr YTT in 2012 with a focus on breathwork. Now, her work focuses on energy work, journeying, mediumship, death midwifery, and healing through traditional Celtic shamanic practices.