The Cauldron has a mythological based on the Celtic traditions, and another on popular beliefs. It has been associated with witches from the begining, as the place where the infamous potions were boiled. The symbology takes it both as a tool of transformation (elements enter it in one state and leave it in another) and as an image of the mother’s womb.
Celtic mythology tells us about the Goddess Cerridwen, who cooked in her cauldron the potion for wisdom for a year and a day, curiosly the same time one needs to serve as an acolite before being formally initiated. There are many mentions to the witches’ cauldron, and among the most famour we can name the one featured in a scene in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, when they make a potion as Macbeth decides his future as a traitor. Another legend taken from the Mabinogion tells us of a cauldron that has the virtue of bringing dead warriors back to life.
The cauldron we’re talking about here doesn’t need to be enourmous like we see in the movies. It’s still somewhat easy to find cooking pots very much like we need, even though they’re not the average nowadays. During rituals, depending on the size, we can either put it on the altar, or on the floor, to our left.
The uses of the cauldron varies. As representing the Primal Womb, is obviously feminin, belonging to the element of water. But as it’s solidly built, and usually isolated from the floor by three legs, we can use it, for instance, for every ritual that requires a small fire, or the burning of an element (paper or candles), without worries about security risks. It’ll be usefull in every case we need to symbolise a transformation or rebirth. Also, when full of water it can symbolise the element, though we’ll generally use the chalice. Another of it’s ritual uses can be as a place to discard every material used along the ritual, for instance matches or ashes, to keep them off the altar.
As with all tools, but with this in particular due to it’s possible uses, we must remember to scrupulously clean it after it’s use.
If necesary, it can be replaced by a small metal bowl if we need to burn something, or with the chalice if we just need it to contain water.