My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
Article ID: 15532
Age Group: Adult
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Author: The Redneck Pagan
Posted: December 22nd. 2013
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7. Minis: When I first started on the pagan path I went a little nuts. You see, in one of the first books I reead there was a list of the basic Witch’s tools, and a list of optional tools. Now I have to be honest; I was a little insecure at that age. Ok, I was a whole lot insecure back then (I still am from time to time) . When I started studying Witchcraft, I had to make sure I was doing things right. I read what I perceived to be the best books (well, the most recommended books) . I wore tons of gemstone jewelry (thank Goddess I never fell into a body of water. I would have sunk.) and made a general fool of myself. But the biggest thing I ‘had’ to do was collect all the right tools. I could not find a good broom, so I made my first one. I bought a knife to use as my athame, and I burned pounds of incense and candles (still guilty of that one) . The hardest thing for me to find was the cauldron.
I searched all over for a proper cauldron, but had no idea where to look. Eventually one day, while cruising Value Village for a 50’s style costume, I was looking at the sweaters when I looked up and to my amazement there was a brass flower planter above me. It was shaped exactly like a cauldron! It wasn’t cast iron but it would do. I took it home and used it. It wasn’t a bad cauldron but I desperately wanted a Cast Iron cauldron. Then came the day I discovered the magic of eBay! It was like a whole new world for me. After finding a nice little goddess statue and a pentacle necklace, I decided to try my luck and search for a cauldron.
I was blown away at the sheer amount of cauldrons available! It was unbelievable to my little mind that so many varieties could exist and I was like a kid in the candy store. I searched and searched until I found it, the perfect one. And for an amazingly low price. There were two of them, one with a pentagram and one with the triple moon symbol. I bid on both, figuring that somebody would outbid me on one. I won both. I was a little surprised but they were low enough in price that I wasn’t worried. I waited with bated breath for my new perfect cauldrons to arrive. Then one day two tiny boxes arrived in the mail… it was my cauldrons.
I opened them and my heart sank. They were miniscule, like three inches high! I was expecting something like four times their size. I checked the purchase records on e-bay and realized that I had indeed bid on two miniscule cauldrons. Well, aren’t I a little bunch of brains! I felt utterly dejected. While they looked right, they were not my ‘perfect cauldrons’. I debated sending them back or giving them away since they were wrong and I didn’t really think that I wanted them. A few days later, I wanted to do a ritual I had read about and, having nothing else, I grabbed one of the little cauldrons. To my utter amazement it worked perfectly.
I used each of them multiple times in ritual. They were perfect to take with me to outdoor rituals. They came with me to work at summer camps, or to do rituals when I was travelling. They have held candles, incense, ingredients for my spells and, when my husband and I bought our wedding rings, we placed one in each cauldron until the day we were ready to wear them. The little cauldrons that I never thought I would ever use still now sit on our shrine, on either side of our statue of the Goddess Danu. I still use them every couple of weeks.
7. Turkey Roaster: The turkey roaster. I am sure this has left some people scratching their heads. And others are probably nodding in agreement. For many people, the turkey dinner holds a special place in our hearts, that traditional feast of Christmas and Thanksgiving for millions, a meal that is shared amongst those we love best, or those or mom tells us we have to get along with best. The meal that we gather around to celebrate, to count our blessings, to catch up on family news and sometimes argue with each other. So, it seems almost natural that this be on my list.
However I am not talking about any old turkey roaster here. I am talking about a very special family heirloom. You see two months ago, I inherited this turkey roaster from my mother-in-law (I am sorry to report she lost her battle with cancer) . When my husband asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted from his mother’s house, I asked for her baking tools (such as pie plates and measuring cups, as I have recently learned to bake) and the turkey roaster. He looked at me for a moment and said okay. We were driving to do a check on his mom’s house one day when he asked me, “why the roaster”?
You see, my husband was married once before me for several years. They had a child together. Over the years, his ex wife had been to many family gatherings and dinners. They separated and began their divorce proceedings. During that time, my husband and I began to date and eventually I was invited to his parents place for Christmas dinner to meet the family. GULP… the whole family? Well, most of it… his aunt, his brother, his niece and nephew… can we say stressed?! I was terrified. I worried that they would not like me, that they would be mad that he brought me, that I was there and not his ex wife, and that they would not approve of me.
So the big day rolled around and away we went to meet the family. I walked into a whirlwind of activity. My husband’s father and brother were in the living room with his nephew and his niece’s boyfriend. His mother, aunt and niece were in the kitchen, whipping up a storm. Not knowing what else to do after I was introduced, I offered to help in the kitchen… and I was put to work right away. Conversations flew as the meal was prepared. I made the gravy in the turkey roaster and at dinnertime it was a hit. After the meal, I helped with the clean up and washed dishes… and it hit me. I felt at home. I was no longer scared.
Over the next four years, I came to many dinners, and we used the roaster almost every time. We gathered together every year at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. Even after my husband’s father passed away, we still gathered with his mother. When she became ill the family came together to ensure she still had a wonderful dinner with us all. Now that she is gone, that roaster to me has symbolized the power and magic of sharing food. It makes strangers friends, and scared new girlfriends part of the family. Over Christmas dinner, stirring gravy in a simple turkey roaster, I transformed from a stranger to a welcomed member of the family.
5. Farmers’ Market: In the bigger city near where I live, they have a Farmers’ Market every Saturday from May until September. My husband introduced me to them a few years ago and I am thoroughly hooked! I am not a morning person; I will often sleep until late in the morning and wake up very slowly. I stay up way too, late at night. But for the Farmers’ Market I am up, out of bed, dressed and with a cup of coffee in my hand before my husband has been able to perceive that it is morning!
If you have not had the chance to go to the farmers’ market I highly recommend it! The one that we go to has a little bit of everything; you have people selling fruits, vegetables and garden plants. You have people with amazing fresh local cheeses and meats, breads of all shapes and sizes. Then there are the honey farmers... Hello, clover honey addiction! People selling jewelry, furniture, toys, handcrafted clothing and pottery. We even had some Amish (Yeah, apparently there are Amish in Alberta. Totally news to me) selling handmade furniture. Have you ever seen Amish Furniture? Those people are amazing craftsmen!
They often have live performers at the markets. I had the delight of listening to a Peruvian Piper playing some beautiful melodies on panpipes. Another time, there was a folk singing group with a melody that made me want to jump up and dance. And there was a Celtic harpist, playing a melody that seemed to creep out from the mists of time and arrest your attention as it wove its spell upon you.
One bright sunny morning, I hauled my backside out bed and met my husband (then boyfriend) at the market. We wandered through the rows upon rows of people, finding all kinds of treasures. My husband found a piece of oak with a Raven carved into the top with Ogham writing, which was very fitting for a Celt like him. We picked up some nice sausages for breakfast, along with some cheese and fresh honey. I picked up a few groceries for the week, and we stopped for a long time to listen to the Harp.
We were getting ready to leave when we stumbled into a booth selling antiques. Sitting off to the side, all by its lonesome was an old cast iron pot. It had three little nubs for legs; the lid had been lost ages ago. The inside had some rust from years of neglect and it was covered in soot on the outside. I walked over to it, drawn by it and picked it up. When I asked the lady at the booth about it she said “found it after I bought some boxes at an estate sale on some acreage. Ten bucks sounds fair?” I bought it, took it home and cleaned it. Even before I cleaned this new cauldron, it seemed to gleam! I could just envision it, sitting on a woodstove, keeping supper warm. The antique dealer figured it came from sometime between 1900-1920, a staple item in most households at the time, very common item.
But it was not so common to me; it felt warm, cheerful and strong. It reminded me of the women who build the province and the country I live in. Who kept the houses clean, the men fed and the families at peace. The women who had the independence of spirit to launch this province into being the first in Canada to give women the vote in 1916 (two full years before Women won the right to vote nationally) . The women who held families together when their men fought in wars far away. In my hands, I was holding not only a representation of the Goddess, but also a representation of the women who went before me, who sacrificed much for the future generation. It sits in my house, near the fireplace, guarding the Hearth and Heart as women have for generations.
(To be continued...)
The Redneck Pagan
Location: Alberta, Alberta
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