My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
Article ID: 15533
Age Group: Adult
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Author: The Redneck Pagan
Posted: December 29th. 2013
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4. Kitchen Aid: Ahhh, the modern day wonder of the Kitchen Aid Mixer.... The marvel of the device, that mixes, makes pasta and a billion other things I have yet to figure out. The mixer is one of the newer additions to my cauldron lists! My husband and I bought our house a little over a year ago. Prior to living where we are now, we lived in a postage stamp sized basement suite. You had a stove, a sink, about 50 inches of counter space and the fridge. I was happy to be able to have my toaster and coffee maker on the counter every day.
With so little kitchen space, neither my husband nor I did much in the kitchen. We hardly had room for the basic utensils so having any specialty items was out of the question. If one person was cooking, the other had to stand in the living room, as two people would not fit in that space. Then we moved and got a kitchen with more cupboards and counters that I had ever had. My husband’s mother gave us some new pots and I shopped diligently at places like Wal-mart and Costco for new frying pans, skillets and other kitchen tools. When we got married, we bought ourselves a bread maker that paid for itself within the first two months! Then for Christmas/Yule, my dad and his wife gave us a Kitchen Aid Mixer.
I was overjoyed and remarkably intimidated. You see, I normally did not cook. In the old apartment, it was a basic roast or grilled chicken, BBQ in the summer. I might have some roast beef with potatoes and frozen vegetables, but that was it. Any cookies or pies in our house were store bought. But with the new mixer I began to learn to bake. I went through multiple cookie recipes, with the mixer humming along. We tried different muffins. I even used it for mixing homemade sauces. My ultimate achievement was learning to make piecrusts!
The mixer did more than just transform my food from a pile of ingredients to dough; it transformed our health. By learning to bake, I was able to control the ingredients in our food. I was able to invest in my local farmers by buying farm fresh eggs and produce. I knew exactly what we were putting in our bodies, and without all the chemicals, we began losing some flub (even when I was eating more cookies than normal) . I was also able to share something of my work with friends and family when they came to visit, or take a plate of cookies to a staff meeting to share.
But most of all it helped me transform myself. I had spent a long time toying with the notion of doing more cooking and baking at home, but figured I did not have the time or the skills to do so. Having the mixer, took away my excuse of no time. It was so incredibly simple and quick to throw the ingredients together, and then I could do a load of laundry while the cookies baked or the sauce warmed up. The ease of the mixing showed me that I could in fact follow a recipe and make delicious treats and meals for our family. While this may sound trivial to many, this means a great deal to me. It boosted my confidence and has granted me a beautiful growth opportunity.
3. Popcorn Popper: I will confess, I am addicted to popcorn. Badly. In college, I would often eat nothing but popcorn during my long study and paper writing sessions. It was quick and easy to throw a bag of popcorn into the microwave, grab a drink and then go back downstairs for another three hour marathon of cramming my brain full of facts, dates, diagnostic criteria and theories of human brain development. In fact, most of my meals were like that: pre packaged, microwavable and quick. Thanks to my diligence, hard work and gracious gift of free room and board from my father, I graduated.
I moved out into my own place and began to make my own way in the world, but my eating habits stayed right in college. I kept eating convenience food, lots of coffee and pop, and of course, microwave popcorn. I paid no attention at all to what I was putting in my body and my weight suffered. In two years, I went up six dress sizes and put on a good 70-100 pounds. NOT GOOD! I noticed that none of my clothes fit anymore and I was out of breath just walking to the photocopier. Time for a change
For the next six months. I read up on what the food I was eating actually had in it, and I would like the term ‘food’ for these items to be revoked. I read what it was doing to my body (besides the obvious signs of weight gain) . I realized just how suicidal my eating habits had become and began the long process of making a change. It was hard. I had to change everything I did and how I thought about food. Add to that, we had that very tiny kitchen at that time and so preparation space did not exist. Luckily, we were able to buy our own home and it came with a huge kitchen. I began cooking and eating better... except for that damn microwave popcorn! It seemed to be a stumbling block that I could not surmount.
Then one day at Lee Valley (watch out, Lee Valley is like crack) , my husband picked up a stovetop popcorn popper. I thought he was crazy, but he promised to make me the best popcorn I had ever had. So that night at home he made popcorn on the stove, drizzled a little olive oil and some sea salt on it, and gave it to me to try. He did not lie. It was amazing! Way tastier than my microwave popcorn, and I didn’t feel gross after munching on it. What’s more, I seemed to need to eat less of it to curb the craving!
He showed me how to use it and I became a stovetop popcorn-making maniac! I can eat the stuff straight or with the drizzle of olive oil. And something else interesting happened. I stopped wanting a lot of the junk I was eating. I still occasionally indulge in some chips and pretzels, but I find I want less of them, and my body is very happy with me. In seven months, I dropped a ton of weight (when we went to get married, I had to take in my wedding dress 2 ˝ inches on both sides) and have become a mad gardener, growing food for my family.
It sounds very silly to say, but before the popper I felt like I was doomed to forever be fighting off cravings for unhealthy food and doomed to be a larger woman. With the microwave popcorn thoroughly kicked (I can’t even stand the smell of the stuff anymore) , I feel like I could take on the world and accomplish any and all weight loss goals I have. I have been transformed. I still have a long way to go, but I am on the right track!
2. Pentagram: My hunt for the perfect cauldron has taken me all over the place, from places like Wal-Mart and Value Village, to online pagan shops. Bass Pro and other outdoor stores have also been my hunting grounds. I had settled for my brass Value Village Flower Planter cauldron (it now serves as my portable fire bowl) . I then found my mini cauldrons on eBay. They had the look and the feel I wanted, but their size was a problem at times. When I wanted to do larger workings, or use my cauldron to burn papers in, I ran into some troubles. The larger papers did not get enough air to burn properly in the little ones. I would have to sit there and tear my paper up into little pieces.
I also found that for some rituals the size of the little ones made them really hard to find on a dark altar cloth in the middle of the night! The brass one was doing ok, but the feel was just all wrong to me. I know that tools really are not necessary, but when you are rather new to the game (as I was back then) , you don’t really get that. After all, you want to be a real witch, cast great spells, do moving rituals... everything has to be just right! So I moped and griped to myself about the cauldron and bided my time.
One day after a ritual I had to leave the area rather quickly (some of you may recall my top ten stupid list that involved a fire on a hilltop) and so ended up having to kick my brass cauldron (former flower pot) and stomp out my fire, then singed my hands a little when I tried to pick it up. I ended up having to wrap it in a blanket to be able to carry it home. I was very frustrated by the lack of lid and the fact that I did not have a carrying handle (my hands were not pleased with that one in particular) .
I went to work out of province for two months where I had a very difficult experience. I faced my first, and only, case of persecution because of my religion. It was not easy; actually I was downright terrified. Luckily for me, the group I was with was very supportive and the individual was reprimanded and invited not to return because of this (and a few other incidents of religious persecution against others of differing faiths) . While the incident had definitely left me feeling very shaken and vulnerable, it had also restored some of my faith in my fellow humans and had given me the opportunity to do some deep soul searching.
You see, at this camp my space was limited so I had left almost all my tools at home. I had only brought a handmade God and Goddess statue and some prayer books I had bought. So I went to a local park, I sat myself down and had a long heart to heart with myself. I prayed for guidance, for wisdom and healing. No tools, no props, no candles or robes, just me and the Gods. While sitting in this park, my back against a tree, I felt all my feelings of anger, hurt, betrayal and fear slip out of me and into the earth. I felt the cool breeze of the evening, listened to a few bird and felt calm and at peace.
I found within myself the strength I needed to get through the next few days and the courage to show my face again with my head held high. Whenever I felt my strength wane, I gave a silent prayer and found myself restored. I had finally figured out that the tools mean diddlysquat. That what is truly powerful is the connection I make within myself and with my Gods. A few months later I was with a friend at a local Pagan store when I came across a display of Cauldrons. They had every shape and size imaginable, including three that were exactly what I had been looking for. I picked each one up and held it in my hands. When I lifted the third one it felt warm in my hands and I could feel my body tingle. I knew it was the right one.
As we drove home, I was looking out the window, marveling at my new cauldron, and wondering why the heck it took me so long to find it. I don’t know if I figured this part out on my own or if it was inspired within me somehow: If you were never powerful enough to work magic without it, what on earth made you think you would be enough with it? I found that cauldron after I stopped relying on tools to make my own magic. I found it after I learned that tools certainly enhance my practice, but do not determine it. Finding this cauldron felt, at least to me, like a signal that I was learning and advancing in my craft. I still have a hell of a ways to go, and will never stop learning, but when I look at that cauldron I remember just how far I have come.
1. Bathtub: Yes you read that right, my favorite cauldron of all times is the bathtub! It is the only cauldron I know that I can fit my whole body into! A bathtub is truly a wondrous tool, and a fairly recent modern addition. Think about this for a minute: up until indoor plumbing in the modern era (like the past 100 years) , if people wanted to have a bath they had to haul the water, heat it up on a stove and then pour it into a wash bin of types. Not exactly convenient, is it? Most people probably only bathed once every week.
Earlier than that, people bathed less frequently. Could you imagine standing next to somebody who does not bathe regularly? I know after two or three days of camping, I am pretty ripe and need to wash off quickly if I want to be able to stand myself! Now imagine a village full of it! I am very grateful to be born in a time when people bathe regularly (and discovered the joy of deodorant) .
An advance in overall hygiene is definitely one of the reasons that the tub makes it to the top of my list, but there are a few other reasons too. I have a bad back. Some of it is general spinal structure (I have a few very small curvatures to the spine that cause discomfort) , and some of it is because I am a bit overweight. I am working on getting to a healthier weight and strengthening the muscles of my back but this is a process that takes time. In the meantime, when I am working at moving and lifting items, I sometimes over do it and hurt myself. Other times, I have hurt myself doing some exercises (I do not bend well at this time) .
When this happens I pour a hot bath and just let the heat melt the pain and tension away. If I get a soak in early enough, I don’t have to use painkillers to help me sleep, which means fewer toxins in my body! I also use the hot soak method when I am beginning to get a cold. I use some eucalyptus oils to steam out the cold (and the sinuses) . Again, it helps me get my body back in order without the use of chemicals. If I trade up the eucalyptus oil for a few drops of lavender oil after a long day at work, I can feel all my tensions melt away.
And finally, the cleansing powers of a bath cannot be denied! Anytime I am in a bad mood, or just feeling icky, I draw a hot bath, light some candles and incense. I pop in a bath bomb and handful of sea salt and soak away. I have sometimes said a prayer over the water, or, as the water drains out, I thank it for taking away all that ails me. Afterwards, I usually am able to get a great night’s sleep and feel 100 times better the next morning. Never underestimate the healing power of water!
So there you have it: a mix of magical and practical (or the practical made magical) items that make up my top ten favorite cauldrons!
The Redneck Pagan
The Redneck Pagan
Location: Alberta, Alberta
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