Despite my kvetchings about there being no real reason other than vanity for modern Pagans to maintain dedicated cauldrons, I’m ashamed to admit that I own not only one, but two.
The first I obtained while still a teenager. I picked it up during the Christmas holiday of 1999 while my family was on one of its Florida vacations. I was staying with my grandmother, and she humored me by taking me to a new age store up the highway from her apartment in Clearwater, which is where I bought the cauldron.
I remember I chose this one because it was small–it’s only about 4 inches high and maybe 4.5 inches in diameter at its widest point–and could pass as a flower pot or decorative bowl as it is brass and decoratively finished. That was incredibly important back in my high broom closet days. The $15 price tag also wasn’t too bad for my teenage purse strings.
Truthfully, I’ve never really used it for much. It’s served as an offering bowl in some circles–particularly those REDE did in college. It’s been a candle holder or the “symbolic bonfire” for similar circles. I’ve put an alcohol fire in it a few times and burned a couple petition prayers, but that does generate quite a mess, and there’s a spot on the bottom now that looks scorched through, so I’m a little concerned about the safety of doing this again in the future. Right now, it’s mostly functioning as a storage device for some of my smaller miscellaneous pagan odds and ends.
My second cauldron…well, it found me. I wasn’t even thinking about acquiring a “proper cauldron” at the time. However, my former housemate Rosalie moved in, and she brought an entire U-Haul full of stuff. Needless to say, it would not all fit in her room and her storage space. After she learned I was Wiccan, she came up to me one day and asked if I’d like her potjie (pronounced poi-key). Of course, the instant I saw it, I said yes as it is a perfect cauldron. It even has a lid.
This little guy is about 10 inches tall and about 10 inches wide. It’s apparently a size “2”, which–if it’s anything like the sizes sold at Potjie Pot USA–means it weighs about 20 pounds and has a carrying capacity of about 1.25 gallons. Right now it has a serious case of rust happening on the inside, but I don’t have much of an issue with that as I really only use it to burn things. Eventually I’ll get it cleaned up and do a better job at keeping him in tip-top shape.
For what it’s worth, I am glad I have this cauldron. Even though I have little practical use for it, I’m fond of it and I really appreciate it every time I have a call to use it. Even though right now I live in a home that has both an indoor fireplace and an outside fire pit, sometimes it’s just more convenient all around to haul out the cauldron for a ritual burning. I definitely know I’ll be carting its 20 pounds around with me for the rest of my life. And even though Rosalie and I almost never see each other these days and have sort of fallen out, I do remember her with great fondness every time I look at my cauldron, which makes me doubly happy that I have it.