The Cauldron- Sacred Symbol & Tool of the Witch

What comes to mind when you see a cauldron? Witches casting spells, a bubbling potion, or perhaps a hearty stew cooking over a fire? The cauldron is historically both a very mundane and mystical object that continues to be a powerful symbol of many things. It is one of my favourite tools as a Witch and a representation of my practice and path.

In celebration of The Cauldron Goddess’ birthday month (we are one year old!), I thought I’d share a bit about my own reflections and experiences with the cauldron- as a symbol and sacred tool of the Witch.

The Hearth & Cooking

At its most mundane, the cauldron is a cooking pot. A staple of our ancestors far and wide, this portable and durable vessel has served humanity for generations, providing nourishment, and sustaining life.

The pot cooking over the fire conjures deep memories of comfort, warmth, family, and home. It is for this reason that the cauldron is a strong symbol of the hearth. For nomadic peoples, I imagine the cauldron felt like an anchor of home while on the move. For those rooted to place, the cauldron held a central position to the home and served as faithful provider of nourishment and comfort.

The cauldron is the container where raw, unintegrated ingredients come together to create something delicious and sustaining for our work and growth. Cooking may seem very mundane yet cooking always involves a transformation of energy and materials. There is creative energy and magick weaved into the process.

Cooking has historically been deemed ‘women’s work’ because of its nurturing and domestic properties. Patriarchy has devalued these qualities and therefore the healing or magickal aspects of cooking are less valued than its artistic or competitive forms. There are currently so many competitive cooking shows taking centre stage, that it almost seems that for this ‘woman’s work’ to be valued, it must fit into the capitalistic/patriarchal paradigm, along with other art forms that have become more about competition than soul-nourishment and love.

There’s nothing wrong with refining one’s skills, of course. But, I suppose I think of cooking as something soulful, as our original magick, the mother of all rituals and witchcraft. It is where one thing becomes another and serves to heal and nourish us. We can add intentions, prayers, healing herbs and energy medicine into our culinary creations. There is power in the cauldron. It is here where we can connect the cauldron to the Witch.

The Witch

The Witch is the one who nourishes and sustains life, who heals and transforms, who makes magick and serves their family and community.

Healing and Witchcraft are deeply intertwined. Through history, the village Wise Woman was the healer and midwife everyone would call on when ill or in labor. With the influence of patriarchy, colonization and modern medicine, folks who followed the old ways, the Wise Woman ways were punished, ostracized or even killed. They twisted the healing, life sustaining Wise Woman into something evil, a repulsive and fearful death-bringer or spirit of chaos- a ‘Witch’ in the negative sense of the word. Yet the Witch is and always was simply a Healer. The word Witch is connected to ‘wit’ and wisdom, implying that witches were also sacred knowledge keepers.

Women’s power as healers and community leaders has been diminished over centuries and we are still in the process of reclaiming this power within ourselves. For me, using the cauldron is one way that I reclaim my power as Witch and Healer.

The cauldron remains a powerful symbol of healing and witchcraft to the modern psyche. Since we don’t use cauldrons much anymore, it also represents something ancient and mysterious from the past. We associate it with spells, potions, witches and some other mysterious things related to the sacred feminine…

The Womb & Creativity

The cauldron can be seen as representing the Mother energy. It contains, nourishes, sustains, and protects the creation within it. The pagan chant ‘one thing becomes another, in the mother, in the mother’ is one of my favourites to chant over my cauldron as I make a brew or do a spell. The cauldron is resonant with the womb, as a vessel of nourishment and protection of new life.

Within our womb space, in our pelvic bowl lies the energy of creation. Our sensual, sexual energy and our creative ‘flow’ stem from here, whether or not we have a physical womb. Those of us with wombs can also physically carry life here.

The pelvic bowl is very much like our own physical cauldron which holds our creative power.

An Embodied Cauldron Practice

In the Irish bardic poem, ‘The Cauldron of Poesy’, three internal cauldrons found within the body are referenced. The Cauldron of Warming, the Cauldron of Motion, and the Cauldron of Wisdom. I created my own personal grounding practice with these 3 cauldrons, even before I had heard of this poem, so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it.

The Cauldron of Warming sits within our pelvic bowl, where our creative ‘fuel’ resides. I like to think of this cauldron sitting within my pelvic bowl with its 3 legs energetically reaching to the earth like roots from my sitz bones and coccyx. I meditate on this cauldron, imagining its contents as fluid creative energies within me. I notice if they are stagnant, clouded, toxic or flowing, vibrant and well. I feel my connection the Earth Mother and imagine that healing energy flowing through my cauldron. I chant ‘oooohhh’ here, while connecting to the energies of the land. Chanting helps to transmute any negative energies.

The Cauldron of Motion sits in the heart centre. Here, we experience what ‘moves’ us, such as art, poetry, music, love, relationships, sorrow, and grief. I imagine this cauldron’s legs energetically connected to the cauldron below it, and its contents fluid again. Ideally, the energies flow clearly and vibrate with love. Chanting helps to transmute the energy. I chant ‘eeeeee’ here while connecting to the energies of water and sea. The combination of ‘ooohhh’, ‘eeee’ and ‘oooo’ sounds are one way to connect with the Awen- the Divine inspiration that flows through all life.

The Cauldron of Wisdom sits within or atop the head, and I imagine it open, facing upward to the skies above as a direct link to Spirit and the Awen- the divine inspiration that flows through all life. I imagine it receiving inspiration from above and its contents are the energy of flowing light. I imagine my thoughts cleared and stagnant energy released. Through this meditation I become a channel for the Awen, for divine inspiration, for the healing energy of the goddess Cerridwen- my matron goddess to come through. I chant ‘oooo’ here to transmute the energies.

Doing this practice helps me to become a channel for creative energies on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels.

Cerridwen- The Cauldron Goddess Herself

Cerridwen is one of the main goddesses I work with, and she is the classic Witch from Welsh myth. I share her story and some of my thoughts on it here. Cerridwen is famous for her cauldron in which she brews a potion of Awen- divine inspiration and knowledge for her ugly son, Afagddu, for whom she wants a better life. The potion takes a year and a day to complete. After all this hard work it accidentally ends up going to a servant boy, Gwion, who through a process of initiation and transformation becomes the most inspirational of bards, Taliesin.

Cerridwen’s cauldron is important because her role is that of Wise Woman, Witch, Healer and Mother. Her cauldron is like an extension of herself.

When her potion went to the wrong boy, Cerridwen was quite angry her spell went awry. The cauldron cracked and broke, turning the potion to poison. Its breaking could symbolise Cerridwen’s emotions, or a forced breaking of her old self and initiation to a new level of spiritual growth. It could represent the laws of magick being broken, or the appearance of fate taking over.

Cerridwen is also an initiatrix of change and transformation. Not only does she push Gwyion to become more than he ever thought he could be, but she too, is transformed in the process.

There is much symbolism in Cerridwen’s story- about power, fate, the wise use of magick and the emotional intensity of motherhood. The cauldron can represent any of this as well.

Transformation & Rebirth

I think of the cauldron as symbolic of the transformational events in our lives. Those challenging times where we must change or be changed. Those times where we must surrender to a power greater than us to carry us forward. When we must let go of who we are to become who we are meant to be. The cauldron is like a crucible- an agent of change, transformation and rebirth. What goes in comes out as something new.

Can you think of a time in your life where you underwent deep internal changes that left you feeling like you died and were reborn? That’s a cauldron experience. I think these can also be felt as smaller and less dramatic as well, like when we are pushed out of our comfort zone and make changes to adapt.

I feel like I am undergoing some kind cauldron experience most of the time, in at least one area of my life. Some cauldron experiences are slow boiling and take time, like Cerridwen’s brew, for a year or several. Others are more fast-acting and short term.

Some cauldron life experience examples are: Undergoing an intense course or learning program where you learn new skills and change as a person; Becoming a mother or a parent; Losing a loved one and your sense of self being changed from the loss; Divorce or separation; Becoming ill; Healing from illness; Being in a relationship that tests you; Moving to a new place; Changing Careers, etc.

One thing about the cauldron is that what goes in comes out differently, in a new form. Our transformational experiences remake us anew. We are not meant to stagnate or stay the same forever.

The cauldron is the mother that pushes us to grow and become who we have the potential to be. She is also that safe container who enables us to be vulnerable while the change is happening.

I explore the relationship between the cauldron and holding safe space for healing & transformation in this post.

How to use the Cauldron as a Witch’s tool

The cauldron may not be used in everyday cooking anymore, but we can use it as a magickal tool to enhance our own personal healing and transformation. Cauldrons come in every size, from large dinner-size cauldrons to tiny purse-size cauldrons. I love them all. Here are a few ways I like to use them:

Smoke cleansing: The cauldron makes an excellent holder for herbs and resins. You can place a piece of charcoal within it and burns your smoke cleansing herbs on it or, you can place the herbs directly into the cauldron and light them. The smaller cauldrons are great for this.

Grounding practice: The cauldron is usually made of iron and therefore an excellent grounding tool. You can use it like I do in the above grounding ritual or make up your own!

Burning spells: The cauldron is a safe container to burn pieces of paper with words written on it or other objects that are part of your spells.

Scrying: The black cauldron is a perfect backdrop for scrying. Fill the cauldron with water and take your time to ground and centre before gazing into the cauldron to see visions. This works best with a medium to large cauldron.

Potions & Cooking: Use a larger cauldron to hold your potions or healing soups, the old-fashioned way. I purchased a couple of beautiful large cauldrons from Bristow Iron Works, including the stand and hooks for this purpose.

An altar in itself: The cauldron can make a wonderful keeper of sacred energy. A large cauldron can be filled with crystals, herbs, beautiful images, and objects to anchor the sacred into your space. A small cauldron makes a great travel altar- fill it with herbs and crystals to uplift your energy while away.

Salt Bowl or Centrepiece: I have used a cauldron as a salt bowl and centrepiece for my dining room table. I filled it with salt to absorb negative energies, and with herbs and crystals to help bring harmony to my dinner table.

Symbol: You can use the cauldron as a symbol on your altar, your desk or bedside table for anything we discussed in this blog- symbol of your inner Witch or Wise Woman, the womb, the sacred feminine or Mother energy, transformation & rebirth, etc. Keep it as a reminder of your magick!

If you are interested in the symbolism of the cauldron and its connections to myths, I highly recommend the book The Witch’s Cauldron, by Laura Tempest Zakroff.

What does the cauldron symbolise for you? Do you use one in your practice?

May the cauldron bring you the warmth and soul-nourishment you need in these transformational times.

xo

Serena

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Dancing With the Sacred Unknown

We are collectively in uncharted waters. Much of what we have known and relied upon has been washed away, requiring constant flexibility and resilience as we swim to keep our heads above water as best as we can. It is as though the solid ground beneath us has given way to water.

Sometimes, in times like these, our best option is to float.

When we float is there is nothing but water and sky, and we are held in suspension- it seems as though we are outside of time and space, heart open to the vast unknown. Depending on your comfort level with water, this can feel super scary or total bliss (or both!). Whether the water is still or pulsing with waves, it can still hold us up.

Without struggling or striving, we can rest into that support, even as it ebbs and flows. This can feel like a gift to our souls as we remember what it feels like to be a babe in the great Goddess’ womb, part of the origins of life itself.

These times of transition and uncertainty ask us to take a break from striving and feel what it might be like to be held by something greater.

Allowing ourselves to be held by something greater doesn’t necessarily mean we give up on things that matter to us and do nothing about our circumstance or situation. It is not a complete surrender of our free will, agency or engagement with the material world. No.

It is a practice of remembering that we are not always in control. It is accepting what we cannot change and at the same time allowing ourselves to open to greater potentiality within ourselves. Like floating on the water, we can accept the flow and open to what new directions and awareness the experience might bring. We remain curious, aware and open to something bigger than us to take us where we need to be. When we are attuned to the flow, we will better know how and where to swim.

Divine Darkness

The Dark Mother energy of Cerridwen has been incredibly healing and helpful to me in navigating this uncharted territory. It is not surprising that she showed up shortly before the pandemic began.

Cerridwen Banner by Wendy Andrews

Dark Goddesses are not dark in nature so much as they are present and supportive to us when we are in dark times. Times when we cannot see what lies ahead, transitional times, times when we are meeting our shadow face to face or healing and moving through trauma. Dark Goddesses bring the wisdom, strength and lessons we need in order to navigate these challenges.

In my life, when one of these Goddesses shows up, it is an indication that I am going to be doing some deeper work or going on an inner underworld journey.  

Through my relationship with Cerridwen, I have been practicing trust, surrender and being held by The Mystery. Cerridwen’s cauldron is the dark womb of potential and rebirth. This dark womb/cauldron imagery is something I work with regularly. 

So much of Cerridwen’s energy, gifts and lessons in my experience is about that surrender to something larger. Trusting this divine energy to hold me in the sacred unknown. In Cerridwen’s deep cosmic cauldron, I feel safely held, yet open to vast potential. It is a very nameless, dark, void-like space at times.

Emptiness & The Creative Cycle

I was feeling quite creatively barren and empty when Cerridwen showed up. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel of new ideas, passion or motivation. I felt the emptiness had come with the end of a chapter and awaiting a new beginning. I was struggling to feel engaged or excited about anything. Cerridwen, as the goddess of inspiration, came into my sphere.

But she didn’t just bestow an abundance of passions and inspiration upon me out of thin air. She beckoned that I come and spend time with Her first. She is named the goddess of Inspiration, because it is through the challenging experience of transformation and surrender to the dark womb of nothingness, that inspiration can be born.

I felt a strong draw to Her, and began to read about Her, connect with Her, and follow her mysterious trail of will o’ the wisps towards Her cauldron, and entered into its mysteries.

My big cauldron

In a nutshell, the cauldron transformed me. It recognised what needed to be released, where I needed to be strengthened and the process is still continuing today.

I have not emerged from the cauldron yet. I am still releasing and transforming within it. In letting go of old habits and becoming aware of my true inner light and strength, I am more trusting in myself and my ability to float and swim.

As I go through this journey with Cerridwen in Her cauldron, my inspiration is increasing. I am feeling more connected to what stirs my passion and aligned with my authentic self. I am also more comfortable with the unknown and finding ways to dance with it.

I recognise that life moves in cycles and new life always emerges from the emptiness. We don’t always know how the new life will show up, but it always does. So, I am looking forward to the continued emergence and growth that is sourced from that original emptiness I surrendered to. I trust that it will flourish in its own way and timing.

The Sacred Unknown

There is something sacred about the transitional times in life. Dawn, dusk, birth, death, those moments when we are neither here nor there, between versions of ourselves, ways of being in the world. These are sacred times. We are closer than ever to the source of life at these times, and while they are often uncomfortable, lonely, traumatic, or unbearable, they are the times when we are most held by something greater.

These are the times dark goddesses and spirit guides have made themselves clearly known to me. I have met important healers and had serendipitous experiences that changed the course of my life during these times.

Sometimes we have to be broken down in order to open up. I find it interesting that the word ‘scared’ is in the word ‘sacred’. I feel that moving through our deepest fears can be a deeply spiritual experience, because it can change us forever and help us grow.

It is important however, during these transitional times, to hold safe space for ourselves and ensure we have someone who can hold safe space for us, as safety is necessary in order to truly grow from our depths. The cauldron represents the sacred container that allows us to do so.

Water, Darkness & Reflection

I feel that it is important while we are going through times like these that we take time to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come.

How have you become more braver? stronger? More adaptable? What have you let go of? What new things have you opened up to? How have you changed?

It is also a good time to explore our relationship to the element of water and to darkness.

How do you feel about going with the flow? What have you learned from navigating change? How do you find your way when you cannot see what’s ahead? How do you cope with uncertainty?

Rituals for Being Held by the Dark Womb/Primordial Source:

I invite you to try connecting to the dark womb/primordial source as a way to cultivate trust in the unknown. It is something I enjoy doing.

If you have a bathtub, you can try taking a bath at night, with all the lights out. Imagine you are resting in the great goddess’ womb, merging with the primordial source of being. Silence is a very powerful accompaniment to this, just listening to the sound of your own breathing. However if that is too challenging, you may wish to play some deeply relaxing music. I suggest Deep Sleep by Calm Collective, Long Ambients by Moby or Voyage by Garth Stevenson. Simply rest in the darkness and feel as you are held within the womb.

You can recite the following affirmations:

I am safe. I am held. I am safe and held in the dark womb. I trust in divine timing. My time to birth will come. I now rest in the sacred unknown.

If you do not have a bathtub, or don’t feel comfortable in water, you can also lie down on your bed in darkness (if you cannot make your room completely dark, try wearing a blindfold). This makes sense to do at bedtime. Relax into bed, and imagine you are floating in the middle of a lake at night under a sky full of stars. You are warm and snuggled in the covers. Imagine you are within the Great Mother’s Womb, held safely. Connect to the silence, following the sound of your breath in and out. Or, if you’d rather, you can play relaxing music as I suggested above. Say the affirmations above to yourself.

You may also wish to visit a float spa, such as H2O Float Studio here in Toronto. Or, if it is warm where you are, go ahead and float on an actual body of water.

May the changes of these times create a relationship with darkness that is no longer one of fear, but of deep comfort, like the darkness of the womb, the darkness that is the source of life.

xo Serena

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Who is the Goddess Cerridwen?

Cerridwen is a prominent figure from Welsh mythology revered by druids, witches, and pagans all over the world.

She is known as a mother, wife, shapeshifter, witch, healer, powerful initiatrix and bestower of the Awen– the divine force of flowing inspiration that permeates all existence.

Cerridwen has been the source of inspiration for bards of history through to today, as she is believed to brew the Awen in her magickal cauldron and bestow it upon those who wish to channel it.

She is therefore instrumental in the creation of art, song, poetry, music and all forms of creative communication.

Cerridwen is also a Goddess of spiritual initiation, transformation and change. Her myth depicts the process of her initiating a young boy named Gwion going through several stages of death and rebirth, eventually transforming him into Taliesin, who grew up to be the great Chief of Bards.   

She is sometimes referred as a goddess of Inspiration, the Mother of Awen and the Keeper of the Cauldron, for her cauldron is a vessel of great power and change.

Cerridwen’s Myth in a Nutshell

Here is my brief version of Cerridwen’s story (derived from ‘The Tale of Taliesin’):

Cerridwen was married to Tegid Foel and lived in Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) with her two children- a breathtakingly beautiful daughter named Creirwy, and an ugly-looking son named Morfran (meaning ‘sea crow’), which she later changed to Avagddu (meaning ‘utter darkness’). Cerridwen loved her son dearly, but like any mother, she worried about him.

She wanted so badly for her son to have the respect and opportunities in life he deserved, so she set about creating a potion that would bestow him with great powers of wisdom, inspiration and prophecy to give him hope for a better future.

Cerridwen was well versed in the practice of magick, and so spent time collecting the appropriate herbs, while assigning a young peasant boy named Gwion Bach to stir the cauldron and a blind man named Morda to tend the fire continuously for a year and a day- this potion was quite a commitment!

It was also a very particular potion in that once three drops of it were consumed, the rest of it became poison.

Gwion and Morda worked tirelessly, and Cerridwen mustered all her magickal knowledge and energy for this very special brew for her son. Eventually, she became tired and had a little nap.

During this time, three drops of the hot potion splashed from the cauldron onto young Gwion’s thumb. Instinctively, he brought his thumb into his mouth to soothe the burn.

Upon ingesting those three magickal drops, Gwion was immediately filled with the magickal abilities and wisdom intended for Avagddu- he could see the past, present and future with complete clarity. He knew Cerridwen would be very angry and seek her revenge.

Soon after, the cauldron split and broke open, spilling the now poisonous remains of the potion onto the land, where it flowed and killed horses nearby.

Cerridwen, awakened by the commotion, saw what had happened and in a rage, she began to chase Gwion Bach.

Gwion, now possessing the ability to shapeshift, took the form of a hare to run quickly away from Cerridwen. But Cerridwen was more powerful and took the form of a greyhound in pursuit.

As she got closer and closer to Gwion, he panicked and as he came to a body of water, he quickly transformed into a salmon, swimming as fast as he could. But Cerridwen then took the form of an otter and quickly gained on him.

Gwion then rose out of the water, taking the form of a wren, flying through the air. But Cerridwen took the form of a hawk and again began to catch up quickly.  

As Gwion flew over a mill, he decided to turn himself into a grain of wheat and hide amongst a large pile of grain, thinking Cerridwen would never find him there.

However, Cerridwen was very determined, so she transformed into a black crested hen and proceeded to eat each and every last grain of wheat there, swallowing up Gwion into her belly.

She was relieved and satisfied to have gotten her revenge.

However, things did not go as she planned. By some biological oddity, the grain of wheat that was Gwion implanted itself like an egg within Cerridwen’s womb and began to grow.

‘Ceridwen’ by Christopher Williams
(c) The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

When Cerridwen realised she was pregnant with this new form of Gwion, she was furious, and couldn’t wait to kill him once he was born.

Nine months later, Cerridwen birthed the most beautiful little boy. When she peered into his radiant face, she was overcome with love and could not bring herself to kill him. But she could not keep him either, after what had happened with the potion. So instead, she placed him in a coracle and set him out into the sea to meet his fate.

The young baby floated out in the sea for months or some say years, until one day a Welsh prince named Elphin was fishing for salmon and noticed something unusual caught in the nets. It was the coracle with the babe in it.

He brought it in, and when he saw the baby’s face, was overwhelmed by his brightness and exclaimed ‘What a radiant brow!’ In Welsh this was Taliesin, which is the name he then took. Taliesin eventually grew up to be the most famed and talented bards in history.

Cerridwen’s Character & Roles

This myth is so rich and full of symbolism, far too much for one blog post. However, these are some key things that stand out for me in regards to Cerridwen:

She is a protective mother, who wants the best for her child

She is a witch– (swynwraig in Welsh), as she is very skilled in herbs, potions and magick.  

She is an initiatrix– She pushed Gwion through stages of spiritual growth and evolution- through the shapeshifting animals of land, sea and sky. Then he is consumed into the great dark womb of transformation through her pregnancy, after which he is reborn into a completely new form.  

She is a transformer and incubator of energy, like the cauldron itself and the womb. There is a strong theme of transformation, incubation and rebirth throughout the story. There are three ‘wombs’ in which this takes place- the cauldron, Cerridwen’s womb and the coracle.

She is Mother of the Awen– She is connected to the song of the universe- the flowing inspiration that moves through all things, which enables her to make such a powerful potion as she did, bringing all that knowledge, wisdom and magickal ability to Gwion Bach in an instant.

She can teach us lessons around control & surrender– There is a strong theme in the story of surrendering to a power larger than ourselves. Cerridwen’s best laid plans, skills and intentions did not prevent her spell from going awry. Something bigger was at work. Her plan to kill Gwion was also twisted by fate. Gwion himself thought he was just going to obediently stir a witch’s cauldron when in fact, what awaited him was a massive initiatory journey of death and rebirth.

Cerridwen in my life

Marashinsky & Janto’s Goddess Oracle deck

I have only been working intentionally with Cerridwen since spring of 2020. Interestingly, that was the beginning of the pandemic. I had felt her presence before that, particularly on a trip to Wales, but I hadn’t put a name to her yet.

On my path, I seem to have periods of time where a deity calls me- I see or sense them in a vision, meditation journey or place, and feel very drawn to them. I work with them for however long I am meant to- to learn their lessons and integrate their energies into my life.

In some ways, starting a relationship with a new deity is like starting a new intimate relationship with a person. I go deep, I let the relationship transform me and my life. It may be long term, it may be shorter term. But I am touched forever.

It makes sense that Cerridwen would call during this collective time of such upheaval and change. We are all in her cauldron, in some way or another. We’ve had to surrender and let go of things, parts of ourselves, and people. We’ve been pushed out of our comfort zones and initiated, tested and challenged, like Gwion.

Working with Cerridwen has brought me face to face with my fears- of persecution, of rejection, of the unknown. She has helped me transmute them and liberate myself, layer by layer. She helps me to trust myself- my connection with the Awen and my skills as a witch. She challenges my love of knowing, stability and control- she has been eroding my need for certainty and transmuting it into a deepened acceptance and trust in the unknown.

Collette Baron-Reid’s Goddess Power Oracle

Cerridwen beckons us to see the beauty in the unformed potential that exists deep in the darkness of the cauldron and embrace this potentiality as fuel for new life.

Working with Cerridwen also seems to activate my voice. I would not consider myself a confident or talented singer or poet. I also struggle with much caution and fear in communicating my truth. Yet, whenever I meditate with Cerridwen, I am always compelled to sing and sound. She seems to love this, as an offering. She also doesn’t let me stop writing, communicating and standing in my power. She ensures that the truth be communicated, in service of the Awen. I thank Cerridwen for keeping me an open channel for the Awen to flow through. For being my protectress, my wise guide and teacher and my dark mother during this potent time.

I will share more of my experiences with Cerridwen and my journey with her in the future. For now, here is a simple song prayer I made up and sing to her:

  • Cerridwen
  • Sing to me
  • Mother of Awen
  • Teach me the Mystery
  • Cerridwen
  • Mother and Crone
  • Lady of the Deep
  • You dwell in my bones
  • Cerridwen
  • Shine your light
  • Hold me by the hand
  • In this dark night

-Serena

*If you are interested in learning more about Cerridwen, I highly recommend Kristoffer Hughes’ book: Cerridwen-Celtic Goddess of Inspiration.

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Why I started The Cauldron Goddess

Perhaps you’re like me and have felt kind of isolated and alone in your path as a witch, a pagan or spiritual person. Perhaps you are still in ‘the broom closet’ and not sure about being open about who you are yet. Maybe you’ve been out of the closet for a long time, but the path’s been super lonely or challenging.

Or perhaps you don’t consider yourself a witch at all, but your sensitive spirit comes alive in nature, and you wish to delve more deeply into that nourishment you receive when you slow down and connect to the cycles of the seasons, the celestial bodies, the earth, air, fire and water, the animal beings of the planet.

You perhaps know you are intuitive but sometimes don’t trust this part of yourself.

Maybe you are feeling some uncertainty or are going through a transition and wish for some guidance from your higher self.

Whomever you are, welcome and thankyou for coming by for a visit!

Things have been isolating in general over these long months of pandemic crisis. Many witches, pagans, and spiritual folks don’t have churches or temples in mainstream society. We are forging our paths and communities without much social support, in many ways, our very existence goes against the grain of colonial, patriarchal culture.

I am mainly a solitary witch, and happy being so, but sometimes, it can get a tad lonely. Even though I am in a big city where lots of other witches live, each of us has our unique path. Even if we are part of a group, our spirituality tends to be a very personal, individual thing. Some of us thrive when we are free to follow the beat of our own drum. Some thrive when in community. Some of my biggest lessons have been about the strength and empowerment that comes with forging my own path, and participating in community endeavors in small doses.

There is a fine line between solitary and lonely. It’s ok to dance that line sometimes, I feel it is part of the journey.

Truthfully, when we are on this path, we soon discover that we are never really alone. We are surrounded by allies and friends in the trees, rocks, animals, sky beings, ancestors, and spirit guides that surround us.

Even though I am solitary, I hold small community gatherings- the Hearthfire Circles– and try to attend events as well. As an introvert, I often find large events overwhelming, so I prefer smaller ones. The urge for community is often a strong desire in us witchy people and this exists alongside a need for solitude- to commune with nature, do our internal work and to rebuild a relationship with Spirit that is free of doctrines that do not resonate with us.

Part of why this urge for community it strong in me, and I feel in many other spiritual folks, is that we remember the old ways singing in our bones.

On a deep level, we remember living in sustainable community structures- in sacred connection with the land and each other-in reverence for all life. We remember the ways of folk magick, land-based practices that honour the cycles of the moon and seasons. We wish to return to more authentic, meaningful connections with others and ourselves. Perhaps we wish to revive the traditions of our ancestors- or at least, reclaim them in a new form that honours the present reality and the future we wish to create.

Our current culture under colonial, white supremacist, patriarchal capitalism can make creating a life like this quite challenging.  

There are layers of oppression that have wounded many generations of us that takes a while to unpack and heal, and there are many obstacles in the fabric of our modern culture that makes us choose between the survival of our body or the survival of our soul. It also emphasizes the survival of some folks at the expense of others.

‘Community’ now is a word used rather loosely. It can pertain to one’s Instagram following, Facebook group or membership to a corporate entity. These are fine ways to connect, but they often lack the depth, intimacy and real-life energetic exchanges between people that we instinctively crave. We are also contending with barriers such as white supremacy, patriarchy, cis-heteronormativity, and all the ‘isms’ pervading not only the mainstream but pagan spiritual communities as well.

My wish, my motivation behind my spiritual practice and The Cauldron Goddess, is not only to reclaim my own power as a witch and wise woman, but to help others do the same. I wish to be part of the change I wish to see in the world. It’s kind of a big ask sometimes, but the path demands that we stay awake and aware of the world around us, and the power of small steps to eventually make big impacts.

I feel that my own practice, my writing and both my in-person and online work are some of those small things that can send magickal ripples out into the world.

Pandemic Burnout & Nourishing the Spirit

Over the pandemic, like many of us, I experienced recurring burnout. It was my constant companion, with peaks and valleys of anxiety and depression. I am privileged enough to have been able to see an amazing therapist through it whom I’ve been seeing for many years now, and I’ve had the freedom to do the healing work necessary to cope.

A lot of old patterns and stories were triggered this year, and I have been releasing them and healing them ongoingly.

What I realised over the pandemic is how essential my spiritual practice is to my own wellbeing and how necessary it was that I nourish my spirit in order to be be present for my family and clients.

My witchcraft practice reminds me that I am not alone, that I am part of the sacred flow of life around me. It also teaches me to honour my sensitivity and protect myself energetically when the world around me becomes too much.

Nourishing my soul had taken a backseat to duty for too long. Instead of heeding the call of my spirit, of taking time to process who I was and what I really needed in the moment, I continued to prioritise work, duty and the mundane without the magick. I was scraping the bottom of the bucket to the point where nothing was left for my clients, my family, myself, no one.

Prioritizing my spiritual practice has become a lifeline, and so re-centering my energies onto the things I love and bring me joy- witchcraft, writing, tarot and my circles is how I am filling up my cauldron again.

Ultimately, The Cauldron Goddess is for me- a way to keep my energy focused on what nourishes me, and in turn I hope it be a source of support for you too.

Womb Healing

My background and experience is in mind-body therapies and womb healing work.

For most of my adult life, I have struggled with endometriosis and this set me on a long journey of healing in mind, body and spirit. For the last 5 years, since my surgery, I have been gratefully pain-free and slowly rebuilding myself a new life that finally doesn’t centre around chronic pain. With my newfound energy, I did some things that were on the backburner during my 20s and early 30s.

I got a driver’s license, went to college, started working out and eating some of the foods I enjoyed but couldn’t eat due to my condition. I traveled and started to work with womb healing clients 1 on 1 in a deeper capacity because I had the energy and experience to make a difference.

Until that energy bottomed out.

At first I thought it was just the pandemic and all the personal challenges that came with it. But it slowly became clear that it was more than that. I knew my soul was urging me to move on from focusing on womb health. The time had come to shift into focusing on my spiritual life more.

Womb wellness was always a part of my life, and always will be. But I’ve been changing, my path has been changing, and my work has to change with it. Cerridwen called me. My spirit called me to focus on my sacred craft and practice. The cauldron, which among other things is symbolic for nourishment, containment and the womb, was calling me to explore it in new ways.

My womb space healing work continues now, just in a different, more expansive form. The Cauldron Goddess is an extension of this work, but with a focus more on the spiritual aspect. It is now in a form that can benefit anyone with or without a womb, with or without a womb health issue. It is about nourishment, self-care, and soul-care. All of which benefit the womb space, if that is something you need.

But I am moving beyond the physical womb itself to focus on nourishing the spiritual womb, the inner hearth.

The Cauldron & The Hearth

My intention is to  create an energetic hearth with this blog and offer my services as a cauldron of nourishment for your soul.

This has been my practice as a Hearthwitch over the years- creating a sense of nourishment, safety and sacredness within my self. This then naturally extends to my home, family, clientele and community.

Taking the role of sacred space-holder, of empathetic listener and intuitive guide is my pleasure and passion. This role is nourished by my own spiritual and creative practices.

I have basic counselling, trauma and social work training that I feel is an important asset to what I offer as spiritual healing facilitator and tarot reader. I strive to create that safe cauldron for you to tune into your own intuition and self-healing abilities.

I will be sharing about topics like Tarot, witchy healing tools, sacred crafts, navigating the transitions through life-death-rebirth cycles, and all things related to my path as a hearthwitch, womb witch and devotee of Cerridwen- Goddess of inspiration, transformation and Mother of the Cauldron.

This isn’t my first blog, nor will it be my last. Its purpose is both a hearth for my thoughts, feelings and personal journey as well as a cauldron of teachings, tools and inspiration for your own journey. My hope is that in reading this, you will feel less alone, and more inspired!

So, come and sit down by the hearth with me, relax and nourish your intuitive, creative, nature-loving, witchy soul.

If you’re feeling comfortable, please reach out and connect with me for a reading, come to a circle or sign up for the Cauldron Collective newsletter below, and you’ll receive The Witches’ Wheel– a free ebook with info on the Witches’ sabbats and moon phases with affirmations and journal prompts for your own practice.

xo

Serena

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.