Magickal Tool Care Series: Cauldrons

Bright Blessings, Witches! Next up in our Magickal Tool Care Series we’re talking cauldrons! The dream – for me at least – is to have a huge cauldron hanging in an large open hearth that I use to cook food for my friends and family. A little hard to do while living in an apartment!

As for my current working cauldron, I have a few for different purposes. My 3″ size hangs from a tripod. I take this portable vessel outside to burn petitions, bay leaves, etc. I also have a dedicated cauldron, a little bigger than the 3″, for incense only in which I accumulate ashes to make black salt. Finally, I have a 5″ cauldron complete with a stand and lid that I keep on my altar. It’s my main working cauldron that I’ve had for years.

So how do you take care of a cauldron? As mentioned in the first post of this series, outside of knowing what magickal tools are, practitioners need to know how to care for them both physically and spiritually. Let’s dive in!

ETYMOLOGY

the etymology of the word cauldron

cauldron (n.)
“very large kettle or boiler,” c. 1300, caudron, from Anglo-French caudrun, Old North French cauderon (Old French chauderon “cauldron, kettle”), from augmentative of Late Latin caldaria “cooking pot” (source of Spanish calderon, Italian calderone), from Latin calidarium “hot bath,” from calidus “warm, hot” (from PIE root *kele- (1) “warm”). The -l- was inserted 15c. in imitation of Latin.

Source

Like most words in our modern language, the word ‘cauldron’ holds root in Latin. To me, it has very specific feelings attached to it and conjures up particular images in my mind. Perhaps it’s the same for you?

WHAT IS A CAULDRON?

an old cauldron for magick spells

From the definition, a cauldron is a cooking vessel or pot. In magick, we also use cauldrons for kitchen witching, for making potions and elixirs, mixing herbs, for fire workings, burning incense and petitions, making moon and sun water, for the creation of black salt, and – depending on what path you follow – used as the representation of the Goddess and her womb.

WHAT DOES A CAULDRON LOOK LIKE?

a cauldron over a flame used for magick

The typical description of a cauldron is one made from cast iron. Black in color, the traditional cauldron has a lid, two handles opposite one another, and a handle to hang it over a fire. Some also have feet.

Modern cauldrons vary in color and material. While most are cast iron, others can be found made of enamel. A quick Google search shows just how many variants there are in the current age.

HOW TO CHOOSE A CAULDRON FOR YOUR PRACTICE

shopping for the right cauldron for your magickal practice

An undisputable fact of magick and witchcraft is that tools are extremely intimate to the practitioner. What works wonders for one witch may not do much for another. It’s because of this that choosing a cauldron for your practice is a very personal affair.

When in the market for a cauldron, shopping in person is best. This allows you to tune into your intuition and let your gut take the lead. If you’re unable to physically browse the aisles, take the time to read reviews of reputable sites with lots of pictures and detailed descriptions featuring dimensions and measurements.

It’s also important to note that you aren’t limited to purchasing new. As cast iron is made to last an extremely long time, you also have the option of perusing flea markets, yard sales, and thrift stores. This is particularly helpful when shopping on a budget.

HOW TO CLEANSE YOUR CAULDRON

smoke can be used to cleanse items magickally and spiritually

Once you have your cauldron – either new or used – it must be cleansed of all magickal residue. The accumulation of psychic energy begins at the creation of the cauldron and continues throughout its lifetime. As such, anyone who has handled your vessel prior to your possession has left traces of their own metaphysical energies.

So how do you go about cleansing it? First and foremost, we want to physically clean our cauldrons.

PHYSICALLY CLEANING YOUR CAST IRON CAULDRON

use cut lemon wedges to physically clean cast iron cauldrons
  1. Cut a lemon into wedges
  2. Grab a handful of coarse salt
  3. Mix the salt with a small amount of water in the bottom of the cauldron
  4. Using a lemon wedge, clean the cauldron by moving the salt and water around in a small, circular motion, making sure to get the entirety of the vessel

WHAT ABOUT SOAP AND WATER?

you can use soap and water to cleanse your cast iron cauldron

Another method to physically clean a cauldron is to use soap and water. While a lot of people claim it can’t be done as it will “ruin” cast iron, I’ll let Serious Eats explain:

The Theory: Seasoning is a thin layer of oil that coats the inside of your skillet. Soap is designed to remove oil, therefore soap will damage your seasoning.

The Reality: Seasoning is actually not a thin layer of oil, it’s a thin layer of polymerized oil, a key distinction. In a properly seasoned cast iron pan, one that has been rubbed with oil and heated repeatedly, the oil has already broken down into a plastic-like substance that has bonded to the surface of the metal. This is what gives well-seasoned cast iron its non-stick properties, and as the material is no longer actually an oil, the surfactants in dish soap should not affect it. Go ahead and soap it up and scrub it out.

The one thing you shouldn’t do? Let it soak in the sink. Try to minimize the time it takes from when you start cleaning to when you dry and re-season your pan. If that means letting it sit on the stovetop until dinner is done, so be it.”

SOURCE

NONE CAN DESTROY IRON, BUT ITS RUST CAN!

Regardless of which cleaning method you use, cast iron should never remain wet. Due its porous nature, it can rust easily. Thoroughly dry your cauldron and season it for future usage.

MIXING PHYSICAL CLEANING WITH SPIRITUAL CLEANSING

Combine physical cleaning with spiritually cleansing to prepare your new cauldron for use

During the process of physically cleaning your cauldron, use your Third Eye to imagine your actions spiritually cleansing the vessel of all negative energies as well. Affix your intention on ridding the receptacle of any magickal residue. Further your workings by scrubbing in a widdershins (counter-clockwise) motion to remove and repel any malicious attachments.

When you go to maintain the cast iron via seasoning, invoke your intention and activate your Third Eye again. This time, visualize filling your cauldron – now empty of any energy – with positive power and love. As you season your vessel, use a deosil (clockwise) motion to attract and invite the positive energies in.

After any kind of casting, make it a habit to close your workings and thank your tools, elements, spiritual attendants, etc. for their assistance.

ANOTHER WAY TO CLEANSE YOUR CAULDRON

use the elements of earth and water to cleanse your new cauldron

Another method you can utilize to cleanse your cauldron involves the elements of Earth and Water. Burying things is a long-standing process of cleansing items and tools. In order to cleanse your vessel this way, dig a hole deep enough to fully submerge and cover it for at least 24 hours. If there is a lid, burying it alongside. Once you dig it up, introduce the next element of Water.

Using charged moon water, rinse the cauldron of all lingering dirt. Remember not to soak the cauldron as it will rust if left long enough. Dry thoroughly when you deem it sufficiently clean and then coat it in and out with a very thin layer of oil. This can be any kind of cooking oil, like vegetable or olive. Rub the oil in deosil until evenly coated, inviting in everything positive.

use your oven to dry out your cast iron cauldron

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place a cookie sheet or tray on the bottom most rack. This will catch any oil that may trickle down during the drying process. Put your cauldron on the top rack, upside down, allowing it cure for roughly an hour. If your cauldron has a lid and you’re seasoning it too, be sure that you put it beside the vessel and not on top of it.

Once an hour has passed, shut the oven off and leave the cauldron to cool. When you remove it, continue the cure by rubbing coarse salt and a bit more oil – again, with deosil circles – until coated on the inside. Heat your oven to 350 degrees again, and once it’s ready place your cauldron in the oven right side up.

Let your cauldron cure for another hour, repeating the steps of shutting the oven off and allowing it to cool off completely before removing it. The leftover salt can be collected and stored in an airtight container and used as a black salt starter.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Maintaining your cauldron to be in good working order is simply a matter of upkeep. Get yourself in the habit of physically cleaning your vessel after each and every use. Not only does this ensure your tool will be ready at any time, but it also continues the process of seasoning.

What happens when stuff gets scorched on the surface?

Stiff scrub brushes made specifically for cast iron surfaces are your best bet. A bit of hot water and elbow grease in tandem with the cleaning tool should remove any spellwork residuals. Once clean, remember to repeat the oiling and curing process to keep your cauldron seasoned, protected, and ready.

SEASON EVERY SEASON

season your cast iron cauldron every season

For most practitioners, a cauldron re-season should happen four times a year, or once every season. If you celebrate the Sabbats, you can align your curing method with the Greater or Lesser holidays as a way to remember to do it. Now, if you’re using your cauldron for kitchen witching or for brewing elixirs and philtres, re-seasoning more often is appropriate.

HOW TO STORE YOUR CAULDRON

You’ll want to keep your cast iron cauldron in a dry, cool environment. This keeps moisture from being attracted to the surface and reduces the risk of rust. Depending on how often you’re utilizing your vessel, you may also wish to wrap it in paper towels, offering another layer of protection when it’s not in use.

If you’re using your cauldron often, simply storing it in your working area – altar, workshop, craft table, etc. – is fine. Because you’re interacting with it so often, your maintenance will be sufficient to keep it in good working order.

IN CONCLUSION…

Well Witches, there you have it! While cauldrons may have become synonymous with witchcraft from literary tropes and other media over the years, I know I’d be lost without mine. Now that you know how to choose, care, and store one, go forth and relish in having one for your own craft. Bright Blessings and Happy Casting!

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