The Mysteries of the Cauldron and the Sacred Feminine
by Laura (Violet) Rimola
The mist slightly rises from the wet soil, covered by a carpet of scarlet leaves. It rises, vaporous, veiling the bare trees and surrounding our gentle steps. The voice of the forest is silent and the boundary between the worlds is so labile that we can lay the eyes beyond the visible, beyond anything we know.
The time of the passage across the mists is near and we are called to look into the cauldron.
We are called to immerse ourselves into the cauldron, inside its regenerating power.
We go down and down in the center of the cauldron, allowing ourselves to abandon us to its transformative heat, and we slowly recall its ancient function.
What is the sacred cauldron and what happens inside it?
But above all, what deep connection exists between the woman and the magic of the cauldron?
The cauldron – from Latin caldaria or caldero, that mean “it which heats”, and “what keeps the warmth inside” – is the place where the heat that allows cooking and leads to deep transformation of all what is being immersed inside, is developed and spread. To ensure that the heat arises and remains constant it is necessary to light and feed the fire with care, and for this reason the cauldron is inextricably linked to the fire, the natural element that activates its transformative power.
Through cooking also occurs the slow and patient distillation, which evaporates all that is superfluous and reduces the raw material to its essence, to the original substance.
Since ancient times, the cauldron was a tool closely associated with the female world, and only women, who were dedicated to use it every day, knew their innermost secrets.
In the Avalonian Tradition those who teach the powers of the cauldron are divine women, and the cauldron is the center of the sacred sisterhood.
Nine virgins gathered in a circle keep it warm with the warmth of their breath.
The wise Ceridwen stirs and stirs, cooks and transforms, and teaches the patient art of distillation, which disperses the poison of what is harmful or not necessary for our growth and let us able to access to the essential soul that contains the light of knowledge.
Finally, Branwen, the white feathers woman, vigils on the passage from death to life, and releases the “volatile” essence, making it white and light.
Each of these goddesses embodies the cauldron and transmits the experience of its mystery – the transformation that distills the raw material and makes the soul white and slight through the maintenance of a constant heat – suggesting that it will never be lived externally, but only in our interiority.
Because the cauldron is inside, in the deepest middle of ourselves.
For a long time women dedicated themselves to cook, boil and distill, and for a long time they kept watch on the hot magic of cauldron, which at the same time acting in their own, day after day. The cauldron was connected to the center of the house, the sacred burning fire, the heart of the divine feminine, and it was the source of nourishment and therefore of life, as it is the woman.
Its round shape, large and warm, recalls the beautiful female womb, but also the flourishing glutes and the sacred yoni; and it represents the divine womb of the Great Mother, the source of life and the place where the essential soul regenerates itself and is transformed after death, to re-emerge renewed for embrace the new life.
The female womb is therefore the most natural and powerful expression of the embodied cauldron, which according to some legends had to be made only of pure material and contained a perpetual burning fire. For this reason, the more the cauldron was great, capacious, “able to contain”, to hold and gather the divine feminine influences that the ancient Mother gave to her daughters, the more it was considered beautiful, good and sacred.
Each woman is the bearer of the sacred cauldron, and its beauty is always unique, but it belongs to all. Each woman, joined in a circle with her sisters, is a sanctuary of transformation and regeneration, and the dance of the women gathered together is the soft and round dance of the ancient cauldron.
Descending into the center of the cauldron, in its protected and secure interior, we immerse ourselves in our own center, we return to the womb and abandon ourselves to the regenerating magic of the sacred feminine, returning, each time more, in the maternal and restful darkness of origins, in the time of our gestation, to be formed and to re-create ourselves according to our inner truth.
Inside the cauldron we rely on the transformation and slowly let ourselves to be distilled, dispersing what is not needed and that often poisons us, and rediscovering our very essence. The bright drop that contains the whole universe.
To immerse ourselves into the cauldron can be difficult or easy, it may takes a long time or just a fleeting moment, but when we go past the threshold we find that the cauldron, mirror the womb of the earth, is a place of warmth and love where there is nothing to fear, because every wound is healed and every fear is calmed.
The transformation of the cauldron, in fact, will never lead us to be something different or unknown to what we really are, because the transformation of the cauldron is the return to the origin. And inside the cauldron we find not only our truth, but we also receive the gift of the memory of the source of all things, so that we can open our eyes in the light of its awareness.
Let us learn again to be living cauldrons, sacred embodied cauldrons. Let us learn to listen again to our womb and act in the world according to the voice of the womb, the instinct of the belly.
We can keep our inner fire with the warmth of our breath, as we learn from the sisterhood of the nine virgins.
We can stir and stir, heat and let evaporate the foggy illusions of our ego, distilling our essence to the last shining drop, as shows us the wise Ceridwen.
And finally, we can make white and light our soul, our real Self, learning again to fly into the realm of the spirit, as Branwen, She Who Sets Free, invites us to do.
Doing so, we will wake inside us the power of the cauldron, we will re-know its secrets, and as our beloved ancestors, connected to us by blood and spirit, we will still be the keepers of its mystery.
Look into the cauldron, enter in its heat, and let it transforms and regenerates us.
So that its magic will make us what we are born to be.
Laura (Violet) Rimola follows an Avalonian path, inspired especially by the Pre-Christian female religions of North Italy. She writes articles, short essays, fairytales and poems about the sacred feminine and is the founder of a non-profit Italian Avalonian circle – I Meli di Avalon (The Avalon’s Apple Orchard) – since 2005.