Hungarian goulash in a traditional "bogrács" (cauldron)

A cauldron or caldron[citation needed] is a large metal pot (kettle) for cooking and/or boiling over an open fire, with a large mouth and frequently with an arc-shaped hanger.



The word cauldron is first recorded in Middle English as caudroun (13th c.). It was borrowed from Old Northern French or Anglo-Norman caudron [1] (Norman-Picard caudron, French chaudron). It represents the phonetical evolution of Vulgar Latin *caldario for Classical Latin caldārium "hot bath", that derives from cal(i)dus "hot".[2]

The Norman-French word replaces probably the initial Old English word ċetel (German (Koch)Kessel "cauldron", Dutch (kook)ketel "cauldron"), Middle English chetel. The word kettle comes from the Old Norse variant spelling ketill "cauldron".[3]

Symbolism and mythology

Cauldrons have largely fallen out of use in the developed world as cooking vessels. While still used for practical purposes, a more common association in Western culture is the cauldron's use in witchcraft—a cliché popularized by various works of fiction, such as Shakespeare's play Macbeth. In fiction, witches often prepare their potions in a cauldron. Also, in Irish folklore, a cauldron is purported to be where leprechauns keep their treasure.

In some forms of Wicca which incorporate aspects of Celtic mythology, the cauldron is associated with the goddess Cerridwen. Celtic legend also tells of a cauldron that was useful to warring armies: dead warriors could be put into the cauldron and would be returned to life, save that they lacked the power of speech. It was suspected that they lacked souls. These warriors could go back into battle until they were killed again. In Wicca and some other forms of neopagan or pagan belief systems the cauldron is still used in magical practices. Most often a cauldron is made of cast iron and is used to burn loose incense on a charcoal disc, to make black salt (used in banishing rituals), for mixing herbs, or to burn petitions (paper with words of power or wishes written on them). Cauldrons symbolize not only the Goddess but also represent the womb (due to the fact that it holds something) and on an altar it represents earth because it is a working tool. Cauldrons are often sold in new age and metaphysical stores and may have other symbols of power inscribed on them.

A Bronze Age cauldron made from sheet bronze and a flesh-hook

The holy grail of Arthurian legend is sometimes referred to as a "cauldron", although traditionally the grail is thought of as a hand-held cup rather than the large pot that the word "cauldron" usually is used to mean. This may have resulted from the combination of the grail legend with earlier Celtic myths of magical cauldrons.

Real symbolic cauldrons include:

Mythical cauldrons include:

See also


  1. ^ T. F. Hoad, English Etymology, Oxford University Press, 1993 (ISBN 0-19-283098-8). p. 67.
  2. ^ HOAD 67.
  3. ^ HOAD 252.

Iles, J., THE ELEMENT ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WITCHCRAFT. London: HarperElement, 2005.


Tuitéan, P. and Daniels, E., ESSENTIAL Wicca. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, 2001.

Webster, G., CELTIC RELIGION IN ROMAN BRITAIN. Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble Books, 1987.

Zimmermann, D. and Gleason, K.A., THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO Wicca and Witchcraft.Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books, 2000.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cauldron 2 — Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back Cauldron II The Pumpkin Strikes Back Éditeur Palace Software Développeur The Ramjam Corporation Concepteur Steve Brown, Richard Leinfellner Date de sortie 1986 Genre Plates fo …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cauldron II — Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back Cauldron II The Pumpkin Strikes Back Éditeur Palace Software Développeur The Ramjam Corporation Concepteur Steve Brown, Richard Leinfellner Date de sortie 1986 Genre Plates fo …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cauldron HQ — Тип Частная компания Год основания 1996 Расположение …   Википедия

  • Cauldron — Éditeur Palace Software Concepteur Steve Brown, Richard Leinfellner Date de sortie 1985 Genre Plates formes Mode de jeu Un joueur Plate forme …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cauldron — steht für: Cauldron (Entwicklerfirma), Entwicklerfirma für Computerspiele aus Bratislava Cauldron (Band), kanadische Heavy Metal Band Hexenküche (Computerspiel) im englischen Original Diese Seite ist eine …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • cauldron — c.1300, caudron, from Anglo Fr. caudrun, O.N.Fr. cauderon (O.Fr. chauderon cauldron, kettle ), from augmentative of L.L. caldaria cooking pot (Cf. Sp. calderon, It. calderone), from L. calidarium hot bath, from calidus warm, hot (see CALORIE …   Etymology dictionary

  • cauldron — caul dron (k[add]l dr[u^]n), n. 1. a very large pot. Syn: caldron. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cauldron — (also caldron) ► NOUN ▪ a large metal pot, used for cooking over an open fire. ORIGIN Old French caudron, from Latin caldarium hot bath , caldaria cooking pot …   English terms dictionary

  • cauldron — [kôl′drən] n. alt. sp. of CALDRON …   English World dictionary

  • Cauldron HQ — Infobox Company company name = Cauldron HQ company company slogan = company type = foundation = 1996 location = Bratislava, Slovakia industry = Video games Entertainment revenue = num employees = 64 key people = products = homepage =… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”