Cauldrons – to be cauldrons – should be cauldron shaped! If it isn’t that shape
you simply have a pot or pan. Frankly, that doesn’t matter for practical
purposes but somehow a cauldron looks and feels a lot more ‘witchy’
than a new stainless-steel saucepan just bought from the supermarket!
Very occasionally you might find a cauldron with a side handle like the one our
friend in the photo above is using, but the most common is this type with the
handle joined at both sides:
Here is some advice on what to avoid when choosing a cauldron for use in witchcraft (or just in general):
- Look carefully at how the legs are attached to the base of the
cauldron – Do NOT buy a cauldron with legs that have been riveted on rather than cast on all in one piece. Those with rivetted legs always leak or will do so sooner or
- Do not buy cauldrons where there is a lot of rust that has corroded the iron to
make the base too thin so that it is almost breakable – rust is fine, it is to be
expected on an old cauldron, but too much rust is another matter altogether.
- Do not buy brass or copper cauldrons if you intend to use them to make
potions or drinks; the metal can contaminate the liquid and so iron is best. If
all you are going to use the cauldron for is burning incense inside then it
doesn’t matter if it is copper, brass, iron or bronze.
- Do not buy a cauldron made of pewter – any direct heat applied to it will cause
it to melt like a candle and indeed, you can melt pewter over a candle flame!
It doesn’t have to have a lid and most old / antique cauldrons either never had
them in the first place or have lost them at some time because a previous
owner didn’t want to use a lid.
- Do not EVER buy plastic unless it is like the massive plastic one our coven uses in Element Rites. Plastic is of no use for any general purposes…. but
dragging and carrying an immense water-filled cast iron cauldron to the middle
of a wood is not a very practical proposition! ……and then of course there is
the problem of hitchhikers……
Cauldrons can be suspended over a fire by their handles or chains from branches or a triangular framework in metal or wood:
From around the mid 1990’s cauldrons began to be made with the Wiccan
market in mind and are cast with pentagrams and triple moons etc. They are
made well and are inexpensive. Personally, we prefer the traditional
unembellished style but if the type below appeals to you they should serve you well.
One of our members recently found and bought the little antique iron cauldron below. It measures just 5 ½ inches by 4 ½” diameter (14cm x11cm). He’s been looking for a small
antique one this size for ages and uses it for brewing interesting potions
and also for burning incense inside. (Note of caution: add a liner to the cauldron when burning incense, or just put sand or salt in to insulate the charcoal and prevent burns!).
So, now you want to know where to buy a cauldron and how to look after it?
…Even Amazon sells them now as does eBay. Old ones come up on eBay sometimes at reasonable prices and sometimes at prices bordering on insanely expensive…
Also, just because the seller says it’s a cauldron doesn’t mean it is – it has to look like one
and not just a pot or bowl – sellers put the word ‘cauldron’ into the description
to attract naïve and unwary buyers ….usually as Halloween approaches.
Having bought your cauldron, you need to clean it – a new one with warm
soapy water / an old one with a wire brush ….and then warm soapy water!
Check for leaks at this stage and if ANY water no matter how little is leaking
out, return it to the seller and get your money back. Leaks have a tendency to
get worse under heat or over time.
Once cleaned you need to ‘prove’ the cauldron: All you need is 1-2 tablespoons
of olive oil and some salt depending on the size of the cauldron. Pour the oil
into the pan and sprinkle salt liberally all over the inside. Heat over moderate
heat until smoking hot, and then carefully rub the salt and oil well into the pan
with a paper towel. Remove from the heat and wipe dry. Proving provides a
natural protective ‘Teflon’ type coating which is non-toxic (unlike Teflon).
2 thoughts on “The Witch’s Cauldron – tips for buying and maintenance”
Great post 😃
A good way to clean the inside of a rusty iron cauldron is to fill it up with cheap cola. The phosphoric acid removes the rust if you leave it overnight. If its been used as a planter or say in the garden you may need to repeat it.
Remember iron cauldrons are a comparitivly modern industrial product so dont be put off by riveted ones as this is what our ancestors used. if it leaks a copper cauldron for example can be re ‘tinned’ and if youfollow a celtic path a riveted cauldron is more authentic.