A cauldron is basically a pot. If you are an Orisha adherent, you should have an iron cauldron or pan to embody Ogun. Traditions vary as to whether or not you are permitted to put this cauldron to use for purposes aside of embodying him. Any metal pot or tool or technological object you use belongs to him, and in my family, we believe that a tool loves to work. So for us, it is celebrating the ashe of a cauldron to use it, so one’s designated Ogun cauldron should be the item that potions and other liquids should be heated in. Many however, prefer to use a separate cauldron because they prefer to disturb the homes of the Orishas on their altars as little as possible. Which you should do depends on your traditions and personal convictions.
Why Use a Cauldron?
It is special. Spell casting and root work is a sort of technology, which Ogun is in charge of. Preparing some things in a cauldron gives special respect to this, and since your cauldron would be used mainly or only for witchcraft and observances, adds precision that wouldn’t be there if you just used one of your everyday cooking pots.
A cauldron also adds trace amounts of iron to what you make in it. This means that this energy is quite literally carried with the liquid. So it’s not just ethereal. It is physical as well.
Where to Find a Cauldron
Many magick shops have them, but they are very heavy, so shipping may be expensive. Your best bet is to look in your local camping supplies store.
Blessing and Seasoning a New Cauldron
Traditions vary in this, but the basic steps are fairly consistent. You should give offerings to your Eshu and Ogun, and coat your cauldron in red palm oil, or if that isn’t available, another nut oil. The first thing you do with this pot should be for Ogun. Some people prefer to do a blood offering first, while others find a substitute more appropriate or accessible in their situations.
Reminder: never give Ogun your own blood or the blood of any human you do not wish to die. Do not call him specifically if you have any open wound, or if you are on your period or having post partum bleeding. Even be careful if you have gingivitis or are nursing any sort of infection. Use Listerine for your mouth, and make sure everything is dried up or scabbed over well. Some people have made mistakes, and been in car accidents, or had mechanical related accidents shortly thereafter. Ogun does not mess around. So don’t play games or know-better-than-the-elders with him. Whose blood he tastes belongs to him. He will take more.
Also, in blood offerings, serve Ogun first. This is the one exception to the “Eshu first” general rule.
Being the Orisha of metals, industry, and technology, Ogun is very efficient. So a good first offering given from it, if you can’t get to blood is a rich soup or stew. In the stories about his warring and hunting days, he liked the soups and stews made out in the field. He likes to eat, and he likes to drink, so it’s a joyful thing for him to be able to do both at once. You should also give him some strong rum, gin, red wine, or palm wine.
Heating Your Cauldron
A cauldron can be heated a few ways.
- You can dig a hole in the ground, put a fire in it, and put a grill over it.
- You can put tea light candles in a bowl, put a grill or rack on that, and set the cauldron on top.
- If its legs are long enough, you can put one to four tealights directly under it.
- There are also cooking racks used by caterers to keep foods hot.
- You can also heat it on a gas stove.
Cleaning Your Cauldron
You can clean it with oil and a brush, or with soap and water. After you do the initial cleaning though, you should heat it until it is very hot and everything in it is burnt, and then wipe it down with oil.
If you live in a humid area or near the sea, your cauldron may rust just from the air. So even if you don’t use it very often, oil it every month or two just because.
Using a Cauldron
Cauldrons are used to make teas, potions, and other liquids used in root work. It is also used to make steam offerings to Oya, and various herbal liquids that other Orishas enjoy. You’ll need one to make many magickal sprays as well.
Many use their cauldrons as incense burners. They are handy this way. It’s a little fire safe area.
A cauldron is an essential tool in witchcraft. The wise people of old put them to good and frequent use. We have fancy pots and pans nowadays, but sometimes nothing does it better than a cauldron.
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