A whole book, not just a pamphlet on the cauldron? Sceptiscm is rife. . . . and yet . . . Popular culture knows it from Shakespeare: "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble" or perhaps associated images of green-faced witches tossing baby frogs, dried blood, and other disgusting things into a bubbling pot. The much-loved book and movie Practical Magic features a cauldron in a key scene. Witches know it as the ultimate symbol of woman, goddess. After a thorough read, I have to say that The Witch's Cauldron is a lovely book stuffed full of information about a core symbol of the witch's craft.
First of all, I learned a lot and was impressed by Zakroff's clear writing style. She was excellent about notating source materials and making sure the reader was clear on when it was her opinion instead of fact. For example "It is my belief that viewing the cauldron as female in modern Pagan practice is more strongly linked with the desire to revive the concept of the Goddess than with the cauldron's shape or use. (p.14)" The chapter on the cauldron in history and myth was intriguing, as was the one on using it in ritual. But the best chapter was "Thinking Outside the Cauldron," a well-though out discussion of 'alternative cauldrons.' Bathtubs, tea cup, crock pot, and washer, all of these carry the cauldron's qualities within them. (I can just see several of my kitchen witch friends salivating at the idea of using them for craft!)
Full of lovely spells and practices for using the cauldron in a variety of ways, Zakroff has done a wonderful job of writing about such a vital symbol.
Five cauldrons out of five!
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Laura Zakroff
Llewellyn Publications, 2017
pp.288, $15.99

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