Censer and Cauldron



The censer is an incense burner.  It can be a complex, swinging metal censer like those used in the Catholic church, or a simple seashell.  The censer holds the smoldering incense during Wiccan rites.

If you cannot find a suitable censer, make one.  Any bowl or cup half filled with sand or salt will serve well.  The salt or sand absorbs the heat from the charcoal or incense and prevents the bowl from cracking.  Incense sticks can also be pushed into the salt, or cones placed upon its surface.

Incense use in ritual and magic is an art in and of itself.  When no specific incense is called for in rituals and spells, use your own intuition and creativity in determining which blend to use.

Stick, cone or black incense can be used, but most Wiccans favor the raw or granulated incense, the type which must be burned on self-igniting charcoal briquettes available from occult suppliers.  Either is fine.

In ceremonial magic, "spirits" are sometimes commanded to appear in visible form in the smoke rising from the censer.  While this isn't a part of Wicca, the Goddess and God can sometimes be seen in the curling, twisting smoke.  Sitting while breathing slowly and watching the smoke can be an entrancing act, and you might slip into an alternate state of consciousness.

Wiccan ritual, when performed indoors, isn't complete without incense.  Outdoors a fire often substitutes, or stick type incense is stuck into the ground.  Thus, the censer is an important tool for indoor rites.  To some of the Wicca, the censer represents the element of Air.  It is often placed before the images of the Deities on the altar, if any.



The cauldron the Witch's tool par excellence.  It is an ancient vessel of cooking and brew making, steeped in magical tradition and mystery.  The cauldron is the container in which magical transformations occur; the sacred grail, the holy spring, the sea of Primeval creation.

The Wicca see the cauldron as a symbol of the Goddess, the manifested essence of femininity and fertility.  It is also  symbolic of the element of Water, reincarnation, immortality and inspiration.  Celtic legends concerning Cerridwen's cauldron have has a strong impact on contemporary Wicca.

The cauldron is often  a focal point of ritual.  During spring rites it is sometimes filled with fresh water and flowers; during winter a fire may be kindled within the cauldron to represent the returning heat and light of the Sun (the God) from the cauldron (the Goddess).  This links in agricultural myths wherein the God is born in winter, reaches maturity in summer and dies after the last harvest.

Ideally speaking, the cauldron should be of iron, resting on three legs, with its opening smaller than its widest part.  cauldrons can be difficult to find, even small ones, but a thorough search usually produces some type of cauldron.  A few mail-order houses stick cauldrons, but not regularly.  You may wish to research these sources.

The cauldron can be an instrument of scrying (gazing) by filling it with water and staring into its inky depths.  It can also serve as a container in which to brew up those infamous Wicca brews, but bear in mind that a large fire and plenty of patience are required to make liquids boil in larger cauldrons.  Most Wiccans use stoves and cooking pots today.

If you have difficulty finding a cauldron, persevere and one will eventually materialize.  It certainly can't hurt to ask the Goddess and God to send one your way.

Taken from "Wicca A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham