Three Cauldrons

Copyright by Searles O'Dubhain

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The Three Cauldrons Text

There is a fifteenth century poetic tract (found within an ancient Irish legal manuscript) that describes the body as containing Three Cauldrons rather than Nine Duíle. These Three Cauldrons are known as the Coire Goiriath (Cauldron of Warmth), the Coire Ernmae (Cauldron of Vocation), and the Coire Sois (Cauldron of Knowledge). The authorship of this metaphysical treatise is attributed to Amergin, the Milesian Ollamh and to Nede Mac Adne, Chief Ollamh for Conchobhar Mac Nessa. The relative positions of these cauldrons within each person was thought to determine the overall health of a person as well as the state of their mind and psyche.

The Cauldron of Warming

According to this tract, the Cauldron of Warming is the wellspring of Life for each of us. It is placed upright at birth and remains that way throughout our lives. This cauldron represents the fires of emotion, vitality and power that sustain all of our activity within the Three Worlds. The Cauldron of Warming is warmed by the Breath of our Spirits. It is empowered by the vitality of our Blood. The Mind is the well from which Spiritual focus flows to regulate and control the nature of our inner fires. These three fundamental characteristics of the Cauldron of Warming are also duíle of the body: The Breath, the Blood, and the Mind. Within the threefold Cauldrons we see a threefold division of the Self. It can be shown that each Cauldron contains three Duíle.

The Cauldron of Vocation

The Cauldron of Vocation seems to be inverted in unskilled people, though it too can be turned by joy or sorrow. A person need only become aware of their "gifts" to turn this cauldron on its side. Within such people, there is a giving and receiving of vocation. These people are very active within the physical world. One might say that the evidence of their gifts is very fluid. The Cauldron of Vocation represents the connection between the Self and the MiddleWorld of Land. Before we can fill the Cauldron of Wisdom, we must train ourselves in a Vocation. We must experience the many flows of the world around us. I equate the following elements of the self to the Cauldron of Vocation: The Hair, the Flesh, and the Bones. Our physical bodies must be made healthy to support the higher aspects of the Self and to allow us to be able to exist as both creatures of Thought and Spirit.

The Cauldron of Knowledge

The Cauldron of Knowledge was said to be upside down in a person at birth . This is understandable, since we normally forget our previous lives from passing through the Otherworld. A person could spend an entire lifetime refilling and changing the position of this particular cauldron. It was thought that the cauldron would become upright after some sort of major emotional event, such as, extreme sorrow or extreme joy. In such an "upright" person / position, the Cauldron of Knowledge was capable of holding much more knowledge and wisdom. I personally equate the Cauldron of Knowledge to the duíle of the Head, the Brain and the Face. The Head is the container of knowledge; the Brain is where Wisdom is held; the Face is were we gather and perceive information about the world around us. The Cauldron of Knowledge represents the connection between the Skyworld of the Gods and the Mental / Spiritual / Physical aspects of the Self.

Centers of the Self

The Three Cauldrons of Warming, Vocation and Knowledge represent the Druid's approach to the concept of "Chakras", in my opinion. The state of being and the emphasis that we place upon each Cauldron, determines just who we are, and just how deeply we are involved within the activities of each of the Three Worlds. Space does not permit a more complete discussion of this concept within the present work. There are other writings that address this idea in greater detail. Please refer to the Bibliography at the end of this work for further references. Entire books could be written to characterize the interconnection between the Self, the Cauldrons and the Three Worlds. The threefold nature of the Worlds characterize the state of our selves and the Cosmos. To more completely describe our connection and interaction with the cosmos, other factors must be considered. Where we exist and where we are trying to go are matters of direction rather than state. Those aspects of the Self and the Three worlds are best related by a discussion about the four Otherworldly cities of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Magick is what lies just under the surface of life. To master divination, we must also become masters of Magick.

Black and White Return to O'Dubhain's Cauldron