Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Male Cauldron

 (Rant Alert)

Och, have we all been brain-raped by Sigmund Freud?

Has our worldview become so simplistically sexualized that we've lost the ability to see the plain sense of things?

As pagan dogmas go, it doesn't get much more dogmatic.

Cauldron = female. Cunny. Womb.


 As a quick glance at mythology demonstrates, the ancestors knew a rather more nuanced world.

There's Arawn's Cauldron, which in Preiddeu Annwfn Arthur steals: the oldest-known Grail Quest. The Lord of the Dead, after all, has many mouths to feed.

In Greece, of course, there's Pelias' cauldron: lucky guy.

Not to mention the Dagda's famous Cauldron, paired with his equally-famous Club. First you kill 'em, then you cook 'em.

Then, of course, there's Þór's Cauldron. Did you ever wonder why one of the most popular male names among the Norse was Þórkell? Though the story of Þór's Kettle may be lost to us, the name itself remains as enduring witness to the tale's one-time existence.

Like the female body, the male body is also a container: of tears, sweat, blood, urine, feces, even ideas. Unlike the female body, it also contains semen.

In the old days, the lord in his hall on the hill always owned the best and biggest cauldron in the dún. The lord, master of hospitality, has many folk to feed, and as father to his people, it's his responsibility to see that they're all fed. As hunter, as master of herds and fields, the lord—both human and divine—is preeminently He of the Life-Giving Cauldron.

In Witchdom at large, the storied lore of the Horned One's Cauldron has long since (for the most part) been lost to the ages, but we need not lament its loss, for it is by no means beyond recovery.

All that we need is some intrepid latter-day Arthur to set sail and bring it back.




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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Saturday, 01 August 2015

    I read this post and immediately thought of Andrew Zimmer and his Bizarre Foods shows on the Travel Channel. There are a lot of guys on that show with big pots cooking stuff.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Tuesday, 04 August 2015

    The story of Thor's kettle isn't lost at all. It's just contained in another story with multiple elements, and it's only his temporarily -- he's the hero who won it in the story, but ultimately gives it to the one who will use it best. The story goes that the gods were going to have a feast at Aegir's hall. Aegir had no brewing vat big enough to make enough ale for everyone. Tyr knew where to get one big enough: from his father's house. So Tyr and Thor went to Tyr's father's house, but Tyr's father was a nasty-tempered wife-beating giant and wouldn't give it to them. Tyr's mother and grandmother, who was a giant who had 900 heads, helped them win the kettle. Thor and the giant went fishing. This is the part of the story that people remember, it's the one where Thor hooked the Midgard Serpent. Thor and the giant came home with two whales, which Thor helped carry. Then Thor and the giant had a contest of strength over ownership of the kettle and Thor broke the giant's magic goblet and carried off the kettle. When Thor and Tyr were on their way back to Aegir's, after they were no longer guests, they were beset by giants and Thor killed Tyr's father! No one remembers this part because apparently Tyr had no problem with it and didn't say a word about it ever. Then Thor and Tyr went to Aegir's and gave Aegir the kettle. So then it became Aegir's kettle. All this is the prequel to Lokasenna, the story where Loki gets drunk and insults everyone.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Wednesday, 05 August 2015

    Excellent, Erin, I'd completely forgotten this story: as you say, fishing for the Midgard Serpent overshadows the rest of it. Another looted cauldron, hmm. Och, so many stories to know, and really one needs to know them all. Thanks!

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Wednesday, 05 August 2015

    You're welcome! I remember the giant's name now. It's Hymir. The story is named for him, Hymiskvitha. Here's a link:

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