Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Magical and Miraculous Vessels

I was thumbing through a beautiful book called The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology by Arthur Cotterell and Rachel Storm and came across a chapter called Wondrous Cauldrons. This particular chapter is about miraculous cauldrons that are a recurrent motif in Celtic Myth. However holy vessels and bowls with magical properties are a part of the legends and myths of other cultures as well. These vessels were often used in a protective way or they might provide some kind of spiritual insight or gift.

The Authurian myth of the Holy Grail is probably the most well known vessel story.The grail or chalice appeared to the Knights of the Round Table This holy vessel was the cup used at the Last Supper and at Christ's crucifixion to receive his blood. According to legend only Sir Galahad was pure enough to ever be granted a full vision of the Grail.

a Babylonian Demon bowl
During the 6th-8th centuries AD the Babylonians used Demon Bowls. Inscribed earthenware bowls have been found in Iran and Iraq. It is believed the bowls were demon traps used to lure, trap and "kill" bad demons to prevent them from hurting humans. These traps were placed in room corners since that is where there might be cracks through which demons could enter. They were also buried in cemeteries to protect against demons and ghosts.
The Gundestrup Cauldron
There are many stories about special bowls and vessels. Some bowls provide never-ending food or drink others endow the user with wisdom or eternal life. Still others restore life to the dead.. The ancient Greeks followed a practice called lekanonancy. This was a ritual using a bowl of water from a holy well. Objects were thrown into the bowl and then "read" to forcast the future. To this day cauldrons are important in the practice of witchcraft. Go to anhttp://www.controverscial.com/Cauldron%20Magick.htmd to learn more.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shaker boxes

The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing is a religious sect commonly known as the Shakers. Started in 1747 in England the early leaders were women. Mother Ann Lee had the most influence on the group. She called her followers to "confess their sins, give up all their worldly goods and take up the cross of celibacy." By 1788 the Shakers had become fairly widespread in the United States. Elder Joseph Meachan organized them into Shaker communities or villages. Shakers became known for their beautiful and simply designed handicrafts.


Traditional wooden Shaker boxes are oval and come in different sizes. The Shakers labeled them from the smallest a number 11 to the largest a number 1. They usually have a natural wood finish but are sometimes painted red, blue, green, or yellow.

The boxes and lids are formed from one piece of wood which is soaked in water so it can be bent around an oval form. The ends are held together with a swallow tail joint, so called because their shapes resembles a birds tail. The joints are held together with copper tacks.

Then as today the boxes were used to store everything from food stuffs to sewing supplies. Authentic Shaker-made boxes are hard to find but nice reproductions are plentiful.