The cauldron was an important artifact in Celtic daily life, where it served as the hub of the home. It was used for most household cooking, as well as for bathing and carrying water, and was the finest object owned by most households. The cauldron was likewise central in Celtic religious practice, where it was used for divination and sacrificial rituals. The cauldron was an emblem of the domain of water, and beautifully designed cauldrons were frequently sacrificed to the gods of lakes and rivers. The ocean itself was at times conceived as a great cauldron.
It was from a great cauldron in the Otherworld that poetic and artistic inspiration was given, and the measure each man received depended on how much his life and actions caused the cauldron to flow. The welsh goddess Cerridwen owned a great cauldron, from which the bard Taliesin illicitly obtained his legendary talents as a bard. To the ancient Gauls, cauldron was closely linked with the god Taranis; sacrifices made to the god by Druid priests were purportedly drowned in a cauldron, possibly with the belief that the victim would be reborn. Many Celtic legends tell of a cauldron from which slain warriors could be resurrected.
The Dagda’s great Cauldron of Plenty was one of the four legendary treasures of Ireland, a magical object that provided an endless supply of tasty food and drink to the worthy. The cauldron of the Otherworld is at the center of the earliest Arthurian tales, where it retains its powers, but is claimed to be the cup of Christ. As a symbol of Celtic identity, the cauldron continued to capture the imagination of the Celts even in Christian times, although its powers were usually transferred to the Cup of Christ. Many beautiful chalices were created for Eucharistic use in Celtic churches, and remain some of the finest examples of such work in the world. Eventually, the cauldron and chalice of Christ merged into one symbol, and became synonymous with the mythical Holy Grail.
*In all likelihood. From the Gundestrup cauldron.
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