Further reading

Howey, M. Oldfield. The Cat in Magic, Mythology, and Religion. New York: Crescent Books, 1989. Larner, Christina. Enemies of God. London: Chatto & Win-dus, 1981.

Leach, Maria, ed., and Jerome Fried, assoc. ed. Funk & Wag-nall's Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1972.

caul Amniotic fetal membrane that sometimes clings to a newborn's head or body after birth. Being born with a caul, or veil, has significance in folklore related to magical powers.

A person born with a caul was believed to have psychic gifts such as the ability to see ghosts and spirits and to divine the future. In seafaring lore, such a person can never drown. In earlier times, cauls were brought on board sailing ships as good luck charms against sinking. Cauls were traded and sometimes sold for large sums of money.

In certain parts of Europe, a person born with a caul was believed to be a natural vampire. To prevent this, the caul was broken immediately, and prayers were said. In areas where the caul was considered to be a good omen, it was dried and placed in a flask that was worn around the person's neck. Sometimes it was mixed into an elixir that was drunk when the person reached a certain age, in order to initiate the magical powers.

In northern Italy, the cult of the benandanti included people born with cauls who could see invisible witches and fight them.

cauldron Usually an iron pot, the cauldron is a tool of witches and sorcerers (see sorcery). In European witch lore, the cauldron was the receptacle in which poisons, ointments and philtres were brewed. wiCCANs may have cauldrons, but use them for burning fires and incense in rituals or for decoration in the home. If used in rituals, the cauldron is placed on the witches' ALTAR inside the MAGIC CIRCLE. As a vessel, it is a feminine symbol and is associated with the womb of the Mother Goddess.

The cauldron has had a magical significance throughout history. In the lore of ancient Ireland, magic cauldrons never ran out of food at a feast. The early Celts associated cauldrons with fertility and abundance, and revival of the dead. Cauldrons were used in human sacrifice— the victims had their throats slashed over the bowls, or were drowned or suffocated in them. The Cauldron of Regeneration, of death and rebirth, the receptacle of souls and the source of inspiration, is associated with the Celtic goddesses CERRIDwEN and Branwen and with the Babylonian fate-goddess, Siris, who stirred the mead of regeneration in the cauldron of the heavens. Cerridwen's cauldron was said to provide the mead of wisdom and inspiration. Among the Celts, the priestess of the MooN goddess was required to sacrifice human victims by cutting off their heads over a siLVER cauldron. The blood was boiled to produce a magical drink of inspiration. The Celtic god, CERNuNNos, identified with the HoRNED God, was torn apart and boiled in a cauldron, to be born again. Decorations on the Gundestrup cauldron, fashioned out of silver in about 100 B.C.E. and recovered from a peat bog in Gundestrup, Denmark, depict victims being plunged headfirst into a sacrificial cauldron. Sacrificial cauldrons

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