VISIONARY REVUE

THE GUNDESTRUP CAULDRON
THE GUNDESTRUP CAULDRON

      The witches’ sabbaths, according to modern Wicca, were a series of fertility festivals from the Old Religion. These were timed by the new moon or the full moon, and took place between sunset and sunrise. The four greater Sabbats are Beltaine on May 1; Samhain on October 31; Yule on December 21; and Eostre on April 21. (The famous Walpurgisnacht in Goethe’s Faust falls on Beltaine.)
      The witches’ caudron had a practical purpose, as the vessel for cooking herbs and potions or burning incense. But, symbolically it must be seen as the womb of all creation, the Great Cup which, in many of Johfra’s works, the Primordial Mother holds in her lap. All that is plunged into the cauldron undergoes initiation, transformation, and rebirth, as this is the womb of all-creative Nature.
      Returning to Johfra’s painting of Witches’ Sabbath I, we may now see that Baphomet is a late version the Horned God from Pagan times. He is not



 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2003

WITCHES AROUND THE CAULDRON
A detail from Johfra's
WITCHES' SABBATH I


the object of their worship, but a manifestation of the fertile forces in Nature. The witches’ sabbath is a more ancient festival celebrating the turn of the seasons and the resurgence of Nature’s life-giving power. The witches gathered round the cauldron are concentrating that power, while the celebrants as a whole give it release, swirling en masse in Nature’s greater spiral of growth.




 
 
 


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