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"And now about the cauldron sing, [...] enchanting all that you put in."
The Three Witches, Macbeth
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In fiction, cauldrons have a special association with magic. Some such cauldrons are inherently magical, having some special power or another (an obvious one being the power to produce an endless supply of something you'd make in a more normal pot). Others are just used for magic (especially when Alchemy Is Magic), but apart from that, are just ordinary pots. They're often black, and the contents are often inexplicably green, but both those things are optional.

They probably have Eye of Newt in them. In darker works, they may also have people in them.

While all sorts of magic-users can be seen using them, they're particularly often depicted as standard-issue for any proper Wicked Witch (alongside the obligatory pointy hat, broomstick, etc.), and if three witches are meeting, it'll probably be around one of these.

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Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • In the Asterix books, the druid Getafix mixes his potions in a cauldron (Which is never stated to have any magical properties in and of itself — it's just a pot large enough to brew sufficient potion for the entire village in one batch). Obelix fell in such a cauldron when he was young, with lasting effects. (The book Asterix and the Cauldron, however, doesn't involve a magic cauldron — that one is of interest because it contained money, not magic.)
  • In the Seven Soldiers series, Ystin's mini-series involves the same Cauldron of Rebirth found in Celtic Mythology.

     Film - Animated 
  • Disney's The Black Cauldron, as the title suggests. It's an adaptation of The Chronicles of Prydain books (which in turn was inspired by the Pair Dadeni from Celtic Mythology.) , but makes the evil cauldron in question more central than it was the series (where it's destroyed in book two rather than at the end of the series).
  • The Little Mermaid: Ursula, the sea witch, has something which is functionally equivalent to a cauldron. It's used for Ariel's transformation sequence.
  • Mama Odie from The Princess and the Frog has one in her hut. She is the voodoo queen of the bayou and has a incredible set of powers on her hand. While she uses it to prepare actual edible Gumbo, it works as some sort of magical mirror that can answer questions and show things happening miles away.
  • Wicked high priest Tzekel-Khan from DreamWorks' The Road to El Dorado has a bubbling cauldron built into the floor of his workshop. One potion mixed there brings a huge stone jaguar to life, right after adding a Human Sacrifice ingredient.

     Literature 
  • The Chronicles of Prydain features a magic cauldron as an important part of the story: the Black Cauldron is an Artifact of Doom which generates Elite Mooks for the villains. It's inspired by the Pair Dadeni from Celtic Mythology, and is destroyed the same way.
  • Discworld:
    • Wyrd Sisters inevitably features some cauldrons due to its parallels with Macbeth, but because it's Discworld, it's not played straight. For example, when they need to summon a demon to extract some answers, the older witches reject Magrat's suggestion that a cauldron is necessary and decide that the big copper pot from Nanny Ogg's washhouse is good enough. As far as they're concerned, the traditional cauldron is just a symbol, not a requirement. Later, Nanny Ogg uses a cauldron as part of a Mundane Solution by knocking the Duchess on the head with it.
    • Subsequent Witches novels frequently mention that a bubbling cauldron is good "headology" (i.e. lets people know you're a witch), but that no witch has a use for a cauldron beyond making soup.
  • In Laurence Yep's Dragon Series, a magic cauldron is important to the plot. It's powered by a soul, which results in one character's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The Brothers Grimm: Whether or not it's a cauldron or not can vary in the retelling, but a magic vessel appears in "Sweet Porridge" (aka The Magic Porridge Pot). It produces an endless supply of porridge, leading to a "Sorcerer's Apprentice" Plot.
  • The children's book Strega Nona makes use of a similar plot to the Brothers Grimm porridge pot story, but with pasta.
  • In The Dresden Files, the Ordo Lebes name themselves after cauldrons based on this trope, although in fact they're not literally using cauldrons. (Harry initially translates it just as a large cooking pot until Murphy points out the obvious intention.)
  • In the Enchanted Forest Chronicles it's a running gag that the giantess Balimore has a bottomless cauldron that can produce almost any food on demand, and that she lends it out to her neighbors when they're planning a banquet. However, it doesn't do dessert except for burnt mint custard and sour-cream-and-onion ice cream, so she has to do that course herself.
  • In Harry Potter, cauldrons are standard equipment for potion-making, and on the list of requirements for new students at Hogwarts. Their most notable use comes in Goblet of Fire, where Wormtail uses a cauldron for the spell that restores his master Voldemort to full size and strength.
  • Everworld has its own take on the Undry (mentioned in passing), with the elf queen saying that sure, it produced food, but food that was barely above being fit for pigs (the main characters suspect it was corned beef and cabbage)... and the king adds that it needed salt.
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     Live Action TV 
  • In early episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the Spellmans used one of this to prepare magical potions. When they work on this, they use stereotypical witch wardrobe (long black dresses and pointy hats with big brims). It seems to be a part of witches' lore and tradition.

     Mythology 
  • In Celtic Mythology:
    • Welsh myth features the Pair Dadeni (Cauldron of Rebirth), which brings people back to life, but... wrong. It's eventually destroyed by someone sacrificing himself by jumping into it.
    • Medieval Welsh literature also associates the goddess Ceridwen with a cauldron from which poetic inspiration is sourced.
    • Irish myth features a cauldron known as the Undry, belonging to a god and being counted one of the Four Treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danann. It was supposed to be a bottomless supply of food "from which no man left unsatisfied".
  • In Norse Mythology, there's mention of an unusually massive cauldron (or sometimes some other kind of pot), a mile wide, which belonged to the giant Hymir. Thor and Týr want to get hold of it (to make beer in, naturally) and have to overcome a challenge set by Hymir to win it.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a number of magical cauldrons, including the Armor Bath (armors body parts immersed in the water), Ambrosia (produces a delicious wine), Archdruid (has powers of many other magical cauldrons), Blindness (any food placed in it causes blindness when eaten), of Creatures (allows owner to voluntarily shapeshift), of Doom (animates a corpse into a zombie), and Foretelling (allows the user to cast an extra Augury spell per day).
  • Ironclaw has a legend based on the Pair Dadeni. The northern clan of the Phelan are rumored to have a cauldron that brings corpses back to life, but there's a tale that states one of their princes had a disagreement with the king and jumped into it and pushed it apart from the inside and hid the pieces.

     Theatre 
  • William Shakespeare's Macbeth features three witches who use a cauldron for their magic. Quite a few subsequent depictions of witches' cauldrons likely stem from this.
    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and caldron bubble.
    Fillet of a fenny snake,
    In the caldron boil and bake.

     Video Games 
  • In DragonFable during Mogloween, the Cauldron Sisters make candy with the help of their talking magical cauldron, Myx. He's very fond of the sisters, frequently playing up their kindness, business sense, hotness...
  • The Black Cauldron, being an adaptation of an adaptation of The Chronicles of Prydain (itself an adaptation of Celtic Mythology), of course features the titular evil cauldron.
  • Ni no Kuni has the appropriately named Al-Khemi, a genie who (after being defeated) uses a cauldron to help with Item Crafting.
  • In Gems of War, the Hag unit is depicted carrying a sort of mini-cauldron, overflowing with a bubbling, glowing, purple substance.
  • Gwent: The Witcher Card Game: The Crones are depicted gathered around a cauldron, stirring a skull into a glowing brew of flesh and bones.
  • Subverted in Minecraft — there are relatively standard-looking black cauldrons located inside witches' huts, but their only practical uses in the game (thus far) are temporarily storing water (up to three buckets' worth) and removing dye from leather armor. Ironically, witches use potions in combat, yet the tool actually used for crafting potions, the brewing stand, is not present in witches' huts.
  • Gruntilda from Banjo-Kazooie has her cauldron Dingpot. Like most inanimate objects in the game, it's alive and can talk back. It later pulls a Heel–Face Turn being used for one too many disgusting things.
  • Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink: Nathan, the wanna-be magician boy, has one in his room. He uses it to make the 2 potions.
  • In Shop Heroes, the potion-making station you can install in your shop has a big cauldron full of green liquid.

     Web Original 
  • The Web Serial Novel Worm features a Super Serum manufacturer which has named itself Cauldron after this trope, though it's actual method is stranger.
  • Void Domain averts the magic cauldron trope despite taking place at a Wizarding School. The alchemy professor explicitly states that cauldrons had been phased out of use in favor of modern chemical laboratory equipment.

     Western Animation 
  • In The Smurfs, the evil alchemist Gargamel occasionally makes use of a cauldron in his work, although he actually has a reasonable array of more sophisticated equipment.
  • Gargoyles has the Cauldron of Life, supposedly granting immortality to someone who creates the right brew in it. This involves using gargoyle skin. It has an Exact Words twist, though: it promises life "as long as the mountain stones", and it turns you to stone.
  • Zecora from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses one of this to work in her potions. She is somewhat of a herbalist with ambiguous knowledge of magic.
  • In the Australian cartoon series Arthur! and the Square Knights of the Round Table, Merlin is shown throwing all kinds of gunk into a bubbling green caudron, zaps it with a spell...then jumps into the cauldron to bathe.

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