Thursday, May 31, 2012

Contemplation on the Three Cauldrons

In my contemplation on the matter of the Three Cauldrons I have developed a relationship between them and the dúile of the self and the elements of being (since both sets of concepts seem to address relationships between qualities within ourselves and in the universe). As a guide in this development, I followed the lead of the ancient Vedic seers in seeing the actions and interactions of the Three Cauldrons upon one another. In the development of the three gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas, the qualities of life), the Vedic Seers discovered and expressed these relationships[i]  in the following manner:
The Three Gunas
Sattva (The Concentrating Tendency)
Consciousness, Light, Interlinking and Cohesion
Rajas (The Revolving Tendency)
Experience, Periodic Motion, Rhythmic Activity, Creative Thought
Tamas (The Dispersing Tendency)
Existence, Disintegration, Darkness, Dissolution
The Stages of Existence[ii]
Consciousness of Consciousness
the Self or Atman
Existence of Consciousness
Divinity or Isvara
Experience of Consciousness
Human Nature or Jiva
Consciousness of Experience
the inner faculties or Antahkarana
Existence of Experience
life energies or Prána
Experience of Experience
the feelings and emotions or Rasa
Consciousness of Existence
the senses or Indriya
Existence of Existence
principals of the elements or
Experience of Existence
the inanimate world
 The Three Cauldrons (from the Cauldron of Poesy materials attributed to Amergin) almost directly correspond to the Three Gunas from Ayurvedic teachings. The Stages of Existence seem to describe the same things as the Dúile in Druidic cosmology. I’m not surprised that such commonalities exist between the Vedic traditions and the Celtic practices, since both were very conservative, orally preserved traditions with a class/cast responsible for their integrity and preservation. Both groupings were derived from a common Indo-European traditional/cultural source and the vision seers, poets and holy teachers interpreted each.
The Stages of Existence of Vedic tradition and the Dúile from Celtic tradition could be considered to be related in the following ways:
Self -Soul (Head)
Divinity - Brain
Human Nature - Face
Inner Faculties - Intuition (Mind)
Life Energies - Breath
Feelings and Emotions - Blood
Senses - Skin (Nature)
Elements - Flesh
Inanimate - Bones
 The Three Gunas also seem to have correspondences to the Cauldrons of Poesy and their characteristics as:
Sattva (Consciousness) - Soís (Wisdom),
Rajas (Motion and Experience) - Érma (Motion and Vocation),
Tamas (Existence) - Goriath (Formation and Incubation)
I considered the effects that the Three Cauldrons have on one another, as well as their actions and interactions. The similarities that exist between them and the Gunas suggested the following tables of correspondences for the cauldrons and the dúile, as well as their states of being:
The Three Cauldrons
Coire Soís (Cauldron of Wisdom)
Consciousness - Future
Creation, Knowledge, Inspiration
Coire Érma (Cauldron of Vocation)
Experience - Present
Motion, Observation, Training
Coire Goríath  (Cauldron of Formation)
Existence - Past
Incubation, Formation, Tradition

The Nine Dúile
Consciousness of Consciousness
Existence of Consciousness
Experience of Consciousness
 Head, Self, Sky
 Brain, Spirit, Stars
 Face, Image, Sun
Consciousness of Experience
Existence of Experience
Experience of Experience
 Mind, Intuition, Moon
 Breath, Creativity, Wind
 Blood, Actions, Sea
Consciousness of Existence
Experience of Existence

Existence of Existence
 Skin, Interaction, Nature
 Flesh, Form, Earth
 Bone, Structure, Stone
The following table details these relationships of the Cauldrons with the properties of the Three Gunas:[iii]
Properties of the Three Gunas
Soís - Sattva
Érma -
Goríath - Tamas
White - purity, harmony
Red - action, passion
Black - darkness
Day - clarity
Sunrise, Sunset - transition
Night - darkness
Sets things in motion
Retards motion
Sky - Heaven or Space
home of the gods
region of peace
Sea - Atmosphere
realm of the Fomorii
region of storms
Land - Earth
lands of the people
realm of inertia
Spiritual - Causal
Or Ideal
Mental - Subtle
Physical - Gross
or Physical
Deities and Sages
Ancestors Minerals, Plants, Animals
Deep Sleep
The relationship between Tamas and Goríath appears to be inverted in some respects, since formation implies action. I think we should view this formation as more of a continuation of existence through family, tribe, and social structure.  Each of these forms tends to retard change and promotes that which already exists. Some of the differences between the two systems become similarities when the cauldron’s other meaning of “incubation” is considered. Incubation occurs within darkness. It is a continuity of formation produced by that which already is. Inertia or resistance to change is only another way of describing the effects of cultural traditions and standards on a society. Among the Druids, knowledge was learned through repetition, association, and incubation within the darkness of the student’s bed or room. Each day’s lessons of newly acquired knowledge were learned and saved as memories that were linked with existing knowledge in a Memory Grove of the mind. Among the Filidh, this darkened cell of learning was known as the “Bed of the Poets.”

[i] Alain Daniélou ,The Myths and Gods of India, pp. 22-25.
[ii] Ibid, p.27.
[iii] Dr. David Frawley, Ayurveda and the Mind, the Healing of Consciousness.