Broth From The Cauldron

by Cerridwen Fallingstar

Broth from the Cauldron is a collection of “teaching stories,” a literary Wiccan soup for the soul. It is a distillation of the wisdom Cerridwen Fallingstar has gathered from her journey through life, and from her forty years as a Shamanic teacher and Wiccan Priestess. At turns poignant and humorous, it chronicles her trajectory from a Republican cold war upbringing to Pagan Priestess, offering a portrait of a culture growing from denial to awareness. Accessible to any audience interested in personal growth, Broth from the Cauldron is for anyone who’s ever stood at the crossroads wishing a faery godmother would come along and show them the path.

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Broth from the Cauldron: A Wisdom Journey Through Everyday Magic

By Publisher’s Weekly

Shamanic witch Fallingstar (The Heart of Fire) explores her life of spiritual seeking and magical experiences in this intriguing collection of reflections. Fallingstar presents “silly, simple and profound, and all true” tales that will appeal to practitioners of wicca, who will likely recognize the rituals and tools referred to, though Fallingstar’s anecdotes are tailored for a general audience. She relates her early aptitude for energy reception, psychic abilities, and past-life memories, as well as stories of creating magic circles in the woods and other spellwork. The section covering the psychedelic visions she’s had while on sinsemilla honey is particularly trippy. Fallingstar’s husband and children also play crucial roles in the stories, including many family camping trips where she had spiritual awakenings. Readers into witchcraft will find much to enjoy in this touching and humorous memoir. (May)

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Book Review

Life Goals Magazine

Broth from the Cauldron: A Wisdom Journey through Everyday Magic by Cerridwen Fallingstar

Throughout her life, Cerridwen Fallingstar has gathered plenty of wisdom and is ready to share her anecdotes and personal beliefs with those feeling a bit lost in life. Telling the story of her life and her personal transformation to a spiritual being, Broth from the Cauldron details what it means to leave a world of denial behind and embrace a new kind of awareness. For anyone interested in personal growth, this new non-fiction book will show you the way to finding a better version of yourself.

Book Review:

The Hasty Book Review

Broth from the Cauldron is a collection of “teaching stories,” a literary Wiccan soup for the soul. It is a distillation of the wisdom Cerridwen Fallingstar has gathered from her journey through life, and from her forty years as a Shamanic teacher and Wiccan Priestess. At turns poignant and humorous, it chronicles her trajectory from a Republican cold war upbringing to Pagan Priestess, offering a portrait of a culture growing from denial to awareness. Accessible to any audience interested in personal growth, Broth from the Cauldron is for anyone who’s ever stood at the crossroads wishing a faery godmother would come along and show them the path.

Book Review:

Foreward Reviews

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

A Wiccan woman reflects on her lifetime of magic in her thoughtful memoir Broth from the Cauldron.

Cerridwen Fallingstar’s charming memoir Broth from the Cauldron is full of anecdotes about everyday magic, spirituality, love, and loss.

As a child growing up in an agnostic household, Fallingstar felt a sense of connection to the natural world, beginning when she befriended a tarantula at age three. Her shared childhood memories are colored by premonitions and past-life memories. In graduate school, while covering the trial of a woman accused of telling fortunes, that early interest began to feed into her eventual life’s work as a participant in an often misunderstood practice.

Made up of personal essays that meander through time, Fallingstar’s memoir explores sacred aspects of her everyday life. Its depictions of parenting, friendship, and love are delightful; the warmth of her relationships comes through, especially in her expressed desire to protect loved ones.

Fallingstar covers spiritual experiences like healing an injured dolphin, having a bear pace around her sacred space, and dreaming of her husband before they met. Her life story is constructed more as a labyrinth than as having followed a straight line. It’s an effective arrangement, made in the way that life is navigated, with Fallingstar not always knowing the importance or outcome of a moment while it’s happening.

Lighthearted accounts, as of mistaking a family dog swimming in the ocean for a baby seal, or of using stones to manifest a Volkswagen bus, help to keep the book accessible. Poignant explorations consider the power of ancient trees for healing and the guilt and pain surrounding the death of a spouse. All of these pieces combine to illuminate Fallingstar’s Wiccan way of life, which is playful and openhearted: “Child-self, the wide-eyed, innocent part that believes magic is not only possible but inevitable, is essential for the practice of magic.”

Fallingstar’s writing is conversational and welcoming, encouraging introspection. Her entertaining stories illustrate deeper truths about how others should be treated, regarding the wisdom of animals, and about the power of intuition. The book’s sense of innocence is strong even during more difficult accounts, as when it covers instances of grief, abuse, and the desire for revenge. Insights about accepting hardships and still seeing the beauty that is everywhere enrich the reading experience, which comes to feel like it’s about more than one person’s story. Fallingstar suggests ways for others to live their own spiritual lives, in tune with the earth, nature, and all its creatures.

A Wiccan reflects on her lifetime of magic in her thoughtful memoir Broth from the Cauldron, a text full of guidance for living a more spiritual life.

Reviewed by Sarah White

Reader Reviews

Broth from the Cauldron

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Released May 12th

A chapter from “Broth from the Cauldron.”

 

Bear with Me

When I was twenty-two, a few months after I became involved with Wicca, I went on a camping vacation with my family.  Our vacation spanned the date of August 2, which is the Celtic festival of Lughnasad, the harvest of the first fruits.  I had been raised agnostic in a scientific household; religion was the opiate of the masses, not something for smart people like us.  But I was the wild card kid, intensely psychic, awash in past life memories, and drawn to the forbidden world of spirit.  Meeting my first Witch and attending Wiccan rituals that spring was no conversion for me, it was coming home.  But I knew better than to discuss my spiritual path with my parents.  Nonetheless, I wanted to honor Lughnasad with a ritual, so I decided to sneak off to the lake after my parents and younger brother and sister were asleep.

Late that night I slipped out of my sleeping bag, stealthy as a snake, and soundlessly drifted with my small knapsack of magical tools and an offering of apples to a clearing beside a lake surrounded by woods. The heavy dusting of pine needles muffled my footsteps.  The moon was just a night past full and the lake shone like a mirror.   I was a novice, and nervous about my ability to do magic on my own, without the support of an experienced circle.  But as I breathed in the silver moon over the lake, and heard the owls calling, a familiar enchantment stole over me.  I folded my clothes, placed them under a tree, drew a circle in the dust and invoked the four directions with the invocations I had written.  The texts say that when describing a circle in the air, the ‘practitioner’ should visualize a line of blue fire coming from the tip of the athame, the black handled knife used by Witches for this purpose.  As I drew the circle, it was as if I were making an incision in the deep blue night, a line of electric blue bleeding through. As I finished the circle of blue light and heard it click shut as one end connected with the other, I also heard a rustle to my right.  Out of the bushes emerged a large adult bear.  It walked towards me and connected with the outer edge of my circle at the North, walked the entire perimeter of the circle around me, completed the circle in the North and continued walking, now around the edge of the lake, into the shadow of the trees.

I completed my ritual with a wild joy—my magic was accepted!  The moon Goddess had sent a bear to me!  I dismissed the circle and left the two apples by the lake for the bear to find on his return.  I knelt to touch one of the tracks the bear had left in the dust, then dressed and began to retrace my steps.  But I had only gone a few steps when another large shape emerged, standing, from the bushes.

It was my father.

“What are you up to, little girl?” he asked gruffly.

I was appalled. How long had he been there?  Had my father actually sat and watched me doing a ritual nude under the full moon?  If he had, there was no hiding now.

“I was doing a harvest ritual, Dad.  I’m a Witch.”

He walked over to me, his pale blue eyes shining silver in the moonlight.

“Well,” he conceded grudgingly.  “That was a pretty good trick with the bear.”

As we walked back to the campground together he asked no more questions and I volunteered no more information.

At last, my father cleared his throat.  “Could have been worse. You could have been a Jesus freak.  Or a Harvey Krishna.”

Coming from my fiercely agnostic, highly critical father, this was extraordinary.  We reached our campsite.  He gave me an unreadable look—as if seeing me for the first time and being intrigued by what he saw– and again muttered, “Pretty good trick with the bear.”

Back in my sleeping bag, watching the silver wheel play hide and seek through the treetops, I wondered which was the bigger miracle.

The bear responding to an invisible circle drawn in the air?   Or my father’s almost complicit, grudging admiration?