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The Cauldron of Transformation

By John Beckett

[Snip] In the legend of Arthur, a boy becomes king when he pulls a sword from a stone. In some versions of the story this is the famous sword Excalibur, and in other versions it is another sword and Excalibur is given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake. Years later, when Arthur is defeated and near death, he gives Excalibur to one of his men with instructions to return it to the Lady of the Lake, who is a representation of the Great Mother from which the sword came.

We’re all familiar with this story, but we may not recognize Excalibur as a manifestation of one of the Hallows of the ancient Celtic world.

When the Tuatha de Danann – the children of the Goddess Danu – invaded Ireland, they brought with them the four Hallows, four items of Otherworldly origin. They are the Sword of Light, which once drawn always cuts its opponent; the Invincible Spear, which never misses; the Cauldron of Plenty, which supplies food for the tribe and never runs empty; and the Stone of Destiny, which cries out when walked over by a true king.

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