The cauldron was the prime female symbol of the pre-Christian world. Among the Celts, the Three Matriarchs kept the Magic Cauldron of Regeneration at the bottom of a lake, until it was brought up by Bran the Blessed to resuscitate men slain in battle. This Celt god moved on into the Grail cycle of myths, as Bron the Fisher King, and his cauldron became confused with the Christian version of the lifegiving, blood-filled vessel. There can be no doubt that the cauldron represented the womb of the Great Goddess, who was often a trinity. It is certain also that men used to believe their reincarnation and rebirth depended upon entering such a uterine vessel to be reconstituted by its magic. Celtic cauldrons of regeneration came from the Land Beneath the Waves because the Sea Goddess was held to be the universal birth-giver. The god Cernunnos was dismembered and boiled in a cauldron in order to rise again from the dead. A boiling cauldron gave rebirth and/or magic power to Taliesin.

Cauldrons continued to be worshiped as symbols of the universal womb even into Christian times, as long as pagans met together to carry on their religion.

In ancient Celtic myth there were several cauldrons dispensing variously the properties of life, death, inspiration and wisdom. It is generally understood that these gave way in time to the image of the Holy Grail and became incorporated into the Hallows of Britain. Arthur went in search of such a cauldron to the very gates of Annwn. Bran possessed a cauldron which re-animated dead men. In the story of Taliesin, Ceridwen owned a cauldron which gave inspiration.