Cauldron Anthology's second issue is now live! We are so grateful to everyone who contributed!
And as the founder I am so thankful for all the help from my team, especially our new art editor who put together our first PDF version of the magazine! You can find the issue here.
Submissions for Issue 2 are currently closed! We thank you all for submitting and we can't wait to show off the next issue of Cauldron Anthology.
We have very exciting news for Issue 2, this month we added an art editor to our team and now we will be able to publish a digital magazine for all of our issues! We will continue to publish editor pieces on the blog.
Check back on the 6th of August for Sphinx.
Submissions for Issue 3 will open on August 20th.
We, at Cauldron Anthology, are extending the deadline for submissions. This gives us, and our readership more opportunity to receive a larger variety of work. The editors would love to see more art submissions, and some essays as well.
This month we have some short stories that we can't wait to share. We love our poetry, but we also love seeing the different directions you have taken the topic of Sphinx.
As the Editor-in-Chief, I am very excited with this theme. I have been inspired by the research I've done. I like the idea of Sphinxes being watchers and guardians and how that correlates with women in familial households. Whether you are actually a mother who protects her young, or you are the person in your friend group who looks out for everyone, I'm hoping you are inspired by this topic as well.
We look forward to receiving more submissions! The deadline is now July 16th.
Before Ozymandias I stood
In the sand. The winds whispered my name;
I was goddess, I was queen, I am
Forgotten, a fragmented memory
Of something so sweet, so carnal, so right.
I was hunter, I was daylight, I am
Nothing, now known as a statuette
Of granite, so small, stable, contained.
Where is the river? Where is the sand?
Where are my people? Where is my land?
Water dries, people die, land is lost.
My crown sat atop a golden mane
And glowed so bright I don’t understand
How time has washed away who I am.
The theme of our second issue is Sphinx.
In Egyptian mythology the Sphinxes were creatures with human heads (both male and female heads were used) and the body of lions. There are various differences in the mythology behind these creatures. According historians the symbolism behind the Egyptian Sphinxes is unclear, but some say that it has to do with the god Ruti who guarded the entrance to the underworld. In Greek mythology the Sphinx was a monster plaguing a town, she asked riddles and then devoured those who failed to answer correctly.
Women are often portrayed as monsters in mythology. From sirens to sphinxes to Lamia and beyond. They are sudcutors,
Image from http://deitiesanddemons.tumblr.com/post/17582847288
She lay against rocks that were smooth against her back, hair falling in a wild tangle, matted and washed through as it was with salt water. Cocooned in place, she gazed over the calm water, watching for new boats on the horizon, looking for someone new.
It’d been so long since someone new came her way, and she was bored.
Water lapped around her, swirling foam around her ankles and drying there in lines of salt under the sun. Sometimes, if she remained there long enough, the salt formed a crust to be washed away next time she ventured into the water.
Her sister was away, had disappeared into another part of the water they rarely touched, and probably wouldn’t return until the next phase of the moon. It was unusual for them to venture away from their cliff and the caves they had hewed from the wall, but sometimes one of them did. Going away meant breathing space, away from all the ghosts of people who had come to them in the past and never managed to stay. For a while, she considered slipping back into the water, feeling it surround her as she tried her newest song.
Instead, she lay flat, aligning her body perfectly straight and letting her hair be the only deviation from even neat lines. Birds cried to each other in the distance, though the sun above her blotted out where they were, and dolphins chirped far below the surface. She was practiced in shutting out the noises though, and silently drifted her fingers over the rock as she composed.
Her reverie was broken by the quiet hum of a motor, and she raised her head with half-curiosity, half-boredom. It wouldn’t do any good if this one was like the last one, strange ear-plugs in place and unable to hear. As the boat approached, she could make out the lack of threads from the ears, and she drew in her breath, felt her lungs and diaphragm expand.
The motor stopped only feet from the rock, and still she felt frozen in place. This sailor was young, with kind eyes, and she could feel the concern radiating from where she sat. This was an uncommon sight, she knew. She’d learned as much from observing humans over the centuries before she began to sing: they found it unusual for a young woman to live off the ocean.
The sailor held out one hand – steady, calm, she noticed – and unbuckled the bright vest.
Rescue, she understood suddenly. The sailor wants to rescue me.
This was new. In all her time, none had ever tried to save her. She had always been a curiosity first, and a danger second. None had ever managed to live with her, no matter how hard she tried to keep them safe and healthy. She stood on stiff legs, not bothered about her appearance, and stepped over to him, appraising.
He has a good soul, she thought, distracted – she could almost smell it.
She didn’t want to leave, though. Her sister would come back to her, and find the cave empty, the rocks cold. She could never live in the human world.
Trust, concern, hesitation all mixed in his eyes. She could read it as easily as if he’d said what he was feeling, and could almost feel it herself. Of course, she could work around it, let him stay. This time, she could look after him. He could be family.
It almost made her regret what she was about to do.
She opened her mouth, and began to sing.
i drew him in
on the fourth
my song came out
and still he came closer.
closer, closer still,
and i could
the shadows in his eyes.
i came to the
on a song i’d invented
just for him.
we stood there, suspended,
him treading water
and holding me
i sang to him.
the shadows in his eyes
deepening with the setting sun.
and watched the shadows.
as the sun fell,
he faded with it, and i –
i devoured him.
By Lauren Walsburg
I am a familiar face, ancient though I may be.
I guard knowledge from those without the answer I seek.
I look across desert cities towards the God at the Horizon.
Do you know who I am?
Flash Essay: Perception in the Symbol of the Bird-Woman
“Perception is ninety percent of reality.” – John Smith
What is a siren? A siren is described as a man-eating creature that is half woman and half bird. These sirens are originally maidens of Persephone who are later given wings by Demeter. They are often described as evil creatures harbouring wicked intentions, and they are often viewed as seductresses. The attitude in viewing them is negative. L. Teal Willoughby talks about questioning the assumptions indicated by symbols as well their role in the transformation of consciousness (139). Taking that into account, the siren represents more than the seductress. She represents an archetype marred by a skewed perception and she represents a scapegoat.
There are many female archetypes but the enchantress, wild woman, or seductress is associated to the sirens. Interestingly, a seductress is assertive, strong, smart, and has relationships that serve a purpose; sirens are implicit in that description. All of these characteristics are powerful and intimidating. Historically, and even presently, intimidating, powerful, and feared things are dealt with by twisting the powerful object to make it seem negative and therefore discrediting its power. The siren, as a symbol of the wild woman, needs to be considered with the view that, “symbols connect consciousness with the unconsciousness, including fears, desires, and denied prejudices…” (Willoughby 135). With that in mind it is interesting to note Baring and Cashford’s brief discussion on the bird-man in reference to shamans (36). A shaman is assertive, strong, smart, and has relationships that serve a purpose. However, the shaman, who can access and communicate with spirits of good and evil, is not considered a terrifying entity because the shaman is validated by his community. The shaman or bird-man’s power in connection to the mystery of death and life is perceived as positive and healing. Therefore, the bird as a historically positive symbol encompasses the perceived connection of the shaman to the bird. In contrast, the female has historically suffered prejudice and negativity resulting in being viewed as other and something to be feared. The siren is cast away from the idea of the bird as historically positive. Therefore, the siren and her connection to life and death is perceived as negative.
Baring and Cashford point out that “Many times in the Odyssey Athena manifests as a bird and is recognized as the goddess in six different bird forms…” (123). Athena, who is herself, a wild woman, a warrior, a goddess, and “…the chief war deity of the Greeks…” (Barring and Cashford 337). She is a female who is a teacher and builder. She is strategy, foresight, and wisdom. She offers a different perspective on a bird-woman. Comparatively, the siren is also strategy, foresight, and wisdom. However, Athena’s qualities of fierceness, ruthlessness, and unforgiveness are valued in relation to her masculinity. She is viewed as someone to be revered. In contrast, these qualities when viewed in relation to the feminine, or the siren, are perceived as wild and evil. They are something to be feared. Jung argues that, “…symbols carry the seeds of transformation if we allow them to engage our total perspective” (qtd. in Willoughby 139). If we regard these qualities without the lenses of masculine or feminine does the perception of them change?
“Jung identifies problematic approaches to symbols, such as one-sided patriarchal approaches that excludes and oppresses other perspectives” (qtd. In Willoughby 135). Many have argued that sirens are a symbol of danger and temptation. However, is it really her exterior beauty coupled with her voice that grants the siren power over others? An argument could be made that people give sirens power over them. It becomes a question of perspective. Is the siren not strategy, foresight, and wisdom, or in the case of the sailors a lack there-of? The siren as danger and temptation is a mask for the sailor’s failure to use strategy, foresight, and wisdom. Interestingly, nothing is ever said about the sailors falling prey to their own sexual desires. Perhaps it is a question of what controls fate instead of who. The shipwrecked crews know the dangers of sailing to close to the sirens from history as well as from viewing other wrecks, and yet they sail on to their demise blinded by a strong sexual desire. Whether the sailors made choice or succumb to their own temptation it is not an act the sirens control.
If “symbols bring together different levels of reality and relate them in a way that creates a unity of meaning and a new conscious experience” than perhaps it is time to acknowledge the sirens assertiveness, strength, intelligence, and purposefulness in a positive manner (Willoughby 139). It is time to change the perception of the symbol. It is time to stop placing blame on a scapegoat and take responsibility for one’s own actions. Baring and Cashford state that, “in many pictures of any tradition the direction of the bird’s flight is simply a matter of interpretation” (595). Is this any different? It is time to look at the complete perspective.
Baring, Anne, and Jules Cashford. The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. Penguin Books, 1993.
Jung, Carl. Man and his Symbols. Dell Publishing Company, 1968.
Willoughby, L. T. “Ecofeminist Consciousness and the Transforming Power of Symbols.” Ecofeminism and the Sacred, edited by Carol J. Adams, The Continuum Publishing Company, 1993, pp. 133-148.
By Sarah Little
To further celebrate our inaugural issue the editors of Cauldron Anthology will be posting poems, essays and flash fiction to celebrate the theme of Siren. We will be posting every Saturday, alternating between Siren themed works, and riddles for our upcoming second issue. Today we have our first riddle. See if you can guess the theme for Issue 2!
I am a protector, a guardian
of a liminal state.
If you meet me, you
have a toll to pay.
Most cannot afford to pay,
but perhaps you can.
If you cannot, you may not
Who am I?