Molybdomancy is a form of divination by using molten tin or lead to learn the cause of sickness.


Derived from the Greek molubdos ('lead') and manteia ('prophecy')


Witchfinders in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries also practiced Molybdomancy to learn whether or not an ailing individual was the victim of bewitchment. In Ireland and Wales during the nineteenth century, Molybdomancy was used to divine the profession of one’s husband.


One popular method of Molybdomancy was to get the omens from interpreting the noises and hisses of molten lead when dropped into a large cauldron filled with cold water. Another system read futurity in the shapes formed by the molten metal solidifying in the water. Yet another technique involved the observation of to which directions spilled liquid metal on a flat surface would flow.

Modern forms

It is a common New Year tradition in the Nordic countries. Classically, tin is melted on a stove and poured into a bucket of cold water. The resulting shape is then rotated in a candlelight to create shadows, whose shapes are then interpreted, essentially by pareidolia.

See also

Molybdomancy is similar to Ceroscopy which uses wax.

See Also:

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