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" Friendship is a sheltering tree "

Coleridge

‘Shooting the Lead’ – Another New Year tradition

January 16th, 2017

I thought I knew about most forms of divination – but here’s one that was news to me and to everyone else I’ve mentioned it too since. Do you know what ‘shooting the lead’ is? A psychiatrist friend introduced us to this – he’s been doing it every New Year for the last 20 years because he finds it so interesting. The technical term for this practice is Molybdomancy – divination using molten metal. It originated in ancient Greece and became a New Year tradition in Scandinavia and German-speaking countries. At a party yesterday we were all queueing up to do it. You dissolve some solder in a ladle, and then drop it when liquefied into a bucket of cold water. The result is a unique sculpture, or sometimes several. A woman who loved the Tarot got a set of four clubs. I got the creation you can see above. Stephanie got a pearl in an oyster. Like a Rorschach you then free-associate to ideas and feelings that come from contemplating your New Year surprise.

3 Responses to “‘Shooting the Lead’ – Another New Year tradition”

  1. We did that for new year in Finland. We had little horseshoes of lead, melted them in a ladle in the stove, and then poured the molten lead into a bucket of cold water. Then we placed the squiggly lead between a lamp and the wall, and looked at the shadow, which foretold what would happen to us the following year. I did this on a visit to my family in Finland in 1963, and my nieces and nephews still do it, for New Year in Somerset.

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