Monday, January 9, 2017


I have no idea how I've escaped this German tradition so long, but for the first time ever, on New Year's Eve, I poured lead to predict how the new year will go.

What is this cool word Molybdomancy? And how does that work?

Molybdomancy is Bleigießen in German. Still not helpful? How about Lead* Pouring?

Here's how it works. You buy a Lead Pouring kit, which consists of small shapes made of lead** (which my husband says is most likely actually tin) and a spoon. You don't want to use your own spoon because it turns black with soot.

Light a candle, place a piece of lead on it and hold it over the flame until it looks like the liquid metal of a T-1000.

When it's melted, carefully pour it into a container of water. Be sure to hold it very close to the surface of the water before pouring because it can spatter (we ended up with lead flecks all over the table in one case).

The melted lead hardens immediately in the cold water.

But how does this help predict how the new year will go?

Look at the shape of the cooled lead. Hold a light behind it and check the shadow it throws on the wall. Then compare the shadow to the handy-dandy list of highly scientific translations provided with the Lead Pouring kit.
The shapes my family made.
My shape looked suspiciously like a teardrop to me, but since that wasn't one of the options (thank God, because it sounds like a year full of sorrow!), my friend suggested the shadow was the shape of a bottle. Perfect! A bottle means a year with good friends.

Just for fun, here are a few other shapes you might get (or hopefully not), and their meanings:
Tree – Fulfillment of wishes
Egg – An addition to the family
Antlers – Bad luck in love
Any number – good luck in the lottery
Hedgehog – Jealousy
Moon – High honor
Cross – A bad time to have an affair
Palm Tree – A good business year
Coffin – A death
Shoe – A happy life
Cup – Avoid alcohol
Pipe – Joy

Have you ever poured lead for New Years? What did you think about it?

*I realize molybdenum and lead are different elements, but that's how the internet translated it for me.

**The package said the metal should not be put in the mouth, must be kept away from food and beverages, and should be handled as "problematic waste," so I'm thinking it's really lead. Not sure I want to do this again.

All pictures taken by me.