ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Divining with Lead - A German New Year's Custom

Updated on December 31, 2015
"Bleigiessen" by Micha L. Reiser
"Bleigiessen" by Micha L. Reiser | Source

Molybdomancy is a form of magic which includes cures and divination using molten lead. The usual technique is to heat the metal to melting point, then pour into water, allowing it to set. When being used for divination, the shapes formed help the reader discover what my occur in the future, or give the answer to a specific question. Some traditions describe how the lead will show the reader the face of their future husband!

Throughout the ages, this technique has been mentioned in Greece, Turkey, Iran, Bosnia, Ireland, the British Isles, Germany, and Scandinavia. As well as divination, it is also used in some countries as a cure against the evil eye.

But it is to Germany that we look, as we investigate one of the more interesting traditions of the New Year.

Known as "Bleigießen" (Bleigiessen) in Germany, the melting of lead is a traditional activity during the festival known as Sylvester, which falls on 31st December.

Lead of course, is toxic, so in modern times tin or pewter is used instead to carry out this activity.

A small tin shape is placed in a spoon and is melted over a candle. The molten metal is then poured quickly into a cup or bowl of water. It is hoped that the shape it forms when it cools will give the reader a glimpse of what the coming year will bring. The guide below explains what the shapes are said to foretell.

Silverster night in München (Munich)
Silverster night in München (Munich) | Source

Love and Relationships

Angel – A peaceful heart, and happiness with your age

Antlers - Unhappy love, jealousy

Baby - Domestic peace

Bed - Practice sex carefully

Bee - A Wedding draws close

Beetle - An affair draws close

Bell - Announces upcoming offspring

Bra - Fulfilment in love

Broom – Keep away from your mother-in-law!

Bucket - Fulfilment in a relationship

Chimney sweep – Good luck in love

Daggers - A favour from a friend

Dog - Faithful friends

Donkey - A long awaited legacy will bear fruit

Egg - Family growth

Elephant – Great strength during a relationship crisis

Falcon - Someone is jealous of you

Flower - A new friendship develops

Garden - A new love enters your life

Guitar - Secret longings, a wish

Gun - Betrayal in love, discord and slander

Hand - Loyalty

Hare - A long journey, or the return of an old friend

Harp - Success in love, leading to marriage

Hawk - An enemy

Hatchet - Disappointment in love

Heart - You will fall in love in the coming year

Mask - You will be welcome everywhere

Pineapple - Secret love

Pretzel - Entanglements in love

Slippers - A wedding draws close

Stork - Fertility

Vase - You will fall in love

Women - You are beloved

Wreath - A discord ends well by reconciliation


Work and Business

Anvil - Use caution at work

Barrel - Wealth

Bush - Recognise the skill of others

Camel - Additional taxes/charges

Car - A risky enterprise draws close

Cone - Be cautious with deals

Crown - You will be rich

Cylinder - Important matters await you

Deer - Failures in trade, quarrels and disputes

Duck - Trade brings an increase in wealth

Dwarf - Someone underestimated you

Eagle - Success in business

Epee - Courage to take a risk

Fox - Be smart and use your initiative

Hammer - Go your own way, triumph over adversity

Hook - Hurdles block your way

Horseshoe - Success/profit in business

House - Your plans will bear fruit

Ladder - Promotion at work, or advancement in studies

Ladle - Financial loss

Letter - Plan something new

Medal - You gain renown and honour

Moon - Honour awaits

Nail - Better times ahead

Nut - An enterprise succeeds

Owl - Plans for the future will turn out well

Plough - You have to work harder

Rock - Much work is still to be done

Sabre - Problems at work

Sail boat - Business success ahead

Scissors - An important decision awaits

Sleigh - Use your connections

Snake - Someone is jealous of your success

Stag - Success/profit in sight

Stairs - You will be honoured

Steamboat - Luck with your plans

Triangle - Financial improvement

Luck and Fortune

Acre - Good luck

Bag - Unexpected good luck

Birds - You will be lucky

Broom - A conflict draws near

Butterfly - Fragile fortunes

Can - Uncomfortable implications await

Chalice - A happy future

Clock - Better times ahead

Cloverleaf - Luck and Satisfaction in the New Year

Dancer - Don't take life too seriously

Dice - Lottery win

Dog - Incredible news is brought forth

Dove - Prosperity and affection

Dragon - A great and sudden change

Eagle - A change of residence brings luck and riches

Face - Honour

Fish - Gaming/gambling luck

Fishing rod - Grab your fortune and luck with your hands

Frog - Lottery win

Goblet - Lucky future

Golf player - A lucky strike awaits

Greyhound - Good luck through hard work

Hat - Good news is coming

Mug - Luck

Pig - Gaming/gambling luck

Pipe - Dangers ahead

Rider - Ongoing luck

Screwdriver - Be satisfied with what you have

Sheaf – Good luck

Sun - Luck in all things

Zeppelin - Everything will turn out well

A selection of shapes formed during bleigiessen.
A selection of shapes formed during bleigiessen. | Source

With thanks to Christoph for aid with translations.

© 2015 Pollyanna Jones

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Polly, this was very interesting to know about this German Christmas tradition. It's very useful and resourceful to know those symbolic images from lead divination. Thanks for sharing.

    • Brian Langston profile image

      Brian Langston 

      2 years ago from Languedoc Roussillon

      Think it should be re-branded as Pollybdomancy! (c)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      awesome hub, even bra is included in the list!

    • Pollyanna Jones profile imageAUTHOR

      Pollyanna Jones 

      2 years ago from United Kingdom

      River, you know that's a good point! I have just checked that out, and of molybdenum I found this "The name is from Neo-Latin molybdaenum, from Ancient Greek Μόλυβδος molybdos, meaning lead, since its ores were confused with lead ores". I've learned something new today!

      Thank you emge and Brian. May you both be blessed with a frog!

    • profile image

      River 

      2 years ago

      So why is it called molybdomancy when molybdenum is a completely different mineral?

    • Brian Langston profile image

      Brian Langston 

      2 years ago from Languedoc Roussillon

      What a fascinating read Polly! I really enjoyed it. Wishing you barrels, ladders and Zepellins for 2016...and no camels!

    • emge profile image

      Madan 

      2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Fascinating hub. I always like such posts which are out of ordinary

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)