Ceremancy, also called ceroscopy, is a method of divination which uses melting wax as the indicator of fortune, such as the initial of a future spouse, similarly to divination by apple peel, or preselected shapes interpreted arbitrarily to signify lucky or unlucky events, much like divination by tea leaves, which was developed later and based largely on ceroscopic interpretations.
The process entails first melting wax or burning a candle all the way down, then pouring the molten wax into a bowl full of clear water, allowing it to take whatever shape it will, as it solidifies. The cooled wax is then retrieved from the water and examined for portentous shapes.
Another method involves placing a solid piece of wax in boiling water, removing the heat from the water, and interpreting the resulting shape of the wax after the water has completely cooled.
The word ceremancy originates from Greek carro 'wax' + manteia 'divination.' The practice itself appears to have originated with ancient Romans, not Greeks, and was transmitted to the Celts. At the height of its premodern practice, it was most commonly seen in Lithuania and Sweden. Ceremancy remains in practice in some parts of Mexico, Puerto Rico, and in Haiti as a practice of Haitian Voodoo.
Iron Noder 2016, 15/30