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Metal Magic: Tin Casting Divination
When I was but a squirt in Germany, it was quite common on New Year's eve to enjoy the good ritual of melting tin in a ladle over an open fire and then dropping the liquid metal into a bucket of cold water. You would then fish it out and divine the year ahead by the shape the tin has taken. These tin divination pieces were also held to be good luck charms for the whole year and I knew people who collected them; others melted them down and used them again; others still threw them into a river or the sea as a part of the ritual.
Now that doesn't sound very Christian, does it? But then, many traditions are not; they are much, much older than that and the casting of the tin is an example of that.
Melting metal is immensely old and a very pivotal skill humans developed, hundreds of thousands of years ago. There is still immense magic in melting metal and shaping it into something, by design or by accident - if there is such a thing :-) In some traditions of magic, to this day the ritual dagger or athame has to be made by hand by the person who will come to use it; this can go as far as having to collect the ore yourself to make the blade for the dagger.
Instead of tin, you can use lead for the casting divination; do bear in mind that lead is very poisonous so don't wear the resulting charm on your skin or lick it at any length or for any reason! It is also possible to use candlewax instead of metal for this divination although you don't end up with such an intriguing artefact at the end of it.
Pewter is also a good source of easily meltable metal; you can find it cheaply in the shape of tankards and such in flea markets.
Either way, divination by casting metal is fun and quite special. It doesn't have to be reserved for New Year's eve either; it can make for an interesting addition to a birthday party or you can do it at any time.
There are some general safety tips on tin casting divination.
In Germany, tin, lead and similar melting sets are sold with the advice to not give them to people under the age of 14 without parental or adult supervision.
So that is that bit - the physical part.
Now to the magical part of our metal and tin divination primer.
You can choose what to do with the object next. You can keep it as a good luck charm if that feels right; dispose of it; and if you didn't like it at all, send it back by melting it down again and repeating the process. Yes, that's our choice as folk of a measure of free will; we can reject "a fate" and help create a different one. That's what magic is for after all!
I really like metal divination; I also like making magical objects from metal, and metal casting divination is a step towards that as well.
Enjoy, live long and prosper,
Here's an example of a little metal divination artefact which happened spontaneously whilst I was casting some metal for artwork and which reminded me of the metal casting divination from my youth.
The minute I saw it I thought of Aladdin's wonderful magic lamp - this really is a little oil lamp, it even has the stand and the small hole in the snout for the flame to emerge. It's hollow and oil proof - what are the chances :-) ?
This really cheered me up, it's a lovely little artefact and how good is it to have your own magic lamp charm for moments of magic failure?