Ceromancy is the art of divination by dropping melted candle wax in a pan of cold water.Some people also use the term ceromancy to describe divination by any drippings or shapes formed on th side of a candle, or even divination from obseving an actual candle flame and how it burns. However divination from obseving an actual candle flame should more correctly called lychnomamancy. (See Petition Candles to read about lychnomancy and la lingus delle candelle, "the language of the candle." )

In the 16th century the celebrated Venetian courtesan, Veronica Franco, was hauled before the inquistion for practicing ceromancy to discover the idenity of a thief in her household. She initially beat the charge of heresy by admitting she had particpated in the ceremony but didn't believe in it. (One must hold a false belief in order to be a genuine heretic.)

Most people simply light a taper and tip the candle at about a 145 degree angle over a pan of water to allow the wax to drip into the cold water.

One Italian method of ceromancy is recorded in Judika Illes, The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, 2004 (p. 307)

Bind two tapers--not dripless beeswax candles--with scarlet ribbons. Set these candles standing up right in a pan of cold water. Place in the water, nettle leaves,cumin seeds, three rose hips, and a few sprigs of rue.

Light the candles. Observe the wax dripping into the cold water. Interpret any shapes formed by the hot wax solidifing in the cold water. The ultimate interpretation of what a shape is and what it means is up to you.

Below are some "commonly accepted" meanings for the shapes that sometimes result. I do not know if any of these meanings are associated with Italian folklore or not.

Airplane: A trip or a disappointment.
Anchor: Your loved one is faithful.
Ball: Your problem will roll away.
Bed: A restful holiday would be good for you.
Bells: A wedding.
Bird: News is coming.
Bridge: Time to take a chance.
Broom: Time to sweep in a change.
Candle: Spiritual growth.
Chain: Go ahead with your plans.
Circle: Time of reconciliation.
Cloud: Something or someone threatens you with a stormy situation.
Cross: You are protected.
Ear: Listen for opportunities to advance in your work.
Egg: There will soon be new developments.
Fan: A surprise is coming.
Feather: The problem will be solved.
Ghost: Someone from the past is looking for you.
Grass: Good fortune grows.
Heart: Friendship becomes love.
House: Better times are coming.
Leaf: There will soon be changes.
Lion: An unpleasant situation.
Moon: More money may be coming.
Mountain: Close friends are willing to help.
Pen: Letter from a friend or relative.
Ring: Marriage may happen in the near future.
Scissors: Separation.
Snake: Beware.
Spider web: Pleasant occurrences.
Star: Happiness.
Sun: Good fortune.
Table: An abundance of blessings.
Tree: A good time for new ventures.
Walking Stick: Go and visit friends.
Wheel: Travel, or someone journeys home soon.

Petition Candles

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