Want to brie gouda at fontinella the future? Try Tyromancy, the practice of predicting the future with cheese.
Holy of Holies
Derived from the Greek (turos) (cheese) and manteia (divination), Tyromancy or Tiromancy is the art of divining the past, present and the future by interpreting omens found in cheese.
In the middle ages, the shape, number of holes, the pattern of the mold, and other features were used to predict rain, love, money, or even death.
Thou Most Moldy
Young maidens in countryside villages would divine the names of their future husbands by writing the names of all prospective suitors on separate pieces of cheese.
The one whose name was on the piece of cheese that grew mold first was believed to be the ideal love mate. This also worked just as well for the opposite sex.
Another method of Tyromancy was to write the possible answers to a question on separate pieces of cheese and them place them inside a cage along with a hungry rodent.
Whichever piece the mouse ate first was the correct answer. This manner of divination was also a form of Myomancy.
(Guess what that is?)
The main place you’ll find Tyromancy today is in the fantasy book (and game) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
From their Wiki:
“The best divination, however, is done using the ancient method of fondue. One must simply melt two different kinds of cheese, preferably emmental and gruyere, in white wine or, in a pinch, in a dry apple cider. Then one must use a long stick to immerse a morsel of bread in the resultant thick soupy mixture, all the while keeping in mind the question, “What shall my child be like when he (or she, as the case may be) grows?” Then bring the cheese-covered morsel of bread up to a candle, so that it casts a shadow on the wall: the shape will provide a sure and easily understood answer to your query.”
It’s also mentioned in “And Another Thing“, part six of three of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as
- Tyromancy — divination by the curds of cheese
Like most divinatory systems, Tyromancy is ancient, and has been practiced since time BC (Before cheese).
Scary enough to add to your Halloween night? Only if your name is Lactose the Intolerable (the Wizard known as the Great Cheese Whiz).
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.