When I was a kid, I lived on the end of a very long street. At the top of that same street lived the local tea-leaf reader. I wish I can remember what she looked like, but I vividly remember her house number scrawled in thick black marker on a piece of cardboard… and nailed to a tree. Of course, we all went to her for readings when we were teenagers, but I can’t for the life of me remember what she said to me during my reading.
Not surprisingly, tea-leaf reading as a method of divination, also known as tasseography or teomancy, goes way, way, back. It also makes sense that reading tea leaves follows the path of the cultural and economic practice of the trade of tea itself.
My dear if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs ~ Charles Dickens
Most, but not all the tea-reading information I have researched, suggests that it’s best to use loose tea leaves, instead of bagged tea. One might think that bagged tea muddles the integrity of tea-reading as a ritual art form, but it seems that loose tea clumps differently and better for the purposes of divination.
One book I read was remarkably similar to a dream dictionary. The author provided an extensive list of tea-leaf images and their possible symbolism in a reading. I would guess, however, that it takes both time and practice to learn to see the images well enough to be able to assess that a specific shape can be interpreted. Overall, these shapes are often more metaphorical than literal, and point to an issue or event, instead of possessing a literal meaning. The images do, however, possess a certain energy, which can be assessed as positive, negative, or cautionary.
A cup is also not just a cup in tea-leaf reading. Mugs don’t work, because the shape isn’t conducive to tea-leaf residue. Most experts recommend the type of tea cups we modern folk attach to the more formal, old fashioned tea cup – the smaller, thinner cups associated with tea drinking, as the best reading cup. One caveat though: tea cups should be free of designs of any kind to prevent interference with the leaves themselves.
The shape of the cup is important, because where the leaves fall (or stick) can, according to different beliefs or interpretations, foretell events in terms of time, or positive or negative influences. How the leaves gather is also an indication of the degree of time or energy, so it’s important that the cup allows for the leaves to fall where they may.
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future ~ Thich Nat Hahn
Movement plays an important role in the tea-leaf reading ritual. There are several schools of thought, but generally there is consensus that a cup (or more rightfully, its contents) should be swirled, three times clockwise, or counter-clock-wise, and then turned upside down. Some believe that the cup’s handle plays an important role, as does the cup’s rim, sides, and bottom.
Many purveyors of tea and tea leaves suggest choosing teas based on the reader’s attraction to a particular tea. If it speaks to you, buy it. It makes sense (to me, anyway) that the more one practices reading the tea leaves, the more one may experiment with different types of teas to see what works best. It seems reasonable to suggest that tasseography, remains a useful divination tool, even in our modern times where the tradition of tea drinking is no longer as prevalent as it used to be in the good old days. Tea-leaf reading is richly varied and fun to explore, while sharing a nice, warm cup of tea.
| PsychicAccess.com.Edie lives near the ocean in Massachusetts and is known to her clients to be a compassionate listener and conveyer of divine wisdom. She possesses the rare talent to integrate an individual’s past, present, and future–particularly at moments of life changes and crossroads. A sensitive and gifted Medium with a full range of Clair abilities at her disposal, she can find lost objects and people and can even read buildings and structures! An experienced teacher, communicator and a born Libran counselor, Edie cares about the well-being of her clients, creating a warm environment in which they can tackle challenging issues, together. If you’d like a multi-Clair Intuitive who can solve life’s obstacles and mysteries, you can find Edie at |
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