You might have heard of using tarot cards, and reading celestial patterns, and perhaps even using pendulums for fortune-telling - but have you heard of tasseomancy? That is, reading tea leaves for divination?
Tea leaf reading was a popular social activity during the Victorian era, a parlour game usually performed by a gypsy, but anyone could practice reading tea leaves (psychic abilities not required!)
Like most methods of fortune-telling, all that is required are a few simple tools and the ability to read symbols (oh, and some confidence, some flair, and a bit of charisma, too!)
The art of tea leaf reading can be incorporated into a morning tea ritual. Or, next time you're having tea with a friend, try practicing each other's tea leaves!
Do the symbols hold divinatory messages? That's up to you!
Are you curious? Here's how it's done...
How to perform a tea leaf reading:
You will need a tea cup with a saucer, a tea pot, and loose tea leaves.
There are some novelty tea cups specifically made for reading tea leaves (with symbols printed on them), but any plain white cup and saucer will do!
Any loose tea leaves should work well, just try to avoid using dust and fannings from prepackaged tea bags (the dust is likely to clump). I prefer using coarsely cut tea leaves or a puer cake.
- First, prepare your tea pot with tea (read: how to make tea). Then, ask a question! Open-ended questions that allow for exploration and begin with "what", "how", and "why" are best.
- Spoon about 1/2 a teaspoon of tea leaves into your cup, and pour tea (from your tea pot) over the leaves.
- Next, infuse your cup: place both hands directly above your cup and focus on your question.
- Drink your tea while continuing to focus on your question until all but the last sip is left.
- Then, swirl the tea leaves by using your left hand to rotate your cup in a counterclockwise direction. I like to rotate the cup three times, with the handle on the left side.
- With both hands, gently flip your tea cup upside down over your tea saucer, draining as much liquid from the cup as possible.
- Flip your cup back upright, and interpret the shapes and patterns that are left in your cup (or on your saucer).
When reading your tea leaves, look for recognisable shapes like animals, trees, people, houses, furniture, and tools or equipment. I recommend reading books on symbols and their meanings (most libraries carry books on C.G. Jung's seminars), and perhaps taking note of your own personal interpretations.
The timeline in a teacup is like a spiral that begins from the rim where the tea handle sits: symbols found closer to the rim of the cup represent more recent events, while symbols found closer to the bottom of the cup represent the distant future.
Take your time examining the shapes and their relation to each other, kind of like you would in gazing at clouds in the sky. Also, consider the sizes of the shapes, which might also indicate their relevance. And don't forget to include the saucer as part of the reading! With practice, it should get easier to use the clues in your tea cup to form a story.