Reading Tea Leaves
There are many methods to fortune telling. Practicing fortune tellers use items such as the traditional crystal ball, tarot cards, rune casting, palm reading, and astrology to predict the future. Another method to predicting the future is tasseography, otherwise known as tea-leaf reading. Tea-leaf reading is an old tradition that dates back hundreds of years. It has been practiced on many continents but its origins lie in China and the Mediterranean. In Italy, tea leaves were substituted with coffee grounds but the methods and principles were the same. Tea-leaf reading is still practiced today by those who believe in forms of divination. If you are a follower of those arts and want to learn how to read tea leaves, there are some simple steps that anyone can learn to follow.
Tools You Will Need
To get started reading tea leaves you have to have the right kind of tea. Bags of tea will not work. You have to have loose tea leaves that are not crushed or ground up too fine. The leaves still need to be coarse. Remember, you are supposed to be looking for symbols in the arrangement of leaves. The ideal tea would be hand-rolled teas. You can get any flavor of tea because the flavor doesn’t matter (except maybe to the person drinking it).
Next you are going to need a tea cup. Tea cups used in reading tea leaves are symbolic so not just any cup will do. You need a white or very light colored cup so that you can see the tea leaves clearly at the bottom. If the cup is dark, you might not see all of the leaves and misread the symbols. A nice china cup works best but any cup of the right color would work. You could probably even use a Styrofoam or paper cup if you were in a hurry.
Other than the tea and a cup, you will also need hot water and probably a few napkins to set your cup on and catch the last drops of liquid.
The Tea-Leaf Reading Process
The first thing you need to do is boil water in a tea pot. While the water is heating up, put some tea leaves on a plate and have the person asking the question stir them briefly. Once they are stirred, there are two different methods you can use to make the tea. You can throw the leaves into the pot of boiling water or you can put some loose leaves inside the teacup and then pour hot water into the cup over them. If you use the pot method, you then just pour the tea, along with the loose leaves, into the cup. Whichever method you decide to use, do not use a strainer for your leaves as this negates the whole purpose of reading the loose leaves.
After the cup is full, allow the person that is asking the question to hold the cup while the tea seeps. The tea needs to cool so as not to burn the recipient’s mouth. This allows time for the recipient to focus on their question before either asking it out loud or silently.
Once the tea has cooled, the recipient should slowly sip the tea from the cup while concentrating on their question. The recipient should not drink all of the tea but should leave a small amount of liquid along with the leaves at the bottom of the cup. At this point, the recipient should hand the cup over to the person doing the reading. The reader must take the cup using their left hand and swirl the leaves three times in a clockwise direction.
After the remaining tea has been swirled, the reader drains the remaining liquid. Do this by placing a napkin onto a saucer or plate and then turn the teacup upside down on the napkin. The remaining liquid will drain out and what will be left in the cup are the tea leaves. Once the liquid has been drained, the reader will turn the cup back over and study the arrangement of the tea leaves. These belief is that the loose leaves will form shapes that represent symbols depicting letters, animals, items, or figures.
Symbols and Meanings
The reader’s job is to interpret the symbols and deduce their meaning. For beginners, you can use a reference book that can help you identify all the shapes and list their meanings. However, a book is really just a guide, not a definite answer. Experienced tea leaf readers do not use reference books, instead relying on their own intuition to read the symbols correctly.
When interpreting tea leaves, first look at where the leaves are placed in the tea cup. The leaves that are farthest from the cup’s rim (which would be the bottom of the cup) are interpreted as things that will happen in the far future. Tea leaves near or at the rim represent things that will happen in the near future. A symbol or pattern on the rim of the cup can also indicate something that is very likely to happen. If there is a symbol on the side of the cup this indicates events that may not be as important as the symbols on the rim of the teacup. If there are symbols at the bottom of the cup these are interpreted as most likely to change.
The next thing to look at when reading tea leaves are patterns or lines in the teacup. Straight lines are interpreted events that are likely to happen but they can also mean careful planning and peace of mind. . But if the line has a curve to it, this means there is a change coming soon. Also, if there appears a clear or definite shape in the tea leaves, this indicates something that’s very likely to happen. Each symbol also has a different meaning. An Acorn represents improved or continued health. Cups represent harmony and love. An Owl indicates sickness or poverty. Initials and numbers can signify people, places, or events. Triangles indicate unexpected good fortune. As the leaves take on different appearances, they can also take on different meanings. There are a variety of symbols that can occur and only an experienced practitioner can read them correctly.
Reading tea leaves takes a lot of practice and there are even different ways to interpret what you see in the leaves. In fact, a good way to start an argument is to get to two people together and have them both try to read the same set of leaves. It can be as entertaining as any other form of divination or fortune telling. If you want to learn to read tea leaves, you can use a reference book to start out with but gradually you should rely on your own gut instinct.