The Art of Tea Leaf Reading
The ambiance of the cottage is serene and welcoming. Whimsical knickknacks are placed lovingly throughout the herb-scented rooms and a small fire glows in the time-worn fireplace. My hostess motions for me to sit in the cozy sitting room. Fresh flowers adorn the room with an enchanting vibrancy. Their sweet scent calms my mind, as I am nervous about what is soon to be revealed to me. My hostess places a reassuring hand on my own; with the most charming of smiles she eases my anxious mind. We begin to chat, a friendly rapport ensues. She has gathered from our short talk that I am here to learn more about my intimate relation with my lover. My hostess knows this query all too well, for I am not the first woman, or man, to ask for her help in the search for answers about our love lives. As she readies the already prepared tea for my reading, I brace myself for the answers I may soon regret seeking…
Tasseomancy, or tea leaf reading, is a form of divination leading back to ancient Greece, Asia, and the Middle East. Also known as tasseography, tassology, and teomancy, “tasse is an Arab root meaning small cup or goblet.i The reading of tea leaves became popular during the Victorian era and is still used today by witches and those seeking answers to like’s secrets. It is one of the easiest forms of divination to learn can be quite rewarding to those enjoying the more intimate feel of tea leaf readings.
When preparing for a tea leaf reading session, whether for yourself or a client, it is apropos to set the mood. The ambiance of the room in which you are giving the reading will lend a great deal of energy and charm to the moment. I like to light several candles, adding a pinch of the tea I will be using to them. Any tea can be used for a reading along with coffee grounds if preferred. I adore coming up with tea blends that fit the particular reading if I know ahead of time the answers the querent is seeking.
There are a few ways the tea can be prepared depending on the way you or your client prefers. If you don’t mind drinking around the herbs and tea leaves, the old fashioned way of putting the loose tea directly into the cup is best. You can also use a tea strainer, empting the contents in the cup after you drink the tea. Either way is acceptable, use what you or your client prefer.
As you prepare the tea, concentrate on the answers you seek. Love, careers, health, and family life are some of the answers we sometimes wish to be revealed to us. You, or your client, should swirl the contents of the cup three times when the tea is almost gone. Turn the tea cup upside down into the saucer, leaving it there for the count of three breaths. Return the cup to the upright position and prepare to decipher the symbols left behind.
Tea leaf reading is an intuitive type of divination. Though there are some meanings behind the symbols, you decide what they signify. When deciphering the way the leaves appear in the cup, use your imagination and the secrets will be revealed. Usually, the leaves and herbs closest to rim signify the present, and the leaves at the bottom of the cup signify the root of the question. Silver Ravenwolf, in her book Hedge Witch, gives a detailed method of tea leaf reading, including clues into the way the leaves and herbs float in the cup. She also includes a “Tea-Leaf Symbol Guide”. A few include:
Arrow up: Success; action
Arrow down: Working within; don’t miss a good opportunity
Birds flying: Information arriving
Butterfly: Freedom; new, exciting experiences
Flowers: Gifts; nature spirits
Heart: Love; harmony
Star: Wishes granted; good timing to make decisions
Tree: Unity and growth
Wings: Guardian; spiritualityi
As I said, this is a highly intuitive form of divination; the meaning listed might differ from what you feel them to be. Go with what you feel is right, your gut-instincts are almost always true. In the example given above, I used a Love Tea made from hibiscus flower, rose hips, orange peel, rose petals, and stevia leaf. Within the symbols I see two birds starting to take flight. This signifies a new relationship staring to form (love birds). I also see a figure holding a sword, revealing that there may something or someone in the past that you need to cut ties with; to let go so you can move forward in this budding relationship. Pan, the ever lustful Satyr, makes an appearance as well. To me, it implies that this is going to be a very passionate love affair.
What the leaves reveal will be different for each person interpreting them. We all “see” with the eyes of our soul. Tasseomancy is one of the easiest of divinations to perform. Give it a try. It’s a deliciously fun way to reveal the answers you seek.