Divination Articles,  Reviews

Seeing the Signs Reviews – The Cup of Destiny: A Traditional Fortune-teller’s Cup and Saucer Plus Illustrated Book of Interpretations by Jane Lyle

Seeing the Signs Reviews

The Cup of Destiny

A Traditional Fortune-teller’s Cup and Saucer Plus Illustrated Book of Interpretations

by Jane Lyle

96 Pages


I was no stranger to The Cup of Destiny when it arrived in my mailbox. A very good witchy friend of mine – a woman who has been a friend since childhood – has had one for years. She often does tealeaf readings and then posts the readings on Facebook so we can all chime in with our ideas on what we see. The discussions can get quite lively! Usually several of us see the same thing and a few other of us see something somewhat different but on the same wavelength and one of us will see something radically different. I am convinced that we are all correct in our readings, having been taught at a very early age – by my grandmother, who read tealeaves – that there was never an incorrect reading. Just like with looking at art – it’s in the eye of the beholder.

I have been reading tealeaves for years. In recent years, I have had trouble finding loose tea – you don’t see it like you used to – even in places like the Co-op – so I compromised by breaking open teabags and reading those tiny manufactured leaves. But the uniformity of those tealeaves left something to be desired when it came to divination – although you can read them. You can read anything left inside a cup – coffee grounds, beer foam, the dregs from a thick soup. Sometimes you don’t even plan to do a reading but you “see” something – whether or not you’re looking for it. That has happened to me more times than I can count!

I have a nice collection of cups and saucers and tea pots. Most of them I inherited from my two grandmothers. In times past, if I wanted to do a reading, I would pick a cup and saucer from my collection and brew tea in one of my teapots. Now that I have this new Cup of Destiny, I guess I don’t have to go through the process of choosing a cup anymore.

Before I could start using the Cup of Destiny, I had to get it out of the box. This was a marvel of packaging! I have to say that I was quite impressed. Opening the box, the cup itself was covered by the instruction book and a paper pull-out which, once unfolded, could be used as a mat for your readings.

The instruction book, The Cup of Destiny is written by Jane Lyle – the woman who created this lovely cup and saucer set – and is published by Shelter Harbor Press. It contains a wealth of information.

Under the book and the paper fold-out “quick” instructions, was the cup in a gorgeous red satin cup holder. Absolutely stunning.

But then I was like – where’s the saucer? I was actually thinking that maybe there wasn’t a saucer and you were supposed to use the paper fold-out to drain your tea onto but the pictures on the fold-out and in the book showed a saucer and the box said that it contained a cup and a saucer so it had to be in there. I found it – by taking apart the box – it was under the red satin cup holder!

Like I said – a marvel of packaging!

So now that I had the cup and saucer unpacked, I washed them before using – I don’t have a dishwasher but if you do, do not put the Cup of Destiny into a dishwasher! In the Cup of Destiny book, on the page that gives you all the bibliographic information, there’s this little tidbit:

PLEASE NOTE: The Cup of Destiny cup and saucer that were created to accompany this book are hand decorated and therefore not dishwasher safe. We recommend that you wash them carefully by hand.”

I mention this because not everyone reads the bibliographic information and you might just miss that.

For my first reading, I chose the fat white teapot in which to brew the tea. This teapot came with little Japanese-style cups – I have never done a reading with one of those cups – that might be interesting! I like using this teapot because it’s small and I can make just a few cups of tea at a time. I’m usually drinking alone. I have yet to read the leaves for another person. But I have always followed a solitary path and as I get further into my Crone years and more disabled, the more true this is.

While the tea steeped, I peeled and sectioned an orange to enjoy while I sipped my tea. These oranges are called Cara cara navels and they are so delicious! Perfect with a cup of Oolong tea.

I set myself up in my living room. I have a little table (actually a writing board set on a Coleman cooler) in front of my small couch where I sit and have tea in the afternoons. I either read or watch one of my dramas on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

I didn’t have a specific question for this reading. I rarely do nowadays, no matter what method of divination I’m using. My life has settled into a routine of boredom that really doesn’t require a lot of looking into the future. However, I do like to know “which way the wind is blowing” and even a boring life has unforeseen twists and turns! Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes!

Here are the leaves in the hot cup of tea:

After sipping the tea and eating a few sections of the orange, while thinking about what I might need to know in the near future, I decided to do the reading. I turned the cup three times widdershins and then turned it over on its saucer.

It’s always such a magical moment before you turn the cup over to reveal the tealeaves! What are they going to say? Are they going to say anything at all? Or will they just be the magical version of mumblings that make no sense whatsoever?

This is what I saw:

In The Cup of Destiny, the book that accompanies the cup and saucer, Lyle gives specific instructions for how to read the leaves – what the specific shapes might mean and what the symbols on the cup mean – so, for instance, if you see the leaves forming the shape of a cow within the square along the rim containing the symbol of the bell, you can figure on getting some happy news which usually concerns money, cows being a symbol of wealth. If the shape of the cow lands on the Saturn symbol inside of the cup, it could mean that you need to work hard to gain whatever wealth you may need.

What did I see in my cup? Along the rim – where the horseshoe is – I saw two dogs – their heads facing away from each other. The dog on the right is more fully on the horseshoe than the dog on the left, while the dog on the left is completely on the sign of Mercury.

Inside the cup, I saw what looked to me to be a flock of birds, with one bird flying away from the flock – perhaps it was shot by hunters and one of the dogs are going to retrieve it? I know that’s a lot to see in a cup of tealeaves but that’s what I thought. The one bird that was flying away was on the sign of Mars.

Immediately, I thought of my ex-boyfriend Billy, who was (and still is) a dedicated hunter, and our hunting dogs Maggie and Lucy, both of whom have gone to Summerland, many years ago.

I didn’t need to look in book to get a sense of what the images meant, but I did anyway – just to see what Lyle’s take on my tealeaves were. Dogs, of course, symbolize loyalty. A horseshoe means “Fortunate coincidences, lucky breaks and meaningful surprises” (Lyle, 16) – I could wrap my brain around trying to put together these concepts and the concept of loyalty and trust that you get with a dog but perhaps it just means “lucky dog”. The other dog – being placed on the sign of Mercury – could just be telling me to listen to what the dog is telling me.

In my newest story, one of the characters is named Maggie – after our lovely chocolate lab. So these images of the dog could be telling me to work with this new character and listen to what she has to say for herself.


Birds generally mean news and messages. Billy was crazy about goose hunting for several years and geese in particular mean happiness and prosperity. So, either I can read it that my writing venture is going to be a success or go with my first thought – that I was going to hear from Billy.

Since I did this reading two weeks ago, I can tell you what happened. On January 10, I found out that Neil Peart of the band Rush died of brain cancer. Billy and I were both huge Rush fans – it was one of the things that drew us together initially – and although I hadn’t spoken to him in over six months – maybe even longer – I texted him immediately. Then I called him but it went right to voice mail and of course he never set up his mailbox, because that’s who he is.

He called me early the next morning. He was broken up by the news, as I was. We talked for about a half an hour. He told me – of course he did – that he missed me and he still loved me and he wanted to see me again. I don’t need to read tealeaves or tarot cards or the Lenormand to know what would happen if I got back together with Billy again. So that’s just not going to happen.

Still – my first instincts about what I was seeing in the cup were imminently correct, although using “the book” backed up my original assessment and even gave me a few additional ideas. My point here is – read the book, study the book, and use the book during your readings but don’t ever be constrained by the book. And honestly, that’s true about all divinatory methods – it’s good to have reference books – but it’s even better to go by your own intuition and personal sense of what is being said to you. The only way to get this kind of experience is to practice, practice, practice!

In my case, that means I’ll be drinking a lot of tea out of The Cup of Destiny!

Now given a prominent spot among my other cups and saucers!

Brightest Blessings!


Lyle, Jane. The Cup of Destiny. NY: Shelter Harbor Press, 2000


About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan but she gets along with a few of the masculine deities. She loves to cook and she is a Bills fan.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.