Reading Tea Leaves

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The practice of reading tea leaves, also known as tasseography, is a centuries old practice thought to have originated independently in ancient Greece, Asia, and the Middle East.

The ritual of reading tea leaves is ceremonious and involves  the following practices.

What does it take to read tea leaves? 

Obviously, you need loose tea  (tea in bags or bags in which the leaves are crushed is no good), hot water, a white or light-coloured teacup, a saucer and a cloth or napkin.

During the preparation of the tea, the person requesting the reading should mentally picture the problem or question to which he/she would like to receive an answer.

Once the tea has been prepared, the person requesting the reading is asked to sip it. Once the tea has been consumed, the remaining tea leaves and liquid are analysed by the reader.

Two options are possible at this point in the reading:

  • Most tea leaf readers do their reading inside the cup. In this type of reading, the  cup is read from the circle downwards, representing the present into the future.
  • Some readers pour the tea leaves onto a white cloth or napkin and  analyse the shapes on the fabric.

The reader looks at the tea leaves and searches for images, shapes and patterns. The formations are then interpreted on the basis of a somewhat standardised system of symbols, together with the reader’s intuition.

Common symbols and their meaning

  • Acorn – positioning at the top of cup means success and gain; positioning at the bottom indicates good health.
  • Anchor – stands for good luck and success; if blurred, means just the opposite.
  • Circle – represents the end of a cycle or a group of people.
  • Crescent Moon – indicates prosperity, fame; if blurry, it means difficulties will be solved.
  • Elephant – shows good fortune and happiness.
  • Heart – when close to a ring, it means marriage to the present lover; if indistinct, the lover is fickle.
  • House – denotes change or success.
  • Letters – represent people’s names or clues to places.
  • Mountain – challenging journey is in store.
  • Numbers – indicates time, days, weeks, months or years.
  • Owl – portrays sickness or poverty. Warning against starting a new venture. Warning against starting a new venture.
  • Palm tree – represents good omen and success in any undertaking.
  • Snake – symbolizes lies and falsehoods.
  • Triangles – suggests unexpected good fortune.

Since symbols often have multiple meanings, interpretation relies heavily on the intuition and experience of the reader. Although a popular practice that has been around for centuries, there is no scientific evidence that individuals can divine future events by reading tea leaves.

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