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How to Read Tea Leaves

Tea leaf reading, also known as Tasseography, is a divination tool used to explore the past, present, and future.


By interpreting symbols and messages in the configurations of the tea leaves, curious minds have been enchanted by the art for centuries.



How Does It Work?


Tea leaf reading works by directing energy towards the tea, so that the leaves can become energetic conduits. These can mirror and predict our experiences, and when prompted with a question, the leaves can help to reveal an answer.


It's one of the easiest forms of divination - all you need is a white teacup (we tend to use gaiwans), some loose leaf tea leaves, hot water, and the free time to truly focus on your intentions.


We recommend using black tea leaves, as these can stay in the cup and continue brewing as the temperature of the water cools down.


How Do I Do It?


Once you have decided on the type of tea you will be using (we recommend our Classic Assam Black), you should place them directly into the cup or gaiwan, without a strainer.


Pour the hot water (approx. 100°C/ 212°F) into the cup, and as it begins to cool, the person seeking the answers - also known as the querent - should reflect on their intentions, transferring their energy to the tea leaves.


The querent should form a clear question in their mind whilst sipping the tea: the more specific the question, the more specific the answer. They should stop drinking when there is approximately a tablespoon of the liquid left at the bottom of the cup.


Then, holding the teacup or gaiwan in their left hand, the querent should swirl it around three times, clockwise from left to right.


They should then slowly and carefully turn the teacup over a saucer (or the gaiwan over a lid), using their left hand. The cup should then be left upside down for approximately one minute, before being rotated three times.


The querent should then turn the cup back upright, and the handle should be placed facing south. The leaves will be full of insight and answers, with insight gained from the way that they have stuck themselves to the inside of the cup.



What Do My Leaves Mean?


Within the leaves, you may encounter five types of symbols: numbers, letters, objects, mythical beings, and animals.


The handle of the teacup (or if you're using a gaiwan, the side in which your hand has been holding it) is extremely important. It symbolises the querent, working as an energy conduit connecting the physical and the abstract realms. If the tea leaves gather around the side where the handle is, then this suggests events relating to the querent's immediate surroundings. Conversely, leaves directly across from the handle symbolise outside influences.


The bottom of the cup represents the far future, the middle of the cup signifies the near future, and the rim symbolises the present. Depending on the context, this can be used to gauge connection or distance between between individuals, the intensity of an event, or the timing of how soon a situation will occur.


The querent should look for animals or objects in the leaves, and begin to think about what they may signify. For example, if they see a lion, then this may represent strength, taking control, and speaking up. On the contrast, if they see a skull and crossbones, then well... the news isn't looking good.


A lot of tea leaf reading is about interpretation, and how a specific may be significant to the querent's own situation. Spend time with the cup and try to figure out what the meaning might be - after all, you might just be clairvoyant.



Our Reading


In preparation for this post, Emily and I took time out to truly study the practice of tasseography.


As you can see in Emily's cup above, there's a thick gathering of tea leaves at the bottom, a few in the middle, and several towards the rim of the cup. Her question was relating to future events, and so, this suggests that there will be success in small stages.


At the very beginning, there will be small, obtainable successes, and in the distant future, the big clumps of leaves suggests that there will be a lot of positive stuff occurring at the same time. This is good news!


There are several of the leaves facing south (towards her), suggesting that some of this will be caused from internal work. But most of the tea leaves are clumped slightly away from her, which tells us that there will be a lot of external influences.


Finally, you can see a curve, suggesting that this timeline will be relatively linear, and as they're all clumped towards the east, it suggests that a lot of this will be happening in the east. With many of the leaves coming together to look like branches, it tells us that there will be a heavy community influence in this all.



With my leaves, I also asked about my future (especially regarding following the right path in life). In my cup, you can see that there's a lot of leaves at the bottom, suggesting that it will all come together in the future. However, there are many bits and bobs up the side of the cup towards the rim - and there were even a few stuck to the lid! - which symbolises that I'm on my way.


The leaves are spread relatively equally across the bottom of the cup, with some towards me, and some on the opposite side of the cup. This suggests that there will be almost an equal amount of internal and external influences.


Finally, when looking for symbols in the leaves, I could see a chameleon-type animal sitting on a branch, looking out towards what appears to be land. Firstly, due to their coats, chameleons are a symbol of adaptation - suggesting that I will need t