Tasseography (or reading tea leaves) is a method of divination that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds or wine sediments. Although Tasseography is often associated with gypsy fortune tellers, the origins of this form of divination stem from ancient China. The Chinese would often read the dredges of their cups for symbols, omens or unusual patterns.
The History of Tasseography
The first appearance of Western Tasseography dates back to the seventeenth century, a short time after Dutch merchants introduced tea to Europe via trade routes to China. Modern Tasseography is now associated with the Scottish, Irish and cultures throughout Eastern Europe.
Reading tealeaves isn’t as mysterious as its history would have you believe, in fact it is now considered to be one of the most intuitive and creative forms of divination there is. All that is required to perform Tasseography is loose tea (around ½ a teaspoon) hot water and a white or light coloured cup. It is always advisable to ground and protect yourself before doing any type of divinatory work and to always say what it is that you are seeing.
How Tasseography Works
Many people believe it is not customary for a person to read their own cup, however this really comes down to personal preference. Begin by pouring the water over the leaves and enjoy your cup of tea! The seeker then drinks all the liquid, taking care not to swallow the leaves, leaving a drop or two in the bottom of the cup.
The cup is then passed over to the reader, who gently swirls the liquid before placing a saucer or napkin over the cup and turning it upside down. As the liquid drains away, the grinds will settle and dry at the bottom of the cup to be read. The reader turns the cup the right way up and begins to identify patterns and symbols in the leaves. Dots, circles, triangles, squares, animals, objects, numbers, letters are amongst the most common symbols identified in Tasseography.
Interpretation of symbols tends to be personal and subjective, and the reader’s language, experience, and mental state can affect their interpretation of the leaves. Most tea reader’s interpret images based on accepted magical and archetypal symbolism. If you are considering reading your own tea leaves but are unsure about interpreting their meaning, there are numerous books available online and in local bookstores listing symbols and their meanings.
Tasseography at Psychic Light
Feel free to follow your own instincts when reading tea leaves, but if you need some guidance then call upon on of our Psychic Light readers.
It is important for you to remember that the ability to read tea leaves is derived from your subconscious and the symbols you see are unique to you or your reader’s perception. Divination is an art. The more you practice the better you will become at intuiting the answers to questions. Trust your instincts and remember most importantly to have fun!
Learn more about the different methods of divination:
Related Category: Divination