Derived from the Arabic word “Tassa,” which, in its literal sense, means a cup, the graphy is a Greek suffix which refers to a graphy or writing. So, when we combine both of the words as “tasseography,” it refers to writing in the cup. If we talk about its origin, then it can be taken back to Medieval Europe, where fortune tellers would read splatters of lead, wax, and various other molten substances in their divination. Over time, these methods evolved into reading the patterns of tea leaves when Dutch merchants brought tea to Europe to trade routes into China.
Tasseography is also referred to as tasseomancy, but both have the same meaning – the art of reading tea leaves. It is a centuries-old method of divination to answer questions about the future by interpreting patterns available on the tea leaves in a cup.
On a positive, you don’t necessarily need to know every inch of the topic to translate the leaves. Some fortune-tellers believe that the person under observation influences the tea while he or she is drinking it. Ergo, a form of psychometry – a psychic ability to gain information through clairvoyance from familiar objects.
Is Tasseography Still A Thing?
While reading this, you might be learning about this term for the first time. Taking a step back, looking in – it’s a bit impractical to believe that there is an art of fortune-telling aided by tea leaves splattered at the bottom of a cup – seems a bit far fetched. We can’t ignore the fact that the principle has been commonplace for centuries?
The art of tea leaf reading started many centuries ago in China. The drinkers of tea realized that the remaining leaves at the bottom of the cup could represent a deeper understanding of our past, present, and future.
Is There A “Best Tea” For Tasseography?
There are countless types of tea, green, white, black, or oolong; the list is enormous. In general, any loose tea is best for Tasseography. We are all familiar with leaves that come in teabags. However, these leaves are broken down due to the manufacturing process, making it difficult to read the patterns. Also, tea bag leaves are too small to give a reading.
Similarly, the larger leaves should be avoided. The leaves are not supposed to be of the same size. Like Keemun, different shapes and sizes are better for reading. Moreover, one should not use the tea that contains other ingredients such as dried flowers of jasmine as this can distort or interfere with the translation.
In short, whatever tea you use – make sure the leaves are loose and do not contain additional flavouring. Most of all, it tastes good.
How Can You Read Tea Leaves?
As far as the actual ritual of reading tea leaves is concerned, it is not that complicated. Assume that you are practicing Tasseography by yourself:
- Have a drink, enjoy the tea, leave behind no more than a teaspoon of liquid in there.
- Then take that cup in hand and ask the question and or seek guidance regarding your fortune.
- Then Swirl the cup at least three times counter-clockwise.
- Carefully try to invert your cup over a saucer and leave it there for a minute to drain the liquid away.
- Then carefully turn the cup up in the right manner.
The tea leaves are ready for Tasseography.
Pre Match Warm-Up
There are a few things that you can do before starting the reading; first of all, you will have to relax and allow your mind to be calm. You have to patiently look into the tea leaves, almost like your trying to tune into them.
What Are The Steps To Reading Tea Leaves?
At first glance, you will notice that the leaves lay scattered in different groups such as lines, dots, small and large.
You might find it very confusing, and it seems meaningless, but don’t stop there. Take a pause and look at the various shapes from different perspectives. I tilt, turn, squint – scowl even until a form jumps out at me.
Turn the cup and observe from different angles. The shapes will become apparent, and so will it’s meaning. While you are practicing Tasseography, you will notice that every symbol collectively makes up the reading.
What To Do While Observing The Cup?
- When you are looking into the cup, focus on the first set of shapes that jump out.
- Be confident in your selection – crosse reference the shapes with the symbols on the cheat sheet.
- Now make your interpretation based on the position, the question, and the shapes.
Sections Of The Cup And Tasseography
Visualize the cup split into different sections – past, present, and future. The attached cheat sheet displays an image of the cup and its divisions to assist with the time frame.
Get A Handle On Things
- Traditionally, the leaves are read starting from the handle and moving clockwise around the cup.
- Shapes that are close to the handle determine Self and Home. It might be an indication of something that is on your mind and or currently experiencing.
- Anything on the top left side of the handle indicates the past, whereas the top right shows the present. Half ways down the cup represent the near future.
- Any shapes or symbols that you find near the rim and on the top third of the cup will occur immediately and or the forthcoming days.
- The bottom base of the cup indicates the distant future.
Imagine yourself as a child trying to make shapes out of the clouds in the sky. Similarly, the same principles apply while searching for forms in the tea leaves. You might encounter a tree, a flower, a square, triangle, number, star, a letter, and much more. All of them have a specific meaning. I’ve included the symbols in the cheat sheet for reference.
The images can be small or large. The larger images indicate importance; For example, you might have seen a symbol or shape of a bat – signifying that you are going on a long journey. If it appears small, then its the opposite, and the trip will be much shorter – like traveling to the nearby town.
If you see any letters, then they represent a person’s name. For instance, you notice the letter C, then you should think about someone whose last name starts with C. If you see a flying bird with the letter, then you might be receiving news from the person who’s on your mind, and his or her last name initial is C.
A Few Tips
- Start with the most significant shapes and then work your way to the smallest.
- Look into the shapes, are they spread evenly across the cup or not? Or are they concentrated in one of the sections?
- Keep a journal.
Storm In Teacup
I’ve had a lot of fun researching this topic; not confined to leaves alone; I’ve had coffee and tea readings. It works well with wine 🙂 More to the point, my reading results by two independent readers were eerily similar – bolstering my belief in the process and since, had a go at reading the leaves myself.
Its been about five months, and I have to admit the symbols are getting easier to identify. I’ve recorded some of the readings and had feedback – affirming some of the topics discussed. It could well be a one-off; but, don’t take my word for it have a go.