Tea leaf reading is called Tasseography, or Tasseomancy. This form of divination is thought to have originated with the ancient Chinese. Tasseographers would then read the patterns and shapes left after drinking the tea. Tea leaf reading then spread by nomadic gypsies telling fortunes throughout Europe, and was extremely popular in the 1800’s.
In reading tea leaves, it’s recommended that one use an unpatterned cup (for clear reading), as well as loose tea. Some tasseographers read the patterns of the leaves on the bottom of the tea cup, while others have the querent (the person asking the question) dump the remaining dregs onto a white napkin or saucer.
Want to try reading tea leaves? Here are some possible meanings of tea leaf patterns:
Airplane, Boat, or Train An upcoming trip
Horseshoe A sign of good luck
Branch or Twig Social activities; fleeting friendships
Clouds Wishes coming true; wishful thinking
Coins Monetary prosperity
Ear Good news
Lamp Guidance and understanding
Hand Assistance and help
Eyeglasses Study the situation thoroughly; needing to see more clearly
Moon Secrets; using intuition
Mountain An obstacle or challenge
Heart Love and passion
Knot An argument; relationship trouble
Kite Aspirations; high goals
Lock Something to be solved or opened
Tear Drop Disappointment or sadness
Numbers Could mean a birthday, day of the year, month, apartment number, etc.
Letters Could represent the first letter of someone’s name relevant to the question
Octopus Overwhelm; too much to do
Volcano A situation about to erupt, especially involving someone with a fiery personality
Water Intuition; cleansing
Zebra Lack of certainty; double-mindedness
Use your intuition to come up with other meanings! In addition to reading tea leaves, there is also the divinatory practice of reading coffee grounds—which are read in the same manner as tea leaves.
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