The art of reading tea leaves is referred to as Tasseography (or Tasseomancy) and is a divination or fortune-telling method that in western tradition interprets patterns in tea leaves. The term also refers to the reading of coffee grounds, especially in the Middle Eastern tradition. The term has also been applied to the reading of wine sediments. The term derives from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic tassa (cup).Tasseography, otherwise known as tasseomancy or tassology, is the art of tea leaf reading. "Tasse" or "tass" is an Arab root, meaning small cup or goblet.
The beverage, Tea, is linked with herbology part of alternative healing. People who seek answers through various forms of divination, such as tea leaf readings, are often healing their issues.
Tea leaf reading is an ancient practice interpreting patterns made by tea leaves in the cup. In addition to the reading of tea leaves, the tradition of tasseography includes the reading of coffee grounds and wine sediments. Although tasseography is commonly associated with Gypsy fortunetellers, the tradition of tea leaf reading arises independently from Asia, the Middle East and Ancient Greece.
Modern tasseography has also been associated with the Scottish, Irish and cultures throughout Eastern Europe.
The significance of the ubiquitous, cross cultural and historical pervasiveness of tea, coffee and sediment reading may be related to the primal human desire for understanding the self. Just as psychological analysis grew prodigiously during the Victorian era, tasseography became popularized as a parlor game. But the practice distinguishes itself from amorphic fortune telling, mystical, occult or other magical activities. Specifically, tasseography is not an application of magic, but rather a tool for tapping into the subconscious by applying meditation to pattern recognition and symbolism.
Tasseography can be a powerful meditative tool providing insights into the reader's subconscious. The significance of symbolism in psychological study finds theoretical foundation from Plato through Carl Jung.
From a modern sociobiological standpoint, procedures such as drinking from the opposite hand, may coordinate left and right brain activity to stimulate creative problem solving. Common sense indicates that slowing down to focus and organize one's own thoughts is an effective problem solving methodology.
The process of tasseography stimulates the imagination to create individualized interpretations and solutions. Tea leaf reading is a fun, healthful and creative way to listen to yourself and open your psychic abilities.
In certain western circles that take this form of divination seriously, it is considered ill-advised for one to attempt tasseography using tea from a cut-open tea bag, to substitute loose coffee in place of tea, or to use a symbol dictionary.
Back in the 1980's one of my first teachers here in Brooklyn was a psychic named Inez who used tea leaves to help her focus on the messages in her readings.
Inez was a heavyset woman in her 60s who wore a scarf on her head and looked like something out of a TV show or movie as she sat at a clothed covered table with a deck of tarot cards, a few crystals, and ingredients to do a tea leaf reading. She was very colorful having been a Vegas showgirl back in the day. She never stopped telling me how good she thought I was as a psychic and would become famous. She even took me to a store in Long Island where we found the nine-foot pyramid which was my brand for years as the Psychic in the Pyramid.
At home - or doing psychic fairs in Long Island - Inez would prepare a fresh pot of tea at the start of the day using tea grounds. When the tea cooled she kept it in a covered Tupperware container for the day.
When she read a client she would hand them a white styrofoam cup and a teaspoon. They held the cup in one hand and with the other hand would take some grounds and place them in the cup along with a tiny drop of tea. Then the client would swoosh the tea round and round, sending the grounds to all sides of the cup.
Then Inez would say, "Tap the cup" as the client turned it upside down over a plate. Next the client turned the cup right-side-up and handed it back to her.
Grounds stuck to the sides of the cup in various designs which Inez 'read'. The further down the cup the image was the longer it would take to manifest in physical reality. Images close to the top of the cup would manifest sooner.
It was easy to see that she was using her psychic abilities as well as her experience as a tea leaf reader.
In July 2004 I read a Turkish man who reads coffee grounds. He came to my home with a special coffee pot, Turkish coffee, a cup, and a saucer. He showed me how to brew the coffee and prepare the grounds. I read his coffee grounds and told him he would marry quickly and who the woman was. He met then married her six months later. He also read my coffee grounds, but was too vague in what he saw. Luckily he did readings as a sideline and kept his day job.
Cultures of the Middle East that practice divination in this fashion usually use left-over coffee grounds from Turkish coffee turned over onto a plate.
Traditionally, Turkish coffee is used for this, or any coffee that has grounds that sit at the bottom of the cup. The grounds are necessary to form "pictures" to be interpreted. The drinker of the coffee cannot read his or her own cup. The cup must be read by someone else. Most of the liquid in the coffee is drunk, but the sediment at the bottom is left behind.
There are at least two forms of coffee readings. Both require that the cup be covered with the saucer and turned upside-down. However, some traditions such as in Romania require that the sediments in the cup be swirled around the inside of the cup until they cover the majority of the cup's inside surface. Other traditions such as Armenian and Middle Eastern do not require this swirling but do require that the cup be turned towards yourself for showing your own fortune.
The coffee grounds are given time to settle and dry against the cup before a reading begins. The same is true with tea leaves.
After a reading, in Armenian or Middle Eastern traditions, the drinker will be asked to "open the heart". This is done by placing the right thumb at the inside bottom of the cup and twisting clockwise slightly. This will leave an impression behind that the fortune teller will interpret as the drinker's inner thoughts or emotions.
Many interpretations for symbols exist, but one common thread is the color of the symbols. Since most cups used are white and the grounds are dark, creating good contrast for the symbols. White is considered as a "good" symbol foretelling of generally positive things for the drinker. The grounds are considered as "bad" symbols foretelling of generally negative things for the drinker.
Symbols can be many things including people, animals, and inanimate objects, etc. As a tea leaf reader, the images often come alive for me, as if a hologram, creating a message. Two or more symbols grouped together will may link to the same message, theme. The closer the symbol to the top of the cup, the sooner the event will happen. The thicker the symbol, the stronger the impact on the person's life.
Most symbols can be read in both a positive or negative context. This is up to the person doing the reading and always subjective. The best way to interpret a symbol is to view it, then use your psychic abilities to make an interpretation.
Here is an example ... You see the letter 'J' - a common letter in these types of readings. Does 'J' refer to a person, place, event, other. Look at the symbols near the 'J'. Is there another 'J'? Take your time and think it through. Skilled psychics can quickly get the answer. It comes with practice.
ACORN - at the top means success and gain: At the bottom means good health.
AIRCRAFT - journey; if broken means danger of accident; can also mean a rise in position
ANCHOR - cross, Jesus, at top rest, stability, constancy; at bottom means clouded, inconstancy
APPLE - computer, knowledge, achievement
AXE - difficulties; if at top overcoming of difficulties
BABY - something new, pregnancy
BALL - completion, variable fortunes
BELL - harmonics, creation, spiritual, unexpected news
BIRDS - ascension, good news, bird headed beings
BOAT - lifepath, (note size and speed of boat), and visit from a friend, protection
BOOK - you will find your answer by something written, if open it's good news; if closed you need to investigate something
BUTTERFLY - transition, transformation, Butterfly Effect
CANDLE - sacred light, creational flame, help from others
CAT - deceit, a false friend, Cat Headed Beings
CHAIN - DNA, engagement, a wedding, chain link, karma
CHAIR - a guest
CIRCLE - success, completion
CLOCK - alchemy of time and consciousness, better health
COIN - change in financial status
CROSS - protection, sacrifice
CUP - reward, bloodlines
DAGGER - warning, danger from self or others, power
DOG - friend, Sirius, celestial connotation, Egyptian god, Anubis
DOOR - opening (to something new) or closing (old issues and relations), spiritual (portal)
DUCK - money coming, a man named Bill, 'ducks in a row'
EGG - good omen, creation, new beginnings, sacred geometry
ELEPHANT - wisdom, strength, luck, Ganesh, trunk up indicates overcoming obstacles
ENVELOPE - message coming, positive or negative
EYE - creation - open (awakening) - closed (something not seen)
FAN - hand held (pleats) - rotary (4, time divination, numerology)
FEATHER - ">ascension
FENCE - limitations, minor setbacks, not permanent
FINGER - which finger, pointing in what direction, pointing to god
FIRE - sacred flame, at top achievement; at bottom danger of haste
FISH - Jesus,Creation - Vesica Pisces, Amphibious Gods, good fortune, Christ Consciousness, return of the soul to higher frequency or god
FLAG - denotes nationality
FLY - domestic annoyance
FORK - speak with false tongue, false flattery
FORKED LINE - decision
FRUIT - fruitful, prosperity (depends on the fruit which goes to seeds and planting something new)
GATE - opportunity, future success, ancient civilization, portal, doorway
GLOW - enlightenment
GOAT - be careful of enemies
GUN - anger, sex
HAMMER - hard work needed, getting a point across
HAND - of god, creation, if open means friendship; if closed means an argument
HARP - creational harmonics, love, harmony
HAT - head, consciousness, improvement
HAWK - Horus , jealousy
HEART - chakra , pleasure, love, trust, compassion
HORSE - if galloping means good news; if just the head means a lover or nebula , new
HORSESHOE - good luck, attraction, Earth's magnetics , Omega or Leo , closure
HOURGLASS - time running out, need to decide something, synchronicity, illusion, creation
HOUSE - security, change, success
ICEBERG - danger, planetary meltdown, ice age, consciousness frozen in Time
INSECT - depends which one
JEWELS - DNA, Pearls, Diamonds, Star Tetrahedron, sacred geometry, gifts
KANGAROO - harmony at home
KITE - wishes coming true, flying free
KNIFE - broken friendship, hidden enemy
LADDER - promotion, a rise or fall in life, DNA
LAMP - turned on means enlightenment, at the top means a feast; at the side means secrets revealed; at the bottom means postponement
LEAF - new life
LINES - if straight means progress; if wavy means uncertain path
LION - Leo, Omega, Closure, influential friends, strength, Zoroaster
LOCK - obstacles if closed - new information unfolding if open, lock and key are phallic symbols of creation
LOOP - loops of time and creation, avoid impulsive actions, slinky effect
MASK - something hidden
MOUNTAIN - obstacles or a specific area
MOUSE - theft, computer
MUSHROOM - at top means journey or moving to the country; near bottom means rapid growth; if reversed means frustration, psychedelics
NAIL - injustice, unfairness
NECKLACE - DNA, complete, admirers; if broken means danger of losing a lover
NEEDLE - recognition, admiration, sewing, eye, weaving
OAK - health, long life, tree of life
OCTOPUS - danger, 8, infinity
OSTRICH - travel, not seeking a truth
OWL - gossip, scandal, aliens owl symbology
PALM TREE - success, honor, place were they grow
PARASOL - open (you will glean insightful information), closed (something hidden), raining (water symbology of creation)
PARROT - repeating something, a twin, a journey, people talking and saying nothing
PIG - greed
PURSE - at top means profit; at bottom means lose
QUESTION MARK - need for caution
RABBIT - need for bravery, time and illusion, Alice in Wonderland
RAKE - watch details, planting seeks, reap what you sow
RAVEN - bad news, death that leads to new beginnings
RING - phone call, coming full circle, near the top means marriage or the offer of marriage; at bottom means long engagement; if broken means engagement broken off
ROSE - Rose bloodline, creation, flower of life, love, may be accompanied by a fragrance in the room
SAW - interference, tear apart, something viewed
SCALE - legal issues; if balanced means just result; if unbalanced means unjust result
SCISSORS - quarrels, possibly separation
SHEEP - good fortune
SHELL - good news, nautilus, golden ratio SHOE - sole/soul, condition of shoe is important, transformation
SNAKE - DNA, wisdom, or if the snake is attacking, an enemy
SPIDER - weaving together, Spider Woman Prophecies
STAR - health and happiness, hope, heavens, Isis and other goddesses, female energies,
SUN - happiness, success, power
SWORD - arguments
TABLE - social gatherings, UFO platform, outside the box
TENT - travel, cover, hidden truth
THIMBLE - changes at home
TORTOISE - criticism, usually beneficial, slow moving, Turtle Island (Earth)
TREE - improvements, of life, creation, book of life, your life path
TRIANGLE - something unexpected, 3 in a relationship, pyramids, 3, third dimension
URN - wealth and happiness
VASE - a friend needs help
VOLCANO - harmful emotions
WAGON - a wedding, wagon wheels (wheels within wheels)
WASP - romantic problems
WATERFALL - prosperity
WHEEL - if complete means good fortune; if broken means disappointment
WINGS - messages, winged beings
WOLF - jealousy
YOKE - domination
ZEBRA - adventure, especially overseas, black and white
Remember, when interpreting the images - use your psychic abilities to get more information. You can also use a Dream Dictionary or a book that details symbols and archetypes to get further clarification of the images you see. As consciousness is evolving, so too are the meaning of the symbols. Try to see them as holograms.
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