Tea Leaf Readings – Tasseography

Tea Leaf Readings – Tasseography

When I perform your tea leaf reading in my Nashville office, you will see that I prefer to use a plain white cup.

The first time I read tea leaves for the public was back in 2003 at our first store location in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. Back then, we carried only a small collection of teas — maybe 12 to 15 at the most. Tea leaf readings, also known as Tasseography or Tasseomancy falls into the category of what I consider to be my bailiwick, which is divination through scrying. It stems from early forms of divination such as reading candle drippings or gazing into water or mirrors. So, technically, tea leaf reading is considered a method of scrying which might also be expressed by using a crystal ball, staring into black mirrors, reading smoke, reading the flames of a fire, etc. The art of reading tea leaves has its origins in ancient China. So, once the Dutch brought over tea leaves from China in the 17th century, the art of tea leaf reading followed. After all, everyone was drinking tea and it was a much “tidier” way to foretell the future in parlors and sitting rooms, not to mention powerful and accurate. It is a very common form of divination in Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales — all places I can trace my ancestral roots back to.

While some readers might disagree with me, I think it is more powerful when the seeker (the one asking the question) is present to drink directly from the teacup before the leaves are read. To me, it places your energy, your vibrations directly into the cup. You might even say that, by introducing your energy into the cup, you are adding elements used in psychometry. It is fairly common for the reader to ask that you be thinking about your question or situation while you drink. The type of tea used can affect the images that form in the cup. Commercially prepared tea in bags, which should be removed from the bag for the purpose of tasseography (the cheaper kinds found in grocery stores) are too fine to create clear imagery. Even some loose teas can be too large to be effective. Teas with flowers and fruits are also not the best choice. I create my own blend for reading the tea leaves, a combination of Assam and China Black in just the right balance.

cup of knowledge aynsley wembley exhibition
the oldest cup I have in my collection of tea leaf reading cups is this 1924 Aynsley Cup of Knowledge created as a souvenir for the London Wembley Exhibition.

While I am a collector of antique and vintage tea leaf reading cups, I prefer to use a plain white cup and saucer when reading for clients. The shape of the cup is also important when picking the right vessel for use in tasseomancy. It should be somewhat bowl-like so that, when you swirl its contents, the tea leaves cling to the edges. A straight cup, like a mug, is not only harder to see into but can pull the leaves further down into the cup based on gravity alone. Marked and decorative cups are usually divided up into very specific information. Some focus on astrology, some use playing card associations, while others might depict picture symbolism. While I love my collection of cups, I want my intuition to take over when it comes time to read the leaves. I find that using marked cups limits the symbols I see, tries to place them in a predefined box. Other readers might have the opposite experience.

This is my Royal Kendall fortune telling cup set based on the zodiac. The cup reads: “Woulds’t thy fortune like to see? Perchance this cup will show it thee.”

Tea Leaf reading – $30.00
15 minutes and covers a single topic pretty thoroughly. Most often performed in-person.

Tea and Tarot reading – $55.00
this is a combo reading consisting of a tea leaf reading, followed by a Tarot card reading. Can be on two different topics, if you wish.

mystic tea cup 1949
The Mystic Teacup by Marguerite Scott, 1949 – from my collection. Manufactured in Canada, it was made without a saucer.

Tasseographers may not only have different methods of reading the leaves, but also different ways of preparing the cup for a reading. This is my method and it has served me well. After drinking most of the tea, leaving only a small amount of liquid (maybe a tablespoons worth) inside, I will have you swirl the cup in your hands, holding the handle so that it faces your heart. You will then turn the cup face down on the saucer, still with the handle facing your heart, then rotate the cup three times counter-clockwise until the handle is once again facing your heart. Then, you will tap on the bottom of the cup three times. According to legend, this is an old gypsy method where the tapping equates to asking the spirits to reveal the answers to your questions. You will then hand the cup and saucer over to me, where I will turn the cup upright and begin to read the leaves. I’ve been told before that this entire method is “quite English.” 🙂

The symbols found in your teacup are, at least by me, a combination of psychic intuition and the widely-accepted meanings behind the shapes. Other tasseomancers might only use the symbols, others might only use their psychic abilities. For example, a snake symbol might mean deception of some sort. An ‘X’ is almost always a warning sign, telling you to stop in your tracks or proceed with caution. An anchor is about stability, staying in one place. To see a fox in the leaves means trouble. A horseshoe means luck. I have found that tea leaf symbols are extremely close to the meanings behind the Lenormand cards, which I also read. When doing a combo sessions (tea leaf reading + the cards) it is not uncommon for the cards that match the tea leaf symbols to appear in your reading, repeating the information that needs to be conveyed to you.

gypsy cup of fate 1959
The Gypsy Cup of Fate, 1959, manufactured in Japan for Bradley Exclusives. There were two designs, one with scallops on the saucer. This one, from my collection, is the zig-zag pattern.

1960’s Tea Cup of Fortune created for Red Rose Tea by the Taylor and Kent company.

Some read the leaves in the bottom of the cup to represent that past and the leaves toward the rim to be the present or future. I always think it depends on how you phrase your question. For example, if a client only wants to see the future and not deal with past events, I would read the bottom of the cup as events in the distance, while the leaves towards the rim are things that will happen rather quickly or are already in motion. There is also the method of reading the cup as if it were a clock, which I use most frequently — events to the left of the handle, climbing up towards the top-center (6 o’clock to 12 o’clock) are events that haven’t occurred yet or are ideas that are still being formulated. Leaves from the top-center coming back down the handle (12 o’clock to 6 o’clock) are things occurring in real-time, and the closer they are to the handle, the sooner they will appear.

the Fortune Tellers Cup and Saucer set by Alfred Knobler.

Cup of Knowledge, unmarked so I am unsure if it was manufactured by the Aynsley or Meakin company. Mint green cup.

I look forward to reading the leaves for you. To book an appointment with me for tasseography, tarot readings, Lenormand card readings, or rootwork consultations, click book an appointment above or visit my BOOKING PAGE, where the calendar will show you my complete schedule and availability.