The Art of Tasseography or How to Read Tea Leaves

The Art of Tasseography or How to Read Tea Leaves - Mother Cuppa Tea

It will come as no surprise that tasseograohy, or the art of reading tea leaves to predict future events and fortunes originated with the Chinese who historically love tea drinking for health and pleasure and as a cultural ritual.

Tea leaves in white container on white background with tea scattered around:Photo by petr sidorov on Unsplash

With a resurgence in the popularity of loose leaf tea have you ever found yourself staring into your dregs and wondering if the leaves were trying to tell you something? Well this form of divination has been around for thousands of years so it seems that many people do believe that the future is there to read if only you knew how.

Also known as tassiomancy, tassology or teasseology, reading the leaves involves looking for certain patterns, symbols and shapes and interpreting them to make predictions.

In the UK tea leaf reading was MASSIVE in the Victorian era when travellers offered door to door reading services. Imagine now if someone rang the doorbell and offered to read your tea leaves!

Victorian travellers around traditional vehicle:Photo by petr sidorov on Unsplash

I suppose without social media or TV there wasn't much to occupy or entertain bored housewives.

Apparently the actual reading of the leaves isn't too difficult - its the interpretation which takes the most skill and practice.

If you'd like to have a go - and maybe entertain your friends at Halloween with your spooky fortune telling abilities, here's a quick guide on how to read tea leaves. You will need a cup, loose leave tea, hot water and a saucer or plate to invert the cup on.

  1. Use a white or light coloured cup. Put a pinch of loose leaf tea and add hot water and leave. to steep for about three minutes.
  2. The person who wants the reading about them should drink the tea while reflecting on what they would like to learn. A very small amount of tea liquid should be left with the tealeaves in the bottom of the cup.
  3. The drinker should then move the cup quickly in a clockwise direction with enough force that the tea leaves swish up the side of the cup while others stay in the bottom.
  4. Tip the cup upside down onto the saucer/plate and let the remains of the liquid drain out.
  5. Then turn the cup right way up and check out the placement and pattern of the leaves. It might help to turn and tip the cup at different angles to spot symbols.
The list of symbols and patterns and placement is far too long to list here but you can check out this cool and informative tea reading article from The Tea Association USA which explains the ritual and results really well.
Whatever you think of tasseography it might be fun to have a go at the ancient art of tea reading. If nothing else it's an excuse to enjoy a nice cuppa!

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