Tasseography, otherwise known as tasseomancy or tassology, is the art of tea leaf reading. The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic tassa (cup), and the Greek suffixes -graph (to write), -logy (espression), ology (study of or science of), and -mancy (divination).
Reading tea leaves or coffee grounds has traditionally been practised in many countries by the women in the family, typically at gatherings of family and friends. Tea leaf reading is also referred to as tasseomancy, tasseography or teomancy. Coffee reading is known as cafeomancy.
Tea leaf reading is a mystical art which has been practiced since ancient times. Since people first began drinking tea, they have been fascinated by the shapes left at the bottom of their tea cup. The early Greeks practiced a variation of tea leaf reading, using wine instead of tea. They called this technique "Kottovos." If you consulted a Greek seer, he would throw wine into a metal bowl and observe the shape of the resulting splash and the formation of the sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Depending on the image, future events would be forecast which could be interpreted as positive, negative, or simply unclear.
In the Middle East, it was more common to read coffee grounds, especially with the thick and syrupy Turkish coffee. Professional coffee grounds readers are common throughout Asia even today.
The Europeans seem to have adopted tea leaf reading around the mid-1600's, possibly due to the influence of Rommany gypsies who practiced the art as they traveled from town to town. The gypsies specialized in dramatic proclamations about a future clouded in gloom, but if you crossed their palm with an extra sovereign or two, they would try to remove the curse from you. Their style of tea leaf reading, while entertaining in its shock value, often discouraged sincere seekers who were hoping for genuine guidance and enlightenment from their tea leaf reading.
First of all sit, down and enjoy a nice cup of tea. Remembering of course, that you need to make your tea the old-fashioned way using a teapot, so that you end up with some tea leaves! You need a teacup with a wide mouth, sloping side of cups, and a plain, undecorated surface inside of cup. Do not strain the tea as you pour it.
If you prefer coffee, simply brew your favourite variety of coffee and add a pinch or two of dry coffee grounds to the coffee so that there will be enough grounds to read. If you add the grounds before drinking, then let the cup sit for a few minutes so that the grounds sink to the bottom. Otherwise add the grounds to the remaining coffee dregs after you have drunk your cup of coffee. You will find that different varieties of coffee, such as Turkish or Greek coffee, are more suitable for coffee reading.
Part of the ritual of this form of divination is to actually sit down and enjoy the tea and the company of your fellow drinkers before you get started. This is not as silly as it sounds as it allows you to relax and also gather your thoughts.
Before you even start the reading , there may already be some early signs to interpret:
* Bubbles on the surface of your tea or coffee means that money is on its way.
* If any tea leaves are floating on the surface, then visitors are imminent. The number of leaves shows how many days away they are.
* If two teaspoons are accidently placed on a saucer, then you can expect news of twins soon.
* If a teaspoon is placed upside down onto a saucer then you will hear news of the ill-health of a close relative.
Finish your tea leaving a small amount of liquid in the bottom of cup of the cup. Holding the cup in your left hand, swirl the tea leaves round three times in a clockwise direction. Make sure that the remaining tea swirls around the whole of the cup.
Then, up-end the cup on the saucer and let the liquid drain away.
Coffee drinkers can use the same method with the remains of their coffee, or they can pour the remains across a plate and interpret the patterns that are left on the plate.
Now you can examine the cup and the patterns of the tea leaves inside.
As a general first impression, just a scattering of leaves inside the cup indicates a tidy mind and disciplined life. A lot of leaves indicates a rich, full, busy life.
To learn to read your own tea leaves, you will need loose tea leaves which are somewhat large. It is best to use a teapot with a wide spout so that when you pour the tea out of it and into your cup, the leaves can easily pass through. Some tea leaf readers recommend using only the highest grade teas and your best china, and all readers advise against using a mug, which makes it hard to look at the leaves sitting at the bottom of your cup.
The person wanting their tea leaves read should concentrate on a question or area of their life that they would like insight into. Drink the tea quietly until about a half of a teaspoon's worth of tea is left in the cup. Swirl the tea leaves at the bottom of the cup three times while thinking of your question. You can ask a question about yourself, about the past, about the future, or even about someone else in your life. Turn your cup over onto a saucer and let the moisture drain out for about two or three minutes. Then turn your cup back over gently and see how the tea leaves have settled. If all the moisture is removed, you are ready to have the leaves interpreted.
The cup is held so that the handle points towards the questioner. The handle represents the questioner and his or her home, and the tea leaves are read in relation to the position of the handle.
The rim of the Cup represents recent events. Leaves lying closer to the bottomof the Cup indicate events that are more distant in time. The very bottom of the Cup represents misfortunes.
Leaves that lie to the right of the handle indicate the future, and leaves to the left of the handle indicate the past.
The further away the leaves lie from the handle, the further away the events are in either time or even physical distance.
First take a quick look inside the cup to see if there are any signs that jump out at you:
* Any distinct drops of tea or coffee that remain in the cup despite the swirling and emptying of the cup, represent tears.
* A very large clump of tea leaves indicates trouble. Near the handle - trouble caused by your own making. Opposite the handle - the trouble is not your fault.
* Tea-stalks indicate people. Long stalks indicate men. Shorter stalks indicate women. Pale or dark stalks indicate colouring. Slanted stalks indicate untrustworthy people.
Symbols and Positions in a Reading
Tea leaf readers from all cultures based their readings on objects and images which were common in everyday life. Natural forces like the weather, or animals, people, and even man-made objects each may turn up as a tea leaf symbol. Some modern readers have added contemporary symbols to the list of possible images, for example, using cars to represent travel or roller coasters to represent drama. Other readers are more old-fashioned and like to stick with the universal images that all people have witnessed in their daily lives for thousands of years. As long as the reader is good at interpretation, the images that they choose to work with don 't really matter.
Position of the Leaves
In a tea leaf reading, it is not only the shape that the leaves form which counts. Readers also place importance on which area of the teacup the leaves stick to. For instance, leaves that land near the handle represent events which will happen to the questioner. Leaves on the opposite side from the handle indicate events outside of the questioner's life, perhaps happening to a family member or friend. Traditionally, leaves that end up near the rim of the teacup are good luck. Leaves settled closer to the bottom of the cup may show disappointment or challenges.
A good reader, though, recognizes his responsibility to be helpful and clear with the person receiving a reading from him. It is not a reader's place to scare or depress his subject. All omens and shapes in the cup can be seen as positive, because as we all know, it is sometimes necessary to endure great challenges before we can reap the appropriate rewards. We make many choices in our life's journey, and each choice is an essential step towards learning and growth. A good reader will respect this and guide his questioner in working through any upcoming challenges.
The Four Types of Symbols
Tea leaf symbols are broken down into four main categories. They are:
These include all symbols having to do with the outside elements and their influence on us. They can be seen as influences beyond our control, because nobody controls Mother Nature! Sometimes they can provide a warning of potential danger, or the coming of good luck, but mostly they represent the backdrop upon which we are staging our lives.
These symbols are types of people or parts of the body (i.e. face, hands, eyes). These images are reflections of what role we are playing in our personal lives and which stage of wisdom we have reached. A person symbol can act as a short-term or long-term influence.
Animal shapes represent our helpers on the Earth plane. The types of animals which appear in a tea leaf reading often mirror our hopes, fears, or dreams. They can also reveal personal qualities that we are expressing or show us the inner truth of how we are feeling.
These include all the things that man has physically invented. They include tools, toys, clothes - you name it. When these kinds of symbols show up in a reading, they show us what we are doing withour lives. They reflect what we are creating and generating, be it positive energy or chaos.
The best book I can recommend on tea leaf reading is "The Complete Guide to Tea-leaf Reading" (Paperback) by Helen Farley.
The next book I recommend is "Tea Leaf Reading: formely Secrets of Tea Leaf Reading" (Paperback) by Bill Hewitt.
Below you may easily find the meanings to tea leaf symbols from A-Z alphabetically. You may also use our Google search to find specific symbol meanings.
Tea Leaf Reading Symbols & Interpretations A-Z
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C | D |
E | F |
G | H |
I | J |
K | L |
M | N |
O | P |
Q | R |
S | T |
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