reading tea leaves

by Faye King

Tea leaf reading is a little like reading shapes into clouds. You'll need creativity, patience and a desire to dream. It is properly named Tasseography and is an ancient Chinese practice which spread to Europe with Nomadic Gypsies in the 1800s.

Health warning

We take tea leaf reading as a bit of fun. If you take star signs, tarot cards and palmistry seriously, we'd recommend going to see a professional psychic rather then trusting in something you read on the internet. ;)

For tea leaf reading, you will need

 - Some loose leaf tea (whichever kind you like best)

 - A teapot

 - A cup and saucer (pale in colour and unpatterned on the inside so the leaves show up well)

The company of a friend of friends is good, but not essential!

  1. Brew your tea in the teapot (see Ray's rules for brewing instructions). Tea bought as loose leaf will work better than a ripped-up teabag.
  2. Pour yourself a cup - don't strain out the leaves, we will need these later! Enjoy your tea. Drink most of it, leaving the leaf fragments suspended in the last little sip of tea
  3. Hold the cup in your left hand. Think of a question, or just of the week ahead. Swirl the tea three times anticlockwise.
  4. Place the saucer on top of the cup, and flip the whole thing upside down so that the tea drains out into the saucer.
  5. Turn over your cup. Look at where the leaves are, and at the patterns and shapes made. If a friend is handy, let them read the cup for you.

Where in the cup did the leaves land?

Where a shape or pattern is in the cup indicates the when. Objects closer to the rim are going to happen soon (the next few days), things nearer the base of the cup are further away in the future (generally, a cup shows you the next month).

What shapes do you see?

Use your creativity when you are reading your cup. You are unlikely to get an arrangement of tea leaves that looks just like an Indian elephant, so close one eye and squint a bit. Let your mind drift like you are cloud gazing on a summer holiday, tip the cup this way and that and let your imagination run free...

If you see shapes close to each other, they are likely to be connected. A letter usually refers to an individual who is connected to the symbols they lie near.

Aeroplane - a journey or a promotion, you will rise in life. But watch your CO2 emissions.

Anchor - a lucky sign, success in business or love.

Angel - good news will appear soon!

Apples - you will live a long time, just keep eating those 5 a day portions of fruit.

Axe - a journey lies ahead.

Basket - an addition to your family is on the way - the pitter patter of little feet. Only question is, how many feet will the new addition have?

Bear - you will have to make a long journey soon. Eat lots of cake to build up your fat stores before you start.

Car -wealth approaches, and visits from friends.

Castle - an unexpected fortune or a legacy will arrive.

Cat - a false friend! Beware!

Circle - money or gifts are coming your way. An incomplete circle shows that an offer may change...

Clover - luck, happiness and prosperity.

Comet - misfortune and trouble are coming your way. We suggest hiding under the duvet for a bit.

Cow - a good omen, things you love will be near you.

Ball - your fortunes in life are going to bounce about both up and down.

Balloon - your enthusiasm for something will float off into the clouds and disappear.

Bananas - you will be lucky in love. Be honest: that's now what you thought a banana would mean, is it?

Banana skin - you are unlucky in love. Try to accept it gracefully.

Bat - sickness is flitting its way to you. Stay in bed with some lemon tea.

Bee - your hard work will soon bring rewards.

Bird - good news is winging its way to you. Are you about to take a journey?

Buns - even when life is looking murky you see a cheery, cherry-filled side.

Butterfly - brief pleasure and joy will come into your life, but may not last.

Cake - a wish will come true!

Chair - someone new is coming into your life...

Clock - watch you don't take things too seriously.

Clouds - trouble is on the way! Don't leave the house without your umbrella.

Computer - you are working too hard. Switch off and make a cup of tea.

Crown - your abilities will be recognised with shiny things. A new stapler, for instance.

Cross - a warning sign.

Dagger - beware of danger.

Dog - a good friend will support you.

Donkey - watch what you say, you are at risk of making an ass of yourself.

Dragon - great and sudden changes will occur.

Egg - a good omen of wholeness.

Elephant - you will have good health

Fence - minor setbacks occur which will not be permanent.

Fish - good news will reach you from abroad.

Flower - happiness, admiration and success will be coming to you.

Fox - treachery! And from a source you trust.

Frog - you will have good luck and success at work. A promotion?

Glasses - you need to look at a troubling situation from another perspective.

Hand - somebody, somewhere, is trying to point something out to you.

Hammer - there is something you will need to work hard on.

Heart - a whole heart is good news for love and romance. A cracked or incomplete heart means that things may not run so smooth...

Horse - a journey will bring benefits.

Hourglass - you either need to make a decision about something or visit the beach and forget the whole thing.

House - home life will be important.

Iceberg - danger looms. Refresh the ice in the freezer before the party this weekend.

Insect - problems are minor and will be easily overcome.

Kite - wishes will come true.

Knife - a friendship will be broken.

Leaves - good fortune is coming.

Lightbulb - you will help a friend in need.

Lion - influential friends will be important.

Lipstick - you are trying too hard to impress someone, and need to be more natural.

Lock - obstacles lie in your path.

Loop - avoid impulsive actions, or you'll end up going around in circles...

Mermaid - misfortune! Especially for sailors!

Monkey - be cautious!

Moon - changes are on the way.

Mountains - you will need commitment to reach your goals.

Mouse - someone will steal an idea or your heart...

Nail - injustice and unfairness lie in your path.

Necklace - a complete necklace means admirers, a broken one means you may loose one...

Needle - recognition and admiration will be yours.

Parasol - a new lover will come into your life.

Parrot - someone will be emigrating. Make sure they send you a postcard.

Peanuts - ignore people who are trying to knock you! You will need to believe in yourself.

Pig - a mixed omen - a faithful lover, but envious friends.

Plane - a journey.

Question mark - be cautious.

Rabbit - growth and new ideas.

Ring - a marriage! But for who?

Raven - ravens bring trouble. Sorry, but it's true.

Scissors - quarrels and separation.

Sheep - good fortune will come your way.

Shell - good news.

Ship - a worthwhile journey. Remember to pack your English Breakfast tea.

Shoe - a change for the better.

Snake - spiteful enemies are hiding in wait for you.

Spider - money is coming your way.

Square - there are or will be difficulties to overcome.

Squirrel - you work hard but need to prioritise, at the moment you are scattering acorns everywhere. Watch your nuts more carefully in future.

Star - health and happiness are around the corner.

Steps - success! You will soon be celebrating.

Sun - happiness, success and power will be yours.

Sword - arguments will divide friends.

Teapot - friends :)

Telephone - you will receive an important call soon. Keep your phone near.

Tree - health and family will be important.

Triangle - help will arrive from an unexpected source.

Umbrella - annoyance and trouble. You're going to get that Rhianna song stuck in your head again.

Volcano - harmful problems are brewing.

Waves - emotions are running high at this point in time.

Wings - messages are on their way to you.

Worms - secretly something is undermining you. Your wife has been slipping you saccharine instead of sugar again.


For more information on tasseography have a look at the ever-informative Wikipedia.


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