Tea Leave Reading (Tasseography)
Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments. The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic loan-word into French tassa, and the Greek suffixes -graph (writing), -logy (study of), and -mancy (divination).
At first sight the interior of the cup will show the leaves scattered about apparently haphazard and with no arrangement; just a jumble of tea-leaves and nothing more. In reality they have come to their positions and have taken on the shapes of the symbols for which they stand, by the guidance of the subconscious mind directing the hand in the turning of the cup.
The various shapes and the meanings to be attached to them will at first be puzzling to beginners. A good deal of practice is necessary before the tea-leaf symbols can be accurately interpreted at a glance. That, however, will come later, and in time it will be as easy as reading a book. If you wish to be a proficient reader of the tea-leaves, practice constantly this interpretation of the shapes and positions of the leaves. Take a cup and follow out the simple instructions for the turning and draining of it, and then carefully study the result. It is an excellent plan to make a rough copy of the leaves as they present themselves to you in each cup, making notes of the various meanings.
Do not feel dismayed if, when you begin looking at the tea-leaves, you are unable to discover in them anything definitely symbolic. It is certain that nothing will be found if the seer is feeling nervous! Keep a calm, open mind, and do not be in a hurry, for it is under such conditions only that a clear reading of the leaves will be possible. In some cases the symbols are more easily read than in others. Much depends upon the consultant.
The gift of imagination (by no means to be confused with invention) is of the greatest possible importance in discerning the symbols which are of such endless shapes and variety. The seer has to find in the forms of the tea-leaves a resemblance, sometimes it may be but a faint one, to natural objects, e.g., trees, houses, flowers, bridges, and so forth. Figures of human beings and animals will frequently be seen, as will squares, triangles, circles, and also the line of fate.
These signs may be large or small, and the importance of them must be judged by their relative size and position. Suppose, for instance, that a small cross should be at the bottom of the cup, the only one to be seen, the seer would predict that a trifling vexation or a tiresome little delay must be expected; but not for the present, as it is at the bottom of the cup. An alphabetical list of symbols is given later on, so it is not necessary to define them here. The various points of a more general character, however, must be studied before it is possible to give an accurate reading.
It will constantly be found that the stems, isolated leaves, or small groups of leaves, form a letter of the alphabet, sometimes a number. These letters and numbers have meanings which must be looked for in connection with other noticeable signs. If an initial "M" appears, and near to it a small square or oblong leaf, both being near the rim of the cup, it would indicate a letter coming speedily from someone whose name begins with an "M." If the initial appears near the bottom of the cup it shows that the letter will not be coming for some time.
If there be a clear space at the bottom of the cup devoid of tea-leaves, it shows water, and that, in all probability, the letter is coming from abroad. If the symbol of the letter comes extremely near to a bird flying, it shows a telegram. If the bird is flying towards the consultant (the handle), the telegram has been received. The news in it is to be judged by other signs in the cup. If flying away from the handle, the telegram is sent by the consultant. A single bird flying always indicates speedy news.
In a cup with various ominous signs, such as a serpent, an owl, or many crosses, the news coming is not likely to be pleasant. In a cup without bad signs, it can safely be said that the news is good.
As a general rule large letters indicate places, whilst smaller ones give the names of persons. Thus a large letter "E" would stand for Edinburgh and a smaller "E" for Edwards, for instance. To all rules there comes the occasional exception, and this principle holds good with regard to the letters in the tea-cup. It is said that these smaller letters always point to the first letter of the surname. Usually it is so; but I have constantly found from experience that it is the first letter of the Christian name, or even a pet name, to which the letter refers. It is well to keep this possibility in mind, otherwise the seer may give misleading information to consultants.
Sometimes numbers mean the date for an event to be expected, a "5" for instance, very near the brim of the cup, or the handle (the consultant), means in five days; or five weeks if it come on the side, possibly as far off as five months if the figure be at the bottom of the cup.
As dots around a symbol always indicate money in some form or another, according to the character of the symbol, a figure beside the dots would signify the amount of money to be expected. If the symbol were that of a legacy with the figure "90" near, it would show that a little legacy of ninety pounds might be anticipated.
Clearly defined symbols that stand out separately are of more importance than such as are difficult to discern. Clusters of shapeless leaves represent clouds marring the effect of an otherwise fortunate cup.
Journeys are shown by lines or dots formed by the dust and smaller leaves of the tea. The length and direction of the journey may be known by the extent of the line and, roughly speaking, the point of the compass to which it leads, the handle in this case representing south. If the line of dots ascends sharply to the brim of the cup, a journey to a hilly country will be taken.
Supposing the consultant to be at home, and the dots form a line from the handle all round the cup and back to the handle, it signifies a journey for a visit and the return. If the line were to stop before reaching the handle again, with an appearance of a house where the line ends, a change of residence might safely be predicted. A wavy line shows indecision as to arrangements. Crosses upon the line indicate that there will be vexation or delay in connection with the journey. Large flat leaves some distance apart along the line stand for important stations to be passed through.
For some consultants there seems little of interest to be read in their cup. There are no events, merely trivialities. It is therefore difficult to find anything that could be considered as "future," when it seems to be just a dead level "present," the daily life, nothing more. It is sad for those who have such a dull life, but there is usually some sign, a small happening such as a parcel, or a visit from a friend. These must be made the most of. The pleasure of anticipation will add to the realization.
A confused looking tea-cup, without any definite symbols, just a muddle of tea-leaves, is useless for the purpose of divination, beyond giving an indication of the state of the consultant's mind, so vague and undecided in its character that it obscures everything. Tell such a one the reason for the failure of divining, and recommend a more reliable state of mind. Then let them try their "fortune" again in a few months when it may be found quite different.
It is of course a great mistake to be always "looking in the tea-leaves," as some foolish people do twice a day. It is sure to lead to contradictions though there is no harm in the habit of "looking in the cup" each morning as others do, for finding the events likely to happen in the course of the day. This is as permissible as the reading of the cards each morning for the day's events by those who consider it a safeguard, remembering that to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Some people use the tea-cup simply for the purpose of asking a definite question, such as, "Is the sum of money I am expecting coming soon?" When this is the case, the consultant should be told before turning the cup in the hand to concentrate the thoughts on this one point, as in the case of wishing while shuffling the cards for a definite wish. Then the seer must look only for the signs that will give the answer to the question, ignoring all other points. This is necessary for the giving of a satisfactory answer to the question asked.