Tasseography, commonly known as ‘tea leaf reading,’ is a divination practice that includes interpreting “patterns and symbols” that appear to be formed by tea leaves at the bottom of a teacup. The art of tea leaf reading is said to have originated in China.
The practice, which ultimately spread to various parts of the world, has evolved to include rich symbology, traditions, interpretations, and practical techniques; which, of course, vary depending on location.
Steps to tea leaf reading
Brew a pot of loose tea leaves
Pour the tea into a teacup
Ask the person seeking the reading to drink the tea, leaving a small amount of liquid and tea leaves in the cup
Invert the cup onto a saucer; allow the remaining liquid and tea leaves to settle into a pattern
‘Read’ the patterns and shapes formed by the tea leaves.
For example, a heart shape might be related to love or romance.
Circles are indicative of completion.
Bear in mind that symbolic meanings are based heavily on the context of the situation.
Meaning is also derived from the ‘readers’ intuition and experience.
Common tea leaf symbols and their meanings
Anchor: stability, security
Arrow: direction, movement
Bird: freedom, travel
Butterfly: transformation, growth
Cat: independence, intuition
Cross: faith, spirituality
Crown: success, achievement
Elephant: strength, wisdom
Fish: abundance, fertility
Heart: love, romance
Moon: intuition, mystery
Sun: vitality, energy
Tree: growth, stability
Frankly, I find tea leaf reading to be a very fascinating divination practice.
I have seen some tarot readers incorporate tea leaf reading into their sessions.
Admittedly, I was unable to ‘see’ what the reader ‘saw,” but I was no less intrigued.
That said, would I try this?
Probably not, but if you are a person who brews loose leaf tea on a regular basis, why not give it a go?
Let me know what you think in comments, especially if you are a tea leaf reader or have had a reading.
Hall, J. (2018). The Ultimate Guide to Divination: The Beginner’s Guide to Using Cards, Crystals, Runes, Palmistry, and More for Insight and Predicting the Future. Fair Winds Press.
Peterson, S. (2015). Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners: Your Fortune in a Teacup. Llewellyn Publications.