Tea leaf reading is a little like any other form of divination in so much that you need a clear mind, creativity, patience and an ability to just sit and contemplate.  The art of tea leaf reading is known as  Tasseography and is an ancient Chinese practice which spread to Europe with Nomadic Gypsies in the 1800s.

I’ve always been fascinated by tea-leaf reading and I’ve actually owned a vintage Tasseography cup  for around twenty years and I do remember a friend and I settling down with a pot of tea made with some good quality tea leaves and having a jolly enjoyable afternoon contemplating what future fortune we could read in the tea leaves found at the bottom of our tea cups.

Trying to divine what the future holds is an ancient human preoccupation and I think that the reading of tea-leaves has to be one of the most elegant and refined way of looking into the future.

After years of wanting to learn to read tea leaves I have finally taken this up as a hobby. I’m now learning the art and so on accession my much loved cup of coffee is replaced with a lovely pot of tea and a few minutes of contemplation.

Part of the ritual of this form of divination is to sit down and savour the tea,  allowing you to relax and gather your thoughts and  if nothing else it is a perfect excuse to sit and enjoy a good cup of Rosie-Lee.  You need good quality loose tea, and I must say that I like to use Twinings Russian Caravan tea and yes this partly due to the name, but I must say that it is also because it has a really smooth taste.

 

For tea leaf reading, you will need:

 

– Some loose leaf tea

 

– A teapot

 

– A cup and saucer (pale in colour and un-patterned on the inside so the leaves (and shapes) show up well)

– A relaxed frame of mind

Brew your tea in the teapot.

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

Hold the cup in your left hand. Think of a question and fix it in your mind.  Swirl the tea dregs in your cup three times anticlockwise.

Place the saucer on top of the cup, and flip the whole thing upside down so that the tea drains out into the saucer.

Turn over your cup. Look at where the leaves are, and at the patterns and shapes made.  Your first thoughts on this really count, there is no right or wrong so try to trust your intuition.

Where a shape or pattern is in the cup indicates the when as in the timescale of the event or happening. 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).

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

Things to Note Before you Read the Leaves:

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.

 

A brief Guide to Tea Leaf Symbols:

 

Aeroplane – a journey or a promotion, you will rise in life.

 

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

 

Angel – good news will appear soon!

 

Apples – you will have longeveity.

 

Axe – a journey lies ahead.

 

Basket – an addition to your family is on the way

Bear – you will have to make a long journey soon.

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.

 

 

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.

 

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

 

Bee – your hard work will soon bring rewards.

 

Bird – good news is winging its way to you.

 

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

 

Chair – someone new is coming into your life…

 

Clouds – trouble is on the way!

 

 

 

Crown – your abilities will be recognised

Cross – a warning sign

Dagger – beware of danger.

 

Dog – a good friend will support you.

 

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.

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

House – home life will be important.

 

 

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.

 

Peanuts – ignore people who are trying to put you down.

 

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!

 

Raven – ravens bring trouble.

Scissors – quarrels and separation.

 

Sheep – good fortune will come your way.

 

Shell – good news.

 

Ship – a worthwhile journey.

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

 

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.

 

 

Telephone – you will receive an important call soon.

 

Tree – health and family will be important.

 

Triangle – help will arrive from an unexpected source.

 

Umbrella – annoyance and trouble.

 

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.

 

Over the next few months, I hope to become much more accomplished at the ancient art of tea-leaf reading at the moment I spend a lot of time in bewildered puzzlement, however, I’m really enjoying my new hobby and I will certainly be letting you in on a few tips and findings as my knowledge and ability grows.

 

 

About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog, www.serenitykitchen.com