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Reading Tea Leaves: A Sip of Self-Knowledge
One ancient intuitive art form is reading tea leaves. To learn how an empty cup is like a crystal ball, read on.
Stir a spoonful of loose tea leaves into a wide, shallow cup of hot water and let it steep while holding it your hands. According to tasseography—the art of reading tea leaves—that’s step one in divining the future. Step two calms the mind: focus on your life and the questions you have while carefully drinking the tea, making sure to avoid the leaves, until only a few drops remain at the bottom. Swirl the leftover liquid until the leaves cling to the sides of the cup and then flip it over onto a napkin-covered saucer. After a couple of minutes, right the cup and study the forms the leaves have taken. Do you see animals? Letters? Numbers?
Reading tea leaves is a highly personal endeavor. No shapes are concrete—rather, each relies on the subconscious to form them into symbols. Like a Rorschach test, tasseography is an interpretation, and people are more likely to see what relates to their questions or concerns. Where one person might see a beetle to indicate the need for foresight, another person might see a Beatle to indicate the need for rock-and-roll. Numbers can indicate dates or years; letters can point to names. Although standard lists of symbols exist, the reader is not limited to the meanings they suggest. Indeed, some psychic readers use tea leaves simply to give focus to the insights they generate through other means.
Despite its subjectivity, there remains an underlying method to the art. If your cup has a handle, begin there (otherwise, start at the 12 o’clock position with the cup facing you) and read counterclockwise. Divide the cup into three sections: the rim above where the tea-line was, the middle, and the base or bottom. Dregs closer to the rim and handle represent the more immediate future, whereas those further along and closer to the bottom indicate a more distant time.