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The Art Of Reading Tea Leaves

What is the practice of reading tea leaves?

Reading tea leaves, also known as tasseography, is the act of distinguishing symbols and imagery amongst tea leaves, often in the form of gritty residue left behind in a drinking vessel. This form of divination is wonderfully simple and easy to perform by most people, yet the messages produced by the tea leaves can be incredibly significant. Tasseography may be less popular than other forms of divination, such as tarot cards or rune stones, yet they are a fascinating tool that allows us to engage as deeply as possible with our intuitions and reveal powerful information.

What is its history?

Reading tea leaves is a relatively new form of divination, appearing in Britain in the 17th Century after the widespread introduction of tea in the country. The British at this time were highly superstitious people and the working class benefited especially from this new form of reading; it was cheaper and far easier than other forms of divination at the time.

How does it work?

Similar to other forms of divination, reading tea leaves works as our energy is fused with the act taking place. When we focus closely on our intentions and let our emotions wash over us, the residue left behind in the vessel reflects our thoughts, feelings and experiences by revealing various images. It can even predict future events and offer advice regarding difficult situations.

How do I begin?

In order to achieve meaningful results in tasseography, ensure that you follow the steps outlined below.


1. Choosing your vessel

Any vessel with a circular, bowl-shaped interior is perfect for a reading. In most cases, this will be a teacup but anything similar is appropriate also. In addition, it is worth remembering to use a vessel with a light-coloured, opaque interior as the dark residue of the leaves will be far easier to decipher on this surface.

2. Choosing the right type of tea leaves

Any tea leaves that are finely milled work the best in tasseography. This is because their smaller, grittier consistency allows for the formation of clearer images; large, chunky leaves do not produce such fine accuracy and may also fail to stick to the interior properly.

3. Make the tea

Roughly one teaspoon of tea leaves is sufficient for a medium sized teacup. Next, pour boiling water onto the leaves in the cup while making sure to visualize the questions or concerns you wish for the leaves to answer. 

4. Think while you drink 

Once the tea is fully brewed, begin to drink while keeping in mind any important questions you may have. Even if there is no particular question you are seeking an answer to, it is still important to remain clear-headed and present in the task at hand. The leaves will still reveal information or provide useful advice for you.

5. Flip the cup

Just before your cup is empty, swill it around in three circular motions and place a saucer on top. Next, flip the cup and saucer upside down so that the remaining liquid is allowed to drain, leaving behind the tea leaf residue in its unique pattern. 

6. Reading the tea leaves

Now for the most crucial part; the reading of the tea leaves. Lift the cup and place it back down with the interior facing upwards. Look inside and take in the patterns displayed to you in the remnants. 

7. Interpreting what is presented to you

It may take a while for any significant images or symbols to appear, but once they do, you can be sure that they will have a profound meaning. Don’t just look for large images - there will be smaller ones dotted around, adding to the overall picture conjured. Look at the images as a collective and interpret what you believe it means for you. Intuition is key. 

There is no right or wrong way to interpret what jumps out at you as it is an incredibly personal process. If a particular image provides feelings of comfort, or another elicits a sense of uneasiness, these are all sensations to be recognised as significant regardless of what the image is itself. 

Generally speaking, the images produced by the tea leaves will fall into one of four main categories; animals, nature, objects and mythical creatures. However, if an image appears that isn’t listed by any of the various tasseography guides out there, you can still interpret this according to what you believe best fits. Again, reading tea leaves is highly personal and the key is to use your gut feelings.




Success and gain. Hard work has finally paid off.


You have found stability and been grounded by recent happenings.


You have protective energies surrounding you.


You are going to receive acknowledgement for your academic endeavours.


You may be on the receiving end of deceit soon, keep your guard up.


There is potentially a pregnancy on the way, or the start of a new career.


Unexpected good news is on the way, perhaps a wedding celebration.


The beginning of a new journey or challenge.


You may be feeling uncertain about the path ahead.


You may be feeling extra spiritual at the moment. Enlightenment.


Be wary of deceitful people in your life currently. You can’t trust everyone.


The completion of a difficult task or period in your life is on its way.


You may be worried that time is running out regarding a current project.


A gift or donation is on its way to you.


You may be seeking extra feelings of comfort and protection at the moment.


A recent project or journey is creating new opportunities for you.


New starts and beginnings. May also indicate a pregnancy or job offer.


An important message is coming your way. Take careful note of it.


You will find clarity and awakening in a previously unclear situation.


You may currently be struggling to stay grounded and stable.


A passionate whirlwind is in store. Remember to not get carried away.


You may feel that you want to give up on a current project. Persevere.


Look forward to a romantic gesture coming your way soon.


You may be feeling trapped in a current situation. Look for a way out.


A person’s true intentions will become clear sometime soon.


You may have to work extra hard to achieve your current projects.


Cherish your current friendships and do not take them for granted.


Feelings of love and contentment are here to stay.


You are about to receive an abundance of well-deserved good luck.


Potentially a house move is on the way. Otherwise feelings of security.


Keep an eye out for potential dangers that may disrupt your current flow.


Enjoy your newly found freedom in life.


A new job or promotion is in store.


Find peace and solitude by spending extra time with nature.


You will demonstrate courage in response to a challenging situation.


You will find a solution to something that has been puzzling you recently.


Keep in mind that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.


Not all the facts and information will be revealed as they should be.


There may be a large obstacle to overcome soon. Stay determined.


Pain and heartbreak may be in store for you or someone close to you.


Seek precision in an important legal document. Read the fine print.

Oak tree

Look forward to lots of health and vitality coming your way.


Look to wise, older figures with experience in an area troubling you.


Take extra care looking after your finances.

Question mark

You may be faced with uncertainties soon. Take time figuring it out.


Can indicate fertility. May also suggest bravery during a difficult time.


The death of a current situation, leading to new beginnings.


An argument or legal issues are potentially in store.


A long journey awaits, physically or spiritually.


Your recent hard work will be rewarded soon.


You may feel extra generous with your loved ones.


You will feel positivity and hope soon. Life feels like it is falling into place.


Happiness is to follow from a period of intense darkness. You deserve this.


Be prepared for arguments in and around the home.


Look forward to upcoming social gatherings.


Short-lived despair and destruction, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


You may embark on a self-improvement journey soon. Enjoy the process.


Another unexpected factor may come into play in a current situation.


Explosive arguments will need appeasing soon.


Look forward to incoming prosperity.


A guardian angel is watching over you during tough times.

At the end of the day, tasseography is a form of divination that provides immense comfort and valuable insight for many individuals. It is cheap, easy to perform and most of us already have the ingredients to hand. The versatility that reading tea leaves provides far exceeds that of most other divination tools as there are endless possibilities of potential symbols and combinations. While the guide provided above is useful to refer to, ultimately, our own intuitions about what the symbols mean is far more important. 

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