The Basics of Tea Leaf Reading

Looking for a unique twist for your next party? Why not include tea leaf reading to add a little spice. Tea leaf reading is an ancient form of divination that has been practiced across the world since the 17th century. In most areas of the United States, tea leaf readers are available for booking and will often come directly to your home to entertain your guests. Or, if you prefer to take your company out on the town, take them out to a tea room for a flavorful beverage and a quick peek into the future.

The Origins of Tea Leaf Reading
Tea leaf reading, also known as tasseography, tasseomancy, or teomancy is believed to have originated in China. According to legend, in 2737 B.C.E. Emperor Shen Nong noticed that a leaf from a tea plant that grew nearby had fallen into a pot of boiling water. He so enjoyed the flavor of the infusion, that the tea tradition was born.

Tea was introduced to Europe in the 17th century, where gypsies began offering tea leaf readings. By the 1800s, traveling gypsies were welcome in homes as well as tea rooms to give readings, as part of the spiritualist movement of the Victorian era.

Although tea leaf reading is most often associated with European gypsies, it also gained in popularity in Greece, the Middle East, Scotland, and Ireland.

What to Expect During a Tea Leaf Reading
Whether you experience a tea leaf reading at a party or in a more private setting, the method of reading is pretty standard. The querent is given a cup of loose leaf tea to sip while chatting with friends or the reader. It is at this time that the querent should also consider what information that they might like to receive from their reading. One theory behind tea leaf reading is that while drinking the tea, the movements that a person makes in the process affects the flow of the leaves in the cup, creating patterns unique to the individual after the leaves have settled. It is important that the drinking of the tea not be rushed. Taking your time in drinking the tea allows for the energy of the querent to settle in the leaves, which in turn will allow for a more pointed reading.

When there are around two teaspoons of tea left in the cup, it is time for the actual reading. After settling down with the reader, the querent will take a final sip of the tea while focusing on a clear reading and then hand the cup over to the reader. At this point, the person giving the reading will follow their own personal methods. Loose leaf tea typically collects on the sides of the cup as well as the bottom. The reader will study the leaf formation in order to interpret the symbols left by the leaves. The way the symbols fall in relation to their position to one another, as well as their placement within the cup, is also considered.

What are the Best Questions to Ask?
In the majority of readings, the reader will take a brief look at the leaves and give a quick general reading to start. This gives a foundation to carry the reading forward and is helpful in situations where the querent isn’t really sure about what to ask.

After the initial general reading, the querent can ask about anything that they like. After the reader has given their insight on the general reading, it’s not uncommon for new symbols to be recognized, especially if the querent is open to the reading and has asked a specific question. From there the reader weaves a story of the querent’s life. It is often better for the querent not to look for anything too specific. As the story unfolds, it isn’t uncommon for the questions that a querent has to be addressed without the need for asking, it really just depends on both of the parties involved and their ability to be open and aware. It’s important to remember that a reading will more often than not reveal what a querent needs to hear and not necessarily what they want to hear. Likewise, it’s also important to remember that a reading represents only one possible eventuality in a person’s life. A reading isn’t set in stone. There is always room for change.

The Reader’s Task
Tea leaf reading is an interpretive art. It is the reader’s task to build a cohesive story based on the symbols, shapes, and letters formed by the tea leaves. Most readers interpret the symbols as being metaphorical in nature, meaning that individual symbols will represent particular aspects in a querent’s life.

Even position plays a key role in a reading. Based on where symbols fall in relation to one another, a reader can often determine if a particular symbol is referring to something in the past, present or the future. Even blank spaces in the cup can have a particular meaning, often indicating a lack of support or some form of detachment in relation to a nearby symbol.

Typically, every reader has their own particular method when it comes to the interpretation of tea leaves. A symbol that means one thing to one reader is very likely to mean something different to another. It is often the same in regards to querents. A reader will often interpret a symbol in one way for one person, and then interpret the same symbol another way for someone else due to the unique signature of each individual’s energy.

What is the Best Tea to Use?
The choice of tea can be a very personal decision. Some people prefer herbal or green tea, while others prefer the more traditional black tea. Many readers feel that black tea is the best choice. Loose leaf black tea is easier to read due to its dark color, making it stand out more easily against the cup. Regardless of the type of tea used, it’s important to make sure to use tea in a loose leaf form rather than using the contents of a tea bag. The tea found in premade tea bags is often too fine and won’t give strong shapes in a reading.

When approached with an open mind and a bit of whimsy, tea leaf reading can be a fun source of entertainment for your next get together. Tea leaf reading can also be a good opportunity for a bit of advice from a unique and ancient source.


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