Tea Leaf Reading // How to Do Your Own in 7 Steps

October 2, 2017 4:31 am Published by

Looking for the perfect divination tool to get a glimpse of your future and entertain guests with for Samhain and Halloween? Tea leaf reading, or tasseography is the art of using tea leaves for divination purposes. Many cultures believe that around the end of October the veil between the physical world and the spirit world is thinned, so it’s the best time to perform divination of all kinds.

What is Tea Leaf Reading?

Doing a tea leaf reading involves you indulging in a delicious cup of tea and putting your sharp intuitive skills to work. After you enjoy your warm cup of loose leaf tea, you’ll leave the loose tea leaves at the bottom, where some of these leaves will form symbols, each having its own meaning. That’s where your keen intuitive abilities come in! Anyone can see a triangle at the bottom of a teacup, but your job is to intuit what it means for you or the person you’re reading for.

Where Did Tea Leaf Reading Come From?

You might be wondering where this unusual form of divination came from, so here’s a short history about tasseography. Shortly after tea was introduced to Europe, tea leaf reading, as it’s now recognized, was born. Similar divination tools had been used with an assortment of other materials, but tea leaves seemed to be the favorite! The art of tea leaf reading spread through Europe, especially in Gypsy cultures, and is now practiced throughout the world.

What You Need for a Tea Leaf Reading

  • Tea cup with a wide brim that’s light enough to easily see your tea leaves. There are a variety of specialty tea leaf reading cups available, they are beautiful but unnecessary. I created mine at a local pottery painting studio. Keep it simple, buy your own, or get crafty with it, any option will work!
  • Saucer
  • Loose-leaf green or black tea, preferably organic.
  • Napkins
  • Pen and paper
  • Water
  • Enough time to savor a cup of tea and get lost in the maze of tea leaf symbols!

How to Perform a Tea Leaf Reading

1. Brew Your Tea

Gather all of your materials. Boil your water. Place about a teaspoon of loose tea in your cup. Pour your water in and steep tea to your preference.

For the next 3 steps, if you’re doing a reading for someone else, have them do the following steps.

2. Sip & Swirl

Before you take your first sip, gently swirl the tea counterclockwise three times. Sip and enjoy your tea, but don’t drink it all! When there’s about 1 tablespoon of tea left in your cup, swirl it again 3 times counterclockwise and think about or speak your query aloud.

3. Create Your Tea Reading Canvas

Turn your cup upside down onto your saucer to remove the remaining water, allow it a minute or so to drain, then turn it back upright, and you’re ready for reading!

4. Look for Symbols

Look over your loose leaf tea pieces and see if any symbols or shapes jump out to you immediately. Don’t fret if you don’t see anything immediately, similar to scrying with a crystal ball, it can take some time for imagery to form for you. Try looking at the inside of the cup from different directions to see shapes. Keep in mind the images formed are formed from tea leaves, so you will really need to use your imagination!

5. Record & Decipher Your Findings

If you do start to see some shapes, begin writing them down on your piece of paper so you can decipher them later, note wherein the cup they are too. Now you’re ready to decipher your findings! Here’s a guide for the most common symbols found during tea leaf readings:

6. Understand the Timeline

Where your tea leaves are situated in your cup relate to when they will happen. This is why some of the tea leaf reading cups you find have circles inside of them. Timing is broken into thirds as follows:

  • Bottom third: farthest away from happening, think 3-5 years out.
  • Middle third: will happen in about a year from now.
  • Top third: will be happening in the near future, think within the next few weeks.

7. Form Your Reading

Like most divination tools, a honed intuition is key for success, so be sure to lean on any gut instincts as you form the story for your reading. Once you understand the meaning behind the symbols it’s time to put all of the information into a story that makes sense for you or the person you’re doing a reading for.

This divination tool is so much fun to do with friends and family! Setting in on a fall evening with some loved ones and sip, laugh, enjoy, and maybe get a little glimpse at what’s to come.

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About Cassie

Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.