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July 26, 2007

Tea for Two

Thursday Thirteen

I’m researching tea and tea-leaf reading for another work in progress, so here you go –
Thirteen Things about Tea

1. The art of reading tea-leaves, or tasseomancy, goes back thousands of years to ancient China, when tea was first drunk. The practice developed as a consequence of tea-drinkers interpreting the shapes of the tea-leaves that were left in the bottom of their cups and divining the future from them.

2. Tea-leaf reading has been popular in Europe and America ever since and is one of the easiest forms of divination to practise. All you need is a teapot, a cup and saucer, and some leaf tea, so there is no need to buy any special equipment at vast expense.

3. The tea industry has undergone a renaissance in the past few years, with many more teas now on sale. Green tea, which was once only available from specialist importers is now widely available and celebrated for its health-giving properties.

4. The right cup is important in tea-leaf reading. The bowl of the cup should be nicely rounded, so the tea and the leaves can move freely within it. Straight-sided cups are not suitable, and a large cup can be unwieldy, which might cause you to spill some tea or even drop the cup. The outside of the cup can be as highly decorated or as plain as you prefer but the interior of the cup must be completely plain. Any pattern will confuse your eye and interfere with the shapes made by the tea-leaves. And lastly, make sure the handle of the cup is firmly attached and not too flimsy or delicate. Note: I’m thinking my character might have a wee accident and drop her cup or the handle could fall off.

5. Choose tea without added ingredients, such as tiny strips of orange peel or dried rose petals since they will interfere with the reading. Oh, and size matters when it comes to tea leaves. They mustn’t be too small and they can’t be too big. Just like Baby Bear’s porridge, they must be just right.

6. Tradition states that you should only read the leaves from the first cup of tea that is poured out, which means only one person can have their leaves read from each pot. The main reason for this is that tea-leaves usually flow out of the pot more easily when pouring out the first cup of tea.

7. The process: As you drink your tea, you should try to relax. Think about the question you are going to ask the tea-leaves, if you have one, or simply concentrate on the week ahead or your life in general. Do not let your mind be distracted by current worries or mundane trains of thought. If this happens you must gently bring your focus back to what you are doing.

8. The ritual: Drink virtually all the tea so only a teaspoonful remains in the bottom of the cup. Take the cup in your left hand if you are right-handed and vica versa. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, then silently ask your question or ask for guidance about your future. Turn the cup three times in an anticlockwise direction then turn it upside down in the saucer and drain for thirty seconds. Your cup is now ready for interpretation.

9. Some tea superstitions – To stir the pot counter clockwise will stir up trouble.

10. To made tea stronger than usual indicates a new friendship. To spill a little tea while making it is a lucky omen. And I thought it just made a mess on the counter!

11. If the lid is accidentally left off the teapot, you may expect a stranger bringing bad news. Bubbles on tea denote kisses.

12. Two teaspoons, accidentally placed together on the same saucer, points to a wedding or a pregnancy. If two women should pour from the same teapot, one of them will have a baby within the year.

13. Tea spilling from the spout of the teapot while being carried indicates a secret will be revealed. Undissolved sugar in the bottom of your teacup means that there is someone sweet on you.

The art of tea-leaf reading by Jane Struthers
Chai newsletter (a NZ company that sells tea)

And just as an interesting aside: When Mr. Munro and I visited Cameroun in Africa a group of us visited a local wiseman or sorcerer. He read our fortunes using a crab in a flower pot. We had to ask a question and the movements of the crab when the sorcerer tipped it out of the pot gave us the answer to our question. The sorcerer didn’t speak English but we had a guide with us who interpreted. The process was very similar to that of tea-leaf reading in that we had to think about one question before the crab and sorcerer did their thing.

Are you a coffee or a tea drinker?

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  1. Christine d'Abo

    I had my tea leaves read once, but I can’t for the life of me remember what they told me it meant. At the time, I though it was very cool and for some reason accurate. I’d love to try it again! :mrgreen:

  2. N.J. Walters

    Fascinating subject. My father used to do this. I remember watching him read tea leaves when I was a kid.

  3. Shelley Munro

    I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the subject this week and found it fascinating.

  4. Gina Ardito

    So do they give classes in tea leaf reading somewhere?
    Fascinating stuff!

  5. Jennifer Shirk

    With with all the Divas trying to make smarter with all this cool info? :grin:

    I’m a coffee drinker–BUT I do go through periods during the year where I switch to tea for a time(for no particular reason) then switch back.

    I like tea with certain foods, too. Like cookies and chocolate. :grin:

  6. Babe

    And this is why I drink coffee. :mrgreen:

  7. Lisa Andel

    I don’t drink either. Um, hot liquids make me pass out. I get my caffeine from Coke.

    So, I’ve never had tea leaves read but I did have Tarot read for me once and it freaked me out. I wouldn’t say my question out loud, and the woman reading for me still hit all these facts she couldn’t possibly have known.

  8. Adelle Laudan

    Very interesting. I have researched this for a book once as well. Did you know when you pour a cup of tea, you must drink all of the bubbles off the top in one swoop to ensure good luck. Any bubbles left, signify the amount of troubles.
    Happy T 13!

  9. Lesley Speller

    Wow, I seem to spill my tea every time I make it! I guess I have lots of good omens. Or it could just mean that I’m exceptionally clumsy. :-D What a fun TT!

  10. LA Day

    Wow! This took some work. Interesting info.

  11. Anna J. Evans

    Very interesting research. Makes me want to go grab a cup of Lasong Souchong (it smells sort of like bacon, but tastes so good with a little bit of cream and sugar ;).

    anna J. Evans

  12. Debora

    Wow – this was terrific and so interesting – good luck with your research! :)

  13. Erin the Innocent

    I love this stuff too :) Interesting TT

  14. Daisy Dexter Dobbs

    What a fascinating and well-researched TT, Shelley! I love learning things like this. While I do enjoy a good cup of tea every so often, I’m a diehard coffee drinker. The darker and more robust the better. :-)

  15. Tempest Knight

    Excellent T13, Shelley! :) Great info! Love it! I’ve never had the tea leaves read to me. Then again, I don’t drink tea. hehehe!

  16. Ciar Cullen

    :oohh: Tea? What’s that?

  17. Amelia June

    Wow, that was really interesting. And you can bet I’ll be watching my spoons and pouring now, NO MORE KIDS lol

  18. Donica Covey

    Those are some very interesting things. I had heard of tea leaf reading but I never knew it was so detailed.

    Have a great T13!

    Donica Covey

  19. Jinger Jackson

    Two teaspoons placed together=pregnant huh? Wonder who my son’s girlfriend was touching spoons with…

    Great T13!

  20. Sterculian Rhetoric

    “…Undissolved sugar in the bottom of your teacup means that there is someone sweet on you…”

    It also means that you have surpassed the saturation point, or carrying capacity, of the solvent to ‘hold’ the solute in homogeneous solution. Stick a spoon in the teacup and the dissolved sugar in this super-saturated solution will precipitate out, in solid form, upon the surface of the spoon in diamond-like crystals.

    Shore is purdy!

  21. Joely

    I drink mostly coffee, but I do love a nice pot of tea, especially when my tummy is feeling “fragile.” Very fascinating post!

  22. Robin L. Rotham

    If there are tea leaves at the bottom of my cup, it just means the tea bag broke. (Yeah, I’m so unromantic!)

    Fascinating post, tho. You never know what kind of information sensitive people can pick up from sources like this.

  23. Debbie Mumford

    Definitely tea for me!

    Great post and great info!

  24. Gabriele

    I have some 25 different teas, but I never got the idea to do anything with the used leaves except putting them in the trash. :grin:

  25. Heather

    You’ve had the most interesting topics the past two weeks! Never had a tea reading, but then — I don’t like tea.

  26. aithne

    This is really cool. Makes me want to try it now.

    Sorry for leaving just the “a” linky. I have a bandaid on my finger and it is causing some weird typing stuff.