Peer into the future or reveal the past– all over a soothing cup of tea!
Tea Leaf Divination (also called Tasseography) is a traditional method of divination that allows the reader to examine symbols found in the patterns of tea leaves. It is a method that has been used in various forms (often with tea, but with coffee grinds as well) throughout cultures around the world.
Through a pleasant and simple ritual combined with symbol interpretation, a Tea Leaf Reader can have their questions answered and reveal their path forward.
Are you ready for a tea time that is truly enlightening? Follow along with the steps below to learn how to read tea leaves!
What You Need to Begin:
In order to do a Tea Leaf Reading Divination, all you need is:
- Loose leaf tea leaves.
Thrifty Witch Tip: If you do not have loose leaf tea leaves, you can cut open a tea bag and use the leaves inside
2. Hot water
3. A teacup and saucer
Do I need a special teacup/saucer for Tea Leaf Readings?
No, you do not need a special teacup! 🙂
The teacup pictured here is a Diviner’s Teacup– a teacup created especially for Tea Leaf Divinations. If you enjoy Tasseography, you can purchase a Diviner’s Cup (such as the Cup of Destiny, replicas of the Cup of Nelros, or other divinatory cups) but rest assured that you do not need a special teacup in order to divine. Any teacup can be used for reading tea leaves!
If you do not have a teacup saucer, a small plate or dish can serve as a substitute.
Part I: Beginning a Tea Leaf Divination
Begin by placing your chosen tea leaves into your teacup and boiling a pot of water.
All types of loose tea are acceptable to use in a Tea Leaf Reading, but choosing tea leaves with a naturally good shape can aid in your divination.
Some teas have large pieces of fruit or whole flowers– while these are beautiful, they can cover the entire cup and make it difficult to read. On the other hand, some loose teas are cut up so finely that is difficult for the teas to gather into shapes at the bottom of the cup.
Thus, when choosing which tea to use, it is recommended to use loose leaf tea that is not finely chopped but also not in large pieces.
Now it is time to make a tasty cup of tea!
Every type of tea is wonderfully unique, so for the most delicious brew please follow the instructions for your chosen tea leaves. Things such as boiling temperature, amount of time of steeping, and whether or not you cover the tea as it steeps will not affect the divination– but they will affect how enjoyable your tea tastes, so prepare mindfully for the best cup possible!
As you drink your cup of tea, feel free to chat with others or simply relax.
You might also take a moment to appreciate the power of tea: tea has traditionally brought people together and been enjoyed across borders. Turkish Coffee Readings are often done as part of a social event or communal gathering between friends and some styles of Chinese Gongfu Tea Meditations are also enjoyed quietly with company. Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremonies are often carried out between gathered guests and a host.
Tea is not only amazing from a cultural perspective, it is a powerful magickal ingredient as well. While the exact magickal properties of tea will vary depending on the type and blend used, tea can be used in many ways in the Craft.
Part II: Tea Leaf Divination Ritual
Sip your tea until there is just a small amount of liquid remaining.
Too much liquid will cause all the leaves to fall in a squishy blob onto the saucer, so make sure there is only a small amount left before the next step. But don’t be tempted to drain the cup, as dry leaves will stick to their position and refuse to budge.
Do NOT squeeze or try to strain the leaves– allow them to rest as they are at the bottom of your cup.
It is here that the real magick begins– it is time to bring our intention (the purpose of why we are reading tea leaves) into the moment. We do this by picking up the teacup and circling our intent into the cup.
There are countless different theories behind directions, motions, and how to turn the cup, but many agree that three (a number of magickal significance) is the right number of times to turn it.
Pick up your teacup and carefully swish the cup in three circles in a clockwise motion.
As you hold and move the cup, bring your focus entirely to your hands. Allow other thoughts to slip away, and begin to be completely present in the moment.
It is time for the divination ritual to begin.
After you have finished turning the cup three times, hold your teacup in your hands and hold your intention in your heart.
Then, gently but quickly, flip your teacup over and place it onto the saucer.
Take a silent moment to focus entirely on the cup. Breathe deeply and channel your intention into the tea leaves as they begin to form into shapes out of sight.
Allow your intuition to let you know when the cup has finished draining. When you feel it is the right time, lift up the cup in one smooth motion and set it securely on the table, right-side up.
Part III: Reading the Tea Leaves
Now it is time to read the leaves! Take a close look at your cup and saucer and try to identify shapes or images in the leaves.
If you are using a Diviner’s Cup, now is the time to examine where the leaves fell in the cup and around the saucer. Examine the symbols that are marked with leaves and determine how those influences affect your intention.
For both those with a Diviner’s Cup and those with a normal teacup, pay close attention to the three zones of the cup:
- The outer rim of the teacup and saucer — images you find close to the rim and outer edge point to things happening soon, in the imediate future.
- The middle of the teacup and saucer — what you see in the middle of the cup and saucer reveal things that may occur in the near future.
- The bottom of the teacup and center of the saucer — the bottom part of the teacup and center of the saucer point to things in the more distant future. These things will eventually come to be if you stay on the current path, but likely not for quite some time.
By finding shapes and symbols in the leaves and paying close attention to where they appear in the cup, you can read your fortune!
Being able to spot and interpret symbols is a skill that applies not only to Tea Leaf Readings but to many forms of divination. It is something that involves both knowledge and the development of your personal intuition.
Many witches choose to use a Book of Correspondences to help them learn the magickal associations between things. There are various Books of Correspondences available for readers and seers to use!
In addition to studying traditional ways to read symbols, it is also valuable to consider your own personal interpretations for the things that appear in your teacup.
A Brief Exercise to Finding Personal Symbol Interpretations
Peer into your teacup and use your creativity to pick out shapes.
When you see a shape– a dog, a circle, a cloud, an angry face, anything at all– what does it make you think of first? Does it bring back any important memories?
How does this image make you feel? Look at it closely to pick out any distinguishing traits– does it look happy, aggressive, sad, running away, etc?
And finally, how can this image relate to my intention/the question I asked for this reading?
Considering all of these points can help you find a meaning for everything that your tea leaves reveal for you!
Blessed Be and Happy Tea Leaf Readings!
Divination in Action
Learn how to combine a Tea Leaf Reading with another form of divination to gain deeper insights into your inquiry. This post examines the symbols found in a cup of tea and then enhances the results with a Tarot reading!