Jody Victor’s Fun with Tasseography

The Art of Tasseography

Tasseography is the ancient art of interpreting patterns made by tealeaves in a teacup. Even though tasseography is usually associated with gypsy fortunetellers, the tradition evolved a long time ago from Asia, the Middle East and Ancient Greece. “Tasse” or “tass” is an Arab root meaning small cup or goblet. Modern tasseography is associated with the Scottish, Irish and the cultures of Eastern Europe. The significance of this cross -cultural and historical tradition is related to the primal human desire for understanding the self. Tasseography is not an application of magic or mystical activities, but rather a tool for tapping into the subconscious by applying meditation to pattern recognition and symbolism. The significance of symbolism in psychological study has theoretical foundations from Plato through Karl Jung. The process of tasseography stimulates the imagination to create individualized interpretations and solutions. Tealeaf reading is a fun and creative way to listen to your own self.

Start with a white or light colored teacup and make a cup of tea with any leaf tea. If you do not have loose -leaf tea you can open a tea bag and use the tea that way. Once your tea is cool enough, begin sipping. Leaves may be floating so do your best to avoid consuming too many. If you are right -handed use your left hand to hold the cup. If you are left -handed use your right hand. If you are ambidextrous, reach for your cup, stop, and then use the other hand. This procedure of drinking from the other hand coordinates left and right brain activity to stimulate problem solving. Using the opposite hand also tends to make you slow down to focus and organize your thoughts. Not that you have slowed down and are quiet and relaxed identify an issue foremost in your mind. It’s that one thought that keeps stubbornly returning to your attention no matter how much you meditate on relaxing your mind to block out all thoughts.

Leave a small amount of tea (about a teaspoon) at the bottom of your cup. Now give it three good swirls. The tealeaves will disperse around the interior of the cup. Gently dump out the remaining liquid into a saucer and wait three breaths before turning your cup back over.

Tealeaf reading is a highly personal process. Abstract pattern recognition taps into our subconscious with the most relevant reading produced by the individual who drank, meditated and swirled the tea. In a way it is similar to the Rorschach (ink blot) Test. We are most likely to recognize symbols that have a connection to the matter at hand. Therefore you are the most qualified to read your own tealeaves.

If your cup has a handle, begin there and read clockwise. If your cup has no handle, begin reading from 12 o’clock. Make a note of the first symbol you see. It is the symbol related to the issue that was foremost in your mind while you were drinking and meditating. Mentally divide the cup into three sections: rim, middle and base. The rim area is above the tea level when you first poured your cup of tea. The base is the level of tea left before you dumped it out. The middle section is the area between the two (rim and base). Note where the first symbol you saw is located and if it is next to another symbol. Note whether you see bubbles, twigs, or droplets in your cup. Work quietly and take your time. Leaves on the bottom of the cup (base) foretell the distant future. The sides (middle) foretell the not too distant future. Leaves on the rim area tell the present. The pictures and symbols that you see very clearly are more significant than those that are unclear.

Here are some interpretations of the pictures you see (many more can be found on tea websites):

Anchor – success in business

Aircraft – journey/travel

Bird – good news or message

Bouquet – romance

Circle – trust and love

Castle – open horizons

Diamond – surprise windfall

Dog – good and faithful friends

Elephant – be patient

Eagle – power and strength

Fire – passion

Fish – good fortune

Gate – beware of opportunities around you

Globe – long distance travel

Hand – if open, destiny / if closed, argument

Hat – a change in roles

Ivy – not a good time to be independent, trust friends

Insect – distractions

Jewels – material success

Knife – caution against sharp words

Kettle – a special visitor is coming

Ladder – promotion

Lines – advancement, long life

Mountain – a difficult, but possible, goal

Mouth – listen carefully

Necklace – complete: personal relationship stability / broken: instability

Octopus – warning

Palm tree – wealth

Pig – greedy or jealous person

Question mark – reconsider your plans

Rake – at a crossroad and destiny is determined by hard work

Rainbow – good luck to come

Spoon – you will be comforted by someone’s generosity

Stair – your position will improve

Tree – family unity

Turtle – lasting success through patience

Urn – be aware of distinction between material and spiritual success

Vase – a secret being kept from you

Volcano – obstruction in your life

Wheel – events outside your life will change your direction

Wolf – you will be challenged or betrayed