Tasseography 101

Today I thought we would talk about tasseography. What exactly it is, how to do a reading, and some resources to help you figure out what the symbols mean.

Firstly, tasseography is a fancy word for a tea leaf reading. A tea leaf reading is a form of divination where you look at pictures created by tea leafs, coffee grounds, or wine sediment, typically from inside a teacup. One can do this for themselves or others. It is commonly thought that the drinker of the beverage is the one the reading is for. 

So in order to do the reading you first need to have a proper cup. Your best bet is to have a traditional white interior teacup. You can technically do it with any cup but the white of the cup will make the tea leaves easier to read. And a teacup typically is wide, shallow, and has sloping sides which makes it easier to see the patterns on your cup. For more advanced readings you can also get special cups for tasseography that look similar to the teacup in the picture above.

Next you need to have the right type of tea leaves. Medium/fine tea leaves will work best as it will make it easier to form pictures. Also if you use a tea with a scent you particularly enjoy or have a spiritual connection to your reading will be even more fun to do. When making the tea if you make the tea in a teapot do not strain the loose tea leaves when you pour. If making directly in the cup just pour water over the loose tea.


Now you need to prepare the area to do the reading. You’ll want to be somewhere comfortable and cozy without any distractions. Have a table, a tablecloth/altar cloth if you’d like, and if you’d like you can cast a circle or even say a prayer of protection so no negativity can bother you during this time. 

Serve the tea as usual to the person who is asking the question. Have them drink it all until about a teaspoon of tea is left at the bottom. If the person who is asking the question doesn’t like tea put about a teaspoon of tea leaves (of their choice) in their cup with a teaspoon of liquid. When the person is done with their tea get them to think of the question they want answered. Have the person hold the cup in their left had and swish the cup to the left three time, then have them flip the cup upside down on the saucer gently so the water runs out, then while the cup is upside down on the saucer have them turn the cup three times to the left with their left hand, lastly have them put their hands on the cup and think about their question again for 7 seconds. When you turn the cup over turn the cup so the handle faces the person asking the question.

Now it is time to read the leaves. The placement of the leaves within the cup are important to the reading. The following is the meaning of the different positions gotten from wikihow (other sources will tell you the same thing, I just find wikihow is great for explaining things simply)

Zones from top to bottom may represent either “distance” or “weight” of the omens. Images near the top (rim) are close while images near the bottom are distant. In terms of time, the distance from rim to base represents approximately 6 months. However, “distance” may also refer to relationship to a person or goal. The other way of looking at it is that images at the base of the cup can represent a “heavy” (ill) omen and, as they come nearer the rim, are “light” or joyful omens. The context will determine which is applicable. Context and symbolism are most important. Trust your instincts.

The handle of the cup is known as the “domain” and images near the handle are images related to home life and family. The further from the handle an image is the more “outside” the omen. Symbols opposite the handle relate to work or strangers, somewhere in between might relate to non-immediate family or “a friend of a friend.” Images to the RIGHT of the handle indicate something coming TO the querent while images to the LEFT of the handle represent things coming FROM the domain.

A big clump of tea leaves with no discernible image might augur trouble on its way. If it is opposite to the handle, the trouble will likely be not of your making but if it is under the handle, it is considered to be of your making.

If there remains a drop or two of liquid tea that didn’t come off with the draining, these are considered to be tears. It might indicate past or future sadness, dependent on the context of the rest of the reading.

And then it is a matter of looking at the patterns and using your intuition to find shapes within the leaves. One thing about tea leaves is just because you see a certain image doesn’t mean everyone looking at it will also see it, they may see something entirely different. Despite this it is important you trust your intuition as you are the one doing the reading after all. As for the meaning of the images there are many resources for that and after practice you likely won’t need these resources anymore. Lastly, if you find different resources differ in meanings on a certain image use your intuition to decide which is right for the situation.

symbol meanings #1

symbol meanings #2

symbol meanings #3

Thank you for reading! Do you enjoy doing tasseography? Would you like me to do a demo on tasseography via video in the future? Let me know your experiences with tasseography, your thoughts of a video, along with any other thoughts or questions in the comments. Also, make sure you follow me here and on twitter so you get notifications whenever I post. Until next time, Merry Meet and Blessed Be!

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