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Tasseomancy (Divination using Tea Leaves, Coffee or Wine Sediments)

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Tasseomancy (Divination using Tea Leaves, Coffee or Wine Sediments)

Post  LyxisMorgan on Mon 20 Aug 2012 - 11:28

Tasseomancy also known as tasseography or tassology. The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the cognate Arabic word tassa, and the Greek suffixes -graph (writing), -logy (study of), and -mancy (divination).

This divination or fortune-telling method interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds (also know as cafeomancy), or wine sediments.

The first inklings of Western tasseography can be traced to medieval European fortune tellers who developed their readings from splatters of wax, lead, and other molten substances. This evolved into tea-leaf reading in the seventeenth century, a short time after Dutch merchants introduced tea to Europe via trade routes to China.

Scotland, Ireland, and England have produced a number of practitioners and authors on the subject, and English potteries have crafted many elaborate tea cup sets specially designed and decorated to aid in fortune-telling. Cultures of the Middle East that practice divination in this fashion usually use left-over coffee grounds from Turkish coffee turned over onto a plate.

The Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Fifth Edition, Vol. 2 edited by J. Gordon Melton, notes:
"After a cup of tea has been poured, without using a tea strainer, the tea is drunk or poured away. The cup should then be shaken well and any remaining liquid drained off in the saucer. The diviner now looks at the pattern of tea leaves in the cup and allows the imagination to play around the shapes suggested by them. They might look like a letter, a heart shape, or a ring. These shapes are then interpreted intuitively or by means of a fairly standard system of symbolism, such as: snake (enmity or falsehood), spade (good fortune through industry), mountain (journey of hindrance), or house (change, success)."

Melton's described methods of pouring away the tea and shaking the cup are rarely seen; most readers ask the seeker to drink the tea off, then swirl the cup. Likewise, his notion that readers give intuitive interpretations reflects his unfamiliarity with teacup reading; most readers use the standard symbols that have been handed down through several generations. There are, however, many who prefer to read by feel and intuition, as stated by Melton.

It is traditional to read a cup from the present to the future by starting along the rim at the handle of the cup and following the symbols downward in a spiral manner, until the bottom is reached, which symbolizes the far future. Most readers see images only in the dark tea leaves against a white or neutral background; some will also read the reverse images formed by seeing the symbols that form in the white negative spaces, with a clump of dark leaves forming the background.

Some people consider it ill-advised for one to attempt tasseography using tea from a cut-open tea bag or to use a symbol dictionary. The reasons for these prohibitions are practical: tea-bag tea is cut too finely to form recognizable figures in the cup and tea-leaf reading has its own historic system of symbolism that does not correspond exactly with other systems, such as symbolic dream divination.

More detailed tea leaf reading technique
Part of the ritual of this form of divination is to sit down and enjoy the tea and the company of your fellow drinkers before you get started. This is not as frivolous as it sounds as it allows you to relax and also gather your thoughts.

Before you even start the reading , there may be some early signs to interpret:

* Bubbles on the surface of your tea or coffee means that money is on its way.
* If any tea leaves are floating on the surface, then visitors are imminent. The number of leaves shows how many days away they are.
* If two teaspoons are accidentally placed on a saucer, then you can expect news of twins soon.
* If a teaspoon is placed upside down onto a saucer then you will hear news of the ill-health of a close relative.

Finish your tea, leaving a small amount of liquid in the bottom of the cup. While holding the cup in your left hand, swirl the tea leaves round three times in a clockwise direction. Make sure that the remaining tea swirls around the whole of the cup.

Then, upend the cup on the saucer and let the liquid drain away.

As a general first impression, just a scattering of leaves inside the cup indicates a tidy mind and disciplined life. A lot of leaves indicates a rich, full, busy life.

First take a quick look inside the cup to see if there are any signs that jump out at you:

* Any distinct drops of tea or coffee that remain in the cup despite the swirling and emptying of the cup, represent tears.
* A very large clump of tea leaves indicates trouble. (Near the handle - trouble caused by your own making. Opposite the handle - the trouble is not your fault.)
* Tea-stalks indicate people. Long stalks indicate men. Shorter stalks indicate women. Pale or dark stalks indicate colouring. Slanted stalks indicate untrustworthy people.

Most tea leaf readers interpret the patterns that the dark tea leaves make against the light background of the cup. However, some also read the images formed in white (seen on the cup itself), with the dark clumps of tea leaves forming the background.

Please note that the symbols and interpretations commonly used with tasseomancy can be very different from those used in dream interpretation.

Fortune telling tea cups
Although many people prefer a simple white cup for tea leaf reading, there are also traditions concerning the positional placement of the leaves in the cup, and some find it easier to work with marked cups. Beginning in the late 19th century and continuing to the present, English and American potteries have produced specially decorated cup and saucer sets for the use of tea-leaf readers. Many of these designs are patented and come with instructions explaining their mode of use. Some of the most common were those that were given away with purchases of bulk tea.

There are dozens of individual designs of fortune tellers' cups, but the three most common types are zodiac cups, playing card cups, and symbol cups.

Coffee Reading:
Traditionally, coffee readers use Turkish coffee or any method of coffee brewing that leaves grounds sitting at the bottom of the cup. Most of the coffee in the cup is consumed, but the sediments are left to settle. It is often believed that the seeker should not read his or her own cup.

There are several variations of coffee reading. They commonly require for the cup to be covered with the saucer and turned upside-down. In the Turkish tradition, coffee-readers often interpret the cup as being divided into horizontal halves: symbols appearing on the bottom half are interpreted as messages regarding the past, and symbols on the top half are messages regarding the future. The cup may also be interpreted in vertical halves to determine "yes" or "no" answers as well as the overall outcome of the events represented by symbols. For example, some fortune tellers may "read" symbols in the "left" half as "negative" events or outcomes, while symbols in the "right" half are "read" as "positive". Other readers may adhere to the belief that the cup is capable of revealing insights about the past, but it cannot predict events beyond forty days into the future. The saucer may also be incorporated into the reading. As with the cup, different variations exist for what the saucer represents, including whether the saucer sticking to the cup indicates a "positive" or "negative" outcome.

Other traditions, such as those practiced in Romania, require that the sediments be swirled around the until they cover the majority of the cup's inside surface. Other traditions, such as Turkish and Middle Eastern, do not require this swirling but do require that the cup be turned towards the seeker in revealing the fortune. The coffee grounds are given time to dry against the cup before a reading begins.

Many interpretations for symbols exist, but readers commonly focus on the colour of the symbols. Since most cups used are white or ivory and the grounds are dark, symbols are formed from the strong, contrasting colours. White is considered a "good" symbol foretelling of generally positive things for the seeker, while the grounds themselves are considered to form "bad" symbols.

Symbols can be many things, including people, animals, and inanimate objects. Usually, the fortune teller will group nearby symbols together for a prediction.

After a reading, the seeker will be asked to "open the heart". This is done by placing the right thumb at the inside bottom of the cup and twisting clockwise slightly. This will leave an impression behind that the fortune teller will interpret as the seeker's inner thoughts or emotions.

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