There's lots of Japanese citizens that live to be 100 years old on a diet of rice, fish and green tea. In that country, spiritually healthy people enjoy reading the leaf patterns left behind in their green tea cups. The powerful new mind and body health combination has become a unique social ritual for the more enlightened business executives in downtown Toronto.
In Toronto, urban professionals sometimes meet for lunch (at trendy restaurants on Queen St W) where they dine and enjoy the health benefits of drinking exotic green teas. Inside at least two different boutique hotel cafes in the area, each cup of green tea now includes a complimentary tea leaf reading by a professional Tasseographer – an expert trained in the divination of such patterns as found in tea leaves, coffee grounds, and wine sediments.
Tasseomancy goes high tech in Toronto
The very best Chinese restaurants in Toronto now use digital projectors to display the bottom of each teacup on a projection screen for the whole dining room to see – specially trained tasseographers discuss the symbols present in the residue.
My friends don’t bother the professionals; we drink green tea and then read each others tea leaves in cozy tea rooms on Queen Street West. People I’ve connected with online that happen to live in my area, have now formed a club. We meet once a month to chat about ourselves, religion and politics. One by one we pass our teacups around the table and everyone speaks aloud what shapes and images they discern inside.
Reading tea leaves
Reading tea leaves is a bit like interpreting a Rorschach Inkblot Test - everyone gets something different out of the shapes they perceive. And if you follow these basic guidelines you'll find insight on how those specially trained tasseographers do a tea-leaf readings – and you can do it all yourself.
Use big cups with loose leaves
Of course there must be loose tea leaves in the pot. Do not strain away these loose leaves as you pour your tea into a white, broad-rimmed cup.
Drinking the tea is part of the ritual
Focus on your life as you drink the tea – think about and discuss the problems you are facing, and the dreams you want fulfilled. Focus on the questions you want answered. Leave a little bit of fluid in the bottom.
The clockwise swirl
Swirl the cup three times clockwise as you repeat a secret wish then turn the cup upside down onto a saucer. If there is too much fluid you may need to strain it with a napkin first so that the tea leaves don't wash away.
Three is a magic number
Tasseographers find special significance in the number three. Some manuals advise practitioners stand up and turn their bodies slowly in three circles, while others are content to have their subjects simply pass their hand three times over the cup, and the most modern texts advise merely counting to three aloud.
Dump the cup, slowly
Try to remain especially contemplative when you pour the remaining green tea from your teacup into the saucer. Remember to pour slowly so that most of the tea leaves remain in your cup. Leave your cup turned upside down on the saucer. After a minimum of three breaths, you may turn over your cup. The remaining liquid will have drained from your cup, leaving a leaf pattern behind. Give the leaves a couple of minutes to dry, and you are ready to do your reading. Turn the cup over and have a look at the patterns from all angles of the cup.
The symbols in the cup
If your vessel has a handle, read clockwise from the handle. If you vessel does not have a handle, read clockwise from 12 o'clock. The first pattern you see is the symbol representing your dominant character, quality, state of mind or question. Jot down your observations on a piece of paper. Look for simple images first, such as shapes, letters or numbers. Triangles, for example, represent good karma, squares raise the need for caution and circles are the harbinger of great success.
The very bottom of the cup shows one year in the future
It’s 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 distant future.
Where there are no leaves there are also shapes
The leaves make shapes, and where there are no tea leaves there are also sometimes white shapes bordered by tea leaves – these images are ethereal. They are depictions of emotional events and never concrete objects. The images here speak to each subject’s karma and destiny.
What do the symbols mean?
Once you've discerned the simple images, let your creativity take over and apply names to other clumps of leaves. You might see a giant fish hook (or is that an anchor?), you might see an airplane (or is it a butterfly?), a kite (or a coffin?). You must listen to your intuition to glean what the object really means to you in your life.
Some good omens include an airplane (a journey), an acorn (financial success), an anchor (stability), and an angel (good news) or an apple (prosperity and or fertility). A dog is a good omen – any wild creature except serpents or lizards are considered good omens. Seeing birds means enlightenment, and finding wild deer in your tea leaves signifies a chance event or a wild encounter is forthcoming.
Bad omens include ants (tedious work), a down-turned arrow (bad news), or a dagger (back-stabbing). Obviously spotting a coffin in your tea leaves is not a good omen, and neither is a cross of any kind. The Tower is bad. Generally speaking any hard angles usually lead to symbols with more profound consequences.
Where are the symbols inside the cup?
As discussed earlier, the position of the deposits in the cup represents the time line of events. The closer the symbols are to the rim of the cup, the sooner the episode is likely to happen. Anything found on the very bottom of the teacup will occur next year. Objects on the left of the handle might even represent a past occurrence.
Does this ritual work?
Tasseography works on two levels. Discussing stressful elements of your life either publicly or privately is a very healthy activity for the mind and body. It’s the reason we have friends. But what’s more, the leaf patterns in the teacup provide an interesting perspective upon which to examine your life. Symbols present in the residue might trigger a new thought or action that would have been inconceivable before experiencing the ritual. Your body is filled with spiritual energy; tea leaves are your soul’s fingerprints.