Fortune at the Bottom of the Tea Cup

On Canadian tasseomancer Amy Taylor's vintage tea-leaf reading cups, your reading is determined by where your leaves fall on the preprinted symbols on the cups. PHOTO: Mike Taylor for NPR

On Canadian tasseomancer Amy Taylor’s vintage tea-leaf reading cups, your reading is determined by where your leaves fall on the preprinted symbols on the cups. PHOTO: Mike Taylor for NPR

Divining fortune from tea leaves has been around for almost as long as there has been tea, over five thousand years. Tea-Leaf reading which is also known as Tasseomancy like any other divination art has multiple origin histories. Tea-leaf reading tells fortunes using the symbols and the patterns formed by the residue of tea left in the cup. More of an art rather than a science, there are no universal guidelines that dictate what the patterns mean. Tea-Leaf reading is mostly done as a daily reading about life, love, work and money issues, though a longer timeframe may be determined as well.

The Salt brings you more on this practice:

Amy Taylor was 18 when she stumbled into the practice of reading tea leaves. Now 46 and a professional tea-leaf reader, she remembers looking into her stepsister’s teacup at a Toronto restaurant, and saying, “Oh, that’s funny, that looks like a tree.” She says she looked at all of her family’s cups that night, and saw things in all of them. “I just thought that was really odd,” she says.

Intrigued, Taylor traveled, researched and studied with other tasseomancers in order to hone her skills, before moving back to Canada. She now owns “The Art of Tea and Tasseomancy,” her little “traveling tea room” in Hamilton, Ontario, from which she hosts readings at festivals, parties and other events.

“I tried all other forms of divination, but the only thing that resonated with me is the tea-leaf reading,” Taylor says.

Taylor’s profession is formally known as tasseography or tasseomancy — terms derived from the French tasse, for cup, and the Greek suffix graph, for writing, ormancy, for divination. Practitioners look for insights by examining the patterns created by loose tea leaves left over after a cup has been drained. (Some tasseomancers also use coffee or wine sediments .)

Read more here.

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