Tasseography- The spiritual side of Chagara

Have you asked yourself what the future brings ? Can you influence your destiny? Did you ever consider your life as being pre-determined ?

Tea leaf reading, also called Tasseography, is a method of forcasting the future and learning more about your destiny, or fate, by examining the loose used tea leaves inside your cup.

The origin of this spiritual act derives from the birth place of tea, China. In ancient China the art of tea leaf reading was practised by Buddist monks who ceremonially drank tea in bell shaped cups. Before this the monks were reading patterns formed by tea on the inside of the bells in their temples. In the following centuries fortune telling by reading tea leaves became part of the culture in countries such as Turkey and India. In the 17th century, when Dutch West Indian merchants introduced tea from the Orient, Westeners came in contact with the reading of the leaves for the first time. During the 19th century the performing of Tasseography was spread by normadic gypsies throughout Europe, who in exchange for money, food and favours could read the fortune in tea leaves for the one requesting.

One has to understand that Tasseography is not the use of magic. Tea leaf reading is more a way of connecting with your subconscious while being in a state of meditation. Only in this state of your mind you can focus on recognising patterns and symbolism. Being not focused means not being able to transform the picture into anything meaningful to you.

Are you ready for a new experience?

Even if you don’t believe in the spiritual side of Tasseography, you can calm your mind by bringing yourself into a state of meditation. The whole process, from choosing your equipment, up to the actual reading, is a peaceful process that allows you to focus on the moment. While transforming the world around you into a peaceful place you can concentrate on the moment and clear your mind of anything that is keeping your mind occupied.

Depending on culture and personal preference , there are different ways of performing the reading. The following instruction is the common way of performing Tasseography at home.

1. Choose a tea cup with a white or light coloured interior. Attention: A mug might not be suitable as the bottom is not usually round! If you haven’t got a suitable cup handy you can also use a small bowl. The tea leaves you are choosing should be fine rather than big. This helps the tea leaves to form defined pictures. We are using Obubu’s Wakocha ‘Japanese Black Tea’ as the leaves of this tea are on the smaller side.


2. Put about 1 tablespoon of tea into the cup and brew your tea with hot water. Quieten your mind. These minutes, while steeping takes place, are very important. Clear your mind and wait until you think you are ready to drink. Go with your feelings.


3. Now concentrate on a question or a certain subject, that was keeping your mind occupied. Sip the tea while you find your focus. Leaves may be floating, so do the best you can to avoid drinking too many. If you are right-handed, lift your cup with your left. If left-handed, drink with your right. Leave a small amount of tea at the bottom of your cup. This is important for the next step.


4. Hold your nearly empty teacup in your hand and give it three good swirls. The tea leaves will disperse around the interior of the cup. To get rid of the remaining liquid, place a saucer or small plate over the top of the cup and turn them up side down. Now you are ready to begin reading your tea leaves!


5. The reading of the tea leaves is a very personal engagement. There is no right or wrong whiIe you try to identify any symbols or images. Depending on your character and experiences with life you will see different patterns. Begin reading from 12 oclock clockface position and start going round in a circle to your right. Take your time, there is no rush. If it helps you can take some notes of the symbols you spot or thoughts you develop while looking inside your cup.


6. Now is the time to see, or maybe even influence, your future. Examine the tea leaves carefully for any sympols, pictures, letters or numbers that are displayed in your cup. Each one possess a meaning. Bigger formations might be spottet first but the little details make up the whole of your answer. Tea leaves at the bottom of the cup are believed as showing the distant future. If the bottom of the cup is black with tea leaves, it is interpreted as a bad sign while tea leaves scattered around evenly it is meant to be a good omen

Keep in mind that you are the most qualified person to read your own tea leaves. Whatever you interprete is the way to go. Individual language, cultural exposure, experience, knowledge and mental state contribute to your interpretation. Underneath is a list of symbols that will help you to understand the meaning of your tea leaves. It is more an indicatorso feel free to go your your own wayand keep in mind that there is no wrong path you can take. Don’t forget to look at the cup as a whole and try to connect the different sympols.

These are only guidelines to help you get started. A genuine reading is dependent upon the readers own interpretation of the symbols.

Here follows, a list of the traditional (but not necessarily fixed) meanings of some more common symbols you may see.

ACORN: a very strong and fortunate symbol indicating happiness and contentment; at the top = financial success; at the bottom = good health.
AIRCRAFT: journey or travel.
ALLIGATOR or CROCODILE: beware of false friendship lurking in your professional life.
ANCHOR: at top = stability, constancy in love or business; at bottom or broken = instability, inconstancy; can also symbolize an unpleasant situation or burden you should sail away from.
ANGEL: good news; protection.
ANT: hard work or busy phase will end productively.
APPLE: life; creative or artistic achievement; abundance.
ARCH: positive opening or opportunity (look to nearby symbols for added meaning).
ARM: pointing up = new directions; down = you need to motivate yourself; horizontal = help others or receive help from others.
ARROW: up = good direction, yes; down = wrong direction, no; horizontal = no change. Note where pointing.
AXE: you have the power to overcome difficulties.
BABY: new life; possible pregnancy; small worries.
BOUQUET: romantic interest; validation for your work or talents.
BAG: a trap; if open = escape.
BALL: desire to travel.
BALLOON: – busy social life; inability to settle down if near handle.
BARREL: abundance in laughter.
BASKET: harvest, abundance; material gain; possibly a new baby.
BAT (the animal): a productive busy phase.
BAT or CLUB: situation calling for alert caution.
BEACON or LIGHTHOUSE: situation calling for your leadership and/or inspiration.
BEAR: a grouchy and difficult person; strength, courage and endurance; if teddy bear = children or childhood.
BED: sleep on it before establishing a close love or business relationship
BEE: fruitful hard work.
BEETLE: renewal; progress; need for foresight.
BELL: unexpected good news in love or business; call to attention
BICYCLE: individuality; choose your own path.
BIRD: good news or message; standing bird = delay; flying bird = good news; good news coming soon; flock of birds = profound or exciting news; goose= successful financial venture; peacock = pride and display; eagle = power and transcendence; crow/raven = ill omen, warning, time to relax; parrot = beware of idle gossip; chicken/hen = happy homelife and childhood comfort; dove = peace and love; owl = wisdom, knowledge and learning; rooster = a boastful person or wake up and seize the moment; swan = romance or someone graceful and beautiful; vulture = lay low and beware of enemies; swallow = love and new beginnings.
BOAT: worthwhile journey; your ship is coming in.
BONES: situation calling for innerstrength and spiritual fortitude.
BOWL: invitations, money or generosity BOOK: if open = an answer to a question; if closed a question to be investigated.
BOTTLE: explosive atmosphere requiring caution; do not overindulge.
BOW: fortunate symbol meaning gift or celebration of achievement.
BOX: you are about to receive a gift.
BREAD (loaf): nourishment; care for your health.
BRIDGE: a life-changing event or person. Look for nearby symbols.
BROOM: new home; new era in your life.
BRUSH: need for improvements and/or beautification.
BUBBLES: floating on surface of tea or coffee means money coming.
BUGS: distractions; fractured concentration; need for relaxed focus
BUSH an obstacle to new opportunities; branches signify choices.
BUTTERFLY: overdue happiness.
CAKE: a wish fulfilled; celebration.
CAMEL you will overcome burden and pressure to reach oasis.
CANDLE: there will be light upon an uncertain path; help from friends.
CAR: if clear = travel; if broken = mechanical trouble.
CARPETS: true friends and happy social engagements.
CASTLE: expand your horizons; open up a little.
CAT: deceit; an untrustworthy friend.
CHAIN: if well-formed = fortunate undertaking or serious commitment; if broken = trouble, disruption.
CHAIR: a guest or new addition to the family.
CASTLE: expand your horizons
CHILD: new idea; family.
CIGAR: a new friend or business relationship.
CIRCLE: unbroken = success, completion; broken (like letter ‘c’)= a temporary offer will come, tentative offers without fruition.
CLOCK – warning against procrastination.
CLOUDS – small and fluffy = happy optimism; thick and dark = gloom; sadness.
CLOVER (four leaf)– good luck that you have worked hard to attain.
COFFEE POT OR TEA POT: a special visitor is coming, probably not romantic.
COIN: a lump sum of money is coming your way.
COMB: improve your self appearance.
COMET: brink of pivotal change or dramatic event in your life.
COW: abundance; prosperity; physical or creative fertility.
CRAB: admonition to be more direct or someone born under the zodiac sign Cancer.
CROSS: if like a ‘T’ = hard won success and happiness; if like a solid ‘X’ = warning (look for meaning with nearby symbols); if like a broken ‘X’ = obstacles and losses are ahead.
CROWN: honor and recognition for your talents.
CUP: be patient, this is not a time to assert yourself.
CUSHIONS OR PILLOWS: comfort; admonition against laziness and procrastination.
DAGGER: caution against sharp words or revealing personal information
DAISY: new love.
DASHES or DOTS: many short trips which may cause wasted time.
DEER: a shy, timid person; you should be more assertive to overcome shyness.
DIAMOND: gift or other surprise windfall coming you way.
DICE destiny and change, go with the flow.
DISH interpret as a circle unless containing food; contains food = domestic comfort.
DOG: good friend; if at bottom friend needs help; if barking, untrustworthy friend; or, someone born in Chinese Zodiac dog year.
DONKEY: stubborness and stamina.
DOOR: be aware of opportunities.
DRAGON: scheming or flashy person; or, someone born in Chinese Zodiac dragon year.
DROPS: tears or sadness.
DRUM: a change; a call to action.
DUCK: devoted mate; money.
EAR: you will benefit from something you hear.
EGG: if whole = new life, successful new beginning; if cracked/broken = failed plans or financial problems which can be overcome by action.
ELEPHANT: be patient, you will be supported with kindness.
ENVELOPE: you will receive a long awaited letter or important paperwork.
EXCLAMATION MARK: pay attention; beware of impulsive actions.
EYE: a protective symbol; insight into a long standing problem.
FACE: look for nearby initials for identity of face; if near the rim or handle it is a warning against too much introspection; if facing another symbol indicates importance of that symbol.
FAN: a flirtation.
FEATHER: need for concentration.
FENCE – temporary and self-imposed limitations.
FINGER – emphasizes whatever symbol it is pointing; up = caution; down = stop.
FIRE – passion; hot emotion; sexual desire.
FISH – sharing of knowledge; a teacher; a person born under the Zodiac sign of Pisces (especially if there are two fish).
FLAG – danger, look to nearby symbols for added meaning.
FLEUR DE LYS or LILY – femininity; a loving woman.
FLOWER – praise and compliments are coming your way.
FLY – an annoying person.
FOOT – movement in love, career or location.
FORK – get advice from trusted friends before deciding.
FORKED LINE – a decision to be made.
FOUNTAIN – overflowing happiness.
FOX – a cunning person may be trying to trick you.
FRUIT – prosperity, fertility.
FROG – fertility; abundance; a disguised handsome/beautiful lover.
GATE – be aware of opportunities around you.
GLASS – celebrations, parties, social events.
GLOBE – long distance travel.
GOAT – your persistence will pay off, but take some time to recreate; or, a person born under the sign of Capricorn.
GRAPES – abundance and epicurean enjoyment.
GRASSHOPPER – summer delights.
GUN – danger; a bully.
HAMMER – an attempted persuasion.
HAND – if open = karma or destiny; if closed means an argument; look for added meaning where the hand is pointing.
HARE – unlike the shorter eared rabbit, the long eared hare represents something important brewing in your destiny in love or travel.
HARP – love; romance.
HAT – you will experience a change in roles; or business success.
HEART – love, friendship, romance.
HILLS – small challenges which will leave you improved.
HORSE – if galloping means good news; if just the head means a lover
HORSESHOE – good luck; very positive especially for travel.
HOURGLASS – a warning to be punctual.
HOUSE – comfort and home.
ICEBERG – danger.
INSECT – distractions; fractured concentration; need for relaxed focus
IVY – this is not a good time to be too independent; trust friends to help you.
JEWELS – material success; you will receive a valuable gift.
KANGAROO – travel; a journey.
KETTLE – a special visitor is coming, probably not romantic.
KITE – your wish will be granted.
KNIFE – caution against sharp words or revealing personal information.
LADDER – promotion; an improvement in your business life.
LAMP – at the top means a feast; at the side means secrets revealed; at the bottom
means postponement
LEAF – the turning over of a new leaf; inevitable changes with the passage of time.
LETTER – you will receive a long awaited letter or important paperwork.
LIGHTENING – startling events; sudden insights.
LINES – journey on a road; if straight = progress; if wavy = uncertain path; if many = many short trips.
LION – male lion represents a powerful contact or important man; the lioness represents a strong family; or, may represent a person born under the zodiac sign of Leo.
LOCK – there are obstacles in your way.
LOOP – if well-formed = fortunate undertaking or serious commitment; if broken = trouble, disruption.
MAN – a visitor of either gender; if near handle = someone close to you.
MASK – a secret to be kept.
MOUNTAIN – a difficult, but possible, goal.
MOUSE – be cautious of credit deals.
MUSHROOM – rapid growth, success or fertility.
NAIL – an unfair assault.
NECKLACE – complete = personal relationship stability; broken = instability in a personal relationship.
NEEDLE – painful repair.
OAK – long life characterized by good health.
OYSTER – passion and desire.
PALM TREE – wealth; beach vacation.
PARASOL – protection from harm or loss.
PIG – a greedy or jealous person.
PISTOL – warning of danger.
PURSE – money.
QUESTION MARK – reconsider your plans; be aware of an important question you should ask yourself.
RABBIT – fertility in family or business; someone born in the Chinese Zodiac year of the rabbit.
RAINBOW – your wish will come true; similar to an arch, it links represents the path between today and your destiny.
RAKE – you are at a crossroad and your destiny is determined by hard work.
RECTANGLE OR SQUARE – you will face a challenge or difficulty (look to nearby symbols, especially symbols within the shape, for added meaning.
RING – represents marriage but usually interpreted as a circle; unbroken = success, completion; broken (like letter ‘c’)= a temporary offer will come, tentative offers without fruition.
ROSE – new romance; deepening of love.
RUG – go with your instincts in distinguishing from a rectangle or square; represents joyful social events and true friendship.
SAW – something should be removed.
SCALE – a legal matter; if balanced = justice will prevail; if unbalanced = unjust result; a person born under the zodiac sign of Libra.
SCISSORS – it may be time to remove yourself from a situation or relationship.
SHEEP – a calm and peaceful person; an admonition to control impulses.
SHELL – you will find a simple treasure.
SHIP – worthwhile journey; your ship is coming in.
SHOE – you are on the correct path; be wary of advice to change.
SNAKE – someone who does not deserve your trust.
SPIDER – a small reward or win.
SPIDER WEB – potent symbol of fate; beware of traps.
SPOON – you will be comforted by someone’s generosity.
STAR – success, recognition and praise.
STAIR – your position will improve.
SUN – a new beginning.
SWORD – caution against sharp words or revealing personal information.
TABLE – a happy social interlude.
TENT – travel may help you foster your spiritual health.
THIMBLE – focus on fostering your home life.
TORNADO OR WHIRLWIND – prepare for turbulent weather.
TORTOISE OR TURTLE – lasting success through slow, determined and patient efforts.
TOWER – risk of disappointment.
TREE – alone = family, roots, heritage; leafless = family conflict; many leaves = family contentment; group of trees = family unity; evergreen = enduring relationships; palm = wealth or beach vacation.
TRIANGLE – you are involved in a three way relationship; if wedge shaped = one person is getting in the way of your relationship with the other person.
UMBRELLA – protection from harm or loss.
URN – be aware of the distinction between material and spiritual success.
VASE – a secret being kept from you; be aware of the distinction between material and spiritual success.
VIOLIN – allow your feelings to surface.
VOLCANO – there is an obstruction in your life that must be dealt with WAGON – childhood; simple pleasures.
WASP – danger of small harm.
WATERFALL – wealth and prosperity.
WHEEL – events outside your control will change the direction of your life.
WINGS – do not box yourself in or limit yourself unnecessarily.
WOLF – you will be challenged or betrayed by someone.
limit yourself unnecessarily.
YOKE – domination or control you should not allow.
ZEBRA – be more flexible and adventurous in your travel plans.

Lewis, 1999, Witchcraft Today- an Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions, Santa Babara California, [Online] source from:https://books.google.co.jp/books [Accessed: 01.3.2016].

Sach, Tea Leaf Reading- little giant encyclopedia, Sterling, [Online] source from:https://books.google.co.jp/books [Accessed: 01.3.2016].

Dunwich, 2002, Herbal Magick- a witch’s Guide to Herbal Folklore and Entchantments, New Page Books, [Online] source from:https://books.google.co.jp/books [Accessed: 03.3.2016].

written by Jennifer Swann

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