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Sharing tea with a friend, gazing at the leaves remaining in the bottom of an ordinary china teacup may seem humdrum, but the cup itself can become a numinous space, a threshold through which you see—what? Images, symbols, stories, inspirations, solutions. Kitchen shamanic journeying.
Reading the leaves would follow to sort things out. You might think of it as a way of opening the psychic channels through the calming, contemplative ritual of having tea together.
Now, here's how to go about it. Start with a well-made cup of tea, preferably served from a preheated teapot without a filter, as you’ll be reading the patterns made by the leaves remaining in the bottom of the cup once you’ve had your tea.
The cup should have a white interior and a handle (tea is said to taste better served in good English china).
Tea in Yarrow © Leah Markman 2020
A medium-sized loose-leaf tea such as Darjeeling, Earl Grey, green or mint provides evocative, easy to read leaves, and it’s fine to add milk or sugar.
Yes, it’s possible to read the leaves from a torn teabag, even, sprinkled into a cup of hot water, if you must.
Remind the Guest to leave just enough liquid in the cup to swirl the leaves.
When you’ve both had your tea, direct the Guest to swirl, then upend the cup onto a saucer, spin the upside-down cup three full turns in a clockwise direction, then hand it to you with the handle facing them.
As the cup is spinning, Mum silently asks to be a clear and helpful channel for _______ (naming the Guest).
Look into the cup with soft, unfocused eyes to let the images take shapes. Share your first impressions, before reason begins to filter or censor.
This is important, even essential. In a very early reading, when all I could see was a duck, my startled and impressed Guest told me that ducks held particular significance for her. With that quirky encouragement, I’ve opened with my first impressions ever since.
Tea Leaf Tea Cup © Leah Markman 2020
Trust that the images will speak for themselves, and hold meaning for the Guest. You are the channel, you do not need to make sense of what you see. As you gain experience more stories, insights, even emotions may accompany the images.
Taking turns reading each other's leaves is easier than reading your own;
Better to uncover your own meanings. It’s fine to free-associate or ask questions of the images, for example, “What’s the duck doing or feeling? Where’s the duck going? Is the duck alone?"
In the beginning the Guest should listen in silence, though with practice you will learn to hold your deep concentration while responding to questions.
Eat chocolate or something salty if you have trouble closing your intuitive channels. Encourage your Guest to take notes, during or after the reading, for insights that often follow further reflection.
The wonder of gazing down that rabbit hole, that well of wisdom—into fantastic pictures, to stories that lead around the cup and up the sides, beyond the daily to magical, often humorous, luminous inspiration—through the tea leaves remaining in a cup.
Gretchen Lawlor © Mother Tongue Ink
from page 26 of We'Moon 2018
For encouragement, more information: EMAIL GRETCHEN,
It's a sweet way to connect and help each other gain enlightenment about your present situations, check out the wisdom of plans for the future, and may even help you avoid some pitfalls in money, business, housing and relationships.
As you read the leaves in a tea cup, trust your intuition. As a beginner, try not to take yourself too seriously, or to hold too tightly to the hope or expectation that you will see mystical visions or get a download of information from the other side. That may happen.
A seemingly inconsequential comment from the reader may take on new meaning days or weeks later. So, as a reader, go ahead and share whatever comes to the surface for you, as meditate on the leaves. It may mean nothing from your perspective, but as Gretchen shared in her article, it may be very significant to the person that you are reading for.
Tea in Yarrow © Leah Markman 2020
Western tasseography can be linked to medieval European fortune tellers who developed their readings from splatters of wax, lead, and other molten substances.
"Scotland, Ireland, Wales 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/Lebanese coffee/Greek coffee turned over onto a plate."
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