Having covered the groundwork of selecting the correct type of cup, preparing the tea, the ritual for casting the leaves, and what the areas of the cup mean, we are now ready to read the potential future in the symbols and where they form. It helps if the cup is patterned rather than plain, which may seem strange, until you realise that the pattern can add to or enhance the symbols formed by the tea leaves. This is particularly popular with Gypsy fortune tellers who always use richly decorated crockery for precisely this purpose, as the regular pattern behind the tea leaf symbols can aid the reader into a trance which turns the reading into a clairvoyant one covering much more than just the symbols in the cup.
Before any reading remember to quiet the mind and, if appropriate, set up protection in the form of a cast circle or invoking a guide or Deity. Some people like to burn bought or personally made incense and/or an empowered candle both as part of setting the scene and as a ‘trigger’ to aid the shift of consciousness into a more intuitive state of mind. The lighting should be strong enough to see the patterns in the cup clearly which, if done in a coven or ritual setting, may mean just a properly sited candle with a mirror behind it. If doing a reading at psychic event or for friends then good daylight with a window behind you is best, especially if you are explaining and showing the patterns as you read. When you are a beginner one further thing you can do is position quirent on the periphery of your vision so that you can pick up on their aura and micromovements as you are doing the reading. This is how mentalists and fraudulent psychics do all their readings, but that is because they believe they can go no further. With genuine clairvoyance this is known as a ‘springboard technique’ as it can spark real insights that could not have been gained by observation alone.
As mentioned in the last article the closer to the rim of the cup the symbol is the sooner the indicated event will appear in the quirent’s future. Also, as a general rule, the bigger the symbol the greater effect the event it portends will have on the quirent. The cup itself is read in the form of a descending anticlockwise spiral starting by the handle, reading the rim first, then the middle zone, and finally the lowest level and the bottom of the cup. This spiral pattern, any underlying pattern in the china, and the subtle changing of focus of the eyes can encourage an altered state of consciousness in the reader which can enable abilities such as clairvoyance and telepathy to emerge. At this point the symbols become “jumping off points” for in-depth readings from each one, and their interconnections in a manner similar to the use of the crystal ball.
However, because of the way the imagination is stimulated by seeing symbols, shapes and pictures beginners can give highly accurate readings from the first attempt. The secret is to bear in mind is say what you see immediately, avoiding over-thinking and analysing. This is why I have avoided any lists of “the meaning of this symbol is..” type with a few exceptions in the last article, as the meanings of symbols change from person to person and country to country. The outline of a seal will mean totally different things to a Scots fisherman than a resident of San Diego for example, and the difference between a ring and a circle can only be decided at the time and circumstances of the reading. Generally, the more you trust your intuition the more accurate the reading will be. Don’t force the entry into trance, as it will happen in its’ own time. The first you may be aware of it is when you realise that you are speaking but not consciously thinking of, or forming, the words. In this state of mind symbols, and symbols within symbols, will jump out at you and this is where learning a group of set meanings and symbols just gets in the way of the interpretation. Set systems overlook this so, although you can glance through a book of symbols and their meanings, or a “dream interpretation manual” when you first start out, don’t stay stuck in their fixed meanings.
Tasseomancy is excellent for developing the psychic and intuitive skills and this is why it was adopted by traditional Craft Pagans before going on to Tarot, Runes, Ogham sticks, or one of the other divinatory tools. Learning to trust your instincts and shift your state of mind to attune to the Otherworld are core skills in a traditional coven. The main thing you have to beware of is trivialising the art by reading the leaves at every tea break rather than using it respectfully as part of your spiritual path. However, if you practice this art with the correct intent, you will find that it will help you in all areas of your devotions and spellcasting.