Example of A Cup Reading

On the right, you see a cup poured for a General type of tea leaf reading. This type of reading is done to answer a person’s general questions or concerns. There is a broom immediately adjacent to the handle. This signifies that something related to the questioner’s home (handle) or private life needs tidying up (broom). Farther around clockwise, we see a figure seated in a chair, indicating that a new person will soon be entering the questioner’s life. Farthest around the cup, we see a ship, a camera, and a butterfly clustered together. This signifies a relaxing cruise (ship and camera) that will be a lot of fun (butterfly) for the client. The arrow pointing to this cluster indicates that it is very advisable for the person to consider a much-needed vacation !

On the left above, you see an example of a Timeline reading encompassing the next twelve months from the time of the reading. In this cup, a shoe appears approximately 1/8 of the way around clockwise, surrounded by many dots. This indicates that much hard work (shoe) will be required in about six weeks, involving a considerable sum of money (dots). Continuing in a clockwise direction, we see a dog and a flying bird about halfway around. This indicates that a message (flying bird) will arrive from a trusted friend (dog) six months from now. Finally, in ten or eleven months from now, we see an airplane pointed away from the handle. This would mean that the person will be taking a long trip away from home (but not necessarily by plane).

When reading the leaves, you must also take the three-dimensional shape of leaf clusters into consideration, not just the shape of their outline. For example, you may see a clump in the shape of a hat for an outline. This might indicate a person’s role in life, the “hat they wear”. Now, suppose the overlying leaves in this clump take on the form of a pen. This would mean that the person’s role in life is that of a writer. The position of leaves around the circumference of the cup is also significant. If you start at the handle, and go around clockwise, the cup may be divided into quarters. Each quarter represents a quarter of a year, or four months’ time. For example, if you see the pen-shaped hat two quarters (i.e., halfway) of the way around the cup, this means the person will become a writer in six months from now. You may even be able to divide the cup into twelve sections for each month of the year. Try to come up with your own list of pictures or symbols that are personally meaningful to you. In this way, you will be well on your way to developing your own system for reading the leaves ! It may be helpful to refer to artwork or paintings for your inspiration, or to use textbooks and symbol dictionaries for this purpose. Experiment, and you will be surprised what occurs to you ! The renowned psychologist Carl Jung was a firm believer in the power of symbolism in the unconscious mind, and in our collective unconscious as a species. Methods of divination have been around since mankind’s earliest days on this earth, and many ancient cultures employed it to help direct their lives. Anthropologists today still study primitive cultures and their symbolism to glean insights into mankind’s origins.

These are just a few examples of possible tea leaf readings. Actual teacups will appear much more complex at times than the cups I have presented here. The exact positions, relationships and three-dimensional forms of the tea leaf patterns must all be taken into consideration. Certain common symbols may mean the same thing for everyone at times, but even these symbols will usually reflect personal meanings. Also, the juxtaposition of two or more symbols in a cup can have profound implications and must be interpreted in relation to one another. Lastly, the questioner herself can often clarify a puzzling pattern in the leaves that may have personal significance to her, and not to the reader. Be sure to ask the person for whom you are doing a reading if a certain picture might mean anything to her, especially when you don’t have a clue ! Often, she will brighten up immediately to offer the explanation.

The best advice I can give you is to HAVE FUN with the leaves ! Read for yourself or a friend, throw a fortune telling tea party, dress up as a gypsy, whatever strikes your fancy. Make up the rules as you go along, your subconscious will be your guide. Enjoy !


 Matrons, who toss the cup and see
The grounds of fate in grounds of tea…
The bitter dregs of fortune’s cup to drain

– Alexander Pope