PRACTICE AND METHOD
A wide, shallow cup
is the best kind to use for tea-leaf divination—white if possible.
A narrow cup adds to the seer's difficulties, as the tea-leaves
cannot be plainly seen. Small cups, too, are objectionable for the
same reason, and a fluted cup is even worse. A plain, even surface
is required, with no pattern of any kind, as this has a tendency
to confuse the symbols. Indian tea and the cheaper mixtures, which
contain so much dust and twigs are of no use for reading a fortune,
as they cannot form into pictures and symbols that can easily be
Those who desire to
have their tea-leaves interpreted should leave about a teaspoonful
of tea at the bottom of the cup. It should then be taken in the
left hand, and turned three times from left with a quick swing.
Then very gently, slowly, and with care, turn it upside down over
the saucer, leaving it there for a minute, so that all the moisture
may drain away.
Some divinators of the
tea-leaves insist on a concentration of the mind during this turning
of the cup, as do many cartomantes whilst the cards are being shuffled;
others prefer the mind to be as far as possible free from any definite
thought or desire, simply allowing it to dwell on such abstract
subjects as flowers or the weather. Personally, I advocate this
for both systems of divination; it enables the subconscious mind
to assert itself unhindered, whilst the normal mind is in abeyance.
The turning of the cup
before inverting it over the saucer is equivalent to the shuffling
of the cards. It is as a direct result of those few seconds turning
that the pictures and signs are created, the subconscious mind directing
the hand holding the cup. The following simple ritual is all that
is necessary to those consulting the tea-leaves.
The cup to be read is
held by the seer and turned about as necessary, so that the symbols
may be read without disturbing them. This is important, but no disturbance
will take place if the moisture has been properly drained away.
The handle of the cup represents the consultant, also the home,
or, if the consultant be away from home the present abode.
It is necessary to have
a starting point in the cup for the purpose of indicating events
approaching near to, or far distant from, the person consulting.
The leaves near the rim denote such things as may be expected to
occur quickly; those directly beneath the handle indicate present
and immediate happenings; those on the sides of the cup suggest
more distant events; whilst those at the bottom deal with the far
This method of fixing the time, coupled with intuition, renders
it possible to give a consultant some idea as to when an event may
be expected; but if there be no intuitive sense of time, it will
be found wiser not to be too positive.
The turning of the cup
and the draining of the moisture having been carried out as directed,
the tea-leaves will be found distributed at the sides and bottom
of the cup.
For those who wish to
use the saucer as a further means of divination, the following suggestions
will be useful.
There must be a definite point to represent the consultant, and
for this reason the saucer is usually rejected. There is also the
objection that it is more difficult to manipulate in the turning.
Nevertheless, it is found to give excellent results, and, if the
cup is bare of events, it is useful to be able to find information
in the saucer.
First of all, then,
to determine the position of the consultant. Take the centre of
the saucer for this purpose. The circle round it represents the
home, or if the consultant is away from home, the present abode,
and also events near at hand. The more distant circle indicates
those things which are not to be expected for some time. The outer
circle and rim suggest events as yet in the misty future.
When the saucer is used
as an additional means of seeking knowledge of coming events, after
the symbols in the cup have been exhausted, it will often be found
that this secondary divination confirms or enlarges upon that which
has already been foretold in the cup.
The moisture and leaves
drained from the cup, having remained in the saucer, should be turned
by the consultant three times with the same swirling motion as for
the cup, and the moisture carefully poured away. The saucer should
be held inverted for a few seconds, otherwise when it is placed
upright, the remaining moisture will disturb the tea-leaves. The
symbols are read in exactly the same way as in the cup, the only
difference being the positions representing the consultant, the
home, and the indications of time. These have already been explained.