Tasseomancy: The Art of Reading Tea Leaves

I am a green(ish) witch, so herbs are always my go to, and crystals come in at a close second. Tea has always been a way to bring comfort and closeness among friends. What better than a hot cup and good company?

Divination through the reading of tea leaves began many years ago in Ancient China. What started with drinkers interpreting the remains of the tea leaves left in the bottom of their cups quickly morphed into a means of fortune telling by looking at the placement, the shapes, and the formations of the tea leaves, and discerning the message(s) from the divine.

Now, to get started, you will need a teacup, a saucer, hot water, and a teaspoon of loose leaf tea. The best teas for tea reading are loose leaf types of green, white, oolong, mint, black and other herbal mixes. While tea in a bag can do in a pinch, it is too finely ground to produce what is needed for an accurate reading. You can use teas with fruits as long as the fruits are relatively the same size as the tea leaves.

A lot of people question if you can sweeten your tea with honey or sugar, the answer is yes. However, it is not recommended to add cream or milk as the fats and oils can create a film and alter the patterns. Doing so results in the patterns forming as large unreadable clumps.

If you are reading for yourself, it is best to cleanse the area with sage and then focus on the question you want the tea to answer. If you are reading for another, be sure to have them focus on the issue that they are seeking guidance for. As such, when reading for yourself, you drink the tea, and when reading for another, they drink the tea.

As you are drinking the tea, focus on your question, and do your best to block out any other thoughts. Try not to drink the loose tea, as we need as much as possible to remain in the cup. Drink until at most a half-inch of tea remains. Then take the cup in your left hand and give it three swirls in a counter-clockwise motion. After you’ve done that, turn the cup over onto the saucer. Be sure to let it sit until the liquid has drained. Once drained, flip the cup back over and study the remains.

Be sure to take note of any and all shapes, formations and patterns that you see. It may be hard to make out the shapes at first, so do not be discouraged, as it takes time and practice. Relax and let the cup speak to you.

With respect to the cup itself, it is generally broken up into sections and those sections represent time frames.

  • The Handle: This represents the person receiving the reading. Any shapes involving the handle represent what that person is currently going through. Anything to the left represents things leaving the persons life. Conversely, anything to the right represents things happening now or coming in the near future.
  • The Bowl of the Cup: Symbols near the top and rim of the cup generally represent things that may occur within days. Symbols in the middle of the cup represent things that will likely occur in the near future (within weeks most likely). Symbols near the bottom of the cup are things that will likely occur in the more distant future (months).

Below is a list of generic symbols; however, there are many more symbols that you may come across. As you continue to practice, you will learn to interpret them in your own fashion and eventually create a master list of your own.


~ Keisha Davis