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Tea and Spirituality: Leaf Reading in the Far East


Reading the Leaves
Reading the Leaves


Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy and tassology) – the reading and divination of one’s future through the reading of tea or coffee remnants in a cup.  The word comes from the French word tasse (cup) which is a cognate of the Arabic word tassa (cup or goblet).  While the suffixes are from the Greek words –graphy (writing), -mancy (divination) and -ology (the study of).

For as long as tea has been around in ancient China, so has the art of leaf reading.  It is said to have started in 2737 B.C. when Buddhist sages began to interpret the patterns that formed at the bottom of their tea cups.

Tea has been an integral part of daily life in the Chinese culture.  It seems only logical that part of the culture including trying to foretell the future with the remnants of their own drunken tea.  The practice originated in China and was spread west in the seventeenth century as Dutch traders brought tea via the trade routes.

It is said by some that Spring Pouchong tea (Chinese;pinyinBāozhòngchá) is popular.  There is a big of a debate as to which type of tea should be used in tasseomancy.  Some believe that the small fannings (or tea dust) found in tea bag is too fine to create the necessary symbols to be read through tasseomancy.  On the other hand there are those that prefer to use the tea bag because the fannings are capable of creating more detailed images.  You decide for yourself, dear readers.

Why do you think, dear readers? Would you like to try your hand at tasseography or tasseomancy?   I have found a great site with symbols in order to try your hand at tasseomancy.