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How to Read Tea Leaves

In this Article


Everyone, of course, has heard about fortune telling on tea leaves, but not everyone knows that there is also fortune telling on tea leaves.

Both types of fortune-telling are united by a common name – tasseography (tasseology, tasseomancy) – from the French (and German) word tasse – “cup”.

The European tea leaf divination we know arose relatively recently – probably in the second half of the 18th century in England, where it is popular to this day.

In China, tea was already in use in the 3rd millennium BC. e. and was considered the elixir of life. According to the beliefs of the ancient Chinese, the Heavenly Master took tea from an egg when he created the world.

There is an opinion that in the East they began to use tea for fortune-telling almost at the same time when they began to use it as a drink.

The popular tea ceremony in Japan dates back to the practice of meditation, to the space of peace created at this time.

Subsequently, the secrets of fortune telling from tea leaves from China came to India and Sri Lanka. And from India, the gypsies transferred the sacrament of fortune telling by tea leaves to Europe.

And yet the version that tasseography is an ancient craft and was practiced even in medieval China seems to us unlikely, if only because traditionally in China bowls of the type of bowls are used for tea drinking, and for fortune telling we know a cup with a handle and a saucer is needed.

In addition, there are other requirements for the cup – it must be made of porcelain, be white on the inside, with walls expanding upward.

It is better to choose tea for fortune-telling that is large enough, with separate rigid leaves, so that the tea leaves do not stick together at the bottom into a single shapeless mass.

Although, some lovers of fortune telling on coffee grounds, on the contrary, prefer to gut the tea bag, and then proceed with the usual method.

When brewing tea in a cup, you should mentally immerse yourself in what is of particular concern to you at the moment.

The fortune-telling procedure itself is as follows: the fortuneteller does not finish drinking the tea, leaving a little liquid on the bottom – about half a teaspoon. Then, taking the cup with his left hand, he turns it three times counterclockwise.

At this time, you need to focus on the issue or problem that worries at the moment.

Having internally formulated the question, the fortuneteller turns the cup over, puts it on a saucer and leaves it in this position for a while, allowing the remaining tea to drain from the walls.

That’s all.

The final and most important part of the ritual remains – the interpretation of the symbols. This is not an easy matter. Most likely, at first glance, you will not see anything interesting at the bottom of the teacup.

Don’t be in a hurry to get upset. Take a closer look – you can probably make out some symbols.

An image composed by tea leaves may be incomplete, but an image with symbolic meaning should be visible in it. And in their interpretation, be guided mainly by intuition.

Cup sections

Divide the cup up to the circumference into imaginary quarters. The pen should face the fortuneteller as a starting point.

  • The handle of the cup symbolizes the person asking his question, therefore the tea leaves located nearby suggest events concerning him or his loved ones.
  • A quarter of a cup with a handle always points to the questioner, which means that the patterns of the leaves are associated with him, with his family, loved ones. The many patterns on this part indicate that the one to whom the fortune-telling is taking on too much responsibility for their loved ones.
  • The quarter cup opposite to the handle refers to strangers and events outside the home. This site concerns acquaintances, distant relatives and friends of the questioner. The abundance of images on this part speaks of a wide circle of communication of the questioner.
  • A quarter to the left of the handle. This is a stretch of the past. The abundance of images on this site suggests that the questioner is living, as it were, in the past (by past problems, possibly unresolved in time, by past love).
  • A quarter to the right of the handle. Signs on this site speak of people who will soon enter the life of the questioner, as well as expected events. If this area is empty, this does not mean that a person has no future, it is just that at the moment all his will and energy is concentrated on the events taking place in the present.
  • About time – the closer the symbol is to the edge of the cup, the sooner the event of interest will occur. Images close to the rim symbolize the present and the near future (events that should occur within a month).

Accordingly, if it is at the bottom, then the event will occur in the distant future.

Images located below the edge of the cup usually indicate events that are due to occur within a few months, while images at the bottom of the cup symbolize what the questioner is expecting over the next several years.

  • Pay attention to the size of the symbol you saw – the larger it is, the stronger its influence on fate.
  • The clarity of the sign also plays a role – if it is easy to read, then its meaning increases.
  • Symbols can be either good or bad.

Traditionally, positive signs include: amulet, angel, arch, shoe, bouquet, wreath, dove, oak, acorn, grain, fig, clover, ship, basket of flowers, cow, crown, circle, swan, bridge, eagle, palm tree, horseshoe, birds, bee, cornucopia, rose, elephant, duck, flowers, anchor.

It is considered to be bad signs: drum, raven, coffin, arc, snake, square, dagger, scythe, cross, bat, sword, monkey, clouds, hourglass, cannon, skeleton, owl, flag, skull.

It is also worth noting that if you like this method of fortune telling, and you decide to resort to it from time to time, then it is better to allocate a special cup for this and not use it during regular tea drinking.

In the 30-50s of the last century, when the fashion for this fortune-telling was widespread, even special cups were produced, with tips already applied to the inside.

It was possible not to peer into the vague outlines of islets of tea leaves, but to be guided by which of the images the leaf would stick to.

These cute little things clearly inspired J.K. Rowling to describe the office of the unforgettable Sybil Trelawney.

And if you think that you will find a suitable cup at your home, then for an initial acquaintance with this fortune-telling, you can mention 110 signs of tea leaves.

Having become familiar with their interpretation, you can add your own list, as you gain experience.

This list includes the signs of the zodiac. Seeing the zodiac sign is a very good omen; in the near future, the questioner will achieve significant success.


  • Stork – pregnancy, childbirth, addition to the family, well-being and prosperity.
  • Iceberg – danger, trouble.
  • Shark – victory over the vicissitudes of fate.
  • Arch, bridge – marriage, beneficial union, restoration of relations after disagreements.
  • The butterfly is a new activity.
  • Drum – it is worth defending your interests everywhere and everywhere outside the home.
  • Tower – climbing the ladder.
  • Squirrel – wisdom and generosity.
  • Gemini – you should show more tact and patience in dealing with people.
  • Diamonds – Pay attention to financial affairs.
  • A full bottle – start a new business, success is guaranteed.
  • The fan is a symbol of infidelity. Don’t trust others.
  • The giant is a step forward. Perhaps a meeting with a very strong person.
  • Oars – the need to solve your problems yourself and not wait for help from others.
  • Libra – harmony, balance.
  • Grapes – prosperity, excellent health.
  • The gallows is a very difficult situation. It is necessary to find ways out.
  • Aquarius – independence, a tendency to seek the ideal.
  • The wolf is the patronage of a strong person.
  • Raven is a betrayal.
  • Gates. Open – an opportunity to succeed in a new field. Closed – the need to protect property and money.
  • Eight – financial well-being, following traditions.
  • Rider – new communication, acquaintance, friendship, beneficial cooperation.
  • Volcano – don’t hide your feelings.
  • Hammock – a desire to get out of business, neglect your duties.
  • The geographic map is a pleasant journey.
  • Garland is a fun holiday, a declaration of love.
  • Guitar – hobby, new interests.
  • Eye – Trust your instinct.
  • The nest is independence, a successful marriage.
  • Dove – good news.
  • The burden is the experience of longing.
  • Goose is a warning, taking into account which, you will be able to save yourself and your cause.
  • The lady is a domineering woman, a wise mentor.
  • Door. Open is an open path to moving forward. Closed – obstacles.
  • Deuce. This symbol has a dual meaning. Association with someone in a mutually beneficial enterprise (sometimes marriage). The conflict between the two sides of life, the feelings of two people.
  • The palace is the fulfillment of innermost desires.
  • Nine is perfection.
  • Wood – health, protection.
  • Dinosaur – the need to define a new set of life principles.
  • Home – Spend more time with your loved ones.
  • The road is a new path. A forked road – a choice to make.
  • The dragon is a symbol of strength. In some cases – an ambulance change of residence.
  • Chimney. A pipe with curly smoke is a family happiness. A pillar of smoke is success. Smoke screen – mystery.
  • One is a new beginning.
  • A unicorn is a rare opportunity.
  • Acorn – health and longevity.
  • Fence. A high fence is protection. Broken – the need to end the quarrel.
  • Castle – isolation, loneliness.
  • The star is the fulfillment of hopes and desires. The five-pointed star is a symbol of the development of magical abilities, intuition.
  • The mirror is self-confidence.
  • Snake – wisdom, life experience.
  • A question mark is a problem that needs to be addressed.
  • Needle – reconciliation after a protracted quarrel.
  • Swing – instability in views, inconstancy, the need to decide, find balance.
  • The square is protection.
  • Keith is a serious enterprise, an opportunity to succeed.
  • Cell – limitations and obstacles.
  • Clown – someone in an inner circle is playing a dishonest game.
  • The key is solving the problem.
  • Book. Closed book – secrets, intrigues. Open – don’t be too gullible.
  • Capricorn is an effort that will soon be rewarded.
  • Wheel – new opportunities, success.
  • Bell – news, marriage.
  • A comet is an opportunity to stand out.
  • The basket is a gift.
  • The king is a person with power, a father, a mentor.
  • Wallet – unexpected expenses.
  • Cat – lies, flattery, betrayal.
  • Cross – limitations and obstacles to be overcome.
  • Cross (suit) – new interests, curiosity.
  • The mole is an enemy who tries to harm.
  • Rings – profitable partnerships, marriage.
  • Rat – beware of the deceitful and vengeful person.
  • Lamp – a way out of a difficult situation, the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Leo is the pursuit of leadership.
  • Ladder – promotion.
  • Fox – be smarter.
  • The face is a new friendship.
  • Horse – trips.
  • Moon (crescent) – the growth of intuitive abilities, love without reciprocity.
  • Magnet is an irresistible physical attraction, an all-consuming passion.
  • Lighthouse – obstacles or hazards.
  • Monk – searching for a spiritual path.
  • An insect is a minor nuisance that should be brushed aside.
  • Knife – enemies, quarrels.
  • The monkey is a deceitful friend.
  • Aries – hard work, achieving tangible results.
  • The window is loneliness.
  • The necklace is a fan (a fan).
  • Peacock is a luxurious lifestyle, wealth, honor and glory.
  • An hourglass is a need to get things done as soon as possible.
  • Peaks – logic, cold calculation.
  • Parrot – gossip, idle talk.
  • Rainbow – an early fulfillment of desires.
  • The child is a marvel.
  • The hand is a new friendship.
  • The pig is a generous and very generous person.
  • Seven – acquired with experience, wisdom, intuition.
  • Heart, worms (suit) – an early meeting with true love, harmony in relationships.
  • Scorpio is an insidious person, a traitor, an envious person.
  • The dog is a loyal friend.
  • Tiger – cruelty and aggression.
  • Triangle – Revealing Hidden Talents.
  • The pipe is calmness, prosperity.
  • Flower. One flower symbolizes love, a bouquet – honor and glory.
  • Chess (chessboard) – intrigue, beware of gossip and slander.
  • Egg – new ideas.
  • Lizard – do not trust others with your plans.
  • Apple – love and luck.


Taylor Bloom

My credo is only reliable information and my goal is the synergy of traditions with modern knowledge, because only the best is worth taking from life.

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