Tasseography


Tasseography

Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments.

The terms derive from the French word "tasse" (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic "tassa" (cup), and the Greek suffixes , -logy, and -mancy (divination).

There is no scientific evidence that individuals can divine future events.

History

The practice of tea leaf reading originated independently in Asia, the Middle East and Ancient GreeceFact|date=March 2008. Scotland, Ireland, and England have produced a number of practitioners and authors on the subject, and English potteries have crafted many beautiful tea cup sets specially designed and decorated to aid in fortune-telling. Cultures of the Middle East that practice divination in this fashion usually use left-over coffee grounds from Turkish coffee turned over onto a plate.

Method of tea-leaf reading

The "Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Fifth Edition, Vol. 2" edited by J. Gordon Melton, notes:

:After a cup of tea has been poured, without using a tea strainer, the tea is drunk or poured away. The cup should then be shaken well and any remaining liquid drained off in the saucer. The diviner now looks at the pattern of tea leaves in the cup and allows the imagination to play around the shapes suggested by them. They might look like a letter, a heart shape, or a ring. These shapes are then interpreted intuitively or by means of a fairly standard system of symbolism, such as: snake (enmity or falsehood), spade (good fortune through industry), mountain (journey of hindrance), or house (change, success).

Melton's described methods of pouring away the tea and shaking the cup are rarely seen; most readers ask the querent to drink the tea off, then swirl the cup. Likewise, his notion that readers give intuitive interpretations reflects his unfamiliarity with teacup reading; most readers use the standard symbols that have been handed down through several generations.

It is traditional to read a cup from the present to the future by starting along the rim at the handle of the cup and following the symbols downward in a spiral manner, until the bottom is reached, which symbolizes the far future. Most readers see images only in the dark tea leaves against a white or neutral background; some will also read the reverse images formed by seeing the symbols that form in the white negative spaces, with a clump of dark leaves forming the background.

Some people consider it ill-advised for one to attempt tasseography using tea from a cut-open tea bag or to use a symbol dictionary. The reasons for these prohibitions are practical: tea-bag tea is cut too finely to form recognizable figures in the cup and tea-leaf reading has its own historic system of symbolism that does not correspond exacty with other systems, such as symbolic dream divination.

Fortune telling tea cups

Although many people prefer a simple white cup for tea leaf reading, there are also traditions concerning the positional placement of the leaves in the cup, and some find it easier to work with marked cups. Beginning in the late 19th century and continuing to the present, English and American potteries have produced specially decorated cup and saucer sets for the use of tea-leaf readers. Many of these designs are patented and come with instructions explaining their mode of use. Some of the most common were those that were given away with purchases of bulk tea.

There are dozens of individual designs of fortune tellers' cups, but the three most common types are zodiac cups, playing card cups, and symbol cups.

*Zodiac cups - These sets contain zodiacal and planetary symbols. Typically the interior of the cup contains the planetary symbols, while the saucer has the astrological sign symbols, but there are many variations and exceptions to this common pattern. The placement of these symbols allows the reader to combine astrology with tasseography.

*Playing card cups - These cups carry within their interiors tiny images of a deck of scattered cards, either 52 cards plus a joker, as in a poker deck, or 32 cards, as in a euchre deck. Some sets also have a few cards imprinted on the saucers, or the saucers may contain brief written card interpretations. The playing cards permit the reader to creatively relate cartomancy to tasseography.

*Symbol cups - These sets are decorated with between a dozen and fifty of the most common visual cues that can be found in tea leaves, often numbered for easy reference and supplied with an explanatory booklet. The symbols are generally displayed inside the cups, but there are also sets in which they decorate the outside or appear in the cups and on the saucers.

Coffee reading

Traditionally, coffee readers use Turkish coffee, or any coffee that has grinds that sit at the bottom of the cup. Most of the liquid in the coffee is drunk, but the sediment at the bottom is left behind. It is often believed that the drinker of the coffee should not read their own cup.

There are at least two forms of coffee reading. Both require that the cup be covered with the saucer and turned upside-down. Some traditions, such as in Romania, require that the sediments in the cup be swirled around the inside of the cup until they cover the majority of the cup's inside surface. Other traditions, such as Turkish and Middle Eastern, do not require this swirling but do require that the cup be turned towards yourself for showing your own fortune. The coffee grounds are given time to settle and dry against the cup before a reading begins.

Many interpretations for symbols exist, but one common thread is the color of the symbols. Since most cups used are white or ivory and the grounds are dark, strong contrast exists for the symbols. White is considered a "good" symbol foretelling of generally positive things for the drinker, while the grounds themselves are considered to form "bad" symbols.

Symbols can be many things, including people, animals, and inanimate objects. Usually, the fortune teller will group nearby symbols together for a prediction.

After a reading, the drinker will be asked to "open the heart". This is done by placing the right thumb at the inside bottom of the cup and twisting clockwise slightly. This will leave an impression behind that the fortune teller will interpret as the drinker's inner thoughts or emotions.

In 2007, a coffee-reading fortune teller from Israel was charged with practicing magic, a crime punishable by up to five years in jail. [ [http://www.mcclatchydc.com/staff/dion_nissenbaum/story/18168.html Yahoo news: Coffee grounds brewed trouble for Israeli fortuneteller] ]

References

*Fenton, Sasha "Tea Cup Reading: A Quick and Easy Guide to Tasseography." Red Wheel / Weiser, 2002
*Fontana, Marjorie A. "Cup of Fortune: A Guide to Tea Leaf Reading." Wis.: Fantastic, 1979.
*Kent, Cicely. "Telling Fortunes By Tea Leaves". 1922
*Posey, Sandra Mizumoto. "Cafe Nation: Coffee Folklore, Magick, and Divination." Santa Monica: Santa Monica Press, 2000.
*Sheridan, Jo. "Teacup Fortune-telling." London: Mayflower, 1978
*Yaman, Beytullah. "The Art of Turkish Coffee Brewing." Ankara: Bilkent University Press, 1987

External links

*" [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/18241 Tea-Cup Reading, and the Art of Fortune-Telling by Tea Leaves] ", by 'A Highland Seer', from Project Gutenberg
*" [http://www.harvestfields.ca/Tea/01tb/001.htm Telling Fortunes By Tea Leaves, by Cicely Kent, 1922] "
*" [http://www.tasseography.com Tasseography] "


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