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
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
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
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.