"For a man's mind is sometimes wont to tell him more
than seven watchmen that sit above in a high tower."
To those of an inquiring or doubting turn of mind, there may arise the
very natural question as to _why_ one shaped tea-leaf should mean
"a hat" and another "a table." It is useless to point out that these
objects are perfectly represented by the leaves. That is of no practical
satisfaction. The simple fact that each language has its alphabet, its
spelling, and its words, which must be learned before there can be any
reasonable understanding of it, seems the best and obvious reply.
Symbolism is a wide subject with many branches. Who can expect to master
even its alphabet in a moment? To those who cannot accept the symbols in
the tea-leaves on the authority of past experience, reaching over
several centuries, I would recommend a careful study of their cups for,
say, three months. Let them make notes of such signs as appear and
beside them place their meanings and predictions.
At the end of this time, compare all that has taken place with these
notes, and I think there will be no further lack of faith in the
Before very many years have passed the language of symbolism by cards,
tea-leaves, crystal gazing, etc., will probably be almost universally
understood. The day will undoubtedly come when it will be accepted as
naturally as the English language, and we shall cease to worry ourselves
as to the why and wherefore of it all.
It is important that those who are learning the art of divination by
tea-leaves should realise the necessity for consistently attributing the
same meanings to the symbols. Do not be tempted to change their
interpretation for what may seem a more probable, or pleasant,
prediction for your client. It is a fatal mistake.
Remember that you are dealing with conditions and events of the future
which are outside the limited knowledge of the normal mind, whose power
of vision is limited to physical sight.
A simple instance of what may occur, should you thus change the meanings
of the symbols, will suffice to show the folly of such a practice.
A consultant comes to have her "fortune read." She is known to you
personally, and you are aware that she is anxious to hear a hopeful
report of someone dear to her who is ill. The tea-leaf symbols are
obstinately unfavourable, and display ominous signs of forthcoming
sorrow. If you gloss over this fact completely, and predict a rapid
recovery from the illness, what becomes of your client's faith in the
power of foretelling the future? Certain it is that the symbols would be
right in their verdict, and you would be wrong.
It is usually easier to prophesy smooth things rather than unpleasant
facts, but to do this in the face of obvious contradictions will lead to
disaster in foretelling the future.
Divination by tea-leaves or cards has the candour to be frankly
disagreeable when necessary. This is one great argument in favour of its
unerring truthfulness. There is no means by which symbols may be coaxed
into proclaiming false statements.
The most practised clairvoyant may occasionally make mistakes in her
reading of the symbols, but no genuine seer should ever deliberately
give a wrong interpretation of them to please her consultant. The
business of the diviner is to give what she believes to be a correct and
unprejudiced translation of the symbols before her.
It is sometimes a vexed question as to what extent information of a
gloomy nature, which may appear in a divination, should be given to a
client. Some are in favour of withholding such matter altogether, whilst
others announce it frankly without modification. It seems impossible to
lay down any hard and fast rule. There are so many things to be taken
into account, and each case should be treated on its merits and
according to its peculiar circumstances. There are some who would fret
themselves ill at the least mention of coming misfortune, others would
be the better prepared to meet it by having been warned of its approach.
One rule can be safely made for guidance on this point. Do not minimise
danger when a timely warning may avert an accident, or other misfortune,
nor should symbols of ill omen be exaggerated. As students become
proficient, they will find many meanings in the tea-leaves in addition
to those which they learn from this book. Much will depend upon
circumstances and individual temperaments.
These personally discovered meanings should be carefully noted and
verified with events as they occur.
It is necessary to remember that divination by the tea-cup is by no
means limited to personal information. Forthcoming public events are
frequently revealed. This adds largely to the interest and usefulness of
the divination. It is important to point out this to consultants, so
that they may not be too ready to fix the whole reading of their cups to
purely personal matters. It will be found that public news is usually
foretold in the cups of those who seek information of the future as a
For those who rarely do so, private affairs alone will appear, probably
without even a forecast of the weather to be expected within the next
It is a curious fact that the wider knowledge should seem to be reserved
for those who practise divination constantly, but so it is.
Some remarkable instances of the accurate foretelling of public events,
which have quite recently been brought to my notice, may be interesting.
For some weeks before the coal strike of 1920 was declared, a pickaxe
was seen on several occasions in the cups of two persons, both of whom
read their tea-leaves regularly. This symbol, as will be seen in the
dictionary which follows, stands for "labour trouble and strikes." A
spade was also in evidence at intervals, a further sign of "trouble and
unrest." So that it was through no fault of the tea-leaves if some of us
were not in the superior position of knowing all about the strike before
it came to pass.
The symbols already mentioned would of course apply equally to railway
disturbance, and some time before the threat of a strike was announced,
these symbols appeared again, together with an engine, and a signal at
the angle of "Danger." This seemed ominous. But within a few days the
signal was evident once more; but on this occasion set at "All Clear."
So it was easy to decide that the threatened strike would not take
place. The accuracy of this prediction by means of the tea-leaves was
shortly afterwards made evident.
Again, a week before there seemed to be even a hope of a settlement of
the coal strike, a mining shaft presented itself in one of the tea-cups
which had previously been indicating the strike. This symbol appeared at
the top of the cup standing out clearly by itself, evidently predicting
the miners' return to work within a short time. There was no need to
depend upon information from the newspapers as to the end of the strike,
for here in the tea-leaves was all necessary evidence of the fact.
Another very remarkable instance of symbolism was given to me by a
friend a short time ago. On Monday morning, October 26th, 1920, the
three following symbols appeared in her cup:--
A vulture resting on a rock.
In the evening of that day the death of King Alexander of Greece was
It will be seen, on referring to the dictionary, that an eagle and a
vulture signify "the death of a monarch." The monkey who lay at the
bottom of the cup, apparently dead, was of course the third symbol as
having caused the King's death. It was particularly gratifying that
these signs should have appeared in my friend's cup for she is a
mathematical genius, and rejects every symbol which she cannot recognise
at once. She was so struck by these signs that she called them to the
attention of her mother, who also immediately perceived and identified
them. The only regrettable omission was that the cup was not
photographed. It would have been valuable evidence for the wonders of
This same friend had another interesting experience. The head of an
Indian appeared in her cup, with other signs pointing to news of a
personal nature. She was puzzled, for, as far as she knew, there was no
one in India from whom she would be in the least likely to hear.
Very shortly afterwards, however, her mother went on a visit to London.
There she quite unexpectedly met someone who had recently come from
India, and who had brought back messages of remembrance and affection
from a girl who my friend had no idea was in India at that time. Hence
the Indian in her tea-cup!
Whilst on this subject, I am reminded of another occasion when India was
represented in the tea-leaves. I was looking into my tea-cup one day,
when I saw most clearly depicted two natives creeping stealthily, their
attitude making this evident. In their hands were what appeared to be
knives, and they were making towards a figure that was unmistakably that
of an officer. He was standing upon what looked like a raised platform
with a barricade round him. He held a revolver in his hand.
I am quite aware that some may think this a tall tale for the tea-leaves
to relate! But fortunately my reading of the cup was witnessed by two
others, one of them being a man, who, although interested in psychic
subjects, despises the tea-leaves! Without remarking upon what I saw, I
suggested that he should look at my cup and see what he made of it.
Without a moment's hesitation he said, "There is an officer defending
himself against some natives who are about to attack him."
My readers will appreciate the satisfaction this testimony gave me,
coming as it did from one who had never before looked into a cup.
Moreover, that this witness should have been one of the male sex added
to its value! This prediction of danger for someone in India was borne
out by facts that were disclosed shortly afterwards. These instances
which I have given illustrate the variety and interest which are to be
found in divination by tea-leaves.