site logo


At first sight the interior of the cup will show the leaves scattered

about apparently haphazard and with no arrangement; just a jumble of

tea-leaves and nothing more. In reality they have come to their

positions and have taken on the shapes of the symbols for which they

stand, by the guidance of the subconscious mind directing the hand in

the turning of the cup.

The various shapes and the meanings to be
ttached to them will at first

be puzzling to beginners. A good deal of practice is necessary before

the tea-leaf symbols can be accurately interpreted at a glance. That,

however, will come later, and in time it will be as easy as reading a


If you wish to be a proficient reader of the tea-leaves, practise

constantly this interpretation of the shapes and positions of the

leaves. Take a cup and follow out the simple instructions for the

turning and draining of it, and then carefully study the result.

It is an excellent plan to make a rough copy of the leaves as they

present themselves to you in each cup, making notes of the various


Do not feel dismayed if, when you begin looking at the tea-leaves, you

are unable to discover in them anything definitely symbolic. It is

certain that nothing will be found if the seer is feeling nervous! Keep

a calm, open mind, and do not be in a hurry, for it is under such

conditions only that a clear reading of the leaves will be possible. In

some cases the symbols are more easily read than in others. Much depends

upon the consultant.

The gift of imagination (by no means to be confused with invention) is

of the greatest possible importance in discerning the symbols which are

of such endless shapes and variety. The seer has to find in the forms of

the tea-leaves a resemblance, sometimes it may be but a faint one, to

natural objects, _e.g._, trees, houses, flowers, bridges, and so

forth. Figures of human beings and animals will frequently be seen, as

will squares, triangles, circles, and also the line of fate.

These signs may be large or small, and the importance of them must be

judged by their relative size and position. Suppose, for instance, that

a small cross should be at the bottom of the cup, the only one to be

seen, the seer would predict that a trifling vexation or a tiresome

little delay must be expected; but not for the present, as it is at the

bottom of the cup. An alphabetical list of symbols is given later on, so

it is not necessary to define them here. The various points of a more

general character, however, must be studied before it is possible to

give an accurate reading.

It will constantly be found that the stems, isolated leaves, or small

groups of leaves, form a letter of the alphabet, sometimes a number.

These letters and numbers have meanings which must be looked for in

connection with other noticeable signs. If an initial "M" appears, and

near to it a small square or oblong leaf, both being near the rim of the

cup, it would indicate a letter coming speedily from someone whose name

begins with an "M." If the initial appears near the bottom of the cup it

shows that the letter will not be coming for some time.

If there be a clear space at the bottom of the cup devoid of tea-leaves,

it shows water, and that, in all probability, the letter is coming from

abroad. If the symbol of the letter comes very near to a bird flying, it

shows a telegram. If the bird is flying towards the consultant (the

handle), the telegram has been received. The news in it is to be judged

by other signs in the cup. If flying away from the handle, the telegram

is sent by the consultant. A single bird flying always indicates speedy


In a cup with various ominous signs, such as a serpent, an owl, or many

crosses, the news coming is not likely to be pleasant. In a cup without

bad signs, it can safely be said that the news is good.

As a general rule large letters indicate places, whilst smaller ones

give the names of persons. Thus a large letter "E" would stand for

Edinburgh and a smaller "E" for Edwards, for instance. To all rules

there comes the occasional exception, and this principle holds good with

regard to the letters in the tea-cup. It is said that these smaller

letters always point to the first letter of the surname. Usually it is

so; but I have constantly found from experience that it is the first

letter of the Christian name, or even a pet name, to which the letter

refers. It is well to keep this possibility in mind, otherwise the seer

may give misleading information to consultants.

Sometimes numbers mean the date for an event to be expected, a "5" for

instance, very near the brim of the cup, or the handle (the consultant),

means in five days; or five weeks if it come on the side, possibly as

far off as five months if the figure be at the bottom of the cup.

As dots around a symbol always indicate money in some form or another,

according to the character of the symbol, a figure beside the dots would

signify the amount of money to be expected. If the symbol were that of a

legacy with the figure "90" near, it would show that a little legacy of

ninety pounds might be anticipated.

Clearly defined symbols that stand out separately are of more importance

than such as are difficult to discern. Clusters of shapeless leaves

represent clouds marring the effect of an otherwise fortunate cup.

Journeys are shown by lines or dots formed by the dust and smaller

leaves of the tea. The length and direction of the journey may be known

by the extent of the line and, roughly speaking, the point of the

compass to which it leads, the handle in this case representing south.

If the line of dots ascends sharply to the brim of the cup, a journey to

a hilly country will be taken.

Supposing the consultant to be at home, and the dots form a line from

the handle all round the cup and back to the handle, it signifies a

journey for a visit and the return. If the line were to stop before

reaching the handle again, with an appearance of a house where the line

ends, a change of residence might safely be predicted. A wavy line shows

indecision as to arrangements. Crosses upon the line indicate that there

will be vexation or delay in connection with the journey. Large flat

leaves some distance apart along the line stand for important stations

to be passed through.

For some consultants there seems very little of interest to be read in

their cup. There are no events, merely trivialities. It is therefore

difficult to find anything that could be considered as "future," when it

seems to be just a dead level "present," the daily life, nothing more.

It is sad for those who have such a dull life, but there is usually some

sign, a small happening such as a parcel, or a visit from a friend.

These must be made the most of. The pleasure of anticipation will add to

the realisation.

A confused looking tea-cup, without any definite symbols, just a muddle

of tea-leaves, is useless for the purpose of divination, beyond giving

an indication of the state of the consultant's mind, so vague and

undecided in its character that it obscures everything. Tell such a one

the reason for the failure of divining, and recommend a more reliable

state of mind. Then let them try their "fortune" again in a few months,

when it may be found quite different.

It is of course a great mistake to be always "looking in the

tea-leaves," as some foolish people do twice a day. It is sure to lead

to contradictions though there is no harm in the habit of "looking in

the cup" each morning as others do, for finding the events likely to

happen in the course of the day. This is as permissible as the reading

of the cards each morning for the day's events by those who consider it

a safeguard, remembering that to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Some people use the tea-cup simply for the purpose of asking a definite

question, such as, "Is the sum of money I am expecting coming soon?"

When this is the case, the consultant should be told before turning the

cup in the hand to concentrate the thoughts on this one point, as in the

case of wishing while shuffling the cards for a definite wish. Then the

seer must look only for the signs that will give the answer to the

question, ignoring all other points. This is necessary for the giving of

a satisfactory answer to the question asked.



The need for patience cannot be too strongly impressed upon those who

are beginning to learn the language of tea-leaves. Some of the most

interesting symbols are very minute, and will certainly be missed by the

seer who is in a hurry.

When tea-leaf reading is indulged in merely as an amusement to while

away a few moments after a meal, a hasty glance at the cup, or cup and

saucer, will suffice. The seer will just note the chief features, such

as a journey, a letter, a parcel, or news of a wedding, and pass on to

the next cup. But this is far from being a really interesting method of

divination by tea-leaves, wherein so much knowledge is to be found, and

so much useful information gained.

Those who closely study this fascinating subject will certainly be well

rewarded by a deep personal interest, in addition to the pleasure they

give to others.

It is wonderful how rapidly converts are made to this form of

divination. Some who in the past have been heard scornfully to assert

that they "have no belief in tea-leaves," become the most regular

inquirers. Moreover, these sceptics have proved to be very efficient


There is always a satisfaction in persuading another to one's own point

of view. The more obstinate the opposition, the more glorious the final


It is a rare occurrence nowadays to meet with three people in the course

of a day, and not to find that one at least is deeply interested in

fortune-telling in some of its various forms.

Quite recently I had a letter from a girl who has gone on a visit to

British Columbia, asking me if I would "do the cards" for her, as she

could not find anyone in her vicinity who was particularly good at

divination. She went on to say that "there is a perfect rage for

fortune-telling out here, and everyone is keen on it." Another instance

of this universal popularity was given to me by a friend who had

recently been to America. She was amazed at the numbers of women whom

she saw absorbed in the reading of their tea-cups each day of the


The male sex holds aloof and leaves us to "perform these follies." Some

ascribe it to man's superiority. Or as briefly summed up by a delightful

member of their sex, who when declaiming against the possibility of the

future being made visible, said, "With all apologies to you, I must say

I am not so profoundly stupid as to believe in these things; it cannot

be anything more than rot."

It is remarkable how such protests die away when clairvoyant evidence,

either by cards, tea-leaves, or other means, has accurately predicted

some event of the distant future that at the time appeared absurd and

impossible of happening.

Woman may lawfully claim superiority with regard to her intuitive

faculty, and thus she is well equipped for exercising her divinatory


Who need be dull or bored when the language of symbolism remains to be

learned? Perhaps I should say, studied; for completely learned it can

never be, seeing that fresh events are constantly occurring in the

world, and new symbols appear representing each.

There are few things more fascinating than personal discovery, and those

who become students of divination by tea-leaves, or cards, may safely be

promised a taste of this pleasing sensation of achievement. It is

limited to the few to discover the marvels of radium, or the discomforts

of the South Pole, but a fragment of their glory is shared by those who

find new evidence of the far-reaching knowledge of symbolism.