Coincidentally the work of Sigmund Freud spawned immense interest in psychoanalysis during the Victorian era. What began as a parlor game, discerning patterns and symbols in errant clumps of soggy tea leaves, was soon adopted as a new form of divination. With an interest in oracular consultation that spanned several millennia, Irish tea drinkers quickly became proficient at the practice, identifying and interpreting hundreds of shapes that wet tea leaves might produce.
While I have dabbled in deciphering the implied messages of Ogham lines with aid of The Celtic Tree Oracle, I admit to complete bewilderment when it comes to the arcane art of tea leaf reading. Nor do I experience prophetic dreams. Evidently, my dad did not pass on those particular genes. Darn. You, however, may have more success, and I invite you to try awakening your Irish divination talent with the ‘tea leaf reading’ instructions offered on the next page. Sláinte!
How To Read Tea Leaves
1. The first thing to do before setting out to read tea leaves is acquire a proper teacup. A coffee mug will not work. The cup must be white or pale colored so that the leaves can be seen easily. Its shape should be a traditional style with a narrow base and flaring sides, and it should have an accompanying saucer.
2. Once you have set out the proper teacup, put a pinch of loose tea in the cup. Any leaf tea can be used, even herbs such as chamomile, peppermint, or any other mixture according to one’s preference. Next, pour boiling water over the leaves, allowing the tea to steep about three minutes. While you are waiting, give some thought to a matter on which you would like information.
3. Drink most of the tea, allowing the leaves and a very small amount of liquid to remain in the bottom. Then take the cup by the handle in the left hand, rim upwards, and swirl it in a circle rapidly three times from left to right. Some of the leaves will cling to the sides of the cup while others stay in the bottom. Next, slowly invert the cup over the saucer and let all the liquid drain away.
4. The cup is divided into three parts. The rim designates the present; the side, events not far distant; and the bottom the distant future. The nearer the symbols appear to the handle, the nearer to the present will be the events foretold.
5. While at first the tea leaves seem scattered, after concentration you will note that they form lines, circles, dots, small groups and figures, even the shape of inanimate objects, people, animals, birds, letters, and numbers.
6. Starting with the leaves closest to the handle, write down the images in their successive order and in a clockwise direction. Finally, concentrate on each shape, letter or numeral to determine how it relates to your life or the question that was posed at the beginning of the session.