For a seemingly simple beverage, tea has had quite a dynamic history steeped in colonialism, violence and revolution. Keeping that aside, it is the second most consumed beverage in the world. And what’s interesting is that it is not just meant for sipping, but for predicting the past, present and future.

Tasseography is the art of reading and interpreting the symbols and configurations of tea leaves left behind in the cup. Though the act seems very simple, the results are quite profound and many people have been enchanted by this art of tasseography for centuries. It can also be considered a very powerful, creative and accessible way to exercise your intuition.

Tasseography, like other practices, focuses on the concept of directing energy. When we focus our energy on the tea, the tea leaves become conduits that can mirror our experiences, even those which haven’t even occurred yet. They reveal hidden blockages, offer advice and even predict the future. These messages are embedded in the shape, colour, density, placement and symbols formed by the wet leaves.

If you want to try it yourself, the first thing to do is to brew a cup of tea, preferably loose black tea. Then follow these steps:

  1. Let the tea steep for a few minutes
  2. Drink the tea, but leave a teaspoon or so of it in the cup. Do not empty the cup.
  3. Take the handle of the tea cup in your left hand and quietly ask for help to read your future.
  4. Now, swirl the cup in a counter-clockwise direction.
  5. Take a saucer and invert the cup on the saucer.
  6. Leave the cup on the saucer for about minute so all the contents of the cup can drain away.
  7. Slowly, turn the cup up from the right.
  8. Now, the tea leaves are ready to be read.


Meaning of Common Tasseography Symbols

  • Aircraft, such as airplanes or balloons: unsuccessful projects
  • Anchor: good luck in business and a stable love life. If this symbol is cloudy in appearance, it should be interpreted as the opposite.
  • Angel: good news, especially in love-related matters
  • Apples: long life; success in school or business
  • Arrows: bad messages or news from the direction in which the arrow points
  • Axe: problems overcome
  • Birds: good luck, possibly a good journey
  • Boat: a visit from a friend
  • Bouquet: very good luck, including good friends, success, and a happy love life
  • Bridge: a good journey
  • Butterfly: success and pleasure
  • Candle: enlightenment
  • Car: approaching wealth
  • Castle: an unexpected fortune monetary or otherwise
  • Circles: expect money or presents
  • Clouds: serious troubles, unless surrounded by dots! This means monetary success.
  • Clover: very good luck; happiness and prosperity
  • Coffin: lengthy sickness or the death of a loved one
  • Compasses: business travel
  • Cow: prosperity
  • Cross: trouble, delay or death
  • Crown: success and honor
  • Dagger: help from friends
  • Dragon: large and sudden changes
  • Eagle: honor and riches achieved through a change in housing
  • Elephant: luck and good health
  • Fish: good news from another country
  • Fox: backstabbing from a close friend
  • Goat: enemies
  • Greyhound: hard work paying off with good fortune
  • Gun: disharmony, slander
  • Hammer: challenges overcome
  • Hat: success in life
  • Heart: good things to come, such as money —if surrounded by dots—or marriage—if with a ring.
  • Horseshoe: success in choosing a partner; a lucky trip
  • Hourglass: imminent danger
  • House: business success
  • Kettle: death
  • Kite: a long trip leading to honor
  • Knife: disaster met through fighting and hatred
  • Ladder: travel
  • Letter, square of rectangular leaves: news; initials nearby signify the bearer of the news; dots with the letter means money, but if the image of the dots is cloudy, it means loss of money
  • Lines: journey, and the direction of the journey—when reading with nearby symbols; wavy lines mean difficult journeys; straight lines can also mean peace, happiness and a long life
  • Moon: happiness and success; a crescent moon means prosperity
  • Mountain: a powerful friend or, if many mountains, powerful enemies
  • Mushroom: a sudden separation of lovers following a fight
  • Owl: sickness, poverty, warning against starting a new business, deceit in love and other unlucky events
  • Pear: wealth, social status, possibly a financially beneficial business move or marriage
  • People: symbol varies with what they are doing, but the symbol of people is usually good
  • Pig: a faithful lover but jealous friends
  • Pine tree: contentment
  • Rabbit: success in a city
  • Rat: losses through enemies or employees
  • Reptiles: arguments
  • Ring: marriage; if a letter is nearby, it is the initial of the future spouse; if the ring is at the bottom, it means the marriage will not take place; if the ring is surrounded by clouds, it signifies an unhappy marriage
  • Saw: trouble coming from unfamiliar people
  • Scales, old-fashioned weight-measuring ones: a lawsuit
  • Scissors: arguments; a break-up; illness
  • Shark: danger of death
  • Sheep: prosperity and success
  • Ship: a successful journey
  • Snakes: a bad omen; take caution!
  • Squares: comfort and peace
  • Star: good luck; if surrounded by dots, wealth, and honor
  • Swan: good luck and a happy love life
  • Sword: arguments, especially between lovers; a broken sword means an enemy will win
  • Trees: good luck; prosperity and happiness; if surrounded by dots, fortune will be found in the country
  • Triangles: good luck or an unexpected inheritance
  • Umbrella: difficulty; annoyance
  • Unicorn: scandal
  • Wheel: inheritance
  • Worms: secret enemies