Use a traditional teacup. The bowl of the cup will fit in the palm of your hand. Select a light colored cup without decoration. You will also need a small plate or saucer. Use a loose, black tea, or a herbal tea that best suits your purposes. Do not attempt to cut up a teabag because the tea within is too finely cut. You may also sprinkle some coffee grounds in a cup of coffee. Without a strainer, sprinkle the leaves into a teapot. Add boiling water and steep until it is your desired strength.
Keep a pen and pad handy. Inhale deeply and quiet your mind. Pour the tea into your cup. Leaves will flow into your teacup along with tea and aroma. Remain calm and contemplative as you wait for your tea to cool to a comfortable temperature.
If you are right-handed, lift your teacup with your left hand. If you are left-handed, lift your teacup with your right hand. If you are ambidextrous, reach for the vessel as you normally would, stop and use the other hand. When the tea has cooled to a comfortable temperature, drink until the cup is nearly empty. If you see a twig or little stick floating in your tea, that is an early sign representing an imminent visitor. There will be a little liquid and remaining leaves within your teacup. Swish them about as desired.
You will get a general fortune if no particular question is looming in the forefront of your consciousness
You many either walk your body slowly in three circles, pass your hand three times over the cup and/or count to three aloud. Remain quiet and meditative while you pour out the remaining liquid into the saucer. Pour slowly so that some of the tea and most of the leaves remain in your cup. Leave your cup turned upside on the saucer. After a minimum of three breaths, you may turn over your cup. The remaining liquid will have drained from your cup, leaving a leaf pattern behind.
Imagine three levels on your cup. Remember when the cup was full? The surface area of your tea when you began to drink and above is the Rim Section. Remember the amount of tea you left in your cup before you dumped it out? That is your Base Section. Visualize the area of the cup that exists between the rim section and the base section. That is your Middle Section. In a relaxed and dreamlike state of mind, watch the inside of your cup. Allow patterns to drift into your consciousness. Interpreting the leaf patterns and shapes is like taking a Rorschach Inkblot Test. Allow your imagination to wander.
If your vessel has a handle, read clockwise from the handle. If you vessel does not have a handle, read clockwise from 12 o'clock.
- The first pattern you see is the symbol representing your dominant character, quality, state of mind or question. Jot down your observations on a piece of paper.
- The rim section of your teacup represents this moment in time. From your own inner quiet and open-minded sight, do you recognize any symbols or patterns? View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. Jot down your observations.
- The middle section of your teacup represents the near future — usually no more than a fortnight. From your own inner quiet and open-minded sight, do you recognize any symbols or patterns? View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. Jot down your observations.
- The base section of your teacup represents further away in time. From your own inner quiet and open-minded insight, do you recognize any symbols or patterns? View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. Jot down your observations.
- Bubbles represent money. Little twigs or sticks represent people. Horizontal twigs warn of untrustworthy people; vertical twigs represent straightforward people. Drops represent tears or sadness.
Study your list of observed patterns and symbols. What do they mean to you? Seeing a dog can mean one thing to one person and quite another to someone else. The patterns in the rim section apply to your present. The middle section patterns are speaking to your near future. The images you see at the base of your cup relate to your distant future or the ultimate conclusion of your question. The power of tealeaf reading comes from your own subconscious and imagination, identifying the patterns you see. The patterns you recognize in this process are unique to your own personal state of mind. You can also use this process to see and describe patterns thereby stimulating the introspective imaginations of your friends and family.
ACORN - a very strong and fortunate symbol indicating happiness and contentment; at the top = financial success; at the bottom = good health.
AIRCRAFT - journey; travel.
ALLIGATOR or CROCODILE — beware of false friendship lurking in your professional life.
ANCHOR - at top = stability, constancy in love or business; at bottom or broken = instability, inconstancy; can also symbolize an unpleasant situation or burden you should sail away from.
ANGEL - good news; protection.
ANT — hard work or busy phase will end productively.
APPLE - life; creative or artistic achievement; abundance.
ARCH — positive opening or opportunity (look to nearby symbols for added meaning).
ARM — pointing up = new directions; down = you need to motivate yourself; horizontal = help others or receive help from others.
ARROW - up = good direction, yes; down = wrong direction, no; horizontal = no change. Note where pointing.
AXE - you have the power to overcome difficulties.
BABY - new life; possible pregnancy; small worries.
BOUQUET - romantic interest; validation for your work or talents.
BAG - a trap; if open = escape.
BALL - desire to travel.
BALLOON - busy social life; inability to settle down if near handle.
BARREL - abundance in laughter.
BASKET - harvest, abundance; material gain; possibly a new baby.
BAT (the animal) - a productive busy phase.
BAT or CLUB - situation calling for alert caution.
BEACON or LIGHTHOUSE - situation calling for your leadership and/or inspiration.
BEAR - a grouchy and difficult person; strength, courage and endurance; if teddy bear = children or childhood.
BED - sleep on it before establishing a close love or business relationship
BEE - fruitful hard work.
BEETLE - renewal; progress; need for foresight.
BELL - unexpected good news in love or business; call to attention
BICYCLE - individuality; choose your own path.
BIRD - good news or message; standing bird = delay; flying bird = good news; good news coming soon; flock of birds = profound or exciting news; goose= successful financial venture; peacock = pride and display; eagle = power and transcendence; crow/raven = ill omen, warning, time to relax; parrot = beware of idle gossip; chicken/hen = happy home life and childhood comfort; dove = peace and love; owl = wisdom, knowledge and learning; rooster = a boastful person or wake up and seize the moment; swan = romance or someone graceful and beautiful; vulture = lay low and beware of enemies; swallow = love and new beginnings.
BOAT - worthwhile journey; your ship is coming in.
BONES - situation calling for inner strength and spiritual fortitude.
BOWL - invitations, money or generosity .
BOOK - if open = an answer to a question; if closed a question to be investigated.
BOTTLE - explosive atmosphere requiring caution; do not overindulge.
BOW - fortunate symbol meaning gift or celebration of achievement.
BOX - you are about to receive a gift.
BREAD (loaf) - nourishment; care for your health.
BRIDGE - a life-changing event or person. Look for nearby symbols.
BROOM - new home; new era in your life.
BRUSH - need for improvements and/or beautification.
BUBBLES - floating on surface of tea or coffee means money coming.
BUGS - distractions; fractured concentration; need for relaxed focus
BUSH - an obstacle to new opportunities; branches signify choices.
BUTTERFLY - overdue happiness.
CAKE - a wish fulfilled; celebration.
CAMEL - you will overcome burden and pressure to reach oasis.
CANDLE -there will be light upon an uncertain path; help from friends.
CAR - if clear = travel; if broken = mechanical trouble.
CARPETS - true friends and happy social engagements.
CASTLE - expand your horizons; open up a little.
CAT - deceit; an untrustworthy friend.
CHAIN - if well formed = fortunate undertaking or serious commitment; if broken = trouble, disruption.
CHAIR - a guest or new addition to the family.
CASTLE - expand your horizons
CHILD - new idea; family.
CIGAR - a new friend or business relationship.
CIRCLE - unbroken = success, completion; broken (like letter 'c')= a temporary offer will come, tentative offers without fruition.
CLOCK - warning against procrastination.
CLOUDS - small and fluffy = happy optimism; thick and dark = gloom; sadness.
CLOVER (four leaf)— good luck that you have worked hard to attain.
COFFEE POT OR TEA POT - a special visitor is coming, probably not romantic.
COIN - a lump sum of money is coming your way.
COMB - improve your self-appearance.
COMET - brink of pivotal change or dramatic event in your life.
COW - abundance; prosperity; physical or creative fertility.
CRAB - admonition to be more direct or someone born under the zodiac sign Cancer.
CROSS - if like a 'T' = hard won success and happiness; if like a solid 'X' = warning (look for meaning with nearby symbols); if like a broken 'X' = obstacles and losses are ahead.
CROWN - honor and recognition for your talents.
CUP - be patient, this is not a time to assert yourself.
CUSHIONS OR PILLOWS - comfort; admonition against laziness and procrastination.
DAGGER - caution against sharp words or revealing personal information
DAISY - new love.
DASHES or DOTS - many short trips that may cause wasted time.
DEER - a shy, timid person; you should be more assertive to overcome shyness.
DIAMOND - gift or other surprise windfall coming you way.
DICE - destiny and change, go with the flow.
DISH - interpret as a circle unless containing food; contains food = domestic comfort.
DOG - good friend; if at bottom friend needs help; if barking, untrustworthy friend; or, someone born in Chinese Zodiac dog year.
DONKEY - stubbornness and stamina.
DOOR - be aware of opportunities.
DRAGON - scheming or flashy person; or, someone born in Chinese Zodiac dragon year.
DROPS - tears or sadness.
DRUM - a change; a call to action.
DUCK - devoted mate; money.
EAR - you will benefit from something you hear.
EGG - if whole = new life, successful new beginning; if cracked/broken = failed plans or financial problems which can be overcome by action.
ELEPHANT - be patient, you will be supported with kindness.
ENVELOPE - you will receive a long awaited letter or important paperwork.
EXCLAMATION MARK - pay attention; beware of impulsive actions.
EYE - a protective symbol; insight into a long-standing problem.
FACE - look for nearby initials for identity of face; if near the rim or handle it is a warning against too much introspection; if facing another symbol indicates importance of that symbol.
FAN - a flirtation.
FEATHER - need for concentration.
FENCE - temporary and self-imposed limitations.
FINGER - emphasizes whatever symbol it is pointing; up = caution; down = stop.
FIRE - passion; hot emotion; sexual desire.
FISH - sharing of knowledge; a teacher; a person born under the Zodiac sign of Pisces (especially if there are two fish).
FLAG - danger, look to nearby symbols for added meaning.
FLEUR DE LYS or LILY - femininity; a loving woman.
FLOWER - praise and compliments are coming your way.
FLY - an annoying person.
FOOT - movement in love, career or location.
FORK - get advice from trusted friends before deciding.
FORKED LINE - a decision to be made.
FOUNTAIN - overflowing happiness.
FOX - a cunning person may be trying to trick you.
FRUIT - prosperity, fertility.
FROG - fertility; abundance; a disguised handsome/beautiful lover.
GATE - be aware of opportunities around you.
GLASS - celebrations, parties, social events.
GLOBE - long distance travel.
GOAT - your persistence will pay off, but take some time to recreate; or, a person born under the sign of Capricorn.
GRAPES - abundance and epicurean enjoyment.
GRASSHOPPER - summer delights.
GUN - danger; a bully.
HAMMER - an attempted persuasion.
HAND - if open = karma or destiny; if closed means an argument; look for added meaning where the hand is pointing.
HARE - unlike the shorter eared rabbit, the long eared hare represents something important brewing in your destiny in love or travel.
HARP - love; romance.
HAT - you will experience a change in roles; or business success.
HEART - love, friendship, romance.
HILLS - small challenges that will leave you improved.
HORSE - if galloping means good news; if just the head means a lover
HORSESHOE - good luck; very positive especially for travel.
HOURGLASS - a warning to be punctual.
HOUSE - comfort and home.
ICEBERG - danger.
INSECT - distractions; fractured concentration; need for relaxed focus
IVY - this is not a good time to be too independent; trust friends to help you.
JEWELS - material success; you will receive a valuable gift.
KANGAROO - travel; a journey.
KETTLE - a special visitor is coming, probably not romantic.
KITE - your wish will be granted.
KNIFE - caution against sharp words or revealing personal information.
LADDER - promotion; an improvement in your business life.
LAMP - at the top means a feast; at the side means secrets revealed; at the bottom
LEAF - the turning over of a new leaf; inevitable changes with the passage of time.
LETTER - you will receive a long awaited letter or important paperwork.
LIGHTENING - startling events; sudden insights.
LINES - journey on a road; if straight = progress; if wavy = uncertain path; if many = many short trips.
LION - male lion represents a powerful contact or important man; the lioness represents a strong family; or, may represent a person born under the zodiac sign of Leo.
LOCK - there are obstacles in your way.
LOOP - if well formed = fortunate undertaking or serious commitment; if broken = trouble, disruption.
MAN - a visitor of either gender; if near handle = someone close to you.
MASK - a secret to be kept.
MOUNTAIN - a difficult, but possible, goal.
MOUSE - be cautious of credit deals.
MUSHROOM - rapid growth, success or fertility.
NAIL - an unfair assault.
NECKLACE - complete = personal relationship stability; broken = instability in a personal relationship.
NEEDLE - painful repair.
OAK - long life characterized by good health.
OCTOPUS - warning.
OYSTER - passion and desire.
PALM TREE - wealth; beach vacation.
PARASOL - protection from harm or loss.
PIG - a greedy or jealous person.
PISTOL - warning of danger.
PURSE - money.
QUESTION MARK - reconsider your plans; be aware of an important question you should ask yourself.
RABBIT - fertility in family or business; someone born in the Chinese Zodiac year of the rabbit.
RAINBOW - your wish will come true; similar to an arch, it links represents the path between today and your destiny.
RAKE - you are at a crossroad and your destiny is determined by hard work.
RECTANGLE OR SQUARE - you will face a challenge or difficulty (look to nearby symbols, especially symbols within the shape, for added meaning.
RING - represents marriage but usually interpreted as a circle; unbroken = success, completion; broken (like letter 'c')= a temporary offer will come, tentative offers without fruition.
ROSE - new romance; deepening of love.
RUG - go with your instincts in distinguishing from a rectangle or square; represents joyful social events and true friendship.
SAW - something should be removed.
SCALE - a legal matter; if balanced = justice will prevail; if unbalanced = unjust result; a person born under the zodiac sign of Libra.
SCISSORS - it may be time to remove yourself from a situation or relationship.
SHEEP - a calm and peaceful person; an admonition to control impulses.
SHELL - you will find a simple treasure.
SHIP - worthwhile journey; your ship is coming in.
SHOE - you are on the correct path; be wary of advice to change.
SNAKE - someone who does not deserve your trust.
SPIDER - a small reward or win.
SPIDER WEB - potent symbol of fate; beware of traps.
SPOON - you will be comforted by someone's generosity.
STAR - success, recognition and praise.
STAIR - your position will improve.
SUN - a new beginning.
SWORD - caution against sharp words or revealing personal information.
TABLE - a happy social interlude.
TENT - travel may help you foster your spiritual health.
THIMBLE - focus on fostering your home life.
TORNADO OR WHIRLWIND - prepare for turbulent weather.
TORTOISE OR TURTLE - lasting success through slow, determined and patient efforts.
TOWER - risk of disappointment.
TREE - alone = family, roots, heritage; leafless = family conflict; many leaves = family contentment; group of trees = family unity; evergreen = enduring relationships; palm = wealth or beach vacation.
TRIANGLE - you are involved in a three-way relationship; if wedge shaped = one person is getting in the way of your relationship with the other person.
UMBRELLA - protection from harm or loss.
URN - be aware of the distinction between material and spiritual success.
VASE - a secret being kept from you; be aware of the distinction between material and spiritual success.
VIOLIN - allow your feelings to surface.
VOLCANO - there is an obstruction in your life that must be dealt with before it explodes.
WAGON - childhood; simple pleasures.
WASP - danger of small harm.
WATERFALL - wealth and prosperity.
WHEEL - events outside your control will change the direction of your life.
WINGS - do not box yourself in or limit yourself unnecessarily.
WOLF - you will be challenged or betrayed by someone.
YOKE - domination or control you should not allow.
ZEBRA - be more flexible and adventurous in your travel plans.