06/14/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Intuitive Tools: Reading the Tea Leaves

One of the most challenging intuition tools for beginners is that of tasseomancy, or divining through tea leaves. The trick to reading tea leaves is to use plenty of imagination and intuition. The trick to writing an article about tea leaves is to resist -- with all one's psychic might -- using phrases such as: "get to the bottom of.." and " leaf that alone..." All in all, difficult for everyone involved.

Students of my Psychic Experiential classes usually struggle to discern symbols and patterns from among the scattered, wet leaves. Our adult brains seem to have lost the ability to freely and wildly imagine what the shapes might mean. Logical training insists we see things exactly and this inhibits our ability to read some traditional divination methods like tea leaves. My own approach is to treat tea leaves like a Rorschach inkblot test: squint my eyes and pretend I am seeing symbols. I have had good results with this approach.

Here are some basic hints and instructions for this fun pastime; maybe you will find a hidden talent for this type of divination.

Select a white, bowl-like teacup and a saucer. Brew loose, high quality tea leaves in a pot with a wide spout. Pour, making sure there are plenty of leaves in the cup, and drink the tea while considering your question until a small amount of liquid remains. Swirl the liquid quickly for approximately three times. Make sure the tea leaves are carried to the rim of the cup without spilling. Put the saucer over the top. Invert the cup into the saucer and allow liquid to drain away. Pick up the cup and softly focus on the patterns formed by the leaves.

Let your imagination guide you in locating images and symbols on the various parts of the cup. If you see a pattern and don't know the meaning, try letting your intuitive inner voice relay a message. Look at symbols and the position on the cup for possible interpretation. Most important of all, maintain a good sense of fun. The minute reading tea leaves seems like work, you will be blocking your intuition, so relax and enjoy. If nothing else, you have had a nice cup of tea.

Positions on the cup:

  • Handle: questioner/home
  • Left of Handle: past
  • Right of Handle: future
  • Opposite Handle: outsiders
  • Near Rim: immediate future
  • Base: far future

Some basic symbols:

  • Anchor security
  • Arrow news
  • Broom clearing up
  • Egg something new
  • Eye watch
  • Heart love
  • Horn abundance
  • Horseshoe good luck
  • Knife broken friendship
  • Ring proposal
  • Scissors separation
  • Ship journey
  • Star success
  • Sun happiness
  • Tree improvements

Comments, questions and ideas are welcome and encouraged. Contact Margaret Ruth at, go to her Facebook page, or