Tea Leaf Reading
Tea leaf reading is the one ritual of divining the hidden factors of a situation, or looking into the possible future of a person by reading the leaf configuration left at the bottom of a cup of loose tea one has just finished drinking.
This method of scrying the future may seem like a simple way to tap your intuitive abilities - but it does require imagination and confidence. The biggest stumbling block to scrying the tea leaves is the concern some would be readers have for misinterpreting the image they see. Is it a dog? Or is it a bear? Is that a tree in the bottom of the cup, or is it a garland of flowers? These kinds of questions - wondering what the indistinct and blurry forms in the cup most closely resemble - are both the easiest and hardest questions for a divination teacher to answer. The answer is simple - the image is what you first thought it looked like.
If you thought it looked vaguely like a bear when you first glanced into the cup - then that is what it is. Maybe the bear is lopsided, maybe he has a misshapen head, or a missing paw - still he is a bear, because your intuition told you so. The problem arises when your logical everyday mind tries to influence the interpretation. This is when you take a second look at the smudge of leaves and decide it looks more like a butterfly than a bear. "Look!" you say, "see how the bears back slopes over into a wing-like thing? It looks much more like a butter fly. Besides, a butterfly is a better omen than a bear!"
So, you listen to your mental goading because you would rather have a good omened butterfly than the bear - which is traditionally considered a cautionary symbol. Or perhaps, you know at gut level that the image is really a bear, but your everyday mind has undermined your confidence just enough to make you distrust your intuitive flow. When this happens, your intuitive process grinds to a halt - and so does the reading. So what is the solution? Have confidence in your abilities! In divination, your first impression is always the correct one. Even if you can "think up" several interpretations that seem to better fit the image in the cup; trust yourself!
This process holds for most forms of divination. Sometimes a reader does not want to see, or acknowledge, an image or idea passed on by his intuition. When this happens, the temptation for censorship or reinterpretation arises, if the reader gives in to this and "softens" or changes the reading, the intuitive flow stops - and no further information will be forthcoming until the mistake is acknowledged. The result for the reader is confusion, and a certain type of "tired" feeling. This can happen whether the reader is divining for himself or others - although it is often easier to recognize the situation when it is happening as a result of reading for someone else.
Once the intuition has been cut off, the reader has a choice. They can discontinue the reading at that time. Or they can stop and write down the symbols and impressions gained from the reading before the shut-down occurred. It is very important that the reader include the date and time in the written record of the reading. Then put away the notes for a while - days, weeks, even years - depending on the question asked and how the reader feels about the question. Later, when something changes in the situation surrounding the reading - or when the reader obtains some emotional distance from the question, the record may be reviewed and the meaning of the various symbols can be re-evaluated. This is actually one of the best ways of learning any divinatory technique - it is also a great way of learning how your intuitive processes work.
Once the reader learns to trust and listen to their intuition in an open and non-judgmental way , tea leaf reading becomes a fun way of gaining insight into any situation. It is also a great way to get to know your friends better and, due to the many occasions in which tea may be served, it can be the source of many new friends and acquaintances. So relax, drink your tea, and watch your future unfold before you.