Tasseomancy is a divination method that interprets patterns in tea leaves and/ or coffee grounds.
The reader will ask the querent to drink the tea off, then swirl the cup. Most readers use the standard symbols that have been handed down through several generations. There are, however, many who prefer to read by feel and intuition. Symbolism varies from person to person, whereas one person might see the shape of a cat as meaning ill-luck, another may see it as good luck. So first symbols are looked for within the leaves or grounds.
Another traditional way to read a cup from the present to the future is by starting along the rim at the handle of the cup and following the symbols downward in a spiral manner, until the bottom is reached, which symbolizes the far future. Some readers see images by looking in the dark tea leaves against a white or neutral background, whereas others will also read the reverse images formed by seeing the symbols that form in the white spaces, with a clump of dark leaves forming the background.
It is not wise; as a matter of fact it is frowned upon and nearly impossible to attempt tasseomancy using tea from a cut-open tea bag or to use a symbol dictionary. The reason is quite practical: tea-bag tea is cut too finely to form recognizable figures in the cup and tea-leaf reading has its own historic system of symbolism that does not correspond exactly with other systems, such as symbolic dream divination.
The experienced tasseomancy practitioner will have either developed their own personal form of symbols and their meanings, or use one that has been handed down through generations within their family. Symbolism is as much personal as it is objective. Word to the wise, find a few reputable books on the subject, practice on yourself and your friends and develop your own personal symbolism, if you do not have one already as given to you from an experienced reader.
Contributed by Hester