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Telling Fortunes by Tea Leaves

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CHAPTER II
PRACTICE AND METHOD
A wide, shallow cup is the best kind to use for tea-leaf
divination—white if possible. A narrow cup adds to the seer's
difficulties, as the tea-leaves cannot be plainly seen. Small
cups, too, are objectionable for the same reason, and a fluted
cup is even worse. A plain, even surface is required, with no
pattern of any kind, as this has a tendency to confuse the
symbols. Indian tea and the cheaper mixtures, which contain
so much dust and twigs, are of no use for reading a fortune, as they cannot form into pictures
and symbols that can easily be distinguished.
Those who desire to have their tea-leaves interpreted should leave about a teaspoonful of tea
at the bottom of the cup. It should then be taken in the left hand, and turned three times
from left with a quick swing. Then very gently, slowly, and with care, turn it upside down
over the saucer, leaving it there for a minute, so that all the moisture may drain away.
Some divinators of the tea-leaves insist on a concentration of the mind during this turning of
the cup, as do many cartomantes whilst the cards are being shuffled; others prefer the mind
to be as far as possible free from any definite thought or desire, simply allowing it to dwell on
such abstract subjects as flowers or the weather. Personally, I advocate this for both systems
of divination; it enables the subconscious mind to assert itself unhindered, whilst the normal
mind is in abeyance.
The turning of the cup before inverting it over the saucer is equivalent to the shuffling of the
cards. It is as a direct result of those few seconds turning that the pictures and signs are
created, the subconscious mind directing the hand holding the cup. The following simple
ritual is all that is necessary to those consulting the tea-leaves.
The cup to be read is held by the seer and turned about as necessary, so that the symbols
may be read without disturbing them. This is important, but no disturbance will take place if
the moisture has been properly drained away. The handle of the cup represents the
consultant, also the home, or, if the consultant be away from home the present abode.
It is necessary to have a starting point in the cup for the purpose of indicating events
approaching near to, or far distant from, the person consulting. The leaves near the rim
denote such things as may be expected to occur quickly; those directly beneath the handle
indicate present and immediate happenings; those on the sides of the cup suggest more
distant events; whilst those at the bottom deal with the far distant future.
This method of fixing the time, coupled with intuition, renders it possible to give a consultant
some idea as to when an event may be expected; but if there be no intuitive sense of time, it
will be found wiser not to be too positive.
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