Do you believe in predictions or premonitions? Are you suspicious in the least? Tasseography is described as the divination of the patterns found in tea leaves; fortune telling through use of your cup of tea.
I’ve always been a little enamored with gypsy folklore. If you’ve read To Love A Wicked Scoundrel, you’ve met Gillie, Constantine’s gypsy friend. His appearance is brief, but I’m intrigued by the culture and feel a strong premonition I have a story waiting to be written especially for Gillie.
During the Regency, tea and the selection in one’s tea box, was a symbol of success and wealth. Reading tea leaves was reserved for the servants, if even they were suspicious enough to indulge the practice. Superstitions were thought to be only for the weak-minded.
Reading tea leaves in not difficult once you understand the symbolism, although modern day tea would not work well, the leaves cut too small. After one drinks the tea or it is drained away, the cup is swirled once to reveal the left over leaves.
The pattern left by the strained tea leaves is then interpreted by the diviner. Obvious shapes, that of a heart representing love or a spade representing misfortune are interpreted. More intricate patterns are also noted: a letter that holds significance, a snake representing deceit, or a mountain to symbolize a challenge to overcome.
Like palm reading or other forms of superstitious folklore, the power of the prediction lies in the belief of the custom. In the meantime, I continue to enjoy my tea and wonder what secrets the little lost tea leaves on the bottom of my tea cup wish to reveal to me, but I’m too busy cleaning house to notice.