Fortune telling and watching or reading tea leaves

Looking at coffee grounds is a well-known term from the expression: ,That’s looking at coffee grounds for me,. Less well known is the term tea leaf gazing. Yet that was the case much earlier than just looking at coffee grounds. Looking at tea leaves, also called tasseography, is very old. But many, like other forms of fortune telling, consider tea leaf gazing to be a form of trickery based on cold reading techniques.

Divination with cold reading and observation

Cold reading is a technique in which the fortune teller gives the impression that he knows a lot about the customer. The technique is based on observing as unnoticed as possible. This starts upon arrival when the customer reveals a lot about himself through, for example, appearance, clothing, hairstyle, jewelry, whether or not he has a wedding ring and all kinds of other characteristics. During a conversation, the fortune teller will express all kinds of options, of which something always applies and will listen carefully to reactions and behavior and continue to observe the customer while he or she has the floor as much as possible.

Tasseography and tea leaf viewing

Tasseography seems to be a very different technique than cold reading. Fortune tellers make customers believe that they base their predictions on the meaning of figures, numbers, letters and all kinds of objects they see in the shape of tea leaves such as:


For example, circles indicate frustration and triangles indicate fortune. Having wavy lines with uncertainty. Straight lines indicate clear plans and if figures go together with stars, success will certainly be achieved.


Numbers that can be observed in the tea leaves indicate years as well as months, weeks, days and hours. The meaning of the numbers depends on where they are located in the heading. For example, numbers at the bottom of the heading indicate the years and in the middle the months and weeks. Numbers at the top have to do with hours and days.


Individual letters are the initials of people who are important to the customer.


There are fanciful interpretations of the meaning of all kinds of objects, such as:


An anchor means a safe landing after a journey or a successful solution to a certain problem, both business and private.


A bell announces good news and perhaps a wedding.


Contrary to what might be expected of a flower, it means unhappy love.


A drill, as an object to make a hole, points to the end of a friendship.


Can be interpreted very literally as a bridge to a new partner or friendships or business.


It is better not to use a dagger because then danger threatens trouble and tragedy.


What’s a party without something from a bottle? That is what this attribute stands for.


A hammer represents hard work that will be rewarded.


Friendship, advice, presence of help through an outstretched hand.


Naturally, a heart points to love or a loved one, but also to self-confidence.


Well known as a symbol of happiness.


A dog indicates friendship and partnership.


A candle indicates new ideas with its lighting.


A camel can survive for a long time in the desert, causing a fortune teller to believe that a long journey will be made.


A castle means that an important inheritance is coming or some other unexpected financial windfall.


As well as a horseshoe, it is very well known as a symbol of luck.


Of course, a crown has to do with a crowning achievement, so all honor comes with a promotion.


A cross represents bad luck and discomfort.


Temporary shelter is provided by an umbrella.


An arrow indicates danger such as a disagreement and can also mean enmity.

Pair of scissors

Less attractive symbol that points to having one’s own way but also arguing.


A strange meaning has a butterfly that represents dishonesty and insincerity.


In any case, a bird brings news and it is not known in advance whether it is good or bad news.


Infidelity, disbelief and gossip are indicated by a fan.

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  • Divination and watching or reading coffee grounds

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