Tasseography Symbols for Reading Coffee or Tea Leaves

What Do the Forms in Your Coffee or Tea Cup Mean?

Reading tea leaves
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Also known as reading coffee or reading tea leaves, tasseography is a divination practice dating back thousands of years. Over this time, many symbols and interpretations have been built up.

While it is important to note that the specific question or wish made by the querent is essential to uncovering the true meaning of each symbol, there are some general guidelines to the meanings of different forms found in your teacup or coffee cup during a coffee reading or tea leaves reading.

Meaning of Common Tasseography Symbols

  • Aircraft, such as airplanes or balloons: unsuccessful projects
  • Anchor: good luck in business and a stable love life. If this symbol is cloudy in appearance, it should be interpreted as the opposite.
  • Angel: good news, especially in love-related matters
  • Apples: long life; success in school or business
  • Arrows: bad messages or news from the direction in which the arrow points
  • Axe: problems overcome
  • Birds: good luck, possibly a good journey
  • Boat: a visit from a friend
  • Bouquet: very good luck, including good friends, success, and a happy love life
  • Bridge: a good journey
  • Butterfly: success and pleasure
  • Candle: enlightenment
  • Car: approaching wealth
  • Castle: an unexpected fortune monetary or otherwise
  • Circles: expect money or presents
  • Clouds: serious troubles, unless surrounded by dots! This means monetary success.
  • Clover: very good luck; happiness and prosperity
  • Coffin: lengthy sickness or the death of a loved one
  • Compasses: business travel
  • Cow: prosperity
  • Cross: trouble, delay or death
  • Crown: success and honor
  • Dagger: help from friends
  • Dragon: large and sudden changes
  • Eagle: honor and riches achieved through a change in housing
  • Elephant: luck and good health
  • Fish: good news from another country
  • Fox: backstabbing from a close friend
  • Goat: enemies
  • Greyhound: hard work paying off with good fortune
  • Gun: disharmony, slander
  • Hammer: challenges overcome
  • Hat: success in life
  • Heart: good things to come, such as money —if surrounded by dots—or marriage—if with a ring.
  • Horseshoe: success in choosing a partner; a lucky trip
  • Hourglass: imminent danger
  • House: business success
  • Kettle: death
  • Kite: a long trip leading to honor
  • Knife: disaster met through fighting and hatred
  • Ladder: travel
  • Letter, square of rectangular leaves: news; initials nearby signify the bearer of the news; dots with the letter means money, but if the image of the dots is cloudy, it means loss of money
  • Lines: journey, and the direction of the journey—when reading with nearby symbols; wavy lines mean difficult journeys; straight lines can also mean peace, happiness and a long life
  • Moon: happiness and success; a crescent moon means prosperity
  • Mountain: a powerful friend or, if many mountains, powerful enemies
  • Mushroom: a sudden separation of lovers following a fight
  • Owl: sickness, poverty, warning against starting a new business, deceit in love and other unlucky events
  • Pear: wealth, social status, possibly a financially beneficial business move or marriage
  • People: symbol varies with what they are doing, but the symbol of people is usually good
  • Pig: a faithful lover but jealous friends
  • Pine tree: contentment
  • Rabbit: success in a city
  • Rat: losses through enemies or employees
  • Reptiles: arguments
  • Ring: marriage; if a letter is nearby, it is the initial of the future spouse; if the ring is at the bottom, it means the marriage will not take place; if the ring is surrounded by clouds, it signifies an unhappy marriage
  • Saw: trouble coming from unfamiliar people
  • Scales, old-fashioned weight-measuring ones: a lawsuit
  • Scissors: arguments; a break-up; illness
  • Shark: danger of death
  • Sheep: prosperity and success
  • Ship: a successful journey
  • Snakes: a bad omen; take caution!
  • Squares: comfort and peace
  • Star: good luck; if surrounded by dots, wealth, and honor
  • Swan: good luck and a happy love life
  • Sword: arguments, especially between lovers; a broken sword means an enemy will win
  • Trees: good luck; prosperity and happiness; if surrounded by dots, fortune will be found in the country
  • Triangles: good luck or an unexpected inheritance
  • Umbrella: difficulty; annoyance
  • Unicorn: scandal
  • Wheel: inheritance
  • Worms: secret enemies

Placements of Tasseography Symbols

The placement of a tasseography symbol within the cup often changes its meaning, whether slightly or completely. Here are two examples of this:

  • A clover near the top of the cup means good luck will come soon, but the closer it gets to the bottom means the more distant the luck is.
  • A dog symbolizes good friends if near the top of the cup, unfaithful friends if near the middle and secret enemies if at the bottom.

How the symbols interact with other, nearby symbols can change their meanings, as well. For example, hands are interpreted in relation to what's near them, such as what they are pointing toward or reaching toward.

Also, the overall placement of symbols in the cup can change their meanings. Some readers divide the cup into sections to read with regard to the wish or question the reader has focused on for the reading. Here are a few methods of this:

  • Divide the cup into vertical halves (left and right), using the handle to the right as an anchor point. The symbols on the left side are potential negative outcomes, while the symbols on the right are potential positive outcomes.
  • Divide the cup in the same way, but use them to answer "yes" or "no" to the question of the querent.
  • Divide the cup into horizontal halves (top and bottom). The bottom half signifies the past and the top half signifies the future.