tea leaf reading cup

Hello, friends, and welcome to the first week of March! You’ve made it so far into this challenge - give yourself a pat on the back. Out of the five weeks in March, we will be using four of them. The last week of March will be a break, meaning that there will be no new challenges that week. Use that week to take an actual break or use it to catch up on the challenges that you missed in the past months.

If you have a question, don’t hesitate to check the FAQ or to send an ask if you can’t find your answer! Make sure that you’re tagging your challenge posts with our tag - #2016 grimoire challenge. Adding a tag that denotes the challenge week is also particularly helpful if you want to see your post featured on the blog.

March begins our foray into herbalism. This first week lets us take stock of what we know, what we don’t know, and what we want to know. Remember to be smart about herbalism - do your research, learn what the potential risks are, and make smart choices. Remember that your first stop when you have a medical issue should be a doctor.

  • Monday
    • Journal Activity: Where do your interests lie with regards to herbalism? What are you hoping to get out of researching herbalism? Write down a few goals that you have for your learning about herbalism.
    • Research Activity: Find some reliable sources that you can use to reference during your journey into herbalism. What authors should you avoid? What authors are reliable? What websites can be used?
  • Tuesday
    • Divination Activity: Cast two different spreads with runes using two different techniques to answer one question you already know the answer to (or for a friend who has an answer in mind). How accurate was each casting? Is there anything with regards to casting technique that surprised you? 
    • Rune Activity: Reflect back on your use of runes after these few weeks. How can you further your use of runes? Will you use continue to use them in your practice? What can you do to increase your usage and knowledge of runes? Will you explore other runic systems?
  • Wednesday
    • Correspondence Activity: Using the list of local flora that you made previously, determine their application in herbalism.
    • Garden Activity: Are you interested in having a garden this year? Would an indoor or outdoor garden better suit your means/interests? What are some of the plants you’d be interested in growing? Find an almanac, plan a growing schedule. Nothing has to be set in stone yet, but figure out what works this year so you can apply it to future years. 
  • Thursday
    • Spell Activity: Choose a spell from your spell idea list and create it. 
    • Preparation Activity: Come up with a sort of “spell record” - or things that you will document after you cast a spell. This can be helpful for noticing patterns and tailoring your craft to fit you. 
  • Friday
    • Preparation Activity: Next week we’ll be starting tea leaf reading. Get your supplies ready - a cup, some loose leaf tea, and start researching tasseomancy. 
    • Sigil Activity: Do sigils play a part in your practice? Is there a specific way to make sigils that you prefer? How do you prefer to charge and activate sigils? Have you considered creating a system that is specific for your practice? If you’ve thought about creating a sigil system or if you’ve never thought about it – play around with the idea of it and if it’s something you’d be interested in, take those first steps. 

fig 1- a guide to reading tea leaves accompanied by a tea cup. 

TASSEOGRAPHY is a type of divination where a witch or wizard predicts one’s future by interpreting the tea leaves. Witches and wizards in the East read tea leaves centuries before Western witches and wizards.  Western magical folk often read splatters of wax, lead or another molten fortune telling medium, and tea was not regularly used as a fortune telling medium until the seventeenth century, when tea was introduced by Dutch traders. Tasseography is a method used mostly by witches, wizards and even muggles, all of whom are not seers. Instead, they predict the future by interpreting the symbols left in the tea cup. According to the textbook Unfogging the Future by Cassandra Vablatsky the method of reading tea leafs is as follows:

After a cup of tea has been poured, without using a tea strainer, the tea is drunk or poured away. The cup should then be shaken well and any remaining liquid drained off in the saucer. The diviner now looks at the pattern of tea leaves in the cup and allows the imagination to play around [with] the shapes suggested by them. They might look like a letter, a heart shape, or a ring. These shapes are then interpreted intuitively or by means of a fairly standard system of symbolism, such as: snake (enmity or falsehood), spade (good fortune through industry), mountain (journey of hindrance), or house (change, success). 

Divination is offered at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from third year on, and Tasseography plays a large role in the studies of every Divination student and master of Divination alike. 

graphic by ophelies, text from (x)

Ms. P. Merryweather, 26 August, 2014

Three women come in at about four in the afternoon looking for a tea leaf reading. They leave after Castiel breaks the third cup of tea in his hands, after a fire lights spontaneously in the fireplace and a crystal spins off of a string in the window and drives itself half an inch into the wall. He apologizes profusely; they pay half price and leave giggling, thanking him for a good show.

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