Because tea leaves are clumpy and nebulous -- in fact, interpreting them is very much like cloud gazing -- a variety of shapes may be interpreted within the same image, based on who is looking at them.
Where you're going, where you've been:
How you define tea leaf reading images
In the film Forrest Gump (a personal favorite for my husband and me), the title character says -- and illustrates -- how you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes.
Even if you've kicked off your shoes to sip your tea and engage in a tea leaf reading, the influence of where you're going and where you've been remains strong.
Buy me a boat
The gentleman I read the tea cup for that is featured throughout this blog interpreted this image as a pirate ship when we visited on Jan 17.
We both saw a boat, but as I read, I interpreted the sails as crossed torches or wands, conveying two of his interests coming together.
A boat held strong meaning for him, regarding his dreams of wealth. He said that "Buy Me a Boat" was a song he uses to help him focus on his financial desires.
A witch on a broomstick
Another tarot reader, Alice Janell, often responds to my Instagram posts asking for followers to share their ideas of what they see in tea leaves.
Here's what she wrote to me when I asked why she saw a witch on a broomstick in the same collection of leaves:
A fat rhino
Another intuitive reader who I know through Instagram said she saw a "really cute fat little rhino running".
When asked to elaborate, Sara, of SaraMysticForest.com said:
Interestingly enough, the gentleman who I read these leaves for had a stepdaughter with him who lovingly embraced his neck and sat on his lap during the beginning of the reading. She was wearing a little stone rhino on a necklace.
A wider scope
A friend of mine who I met as an undergrad at Metropolitan State University of Denver, who now works as a Doterra wellness advocate, commented with images she spotted on the edges of the original photo I shared.
She saw a frog on the bottom of the picture, and the face of David Bowie at the top, though she pointed out that his lightening makeup was inverted.
Frogs and faces: How to interpret your tea cup
When I asked my friend Kellie why she thought she saw the frog and the musician's face, she said she didn't know. "They were just there looking at me."
And that is probably the best description of how tea leaves work. I've seen other friends and fellow seekers (at Shaheen Miro's Gypsy Tea Party, for example) remark over their tea cups, "It's this! It's that!" and their next challenge is taking what they see and applying meaning.
Examples of how to do this can be found in other "Tea and Imagination" blog posts.
When Kellie first shared her findings, one of the traditional interpretations of the frog symbol felt like an easy fit.
Frogs often signify fertility and she is the grateful expectant mother of her fifth child. It's still very early, so she can't feel the little one kicking, but she said that "this baby is kicking my tail" when we chatted privately. Frogs are known for their kicking skills.
Amphibians are also adaptable, and few things in life compare to the adaptability you must have when becoming a parent.
When you see a face, and can identify who it is, that can be a projection of you as a seeker, and your interests.
The specificity of David Bowie appearing in Kellie's impression of the leaves, on the surface, can be attributed to recent headlines. This photo went around my Facebook page on Jan 19, nine days after his death from Cancer.
Subconsciously, his appearance, likened to the "Aladdin Sane" album cover, speaks to Kellie's perception of herself as a creator. She blends family with her professional career and her friendships, as Bowie himself innovated sound and lyrics.
What do you see?
Please share your comments on what you see in this glimpse of tea leaf reading.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, as well, on any tea leaf reading memories you have.
From frog interpretation to a double blog hop! I'll be posting two blogs on Feb 4. One addresses tarot as a tool for creating a manifestation ritual for romancing the universe. The other one will look at tarot for better relationships.
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Thanks for the read.
Tabitha Dial is a tarot, tea leaf reader, and creative mentor in Lexington, Kentucky. She facilitates the Create your Fate (Tarot and more) Meetup and teaches seminars at the Mystical Paranormal Fair once a month. Her poetry has appeared in articles on SpiralNature.com, in "Arcana: The Tarot Poetry Anthology", and in "Tarot in Culture" Volume Two.