Tea Leaves and Tarot

One thing that has always interested me is the Victorian and early 20th-century fascination with the occult. I’m not talking about really serious ritual, or the Pagan revivals, but instead the interest people took in fortune-telling, divination, scrying, and other occult arts. As a spiritual-but-not-religious person, I’ve dabbled in plenty of these arts, both with and without ritual, but I love the aesthetics of tarot.

RWS_Tarot_00_FoolI have a Radiant Rider Waite deck that I’ve used for several years. It’s strange to say, since they are ultimately inanimate objects, but I feel like the deck and I have an affinity. I’ve consulted my cards as a way to focus my mind when I’m dealing with stressful situations, and the cards have seen me through plenty of crises. I had fallen out of the habit of reading the cards, likely because of the upheaval of moving around a lot, but I’ve settled back in and enjoy consulting my deck. I know a couple complicated spreads, but I love to read three-card spreads on a daily basis.

Each morning, while I sip something warm, I sit on my oriental carpet and shuffle my deck. I cut the deck and deal out three cards. The first tells me where I am, the second where I am going, and the third how I will get there. It’s a nice way to focus my mind and plan my day. I still don’t have the cards completely memorized, and as such, have not ever read for anyone besides myself. I still consider myself very much a novice. But the practice is soothing.

Beyond the cards, I will sometimes pour out the leaves in the bottom of my tea pot and read those. Tassomancy is a very cottage-magic feeling practice and fits in nicely with the herb lore and folk magic towards which I feel an affinity. Like baking bread at Lammas, it’s a gentle way to celebrate nature-based spirituality, and one that is steeped in tradition (pun intended!).

With my cards and my leaves, and the occasional glance at a horoscope or lunar chart, I make my way through life, feeling just a little bit more connected both to the spiritual world, and the history and tradition that unpins it.

(image source)