Home > Comfort, Culture, Family, Friendship, Life, Love, Tea > Who’s In Your Cup?

Who’s In Your Cup?

“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”    ~Joseph Addison

Tea. When I was growing up, there was one flavor, two brands: Lipton and Red Rose. Nowadays, there’s a thousand flavors and ten-thousand brands. My favorite is licorice root by Celebration. Tea. It was an afternoon staple in our home and when Tante Rita came over, it was an all-out party.

“Rita saw it in my tea-cup. I swear!”

That’s what my mom told my dad after Tante Rita read her tea leaves and saw that she was pregnant before they’d told anyone. My parents had agreed to keep it “secret” for a while but no sooner had they found out, than Rita saw the “stork” at the very top of my mom’s tea-cup.

Oh, Vera! You’re pregnant! How far along are you?

Rita also saw “the young man in uniform holding a gun”, which was my brother going into the military, well before he graduated high school. And she described a trip I would take to Ireland with my mom and sister about 10-years before it actually happened.

Tante Rita was one of my mom’s best girlfriends. They’d worked together as bookkeepers in the bank when mom was single. Rita never married or had children. Always smiling or laughing, Rita was tall, thin and had milky-white skin and a red-headed bee-hive hair-do. She was from Scotland and had a very heavy accent. A lovely woman who was loads of fun, Rita was more like an “aunt” to us, which is why we called her, Tante.

Rita read all of our tea-cups. It was something she learned how to do in Scotland as a child from her mother; something she taught my sister how to do when she noticed she had a natural knack for it. Tea leaf reading (or Tasseography) is the ancient practice of interpreting the patterns made by tea leaves left behind in a cup – usually a bone-china cup.

From the time I was seven-teen and just about to embark upon life’s journey out on my own, until nearly thirty, I had my tea–leaves read on a fairly regular basis. Throughout the years, Rita would see and describe people in my cup who would become very important to me. Not the everyday people in my life, but the people who would come into my life and change it.

When I was in high school she saw “the initial A, next to a young woman”, who turned out to be my college room-mate of four years and a life-long friend. In college, “the older, harsh and demanding man next to the letter M” that kept appearing, would be my boss for nearly seven years after I graduated.

Ten years after Rita first saw the “unusual two-diamond ring” accompanied by the “proposal from a dark-haired man I would work with”, I married the “dark-haired man beside the letter L” next to the ring and proposal. And there was always the “tall man in my cup standing next to the initial T”. He’s been seen at the bottom, which is further into the future, midway which is somewhat in the distance and occasionally, at the top. Sometimes his facial features and hair color would change but he’s always been there. I’ve never quite pin-pointed exactly who he is, although coincidentally, I’ve had two significant “Ts” cross my path over the years, both with different hair colors and facial features. Both appearing and disappearing in my life at the most unexpected of times.

Tante Rita passed-on many years ago now but I still go back and check my “notes” occasionally, remembering her fondly and cherishing our tea-times together. All those readings gave me hope, things to look forward to. Maybe it’s hog-wash. Maybe it’s self-fulfilling prophecy as I suppose in hindsight, anyone could easily make sense of, and make the words work, if  they wanted to but I’d rather believe that there really was something to this ancient art of future telling.

Now, here I am again, embarking upon a whole new chapter of my life, with the same sense of trepidation and excitement that I had when I was seven-teen, wondering what my future holds, wondering, what would Rita see in my cup today and who would be there?

I’d like to think she might see an owl, indicating I have a little more wisdom and confidence this time around. I’d like to believe my cup is filled with impressions of kindness, forgiveness and lots of hearts for love. And while I suspect Rita would find a little sadness at the top, a few tears even, I imagine the bottom of my cup to be hopeful, clear and wide open for all kinds of adventure and opportunity.

Yes, I’d like to think there really is something to the leaves left behind in a tea-cup.

So, the next time you have a cup of tea, leave a swallow at the end, turn the cup three times counter-clockwise and let it rest upside down on its saucer for a few seconds. When you pick it back up and peer inside, think about what you see and imagine what could be.

Who knows what the future holds?

Have you ever had your tea-cup read?

Photo Credit #1: Google Images

Photo Credit #2: Life in a teacup

Photo Credit #3: Croque-choux

Categories: Comfort, Culture, Family, Friendship, Life, Love, Tea Tags:
  1. Veronica
    July 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I want my tea leaves read…maybe mom can do it for me!


    • July 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm

      Don’t take “no” for an answer. She can do it!


      • Aimee
        July 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm

        I loved reading this because it brought back memories for me. She def knew how to read a good cup. Hey she saw me in ur life. She was spot On. If she read it now I’m sure she would predict much happiness coming your way. Miss and love you


  2. Anonymous
    July 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Karen, this bloc brought back so many good memories to me, l am amazed at your memory.,


  3. July 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Thanks, anonymous! (aka – mom)


  4. Anonymous
    July 14, 2011 at 1:28 am

    I have to comment! I just recently entered the world of blogging and have been trying to find more blogs to connect with. Here I was, getting ready to write my own entry tonight, while I was waiting for my TEA to steep! And, as I waited, I came across this post. I love what you wrote, and I will look forward to reading the others, as well. I certainly do not have a bone china cup to drink my tea out of, but I wonder if it will work in the plastic cup my daughter made me? 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!


  5. Kasey
    July 14, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Hmmm, okay, I did something wrong up there. I’m not anonymous, I’m Kasey, aka, singleworkingmomswm at WordPress.com!


  6. July 14, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Thanks so much for reading & commenting, Kasey! I look forward to reading your blog as well.


  7. Anonymous
    July 14, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    OMG!!!! I used to love when we had Tante Rita tea reading parties….I also forgot that Schmengie does it also – I am going to have to get her to dust off the tea cup and starting reading……Hope all is well Tante K – see you soon.


  8. July 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks, Aunt Donna!


  9. Deborah Robinson
    August 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Had a stork in my tea cup as clear as day even holding a bag on end of beak with love heart


  10. August 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Wow ~ recently? And?? Thanks, for reading Deborah!


  11. Jessika Dené Tarr
    September 3, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Your posts are all very inspiring! Thanks for sharing. Love the Alice in Wonderland illustration at the top of this one too. Now I want to go and draw…


  1. September 18, 2011 at 12:15 am

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