On Wednesday, July 21st, 2010, I attended a divination workshop at The Reiki Centre in Alliston, Ontario. It was led by Angel Lanthier, a local Raising Energy practitioner. She led an engaging workshop on different forms of divination. But more importantly, she gave us an opportunity to explore with Tarot cards, pendulums and tea leaves. Although I always enjoy Tarot activities regardless of the audience they’re geared towards, I really found the opportunity to play with tea leaf reading fascinating. As Angel explained it (and I am paraphrasing here), tea leaf reading explores the symbols that show up at the bottom of a tea cup after it has been drunk. It is helpful to have the ‘imbiber’ focus with intent on a pressing question or issue.
And I find this to be the key. Symbolism combined with intentional focus is also the key to working successfully with the Tarot. I find time and again that symbols, wherever they may be, emerge when and where we need them. The images in the remnants of tea are not meaningful by themselves but, when they draw on the symbolic knowledge locked away in our subconscious, they can be quite powerful. Symbols draw on our existing knowledge, be it individual or collective. Why did that bird at the bottom of a tea cup, in a cloud just over the horizon, in the folds and crevises of a crumpled piece of paper or in the background of the Rider-Waite-Smith Star card jump out at you today yet you missed it yesterday? Did you see it as a dove? Or perhaps a sparrow, an eagle, a pigeon or a vulture? Each of these birds brings significantly different associations to mind. Or why not just a meaningless smudge of tea at the bottom of a cup, wisps of water vapour against a clear blue backdrop or an insignificant image on the background of a printed card?
Food for thought: In what symbols can you find meaning today? When you see one, whether it’s the man who crossed your path who bears a striking resemblance to your late father, the way the dust bunnies you’re about to sweep up look a lot like an olive tree or the shape that colourful spilt liquid forms at the bottom of the Tarot card you just drew , take three breaths and ask yourself, ‘How can what I truly see in this moment be of assistance today? What is it that I need to know from what I’m seeing right now?’
I am hosting a Free Tarot Talk on Thursday, August 19th, from 7:00 – 8:30. It will be an open discussion. I will share some activities I learned at the Readers’ Studio 2010, talk briefly about my upcoming article but mostly give people a chance to play (so, as always, bring your deck if you have one) and ask/answer questions. Please RSVP at email@example.com or at 519-217-7243 if you have any questions or are planning on attending. Tea, coffee and snacks are provided. Although not required, a small donation to help cover the costs of refreshments is always appreciated.