The Mystic Tea Room

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Sheet Music: "In a Little Gypsy Tea Room," from Tea Leaf Reading in Art

The Mystic Tea Room is dedicated to the traditional art of fortune telling by tea leaves, also known as tea leaf reading, cup reading, cup tossing, divination by tea leaves, tasseomancy, and tasseography.

Contents

Greetings

Hello, and welcome to The Mystic Tea Room.

This tasseomancy site has been online since 2007. It was converted from html to media-wiki in 2011 for increased ease of image categorization, and it now hosts about 450 illustrated pages on tea cups, the history and material culture of tea, tea rooms, and fortune telling by tea leaves. When fully built out, it will be home to at least 1,000 pages of curated tea cup and tea leaf divination tutorials, imagery, and history.

If you like tea, tea rooms, and tea leaf divination — this site is where to be. If you want to explore everything divination, check out our sister-site, Your Wate and Fate, where you can read and learn about divination by sortilege, wheels and spinners, palmistry, cartomancy, floriography, and astrology.

The Museum of Fortune Telling Tea Cups and Saucers

Thanks to my Patrons we opened six new public pages on August 21st, 2022 -- the Aynsley Cup of Fortune 2018 Commemorative Edition cups.
1950s-era Cup of Knowledge by Aynsley featuring a design of buttercups, from The Museum of Fortune Telling Tea Cups and Saucers.
Evangeline Day was a well-known syndicated radio and newspaper astrologer of the 20th century who patented two different astrology tea cups and saucers; this design dates from 1936, from Fortune Telling Tea Cup Design Patents.

The Museum of Fortune Telling Tea Cups and Saucers is dedicated to preserving and popularizing images of fortune telling cups and the traditional divinatory art of reading tea leaves (and coffee grounds) through the presentation of a virtual gallery in which are displayed and interpreted the many beautiful fortune telling teacups and saucers that have been created for the purpose of aiding tea leaf readers and fortune tellers in the practice of the tasseomantic art.

In the Museum, you will find detailed images of dozens of fortune teller's tea cups and saucers, patent drawings for a number of divination cups, brief historical overviews of the designers and manufacturers of fortune telling cups, and a selected bibliography of books and pamphlets about the occult and magical art of tea leaf reading.

Browse the Tea Cup Index by Name or the Tea Cup Index by Maker and click on the image of any tea cup and saucer set to see more pictures of that cup and saucer and read more about the set's history and how it was used for fortune telling.

Instructions in Tasseomancy

According to this 1907 Fred Lounsbury postcard, when tea leaves form an image of a Tree, it is an omen of good health, from Tea Leaf Symbols in Art.
Thanks to my Patrons we opened a new public page on January 7th, 2022 -- Your Fortune in a Tea-Cup Postcards.

Divination by means of tea leaf reading is a long-cherished form of domestic fortune telling. It may be performed at home for oneself, family, or friends, and there are also professional tea leaf readers who will brew a cup for you, allow you to drink it, and read your leaves for you. The information in my article on How To Read Tea Leaves will help you get started.

Tea Leaf Reading in Art

"Reading Tea Leaves" by Harry Roseland, 1910, from Harry Roseland's Fortune Teller Art.
Thanks to my Patrons we opened a new public page on July 28th, 2022 -- Vintage Tea Room Matchbook Covers.

The image of a female fortune teller reading tea leaves has, since the 19th century, been a subject of gallery art, popular commercial art, and cartooning. One prominent 19th and 20th century painter who produced many variations on this theme was Harry Roseland. If you like art, you may enjoy my essay on Roseland's art and the Cuban spirit known as La Madama -- it covers several types of African American divination in addition to cup reading.

While you're here, take a look at the artwork on some of the tea leaf reading and tea company ephemera i have come across in my own research on the subject of fortune telling by tea cups. Here you will find tea leaf reading as idealized and glorified in art.

The Material Culture of Tea Rooms

Blue Parrot Tea Room, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, interior, postcard front, linen era, from Vintage Tea Room Postcards.
Madame Evelyn reads tea leaves at the Spanish Court Tea Room, location unknown, newspaper advertisement. Tea Leaf readings free with meal, from Vintage Tea Room Business Cards.
Thanks to my Patrons, we opened a new page at The Mystic Tea Room on July 21st, 2022 -- Having Your Fortune Told At a Tea Room.
Thanks to my Patrons, we opened a new page at The Mystic Tea Room on February 28, 2022 -- The Year of Living Vicariously.
Thanks to my Patrons, we opened six new page at The Mystic Tea Room on August 2st, 2022. Find them all linked from their hub-page, Aynsley Cup of Fortune 2018 Commemorative Edition.
Thanks to my Patrons, on February 14th, 2022, four new Mystic Tea Room Pages went public. Find them all linked from their hub-page, Fairylite Foreign.

Reading tea leaves is a form of divination that is known for its many female practitioners, and therefore its history is also the history of women in society. One way to study history is to examine the material culture -- the objects and artifacts associated with a time or a place.

Here you can learn about the tea room movement and view a world-wide gallery of strange and curious tea rooms of the past, many of which were woman-run and quite a few of which offered a "free reading with every meal."

Tea Cultivation and Tea Companies

In order to read tea leaves, we must first have tea. The cups are covered in The Museum of Fortune Telling Tea Cups and Saucers, but the tea itself enters those beautiful cups as a product of cultivation, export and import, packaging, and advertisement.

Bibliography of Books about Tasseomancy

If collecting books is your passion, you may enjoy our Bibliography of Books about Tasseomancy. It will never be complete -- and we look forward to suggestions and contributions of information from our readers.

The bibliography is accompanied by cover images of rare books and pamphlets on tea leaf reading from times gone by, as well as by my own annotations about the contents of the books and their authors.

The Mystic Tea Room on Social Media

As the Mystic Tea Room has grown, so has its community of fans, friends, and followers. If you love this site and have questions or something to contribute, we invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, We post new items every week

Support the Mystic Tea Room

Support me on Patreon! "From the Land of Tea" allows my Patreon subscribers to access bonus articles and scans about tea leaf reading and tea room culture for a small monthly donation.
The Mystic Tea Room is entirely funded by sales of fortune telling tea cups and the tasseomancy instruction book "The Stranger in the Cup: How to Read Your Luck and Fate in the Tea Leaves" by Gregory Lee White and catherine yronwode. Nine dollars (plus shipping) will help support this project and get you a copy of "The Stranger in the Cup" from The Mystic Tea Room Gift Shop. Read all about the book, and order it here: [1].
November 14, 2021 Patreon page announcement.
November 28, 2021 Patreon page announcement.
May 28, 2022 Patreon page announcement.
June 14, 2022 Patreon page announcement.
June 21, 2022 Patreon page announcement.
August 14, 2022 Patreon page announcement.

All of the material you have access to here -- the fabulous tea cups, the instructive booklets, the nostalgic postcards, the boldly graphic matchbook covers, and all of the historical information researched and shared from the mind of the woman who is making it all happen -- can easily fit into one 8 x 10 foot room in an old Victorian farmhouse, but you would never see it without the investment of the time it takes to produce such a site and the caloric input such a site requires in the form of food for the writer, graphic designer, and database manager, as well as the US currency needed to pay for the computers, software applications, scanners, electricity, and internet connectivity that bring it out of that little room and into the world. So, as you can see, this site is the darling of many, and it is growing at a rapid rate ... but although it is "free," there also is a cost. Your financial support underwrites this cost. Here is how you can help.

  • The Mystic Tea Room Gift Shop: In addition to our function as an online archive of tasseography and tea room culture, The Mystic Tea Room also maintains a small Gift Shop, where unusual, antique, vintage, modern, contemporary, and one-of-a-kind fortune telling tea cups and saucers -- and their accompanying tasseomancy booklets, pamphlets, and instruction sheets -- are for sale. Here you can purchase "The Stranger in the Cup: How to Read Your Luck and Fate in the Tea Leaves" by Gregory Lee White and catherine yronwode. Read all about the book, and order it online here.
  • Patreon advance web pages. Patrons will have private access to web pages one year before they are made available to the public, at the rate of four new web pages per month, distributed at weekly intervals. These web pages fall into a series of interconnected topics or streams of thought. At present the streams which my Patrons will be able to access for a small monthly donation are as follows:
  • "From the Land of Tea: The Material Culture of Tea and Tea Leaf Reading"

An adjunct to my tasseomancy site, [http:mystictearoom.com The Mystic Tea Room]. Articles posted: January 7th, 2021; February 14th, 2021; February 28th, 2021; July 21st, 2021.

Documenting the material culture of unusual fortune telling methods. Articles posted: January 14th, 2021; January 28th, 2021, February 21st, 2021; March 14th, 2021; March 21st, 2021.

  • "The Southern Cross the Yellow Dog"

Annotated historical articles on 19th and 20th century hoodoo, an adjunct to my "Southern Spirits" site. Articles posted: January 21st , 2021.

  • "Leaves from the Root Doctor's garden"

Annotated historical articles on 19th and 20th century herbalism, an adjunct to my "Herb Magic" site. Articles posted: January 21st , 2021; February 7th, 2021, March 7th, 2021.

  • "Down-Home Sex Magic: Spells of Bodily Love"

Sample pdf chapters from my upcoming book of the same name. Articles posted: March 28th, 2021; April 7th, 2021; April 14th, 2021; April 21st 2021; April 28th, 2021; May 7th, 2021; May 14th, 2021; May 21st 2021; May 28th, 2021; June 7th, 2021.

  • "Terrors of the Evil Eye Exposed"

Sample pdf chapters from my collaboration with Jeremy Weiss on the restoration and revision of the book of the same name by Henri Gamache (Anne Flietman). Articles posted: March 28th, 2021; April 7th, 2021; April 14th, 2021; April 21st 2021; April 28th, 2021; May 7th, 2021; May 14th, 2021; May 21st 2021; May 28th, 2021; June 7th, 2021.

  • "How to Use Amulets, Chams, and Talismans in the Hoodoo and Conjure Tradition"

Sample pdf chapters from my collaboration on the book of the same name with Gregpry Lee White. Articles posted: March 28th, 2021; April 7th, 2021; April 14th, 2021; April 21st 2021; April 28th, 2021; May 7th, 2021; May 14th, 2021; May 21st 2021; May 28th, 2021; June 7th, 2021.

  • "A Hoodoo Hand"

Research pages to eventually be added to my free online book "Hoodoo in Theory and Practice"

  • "The Lucky W Amulet Archive"

An illustrated and annotated tour of my collection of lucky charms.

  • "Fit to Print"

Sample columns from my days in comic book land.

Each new web page or sample pdf is circulated to Patrons as an unpublished galley proof or advance copy. After one year access for Patrons, each web page will be released to the public, while book pages will be available to the public as printed books, and copies will be sent to Patrons who subscribe at the upper two tiers.

Patrons have access to a Private Patreon sub-forum within the Lucky Mojo Forum, and will be accorded special Red Star Avatar badges at the Forum.

Here are the tiers i have devised at Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/catherineyronwode

The Sampler
$2.00 Per Month

  • Preview access to ONE new web page per month; the web page release will be held one year before public viewing.
  • Access to my Patrons-Only Private Sub-Forum at the Lucky Mojo Forum where we can chat.
  • A special Red Star Patron badge at the Public and Private Lucky Mojo Forums.

The Selector
$4.00 Per Month

  • Preview access to TWO new web pages per month; the web page release will be held one year before public viewing.
  • Access to my Patrons-Only Private Sub-Forum at the Lucky Mojo Forum where we can chat.
  • A special Red Star Patron badge at the Public and Private Lucky Mojo Forums.

The Reader
$8.00 Per Month

  • Preview access to FOUR new web pages per month; the web page release will be held one year before public viewing.
  • Access to my Patrons-Only Private Sub-Forum at the Lucky Mojo Forum where we can chat.
  • A special Red Star Patron badge at the Public and Private Lucky Mojo Forums.

The Bibliophile
$24.00 Per Month

  • Preview access to FOUR new web pages per month; the web page release will be held one year before public viewing.
  • Access to my Patrons-Only Private Sub-Forum at the Lucky Mojo Forum where we can chat.
  • A special Red Star Patron badge at the Public and Private Lucky Mojo Forums.
  • A signed copy of a 96-page book on folk magic or divination that i have authored, co-authored, or edited.

The Collector
$48.00 Per Month

  • Preview access to FOUR new web pages per month; the web page release will be held one year before public viewing.
  • Access to my Patrons-Only Private Sub-Forum at the Lucky Mojo Forum where we can chat.
  • A special Red Star Patron badge at the Public and Private Lucky Mojo Forums.
  • A signed copy of a 96-page book on folk magic or divination that i have authored, co-authored, or edited.
  • An envelope containing rare vintage paper or cloth ephemera from my personal collection, with a hand-written card explaining its provenance, significance, and how i came to have duplicate copies so i can send one to you.

The Ephemerist
$64.00 Per Month

  • Preview access to FOUR new web pages per month; the web page release will be held one year before public viewing.
  • Access to my Patrons-Only Private Sub-Forum at the Lucky Mojo Forum where we can chat.
  • A special Red Star Patron badge at the Public and Private Lucky Mojo Forums.
  • A signed copy of a 96-page book on folk magic or divination that i have authored, co-authored, or edited.
  • An envelope containing rare vintage paper or cloth ephemera from my personal collection, with a hand-written card explaining its provenance, significance, and how i came to have duplicate copies so i can send one to you.
  • A lovingly curated box of vintage porcelain, glass, or metal ephemera from my personal collection, with a hand-written card explaining its provenance, significance, and how i came to have duplicate copies so i can send one to you.

With 32 different 96-page books in stock, i can continue to send books to faithful Patrons for not quite three years -- by which time there should be a few more books, extending that offer to a full three years. I have a ton of excess ephemera such as rare old 1930s hoodoo labels, fantastic excess china ware, and God knows what-all that i would love to send to other ephemerists. I often used to make entire store buyouts. So i have enough amazingly cool stuff to send random vintage presents to hundreds of Patrons for the rest of my life.

To sign up, go to my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/catherineyronwode

Surprise!

And, finally, some off-topic pages are here:

Thanks

Thank you for seeking us out,

catherine yronwode
curator, historian, and docent
The Mystic Tea Room

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