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Reading Tea Leaves

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Tasseography: The Art of Reading Tea Leaves

Tasseography is the practice of reading tea leaves with a goal to derive deeper meanings.  These meanings could be of a fortune-telling nature, but I’m more inclined to read the leaves for the purpose of broadening perspective or confirming intuition.

Tasseography was initiated and mastered by the Chinese who have held a deep reverence for tea and its life-affirming qualities for centuries.  Coffee grounds and wine remnants can also be interpreted, and these practices also fall under the heading of tasseography.

This article offers a few tips on reading tea leaves as was passed on to me by one of my teachers.

Choosing a Tea:

Choose a tea of choice.  Black, green, herbal – it makes no difference.  Whichever you prefer.  Choose a loose tea for optimal results (I love oolong, rolled or cut – makes great designs in the cup).  If you don’t have loose tea, you can cut open a bagged tea.

Brewing the Tea:

Put your loose tea in a small teapot.  Fill the pot with water and put to a boil.  Swirl your teapot a bit (think of your question as you do so) to kick up the loose tea and then pour out the tea in your cup being careful not to burn yourself.  Note: Use a teacup with a handle.

Settling the Sediment:

1)  Enjoy drinking your tea.  As you do so, think about a question you want clarification on.

2)  When you are almost done, swirl the last little bit of liquid and tea remnants three times:  Clockwise if you need clarity on future events, counterclockwise if you need clarification on past events.

3)  As you are swirling think upon the issue/question  you are seeking guidance about.

4)  Place your teacup rim-down on the saucer to empty out the last bit of liquid remaining.

The sediment left in your cup is what you will read.

Reading the Tea Leaves:

The Chinese have a whole dictionary of tea-leaf-shapes and meanings.  These reference guides are filled with hundreds of potential symbols that may be interpreted from remnant tea leaves.  You can certainly use reference books (there are several books on the market, or you could go to your library).  However, my teacher encouraged the use of self-determination and imagination to interpret leaves.

There are a few ground rules however.  Your teacup will serve as a guide in your tea leaf interpretation.  Specifically, the position of the handle on your teacup in relation to the tea leaves will help you determine the timing of your oracle (past or future).  The cup will also help to determine if your oracle is referencing you, or other people – consciousness or unconsciousness.

Here are some diagrams to illustrate what I’m talking about:

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When you are contemplating the arrangement of tea leaves, and they are mostly flowing to the left half of the teacup (according to the left-pointing handle) then you are dealing with past issues.

Alternatively, if most of your leaves are arranged on the right half of the cup (according to the handle), then you are dealing with the future.
How you turn the cup handle will be determined by your intuition.  You will see, during the practice of tasseography, the leaves will convene naturally to make a coherent design.  That design will look differently according to how you turn the cup.

The tea leaf design will look more coherent and take on a real shape depending upon which direction you’re turning the cup.

The last illustration on this page will explain this more fully.
In the same way, you can determine if the tea leaves are offering an oracle about yourself or about others.

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Likewise, your leaves can tell you if your question/issue is rooted in your conscious awareness, or buried in  your subconscious.

So how do we read the actual leaves? 

Turn your cup around to get the best view of your tea leaves.  You will notice that turned in different directions, there will be no discernable feature.  Yet turn the cup in a different direction, and you may be able to make out a clear figure.

Take this image (left) for example.  When I turned the cup clockwise (with the handle facing left), my intuition could not make out any definitions.

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However, when I turned the cup the other way (handle facing east/right) then I could clearly see a rabbit leaping about.

Can you see the rabbit?

You will have to move the cup (not the remnants, that cheating) around and your intuition will tell you which position offers the clearest tea-leaf-symbol.

Once you define a specific symbol in your leaves, allow your intuition to provide the answers.  My tea leaves form a rabbit, so I ask my intuition “What does the rabbit mean to me? How does it relate to my life?”

Rabbits, in my training symbolize fertility.  And, as I’m not having babies any time soon, that means my future is filled with a different kind of fertility.  I could interpret this as: “New creative ideas will be born in my future.”

Keep it simple.  Let your intuitive vision fall on very simple symbols. Then allow your basic reasoning skills to understand what that symbol means to you, and how it applies to your life experience.

And don’t forget the most important rule: Have fun and enjoy yourself during the process.

I hope you have enjoyed these thoughts on tasseography as a means for clarification.

Wishing you happiness while reading tea leaves,

Avia

Rain, Rain Go Away. Folk Predictions of Rain and Storms


Folk Predictions of Rain and Storms

It’s that time of year again. Spring is pushing into our lives, stomping her foot down on Winter.

Spring can be a crazy-unpredictable time. It has to do with the transitional nature of the season. Winter and Summer tend to take command of their time in the year. Spring and Autumn, however, are all about shifts and changes. For more symbolic seasonal insights click here.

So Spring is springing (in the Northern hemisphere). That means rain. It can also mean big honking storms.

Now, I’m a huge fan of rain. It’s symbolic of neat stuff like:

  • Healing
  • Renewal
  • Cleansing
  • Emotional Rebirth
  • Gifts from the Heavens

All good things, right? Indeed, rain is a super-keen meteorological event. Without it, we’d all be in a world of hurt. From replenishing vital water tables, to insuring food on our tables – we owe a lot of appreciation to the rain spirits.

But sometimes Mother Nature can go bonkers. Whatever the reason, sometimes Madame Nature takes those life-giving raindrops and transforms them into bullets of destruction in the form of a storm. You’ve heard it said “Into every life some rain must fall”. Well, same is true with storms. Both literal and metaphorical storms happen. To all of us.

So what? Nothing we can do about it, right? Wellll, I wouldn’t be so committed to that view.

I grew up with a friend whose mother was a walking encyclopedia of folk wisdom and medicine. She had hundreds of ways of predicting the weather. She also had equal amount of ways in thwarting bad weather.

Did her methods for shooing away storms work? I can’t say for sure. But I do know her prediction skills were better than the weatherman on TV!

Whether you believe in folk methods for weather prediction and prevention or not – sometimes it’s fun to entertain the ideas.

The following are some old folk tips on predicting rain, as well as ways to dissuade storms ruining your Sunday picnic.

Folk Ways to Predict Rain and Storms

Turning over a new leaf:
When leaves begin to turn over, it’s often a sign of upcoming rain or storms. I’ve written about this phenomenon on a symbolic level here: Turning Over a New Leaf – It’s Symbolic.

Pitter pat, check out the cat:
When cats rub behind their ears during a cat-bath, rain is on its way.

Down came the rain and washed the spider out:
Spiders are predictors of many things in folk lore. Spiders ducking for cover and seeking shelter is a sign of rain or storms.

Oh! My achy breaky bones!:
Perhaps the very best barometer of rains a’coming is aching bodies. I know it certainly works for me. So pay attention to those cranky corns on your feet, creaky bones and stiff joints – it could mean impending rain storms.

Folk Ways to Prevent Storms

Pass the salt, please:
Sprinkling salt on a ceremonial fire is thought to thwart torrential storms in the Spring.

X marks the spot:
Appalachian lore says marking an X on windows with your right index finger protects the home from storm damage.

More bark than bite:
Find a piece of bark from a tree that’s been hit by lightning. Folk tales say keeping this tree bark will protect you from lightning and ill effects of a bad storm.

Get stoned:
No. Not like that! Striking two stones together sends a message to the thunder and storm spirits. One stone must be black, the other white. If you’re about to be caught in a storm outside, strike these two stones together until you are safely under cover – it’s said to protect you from storm damage.


All superstitions aside, deluges of rain and epic storms are nothing to snicker at. It’s up to you whether you want to employ any of these folk tactics to predict or avoid weather threats. Admittedly, I find myself doing some of these things out of habit. I remember my old friend employing her folk remedies and predictions – and I guess they rubbed off on me over time.

Belief is a big ingredient in any method of honoring rain and storms. Symbolism certainly plays its part too. While the folk ways offer nostalgia, I still find the best tact is a path of respect. For example, tap into the symbolic meaning of rain. Once we’re familiar with the deeper meaning of rain and storms, we tend to connect with it. We may even auger a sense of honor and respect for it. I certainly do. In that same vein, I practice a simple ceremony. Just a closing of the eyes and uttering words of honor and gratitude for Mother Nature and the nourishment she provides. I also pay respect to Her power in the form of storms. All that said, I ask for the very best outcome for all involved. Then I sprinkle salt on the fire, X my windows and put Ben-Gay on my poor knees. LOL!

I hope you found this post on folk predictions of rain enjoyable. Maybe it will come in handy. Maybe not. Either way, I’d like to think you came away with a little laugh and a renewed respect for Mother Nature.

As always, thanks for reading!

Mightily Brightly,

Avia

If you liked this post, be sure to check out related articles here:

Spinach and First Dates

FirstDates

A dear friend of mine is dating, and that got me thinking about my own dating experiences.  She’s feeling the bloom of new romance. From first date to current, she’s reveling in that intoxicating experience of getting to know someone.  I’m utterly thrilled for her!

My friend is classy, eloquent and highly impressive.  It sounds like her new beau is her equal on all counts. Rock on!

I wish I could say the same for myself.  I’ve got a fabulously awesome partner right now…but that wasn’t always the case.

To explain…I’m not the most orthodox gal.  I’m wired a little funky, and I don’t comply to society’s idea of femininity.

I could write a book about the epic failures I’ve had on first dates (or consecutive failed dates, for that matter).

I’ll suffice to just share this one…

Meet Ben.  Accountant.  Shy.  Well-meaning guy. A good guy.  Really trying hard to make an impression, but we both know within the first hour we’re not really a smart match.  We even admit it to each other!

As Ben relaxes a little, and the pressure is off (because we both know a 2nd date is out of the question), he asks me:

“So…Avia, if you were to describe yourself in under 5 minutes with total, brutal honesty…what would you say?”

This is not the question to ask a ridiculously honest Sagittarius who has had a few Lowenbrau’s on a date.  So I asked Ben, “Are you sure you want the low-down?”  He said, “Absolutely”, with a sly grin.

And this is what I said…

“Photographic memory.  Attended 4 prestigious colleges.  Kicked out of 3.  Earned a degree at the college that didn’t give me the boot.

Don’t always follow the rules, but know how to conjugate a verb, and how to avoid dangling participles.

Multi-Lingual in HTML, XHTML, CSS, SEO, and not too shabby at Spanish.  Pretty sure I could get around in Italy too.

French horn player for 15 years. 3 of those years as a pro, and sat as an alternate for a major metropolitan symphony.

Refuse to drive an automatic.  Jeep driver, always with a standard.  Drove a 18-wheeler too.

Clocked 80,000 miles on a Harley Softail.  Super fun.

Put a few people through school.  Donated thousands to charity. Support my local SPCA.

Been 250 pounds with a fantastic stuttering problem, compounded by an ugly skin condition and chained to an asthma inhaler.  Conquered all that in my 30s.

A product of two amazing parents who are still well-respected and completely awesome.”

There might have been more I divulged to Ben, but I remember keeping it under 5 minutes.

At the end of my deluge, all Ben had to say was this…

That’s all well and good, but you have a big piece of spinach between your front teeth.

Isn’t that nice!?!?

This brings me to the point of this post…

Was I bragging to Ben?  Am I bragging to you?  Yeah…maybe I was, and maybe I am.

But the Universe has a funny way of bringing us down a notch.

It’s fabulous to be aware and proud of our remarkable achievements through our lifetime.  But my experience has taught me not pull out the braggadocio to the enth degree.  Lest we get caught bragging with spinach in our teeth! LOL!

Mostly, I want this post to remind all of us that it’s not what we say about our achievements….it’s what we do with them.  I’ve learned to live as an example…not just talk about stuff I’ve done.

Being a mentor,  an illustration of the best action is the most effective tact in showing others what we’re made of, in my opinion.

Just thinkin’.

xo

PS:  And learning how to laugh at ourselves is a major plus. (see image above).  ;)

FYI:  Ben and I still keep in touch via pen-pal.  He’s a great guy.

 

 

 

 

 

Picking Off the Labels…(a right-good rant)…

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The only thing I have ever run away from in life is labeling. I have this neurotic aversion to being labeled, judged or pegged into a constricted personality-type.

It’s the terror of being pigeon-holed that keeps me running like Roger Bannister away from labels. Slap one on…and what if it won’t come off???

This is why ‘branding’ in the world of marketing is a challenge for me. I just don’t fit.  I suspect many of you don’t fit either…and that is a VERY good thing.

Thankfully, you and I  have far greater forces working for us than the powers of PR. ;)

We have Divine Design on our side.  We have the variability of the Universe working on behalf of our uniqueness.  Our world, our galaxy, our lives….these are all highly diverse.  I say so diverse that labeling and square-pegging is neigh-on impossible.

How can you contain something so monumentally awesome as…let’s say….the Andes mountains, or the Grand Canyon, or the intricacies you experience with your children, or a bit of basil seed thrusting itself out of the soil to reach the sun?  There are so many colorful threads in our lives – it’s just plain silly to water-down our experiences with stupid labels and stereotypes.

If you haven’t guessed by now…I’m on a right-good rant.  I’m pretty gosh-darned sick of stereotypes, conformity, and what “should be”.   I say we should be who we are without compromise.

Of course, my practical side will admonish acting out in unhealthy ways.  I mean….we do live in a society, and that entails living within certain parameters.

Perhaps we might all aspire to be wildly special in an effort to uplift humankind.  Meaning….what if we strived to be unique and special with a goal to help our community, our society, our Mother Earth?

We’ve all run into people who behave weirdly for the sake of being weird.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that…but what is the purpose?  I’m suggesting we take our diverse, beautiful perspectives and apply them to the world-at-large.  Let’s gather up our quirkiness.  Let’s gather up our weirdness’s.  Let’s take all our odd ways and channel them into a focused beam of delight that pours out in our families, our communities, our social circles, our work-places.

I say to heck with labels.  None of us are capable of being fitted with a trite definition.  We’re not soup cans, for crying out loud.  We’re not a list of ingredients, or a tally of calories.

We are human.  We are massive.  I’ll go so far and say we are beyond our capacity to understand our potential.

I’m a big fan of the human potential movement.  I think all of us (self included) are far more capable of moving beyond the mundane than we realize.

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What’s my point to all this?  As always…I have bullet points to summarize (just love those bullet points!):

    • Do not cow-tow to a label.  Just because a parent, a friend or someone you respect dubbed you as this, that or the other – it does NOT imply the truth.  The truth is – you are infinite.  You are pure potential.  You are worthy.  You are a freaking rocket of expression.  Launch out of those stupid labels.  You are NOT what people define you as.  You are what YOU dream yourself to be.  Remember that.  Embrace that.

 

    • Your unorthodoxy is an asset. Don’t allow anyone to tell you different.  My friend’s Aunt Thelma crafts blankets out of cat hair.  I think that is weird, but very awesome.  Those blankets are so warm and fluffy!  Is it proper?  Is it conventional?  Perhaps not.  But Aunt Thelma provides warmth to the Senior Center in Wisconsin, and I tell you – those folks love her cat-hair blankets!  It’s the thought involved.  It’s the ingenuity.  It’s the love and care in what we do that counts.  Be brave in your uniqueness.  Dare to give.  Dare to love.  Dare to be different.

 

    • If you think no one understands you…then accept that, because you’re probably right.  You don’t need the understanding of others to be your exquisitely awesome self.  All you need is belief in yourself.  I tell you – the kindling of your own soul is the only fuel you need to stand out an make a difference.

 

    • Okay…so maybe you have problems.  Goodness knows I have problems too.  They are not insurmountable.  In fact, many of our problems provide a fabulous platform for extraordinary growth, healing and perspective.  When we stretch our imaginations to make our problems assets – that’s the real deal.  It’s uncanny how our conflict can work in our favor.  Don’t down-trod yourself if you have an affliction.  Rather, try to turn that negative into a positive.  Just ponder it.  You might be surprised how a perceived handicap can evolve into a major benefit to you, your community and beyond.

 

    • Never get pegged.  I think the foremost irritation for me is observing media, and seeing all the “follow the leader” baloney.   I don’t think humans were meant to follow.  We are brilliant creations.  We are the utmost in terms of ability, potential and creativity.  Seeing my fellow man following the heard just grinds me.  We are so much more than what society deems us.  We are capable of so much.  It’s those stupid pegs that get us in a rut of disbelief about our ability.  Don’t get pegged!

 

Well, my friends, I don’t know if you feel better after this rant, but I certainly do.

Thank you for allowing me this space to spew out my frustration.  And thank you for your open-mindedness….to read and discern the real truth I hoped to convey.

In the end…just be YOU!  There is no one alive on this planet  like you.  The world needs you.  Your unusualness, your difference, your special view – we all need you.

As always, bright blessings,

Avia

 

 

 

Symbolic Icicle Meanings

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Symbolism of Icicle Meanings

For me, everything casts a glimmer of symbolic meaning, and icicles are no different. When I see them hanging off my house, in my dreams or visions I get very distinct and symbolic impressions. These impressions reveal deeper meaning and allow me to form a symbolic narrative – a story that expresses meaning through metaphor.

Some of these impressions are quite personal. For example, years ago, I served as a ‘big sister’ to Margaret, a little sprite of a girl who had trouble pronouncing the word ‘icicle.’ Every time she said the word it came out sounding like ‘ice-giggle.’ How endearing! To this day, I call them ice-giggles because icicles convey a kind of crystal-joy for me, and remind me of Margaret and her cheerful nature.

In esoteric symbolism, icicles share common symbolic threads with water. Water is esoterically symbolic of emotion, intuition, fluidity and moving in sync with the currents of life.

In a frozen state, water takes on a stoic or suspended personality. This prompts me to consider icicles as a message of stepping back from potentially torrential emotions. In other words, icicles are a reminder to be still, and channel our emotional floodgates into a more manageable flow.

Consider your own emotional status. Instead of stewing in a pool of emotional chaos, icicles convey a need to slow down, cool off, hang out, and reduce emotional flooding down to a more manageable drip-drop pace.

Speaking of pace, my predominant symbolic assessment of icicles deals with time. When I see them lumbering along frosty ledges and sills, I’m struck by the evolutionary progress of time, the seasons, and the revolutions of our world.

In fact, icicles (for me) conjure a visual likeness to hourglasses. And just like an hourglass gradually passes time with every grain of sand, so too do icicles count the passage time with every melty drop they emit from their bodies. Interestingly, the hourglass is a sacred symbol for Temperantia, the Roman goddess of moderation and balance. This round-a-bout way of symbolic connection prompts us to employ temperance when dealing with our emotions.

From a time-focused (hourglass) perspective, icicles count down the transition from winter to spring. This is an important metaphor. We all get ‘stuck’ sometimes, frozen in our own fears or indecision. This kind of stuck-ness is akin to the winter of our discontent, and incorporating the idea of icicles melting through our frozen stupor can reassure us that ‘this too shall pass.’

So, the next time you feel seized or frozen in life, consider the nature of the icicle: Wise in the way of transition, and a reminder that the tide of life always turns, and a message of balance. Contemplate each soft drop falling from the tip of the icicle as another step in the direction towards the spring-time of our lives.

May all your ice-giggles melt into warm smiles and bright laughter. :)

If you enjoyed this post on symbolic icicle meanings, check out a few of my other symbolic insights:

Symbolism of Water

Symbolism of the Seasons

Undine Meanings (elementals of water)

Meaning of Death and Loss

 

Animal Wisdom

AnimalWisdom

This is Suki.  She knows stuff.

In some ways, she’s as dumb as a bag of hammers.  I don’t begrudge her that, because in some ways, I am too.

But she knows.   She knows stuff that’s important.  She knows about mothering (she’s mamma to Buster…if you follow me on Facebook, you know who that is).

In fact, she knew about how to give birth to five kittens (including Buster Boy) at the perfect time.

Well…it was perfect for her.  It was not so perfect for me.  She popped her kits out on my couch while sitting next to me.  One minute I’m watching Food Network on TV…the next minute Suki is spewing out all manner of eewwy-gooey stuff (yes, that’s a technical term).  My season in the medical field made me gag at the slightest sight of gore…and lemme tell ya…this was NOT a sight for my faint heart. Icky-gross!

Nevertheless (and whilst repressing my gag reflex)…it was a sensational sight.  Suki (first-time mom) went about caring for her kits like a pro.  Cleaning, feeding, playing – she handled the whole nurturing arena of motherhood with aplomb.  It was like she had been doing this all her life (which was young at the time – she was only about six months herself when she had those five kittens).

AnimalKnowing

Suki knows when to give.  She knows when to tend, when to care, when to support, when to nurture.

Case in point:  It is extremely rare when I cry.  But every time I do…Suki is like an arrow.  She shoots herself right by my side.  She seeks a target in need, and aims to plant herself in support.  Absolutely every time I’ve shed a tear, Suki comes running at my side.  That means, when I’m bluest of blue, Suki is there to turn my frown upside-down.  What a remarkable and lovely thing that is.

I have a tremendous support group for times when I’m low.  I love my dogs, cats, friends and family.  But I have never had such instant-knowing as I experience with Suki.  Like I said…she knows.

I’m certain there are plenty of you out there who have similar experiences with animal wisdom.  You have encountered, first-hand, that animals know!

How do they know!?  It’s a beautiful mystery.  But I am so grateful they have the capacity far beyond mine.  And so thankful animals DO know…it galvanizes a human-animal connection that is invaluable, rich and loving.

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This post is intended to encourage everyone to appreciate Nature’s creatures in all shapes, sizes, forms, behaviors and attitudes.  So, give a squeeze and a kiss to your animals…do it right now.  They know.  They love.  Thank goodness!

This post is also intended to turn the tables.  Meaning…YOU know too.  The job, the weather, the mortgage, the credit card debit….that’s all BS stuff that gets in the way of truly knowing what a fellow human (or animal) needs.

Who needs you?  Who or what requires your tender-loving care?

Be like Suki. KNOW!  Be by the side of someone who needs you.  Now!

Be a better person by being more like the creatures that roam this earth.  Adapt to animal wisdom.  It will serve you well in every area of your life.

Like this post?  Check out other articles of interest:

Animal Totem Meanings

Cat Meaning and Cat Symbolism

Invoking Animal Wisdom