Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Spilling the tea on tea leaf readings

It was probably Sun Tzu who said: Students should take all free things offered to them”, with this energy I enthusiastically accepted tickets offered on The Boar Lifestyle writers’ group. But what event should deserve the rapid response I gave? If you’ve seen my relentless posting about this event, or have even read the title of this article you might be able to guess that in Week 0 I went to a tea leaf reading session. Tasseography is a method of divination (seeking knowledge about the unknown through supernatural means) which interprets patterns in coffee grounds, wine sediments or in this case, tea leaves. The session was run by Freya Ingva, a professional diviner who specialises in tea leaf reading, at the finest Warwick SU hot beverage vendor, Curiositea. Although I am unsure how in touch with ‘the other side’ the average reader of The Boar is, I would personally place myself on the lower end of the spirituality spectrum.

According to the press release sent to me prior to my reading, Freya explains that tea leaf reading is “an English tradition practised with the use of tea, that anciently arose in- dependently in China, the Middle East, and Greece with tea, coffee and wine sediments. In the West, it was often associated with professional fortune tellers, but in reality, from the 1800s onwards, it was practised at home by most people.”

Like any girl I have ever fancied, was much too hot for me

As the fateful hour drew nearer my concerns over what would be uncovered grew. This was fuelled, as much of my undergrad was, by a lack of understanding, and fail- ure to do basic research. Intrusive thoughts plagued my mind: What if I’m going to die next week? What if I’m going to fail my degree? What if I never find love? What is love, baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more? The only instruction I had been given was to prepare an open-ended question. This in itself proved to be a challenge and I therefore decided to meet it head on with a sensible dose of procrastination.

Upon arriving at Curiositea, Freya introduced herself and led me to our table. We were then shortly joined by another student who would be taking part in the session. For the purposes of this article her name will be Lillie. What became abundantly clear to all parties involved was that I had no idea what was going on, Lillie had dabbled in divina- tion before, and Freya was a graduate of the College of Psychic Studies. None the less, they indulged my lack of knowledge in a fun and inclusive way.

Freya offered us a range of six teas to choose from, three being black teas and three being more fruit-based flavours. As many of my readers may not be aware, I am a heartfelt fan of Lithuania and thus my choice of tea was clear. I chose the Angel tea native to the Baltic region, a fruity variety with a mild citrus twist. This was the point where my procrastination paid off, whilst Freya was obtaining hot water, Lillie was able to help me formulate an open-ended question. Together (read – approximately 100% her) we were able to come up with: “What is in store for The Boar this year?”. It ticked the open-ended box, was concise and relevant to the article, I literally couldn’t have done better myself.

The water was poured, and we were informed that in order to get a reliable answer to the question we must hold the cup of tea and repeat the question verbally and internally. I, of course, obliged immediately and quickly found out that the cup, much like any girl I have ever fancied, was much too hot for me. What followed was a lovely chat where we got to know the group as we tentatively tested the temperature of our tea with intermittent sips. Before the comment section explodes, I will put you all out of your misery. The angel tea was excellent, and I would highly recommend it should you ever get the opportunity.

You heard it here first, Warwick could be potentially be losing Varsity 2019

As the time for reading approached, we were instructed to finish our beverage so that there was a small amount of liquid at the bottom. We were then to swirl our cup three times so that the leaves would be lay- ing on the sides of the cup rather than the bottom. Unfortunately, the key phrase in this instruction was “a small amount of liquid”, and whilst I understood that that meant less than what I currently had, the exact amount remained unclear. This resulted in me swirling my cup too vigorously and spilling tea on both the table and myself. Not the most embarrassing moment of my life, but not what I would call a good omen.

Next, we placed the cup upside down on the saucer and rotated it by the handle three times counter clockwise. After upturning the cup I saw what can only be described as a cup with wet tea leaves within. It was time for the reading to begin. I went first and was asked what I could see. What followed was the longest five seconds I’ve spent staring at tea leaves in my life. Thankfully, I was then let off the hook. If this was a Rorschach Test I had clearly failed. It was time for Freya to read my leaves. For those who have forgot- ten what question I asked it was: “What is in store for The Boar this year?”.

The first thing read in my tea leaves was the image of a peacock. This was a surprisingly convincing read. The interpretation for this and the surrounding leaves is that in five months a peacock will appear (an over- ly proud person), and try and treat me badly at The Boar, potentially either suppressing or stealing my story. Significantly, there will also be three important events that occur for The Boar this year, in addition, sport will play an integral part of what is in store for The Boar. You heard it here first, Warwick could be potentially be losing Varsity 2019, the first defeat since the event began. At least, that was one of the potential interpretations.

On a more personal note, I was told that there was a rabbit in my leaves accompanied by an arrow pointing toward exotic bird. Freya then told me that the leaves mean I should act less limit and have more confidence.

Her tea leaves were telling her to go fishing, and it was paramount that she began eating prawns

Lillie’s reading I would say is debatably more interesting than mine. She asked: “What does this academic year hold for me?” A question on many students’ mind. In the most concise manner I can muster, her reading was as follows. The number three and the letter K would play an important role academically (hopefully not in combination). The year would contain a large number of books and work, with a slow process running throughout, but her great memory would serve her well. However, more importantly than all of this, is that her tea leaves were telling her to go fishing, and it was paramount that she began eating prawns.

Overall, I would highly recommend the experience, even or especially if this sort of activity is not your usual thing. There was a definite wholesome ambience about the event, the communal aspect and unobtrusive spirituality was comforting. I cannot stress enough how accommodating Freya was to my lack of knowledge, she made the expe- rience unique and enjoyable far beyond what I was expecting. Will you see me at the next divination? Pop on a brew to find out.

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