Is it a Sin to Have Your Tea Leaves Read?

LL writes: “Is it a sin to have your tea leaves read?”

Yes. Tea leaf reading, also known as tasseography, is a form of divination which is a violation of the First Commandment and therefore condemned in both Scripture and the Catechism.

“All forms of divination are to be rejected; recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future” (Catechism No. 2116).

The source of this teaching is from Deuteronomy 18:10 in which the Lord declares all “diviners” to be an abomination to Him.

For those who are unfamiliar with the reading of tea leaves, it’s an ancient divination practice which was (and still is) prevalent in Asia, the Middle East and Greece.

It is accomplished by fixing a cup of tea (loose, not bagged) in a cup with a wide opening and preferably with no designs in the porcelain which could make reading difficult. The person drinks the tea until only about a half teaspoon remains in the cup. The cup is then picked up by the handle in the left hand (these instructions are very particular) and turned three times from left to right to disperse the leaves. The cup should then be inverted over the saucer and left there long enough for the liquid to drain away.

Serious tea leave readers will be meditating all this time, focusing on clearing the mind and “willing” that the symbols forming in the leaves will accurately represent the future.

The cup is then upended and “read” with any leaves on the bottom of the cup supposedly indicating events in the more remote future while those that cling to the sides of the cup are nearer. Anything near the rim can be expected to occur very soon.

The leaves allegedly form symbols which are associated with various meanings. For instance, a configuration resembling a chair means to expect a guest; if it’s an hourglass, time is running out; a ladder means a promotion; and a sheep means good fortune.

All forms of divination should be strictly avoided and not even engaged in for “fun.” There are plenty of other ways to have fun rather than choose those that offend the Lord.

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