Polish off your morning expresso and what do you see? An empty cup streaked with coffee grounds – or images of angels, lightning bolts and pots of gold? While the rest of the world was reading tea leaves, the ancient diviners of the Middle East were searching for a glimpse of the future in the dregs of their coffee. Although reading coffee grounds sounds like a new gimmick, it has been practiced for at least a thousand years. So says Sophia, a fourth generation psychic, who describes the art in her book Fortune in a Coffee Cup. Even today, if you go to the Middle East, Northern Africa or the Mediterranean seacoast, you will see fortune-tellers reading the grounds in local markets, coffee shops and cafes. “Tea leaf reading is more popular,” she says, “but coffee grounds just seem to give better information. Cups of coffee hold a lot of information that is easy to pick up. It is very easy to do, once you get the knack of it.”
HOW TO READ THE GROUNDS
The art of making coffee for fortunetelling is an important ritual. A cup of coffee that is prepared or blessed correctly contains a psychic charge that results in a better reading. Coffee ground readers in Turkey and Egypt always insist on grinding, brewing, serving and sharing the coffee with their clients before actually reading the grounds.
1. Choose your beans carefully – organic are best. If you can’t manage this, bless the beans by holding them in your hands and visualise all negativity flowing out of the coffee and into the earth.
2. As you brew your coffee, visualise white light streaming into it. Make a prayer for wisdom.
3. Pour your coffee into a white cup and add a pinch of grounds directly to the cup – stir three times clockwise. Modern coffee makers are usually too efficient and don’t leave enough grounds!
4. Offer the cup, handle first, to the person for whom you are doing the reading. They must drink the coffee, or at least part of it, while intently thinking about their question. Tell them to hold the cup with both hands and to imagine their question going into the cup.
5. Pour the excess dregs out slowly. Then the person having the reading should turn the cup three times counterclockwise as it is turned upside down (so that all excess coffee pours out onto a saucer).
6. The cup is then handed to the reader. Relax and allow your unconscious mind to take over. What images can you see? What images might you be able to see? The whole process is like daydreaming – or like the Rorschach inkblot tests where you say what the blot looks like. It is an exercise in active imagination – let go and allow your unconscious mind find images in the chaotic patterns of the grounds left in the cup.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Some really simple patterns have meanings that affect the images when you are reading.
• Many clustered specks may indicate movement.
• Clear lines show that plans must lead to a specific goal.
• Wavy lines show uncertainty.
• Poorly outlined things show indecision or obstacles.
• A boat or airplane may indicate a journey.
• Big coin-like dots can mean that money is involved.
• Initials can indicate people. Where the initial falls can show if it’s someone from the past or someone you will meet in the future (see below).
• Numbers represent time. For example, a 3 could indicate something that happened or will happen three days or months away. Where it appears in the cup will tell whether it’s in the past or future (see below). Small numbers usually represent days; larger ones months. It’s unlikely to be years as coffee readings are usually instant readings, relating to situations happening now.
Where the grounds are in the cup is also important:
• Bottom part of the cup = the past
• Middle part of the cup = the present
• Top part of the cup = the future
• Near the handle of the cup = more intense situation
A-Z OF POSSIBLE SYMBOLS
Generally you will have to use your intuition to work out what a symbol means. Here, however, are a selection of common symbols and their usual meanings. But bear in mind that each person is different – use your gut feelings rather than relying on strict interpretations.
Airplane: a trip by air is coming up or there may be a strong desire to get away from it all.
Alligator: use caution in any new business ventures.
Almonds: good fortune in the home or at work.
Angel: good news; someone is watching out for you; you are well protected from harm.
Anchor: if clear and well-formed a fortunate sign; if not clear, indicates disappointment.
Ball: moving on to a bigger and better lifestyle; your world is rapidly changing.
Basket: someone or something is standing in your way; walk around the problem.
Bat: symbol of friendship as well as a long healthy life.
Beetles: do not quarrel with your friends; sometimes untrue gossip surrounds you.
Cake: good fortune and fulfillment of desires.
Camel: difficulties and worries; you are holding yourself back from true happiness.
Canoe: lack of friends; you are too isolated and lonely.
Comet: watch out for a neighbourhood problem.
Crown: you will benefit from a will or insurance.
Dress: you will succeed in your plan.
Drums: success will come because you have great talent; the world needs what you have to offer.
Eagle: nothing is impossible – reach for the heights.
Elephant: help from friends or family; good time to ask for a big favour.
Eyeglasses: you are not seeing the true situation.
Fence: obstacles are surrounding you; think of a new plan to remove them.
Fire: passion and/or lust.
Fish: wisdom and blessings; use your gifts wisely.
Fork: possible quarrel, think before you speak.
Garland: happiness in marriage; going to a wedding or other blessed event.
Gondola: a happy and idle love life.
Hat: someone will come (a mysterious stranger) but not stay for long. Possibly someone trying to cover up information. If on the bottom of the cup, beware of this person; if in the middle, make friends with the person. If on the bottom, expect a guest who will greatly influence your life.
Haystack: strive on; you have laid the foundation for a prosperous future.
Heart: a lover of life – and others love you too. If initials are near the heart, it shows a strong love affair. If misshapen, you are broken-hearted.
Ice cream cone: you can help a child.
Insects: be more truthful in all relationships; people could be gossiping about you.
Island: an isolated feeling.
Jellyfish: a false friend is plotting against you; watch out at work – others may want your position.
Jewellery: great fortune.
Jug: you are learning to take better care of your body.
Kangaroo: a true romantic but a little irresponsible. Be careful who you pick as your lover.
Kite: a restless soul with little direction.
Knots: you worry about the smallest matters.
Ladder: slowly climbing to achieve your goals.
Leaf: sign of good health and robust living. If the leaf is torn, poor health.
Lemons: jealousy towards others.
Mice: trouble through a friend or business associate.
Monkey: manipulation and clever people are at work here.
Monster: a lurking fear, worry or stress you need to face and deal with.
Mountain: you have a major goal in your life. If the mountain is well-formed you are about the reach the top; if it is broken, you need to rethink your strategy.
Necklace: an elderly relative or someone in authority who is older than you.
Obelisk: you must stand alone. If at the bottom of the cup, you feel cut off from friends and family. In the middle of the cup, means you have to make your own way in the world. On the rim, indicates you are headed for a very lonely place in the world.
Package: a surprise is heading your way; you may be getting what you want.
Padlock: a feeling of not having many choices in your life – maybe others are making decisions for you.
Puppy: get ready for a party!
Pyramid: success with your dreams; if you have more than one pyramid, then you have more than one desire.
Quail: someone you know is not entirely truthful. Proceed with great caution when confronting this person.
Question mark: symbolises a question – look around it for other symbols to clarify what the question is about.
Rainbow: good fortune and happiness.
Ring: marriage (if solid); if broken can signify relationship is rocky or divorce.
Scissors: warning of false friends – do not give away too much private or personal information.
See-Saw: a relationship that will not be long-lasting.
Sheep: careful planning has paid off; you are on the way to achieving the plan you hatched.
Snake: you will need to make a very intense decision; wisdom is on your side.
Spider: great success in finances.
Tambourine: inconstancy in a relationship.
Tassels: get ready for company – you’ll have a great time together.
Tiger: you need to find some inner strength.
Umbrella: shelter from obstacles and safety from financial woes.
Unicorn: so what is it you really fantasise about? Your daydreams may materialise.
Vase: a secret is about to be revealed.
Violin: an exotic stranger who sweeps you off your feet; a wild, passionate and whirlwind romance.
Whale: a small gain in money.
Wolf: strength and courage – a wonderful symbol.
Xylophone: a very talented individual.
Yarn or string: if in a ball, you are doing too much at once; if a long string hanging off, you are very overworked.
Zebra: you’re stopping yourself from enjoying your friends.
Zeppelin: creative and reaching far beyond what others (and maybe you) believe can happen.
Fortune in a Coffee Cup by Sophia (Llewellyn). Click on the cover below to buy.
Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash