A Balkan form of divination

silvanamondo
Author silvanamondo
Collection Caravan Stories

I've brought my Turkish coffee reading parlour to the premises on Tennyson, where I do a special brand of healing arts therapy. People love the ritual of the coffee and the exotic uniqueness of this typically Balkan form of divination. I am accepting new clients!

Your Fortune in a Cup

Tasseomancy, literally means ‘divining or reading the cup’. Today’s practitioners of the art typically interpret patterns in tea leaves or coffee grounds to predict fortunes, or the future. Although tasseomancy had its beginnings along the Mediterranean shores, Turkey, the Middle East and Balkan countries, it’s likely that every culture since the beginning of time has engaged in a similar practice, though the vehicle used to gain insight into the natural world – coffee, tea, wine, bones, stars (astrology), runes and Tarot cards – has varied between cultures and over time.

The social consumption of stimulants like coffee and tea is a worldwide phenomena, and has become Culture, one that prevails today. Coffee and tea are just as important now as centuries ago, when it changed the way Istanbuli’s and eventually all of Europe, gathered in public places.

#BosniaHerzegovina #maps #OldWorld #BosnianCoffee This is on the back of #groundcoffee that I drink every day. I also use other brands, but I like the (bitter)sweet memories this brand brings to me

Making a comeback along with a flourishing interest in the origin of things – like coffee – is Tasseomancy, and varying on a persons alliance – Turkish/Bosnian/Greek/Armenian coffee cup readings. Curiosity about Tasseomancy in the west runs in cycles of popularity. In Eastern cultures, however, especially Turkey and the Balkans, and Greece and the whole of the Mediterranean, the practice is most common. Whether in lighthearted gatherings or in ritual meditative divination, reading the cups brings people together for meaningful conversation. In those cultures, at the end of a meal or afternoon kaffee-klatsch, the standard strong black coffee is served. This coffee is not filtered but instead consists of finely ground coffee beans, immersed in boiling water, boiled again and then served in small, palm sized cups.

It is not uncommon that someone at the table will turn over their cup and ask for a reading from the person next to them. That person will take the lead, with everyone else at the table making comments and adding their two cents worth into the mix. Growing up in a hybrid Balkan household, our weekends were occupied with entertaining family and guests. At these gatherings glorious plates of food flooded to the living room from my grandmother’s kitchen. One constant feature of every meal was the final course of Turkish coffee and sweets a practice culled from the Ottoman influenced Balkans. Eventually, the men were sent to the balcony to smoke and my aunties would read the cups with the women. There was no end to the stories they extracted from the bottom of the porcelain tumblers. I hung on to every word, concentrating on the emptied cups, looking to discover their magical language.

Traditionally the reading of cups is enacted by the women in the family, but is practiced by people from every walk of life. In Mediterranean and Slavic cultures it is certainly not an unusual practice, almost mundane. With interest in Slow Food and immersion travel on the rise, there is a trend in exploring forgotten traditions and cultures. I’ve noted a welcome curiosity about the reading of cups.

It’s been proven that the act of sitting together and kibitzing over coffee relieves stress and even alienation. Without a doubt, the meet-ups around drinking and spending time over a cup of coffee in public spaces and cafes enhance communication and intimacy between people. Add the prophetic nature inherent in the art of interpreting the cups and it’s downright entrancing. The cup readings themselves encourage introspection and in my experience, create space for reflection and, even wonder. It also seems to foster goodwill and camaraderie, as most anyone can teach themselves to read the universal language of the symbols and, it’s fun! The need to understand the “self” and why things happen to us is an innate human desire. Tasseomancy, is a way to tap into the subconscious, often getting to the heart of what matters quickly. It becomes a way to stimulate imagination and with practice, it creates room for solutions in everyday life.

#Tasseology #CupReadings #Divination #LookingforAnswers 

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