I was shuffling through my boxes of old photos today and so many of the people in the photos were no longer on this earth, or much older and changed, or I just don’t speak with the person for one reason or another anymore. I thought about how when the photos were taken I had no idea of the future. And why is it the saddest photos to see were the ones of beloved pets that have passed away? I didn’t know this once happy couple hugging in the photo would one day divorce. I never would have imagined this dear friend would die of breast cancer. And I’m glad. Which is odd to hear me say, especially those who know me well, because I read tea leaves. And tea leaves are all about predicting the future.
In the past few months, many people I know are dealing with major life challenges. Death of loved ones, worries about children, health concerns, job changes, desire for a new relationship. Not all of it is bad or serious. Some people just want to know if grandchildren are on the way. I’ve met all sorts of people, all ages, and everyone wants to know what will happen in the future. No one says to me — I don’t care about the future.
Will my friend recover from a serious illness? Will I land the new job? Is a new love possible by joining match.com? (That one is really hard to answer!) In other words, no one is leading the perfect, smooth life portrayed on Facebook. (I know you know this but I’m just reminding you just in case you forget and you see something that makes you feel broke, fat or boring.) We all worry. We all wonder. We all want things to turn out okay. We want answers.
The past offers different kind of answers. Looking back, I can see where my love of tea began — with my Great Aunt Louise’s tea cups. That is her on the far right, my great grandmother in the middle, and my grandma on the far left. Everyone sure dressed up back then from pearls, to nylons to hats. I’m surprised they weren’t wearing their white gloves. Must have been a warm Chicago day. As I sit here in shorts with my hair a mess, I feel sloppy just looking at this photo. This would have been a great Facebook photo in 1957.
My Great Aunt Louise gave my mother her collection of tea cups. Oh they were lovely with golden scrolls, flowers and delicate, almost paper thin, saucers to match. My mother kept them on a shelf in our dining room. Each cup was different, and I made up stories to go with each cup. (The things kids did before the Internet!) I have no idea what happened to those cups, but they provided me with endless hours of entertainment. And I loved tea. So much so my mother would put it in my baby bottle which nowadays might get her in trouble for people sometimes mistook it for whiskey. I grew up just fine though I think it did contribute to my obsession with tea. And possibly bottles.
Since learning how to read tea leaves at a class, taught by two very quirky and intuitive women who I never saw again, I myself have taught my own tea leaf reading classes at a new age shop. (You probably already knew it wouldn’t be an auto shop.)
I’ve packed up my books and cups and tea and traveled on airplanes to do tea leaf readings. I’ve had tea leaf readings outdoors as shown above at Sandy’s California house and at a retreat center in Oregon and after a celebration of life in Colorado. A dear man had died suddenly and everyone was shaken and reminded about the brevity of life. That tea leaf reading included wine.
And I’ve had tea leaf reading parties a few times at Julie’s house. She has a lot of nice friends. Isn’t my tea pot with the roses just so sweet? (I get all my cups and pots from either thrift stories or friends.) I have tea leaf parties at my house, too, now and then. It’s not a full time gig. Just when the time is right. I’ve also done them long distance for people. But I prefer in person.
It might from the photos look as if only women have their tea leaves read but that’s not true. I’ve read men’s tea leaves, too, and I’ve found them to be just as interested in wanting to know about health, romance and career. Yep.
I know it might seem silly to dump tea leaves into a cup and be able to tell if you will meet the love of your life or visit Spain or have twin grandchildren. Perhaps so. However, just asking the questions can bring understanding, enlightenment and maybe even some guidance. It’s amazing how in our busy world, especially one where we often want to maintain a facade of one type or another, people are so eager to share, to openly talk about their lives, their loves, concerns and joys. Group tea leaf readings are my favorite because of the sense of community, but private readings are special, too.
I get just as much from each reading as I give. I mean personally, too. All of my readings I do just for fun. The classes I charge, but not enough to get that new car I’m dreaming about. Tea leaf reading always includes not just hot water and leaves, but a lot of laughter, some tears, and most of all it dissolves loneliness with it’s inherit sharing. People leave a little less afraid, a little more hopeful about the future. At least that is my own hope. To spread some light when life seems like Halloween..scary and dark. And so often the answers were right there inside of the person. Just waiting to be revealed.
So yes the unknown can frighten. And I’m still not sure I want to know everything, including my own death. Because then where’s the surprise? Though it is said we will die how we live. But I hope when I do die I meet up with these spirits who I photographed at the Dia De Los Muertos Festival in downtown Phoenix. It’s called Day of the Dead, as many of you know, and it’s all about remembering our loved ones who have passed away. It makes the future not seem so scary at all because our loved ones are dancing and eating sugary treats and wearing cool outfits. And they still love us. Now that’s a future I can live with. Until then, embrace the mystery and enjoy the ride. And, if in between, you want your tea leaves, why not. A little insight never hurt anyone.