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Over a cup of coffee

Coffee cup reading, a form of psychic reading, has an elite image for people who believe in the trend, writes Janani Sampath.

Deepti Pandita, a college student in Bangalore, has a firm belief in psychic reading. She has visited tarot card readers, numerologists, astrologers and palmists. However, coffee cup reading never actually lured her, till she decided to go for it after a friend recommended it to her.

However, what was more surprising for her was the accuracy of the results. “I casually went to a coffee cup reader and didn’t expect or think about the accuracy of the predictions. I was really astonished to see how true the reading turned out to be later,” she says.

Coffee cup reading is a method of fortune telling that tells you about the past and the future. For divination, the coffee cup is divided into two halves. The person seeking prediction is made to drink Turkish coffee. Predictions are made, keeping in reference the remains of the coffee. The shapes that are formed in the left half is considered negative while the right denotes positive. The thicker the symbol, the stronger will be impact of the event on the person’s life.

There are at least two forms of coffee readings. Both require that the cup be covered with the saucer and turned upside-down. However, some traditions such as in Romania require that the sediments in the cup be swirled around the inside of the cup until they cover the majority of the cup's inside surface. Other traditions such as Armenian and Middle Eastern do not require this swirling but do require that the cup be turned towards yourself for showing your own fortune.

The origin of coffee cup reading dates back to several centuries ago after the Chinese invented the fortune telling method of tealeaves reading. When coffee beans were discovered by the Arabs in 600 AD, coffee cup reading too became a popular form of prediction. Tealeaves reading are called Tasseography, or tasseomancy (kafemandeia in Greek). The fortune telling method was widely practised by fortune tellers from Greece, Persia, Russia, Armenia and Yugoslavia.

According to a report by Turkish Cultural Foundation, the number of coffee shops that employ professional coffee cup readers is increasing with each day

Sheila Bajaj, a practising psychic reader and healer, tarot card reader, coffee cup reader and director of Isis School of Wisdom says that the reader or healer, as regarding coffee cup reading, has to be psychic.

“None of these fortune telling methods can be accurate unless the healer is psychic, or clairvoyant. That explains why everybody cannot take up fortune telling and be accurate with their predictions,” she says.

Sheila also adds that when compared to the rest of fortune telling methods like tarot and numerology, coffee cup reading is sought after because of its oomph factor.

“Abroad, coffee cup reading is more of a fun game; ladies during kitty parties play the game of coffee cup reading. However, when we talk about psychic reading, a professional healer has to be completely clairvoyant for predictions,” she says.

Sheila adds that the accuracy of coffee cup reading is a little lesser when compared to other forms of fortune telling or reading. “There is no way one can validate the predictions. Some experienced healers verify predictions through other methods, before confirming the predictions. Expert healers would also believe in leaving the prediction a little ambiguous. Taking the prediction to another level for mere exaggeration could do a lot of damage than repair. For example, if a healer sees a dark cloud, it is better to say there is something which will occur. Instead of saying something negative is going to happen,” she says.


A coffee cup certainly does hold the key to a person’s future.

Here are a few symbols that denote predictions in coffee cup reading ACORN - at the top means success and gain: At the bottom means good health.

AIRCRAFT - journey; if broken means danger of accident; can also mean a rise in position

ANCHOR - cross, Jesus, at top rest, stability, constancy; at bottom means clouded, inconstancy

APPLE - computer, knowledge, achievement

AXE - difficulties; if at top overcoming of difficulties

BABY - something new, pregnancy

BALL - completion, variable fortunes

BELL - harmonics, creation, spiritual, unexpected news

BIRDS - ascension, good news, bird headed beings

BOAT - lifepath, (note size and speed of boat), and visit from a friend, protection

BOOK - you will find your answer by something written, if open it's good news; if closed you need to investigate something

BUTTERFLY - transition, transformation, Butterfly Effect

CANDLE - sacred light, creational flame, help from others

CAT - deceit, a false friend, Cat Headed Beings

CHAIN - DNA, engagement, a wedding, chain link, karma

CHAIR - a guest

CIRCLE - success, completion

CLOCK - alchemy of time and consciousness, better health

COIN - change in financial status

CROSS - protection, sacrifice

CUP - reward, bloodlines

DAGGER - warning, danger from self or others, power

DOG - friend, Sirius, celestial connotation, Egyptian god, Anubis

DOOR - opening (to something new) or closing (old issues and relations), spiritual (portal)

DUCK - money coming, a man named Bill, 'ducks in a row'

EGG - good omen, creation, new beginnings, sacred geometry

ELEPHANT - wisdom, strength, luck, Ganesh, trunk up indicates overcoming obstacles

ENVELOPE - message coming, positive or negative

EYE - creation - open (awakening) - closed (something not seen)

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