Reading the Tea Leaves


Foods have been used for many centuries to predict the future.  Here are a few ways in which people divine the coming days.


Haruspex is the divining of god’s will through the entrails of a sacrificed animal.  Generally the liver of sheep or poultry is used, as the liver was considered to be the origin of blood and therefore of life.


This is when you read the tea leaves that appear in the bottom of the your mug.  It can also be done by reading coffee grounds or wine sediment.  Europeans quickly picked up on ‘reading the tea leaves’ after the Dutch introduced tea to Europe.  Shapes and symbols are read from the leaves that stick to the porcelain after the liquid is gone.


Onions have been revered by many cultures for their rings that symbolize eternity and spirituality.  In fact, ancient Egyptians used to take the sacred oath with their right hand rested atop an onion.  They have been used to predict the future by writing a name on the onion and then seeing how well the onion sprouts on an altar.  If it does well, then the person named on the onion will as well.


The egg white is separated out and then dropped into hot water.  The diviner reads the shapes they see in the cooking egg white. The Salem witch trials began with an incident of oomancy.  History says that three young girls were dropping egg whites into water to see the faces of their future husbands.  One girl reported seeing a coffin.  The next day all of the girls started acting strangely.  The town accused the slave, Tituba, who had been telling them stories the night before, of using witchcraft on them.  Twenty four people eventually died as the girls accused them of practicing witchcraft.  Supporters of oomancy would point to the prediction of a coffin as proof of its power.


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