One Hundred Cups was my coming out as a student and practitioner of what’s commonly called Tasseography. In the West it mostly refers to Tea Leaf Readings, where as in the Balkans, ME, Russia and Africa coffee grounds are used. Turkish Coffee Cup readings as the art of drinking and then divining something from the remnants of the coffee is known, has followers in all cultures that drink unfiltered coffee this way (not Americans). Every culture stamps it’s own name on the practice. Hence you’ll hear it called Greek coffee, Bosnian coffee, Armenian coffee and so on but as the first known ambassadors of western coffee culture, the Ottomans ( Turks) wear the crown and Turkish Coffee Cup Readings is how it is commonly called.

Coffee comes from Ethiopia where the berries were first found, processed (boiled) and drank and Ethiopia remains the original mother culture.

In researching coffee reading I found that every culture uses indigenous symbols along with historic, more generalized myth as well.

Regional customs and culture integration of specific religion (organized), pagan/native history, urban as well as pastoral superstitions, are all influencers, Myth and folklore being the seed of all preceding.

Understanding the symbols and pictures seen in the bottom of a porcelain fildzan is wholly interpretive and subjective in the context of one’s specific cultural up bringing.  Obviously through the centuries of practice and the written or oral recording of it, there are ‘secrets’ and specific iconography that has been passed down/on as standard. For instance birds can mean the actual animal but usually mean ‘message’ and snakes are meant as perfidy or transformation depending on what lineage you read from. I enjoy flow and intuition over scripture, even sometimes forgoing customary ritual, (turn cup three times, put a coin on cup etc) though experience shows that adding common ritual has a calming effect and is often very important to the seeker.

 

 

In researching dream interpretation and modern psychotherapy, which go hand in hand, and using that as a lens through which to see certain aspects of  cup divination, I am convinced that the subconscious brings symbols of spiritual and practical importance to the forefront that clearly appear in the cups as symbols and pictures. It is in reading Jung that I discovered this and began to reinterpret some aspects of what I learned from my mentor, Delfina Tomasevic.  Life experience factors in any divination naturally, as important as intuition. This  varies from individual to individual for obvious reasons.

There is this to consider as well: sometimes, reading the cups is just is just light-hearted conversation over coffee, meant to be a game to pass the time.

 

As an intuitive and creative child and then adult I searched much of my life for the right medium – other than direct intuitive speech. I dabbled with the French and Italian Tarot. I lived in Italy for many years and at 18 I met Delfina Tomasevic, who became my mentor and friend.

Delfina, who looked like a Croatian Anita Ekberg  was a renown reader, healer and practitioner living in her adopted home of Naples.  People from all over Europe came to Napoli and her summer home on Ischia for advice and to receive special pieces, have their futures divulged through the reading of coffee grounds and receive her blessings. She created magic through amulets that provided protection from the evil eye, assured love and gave a boost to success. I still have my first ‘Cosa Santa’ from her. I learned so much through her kind and gentle guidance in her art filled apartment overlooking Vesuvio.

Eventually I moved to America, a barren place where Delfina’s magic meant nothing to anyone and became I became earnest. (That may be the saddest sentence I’ve ever said about myself)

Many years later, the war in Bosnia brought my Bosnian heritage back into focus for me. Through NGO affiliations and intense years of work with Bosnian refugees nationally and internationally, I picked up the coffee reading threads Delfina had woven for me once again. After years, I began re-exploring my history and began reading seriously in 2011.

Sto Fildzana was a gift for me and I share it as a memory that is pleasant and in hope that it may be inspiring, instructive for others wishing to delve into a rich culture of communion, interpretation, psychology, animation, spirituality, psychology, art of a fascinatingly therapeutic past time and healing art.

Divination is as ancient as human life on earth, our curiosity, our desire to feel and see what we imagine only god or like-beings see is natural whether by cup or card, chant or cross.

SVH