The Divine Cup

November 9, 2015

I do not remember his name (and it is missing from the article) but I remember clearly when the reporter, who wrote the following article, came to my place in Ganges on Salt Spring Island, to interview me for the following article.

As you probably know by now, if you have read a few of the posts on this blog, that I also was on staff on the local island newspaper, the Gulf Islands Driftwood, for about a year at the end of the last century.

Newspaper people are a cynical and sarcastic lot and we at the paper used to joke that journalists from off-island would dream up almost any excuse to spend a day getting over to and then spending the rest of it on Salt Spring Island. There was something they thought was hip and cool about this whether they were a CBC National television team documenting the newspaper war between the Driftwood and the Barnacle which just happened to coincide with the Globe and Mail and the National Post war going on in Toronto at the time or a Parksville Qualicum News journalist from up Vancouver Island.

This article– like many written about me as a tea leaf reader– is interesting and unique as are all of the pieces written about my unusual profession. It is a subject that journalists seem to find endless ways to be creative about:

The Divine Cup

Parksville Qualicum News


The first thing Tanya Lester seems in my leaves is a bouquet of flowers.

“This could symbolize something you need to do for your wife more often,” she says gazing seriously into my cup of just-drank bea. “What ot says here is that you appreciate her but it stays in your head…you need to tell her.”

The leaves, she notes, are clustered around a particular spot.

“It’s like you’re sitting behind a big desk. You’re career could be moving forward…At some point you will write a booj that could do quite well.”

Now we’re getting somewhere, I think to myself settling in for what proves to be a wide-ranging and engaging glimpse into my future– its possibilities and the potential for pitfalls.

Lester has been tea leaf reading for over a decade. This spring and summer she will bring her unique talent for divination from her home on Salt Spring Island to Oceanside, offering a number of workshops in the fortune telling method through the local branch of Malaspina College.

“Every cup,” she says, “is like snowflakes. No two are ever the same. The way they fall into the cup is amazing, to me anyway.”

It’s an art she comes by naturally. Both her grandmother and great-grandmother were practitioners.

“My grandmother died when I was five so I can’t remember her doing it,” says Lester. “Whether or not it was inherited, it just feels right.”

Already a reader of tarot cards ( blogger’s note: actually it was the tea leaf reading that came first and was then followed by me learning to do tarot), tea leaf reading, she says, was a natural progression and fits well with her inherent interest in people.

“I am genuinely interested in their well being. You get to know about people’s hopes and dreams, their challenges, marriage breakups, all kinds of things.”

Naturally there are skeptics of what she does but Lester says that is becoming less and less of a problem as the years pass and she gains a reputation. Many of her customers are returning, or already familiar with the process through past readings. Sometimes her predictions are validated by the uncanny occurrence of real life events.

One woman of note was having difficulty with a business ideas and how best to market it. She claimed to be discouraged and worried about others stealing her ideas.

“I did some channeling around it and advised her she needed to market across Canada in all the provinces,” Lester says.

The idea turned out to be a natural food additive for make-at-home pet food.

The recent recall of many store-bought brands amounts to “a golden opportunity for her to offer an alternative,” says Lester.

Tea leaf divination– referred to as tasseography — has a history of independent origin in Asia, the Middle East (often with coffee grounds) and Ancient Greece. The term tasseography derives from the French work tasse (cup) and the Greek suffix — graph– (divination). Across cultures there are many similarities. The cup used is generally turned upside down after its contents are drank then turned clockwise with the subject’s non-dominant hand. Once upright again the contents left behind in the cup are analyzed for shapes and symbols that can offer insight. The shape of a chair, for example, might mean guests will soon be arriving, an alligator symbolizes a friend who is planning deceit.

“Or it could just be an alligator,” Lester notes adding the art of tea leaf reading is more than simply looking up diagrams in a book but is, she insists, a powerful meditative tool that can provide insights into the subconscious.

“Often I get answers when I don’t really know the questions,” she says, “One way or another people seem to know their own futures in the back of their minds.”

After all the significance of symbolism has powerful theoretical credence from Plato through to the modern day theories of Carl Jung. So powerful in fact Lester is no doing much of her work over the phone. One notable instance is the time she did a reading on air for famed CBC broadcaster and author Bill Richardson.

“I heard a show he’d done on tea leaf readings… so I phoned and left a message, ‘I’d love to give you a reading I can do it long distance.”

Bill’s handlers set it up and the next thing she knew she was on the radio. Sher meditated before she began, drank what would ordinarily be Bill’s tea herself, then pondered over what was left in the cup.

a lot of her predictions centred on obvious things that could be relevant to anyone in a high profile media job. It was only when Bill asked about his dogs that Lester hit things squarely on the mark.

“Right away I felt so badly for the smaller of his dogs. It was almost like I was a crusader.”

Lester told Bill that the bigger canine was being a bully to his smaller pet and should have some obedience training.

“You are so right about my dogs,” Bill told her in amazement.

After that she received loads of calls for long distance readings, keeping her busy right through the month of November, generally a slow period.

As my own reading wraps up I’m compelled to admit much of what she says has a mysterious relevance that can’t be easily explained considering we’ve only just met.

Those with a yen to learn more can attend one of Lester’s workshops….

Lester explains the enduring fascination tea leaf reading has held through centuries thusly, “Some might laugh but it’s a way to connect with spirit and that’s always exciting for people.”

— END–

If you would like a tea leaf reading or tarot with psychic channelling and intuitive counselling, contact Tanya at 250-538-0086 or email:  For more information and rates go to her website at


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