As the forms take their final shapes, trust your intuition and know that first impressions are often the key to an accurate reading. Carefully study what you see. In the leaves, you may perceive designs, letters, numbers, animals, lines, or shapes. Each symbol has its own meaning: birds point to good luck, a chair indicates a new addition, straight lines represent peace of mind as well as careful planning, and a mountain can foretell of a journey or a setback. Many leaves left in the cup mean a rich life and larger forms indicate issues of importance. Time frames and luck are also revealed by the leaves' orientation within the cup. It is commonly believed that forms closest to the cup's rim refer to the present and are lucky, while those toward the bottom refer to the past or far future, and are often unlucky.
Numerals are usually time factors, for instance, three days, three weeks, three months, depending on where they appear in the cup. Letters are usually the initials of a person or place.
There are times when the leaves make a picture that is an obvious illustration of an event, such as two people fighting, a wedding, a baby or an accident, and your intuition will tell you that this is exactly how it should be read. At other times the pattern may be of unconnected symbols, or several symbols close together, which should be read as a whole. For instance, a nail, a ring and a rose taken together might show that a spiteful person might try to come be tween you and your lover, but that yours is a true and lasting affection that will overcome adversity.
If as you watch, a picture is changed by the shifting of a leaf, read the two symbols as a story, for example, a horseshoe changing to the letter L could mean luck through someone whose name begins with L.
Though a practiced eye will see much, the forms in the tea do not offer quick answers or the key to a positive future. The art of reading the leaves is both intuitive and revealing. As such, it is a guide and is meant to assist you in clearly understanding not only problems and confusions, but their solutions as well.
Here are two examples taken from an original copy of Telling Fortunes By Tea Leaves, a little booklet published in the 1920's, and still in print. (Click on the images to view them full size.)