In addition to its role in divination, the tea plant (Camellia spp.) has long been linked to folk magick and superstition. Burned by Chinese sorcerers to attain wealth, the leaves of the tea plant are often added to money-attracting potions and sachets. Various parts of the tea plant are also used in spells for increasing one's courage and strength, and some modern Witches have been known to use infusions of tea as a base for mixing drinks designed to provoke lust.
A magickal method to keep evil spirits from invading a house or barn calls for tea leaves to be sprinkled upon the ground in front of the building's main entrance. This old Pagan custom is said to be still practiced in some parts of the English Midlands.
Numerous superstitions surround the brewing of tea. For instance, the accidental spilling of tea while it is being made is said to indicate good luck for the mother of the house. However, brewing tea in any teapot other than your own invites bad luck, while forgetting to put in the tea indicates that misfortune is on the horizon. To accidentally make the tea too strong means that you will make a new friend. But to accidentally make it too weak means that you will end up losing one. In England, where the drinking of tea is a national pastime, it is still believed that the arrival of a stranger is portended whenever someone accidentally leaves the lid off his or her teapot.
Take care to always put your sugar into your tea before adding the milk or cream, otherwise you will find yourself quarreling with your husband or wife before the day is done. However, in some parts of England it was once believed that if a young girl added milk or cream to her tea before putting in the sugar, she would never wed.
It is extremely unlucky for two people to pour out of the same teapot, according to an old superstition, which can be found alive and well in many parts of the world. And never pour tea with another person unless you wish to become a magnet for bad luck.
Bubbles or a circle of foam on the surface of a cup filled with tea is said to be a sign that money will soon be received. Some folks believe that money is indicated only if the bubbles or foam appear in the center of the cup. If they appear near the sides, this is a sign that you will soon be kissed!
If a piece of tea stem (known as a "stranger") should float to the top of your cup of tea, this is said to be a sign that a visitor will arrive. If the stem is hard, this indicates that the visitor will be a man. If it is tender, the visitor will be a woman.
To determine which day of the week your visitor will come to call, place the stem on the back of your left hand and then slap it with the palm of your other hand. Each time you do this, recite one of the days of the week (starting with the current day). The day of the week that is recited when the stem either sticks to the palm of your right hand or falls off indicates which day it will be.
A similar divination method, which was popular in Victorian-era England, was carried out to determine the fidelity of one's lover. A wet tea stalk or long tea leaf would be placed in the palm of the right hand, and then both hands would be clapped together once. If the tea stalk or leaf remained stuck to the palm of the right hand after being clapped, this indicated a faithful lover. However, if it adhered to the other palm, this indicated one who was fickle.
To avoid bad luck, always be sure to stir your tea in a clockwise direction, and never stir the leaves in a teapot prior to pouring. To stir your tea with a fork, a knife, or anything other than a spoon is to invite bad luck. And never stir another person's tea, for to do so will stir up strife.
In addition to the numerous good and bad luck omens associated with tea, there are many tea-based superstitions concerning human fertility. For example, if a man and a woman pour a cup of tea from the same teapot, they will end up having a child together. If a young lady permits a man to pour her more than one cup of tea, she will be unable to resist his sexual charms. A woman who pours tea in another woman's house will soon find herself pregnant (or, according to another superstition, the recipient of very bad luck). Some folks believe that if two women should take hold of the same teapot at once, this will cause one of them to give birth to red-haired twins before the year reaches its end! And if more than one person pours you a cup of tea, this is also believed to result in the birth of twins (though not necessarily red-haired).
Regardless whether your tea leaves are used in the casting of a spell, the divining of the future, or simply the brewing of a cup of hot tea, you should never throw them away after you are finished using them. To do so is said to bring bad luck, according to some superstitious folks. Disposing of your used tea leaves by casting them into a fire not only prevents bad luck, but keeps poverty away.
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