It is somewhat curious that among the great number of
books on occult science and all forms of divination which have been
published in the English language there should be none dealing
exclusively with the Tea-cup Reading and the Art of Telling Fortunes by
the Tea-leaves: notwithstanding that it is one of the most common forms
of divination practised by the peasants of Scotland and by village
fortune-tellers in all parts of this country. In many of the cheaper
handbooks to Fortune-telling by Cards or in other ways only brief
references to the Tea-cup method are given; but only too evidently by
writers who are merely acquainted with it by hearsay and have not made a
study of it for themselves.
This is probably because the Reading of the Tea-cups
affords but little opportunity to the Seer of extracting money from
credulous folk; a reason why it was never adopted by the gypsy
soothsayers, who preferred the more obviously lucrative methods of
crossing the palm with gold or silver, or of charging a fee for
manipulating a pack of playing-cards.
Reading the Cup is essentially a domestic form of
Fortune-telling to be practised at home, and with success by anyone who
will take the trouble to master the simple rules laid down in these
pages: and it is in the hope that it will provide a basis for much
innocent and inexpensive amusement and recreation round the tea-table at
home, as well as for a more serious study of an interesting subject,
that this little guide-book to the science is confidently offered to the
INTRODUCTION TO THE ART OF DIVINATION FROM TEA-LEAVES
It seems highly probable that at no previous period of
the world's history have there been so many persons as there are at the
present moment anxious to ascertain in advance, if that be humanly
possible, a knowledge of at least 'what a day may bring forth.' The
incidence of the greatest of all wars, which has resulted in sparse news
of those from whom they are separated, and produces a state of
uncertainty as to what the future holds in store for each of the
inhabitants of the British Empire, is, of course, responsible for this
increase in a perfectly sane and natural curiosity; with its inevitable
result, a desire to employ any form of divination in the hope that some
light may haply be cast upon the darkness and obscurity of the future.
It is unfortunately the case, as records of the
police-courts have recently shown, that the creation of this demand for
foreknowledge of coming events or for information as to the well-being
of distant relatives and friends has resulted in the abundant supply of
the want by scores of pretended 'Fortune-tellers' and diviners of the
Future; who, trading upon the credulity and anxieties of their
unfortunate fellow-countrywomen, seek to make a living at their expense.
Now it is an axiom, which centuries of experience have
shown to be as sound as those of Euclid himself, that the moment the
taint of money enters into the business of reading the Future the
accuracy and credit of the Fortune told disappears. The Fortune-teller
no longer possesses the singleness of mind or purpose necessary to a
clear reading of the symbols he or she consults. The amount of the fee
is the first consideration, and this alone is sufficient to obscure the
mental vision and to bias the judgment. This applies to the very highest
and most conscientious of Fortune-tellers—persons really adept at
foreseeing the future when no taint of monetary reward intervenes. The
greater number, however, of so-called Fortune-tellers are but
charlatans, with the merest smattering of partly-assimilated knowledge
of some form of divination or 'character-reading'; whether by the cards,
coins, dice, dominoes, hands, crystal, or in any other pretended way.
With these, the taint of the money they hope to receive clouds such mind
or intuition as they may possess, and it follows that their judgments
and prognostications have precisely the same value as the nostrums of
the quack medicine-vendor. They are very different from the Highlander
who, coming to the door of his cottage or bothie at dawn, regards
steadfastly the signs and omens he notes in the appearance of the sky,
the actions of animals, the flight of birds, and so forth, and derives
there from a foresight into the coming events of the opening day. They
differ also from the 'spae-wife,' who, manipulating the cup from which
she has taken her morning draught of tea, looks at the various forms and
shapes the leaves and dregs have taken, and deduces thence such simple
horary prognostications as the name of the person from whom 'postie'
will presently bring up the glen a letter or a parcel or a remittance of
money; or as to whether she is likely to go a journey, or to hear news
from across the sea, or to obtain a good price for the hose she has
knitted or for the chickens or eggs she is sending to the store-keeper.
Here the taint of a money-payment is altogether absent; and no Highland
'spae-wife' or seer would dream of taking a fee for looking into the
future on behalf of another person.
It follows, therefore, that provided he or she is
equipped with the requisite knowledge and some skill and intuition, the
persons most fitted to tell correctly their own fortune are themselves;
because they cannot pay themselves for their own prognostications, and
the absence of a monetary taint consequently leaves the judgment
unbiased. Undoubtedly one of the simplest, most inexpensive and, as the
experience of nearly three centuries has proved, most reliable forms of
divination within its own proper limits, is that of reading fortunes in
tea-cups. Although it cannot be of the greatest antiquity, seeing that
tea was not introduced into Britain until the middle of the seventeenth
century, and for many years thereafter was too rare and costly to be
used by the great bulk of the population, the practice of reading the
tea-leaves doubtless descends from the somewhat similar form of
divination known to the Greeks as "κοταβος" by which fortune in
love was discovered by the particular splash made by wine thrown out of
a cup into a metal basin. A few spae-wives still practise this method by
throwing out the tea-leaves into the saucer, but the reading of the
symbols as they are originally formed in the cup is undoubtedly the
Any person after a study of this book and by carefully
following the principles here laid down may with practice quickly learn
to read the horary fortunes that the tea-leaves foretell. It should be
distinctly understood, however, that tea-cup fortunes are only horary,
or dealing with the events of the hour or the succeeding twenty-four
hours at furthest. The immediately forthcoming events are those which
cast their shadows, so to speak, within the circle of the cup. In this
way the tea-leaves may be consulted once a day, and many of the minor
happenings of life foreseen with considerable accuracy, according to the
skill in discerning the symbols and the intuition required to interpret
them which may be possessed by the seer. Adepts like the Highland
peasant-women can and do foretell events that subsequently occur, and
that with remarkable accuracy. Practice and the acquirement of a
knowledge of the signification of the various symbols is all that is
necessary in order to become proficient and to tell one's fortune and
that of one's friends with skill and judgment.
There is, of course, a scientific reason for all forms of
divination practised without hope or promise of reward. Each person
carries in himself his own Destiny. Events do not happen to people by
chance, but are invariably the result of some past cause. For instance,
in the last years a man becomes a soldier who had never intended to
pursue a military career. This does not happen to him by chance, but
because of the prior occurrence of la European war in which his country
was engaged. The outbreak of war is similarly the result of other
causes, none of which happened by chance, but were founded by still
remoter occurrences. It is the same with the Future. That which a person
does today as a result of something that happened in the past, will in
its turn prove the cause of something that will happen at some future
date. The mere act of doing something today sets in motion forces that
in process of time will inevitably bring about some entirely unforeseen
This event is not decreed by Fate or Providence, but by
the person who by the committal of some act unconsciously compels the
occurrence of some future event which he does not foresee. In other
words, a man decrees his own destiny and shapes his own ends by his
actions, whether Providence rough-hew them or not. Now this being so, it
follows that he carries his destiny with him, and the more powerful his
mind and intellect the more clearly is this seen to be the case.
Therefore it is possible for a person's mind, formed as the result of
past events over which he had no control, to foresee by an effort what
will occur in the future as the result of acts deliberately done. Since
it is given to but few, and that not often of intention, to see actually
what is about to happen in a vision or by means of what is called the
'second sight,' some machinery must be provided in the form of symbols
from which an interpretation of the future can be made. It matters
little what the method or nature of the symbols chosen is—dice or
dominoes, cards or tea-leaves. What matters is that the person shaking
the dice, shuffling the dominoes, cutting the cards or turning the
tea-cup, is by these very acts transferring from his mind where they lie
hidden even from himself the shadows of coming events which by his own
actions in the past he has already predetermined shall occur in the
future. It only remains for someone to read and interpret these symbols
correctly in order to ascertain something of what is likely to happen;
and it is here that singleness of purpose and freedom from ulterior
motives are necessary in order to avoid error and to form a true and
This is the serious and scientific explanation of the
little-understood and less-comprehended action of various forms of
divination having for their object the throwing of a little light upon
the occult. Of all these forms perhaps divination by tea-leaves is the
simplest, truest, and most easily learned. Even if the student is
disinclined to attach much importance to what he sees in the cup, the
reading of the tea-leaves forms a sufficiently innocent and amusing
recreation for the breakfast- or tea-table; and the man who finds a
lucky sign such as an anchor or a tree in his cup, or the maiden who
discovers a pair of heart-shaped groups of leaves in conjunction with a
ring, will be suffering no harm in thus deriving encouragement for the
future, even should they attach no importance to their occurrence, but
merely treat them as an occasion for harmless mirth and badinage.
Whether, however, the tea-leaves be consulted seriously
or in mere sport and love of amusement, the methods set forth in
succeeding chapters should be carefully followed, and the significations
of the pictures and symbols formed in the cup scrupulously accepted as
correct, for reasons which are explained in a subsequent chapter.
RITUAL AND METHOD OF USING THE TEA-CUP
The best kind of tea to use if tea-cup reading is to be
followed is undoubtedly China tea, the original tea imported into this
country and still the best for all purposes. Indian tea and the cheaper
mixtures contain so much dust and so many fragments of twigs and stems
as often to be quite useless for the purposes of divination, as they
will not combine to form pictures, or symbols clearly to be discerned.
The best shape of cup to employ is one with a wide
opening at the top and a bottom not too small. Cups with almost
perpendicular sides are very difficult to read, as the symbols cannot be
seen properly, and the same may be said of small cups. A plain-surfaced
breakfast-cup is perhaps the best to use; and the interior should be
white and have no pattern printed upon it, as this confuses the
clearness of the picture presented by the leaves, as does any fluting or
eccentricity of shape.
The ritual to be observed is very simple. The tea-drinker
should drink the contents of his or her cup so as to leave only about
half a teaspoonful of the beverage remaining. He should next take the
cup by the handle in his left hand, rim upwards, and turn it three times
from left to right in one fairly rapid swinging movement. He should then
very slowly and carefully invert it over the saucer and leave it there
for a minute, so as to permit of all moisture draining away.
If he approaches the oracle at all seriously he should
during the whole of these proceedings concentrate his mind upon his
future Destiny, and 'will' that the symbols forming under the guidance
of his hand and arm (which in their turn are, of course, directed by his
brain) shall correctly represent what is destined to happen to him in
If, however, he or she is not in such deadly earnest, but
merely indulging in a harmless pastime, such an effort of concentration
need not be made. The 'willing' is, of course, akin to 'wishing' when
cutting the cards in another time-honoured form of fortune-telling.
The cup to be read should be held in the hand and turned
about in order to read the symbols without disturbing them, which will
not happen if the moisture has been properly drained away. The handle of
the cup represents the consultant and is akin to the 'house' in
divination by the cards. By this fixed point judgment is made as to
events approaching the 'house' of the consultant, journeys away from
home, messages or visitors to be expected, relative distance, and so
forth. The advantage of employing a cup instead of a saucer is here
'The bottom of the cup represents the remoter future
foretold; the side events not so far distant; and matters symbolised
near the rim those that may be expected to occur quickly. The nearer the
symbols approach the handle in all three cases the nearer to fulfilment
will be the events prognosticated.
If this simple ritual has been correctly carried out the
tea-leaves, whether many or few, will be found distributed about the
bottom and sides of the cup. The fortune may be equally well told
whether there are many leaves or few; but of course there must be some,
and therefore the tea should not have been made in a pot provided with
one of the patent arrangements that stop the leaves from issuing from
the spout when the beverage is poured into the cups. There is nothing to
beat one of the plain old-fashioned earthenware teapots, whether for the
purpose of preparing a palatable beverage or for that of providing the
means of telling a fortune.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES TO BE OBSERVED IN READING THE CUP
The interior of the tea-cup when it is ready to be
consulted will exhibit the leaves scattered apparently in a fortuitous
and accidental manner, but really in accordance with the muscular action
of the left arm as controlled by the mind at whose bidding it has
worked. These scattered leaves will form lines and circles of dots or
small leaves and dust combined with stems, and groups of leaves in
larger or smaller patches: apparently in meaningless confusion.
Careful notice should now be taken of all the shapes and
figures formed inside the cup. These should be viewed front different
positions, so that their meaning becomes clear. It is not very easy at
first to see what the shapes really are, but after looking at them
carefully they become plainer. The different shapes and figures in the
cup must be taken together in a general reading. Bad indications will be
balanced by good ones; some good ones will be strengthened by others,
and so on.
It is now the business of the seer—whether the consultant
or some adept to whom he has handed the cup to be read—to find some
fairly close resemblance between the groups formed by the leaves and
various natural or artificial objects. This part of the performance
resembles the looking for 'pictures in the fire' as practised by
children in nurseries and school-rooms and occasionally by people of a
larger growth. Actual representations of such things as trees, animals,
birds, anchors, crowns, coffins, flowers, and so forth may by the
exercise of the powers of observation and imagination be discerned, as
well as squares, triangles, and crosses. Each of these possesses, as a
symbol, some fortunate or unfortunate signification. Such signs may be
either large or small, and their relative importance must be judged
according to their size. Supposing the symbol observed should be that
indicating the receipt of a legacy, for instance: if small it would mean
that the inheritance would be but trifling, if large that it would be
substantial, while if leaves grouped to form a resemblance to a coronet
accompany the sign for a legacy, a title would probably descend upon the
consultant at the same time. The meaning of all the symbols of this
nature likely to be formed by the fortuitous arrangement of leaves in a
tea-cup is fully set forth in the concluding chapter; and it is
unnecessary therefore to enlarge upon this branch of the subject.
There are, however, several points of a more general
character that must be considered before it is possible to form an
accurate judgment of the fortune displayed. For instance, isolated
leaves or groups of a few leaves or stems frequently form letters of the
alphabet or numbers. These letters and numbers possess meanings which
must be sought in conjunction with other signs. If near a letter L is
seen a small square or oblong leaf, or if a number of very small dots
form such a square or oblong, it indicates that a letter or parcel will
be received from somebody whose surname (not Christian name) begins with
an L. If the combined symbol appears near the handle and near the rim of
the cup, the letter is close at hand; if in the bottom there will be
delay in its receipt. If the sign of a letter is accompanied by the
appearance of a bird flying towards the 'house' it means a telegraphic
despatch: if flying away from the house the consultant will have to send
the telegram. Birds flying always indicate news of some sort.
Again, the dust in the tea and the smaller leaves and
stems frequently form lines of dots. These are significant of a journey,
and their extent and direction shows its length and the point of the
compass towards which it will extend: the handle for this purpose being
considered as due south. If the consultant is at home and lines lead
from the handle right round the cup and back to the handle, it shows
that he will return; if they end before getting back to the handle, and
especially if a resemblance to a house appears where the journey line
ends, it betokens removal to some other place. If the consultant be away
from home, lines leading to the handle show a return home, and if free
from crosses or other symbols of delay that the return will be speedy:
otherwise it will be postponed. The occurrence of a numeral may indicate
the number of days, or if in connection with a number of small dots
grouped around the sign of a letter, a present or a legacy, the amount
of the remittance in the former, the number of presents to be expected,
or the amount of the legacy coming. Dots surrounding a symbol always
indicate money coming in some form or other, according to the nature of
It will be seen that to read a fortune in the tea-cup
with any real approach to accuracy and a serious attempt to derive a
genuine forecast from the cup the seer must not be in a hurry. He or she
must not only study the general appearance of the horoscope displayed
before him, and decide upon the resemblance of the groups of leaves to
natural or artificial objects, each of which possesses a separate
significance, but must also balance the bad and good, the lucky and
unlucky symbols, and strike an average. For instance, a large bouquet of
flowers, which is a fortunate sign, would outweigh in importance one or
two minute crosses, which in this case would merely signify some small
delay in the realisation of success; whereas one large cross in a
prominent position would be a warning of disaster that would be little,
if at all, mitigated by the presence of small isolated flowers, however
lucky individually these may be. This is on the same principle as that
by which astrologers judge a horoscope, when, after computing the
aspects of the planets towards each other, the Sun and Moon, the
Ascendant, Mid-heaven, and the significator of the Native, they balance
the good aspects against the bad, the strong against the weak, the
Benefics against the Malefics, and so strike an average. In a similar
way the lucky and unlucky, signs in a tea-cup must be balanced one
against the other and an average struck: and in this connection it may
be pointed out that symbols which stand out clearly and distinctly by
themselves are of more importance than those with difficulty to be
discerned amid cloudlike masses of shapeless leaves. When these clouds
obscure or surround a lucky sign they weaken its force, and vice versa.
In tea-cup reading, however, the fortune told must be regarded chiefly
as of a horary character, not, as with an astrological horoscope, that
of a whole life; and where it is merely indulged in as a light amusement
to while away a few minutes after a meal such nicety of judgment is not
called for. The seer will just glance at the cup, note the sign for a
letter from someone, or that for a journey to the seaside or the
proximity of a gift, or an offer of marriage, and pass on to another
It should be observed that some cups when examined will
present no features of interest, or will be so clouded and muddled that
no clear meaning is to be read in them. In such a case the seer should
waste no time over them. Either the consultant has not concentrated his
or her attention upon the business in hand when turning the cup, or his
destiny is so obscured by the indecision of his mind or the vagueness of
his ideas that it is unable to manifest itself by symbols. Persons who
consult the tea-leaves too frequently often find this muddled state of
things to supervene. Probably once a week will be often enough to look
into the future, although there is something to be said for the Highland
custom of examining the leaves of the morning cup of tea in order to
obtain some insight into the events the day may be expected to bring
forth. To 'look in the cup' three or four times a day, as some silly
folk do, is simply to ask for contradictory manifestations and
consequent bewilderment, and is symptomatic of the idle, empty, bemused
minds that prompt to such ill-advised conduct.
Of course the tea-cup may be employed solely for the
purpose of asking what is known to astrologers as 'a horary question',
such, for instance, as 'Shall I hear from my lover in France, and when?'
In this case the attention of the consultant when turning the cup must
be concentrated solely on this single point, and the seer will regard
the shapes taken by the tea-leaves solely in this connection in order to
give a definite and satisfactory answer. An example of this class of
horary question is included among the illustrations (Fig. 10).
AN ALPHABETICAL LIST OF SYMBOLS WITH THEIR SIGNIFICATIONS
A question that will very naturally occur to persons of
an enquiring turn of mind in regard to the figures and symbols seen in
the tea-cup is: Why should one symbol necessarily signify one thing and
not something quite different?
The answer, of course, is that the meanings given to the
symbols are purely arbitrary, and that there is no scientific reason why
one should signify one thing and not another. There is no real reason
why the ace of clubs, for instance, should not be considered the 'House
Card' instead of the nine of hearts, or why the double four in dominoes
should signify an invitation instead of a wedding, like the double
It is obviously necessary, however, in attempting to read
the future by means of any kind of symbols, whether pips, dots, numbers
or anything else, to fix beforehand upon some definite meaning to be
attributed to each separate symbol and to hold fast to this meaning in
all events. In the case of tea-leaves, where the symbols are not mere
'conventional signs' or numbers but actual figures like the pictures
seen in the fire or those envisaged in dreams, there is no doubt that
the signification of most of them is the result of empyrical experience.
Generations of spae-wives have found that the recurrence of a certain
figure in the cup has corresponded with the occurrence of a certain
event in the future lives of the various persons who have consulted
them: and this empyrical knowledge has been handed down from seer to
seer until a sufficient deposit of tradition has been formed from which
it has been found possible to compile a detailed list of the most
important symbols and to attach to each a traditional meaning. These
significations have been collected by the writer—in a desultory
manner—over a long period of years chiefly from spae-wives in both
Highland and Lowland Scotland, but also in Cornwall, on Dartmoor, in
Middle England, in Gloucestershire and Northumberland. Occasionally it
has been found that a different meaning is attributed to a symbol by one
seer from that given it by another. In such cases an alternative
signification might, of course, have been given here, but as the essence
of all such significations is that they shall be stable and unvarying,
the writer has fixed upon whichever meaning has been most widely
attributed to the symbol or appears to have the best authority for its
adoption, so that the element of doubt may be excluded.
Although included in their alphabetical order in the list
which follows, there are certain figures and symbols which are of so
common occurrence and bear such definite interpretation that it is
advisable to refer to them here in detail. Certain symbols are
invariably signs of approaching good-fortune: certain others of
threatened ill-luck. Among the former may be mentioned triangles, stars,
trefoil or clover-leaves, anchors, trees, garlands and flowers, bridges
or arches, and crowns. Among the latter, coffins, clouds, crosses,
serpents, rats and mice and some wild beasts, hour-glasses, umbrellas,
church-steeples, swords and guns, ravens, owls, and monkeys are all
SYMBOLS AND SIGNIFICATIONS
ABBEY, future ease and freedom from worry.
ACORN, improvement in health, continued health, strength,
and good fortune.
AIRCRAFT, unsuccessful projects.
ANCHOR, a lucky sign; success in business and constancy
in love; if cloudy, the reverse must be read.
ANGEL, good news, especially good fortune in love.
APES, secret enemies.
APPLES, long life; gain by commerce.
APPLE-TREE, change for the better.
ARCH, a journey abroad.
ARROW, a disagreeable letter from the direction in which
ASS, misfortune overcome by patience; or a legacy.
AXE, difficulties overcome.
BADGER, long life and prosperity as a bachelor.
BASKET, an addition to the family.
BAT, fruitless journeys or tasks.
BEAR, a long period of travel.
BEASTS, other than those mentioned, foretell misfortune.
BIRDS, a lucky sign; good news if flying, if at rest a
BOAT, a friend will visit the consultant.
BOUQUET, one of the luckiest of symbols; staunch friends,
success, a happy marriage.
BRIDGE, a favourable journey.
BUILDING, a removal.
BULL, slander by some enemy.
BUSH, an invitation into society.
BUTTERFLY, success and pleasure.
CAMEL, a burden to be patiently borne.
CANNON, good fortune.
CAR (MOTOR), and CARRIAGE, approaching wealth, visits
CART, fluctuations of fortune.
CASTLE, unexpected fortune or a legacy.
CAT, difficulties caused by treachery.
CATHEDRAL, great prosperity.
CHAIN, an early marriage; if broken, trouble in store.
CHAIR, an addition to the family.
CHURCH, a legacy.
CIRCLES, money or presents. They mean that the person
whose fortune is read may expect money or presents.
CLOUDS, serious trouble; if surrounded by dots, financial
CLOVER, a very lucky sign; happiness and prosperity. At
the top of the cup, it will come quickly. As it nears the bottom, it
will mean more or less distant.
COCK, much prosperity.
COFFIN, long sickness or sign of death of a near relation
or great friend.
COMET, misfortune and trouble.
COMPASSES, a sign of travelling as a profession.
COW, a prosperous sign.
CROSS, a sign of trouble and delay or even death.
CROWN, success and honour.
CROWN AND CROSS, signifies good fortune resulting from
DAGGER, favours from friends.
DEER, quarrels, disputes; failure in trade.
DOG, a favourable sign; faithful friends, if at top of
cup; in middle of cup, they are untrustworthy; at the bottom means
DONKEY, a legacy long awaited.
DOVE, a lucky symbol; progress in prosperity and
DRAGON, great and sudden changes.
DUCK, increase of wealth by trade.
EAGLE, honour and riches through change of residence.
ELEPHANT, a lucky sign; good health.
FALCON, a persistent enemy.
FERRET, active enemies.
FISH, good news from abroad; if surrounded by dots,
FLAG, danger from wounds inflicted by an enemy.
FLEUR-DE-LYS, same as LILY (q.v.).
FLOWERS, good fortune, success; a happy marriage.
FOX, treachery by a trusted friend.
FROG, success in love and commerce.
GALLOWS, a sign of good luck.
GOAT, a sign of enemies, and of misfortune to a sailor.
GOOSE, happiness; a successful venture.
GRASSHOPPER, a great friend will become a soldier.
GREYHOUND, a good fortune by strenuous exertion.
GUN, a sign of discord and slander.
HAMMER, triumph over adversity.
HAND, to be read in conjunction with neighbouring symbols
and according to what it points.
HARE, a sign of a long journey, or the return of an
absent friend. Also of a speedy and fortunate marriage to those who are
HARP, marriage, success in love.
HAT, success in life.
HAWK, an enemy.
HEART, pleasures to come; if surrounded by dots, through
money; if accompanied by a ring, through marriage.
HEAVENLY BODIES, SUN, MOON AND STARS, signifies happiness
HEN, increase of riches or an addition to the family.
HORSE, desires fulfilled through a prosperous journey.
HORSE-SHOE, a lucky journey or success in marriage and
choosing a partner.
HOUR-GLASS, imminent peril.
HOUSE, success in business.
HUMAN FIGURES must be judged according to what they
appear to be doing. They are generally good and denote love and
INTERROGATION (mark of), doubt or disappointment.
IVY, honour and happiness through faithful friends.
JACKAL, a sly animal who need not be feared. A mischief
maker of no account.
JOCKEY, successful speculation.
JUG, good health.
KANGAROO, a rival in business or love.
KEY, money, increasing trade, and a good husband or wife.
KITE, a sign of lengthy voyaging and travel leading to
honour and dignity.
KNIFE, a warning of disaster through quarrels and enmity.
LADDER, a sign of travel.
LEOPARD, a sign of emigration with subsequent success.
LETTERS, shown by square or oblong tea-leaves, signifies
news. Initials near will show surnames of writers; if accompanied by
dots they will contain money; if unclouded, good; but if fixed about by
clouds, bad news or loss of money.
LILY, at top of cup, health and happiness; a virtuous
wife; at bottom, anger and strife.
LINES indicate journeys and their direction, read in
conjunction with other signs of travel; wavy lines denote troublesome
journeys or losses therein.
LION, greatness through powerful friends.
LYNX, danger of divorce or break off of an engagement.
MAN, a visitor arriving. If the arm is held out, he
brings a present. If figure is very clear, he is dark; if indistinct, he
is of light complexion.
MERMAID, misfortune, especially to seafaring persons.
MITRE, a sign of honour to a clergyman or through
MONKEY, the consultant will be deceived in love.
MOON (as a crescent), prosperity and fortune.
MOUNTAIN, powerful friends; many mountains, equally
MOUSE, danger of poverty through theft or swindling.
MUSHROOM, sudden separation of lovers after a quarrel.
NOSEGAY, the same as BOUQUET (q.v.).
NUMBERS depends on symbols in conjunction with them.
OAK, very lucky; long life, good health, profitable
business, and a happy marriage.
OBLONG FIGURES, family or business squabbles.
OWL, an evil omen, indicative of sickness, poverty,
disgrace, a warning against commencing any new enterprise. If the
consultant be in love he or she will be deceived.
PALM-TREE, good luck; success in any undertaking. A sign
of children to a wife and of a speedy marriage to a maid.
PARROT, a sign of emigration for a lengthy period.
PEACOCK, denotes success and the acquisition of property;
also a happy marriage.
PEAR, great wealth and improved social position; success
in business, and to a woman a wealthy husband.
PEDESTRIAN, good news; an important appointment.
PHEASANT, a legacy.
PIG, good and bad luck mixed: a faithful lover but
PIGEONS, important news if flying; if at rest, domestic
bliss and wealth acquired in trade.
PINE-TREE, continuous happiness.
RABBIT, fair success in a city or large town.
RAT, treacherous servants; losses through enemies.
RAVEN, death for the aged; disappointment in love,
divorce, failure in business, and trouble generally.
RAZOR, lovers' quarrels and separation.
RIDER, good news from overseas regarding financial
RIFLE, a sign of discord and strife.
RING, a ring means marriage; and if a letter can be found
near it, this is the initial of the future spouse. If clouds are near
the ring, an unhappy marriage; if all is clear about it, the contrary. A
ring right at the bottom means the wedding will not take place.
ROSE, a lucky sign betokening good fortune and happiness.
SAW, trouble brought about by strangers.
SCALES, a lawsuit.
SCEPTRE, a sign of honour from royalty.
SCISSORS, quarrels; illness; separation of lovers.
SERPENT, spiteful enemies; bad luck; illness.
SHARK, danger of death.
SHEEP, success, prosperity.
SHIP, a successful journey.
SNAKES are a sign of bad omen. Great caution is needed to
ward off misfortune.
SPIDER, a sign of money coming to the consultant.
SQUARES, comfort and peace.
STAR, a lucky sign; if surrounded by dots foretells great
wealth and honours.
STEEPLE, bad luck.
STRAIGHT LINE, a journey, very pleasant.
STRAIGHT LINES are an indication of peace, happiness, and
SWALLOW, a journey with a pleasant ending.
SWAN, good luck and a happy marriage.
SWORD, dispute, quarrels between lovers; a broken sword,
victory of an enemy.
TIMBER, logs of timber indicate business success.
TOAD, deceit and unexpected enemies.
TREES, a lucky sign; a sure indication of prosperity and
happiness; surrounded by dots, a fortune in the country.
TRIANGLES, always a sign of good luck and unexpected
TRIDENT, success and honours in the Navy.
TWISTED FIGURES, disturbances and vexation; grievances if
there are many such figures.
UMBRELLA, annoyance and trouble.
VULTURE, bitter foes.
WAGON, a sign of approaching poverty.
WAVY LINES, if long and waved, denote losses and
vexations. The importance of the lines depends upon the number of them
and if heavy or light.
WHEEL, an inheritance about to fall in.
WINDMILL, success in a venturous enterprise.
WOLF, beware of jealous intrigues.
WOMAN, pleasure and happiness; if accompanied by dots,
wealth or children. Several women indicate scandal.
WOOD, a speedy marriage.
WORMS indicate secret foes.
YACHT, pleasure and happiness.
YEW-TREE indicates the death of an aged person who will
leave his possessions to the consultant.
ZEBRA, travel and adventure in foreign lands.
A COLLECTION OF SPECIMEN CUPS, WITH INTERPRETATIONS
The succeeding ten figures are copied from actual
tea-cups that have been at different times subjected to the proper
ritual by various consultants and duly interpreted by seers. They are
selected out of a larger number as being representative of many
different classes of horoscope, and they should afford students
practical instruction in what symbols to look for, and how to discern
them clearly as they turn the cup about and about in their hands.
By reference to the interpretations provided upon the
pages facing the illustrations he will be able to ascertain the
principles upon which to form a judgment of the cup generally; and this,
once he has mastered the method, he will be able to supplement, by
consulting the alphabetical list of symbols and their significations in
the previous chapter, and in this way will speedily attain proficiency
in reading any tea-cup presented for his consideration.
INTERPRETATIONS AND ILLUSTRATIONS
This is a fortunate horoscope. If cup has been turned by
a man it shows that he will gain success, honour, and wealth in the
profession of a naval officer. If by a woman then her luck is bound up
with that of a sailor or marine.
The pistols on the sides show the profession of arms, and
the naval gun in the bottom of the cup accompanied by a trident the
branch to which he belongs. The on one side and the tree on the other
are two of the best signs of promotion, rewards, and prosperity. The
house near the pistol pointing towards the handle of the cup indicates
the acquisition of property, but as neither tree nor house are
surrounded by dots this will be a town, not a country, residence. The
repetition of the initial 'L' may show the name of the admiral, ship, or
battle in which the officer will win renown. The triangles confirm the
other signs of good fortune.
Two pistols on sides.
A cannon in conjunction with a trident in centre.
A pair of compasses near the rim.
Several small triangles scattered about. Initial letters 'L' (twice),
'N,' and 'V' (twice).
There is nothing very significant in this tea-cup. The
wavy lines denote a troublesome journey leading to some small amount of
luck in connection with a person or place whose name begins with the
initial 'E.' The hour-glass near the rim and the place from which the
journey starts denotes that it will be undertaken in order to avoid some
imminent peril. The numeral '4' conjoined with the sign of a parcel
shows that one may be expected in that number of days.
Initial 'E' in conjunction with Horse-shoe.
Hour-glass near rim.
Parcel in conjunction with numeral '4.
This shows, by means of the crescent moon on the side,
prosperity and fortune as the result of a journey denoted by the lines.
The number of triangles in conjunction with the initial 'H' indicates
the name commences with that letter, and, being near the rim, at no
great distance of time. The bird flying towards and near the handle,
accompanied by a triangle and a long envelope, denotes good news from an
official source. The flag gives warning of some danger from an enemy.
Initial 'A' in conjunction with sign of letter in official envelope.
Other initials, 'H' and two 'L's.'
The consultant is about to journey eastward to some large
building or institution, shown by the figure at the end of the straight
line of dots. There is some confusion in his or her affairs caused by
too much indulgence in pleasure and gaiety, denoted by the butterfly
involved in obscure groups of tea-leaves near the handle. The tree and
the fleur-de-lys (or lily) in the bottom of the cup are, however, signs
of eventual success, probably through the assistance of some person
whose name begins with an 'N.'
Large tree in bottom of cup.
Fleur-de-lys (or lily).
Butterfly on side approaching handle.
Line of dots leading east to Building.
Initials 'N' and 'C.
A letter is approaching the consultant containing a
considerable sum of money, as it is surrounded by dots. The future,
shown by the bottom of the cup, is not clear, and betokens adversities;
but the presence of the hammer there denotes triumph over these, a sign
confirmed by the hat on the side. The consultant will be annoyed by
somebody whose name begins with 'J,' and assisted by one bearing the
Hammer in centre of bottom.
A letter approaching the house, accompanied by
Initials 'Y' and 'J' (accompanied by small cross)
A letter containing good news, shown by bird flying and
the triangle, may be expected immediately. If from a lover it shows that
he is constant and prosperous, owing to the anchor on the side. The
large tree on the side indicates happiness and prosperity. A letter will
be received from someone whose initial is 'L.' In the bottom of the cup
there are signs of minor vexations or delays in connection with someone
whose name begins with 'C.'
Large tree on side.
Anchor on side.
Bird flying high towards handle.
Small cross in bottom.
Letter sign close to handle.
Initial 'L' with letter sign.
Other initials, 'C' and 'H.'
The two horse-shoes indicate a lucky journey to some
large residence in a north-easterly direction, the tree surmounting
which denotes that happiness and fortune will be found there and that
(as it is surrounded by dots) it is situated in the country. The sitting
hen in the bottom of the cup, surmounted by a triangle (to see which
properly the illustration must be turned round) is indicative of
increased wealth by an unexpected legacy. A letter from someone whose
name begins with 'T' will contain a remittance of money, but it may not
arrive for some little time.
Large horse-shoe, edge of bottom, in conjunction with
Line of dots leading E.N.E. to
Large building surmounted by
Tree, overlapping rim.
Initial 'T' with letter and money signs.
This tea-cup appears to give warning by the flag in
conjunction with a rifle and the letter 'V' that some friend of the
consultant will be wounded in battle, and as there is a coffin in the
bottom of the cup that the wounds will be fatal. On the other side,
however, a sceptre, surrounded by signs of honours, seems to indicate
that 'V' will be recognized by his sovereign and a decoration bestowed
upon him for bravery in battle, shown by the initial 'K' accompanied by
a letter-sign, and by the astrological sign of Mars, intervening between
these and the sceptre.
Coffin in bottom, in conjunction with 'V.'
Flag in conjunction with rifle on side.
Sceptre on side.
Large initial 'K' with letter sign near sceptre.
Astrological sign of Mars between them.
Initial 'V' near flag and rifle.
If the consultant be single this cup will, by means of
the hare on the side, tell him that he will speedily be married. The
figure of a lady holding out an ivy-leaf is a sign that his sweetheart
will prove true and constant, and the heart in conjunction with a ring
and the initial 'A' still further points to marriage with a person whose
name begins with that letter. The flower, triangle, and butterfly are
all signs of prosperity, pleasure and happiness.
Hare sitting on side.
Butterfly near rim.
Heart and ring.
Large flower on edge of bottom.
Figure of woman holding ivy-leaf in bottom.
Initials 'A' and small 'C' with dots.
This is typical of the cup being too often consulted by
some people. It is almost void of meaning, the only symbols indicating a
short journey, although the flower near the rim denotes good luck, and
the fact that the bottom is clear that nothing very important is about
to happen to the consultant.
Line of dots leading W.S.W to
Two letters near rim
How have omens been regarded in the past? An appeal to
anciency is usually a safeguard for a basis. It is found that most of
the earliest records are now subsisting. See official guide to the
British Museum. Babylonian and Assyrian antiquities, table case H.
Nineveh Gallery, the following appears:
"By means of omen tablets the Babylonian and Assyrian
priests from time immemorial predicted events which they believed would
happen in the near or in the remote future. They deduced these omens
from the appearance and actions of animals, birds, fish, and reptiles;
from the appearance of the entrails of sacrificial victims; from the
appearance and condition of human and animal offspring at birth; from
the state and condition of various members of the human body."
In India, where the records of the early ages of
civilization go back hundreds of years, omens are considered of great
Later, in Greece, the home of the greatest and highest
culture and civilization, we find, too, omens regarded very seriously,
while to-day there are vast numbers of persons of intellect, the world
over, who place reliance upon omens.
That there is some good ground for belief in some omens
seems indisputable. Whether this has arisen as the result of experience,
by the following of some particular event close upon the heels of signs
observed, or whether it has been an intuitive science, in which
provision has been used to afford an interpretation, is not quite clear.
It seems idle to attempt to dismiss the whole thing as mere
superstition, wild guessing, or abject credulity, as some try to do,
with astrology and alchemy also, and other occult sciences; the fact
remains that omens have, in numberless instances, given good warnings.
To say that these are just coincidences is to beg the
question. For the universe is governed by law. Things happen because
they must, not because they may. There is no such thing as accident or
coincidence. We may not be able to see the steps and the connections.
But they are there all the same.
In years gone by many signs were deduced from the
symptoms of sick men; the events or actions of a man's life; dreams and
visions; the appearance of a man's shadow; from fire, flame, light, or
smoke; the state and condition of cities and their streets, of fields,
marshes, rivers, and lands. From the appearances of the stars and
planets, of eclipses, meteors, shooting stars, the direction of winds,
the form of clouds, thunder and lightning and other weather incidents,
they were able to forecast happenings. A number of tablets are devoted
to these prophecies.
It is conceivable that many of these omens should have
found their way into Greece, and it is not unreasonable to believe that
India may have derived her knowledge of omens from Babylonia; or it may
have been the other way about. The greatest of scholars are divided in
their opinions as to which really is the earlier civilization.
The point to be made here is that in all parts of the
world—in quarters where we may be certain that no trace of Grecian,
Indian, or Babylonian science or civilization has appeared—there are to
be found systems of prophecies by omens.
It may be accounted for in two ways. One that in all
races as they grow up, so to speak, there is the same course of
evolution of ideas and superstition which to many appears childish. The
other explanation seems to be the more reasonable one, if we believe, as
we are forced to do, that omens do foretell—that all peoples, all races,
accumulate a record, oral or otherwise, of things which have happened
more or less connected with things which seemed to indicate them. In
course of time this knowledge appears to consolidate. It gets generally
accepted as true. And then it is handed on from generation to
generation. Often with the passage of years it gets twisted and a new
meaning taken out of it altogether different from the original.
It would be difficult to attempt to classify omens. Many
books have been written on the subject and more yet to be written of the
beliefs of the various races. The best that can be offered here is a
selection from one or other of the varied sources. In Greece sneezing
was a good omen and was considered a proof of the truth of what was said
at the moment by the sneezer.
A tingling in the hand denoted the near handling of
money, a ringing in the ears that news will soon be received. The number
of sneezes then became a sign for more definite results. The hand which
tingled, either right or left, indicated whether it were to be paid or
received. The particular ear affected was held to indicate good or evil
news. Other involuntary movements of the body were also considered of
Many omens are derived from the observation of various
substances dropped into a bowl of water. In Babylon oil was used. To-day
in various countries melted lead, wax, or the white of an egg, is used.
From the shapes which result, the trade or occupation of a future
husband, the luck for the year, and so on, are deduced in the folk
practices of modern Europe. Finns use stearine and melted lead, Magyars
lead, Russians wax, Danes lead and egg, and the northern counties of
England egg, wax and oil.
Bird omens were the subject of very serious study in
Greece. It has been thought that this was because in the early mythology
of Greece some of their gods and goddesses were believed to have been
birds. Birds, therefore, were particularly sacred, and their appearances
and movements were of profound significance. The principal birds for
signs were the raven, the crow, the heron, wren, dove, woodpecker, and
kingfisher, and all the birds of prey, such as the hawk, eagle, or
vulture, which the ancients classed together (W. R. Halliday, "Greek
Divination"). Many curious instances, which were fulfilled, of bird
omens are related in "The Other World," by Rev. F. Lee. A number of
families have traditions about the appearance of a white bird in
"In the ancient family of Ferrers, of Chartley Park, in
Staffordshire, a herd of wild cattle is preserved. A tradition arose in
the time of Henry III. that the birth of a parti-coloured calf is a sure
omen of death, within the same year, to a member of the Lord Ferrers
family. By a noticeable coincidence, a calf of this description has been
born whenever a death has happened of late years in this noble family."
(Staffordshire Chronicle, July, 1835). The falling of a picture
or a statue or bust of the individual is usually regarded as an evil
omen. Many cases are cited where this has been soon followed by the
death of the person.
It would be easy to multiply instances of this sort: of
personal omen or warning. The history and traditions of our great
families are saturated with it. The predictions and omens relating to
certain well known families, and others, recur at once; and from these
it may be inferred that beneath the more popular beliefs there is enough
fire and truth to justify the smoke that is produced, and to reward some
of the faith that is placed in the modern dreambooks and the books of
fate and the interpretations of omens.
ACORN.—Falling from the oak tree on anyone, is a sign of
good fortune to the person it strikes.
BAT.—To see one in day time means long journey.
"Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for its living;
But a child that's born on the Sabbath-day
Is handsome and wise and loving and gay."
BUTTERFLY.—In your room means great pleasure and success,
but you must not catch it, or the luck will change.
CANDLE.—A spark on the wick of a candle means a letter
for the one who first sees it. A big glow like a parcel means money
coming to you.
CAT.—Black cat to come to your house means difficulties
caused by treachery. Drive it away and avoid trouble.
CHAIN.—If your chain breaks while on you means
disappointments or a broken engagement of marriage.
CLOTHES.—To put on clothes the wrong way out is a sign of
good luck; but you must not alter them, or the luck will change.
CLOVER.—To find a four-leaf clover means luck to you,
happiness and prosperity.
COW.—Coming in your yard or garden a very prosperous
CRICKETS.—A lucky omen. It foretells money coming to you.
They should not be disturbed.
DOG.—Coming to your house, means faithful friends and a
DEATH-WATCH.—A clicking in the wall by this little insect
is regarded as evil, but it does not necessarily mean a death; possibly
only some sickness.
EARS.—You are being talked about if your ear tingles.
Some say, "right for spite, left for love." Others reverse this omen. If
you think of the person, friend, or acquaintance who is likely to be
talking of you, and mention the name aloud, the tingling will cease if
you say the right one.
FLAG.—If it falls from the staff, while flying it means
danger from wounds inflicted by an enemy.
FRUIT STONES OR PIPS.—Think of a wish first, and then
count your stones or pips. If the number is even, the omen is good. If
odd, the reverse is the case.
GRASSHOPPER in the house means some great friend or
distinguished person will visit you.
HORSESHOE.—To find one means it will bring you luck.
KNIVES crossed are a bad omen. If a knife or fork or
scissors falls to the ground and sticks in the floor you will have a
LADYBIRDS betoken visitors.
LOOKING GLASS.—To break means it will bring you ill luck.
MAGPIES.—One, bad luck; two, good luck; three, a wedding;
four, a birth.
MARRIAGE.—A maid should not wear colours; a widow never
white. Happy omens for brides are sunshine and a cat sneezing.
MAY.—"Marry in May, and you'll rue the day."
NEW MOON on a Monday signifies good luck and good
weather. The new moon seen for the first time over the right shoulder
offers the chance for a wish to come true.
NIGHTINGALE.—Lucky for lovers if heard before the cuckoo.
OWLS are evil omens. Continuous hooting of owls in your
trees is said to be one of ill-health.
PIGS.—To meet a sow coming towards you is good; but if
she turns away, the luck flies.
RABBITS.—A rabbit running across your path is said to be
RAT.—A rat running in front of you means treacherous
servants and losses through enemies.
RAVEN.—To see one, means death to the aged or trouble
SALT spilled means a quarrel. This may be avoided by
throwing a pinch over the left shoulder.
SCISSORS.—If they fall and stick in the floor it means
quarrels, illness, separation of lovers.
SERPENT OR SNAKE.—If it crosses your path, means spiteful
enemies, bad luck. Kill it and your luck will be reversed.
SHOES.—The right shoe is the best one to put on first.
SHOOTING STARS.—If you wish, while the star is still
moving, your wish will come true.
SINGING before breakfast, you'll cry before night.
SPIDERS.—The little red spider is the money spider, and
means good fortune coming to you. It must not be disturbed. Long-legged
spiders are also forerunners of good fortune.
TOWEL.—To wipe your hands on a towel at the same time
with another, means you are to quarrel with him or her in the near
WHEEL.—The wheel coming off any vehicle you are riding in
means you are to inherit some fortune, a good omen.
WASHING HANDS.—If you wash your hands in the water just
used by another, a quarrel may be expected, unless you first make the
sign of the cross over the water.
Cutlery, Knives, Kitchen, The superstitions and folklore
A big spoon falling on a "wash day" is the sign of a
A disappointment will follow the dropping of a spoon.
A little friend is going to visit you, if you let a fork drop.
A man will come from whatever direction the prongs of fallen fork point.
A man will visit the house, if a fork is dropped.
A policeman will come, if you let a knife fall.
A sharp instrument falling and sticking in the floor or ground is lucky.
A visit by a young girl will follow the dropping of a teaspoon.
A visitor will come from the direction toward which the handle of
a fallen spoon points.
A woman will come, if you drop a knife.
After dropping, if a knife sticks upright in the floor, look for a
Bad luck can be averted, when you drop a knife at the table, by
remaining at the table but stop eating.
Bad luck can be averted, after you have dropped a fork while eating, by
staying at the table and refraining from food.
Bad luck caused by dropping a knife can be warded off by leaving
the table at once.
Beware of flattery when someone gives you a fork.
Company will come if your drop a fork.
Crossing two forks on the table foretells trouble.
Do not give a sharp-pointed article to a person, but lay it down and
let him pick it up to avert bad luck.
Do not pick up a dropped knife, for a friendship will be cut in two.
Don't give a friend anything sharp, because it will cut holes through
Drop a knife and a child will call on you.
Drop a spoon/ Company soon.
Dropping a big spoon indicates that a big fool will visit you.
Dropping a knife indicates that a hungry woman will come.
Dropping a knife on the floor will bring visitors from the direction
in which the blade points.
Dropping silverware on the floor is a sign of company.
Expect a man, if you drop a spoon.
Expect a strange man,if you drop a fork.
Expect company, if you drop a piece of tableware on the floor.
Finding a pocketknife is a sign of good luck, no matter how old
and useless the knife is.
Give away a knife or a sharp-pointed instrument and you give away your
If a butcher knife is dropped on "wash day," and old man will visit you.
If a closed pocketknife was handed to you, return it closed for luck.
If a fork falls to the floor while you are eating, someone will come
from the direction toward which the tines point.
If a fork is dropped on "wash day," a male visitor will come.
If a knife and fork cross each other, when accidentally dropped
together, bad luck may be expected.
If a knife drops and the blade sticks in the ground or floor, it is an
omen of good luck from the direction toward which the blade of the knife
If a knife drops, you will have a quarrel.
If a knife falls, a strange woman is coming.
If a knife is dropped, a girl will visit your house.
If a knife that has fallen to the floor points toward the door, it is
a sign of company.
If a teaspoon falls, you may expect a child to visit you.
If a teaspoon or small spoon falls, a little fool is coming to visit
If anything with a sharp point falls and sticks in the floor, company
If is the sign of a christening in the family, if you place two forks
at the same plate.
If someone closes a knife that you have opened, you will be unlucky.
If someone hands you an open pocketknife, return it open or you will
have bad luck.
If someone is sharpening a knife and the blade points toward you, it
signifies a quarrel.
If the open part of a dropped spoon remains up, a caller will come when
the meal is finished.
If when lending a knife you throw it to the borrower instead of handing
it to him, you will lose your knife again.
If you drop a knife on your plate, guests will come from the
direction toward which the blade is pointing.
If you drop a knife, expect a man who will surprise you.
If you drop a knife, a woman will come from the direction in which the
If you drop a spoon/ You're sure to have company soon.
If you let a butcher knife fall and it sticks in the floor, you will be
If you let a fork fall, expect a man who will surprise you.
If you let a knife fall, a man is coming to visit you.
If you let a piece of tableware fall, someone will come hungry.
If you take a closed pocketknife and grip it in your hand, and hit
someone with your fist, it will kill them
If you turn over the spoon holder while setting the table and the spoons
fall out, you will have a "fuss" with someone else.
It is a bad omen to carry away from the table a plate or saucer on
which there are two knives or two spoons.
It is a sign of bad luck to hand a person a sharp instrument point
first; for as some say, "It will cut their luck."
It is a sign of bad luck to spin a fork at the table.
It is a sign of bad luck and perhaps death, if you drop a spoon while
eating at the table.
It is unlucky to drop a knife while eating.
It is unlucky to present to someone anything with a sharp point.
Letting a fork drop while you are eating will bring bad luck.
Letting a large spoon fall foretells the coming of a widow.
Never hand an open pocketknife to a friend; he might close the knife
and thereby cut your friendship.
Never pick up a fallen spoon, or it will bring a disappointment.
Scouring bread knives on Sunday is unlucky.
Sharpen a bread knife on something other than a whetstone and there will
soon be strife in the house.
Silverware turning blue indicates that a dark cloud is gathering over
Spinning a knife on the table is unlucky.
Stick a friend while giving him a sharp instrument and bad luck will
Stir with a fork while cooking and you will stir up sorrow.
The dropping of a fork means a woman is coming.
The dropping of a fork means that a hungry man is coming.
The dropping of a large spoon or tablespoon will bring a woman to your
The entire family will visit you, if you drop a tablespoon.
The falling of a fork indicates that a young man will visit you.
The gift of a knife or sharp-edged instrument will cause a quarrel
between the giver and recipient before the year is gone, unless a
coin (usually a penny) is given for the gift.
The person who picks up the knife that someone has dropped at the table
will have good luck.
There will be a quarrel in the house, if a fallen knife lies edge
To avert the bad luck which follows the dropping of a spoon at the
table, leave the table at once.
To drop a knife and fork together means that a couple is coming to eat
To drop a knife means someone is coming.,
To drop a knife on "wash day" indicates the coming of an old man.
To drop a spoon is a sign of company.
To drop a tablespoon will cause you a big disappointment.
To prevent the bad luck caused by dropping a fork at the table, leave
the table immediately.
To spin a spoon at the table will bring bad luck.
Turning a silver spoon over in your mouth is unlucky.
Two knives and two forks at a place means there will be company for the
Ward off bad luck, when you let a spoon fall while at the table, by
keeping your seat; but you must stop eating.
When a knife drops to the floor, someone hungry will come.
When a knife drops, the door will open and a man will enter.
When you buy a knife, always cut a piece of paper or wood with it
first to prevent bad luck.
Whoever drops a knife at the table will be disappointed.
You are going to have a boy visitor, if a fork drops.
You are going to have a little disappointment, if you drop a teaspoon.
You may look for an old woman, if you drop a big spoon.
You will have a large family as guests, if you drop a large spoon.
You will have bad luck, if you break a knife.