Fortune Telling Tea Cups

Tea leaf reading cupI studied Tea Leaf Reading and it is no easy feat. For those who have often wanted to try their hand at tea leaf divination but couldn't remember all of the configurations, there are "trainer" cups with patterns designed to help you along. Anne Ewbank, writing for Atlas Obscura, gives us the low down --


Tasseography, or tea-leaf reading, has been practiced for centuries. Keen-eyed fortune tellers, it’s said, can derive a wealth of meaning from different shapes formed by tea leaves at the bottom of a cup. But what about the amateur fortune-teller, who can’t tell a skull from a set of stairs?

Enter the fortune-telling tea cup, which first emerged in the early 20th century. Thanks to its paint-by-numbers approach to tasseography, anybody could tell a fortune. Soon, a number of porcelain-makers in the U.S. and England were making their own versions. From the outside, some fortune-telling cups looked like elegant, normal cups. But on the inside, they contained arcane symbols. Wherever tea leaves landed indicated a fortune-telling clue.

The cups were part of a craze for all things occult that lasted well into the 20th century. With new discoveries and technological wonders discovered daily, the mystical didn’t seem that crazy. Having one’s fortune told became a party game, and even an industry. In the 1920s, fortune-telling cafes sprang up in urban centers, and many offered tea leaf readings. So it’s not a surprise that porcelain-makers got in on the trend. Fortune-telling cups were sold in small magazines and even books: One 1907 juggling tome sold a cup “marked with the signs of the Zodiac, all arranged in a certain mystic order.” Interested readers could also buy a crystal ball and “mesmeric discs.”

Fortune-telling cups came in various designs. According to The Mystic Tea Room, an online museum of fortune-telling cups, there are four typical patterns. Astrological signs, numbers, playing cards, or meaningful symbols, called “omens,” are usually printed on cup interiors. Other cups occasionally have designs on the exterior or even the saucers. One common design came with a couplet written along the edge: “Many Curious Things I See, When Telling Fortunes In Your Tea.” Cups were often sold individually, with instructions on their use for fortune-telling amateurs. These days, manufacturers are few and far between, and many older models are sold online as antiques.

“Would’st thy fortune like to see?"
“Would’st thy fortune like to see?” studio_lou_lou/Used with permission

One such pamphlet, published in 1924, laid out the rules for discerning a fortune from a “Cup of Knowledge,” which had a playing card design. After drinking the tea, the cup was to be turned three times, then flipped upside-down on a saucer. After most of the tea had trickled away, the leaves sticking to the cup could be read. Leaves closer to the rim indicated that predicted events would happen soon, while leaves atop each card could denote anything from “a dance” (the nine of clubs ) to “happiness and prosperity” (a Joker, oddly). But particular sets of cards together had their own meanings too. Readers were cautioned to watch out for the “evil intentions” denoted by two Jacks.


What is interesting to me is the close relationship between tea leaf reading and tarot. Maybe I need to get one of these cups....

Noni For Medicinal Purposes. But Oh the Stink!

They call Noni the Vomit Fruit because it is so stinky. But shamans use it to scare off the evil spirits.

According to Atlas Obscura, you might not expect something that goes by names such as “vomit fruit,” “dog dumpling,” and “starvation fruit” to be popular. However, noni is so widespread that the fresh fruit is consumed across the globe. Supplements made from noni are estimated to bring in millions of dollars annually. Not bad for a fruit that tastes like rotten cheese.

Diners consume noni at three stages of ripeness. In Mexico, for instance, you may find roadside vendors blending unripe noni into their juices. At this stage, the fruit’s flavor is the most tolerable: spicy and grassy, with hints of horseradish and parmesan.

The fruit is most commonly consumed when fully ripe. At this stage, the outside turns white and feels soft and smooth, while the flavor develops into a combination of sharp cheese, lemon, and vomit. The few who consume overripe noni heavily dilute it. The brown, fermented fruit is too foul to consume on its own.

The main reason people opt to eat a fruit so off-putting is its purported health benefits. All parts of the plant are used to treat ailments as diverse as toothaches, cancer, attention deficit disorder, bruises, and addiction. It also plays a role in traditional ceremonies: Polynesian shamans will use the fruit to ward off evil spirits since it smells so bad that even ghosts give it a wide berth.

Studies have shown evidence of noni reducing inflammation and tumors in mice, but the majority of the health claims are unproven. With that being the case, it may be a better choice to live with a toothache, or an evil spirit, than to subject yourself to this fruit.

Unusual Uses for Olive Oil

Olive oilWho would have thought that Olive Oil was so useful and versatile beyond cooking and salad dressing? But it is. According to Curbly, here are some other great uses for Olive Oil:

1.Shave. Olive oil can provide a safe and natural lubricant for a close shave. Rub in an extra teaspoon after washing your body or face once finished.

2. Wood Furniture Polish. Wipe with a teaspoon of olive oil and a soft rag. Add a bit of vinegar of citrus juice to bulk up the cleaning power, and add a fresh scent.

3. Fingernails. Use a bit of olive oil to moisturize cuticles, or mix oil and water and soak your hands before a manicure.

4. Lubricate Measuring Cups and Spoons. Rub or spray olive oil on your measuring tools for easy clean-up of sticky substances like honey, grain mustards, and sugar syrups,

7. Care for your kitty. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s food to help prevent hairballs, and provide a shiny coat.

8.  DIY Lip balm. Mix olive oil and melted beeswax in a 1:1 ratio, with an essential oil for fragrance, and say goodbye to dry and chapped lips.

9. Stop Snoring. Take a sip of olive oil before heading to bed. It might lubricate your throat muscles, and stop yourself, or your partner, from snoring.

10. Shine stainless steel and brass. Rub a bit of olive oil on a clean rag to prevent streaks, corrosion, and tarnish.

11. Exfoliate your face and hands. Rub your skin with olive oil, then scrub with sugar or coarse salt, and rinse.

12. As you bathe. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to your running bath water. You’ll be amazed when you towel off.

13. Remove makeup. Dab a bit under your eyes, on your cheeks and forehead, then wipe with a damp cloth.

14. Cure an earache. Very carefully, use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the outside ear cavity to help with earaches and excess wax.

15. Remove paint from your skin. Rub on olive oil onto messy hand and arms (or faces) and allow the oil to soak into the skin for five minutes, then rinse with soap and water.

16. Treat lice. Apply olive oil to your youngster’s hair, and leave on for at least 40 minutes. Shampoo twice, then apply a preventative.

17. Stop a throat tickle. Take a sip of olive oil to stop the itchy flicker that is making you cough.

18. Fix a squeaky door. Use a rag or cotton swab to apply olive oil to the top of a problematic hinge in your home or automobile. 

19. Shoe polish. Rub down your shoes with just a spray of olive oil to maintain their shine.

20. Personal Lubricant. It works…

21. Soften your skin. Rub olive oil daily on notoriously dry areas, such as your feet or elbows, especially after a shower, shaving, or waxing.

22. Easy clean up of garden tools. Spritz some olive oil on your tools to cut down on dirt buildup. Read more here!

23. Condition leather. Rub olive oil into worn leather, such as a baseball glove, and let set for 30 minutes, then wipe away any excess.

24. As a hair tonic. Comb some olive oil through your hair for the vintage look of pomade without the build-up, or add a bit to wet hair for grungy, but clean, look.

25. Cure diaper rash. Gently wipe on olive oil to your baby’s bottom to help with the irritation of diaper rash.



Would You Eat an Ant to Fight Fatigue and Stress? 11 Adaptogens That Hollywood Loves

Hollywood is trend conscious and now the trend is toward Adaptogens. The Hollywood Reporter reveals some of the most popular adaptogens of the stars:

The wild, weird and (some say) wonderful ingredients at the center of the entertainment industry's latest supplement craze.

Ask the internet, and adaptogens are sprinklings of "pretentious hippie" woo-woo that caused L.A. juice entrepreneur Amanda Chantal Bacon to be excoriated while promoting her Moon Juice Sex Dust. But the National Institutes of Health has found in trials that the supplements made of medicinal plants, herbs and mushrooms "exert an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental work capacity" when stressed. Eleven adaptogens and supplements currently popular in Hollywood:

CHAGA Pretty Little Liars' Shay Mitchell orders the off-menu Blue smoothie (which tastes like cereal milk; $12) loaded with this immune-boosting mushroom at Lifehouse Tonics. "With supershroom adaptogens, we see improvements in energy, focus, creativity and sleep," says co-founder Fraser Thompson.

DRIED WHITE MULBERRIES Gisele Bundchen snacks on these purportedly longevity-boosting berries ($18; SunPotion.com).

REISHI Emma Stone's and Amy Schumer's facialist Georgia Louise says some of her clients are obsessed with Sun Potion's individual adaptogen powders, which can be mixed into water, juice, tea or smoothies. Katie Holmes, Laird Hamilton and Ben Harper are devotees of the offerings, including the reishi mushroom, called the "queen healer" for its reported liver-regenerating properties ($50).

1. Chaga 2. Dried white mulberries 3. Reishi 4. Moringa 5. Schisandra 6. Rhodiola 7. Mucuna puriens 8. Pine pollen 9. Siberian ginseng 10. Polyrhachis ant 11. Ashwagandha
1. Chaga 2. Dried white mulberries 3. Reishi 4. Moringa 5. Schisandra 6. Rhodiola 7. Mucuna puriens 8. Pine pollen 9. Siberian ginseng 10. Polyrhachis ant 11. Ashwagandha

MORINGA AND MUCUNA PURIENS Sun Potions' "miracle leaf" moringa fights aging free radicals ($20), while mucuna puriens has mood-enhancing qualities ($37).

PINE POLLEN AND POLYRHACHIS ANT Brownstone Productions' Renate Radford claims that with a bit of Sun Potion's Pine Pollen ($55), "you don't feel a buzz; you're just alert and awake." The wild-harvested polyrhachis ant is used by Chinese healers to boost musculoskeletal and digestive systems ($55).

SCHISANDRA, RHODIOLA AND SIBERIAN GINSENG Torii Labs' anti-anxiety Awake tonic contains stress-reducing Siberian ginseng, energizing schisandra berry and anti-anxiety rhodiola ($45 for a pack of six; ToriiLabs.com).

ASHWAGANDHA This anti-aging adaptogen that, like schisandra, is said to inhibit enzymes that break down collagen, is part of Raw Complexion's Skin Balance No. 2. Yolanda Hadid Foster and Ireland Baldwin mix it into drinks for a beauty boost ($35; Raw-Complexions.com.au).

Unusual Uses For Garlic

GarlicIn addition to keeping vampires away, garlic has a lot of valuable and healthy uses. According to Readers Digest, garlic has many more beneficial and surprising beauty uses. So don't sweat the smell. Here they are:

  1. Grow beautiful hair with garlic. Garlic could end your hair loss problems because of its high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound similar to that found in onions, which were found to effectively treat hair loss. Rub sliced cloves of garlic on your scalp, squeezing as you go for the most benefit. You can also infuse oil with garlic and massage it into your scalp.
  2. Garlic clears acne. It might not be a main ingredient in your drugstore acne medication, but garlic makes a great natural remedy to banish unsightly blemishes. Its antioxidants kill bacteria, so rub a sliced clove of garlic on the pimple for an effective topical treatment.
  3. Garlic prevents and treats colds. Packed with antioxidants, a daily dose of garlic in your recipes could benefit your immune system. If a cold does sneak by, try sipping garlic tea: steep chopped or minced garlic in hot water for several minutes, then strain and drink. You can add a bit of honey or ginger to improve the taste.
  4. Soothe psoriasis with garlic. Since garlic has proven anti-inflammatory properties, it could be useful in relieving uncomfortable psoriasis outbreaks. Try rubbing a little garlic oil on the affected area for smooth, rash-free skin.
  5. Control your weight with garlic.Garlic could help you control your weight, according to nutritionist Cynthia Sass, who cites a study that showed mice eating a garlic-rich diet reduced their weight and fat stores. To take advantage of this benefit, try to cook with garlic daily.
  6. Remove a splinter with garlic. Placing a slice of garlic over the sliver and covering it with a bandage or duct tape has been a folk cure for years. As natural remedies gain in popularity, current bloggers swear this one works.
  7. Treat athlete's foot with garlic.With its anti-fungal properties, some people swear that a benefit of garlic is its ability to relieve itchy athlete's foot. Soak your feet in a bath of warm water and crushed garlic.
  8. Keep away mosquitoes with garlic.Scientists aren't sure why, but mosquitoes don't seem to like garlic. One study in India found that people who rubbed a garlicky concoction on their arms and legs weren't bothered by the pesky buggers. Make a solution of garlic oil, petroleum jelly, and beeswax for a natural repellant or place cloves of garlic nearby.
  9. Garlic conquers cold sores. A popular cold sore home remedy involves holding a bit of crushed garlic directly on the cold sore; its natural anti-inflammatory properties could help reduce pain and swelling. Garlic supplements may also speed up the healing process, according to ecosalon.com.
  10. Garlic works as a natural glue.Have you ever noticed how sticky your fingers get after chopping garlic? That natural adhesive quality is why some people use garlic to fix hairline cracks in glass. Crush some cloves and rub the juice on the crack, wiping away any excess.
  11. De-ice your sidewalk with garlic.A town in Iowa used donated garlic salt to remove ice from roadways. Next time you stumble on old garlic salt in the back of your spice cabinet, save it for an icy walkway.
  12. Protect plants with garlic.Garden pests don't like garlic, so make a natural pesticide using garlic, mineral oil, water, and liquid soap. Pour into a spray bottle and mist your plants to keep away destructive critters.
  13. Catch more fish with garlic.Fish are so attracted to the scent of garlic that you can buy bait with the smell built in. Or, get this benefit by making your own using food scraps and, of course, plenty of cloves.


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