The Tea Leaf Fortune Cards by Rae Hepburn, Illustrated by Shawna Alexander

Review by Arielle Smith


I fell in love with these cards via email, when a friend bought the deck and sent me some scans of the cards.  Without knowing anything else, I knew these cards would become favorites.

Coming from a family of metaphysical practitioners, Rae Hepburn learned tea leaf reading – or tasseomancy, as it’s called – as a child.  In the 72-page book that comes with the cards, Hepburn gives a light history of tea, traditional tea leaf reading methods, the story of how she developed the cards, and detailed instructions on how to do readings with the cards.  Areas covered include reading for the coming year, reading for the coming week, astral house pyramids, and answering yes/no questions, as well as sample readings and extended meanings for her cards.

All of this is great, but it is the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards themselves that got to me.  The cards have simple, very soft, mixed media drawings on them – and yet they speak eloquently.  And gently.  With one word at the top of the card and a short phrase at the bottom, the cards manage to convey a lot of information in a little space.  The drawings are delicate and exquisite  – just looking at them is akin to touching a butterfly – you want to just lose yourself in the image and thus become a part of that special, quiet space.

The cards are round and small – not much more than three inches in diameter (about the size of the bottom of a tea cup).  There are twelve “month” cards for those astrological readings and six “astral house” cards.  And then there are 180 fortune-telling cards!

How does one physically handle 180 cards?  Hepburn tells us to simply put the cards down on a flat surface and, with both hands, swirl the cards around until you feel they are mixed.  Put them back together and carry on.  And this works just fine.

But my favorite way to use the cards is keep them in a basket and simply reach in to pick one every morning.  Today I picked “Bridge – Successfully overcoming a problem”.  The book adds:  “A bridge spans a ravine between two high cliffs.  A bubbling stream rushes in the canyon below.  The sun is shining and the sky is a cloudless blue.  The bridge signifies that a problem which has been bothering you will be successfully overcome.”  Who would not love receiving a card like that?

Let’s see….should you buy these cards for yourself?  And the card I draw is Owl – “good advice from a wise person.”  The book adds:  “An owl sits on a tree branch silhouetted against the full moon.  Its wise eyes observe everything that is happening around it.  This card advises you to take note of some good advice that will be given to you by someone you respect and who is well-informed.  This advice can only help you.”

Do I really need to say more?


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The Tea Leaf Fortune Cards by Rae Hepburn, Illustrated by Shawna Alexander
Publisher: Journey Editions

ISBN #: 1-885203-76-4


Arielle Smith, well on her way to becoming a weird eccentric, is a Certified Tarot Grand Master living in Florida with her husband and five cats. Both tree-hugger and animal lover, she is also a part-time teacher and lifetime student of the Tarot. You can visit her at her website, Mystik Moons


Images © Journey Editions
Review © 2004 Arielle Smith
Page © 2004 Diane Wilkes