Donnaleigh's Lessons



Tea Leaf Fortune Cards (Review)

Posted by Donnaleigh on March 13, 2012 at 4:30 PM

"Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage."

~Catherine Douzel

Title - Tea Leaf Fortune Cards


Author -Rae Hepburn, illustrated by Shawna Alexander


Publisher - U.S. Games Systems Inc.,(October 17, 2011)


About the Deck: "The drinking of tea and the reading of tea leaves to divine the future are so intertwined that the history of one cannot be told without the other," starts the book that accompanies this unique oracle deck.  If you've ever been interested in reading tea leaves but found memorizing the 500+ symbols daunting, this deck has condensed the most frequently found tea leaf symbols and incorporated them into a clever deck that mimics the tea leaf reading experience. With round cards that are designed to represent round tea cups (and keywords/phrases to help you springboard into a reading), this pleasant deck will create a unique reading experience with some surprising results.



Have you ever had your tea leaves read? Can you find any significant symbols in this actual tea cup below? The creators of this deck have dug out many of the symbols you'd likely find in an actual tea cup, and have created a portable (and dry!) oracle system with a fabulously fun twist.

Style of Art - Vibrant watercolors

Card stock - Sturdy card stock, flexible

Finish - Matte

Shuffling - Best if shuffled hand-over-hand or fanned out (or "swished") over the table (or reach into bag). Difficult to riffle-shuffle without bending the cards as the cards are too small to bend.


Size/readability - Cards are round, 3 1/4 inches. No visible border. Pictures are clear and easy to see. They fit comfortably in a small hand.


Color -Vibrant watercolors, and the background color of the card is a rustic, tea-stained beige.


Card backs-There are 3 types of cards, each with a different color backside. The majority of the cards are the reading "Tea Leaf" symbol cards. The back of the card shows small red swirls and tiny (fresh) tea leaves. The Month of the Year cards are the same design in purple, and the Astral Houses are the same design in green. See below (with 2 samples of each type of card below it).


Number of cards - This is a very generous deck of 200 cards! There are 182 Tea Leaf Cards, 12 Months of the Year Cards, and 6 Astral Houses cards.

If you're wondering why there are only 6 and not 12 Astral House cards, the author explains, "For the Astral House Pyramid (which divines short term energy), I chose the six subjects that people want to know about most when they are having a reading: love, marriage, success, wealth, happiness and career."

Elements: The cards are not based on an elemental (nor numerical) system.


Structure of Deck: This deck does not  in any way follow the structure of a tarot deck. It is a true oracle deck. There are 3 types of card groupings:

  1. The general Tea Leaf cards (182 cards) -used for the reading
  2. The Months of the Year (12 cards) -used to create structure for a yearly reading
  3. The Astral Houses (6 cards) - used to create structure for a spread

While the Month and Astral house cards create structure for readings, they could feasibly be included randomly in the readings themselves. I have enjoyed this method with some interesting results!

Packaging - Kit Includes: 200 cards in a very sturdy cardboard box with a hinged cover, a very large draw-stringed pouch to store the cards, 94 page book.


Instruction book - An actual soft-cover instruction book is included,  94 pages, pages of high quality matte stock paper. Below you can view the Table of Contents with 4 sample pages (used with permission). This book is a dramatically improved version of the previous book from the first printing, with new pictures of actual tea leaf readings and much more detailed interpretations of the card symbols. The book is a dramatically improved and expanded version of the first edition version of the book.

 Table of Contents

Following the history of tea leaf reading, the author explains how to do a "real" tea leaf reading at home using a tea cup.

Spread suggestions, including an Astral House Pyramid Spread, Coming Week, Coming Year.

The meanings of the cards are expanded in the book, based on traditional tea leaf interpretations that have been passed down through generations.

The book can also be used as a reference to look up symbols in your own home tea cup readings.

Unique trait/s - The most unique trait of this deck is the clever shape of round cards to mimic tea cups. The packaging of this deck is gorgeous; I am not sure how something of such quality slipped through at such a low price. There is a *lot* here for the price.

Price - $17.20 at the time of this review.  A great price considering I thought $80 was a steal when I bought it while it was out of print (after its first printing). The box is sturdy enough to keep for permanent storage, plus a pouch is included. The full-sized, high-quality book further accentuates the value.


Font size/style - Excellent, large font for keywords, smaller font below to guide your intuition on the illustrations.

Border: no visible borders on the cards

Opinion -I have had some great fun with this deck. I was originally introduced to it by my own psychic, who gave me a whopper of a reading with it several years ago, sending me on a wild goose chase on the internet to find one for myself. At the time, the deck was out of print and selling for over a hundred dollars in many forums. What a delight that it is back in print and very affordable. This is a completely unique oracle system, and can be used independently or in conjunction with other oracles such as runes, Crone Stones, angel cards or tarot cards. While it is a friendly deck with some delightful cards, you will also find some difficult cards that mirror many of the tough situations we come to a reading to explore (real life!).

Some of the tougher cards include:

  • Rooster - An arrogant, boastful person you should not cross
  • Skull - Hidden secrets can harm you
  • Claw - Be careful -- do not take risks
  • Apple - Temptation will test you
  • Lobster - Financial pinch
  • Bull - Do not back down from opposition. Show strength and fortitude.
  • Mountain - Major challenge to overcome
  • Pail - Time to get out of a situation

Tarot readers will want to take note that the "Tower" in this deck means, "Solid foundation. Success worth effort," something quite different from the energy of a tarot card's Tower.

 This deck is a bounty, and you get more than what you pay for. I love that there are no borders, and the smaller size of the cards makes them easy to handle. The colors are both rustic (to match the feel of tea leaf history) and bright.  From front to back, this deck is an excellent production and very fun to use in readings.

Wish list/What I'd Change – Not a blessed thing, except for the number of Astral Houses: I'd love to have all 12 Astrology Houses represented with another 6 cards (but how much more can this deck give, really?).


Sample Reading:

 I took two of the Astral Cards for reading topics/focus: "Love" and "Career." After placing them on the table, I placed 3 cards under each one to see how the randomly pulled tea leaf symbols divined and interacted.



  • Dagger (fear, worries, tense situation)
  • Sea Horse (tending to family matters)
  • Table (Hard Work Ahead)

These cards suggest to me that the person may have past wounds (dagger) that have resulted in present hesitancy. Or, more likely, it may mean that present concerns (dagger) about family matters are consuming their time, preventing them from looking for love. The love they may have may be focused directly on the love of family at this time rather than on romance. Wherever the issues of concern may be are, the individual is working hard at them, and that is where their focus, attention and time lies. Since the sea horse faces the dagger, I would expect that the worries here may be directly related to family matters today rather than on past worries of failed romances.


  • Ax (Forces working against you)
  • Camel (You will overcome problems)
  • Mountain Road (You are on the road to success)

Ah, a tough career experience is at hand, but you will make it through and overcome them. You're working hard and what you do now will create a better tomorrow. You may not feel like you've reached the summit, but keep the faith, as you are on the road to success. All it takes is tenacity and the right attitude and you will gather your reserves (camel's hump) and this stick-to-it-iveness will get you through the long haul. It may feel like an uphill climb and there may be a lot coming at you that seems to slow you down, but when you get to the summit, the view will be spectacular.  The ax faces the camel, so those difficult obstacles may feel like they're chasing you for awhile.

SUMMARY:  This bountiful, round deck offers wonderful value and high quality for the price. You'll find yourself working with a completely unique and exciting oracle system that will surprise you with what it "sees."  And if you're learning to do actual tea leaf readings, this makes an excellent study guide to help you memorize the many symbols you may find in your cup.

EXPERIENCE IT: Watch the creator of this deck do a reading with the cards in this video:

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Categories: Deck Reviews, Tea Leaf Readings