Posted by Terry Glover
I’ve been lucky enough to begin this January slowly. Not thundering in but opening out gradually, wandering the threshold – the dark, bramble-lined footpath towards 2024. Mulling over open-ended questions: what is awakening? What is the scent? What will assist me on this journey? What do I want to bring into the year ahead – not as a tight-fisted resolution, but as a creative feeling?
During this time, tea has been my constant companion. In many ways this is unsurprising: tea is the comfort and the balm of the colder months, bringing hot, steaming relief to numb fingers and frozen bones. It offers pleasure and assistance in moments of sadness and silence, thought and concentration, exhaustion and overwhelm – as well as a beautiful accompanying note to times of peace and rest.
It’s also been traditionally used as a means of divination, particularly pertinent at the beginning of new cycles and in moments when the future is uncertain. I’ve been learning more about this practice from Reading the Leaves: An Intuitive Guide to the Ancient Art and Modern Magic of Tea Leaf Divination by Leanne Marrama and Sandra Maria Wright, a wee treat of a book. Not unlike tarot, reading tea leaves offers a nice tool for gazing differently, taking us out of the rational mind and pushing past the usual thought channels towards a wider, more intuitive perspective – with the added bonus of sipping on a good cup of big long-leaf.
Sitting on the couch on a chilly afternoon with my book and my cuppa, reading and tea gazing, seems a good way to start things. Bringing my interpretation to the abstract patterns, tapping into the broader themes, brewing a picture of what’s to come. There’s something soothing about how looking at life in a tea cup reduces your problems to a space that you can wrap your hands around.
Our first tea blend of the season at the shop is chamomile with warming ginger, fragrant orange blossom leaves and barberries for natural sweetness – an uplifting, immune-system boosting balm for body and mind. I’m thinking of serving it with a roasted apple cake with lavender frosting. Apples have been calling to me recently for their wholesome simplicity, and lavender adds an extra note of coziness: a soft crochet blanket of a flavour. Drop by the Cake Shop for a cup and a slice to begin the year on a gentle, inquisitive, nourishing note.