On Friday I had my coffee grounds read by a bonafide tassographist (some one who reads fortune via tea or coffee grounds -think Professor Trewlany from Harry Potter). I was at the Oriental Theater in Denver attending the Fucking Fabulous Fiction Fest that was hosted by High Fiction and BookBar and there in the lobby, that looked like a cross between a really old theatre and the entrance to a carnival tent, was a table with a kind looking man sitting behind it. His sign said that he gave authentic Armenian Coffee Cup Readings for $15. I was curious but it took me till intermission to decide to do it. The questions that haunt me from day to day about love, business, and life finally led me over to his table where he offered me a seat. I sat and he opened up a glass jar full of a fine brown powder, inviting me to sniff the coffee that he would be making. The powder had a rich smell laced with chocolate. He spooned a little into a small silver pot and put it over a single burner to boil. As we waited he had me pick out my cup – espresso sized with a purple pansy on it and a saucer with a yellow rim. Because I am a curious creature I asked him all sorts of questions and discovered that he was also a substitute teacher for elementary schools. He has been substitute teaching for twenty years because he loves teaching, but needs variety in his life. I completely understand. I asked if the students knew that he told fortunes as a side business and he laughed, he does not tell them. I wonder about the secret lives of teachers. Students don’t imagine them having a life, much less being fortune tellers on the side.
The coffee boiled and he poured it into my cup. Before he passed it to me he told me to drink it with only one hand to keep the cup clear and focused. I chose to drink with my right hand, even though I write with my left I am still right hand dominate when it comes to drinking coffee. It was quite warm, but was rich and a bit creamy on the tongue. Not bitter at all, it was easy to sip and keep asking questions. How did he get into fortune telling when it seemed that women were usually the fortune tellers of the family? He told me that when he was young they had coffee every afternoon as a family; aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. He watched his grandmother pick up the cup and read the fortune of family members and one afternoon he picked up the cup and looked at the swirling patterns left by the fine coffee and what he was seeing made sense. From that day on he read the coffee cups. He offered me a pastry to go with my coffee. Fresh made from an Armenian bakery, it was like a roll with a hint of soft sweet filling. I guessed at the filling – butter? honey? bean paste? It was sour cream he told me, and I was surprised.
When I had the sluge of coffee at the bottom of the cup he showed me how to turn it over – gently swish the cup to stir up the grounds, place the saucer on top, pick up both with thumbs on top and turn towards my body. I handed the cup and saucer to him and he let it sit for a moment before removing the cup, blotting the edges and then peering at the dark swirls and patterns inside.
While the conversation lasted about 10 minutes, some of the themes of the reading were:
Very Busy – Well yes, that is my life right now. He suggested I slow down and focus on one or two things. Sigh, I am trying.
Mirror Pattern that shows up in the work and the home part of the cup – He said this indicated that they were connected and that it was a good sign. I do focus on having much of my work at home right now.
A camel or a llama – he asked me if one or the other of the animals meant anything to me. I wasn’t sure, though I did comment that I do call myself a Drama-Llama at times. He said that it was a beast of burden and was a good sign…okay…does anyone have a llama I could chat with?
He then had me “Open the Heart of the Cup” which meant I stuck my thumb on the grounds at the bottom and twisted once. He then looked at it and saw:
A bunny – which is a theme of my happy place.
A sleeping horse – which indicates livelihood and I need to wake it up. How do you wake up a horse?
And a cat face – I could see the cat face too and he suggested that it was connected to someone I cared about and that I should spend more time with the cat. Was he talking about my nephew cat? He is pretty adorable…
We talked a little more after the reading and then another person sat down wanting to know how the coffee grounds felt about their life, and I headed back to the show. I kept all my notes scribbled down on a paper and I think the biggest thing that popped out at me was to slow down. I have so many things happening in the next few months and my mind is always a flutter with new ideas of things to do. Maybe in a few months I will go find him at the Tesoro Art Gallery in Denver on a Saturday to have my cup read again. It is nice to sip a warm beverage, enjoy a pastry, and talk about life through the patterns of coffee.