John Harney

People have been drinking tea for about 5,000 years. It's a safe guess that's how long they've been reading tea-leaves as well. This book on the subject had lain forgotten for perhaps half a century in the musty old book dealer's shop where I found it.

Only after I mentioned it in the course of a presentation about tea did I realize how interested we all seem to be in -what tea-leaves have to say: I received more questions about reading the leaves than about anything else. This happened in one presentation alter another. Requests to borrow this irreplaceable book became so frequent that I decided to reprint it, if only out of sell-defense.

The first person with whom I discussed the idea was James Norwood Pratt, author of the beloved classic The Tea Lover's treasury. I wanted to know what to make of the whole thing, if there was anything to it. My noted tea-writer friend turned out to be a leaf reader as well: If your book is any good, I'll write an introduction to it and I'll tell you.

Well, my book turns out to be the earliest on the subject anybody has ever found and teaches an authentic tradition that goes back centuries in Britain. I was pleased he thought it a good book and feel it is even better with his introduction. I think the most intriguing statement he makes is "there is nothing mere about coincidence-the universe is nothing but coincidence."

Is this the secret of The Tea-leaf Oracle? I still don't know what to make of reading tea-leaves, except to say it's obviously fun, costs no money, and any group of six or eight is likely to include someone with above average talent for it.