REVIEW: Tea Leaf Fortune Cards

I am not always drawn to oracles but Hepburn and Alexander have created a truly interesting deck. I know I will be using it in my professional capacity with my clients. It promises to be a fun oracle with a unique way of delivering information

Tea Leaf Fortune CardsΒ 
Rae Hepburn (author), Shawna Alexander (artist)
U.S. Games 2011

I am the president of the American Tarot Association. I was given a review copy of this deck. There, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this fascinating oracle.

Hepburn takes a centuries-old divination system that she herself has practiced for a number of years and translates it into a more accessible deck of circular cards. These cards are illustrated with a distinctly Occidental flavor by Shawna Alexander.


One favorite card is the Goldfish. Many of these cards have two meanings. This one indicates either material wealth or spiritual growth. I love the artwork for these cards. Each one shows the symbol clearly with little distraction in the background.

Little known Arwen factoid: I’ve always wanted an Oranda. I had a friend with a large one who was just gorgeous. I love watching fish and goldfish in particular for their color and fin quality. Don’t let me get around a koi pond. You may never get me away. I’ll sit for hours watching. I even have a short video somewhere of koi swimming in a pond at Zilker Botanical Gardens here in Austin. Kid you not. Aren’t they pretty?

But I digress.

Although there are easily 500+ symbols for tasseomancers, Hepburn did an exhaustive comparison of all the symbols to end up with 182 that she felt were the most important. She includes six cards for the Astral houses and 12 for the months of the year bringing the total to 200 cards.

There’s a decided Western hemisphere influence as you can see with the cold February wind blowing. I wonder if it wouldn’t be fun to have a Southern hemisphere version where December is bright and sunny while July is the depth of winter. That’s not a diss on the deck, y’all. Just me thinking about my pals on the other side of the world. I know when I picked up the Southern Hemisphere Celestial Tarot, I had to wrap my head around all these constellations that weren’t part of my world view–literally.

But I digress yet again. Oooh! Shiny!

This can seem overwhelming if you, like me, are used to 78 or fewer cards. Yet, there is a method to the madness. You use an Astral card to focus the reading on an area and then use the months for timing. There are different spreads given with the book that comes with this set.

The use of Astral cards had me stumped until I watched this video of Rae doing her Astral reading. Then I realized it is, in a way, the significator for this deck. Or maybe it’s better to say it’s the magnifier or focus point for the reading. It keeps you on target.

Yes, I am keeping to a love theme today. I happen to like Valentine’s Day so there. πŸ˜€

I am not always drawn to oracles but Hepburn and Alexander have created a truly interesting deck. I know I will be using it in my professional capacity with my clients. It promises to be a fun oracle with a unique way of delivering information.

I do recommend this deck for those who would like to explore a different system than the standard 78 of the Tarot. I think the timing influence could be put to good use as well. It may be something I try with some of my clients who want to know when over why in their questions.

A portion of this review was posted on Barnes & Noble as well as on Amazon.

Some additional card images below:

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12 thoughts on “REVIEW: Tea Leaf Fortune Cards”

  1. Dearest Arwen,

    Are you in love with Tea Leaf Fortune Cards? Because I am. πŸ™‚ It is on my wish-list. Rae Hepburn is a marvelous tea leaf reader. Love her. And love your reviews, honey. Thanks for sharing your precious wisdom and knowledge. πŸ˜‰

  2. Arwen,

    I’ve had this deck for a while, just never made it around to reviewing on my site. I enjoyed your review.

    Thank you so much for sharing that video. It really helped to explain a little more about using the astral cards. She doesn’t link the cards to one another though. Do you do this when you read them, or do you let them stand alone?

    Best wishes,

  3. Hi Arwen:

    Thanks for the lovely review:) I want to take this chance to answer a question Cher asked.

    Many of the cards in a reading are connected. When I am reading for a client, I will read the cards individually, then I will say which cards I feel are connected. but it is really up to the querent to say which cards they feel are connected. Most times they will agree with me, but sometimes they don’t and this is okay. After all, they pulled the cards and they know what the cards are referring to.

    The Astral House reading that you see in the video, is what I refer to as a white-bread public reading. I was reading for a reporter for the Times-Standard and knew it was being videotaped. I didn’t want to say anything that would embarrass him or ask him questions that he wouldn’t want to publicly answer. When he phoned me later to go over the reading again, I told him that I thought the – BROKEN RING parting of the ways – was connected to the DARK HAIRED GIRL. He agreed with me saying that he and his girlfriend were going through a bad patch. THE DIAMOND gift of jewelry – was the central card in his spread and he said that he had bought her a pair of earrings for Christmas (the reading was done just before Christmas 2011). I’m citing this in detail just to show you that the cards, while I read each one individually, definitely do connect. In fact just about all his cards connected in some way or another.

    I hope this answers your question.


  4. Thanks so much, Arwen. It’s a pleasure to stop by and read all your wisdom.

    I just wanted to add that you are absolutely right in your review when you say that the Astral House card serves as the magnifier or focus point for the reading. In the video, the Astral House card was HAPPINESS and this was the focus of the reading. If the Astral House card had been CAREER, the same cards would have been read from that aspect.

    Thanks for the review of the cards that you posted at B&N; you are so incisive. I looked for your review on Amazon and couldn’t see it.

    Nice chatting with you.

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