I write a lot about tea on the blog: how to blend it, how to use it in magick spells. But I’ve never really talked about the ritual of tea in and of itself so here we go!
There are tea rituals found throughout the world. One of the most famous is the Japanese tea ceremony, which is focused on asceticism and the simplistic. English afternoon tea is also a popular ritual which millions of people in the UK and Canada follow like clockwork. Tea rituals are also found in Morocco, Tibet, China and every corner of the globe.
So what makes tea so universal? Why does water infused with herbs bring people together in such a profound way?
There are four main elements of a tea ritual from an herbalist or witchcraft perspective. Each step of the ritual is thoughtful and methodical, as in the Japanese tea ceremony, but can be easily adapted to any path or belief system.
The first step is blending. Although this step is not strictly necessary, as a tea ritual can be done with bagged or store-bought tea, blending your own teas is a very special joy. You can make teas to alleviate certain issues, whether they be physical or emotional, or to coincide with certain natural events, such as the current astrological signs or moon phase. Blending your own teas is such a unique form of magick, incorporating any elements of your practice you find relevant. A working understanding of herbs and their medicinal and magickal properties is a must, of course, but from there you can incorporate crystals, draw sigils on the outside of the jar or charge your blend under the moon.
Any element of your practice you feel strongly connected to can be incorporated into a tea ritual.
The second step is brewing. In many ways, this is the most traditionally ritualistic element of a tea ritual. You heat the water, perhaps meditating while it comes to a boil. You place the tea bag or strainer into the cup. You pour the water slowly and steadily over the tea vessel. You wait patiently and quietly for a few minutes as the water is infused with the medicinal and magickal powers of the herbs you have chosen. Watching tea brew is not at all akin to watching paint dry… rather, it is a deeply meditative and calming sight.
The third step is drinking. Of course, the most basic end goal of a tea ritual is to consume a cup of tea, although we might argue that the true goal of a tea ritual is enlightenment or deeper connection. Sip your cup of tea slowly and mindfully. Consider the process it took to get here. The harvesting and drying of the herbs, the blending, the brewing. Consider your place in that process.
The fourth (and optional) step is sharing. Although tea rituals can be very soothing and aid us in meditation or casting magick, they can also be wonderful when shared with someone else or a group of people. Blending and brewing the tea for someone else and then sharing it with them is a special way to increase your connection and intimacy with that person.
How do you practice tea ritual in your own life?