Tasseography Zachary Zimmer

Tasseography is the process of divination by interpretation of random events, namely Turkish coffee sediments. In relation to the Framework for predictive systems, tasseography would be considered a random process that is observed by an expert reader of patterns and in turn, transformed in to a prediction/predictive system.

           Tasseography originated in the Ottoman empire in the sixteenth century and remains particularly popular in the Balkans and Turkey. While the practice has not enjoyed the same success in the western hemisphere, there are still those who practice Tasseography as amateurs and fanatics who seek out readings. In Turkey however, it is a full-time profession for some. Turkish tasseography is very much a part of society and important part at that. In areas where it is more popular, it is a valuable activity for individuals and small groups. Readings are usually done in a 1 on 1 setting over coffee and are often characterized by intimate conversations between the reader and querent. This intimate setting can strengthen a community and relationships between fellow townsmen. It could potentially have larger impacts in a society if perhaps an authoritative figure elects to have a reading and shares the results with the people. As such, it could be that the diviner becomes an iconic and important person within a group.

Generally speaking, tasseography does not hinder free will as it does not entail giving the querent advice on what they should do in order to have as successful a future as possible. The outputs of a readings are typically vague and only suggest what is likely in terms of the querent’s financial or social future or whatever information it is that they are seeking. The outputs or “predictions,” however, are hardly predictions at all. Using the video on EdX as an example, no substantive predictions are giving. At no point does Cengiz say anything more specific than “positive” or “negative events.” Thus, in practice, it is hardly a predictive system at all. It would be more accurate to call it a social custom and a way to invite someone over for a check-in on their life.

In its simplest form tasseography is just two friends getting coffee and having a nice long chat. When you get more in depth the slight difference is that there is an element of fortune telling involved that distinguishes it from a strictly casual meet-up. However, when you get even deeper and analyze the complexities of tasseography you realize it is just a way for two, or sometimes more, friends to catch up and discuss the major events in their lives.


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