Heart Musings, Symbolism in Poetry & Astrology

Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla

It all started with the word ‘inward eye’ in William Wordsworth’s poem ‘Daffodils’, as a child I was curious about the word and intrigued by the journey I took much later to comprehend how insightful it was. ‘Inward eye’ as my English teacher Jessey Mam explained was the ‘inward mind’ the state of mind that the poet recreates and revisits in his head. I look back and believe the eye of the soul, as I would like to call it is the reason I was drawn to mysticism and the world of the unknown. A place, an heirloom, a memory or something I kept visiting or rather seeked for in my mind. The words of the renounced Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung stay with me always,

‘Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams, who looks inside awakes’. I grew to believe that one must listen to your heart and what it has to say, call it the inner voice or intuition you must not ignore the conversation that occurs inside.

How does one connect with oneself? Is it simpler than conversing with others? Do you indulge in white lies once in a while? These are some of the frequent questions which arise when we try to navigate the journey of understanding self. The simplest way to connect with self is to express your feelings on paper or have a conversation with self. There is an initial hesitation but once that hurdle is crossed there is clarity of thinking. Some tools one can use is journal writing, sketching and taking a walk in nature. Once your inner process is awakened your true self is aligned with your mind, body and soul at a higher vibration.

I embarked on this journey of astrology and spirituality with a tea cup reading workshop opening the doors to the world of symbols. Symbols are objects, images, a person or situation that suggest deeper meaning. Symbols are used in art and literature to enhance the fabric of creative communication. Some of the natural symbols used are winter which indicates death, a bird stands for freedom and lilies indicate purity. Symbolism was a movement that took place in art and literature. It originated in the late nineteen century in France and Belgium. The symbolist movement refers to a group of French writers of the late nineteen century Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Valery and Mallarme to name a few who used symbolism to enhance their poetry.


“The Chair, she sat in, like a

burnished throne/Glowed on

the marble, where the glass/

Held up by standards wrought

with fruited vines”


T.S. Eliot’s poem ‘The Waste Land’ is peppered with symbols, the following lines disclose there is a disconnect between the modern world and nature. There is an undercurrent recurring theme of displacement and fractured identity where the people are unable to connect with the world that they live in.

The beginning of the Symbolism movement commenced with Charles Baudelaire’s poem ‘Fleurs du Mal’( Flowers of Evil) in 1857. His poetry is based on the Theory of Correspondence emphasizing that everything, form, number, movement, colour , perfume in the real world is reciprocal, converse, correspondent.

The theory throws light on the fact that there are systematic analogies between the human mind and the outer world, between the spiritual and natural worlds. The symbolist writers encapsulated such analogies comparing the psychic mind of people and man-made objects around them. The symbolist poets used numerous symbols in a single poem to convey the essence of the thought behind the poem. For me, I see symbols as a technique to fabricate my poetry, knitting hidden meanings into the mesh of words. Something you want to say without saying it directly, giving the reader many ways to explore and interpret it in a deeper sense. The journey that the reader takes in his mind while he reads the poem is both mysterious and intriguing. It’s a journey of self-discovery as every poem touches every reader at a different level stirring an emotional chord at varied depths. For someone an owl tattoo represents mystery and magic others would look at it as death. This surreal and magical travel taken is braided with symbols that guide in mapping their thinking patterns.

Tasseography or Tasseomancy is the art of Tea leaf reading. Tea leaves became popular in the 17th century when the West Dutch Indies merchants introduced tea from the orient. This art can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks. The word Tasseography is derived from the French word ‘tasse’ which means ‘cup or ‘glass’. It is an ancient form of fortune telling by reading the tea leaves. Tasseography is largely dependent on physic intuition. This practice imbibes interpreting and identifying symbols found in the tea leaves.

Things required

-Tea leaves (the best is the Chinese tea or green tea alternatively Indian tea leaves works well as well)

-A white teacup

- A saucer

-Hot water


Brew the tea in hot water, do not add milk nor lemon. The tea must not be strained. Empty your mind from any thoughts be calm and drink the tea. Leave about half a sip of tea and cover the teacup with the saucer. Focus on the question, the more specific the question the more chances of getting a precise answer. Now, invert the cup on the saucer and swirl the cup three times from left to right. Use the handle with your left hand to hold the cup and turn upright. Peek into the cup to decipher the meanings of the tea leaves. The tea leaves would be stuck in different shapes and clusters. During the tea leaf reading you encounter many symbols like objects, letters, numbers and animals. The symbols can be interpreted to answer the questions asked.

Period of Time

The time period is usually around a year. The teacup has three reading zones: the rim, middle, and the bottom. The rim of the cup signifies immediate future around 2 months. The middle of the cup signifies two to eight months. The bottom of the cup signifies eight months to a year.

Steps for interpretation

*Check your cup for lines, numbers, shapes or letters and interpret any clear symbols.
*Symbols that are positioned in straight lines indicate a definite occurrence
*Curved or wavy lines indicate the possibility of changes
* Crystal clear symbols are events that are more likely to occur

In case of shapes, triangles, means good karma, squares mean the need for caution and circles mean great success. Any alphabetic letters refer to the name of friends, relatives or enemies. A number indicates span of time, month or year.

Symbols and their meanings
Aircraft- a journey and travel, if broken means possible danger of accident. It can also mean a rise in career
Apple- Achievement, spiritual enlightenment, creative or artistic achievement
Axe- difficulties in the midst, if at the top means the overcoming of difficulties, possible danger or difficulty to you or a friend
Baby-small worries, new life, possible pregnancy
Birds-good news, peaceful greetings
Book-if open it means good news is forthcoming, if closed you need to investigate a situation
Bottle- explosive atmosphere requiring caution, do not overindulge
Car-travel, movement.
Circle-success of important goals, completion of phase in life or life experience, pregnancy. Unbroken means success, completion. Broken (like letter C) means a temporary offer will come, tentative offers without fruition
Clock- a need to maintain better health- warning against procrastination
Coin- arrival of money, good fortune in money matters. Look for the time period indicated at the top or bottom
Door- ancient knowledge, paranormal visit, be aware of new opportunities
Dog- good /loyal friend. If located at the bottom friend needs help, if barking means untrustworthy friend
Daisy- new love
Drops- tears or sadness
Egg- sign of fertility, is seen as a good omen. If whole means new life, successful new beginning. If cracked means failed plans or financial problems which can be overcome by action
Elephant-great wisdom, strength, good mental health.
Envelope- good news, inheritance
Eye- you are being watched by ones who envy you, be cautious. Sometimes it could also mean to be a protective symbol
Frog- fertility, abundance
Forked line-decision/choices
Gate-opportunity for knowledge, new experiences
Globe- long distance travel
Heart-love, trust, pleasure
House- well-being and security
Hand- if open means karma or destiny, if closed means discontent, anger or argument
Jewels- gifts, inheritance, material success
Kite- your wish will be granted swiftly
Knife- caution against sharp words or revealing personal information. Broken ties with someone ending friendship.
Letter- you will receive a long awaited letter or important paperwork.
Lock- obstacles in your way
Mask- a secret to be kept
Mountain – a difficult but possible goal
Needle- painful repair
Net- trap
Oyster- passion, desire
Pig- greed
Question mark- There is a need for caution and examine all your motives carefully
Rectangle- you will face a challenge or difficulty
Snake- changing events
Table- family contentment, social gatherings in the near future
Umbrella-protection from harm or loss
Vase- a secret being kept away from you
Wheel- if complete means good fortune if broken means disappointment or delay
Yolk-need for change
Zebra-adventure, especially overseas or across large water masses.



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