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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tea Ceremony for Pagans

Sunday, August 22, 2010
I am an American and one of the things that I find lacking in my country is the lack of traditions. Many cultures from around the world have traditions and etiquette for greeting guests and marking milestones in peoples' lives.
Some Native American tribes have the pipe ceremony. The Japanese have the tea ceremony. And it is this second one that I want to focus on today. The idea of preparing tea and serving guests as ritual to give respect to them has always intrigued me.
Traditionally the Japanese have sacred tools for the tea ceremony. These items are:
  • Chakin - Linen or hemp cloth used to wipe the tea bowls
  • Chawan - Or tea bowls. They use many different styles of bowls for different events and times of the year
  • Chaki - Tea Caddy used to store tea
  • Chasaku - Tea scoop; usually carved from a single piece of bamboo, ivory or bone
  • Chasen - Bamboo Whisk. Worn out whisks are not just discarded, rather once a year they are all burnt at one time in a sacred manner
  • Matcha - Green tea powder
  • Fukuska - fine silk cloth used to purify the Chaki and Chasaku
There are many types of tea ceremonies each with carefully prescribed instructions. From words spoken to hand gestures. But the general idea is as follows:
Each guest, following after the host, cleanses themselves from a stone basin set aside for this purpose. The host uses the a fukuska (fine silk cloth) to ritually purify the Chaki and Chasaku. The cloth represents the soul of the host and therefore this is a very important part of the rite. Hot water is put into the tea bowl, the whisk is rinsed. Then the tea bowl are emptied and, with the whisk, are wiped by the Chakin.
Lifting the tea scoop and tea container, the host places three scoops of tea per guest into the tea bowl. Hot water is ladled from the kettle into the teabowl in a quantity sufficient to create a thin paste with the whisk. Additional water is then added to so the paste can be whisked into a thick liquid consistent with pea soup. Unused water in the ladle is returned to the kettle.
The host passes the tea bowl to the main guest who bows in accepting it. The bowl is raised and rotate in the hand to be admired. The guest then drinks some of the tea, wipes the rim of the bowl, and passes the bowl to the next guest who does the same as the main guest.
When the guests have all tasted the tea the bowl is returned to the host who rinses it. The whisk is rinsed and the tea scoop and the tea container cleaned.
Then next a thin tea is prepared to cleanse the pallet and signal a return to the normal world and a exit from the world of tea.
As you can see this ritual can be adapted, or used as is, in a ritual setting within the confines of a Wiccan circle.

Here is a video that shows more information on the tea ceremony.

Some of the above info was quoted from holymtn.com. Check there for more information as well.
And of course comment and let me know what you think about this ceremony.
Blessed Be!

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