Café Nation : Coffee Folklore, Magick, and Divination

Café Nation : Coffee Folklore, Magick, and Divination
Sandra Mizumoto Posey
April 2000
Photos and Illustrations
Pop Culture
5 3/8 x 6

The frenzied mania for coffee and the increased use of Tarot, Astrology, and other forms of divination shows no signs of abating. Now, Folklorist Sandra Mizumoto Posey brings the ancient traditions of coffee divination and the history, folklore, and cultural impact of this potent berry together in her new book, Café Nation — Coffee Folklore, Magick, and Divination.
Coffee divination is once again enjoying widespread popularity because of the beverage's long-recognized ability to energize. It encourages extended social interaction and sharpens mental acuity. Sufi mystics knew centuries ago that coffee had the ability to aid in meditation and prayer. This heightening of the senses lends itself naturally to promoting creative and intuitive thought. Grounds, bubbles, and the array of symbols traditionally used for divination are keys to understanding ourselves, bypassing overly logic-driven thought to reach deeper instincts.

Café Nation is no dry history tome, no "gee-whiz" business success story, nor yet another cookbook. Filled with traditional and contemporary coffee divination techniques, fascinating coffee lore, droll historical artifacts, and a richly designed text, Café Nation is, like the brew, stimulating, insightful and a catalyst for intuition. In fact, Café Nation is the perfect companion to a cup of coffee itself!

Posey's authoritative writing on the role of practical magick is simple to apply and effective. Posey, who has a Ph.d. in folklore from UCLA and is the creator of the acclaimed,, and web sites, uses a system of divination that, rather than simply replicating ancient methods and meanings, draws upon the history of coffee divination and presents them in an entirely new format more relevant to contemporary life. You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again!

More than a book, or web site, Café Nation is a community — of coffee lovers, of book lovers, of those who want to know more about this world, and the other world. A book to savor and refer to again and again, Café Nation will bring robust and deep-flavored reading satisfaction to all.

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Table of Contents

Chapter One:
A Brief History of Coffee Folklore, Divination & Magick

The Legendary Origins of Coffee
Early References to Coffee
Coffee’s Emerging Popularity
Vienna and the Kipfel
Sidebar: Moon Crescents
Behold the Coffeehouse
Sidebar: Coffee Talismans
America’s Long Love Affair with Coffee
Coffee Divination & Magick

Chapter Two: Coffee Magick
Why Coffee?
Principles of Magick
Sidebar: Synonyms & Poetic Metaphors for Coffee
Ethical Issues
Preparing for Magick
Purification-Magickal Baths
Preparing Space for Ritual
Inviting and Honoring the Divine
Raising Energy

Chapter Three: Coffee Potions & Spells
Coffee Love Potion #1
Coffee Love Potion #2
Sidebar: The Magickal Coffee Bean Cake
Other Coffee Potions & Spells
Protection & Purification
Addiction to Coffee
Coffees for Honoring the Earth’s Transitions
Autumn/Dia de los Muertos/Halloween
Sidebar: Coffee & Spirits from the World Beyond

Chapter Four: Preparing Coffee for Divination
How to Make Turkish Coffee
(from an Early Eighteenth Century Poem)
A Far Less Eloquent Recipe for Turkish Coffee
Sidebar: Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans
How to Make Cowboy Coffee
Cowgirl Coffee or “Black Cinnamon Death”

Chapter Five: Coffee Divination
Reading Grounds
Sidebar: Divining Romantic Outcomes
Scrying for Truth
Simple Coffee Klatsch Divination
Coffee Klatsch Divination with Bubbles

Chapter Six: Coffee Divination Using The Café Nation System
The Café Nation System: Casting the Beans
The Café Nation System: Casting the Wands
The Café Nation System: Wands & Pentagram
Sidebar: Characteristics of Coffee
The Scents
The Roasts
The Café Nations: Coffee Descriptions & Interpretations



    He gulped a cup of coffee in the hope of pacifying his stomach and his soul. -Sinclair Lewis, Babbit, 1922

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Imagine yourself sitting on the boulevard in a wrought iron chair just outside a noisy café. The dense aromas of Jamaica Blue Mountain, Yemen Mocha and Kenya Peaberry waft out through the doors and into the street. Between your hands, a cup of hot coffee warms your palms as the electrifying liquid begins to course through your body. As traffic whizzes by, you lean across the table and whisper to your companion, “I need some clarity in my life. Something that will clear away the cobwebs and help me see my situation for what it is.” Your friend turns over her almost empty cup atop its saucer and together you find patterns of coffee grounds forming symbols that serve as guideposts to insight. Your friend then pours you another cup and looks to the bubbles forming at its lip, applying the meaning found there to answer your searching questions.
The enduring popularity of coffee divination is the result of coffee’s long-recognized ability to energize. It encourages extended social interaction and sharpens mental acuity. Sufi mystics knew centuries ago that coffee had the ability to aid in meditation and prayer. This heightening of the senses lends itself naturally to promoting creative and intuitive thought. In recent years, coffee and coffeehouses have enjoyed explosive growth. Fortune telling, too, is enjoying a resurgence. There is no more appropriate time for the two to meet again. Café Nation introduces you to a variety of ways to tune into your natural intuitive abilities.
Grounds, bubbles, and the array of symbols traditionally used for divination with everything from tea leaves to Tarot cards are simply keys to understanding ourselves better. They bypass overly logic-driven thought to reach deeper instincts. The medium you use as your psychic tuning fork should always be something that resonates within you. This is the very reason that there are so many Tarot and other fortune-telling decks. If your heart sings when you hear the whir of the cappuccino steamer or if your soul rises when that first delicately rich scent of coffee wafts its way through the office, then coffee is the perfect medium for you. Is coffee a spiritual enough substance? As you read the history section of this book you’ll see how coffee has been a companion to monks and mystics for centuries. Even today, as mundane as your cup of Folgers may be as you sit at the kitchen table, bear in mind that sometimes the greatest truths often seem the simplest. When seeking to understand your life, use as your map the very things that follow you from day to day.
Café Nation is a trip across continents and oceans to that steaming cup of Java you hold in your hands. We’ll take you along on that journey, showing you a number of approaches to coffee divination and magick, both historical and innovative. You may find yourself amazed at the sheer variety of them, and even bemused by the absurdity of some. One will feel right to you; none of them is intended to be a closed system that somehow gives you a direct line to an unalterable future. From the grounds swimming at the bottom of a cup to bubbles floating gently to the surface, they are merely places to begin.
Café Nation doesn’t hold the answers to life’s mysteries. The techniques described here are merely tools that help individuals begin to look to their own surroundings for clarity and insight. We don’t need an anonymous individual at the end of a 900 number to give us our solutions, nor do we need to trust only in ancient systems that don’t apply to our modern life. In our own world, changing and eternally the same, we can draw upon our own strengths, find our own symbols, and create our own answers.

© 2000 Sandra Mizumoto Posey