Thursday, August 13, 2009

KAHVE DEFTERI: A journal of Turkish coffee grounds readings, an intermittent Fahrenheit Googolplex project

I've been having my grounds read by a couple of Turkish close friends for a while now, and have had occasional readings in Turkey by folks said to be divinatorially endowed. It occurred to me during my last reading, which was very unusual, to make a series of these on Fahrenheit Googolplex.

Finishing a dinner party with readings in a group can be lengthy, but it's always fun. Sometimes it's just a social gambit. Occasionally it's quite enlightening.

Here are the project specifications.

WATER: Northeastern U.S. seaboard, supplied from one of three sand and gravel aquifers, then filtered through a Doulton ICP silver-impregnated ceramic filter (which, at the time of this writing, admittedly needs a scrub).

CUPS: G├╝ral Porselen, of Turkish manufacture. These are getting harder to find. Thanks to MK for their supply.

COFFEE: Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi (Mister Mehmet's Ground Coffee), the standard for the process.

BREWING METHOD: A cezve (coffee pot) on gas stove. Cezve is stainless steel, of Egyptian manufacture (Al Ahram brand). Capacity 4 cups.

I made four cups for this reading. My friend and I don't muck about with caffeine, she's impervious to it anyway from having drunk tea all day every day while growing up in Istanbul. She read mine, but somehow I got most of the grounds – so no reading for her.

Readings range in scope from epics to haiku. It all depends on what you see in the cup. This time was sparse, but stark. Sometimes there's no mistaking the images channeled into the grounds.

After brewing and drinking, I took the cup with grounds, placed the saucer upside down over the cup, and circled it clockwise while making a wish. Then I turned it upside down away from me and placed it on the table.

I put a ring on top of it, in the small of the cup's underside, to serve as a heatsink. When the cup was cool, we looked inside.

A large clean heart (right), with someone hanging over it. My heart/soul is still and peaceful, free from troubles or haze. Possibly someone is beside the heart holding a large baby in the air. The heart emerges from the depths of the cup and grows bigger. There are two roads, both pretty open, forking to the left of the heart.

On the bottom of the cup is someone on a horse, about to ride up a steep hill. The hill plateaus after a short steep distance, and the path is clear. She supposes the person is me, and that the vista is about to open for me.

The lump of grounds means kismet, which is fate/destiny loosely translated. Apparently all my troubles have fallen out of my heart, becoming a huge lump of kismet on the saucer. This is a sign that good fortune is afoot.

[Some readers turn the puddle of grounds on the saucer and spill a drop off the edge to see whether the wish will come true. That's determined by the progress of the drop, its path, and how quickly it reaches the base of the saucer.] It seems my wish will come true, quickly and without hindrance. As with birthday candles and shooting stars, no telling.