Tea is wealth itself,
Because there is nothing that cannot be lost,
No problem that will not disappear,
No burden that will not float away,
Between the first sip and the last. – The Minister of Leaves
There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. – Henry James
“For me, starting the day without a pot of tea would be a day forever out of kilter.” ― Bill Drummond, $20,000
A cup of tea is a cup of peace. ~Soshitsu Sen XV
It is hard for the typical modern tea drinker to believe, but tea has carried a nearly mystic aura throughout history. From the spiritual to the medicinal, the history of tea is one which not only spans cultures, but also has a deeply ritual meaning within those same cultures. Believe me, it isn’t all about that powder that they sweep off the floor to fill those little paper bags!
As an obsessive tea drinker, I have always been interested in the history and styles of tea. While some women live for shoes or bags, I am always thrilled when I find a new and interesting tea. Darjeeling is my normal evening tea, soothing and relaxing, while English or Scottish teas are more my style in the mornings. But how fun to find a Lavender Darjeeling, flowery and perfect for sitting in the garden? A smooth Lapsang Souchong, scented from pine wood or cypress fires used for drying the leaves for when the day has been long and painful and there are still many hours to go. And of course, tall mugs of Gunpowder Green all through the day, cleansing and fortifying mind and body. Tea is layered, seductive and soothing, exciting and mesmerizing, and a joy that more people should enjoy.
Mario Zeleny has researched the history of tea from its mysterious beginnings, both the holy and the profane. As he points out at the very first, tea is personal and universal, the start and endings of wars, and is seen as both sacred and ordinary. While modern America places the whole idea of the tea ceremony into the realm of Buddhist monks and the traditional Japanese Cha No Yu, Zeleny breaks through these barriers, widening perceptions and touching on the magic of ritual and how it affects our day-to-day lives. For we all follow ritual, from brushing our teeth in the mornings to tucking ourselves in at night. Life is about ritual – and adding Zeleny’s ten simple rituals, whether they be those described in the book or ones you develop for yourself, tea can help calm, establish relationships, relax and allow you to reach within yourself for everything from spiritual balance to sensuality.
“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” ― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Zeleny’s book is both quirky and completely useful, in spiritual manners of course, but also medicinally, while even giving wonderful tips on healthy cleaning. From a simple body detoxifier to polishing your furniture and cleaning your mirrors, tea is all about health. Both your own personal health to the health of the environment.
Rituals are both intentional and mindful. They give you a focus for your attention, while allowing the brain to relax and center itself. Zeleny is not a “tea expert” but he has written a well researched book that pulls together the history of tea, the consciousness of ritual and a lot of fun facts that allow the reader to connect with the pains and obsessions in our lives and, using the rituals of tea, clean out the physical and emotional trauma of our lives.
Come and share a pot of tea,
My home is warm and my friendship’s free. – Emilie Barnes
I received realistic review. The copy I received is a review copy and contained several editing issues, but I am expecting the book will be absolutely beautiful once the final edition is printed out.
Giveaways for you!!
I am running a month long HUGE Giveaway package plus 3 books and tea giveaways. The grand prize is: $100 visa, gift certificate to a free class $60 or less, a Ritual Tea book, a beautiful tea set, a collection of teas, a canvas gallery wrapped print, and a canvas tea inspired tote from Trader Joes!
About the Author
Mario Zeleny – Lover of all things tea. Mario spent 15 years in healthcare and social services in clinical and administrative roles that offered coaching to employees and volunteers. An artist and entrepreneur from an early age, Mario now brings his love of writing, art, spirit, coaching and ritual together online at his creative living site, Sancti Spiritus and also from his transformational art site, Art Spellz. Mario looks forward to completing his education with Mentor Coach and St. Clement Seminary. He currently resides in Sacramento with his husband of 8 years, their children and their domestic sovereign, a pug named Brigit.
His latest book is the self-help inspirational, Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life.