Cassie Polgar is a Tea Ceremonialist who creates sacred space for rituals and practices woven around Chinese Tea. It’s a simple, affordable practice we can all take advantage of, daily. Here, we chat the space, method and medicinal benefits of the ancient ritual that is Tea.
M+E: You induct tea ceremonies ‘steeped in ritual’ – talk us through the concept and its key benefits for body and mind. What defines the ritual aspect?
CP: Tea was originally used medicinally, along with being a daily spiritual elixir.
It not only assists in ailments and sickness, but is also a tonic for the heart, bringing awareness back into the body and leading us up into our heart space.
In ancient times they called Tea “The Great Connector” – she connects us with our heart space, our inner world and of course Mother Nature. For Tea is brought to us by all the elements; the heavens, earth, rain, sunlight and so forth.
By slowing down and creating space to be with Tea, you are therefore creating space for your body and mind to process emotions, allowing the body to regulate in a homeostasis state whilst removing your nervous system from the flight and fight response that most people sit in every day.
There are many ceremonial rituals throughout the entire Tea Ceremony, from the way the bowls are cleansed in front of the guests, the direction the Tea is poured into the bowls, the circular motions used throughout the entire session and so on. The Ceremony is rich in rituals that have been used by Chajin’s for many eons.
M+E: What are the key components to a ‘successful’ tea ceremony – surroundings, company, mindset, sound and temperature – how do we create our own at home?
CP: There are many components that lead to a successful Tea Ceremony including all of the above.
However, I believe the biggest most influential factor is creating space in your life for Tea. Space is essentially the biggest component to therefore create and bring to life the ceremony and the physical consumption of Tea.
The second most important factor (again from my perspective) especially if bringing this into your own home is to keep it simple. Essentially at the end of the day Tea is after all leaves, hot water and a bowl, that’s it. It can be as simple as that.
M+E: How often should we indulge a tea ceremony?
CP: If you feel called to and have the space and time, every day. By inviting Tea into your life everyday it will create profound and rich changes in your life.
Something my teacher suggests is to give yourself a week of drinking Tea every morning. Just 3 bowls in silence is plenty. And then see how you feel after that week. Have you noticed a shift in yourself? In your perspective? In your vibration?
I think this is a wonderful way to welcome Tea into your life, it’s only 1 week, so why not give it a go?
M+E: Importantly, what teas do you swear by? We assume the cup is filled to suit the day/requirements at hand. What teas do you suggest remedying the below, common concerns:
CP: There are 7 genres of Tea in the tradition I practice under, and each and every one of them can assist with the above concerns, as mentioned previously Tea was traditionally used medicinally.
There are certain times of the year where different Teas tend to be consumed, as this is influenced by the seasons and weather.
However, I find all the Tea’s I consume have a frequency that carries me through the day with a sense of calmness and peace.
This also ties back into creating space to show up for Tea and to allow her medicine to influence your state of being from the inside out.
I love each and every genre for its individual richness in history and qi it carries from mother nature to me.
M+E: Is there a precise way to brew tea for a ceremony?
CP: Yes, there is, and it all depends on the type of Tea you choose to serve in that ceremony. Once the Tea is selected then the Teaware can be chosen and then the ceremony is built out from there.
M+E: What other rituals do you abide by – daily/weekly?
CP: I meditate twice a day
- Both morning and evening I Palo Santos my body and aura
- Movement which includes walking in nature, yoga and stretching
- Following the Moon cycles and ceremonially working with their energies
- Sipping on a pot of herbal Tea every evening before bed whilst reading
M+E: Currently reading/listening to:
CP: I am currently reading “Tea Medicine” which is the spiritual aspect of Tea and is written by my teacher Wu De.
I am always listening to a plethora of music and am currently vibing Hermanos Gutierrez, Richard Houghten, Alex Serra and Los Days to name a few.