Passing down traditional knowledge

How a gypsy passed down her divination sight to 5 generations of women.

Great Great Grandmother

Emma Sims

Emma Sims (b. 1856, Melbourne Australia) was something of a tomboy, and a rebel, who ran away from home at age 17 because she couldn't tolerate the constraints of her strongly Catholic family. She learned tea reading from a gypsy (possibly either Romani, or Irish Traveller), in a time when the word “gypsy” was used an an insult, and when gypsies around the world were being persecuted, raped, castrated, and killed. Imagine the courage and determination that young Emma had, to associate with gypsies, and to continue their traditions.

Tea leaf reading was traditionally handed down by the women from one generation to the next, and the gypsy woman clearly saw something in Emma, despite Emma not being one of her own. Taking Emma on, she taught her the craft - how to make the brew, how to choose the cups, how to drink from the cups and a luck chant to whisper. More importantly, she taught young Emma how to tap into her Sight, to read what the leaves said in the cup and the saucer.

Great great grandmother

Emma Doyle (nee Sims)

Great grandmother

Dagmar Dunne (nee Doyle)

The gypsy woman was right about Emma, of course. Emma took to reading tea leaves like a natural, and continued to read them all her life. In accordance with tradition, in time she passed on her knowledge to her own daughter Dagmar, despite it being illegal, and severely condemned by the church. Dagmar, who ended up with glass eye from having competitions with her brother staring into the sun, in time passed it on to her daughter (b 1922), who she named Emma also. 

The younger Emma relished in this knowledge and learnt all she could from her mother and Grandmother Emma. She left the Catholic church, which meant she was in some ways more free to embrace her art more fully, eventually spending 13 years studying numerology and hand reading.

After Grandmother Emma passed away, Emma married and moved away, setting up home in Noosa Heads She continued reading tea leaves, always choosing her clients carefully because of the continued threat of jail for pursing this passion. Up to 5 times of day, groups of people would arrive for readings, having traveled great distances to hear Emma’s wisdom of the leaves. The readings produced a regular and very needed side income, as Emma was an artist, and also looked after her invalid husband. Emma was incredibly accurate and detailed in her readings, even as specific as telling one man that his vacuum cleaner was broken - and yes, his vacuum cleaner was broken. She relished giving detailed and precise readings for the most skeptical of people, and delighted in watching their jaws drop in amazement.

Saving a life

In the early 80s, she saved an old lady’s life. Reading for a middle-aged man, she saw an old woman in another country. The old woman was surrounded in water with animals with her. She was alone and in danger. Emma read that the old woman was someone close to the man she was reading for. The man thought this could be his mother who had bought and moved to a remote farm in New Zealand, and was looking after it by herself. Unbeknownst to the man there had been a lot of flooding rain in New Zealand. Unable to contact his mother, as she had no phone, the man did the wisest thing. He acted on the reading and contacted the authorities to check on his mother. The authorities brought in a helicopter and picked up the woman who was trapped with the last of her surviving animals on the highest crop of land that was rapidly going under water.


Emma Freeman (nee Dunne)


Elissa Freeman



Emma’s daughter, Elissa, sat in on all the readings she could, absorbing the learnings, and took lessons from her mother. As an adult, Elissa added in many other practices such as spells, dream magic, runes, bone magic and I-ching. She then went on to become a clinical hypnotherapist, neuro-linguist, international speaker and coach.


Elissa's Daughters

Summer, Silvana and Eden

Elissa has three daughters - Summer, Silvana and Eden. They learned from their mother and grandmother Emma. They built on the family knowledge by spending their life learning the ways of the witch.

These three Freeman daughters are the fifth generation readers, witches and founders of Beckoning Broom.


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