In preparing this post, I had a quick look around the internet and came across a hilarious conversation on reddit about pot-turning. Here's one of the comments (obviously tongue-in-cheek):
It's well-known that the tea plant absorbs minerals into the leaf as it gets more mature, thus the higher amount of fluoride in mature leaf as opposed to young buds. High quality tea is often made from the leaf of very old plants, which have absorbed many of the minerals from the soil.I'll admit that, although we had our traditional-old-fashioned-tea-drinker hats on, I did pull out my mobile phone so we could check the opposite of widdershins.
Some of those are ancient ferrous minerals. This means that the dried tea leaf is slightly magnetic. When the water is initially added, the leaf is jumbled every which way. However with the turning of the pot, it allows the ferrous minerals in the leaf to align with the magnetic pole, much like a simple compass made of a magnetized needle on top of a floating cork.
Once the tea leaf is aligned magnetically, the tea itself becomes much more harmonious with nature. You don't want to be drinking tea where it's magnetically pointing every which way as it goes into your stomach! If the earth's magnetic poles were to suddenly flip (which it is due to do any century now) it could result in the tea in your stomach also flipping, causing mild indigestion.
And that is why you rotate the pots.
My friend thought it was something like diesel.
She was correct in general about the word, but there were different spellings —deosil, deasil, deiseil, to name a few.
Here's a discussion about these two words. If you're like me, it will leave your mind whirling, but when the tealeaves-of-information settle to the bottom of the pot, you'll perhaps know why my mother told me to always turn the pot widdershins before pouring.
I'll admit I'm none the wiser.
But it was a lovely cuppa in a nice shop, with ribbon sandwiches, good company and a delicious glass of trifle to finish.