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Reversals and Win a Tarot of the Sweet Twilight

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on October 15, 2009 | Comments (139)


Shall we get right into it? How do you feel about reversals? Do you read them? If so, how? Do you have seventy-eight other interpretations that you use? Do you have a system that you apply to or a modification for the upright meanings? Do you not use them? Why? What do you do when one comes up upside down? Because no matter how careful you are, they somehow manage to get mixed up all the time.

It seems that people have fairly strong opinions about reversals. Years ago, when the American Tarot Association used to certify readers, I went through the certification process. That process included creating and using your own reversed meanings. I did so, of course, because I used to be an annoying over-achiever. But I never liked using reversals.

Not using reversals makes me feel like a tarot poser, much in the same way my lack of enthusiasm for the Qabalah makes me feel. Every few years, I try using reversals again. And every few years I try loving the Qabalah (my most recent effort included reading Lon Milo DuQuette’s The Chicken Qabalah, which almost did it, but only because he said it didn’t matter how I spelled it). The Qabalah never sticks and neither do reversals.

I always say something like, you don’t need reversals because there are cards in the deck that can say what needs saying. And I mostly believed that. Until recently.

Paul Quinn, author of Tarot for Life, was on the last episode of Tarot Talk (a radio show on Blog Talk Radio with hosts Raven Mardirosian and Georgianna Boehnke). He told a story that kind of made my head explode.

He told a story about how he studied with Rachel Pollack and Mary K. Greer during their annual weekly summer class at the Omega Institute. On Monday, his first day of class, they told the students that on Thursday the entire class would be doing readings for all the rest of the students at Omega who were taking other classes. He apparently has much Virgo in his chart and determined to be the very best reader. He took meticulous notes all week. When the time came for the readings, he noticed that he left his notebook in the classroom, which was locked and no one was around who could open it.

He pulled a card, asking what kind of energy should he bring to his readings since he <shudder> didn’t have his notebook!?!?! The card he pulled was the 8 of Pentacles reversed. The cards were telling him to not bring all his Virgo-note-taking-energy. Which was good, since he didn’t have his notebook. He was meant to read unfettered from his safety net of notes and “shoulds” and “do it this ways.”

That card reversed in this circumstance made so much sense to me. I tried to think what card upright would be able to communicate the same thing as poetically and accurately. The Fool? Nope, not the same thing, really. The Wheel? The Hanged Man? 9 of Pentacles? Knight of Swords? No. No. No. And no.

Now, after all these years, one man’s amusing anecdote is forcing me to rethink my formerly very comfortable dismissal of reversals.

Perhaps I should pull out my copy of Mary K. Greer’s Complete Book of Tarot Reversals.

Tarot Traversals

While I’m muddling through, leave a comment about your opinion regarding reversals (do you use them, why or why not, and if so, how?) and be entered into a drawing for a free copy of the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight. If you are unfamiliar with this deck, see my review here. Entries will be closed at midnight CST on October 28. The winner will be posted on Thursday, October 29, along with a special Halloween treat…an interview with a very special tarot artist.

Reader Comments

Written By Joanne
on October 15th, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

Love the contest for a new deck! I haven’t used reversals in the past for the same reasons you express in this blog post but I may have to give them another try. Thanks for a great post!

Written By Penny
on October 15th, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

When I first began reading tarot cards 20 years ago, I used to read with reversals because I didn’t know it was an option NOT to. Over the years, I’ve found that I can intuit the positive/negative aspect of any card without having to turn it upside down. The cards surrounding any card give me input as to whether a card is meant to be read in its ill-dignified manner or not. Even a singularly-drawn card gives me vibes on its meaning, and it doesn’t have to be turned on its head for me to know it to be so. Plus, visually (and I’m a very visual person), a card turned on upside down is off-putting to me, so that I get caught up in the fact that it’s upside down than the “reversed” meaning of it. I’m not saying using reversals is right/wrong…it’s just not for me. And so far, not placing the actual cards in reversed mode has worked just fine for me and my readings. :)

Written By Sharyn
on October 15th, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

I’m in the camp that feels reversals are pointless, although I did use them when I was using Zack Wong’s Revelation deck and enjoyed them. Guess that makes me wishy washy?

Written By Ellen Black
on October 15th, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

The way I shuffle means that I seldom get reversals. When I get them, I know that I must interpret the card differently than I would when it is in its up-side position. I also know that the Universe is asking me to pay special attention to the meaning of the reversed card.

Written By Theresa
on October 15th, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

I use reversals and always have. To me, they can change the energy of the card – and I’m pretty liberal with my interpretations. For example, a reversal could indicate that the energy of the card is not being expressed. Say you have the Empress reversed – perhaps the questioner is having a hard time tapping into their maternal instincts. That could be a way of looking at it.

A reversed card could “reverse” the meaning – for example, if the 10 of Swords was reversed, it could suggest healing from a catastrophic experience.

In timing events, reversals could suggest that things are slowed down dramatically. Many reversals in the reading could be alerting the client to change the current course of action.

These are just some of the many ways you could look at them. I feel reversals create more depth and variety. However, they are NOT mandatory. This is a matter of personal preference. I have known many a fine, talented reader who did not rely on reversals. Other factors such as elemental dignities may create a situation where reversals are not necessary. It is ultimately up to the reader to pick a system that works for them.


Written By Denise Lyle
on October 15th, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

I have found that reversals have always been correct for me. I tend to go with whatever deck I’m using and what its particular symbolism (upright) signifies and then either reduce or expand its “power” depending on the card position and the cards around it. I often look at the pictures themselves as “doing” something, (i.e. cups reversed may be … Read Morelosing their “contents” or wands reversed may be “at rest” or “not working”, etc.) I find that I cannot ignore a reversed card as much as I would like to because its meaning is always exactly what is required at the time.

Written By Matthew
on October 15th, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

I don’t use revearsals. I never have. I hope to someday, but for now I don’t. I figured just like you. Other cards have that meaning. I bought the tarot of revelations with the intent of reading revearsals, but never got aroudn to it.

Written By jessica
on October 15th, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

well, i don’t use reversals because i’m trying to learn UPRIGHT card meanings at this point, and that alone is hard enough. but reversals intrigue me and when i’m ready i don’t know if i’ll learn and read with them, but i certainly will study them :D

thanks for this article, it does make you think!

Written By Debbie
on October 15th, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

Like you, I created a series of reversed meanings for all 78 cards to achieve certification and then never really used them again. I have a system for using reversed meanings but it’s relatively haphazard. Sometimes I interpret a reversed card as blocked energy or an issue that is being avoided. Other times I may interpret it as a need to focus that energy inward rather than outward (a la Gail Fairfield). And other times I may interpret it as the negative meaning of the upright card. Sometimes I use all these different approaches in the same reading. It depends on my sense of it at the time.

Ultimately I don’t think anyone must use reversals but I have found them useful for pointing out areas which might need additional focus or attention.

Written By venuseed
on October 15th, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

When I first started reading it was enough to read with the upright cards and I would make sure they were all facing that way before I began a reading. As my confidence grew, I wanted to take in all the experience of the Tarot.Initially because I had not had much experience I thought that the reversals were negative. I began by reading them all upside down and the thing I noticed was, because of the way I read, (I use the whole pack and I use groups of three’s and it tells me a story)there was still a story and somehow closer to the reality of the situation than I had experienced before. I found that they were not has negative has I first thought and some mainily the Major Acarna was saying pay attention to this part of the reading, and that the reversal was showing us that the lesson around those issues being read about would be a bigger lesson than we understood. So now instead of being uncomfortable when a reversed card turns up I pepp up and look closer at the surrounding cards and work with the client to find the nub of the issue. This has paid off many times in the readings I have done and the reading itself has been more powerful for including those reversed cards.
I love being able to help in this way and have been doing so for the last 28 years and the other part of reading reversed cards that is helpful is seeing where the limitations are in the situation for the client.
Thanks for asking until you did I really didnt think about it.

Written By Chantal
on October 15th, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

I think it’s best at first not to learn reversals, learning 78 cards’s meanings is hard enough as it is. Reversals complicate tarot and it’s best to wait until you reach a certain level in tarot before thinking about maybe using them. In my case, I still had a hard time remembering the cards’s upright meanings after 10 years using the same tarot deck. And when I finally did, I decided to stick to upright meanings and not use reversals. I think there is enough of negative cards in tarot to just use upright meanings. I figure the deck will come out with the right card at the right place, and so far this is what has happened. But I see the majors and the court cards in both lights though, and sometimes some minors will feel like reversed.

Written By Kevin Quigley
on October 15th, 2009 @ 2:16 pm

Reversals are an integral part of my reading style. I use them in only a couple of ways: First, I lay out all of my cards right up from face up and look to see if there’s “too many or too few” reversals statistically. I use this kind of like a clarity barometer. Lots of reversals tells me that the person I am reading for is often stuck with a picture in their head that does not necessarily match the reality they are actually living in (so we have a informational reading). Scant reversals tells me that the client understand where she is (an affirmational reading).

The other way, is that I take it to be like turning a dial on the card. In some situations it turns the dial up, making the meaning of the card more intense (though, I allow the context and the client to determine if this is a positive or negative spin…). One can also turn the dial the other way, so that the situation in the card is not only “lessening” but may be transitioning to another state entirely (if it’s a reversed major, I will often wind up talking about the next succeeding card in the series). Thus reversing the 4 of Swords, could indicate putting one’s thoughts and actions on complete hold – a freeze OR the sense that while one is still at a place of rest, the time to get back up is fast approaching…

Written By Zanna
on October 15th, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

Great idea for a contest! I’ve been reading for 15 years and I am still in the wishy-washy camp on reversals. Sometimes I use them, but most times I don’t. I tend to use elemental associations instead to determine whether cards are dignified or not.

Written By Ellen-Mary
on October 15th, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

I go back and forth about reversals. I generally have a hard time reading them and it was a so relieving when I first found out that I had the option not to. There are times that they reverse themselves and I pay special attention to that. Any card that goes through the trouble to stand on its head to get noticed must have something important to share.

Written By AarTiana
on October 15th, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

Hi Barbara! Being a professional tarot reader for a number of years, I have always like reversals to tell me that there is a different expression of the energy of that card. I count on my feelings for the right interpretation of a reversal when I see it – for instance, sometimes it is an energy that is not being used, or being overused, or not applied in the normal means (and most of the time, inbalanced). If the card is a negative card (i.e. the 3 of swords), it can be a release of that energy. Also, when I see nearly an entire reading in the reverse, it is almost always a delay or a timing issue in every case.

Written By Roxanne
on October 15th, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

I have always used reversals and find them to be extremely accurate in all of my readings.There is a reasons that you should include them,otherwise the reading suffers.

Written By Sherry
on October 15th, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

I have gone back and forth for 10 years with reading reversals. I decided to do it. I find that I see the reversals as blockages. Not all the time, but most of the time. The times I don’t read it as a reverse is when the card is just trying to get my attention to get the point across.

Written By Deborah Blake
on October 15th, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

My answer is exactly the same as that given by Ellen Black (practically word for word–nice going, Ellen). I was actually taught reversals and decided I didn’t like them. But if a card somehow ends up that way, I pay attention :-)

And I’ve been reading professionally for years and have had lots of feedback from folks saying I was right on–so apparently not using reversals works just fine.

Written By Lisa
on October 15th, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

I switch between the two depending on what spread I use. I don’t use reversals for story spreads (like Place’s 3 card spread), but in most other spreads I do. Lots of reversals in a spread can shift the focus to inner processes. I love MKG’s book reversals – especially the shamanic/magickal interpretations of the reversed cards. Genius.

Written By Ann Hentz
on October 15th, 2009 @ 3:21 pm

I do not use reversals and make it clear to my students that reversals are not necessary. Most spreads have a challenge or issue position and we have plenty of “difficult” cards in the deck. To me these are sufficient. Reversing cards makes my brain hurt. Suppose you have a reversed Tower in a challenge position in a spread. Hmm … my brain doesn’t even want to go there! LOL!

Written By Simone Pantaleo
on October 15th, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

hi Barbara

I dont use reversals per say as i feel they confuse the energies that are around the spread as a whole. I also work from a framework of the energies around the suitation and couple it with the spread should provide insights to the suitation.


Written By AJ
on October 15th, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

I’m still a beginner when it comes to tarot. I actually just started doing/practicing personal readings last month. I have Paul Quinn’s Tarot for Life as a reference and it’s comforting to know that he has reversal meanings in there. But since I’m just starting out, I don’t think I’m ready for this complexity. It’s so funny because when I did my reading today, I wasn’t thinking of how I was holding the deck. But when I pulled the first card, it was reversed… and my face went blank… then I thought, maybe the universe can understand that I’m still a beginner so I turned it and read it as its upright meaning. Turns out, the message is still clear.

Written By Ron (Bulal)
on October 15th, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

I personally find reversals to be completely unnecessary. The elemental relationships, along with the ample pairing and opposition inherent in the Fibonacci spread, provide more than enough structure to define the potency and frame the context of the major key correspondence. (Correspondence as the relationship between the minor arcana and lesser cycle major key, not the Qabalah). Likewise, the symmetry of dynamic spreads such as this lend progressive relevance alternate interpretation. This provides for high and low aspect representation if, by some miracle of foggy thought, the meaning is not immediately apparent. Even beyond the spread, I find that reversals often disrupt the pictorial key, which ultimately hinders dissociative divination. Dissociative divination is a major component in any reading if specificity is to be a factor in your clients value. I suppose this could go the other way for some. Perhaps, for some readers an upside down set might enhance their reading. Remote viewing is one likely possibility. It would seem that the techniques many use in this process could gleen more depth to pull shape and texture from, but I am not a remote viewer. I have a more time expansive focus and too much detail only, “bends the frame,” if you will. It seems I’m rambling again, so I’ll leave it at that. This is a fantastic blog Miss Barbara. Stay wonderful!

Love and Light,

Written By Aine Foley
on October 15th, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

I don’t use reversals but I believe that both the positive and negative aspects of a card should be taken into consideration in a reading.

Written By Michelle
on October 15th, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

I have no problem reading reversals. I just read the energy of the card as if it’s submerged under water, so the energy isn’t as strong as it would be if it was in it’s regular position.

Written By Irmata
on October 15th, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

I’m very new to reading, so I don’t use reversals yet. Once the cards make sense to me right-side-up though, I definitely will start working with reversals. To me, it’s all about perspective.

As an artist, I’ve learned that looking at something from a different angle can help you to perceive it correctly. Drawing something upside down, an apple for example, means that you cannot just draw what you *think* you see. You don’t recognise the shape as “apple” and instead draw exactly what is there.

I think the same principle applies to the cards and should enable me to see what’s “hidden in plain sight”, especially as I read with a healthy serving of intuition. This doesn’t mean I haven’t just ordered Joan Bunning’s book on reversals ;)

Written By Natalie
on October 15th, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

I am a new student to the Tarot, as I only began my education in it last year. In all my explorations with this new skill, I have not experienced any poignant or relevant information involving reversals. The information never seemed to apply to me or the situation. However, I have had other readings done for me (even online ones — which I know are just more fun than energy specific), and the reversals were relevant and apt. Does experience have anything to do with this phenomenon? The anecdote regarding Quinn’s experience was certainly specific to the moment. I think the lesson is that spontaneous bouts of insight are never to be ignored. I’m finding that trusting my intuition is a difficult but rewarding path. Intuitive information should not be dictatorial. (I’m with Moore on the Qabalah thing. For me, it’s the concept of reincarnation. I have no spiritual affinity for it — and that makes me decidedly strange in this community.)

Written By Hilary
on October 15th, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

I do use reversals in my readings. When in a relationship position, I interpret a reversed card as a sign of miscommunication within the relationship (just an example). Generally, I interpret upright cards as situations that the querent is in control of, and I interpret reversals as situations that are out of the querent’s hands and therefore shouldn’t stress out about them. I think the basic difference between upright and reversed cards is the intention and motivation behind the situations the cards represent.

Written By Jean
on October 16th, 2009 @ 2:08 am

Reversed cards seem to give a better reading in that they often point to areas in the person’s life/mind/emotions, etc. that need attention. I want all the readings to be positive and affirming, but sometimes it’s just not like that. It seems that I give a ‘more gentle’ reading with upright cards. The reversed cards also seem to catch the person’s attention, which helps them be more interactive with the cards and me. I don’t mean to say that upright cards don’t give a good reading; as you point out there are other cards in the upright position, like the High Pristess, that might have expressed the same idea to Mr. Quinn.

Written By Karen
on October 16th, 2009 @ 7:35 am

I haven’t really used Tarot reversals, because I don’t really understand them. Will have to pick up Mary Greer’s book. I’ve enjoyed other Tarot books and articles I’ve read of hers, including her blog.

Written By Frederick Eichinger
on October 16th, 2009 @ 11:52 am

It depends on the deck I’m using too. Some of the ones I have the depictions are so vivid that reading all the cards upright doesn’t present a problem to get deeper into the interpretation. Other decks the images are more simplistic and using the reversal helps make a better connection to the surrounding cards.

Written By Hanafae
on October 16th, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

To me, reversals only mean that the cards weren’t put back into the deck carefully. So it doesn’t have any special meaning to me. However, if only one card showed up in reverse knowing that I put them all back into the deck in their proper position, I would certainly ask myself some questions.

Written By James Wells
on October 17th, 2009 @ 11:06 am

I use reversals. To me, it doesn’t make sense for a reversed card to mean its opposite. The Empress is still the Empress whether she’s upright,reversed, or sideways. In the way that I employ reversals, they simply change the way in which a card’s concept is expressed. More internal, private, subjective, psychological, emotional, subtle, vague, or behind-the-scenes than if it’s upright. For example, in the way I use the cards, an upright Empress (to stay with our example) is about nurturing others, taking care of something/someone “out there”, our real-life mother, etc. Reversed, it speaks to me of nurturing ourselves, being taken care of, and our internal parental/creative instincts.

Written By Lydia Michaels
on October 17th, 2009 @ 12:30 pm

Well, it all comes down to intuition for me, because in the moment, with the person (or yourself), it can be different every time…

Sometimes I do a reading where half the cards or more are upside down! At that time I look at reversals holistically – what patterns are present in all the upside down cards, and what patterns exist in all the right-side-up cards, and what is the meaning within/among/between/against these two patterns?

Sometimes, when just one or two cards are reversed, I take it to mean the opposite/negative or latent/unexpressed meaning of the card. Sometimes it can mean that the energy of the card is not ready to be expressed. I take latent/unexpressed to mean a blockage or deficiency, whereas not yet expressed just means it has yet to come (less of a personality defect, more of a detail of circumstance).

Hope that helps! Hope I win!

Written By Jennifer
on October 17th, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

I never really how to use reversals until I picked up Mary K. Greer’s book on them. Then after Iread it and appied the symbols from the pictures to my own deck I had a much easier time with my readings and I felt more comfortable incorporating them in my readings with friends and family. And it was thanks to her guide on tarot reversals that I was so successful at my senior Renaissance Fair. I am now so glad that I use them, I feel more empowered and confident when I read friends and strangers alike.

Written By Oliver Danni
on October 17th, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

I often use reversals, and let my intuition guide me as to their significance. The two most common things I’ll find with them are (a) the “blocked energy” interpretation — that the card means basically the same thing as it would mean upright, but that there is something blocking it from fully manifesting or (b) that there’s a particular perspective on the image in the card that I need to be viewing it upside-down in order to see properly — sometimes something different in the card will catch my attention than what I would have focused on if the card were upright, or sometimes something on the card will appear to be something entirely different than if I had viewed it upright. I used to read reversals as “the opposite of what the card would mean if upright”, but that wasn’t turning out as accurately as when I started using a more intuitive approach to discerning why the card had come up reversed, and I found that those two possibilities I just described were the most common.

Written By The Red Queen
on October 17th, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

I think my head just exploded!

Actually, I’m positive it did, because I’ve just finished wiping bits of it from my screen in order to finish typing this comment…

Okay, I’ve NEVER used reversals — not once in 10 years, and now I have to…

Thank you very much for opening my closed mind. I think the fresh air will do it good. :)


The Red Queen

Written By Harper Haven
on October 18th, 2009 @ 9:13 am

I do use reversals. I feel if a card shows up in the reversed state, it is calling out to me as a reader to take special note of it. And if you believe in synchronicity, the reversals happen for a reason. Most of the time (but not always) I read reversals as delays to or blockage of the energy for the upright card.

Written By M. L. Hardin
on October 18th, 2009 @ 8:01 pm

When I first started studying, I became very intimidated by reversed meanings, and I’m still new enough to be using the training wheels(books) in many situations, especially when reading an unfamiliar spread or new deck. I don’t intentionally reverse any cards when shuffling-yet. So when a reversal does happen, I look at it as an area where focused attention on reevaluation of emotions, thought processes, or actions is required.

After reading Irmata’s comment from the artist’s perspective, though, I can see the point of including them and may have to experiment. *once my confidence levels are a little higher*

Written By aurarcana
on October 19th, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

Since I am new to Tarot (a few months in), my immediate response to reversals was to avoid them until I had firm knowledge of the cards’ upright meanings. However, I realized quite quickly that the reversed meanings of the cards were just as important as the upright meanings. In my opinion, if a card comes up reversed, this signifies blockage or weakens the intended meaning of the card. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the meaning becomes negative; that seems to be a popular misconception with reversals. When a card comes up reversed, in my opinion, it is a signal to pay attention to that card and focus on change.

- Nicole

Written By Penni Louise
on October 20th, 2009 @ 9:23 am

This post really makes a lot of sense to me. I am also fine with my broad dismissal of reversed cards, justifying it with the thought that “every card holds a reverse aspect anyways”. Your shared anecdote also makes sense to me and is a great way to re-frame these thoughts…thanks!

Written By Ginger Schenck
on October 20th, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

Reading reversals seems to be a very personal decision. I suppose I will sound like I’m copping out when I say, it just depends…It depends on the deck. It depends on the spread and it depends onthe reading itself. Sometimes reversals just “pop out” at me and seem to be cerntral to the reading and at other times not so much. Some decks also have reversal meanings that seem to flow nicely and add depth to readings. Other just seem, well sort of plain and flat. In some spreads the different positions make sense and aling well with reversals…if so I use them.

Written By Sandy Novotny
on October 20th, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

I started reading tarot when I was 17, and am now 32. I took to the tarot immediately, and began having strong intuitions from my very first reading. Initially I read with reversals. However, it seemed like 99% of the time when a reversed card came up, I felt the upright meaning was far more appropriate. I tried reading with reversals for about a year, then gave up. I began asking the people I read to shuffle in a way that would not reverse the cards. I have had the same experience as Penny (from comment #2) and find that if the “revered” meaning applies, it just comes to me without being reversed.

The only exception to this was a few months ago. A friend of mine forgot how I like them shuffled, and a few of his cards reversed. I decided maybe it was fate, so I tried reading his cards as is, reversed and all. The reading came out just as accurate as my other readings, which surprised me. Now I just have to figure out what to do about it. Do I start doing readings with reversed cards now, continue asking people to shuffle a certain way, or be quiet about it and see what they do naturally, working from there? I’m just waiting for the inspiration to strike to lead me in the right direction on the matter :)

Written By Carianne Sheridan
on October 21st, 2009 @ 10:26 am

I shuffle the cards and cut the deck and I have all the cards upright. Some how I feel like I’m cheating. There’s a flip side to every card and if I have everything upright I feel that I’m not opening myself up to the truth. Believe me remembering all of the meanings is daunting, but to get an honest reading I think it’s necessary . The funny thing is the woman I go to when I don’t know which way is up for my readings she doesn’t believe in the reverse meaning unless she has a feeling that it came out that way for a reason.

Written By Renee Haskins
on October 21st, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

I use both,it just depends on the deck I am using. The Rider deck,I use reversals. The Thoth deck I don’t. And It also depends on my mood. If I am having a brainfart,I will throw in reversals. That is the neet thing about the Tarot,it is always up to the reader.

Written By Sandy
on October 21st, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

Good grief! Not using reversed cards??? Isn’t that like throwing out certain cards because you don’t LIKE them??? Are you manipulating, or are you transmitting information? If you’re a good reader, you read what your client has shuffled..good, bad, indifferent, upright, reversed!! Your cards are all upright? What’s that about? Get those cards in the hands of your client and let them shuffle until they ‘feel right’ to them. Your reading will be the better.
Aren’t there any ‘old’ readers out there? Since when do the ‘rules’ change…oh say…depending on whatever????? I’m appalled!

Written By Marla Barton
on October 22nd, 2009 @ 10:06 am

Tarot has been calling to me for years!My problem is that Im not the most patient person!Not a good quality for someone who wanting to learn the tarot!
Ive learned some though!
Talking about reversals!The deal is there was this lady that tried showing a group of us ladies at a meeting one time the basic tarot!She gave us a peice of paper,telling us the meanings she believed if the cards,and she said that we should read everything in an upright position!
Well,that is a matter of opinion,because Like I said I’d been feeling the calling to learn tarot,and I found a book,that is excellent for teaching it!So I took out my deck,and started learning,and reading the cards as I went,and The reversals as I see it!Are true!I think it was the eight of wands!Can’t remember,but the reversal had something to do with jealousy in the book Im following that is,and it is true!Im not jealous,but I have a friend who is acting jealous when it concerns me,so I do believe in reversals!

Written By Lunaea Weatherstone
on October 22nd, 2009 @ 10:10 am

Replying to Sandy (above) as well as to this thoughtful blog post, my feeling is that if your intention is to not use reversals, the cards know how to deal with that decision. It’s not at all about picking and choosing which cards to interpret. It’s just the reader’s preference and his/her relationship to the cards. I’ve been working with tarot since about 1970, so I think I qualify as an “old” reader. :-) I used reversals when I first started reading the cards, because that’s what the book told me to do. As my confidence grew and I was able to set the book aside, I realized that there was more than enough information there for me without the use of reversals. I respect other readers’ choice to use them, and Mary’s book is fascinating, but for me personally, the cards communicate upright. I always tell the people I’m reading for that I don’t use reversals, in case they are used to that system.

Written By Val
on October 22nd, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

*Raises hand* Another ‘old’ reader here (first deck bought in 1977). I’ve always used reversals because, like Lunaea, it was in the Eden Grey book I bought along with the deck. Years later, I enrolled in a Tarot course where the instructor taught reading with reversals. It never occurred to me that there was an alternative to reversals until I discovered online Tarot sites in 2000. And I wondered, could one possibly get as in-depth a reading without using reversals?

After much experimenting, the simple answer is yes. Much to my surprise, one can gleen as much depth, detail, insight, and information from reading without reversals as one can with a reading incorporating reversed cards. Each and every card contains multiple layers that include positive, neutral, and negative energies.

In my opinion, reversals are not the “rule,” they are an option. And in case anyone is wondering, I always read with reversals. It’s the system I prefer.

Written By Theresa
on October 22nd, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

Never put much thought to reversals as a negative omen. I just felt that whatever card came up reversed would be a difficult thing and to be extra careful on that. When I do a reading and a reversal (or several) come up) I know that it is going to be a challenge.

Written By Helen
on October 22nd, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

I guess using reversals is a personal choice, when I do use them I tend to see them as red flags marking something that really needs attention. However, not reading reversals is good too. Because when reading the cards upright (if you don’t use reversals), then you should be looking at the whole spectrum of possibilities within the card, that relate to positive, neutral and negative. How you interpret depends on the position, the question and the surrounding cards.

Written By Meghan
on October 23rd, 2009 @ 12:18 am

I both do, and do not, use reversals. It usually depends on who I’m reading for, what they’re asking (if they’ve told me), and mostly on whether I feel I should or not. If I get the feeling they’re relevant and important to the reading, I’ll include them. Otherwise I just turn them upright again.

Written By Ramona
on October 23rd, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

It depends on the person or question at hand. I really don’t care for them because sometime it seems so neg. depending on the other cards; and I might not be in a mood for that heavy a deal or if the person can handle it. I prefer upright though.

Written By Tony
on October 24th, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

This works for me and I have followed it for 20 years:

1. If the question is quite general (and particularly also if you do not know the subject well), do a quick reading with no reversals.

2. Then ask for the question to be tightened up and do another reading, including reversals.

Even if it is necessary to look up the full implication of any reversals, you will find a deeper insight is achieved.

Written By Melissa
on October 24th, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

Honestly, sometimes I read reversals and sometimes I don’t. But I always decide before I throw cards. It usually depends on whether or not the spread I’m working with will allow for it. I’m also interested in round cards and how that will affect the “feel” of reversals.

Typically I read reversals as a blockage in the energy of the card or an immature energy (as relates to the card in question). I see all the cards as energies that are in operation — and I see all the cards as energies that are competing and desiring to fulfill their manifest intent, so just thinking about it that way helps me figure out what the reversal will mean in any given throw.

Great deck! It’s on my wishlist :)

Written By Deborah
on October 26th, 2009 @ 1:17 am

I tend to use reversals whenever I do a reading. More often than not, the reverse meaning is more significant to the overall reading. I do know others that never use reversals in their readings. I suppose it’s just a matter of what you prefer.

Written By Regina de Bastoni
on October 26th, 2009 @ 10:15 am

I use reversals, but only to signal which cards need special attention during a reading.

Written By Shari
on October 26th, 2009 @ 10:19 am

I use reversals sometimes. Depends on the number of cards, and the deck I’m using. I don’t feel I need to use them for any reason other then the deck really. 95% of my readings are done without them. I’ve heard people say you have more meanings if you use them, but I just don’t believe that. I’ve never had anyone say that I lack enough meaning I have access to everything with them upright. Even when I do use them I will typically turn the card upright when actually reading the card. Just like to look at it that way too.

Written By Tamara Shurling
on October 26th, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

I am new to tarot so yes I pay attention to reversals I think that they do mean something.

Written By Ellis Wood
on October 26th, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

I dont use reversals per se but I do give both sides of a card and it also depends on the rest of the cards in the spread for example, if I have drawn the Sun and Wheel of Fortune bu then the Tower I will read the tower positively as opposed to earth shattering. I have tried to give reversals but they never seem to fit the mood of the spread.

Written By Hilary Weldon
on October 26th, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

I am going to be truthful here ,The only thing i know about tarrot cards is if someone reads my tarrot ,though it is some thing in my life i always want to learn , I am so fascinated by tarrot card reading ,I do know that if i was to win tarrot cards i would cherish them so much :)

Written By Joshallen
on October 26th, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

I try very hard to not have reversed cards in my readings. I check my deck before, and make sure to shuffle in a way that prevents them. But when they do happen to appear I use them and take them very seriously. I know that they have something to say that could not be said in any other way. Sometimes the card that would have fit has already been used, and sometimes it is really that card that has a message to say. All in all, I use them when they make themselves known.


Written By Ilaire
on October 26th, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

I tend to read reversals as lower energy of the same type. I may also read them as opposite or lack of an energey depending on context. It also depends on the deck too – some decks work better without reversals.

Written By Robert Winget
on October 26th, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

When I started reading Tarot cards back as a teenager I read them reversed and now many years later I have once again picked up my first deck since then and have started reading Tarot cards and to me it just seems natural. The cards reversed have a little different meaning and can be seen as a warning or a little different way to look at the situation you are reading about and as someone noted they end up reversed anyway and by correcting them you are changing the reading some and I feel you are not getting the true meaning. Don’t fight the cards they end up that way for a reason.

Written By Diane Fergurson
on October 26th, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

No reversals? That would be like painting black and white without all the beautiful grays…..

Written By Angela
on October 26th, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

The first time I ever read for someone I used a regular deck of playing cards. For the year following that first time, I never stopped using the regular playing cards and I could not wrap my mind around how I could see so much in nothing but color and repetitive shape. The first time I ever held a real tarot deck I felt a jolt roll through me and could not believe the sensation of working with them. Sadly at this time, I no longer own a set. My home was broken into a couple of years back and everything was stolen… hasn’t stopped me though lol… playing cards work till I can afford a set again.

Reversed Cards in readings do not really phase me, I see them as a warning and an opportunity for the individual it refers to too make changes and hopefully avoid the possible negativity that could come from a situation. Reversed cards, like the reader themselves are a guide through possibilities and opportunities. In my readings they are welcome to appear, in the hopes that from them showing up, the person being read for can adjust the course they are on at that time.

Written By Kathy
on October 26th, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

I have been reading for over 15 years and I always use reversals. I am sure you can get a good reading without using them however I personally feel that you can get more in depth by reading uprights and reversals.
I am a Tarot Deck Collector and this deck is just lovely!
Brightest Blessings,

Written By Penny Lima
on October 26th, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

I use reversals (upside down cards) as a sign to “pay attention”- “take heed”, – “warning.” I don’t necessarily take them as “negative” meaning cards…… I read all cards intuitively as well as look at all the traditional meanings that I have studied from various sources. I feel reversals tell you if this or that doesn’t change then you might not have your desired outcome……sometimes I will pull more cards on top of the reversals if I feel it necessary to see what else can be told about the reversal situation.

Written By Penny Lima
on October 26th, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

Wow I am realizing that are many people with the name: Penny on this discussion…I find that very interesting…is it your real names? Are people named Penny drawn to Tarot and Magick? I find this very interesting LOL!


Written By Cath
on October 26th, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

I’m trying to teach myself to use reversals with my Manga Tarot deck – mainly because it’s such an overwhelmingly positive deck, I feel it needs the reversed cards to add depth to the reading. But frankly, they make me nervous.

I’ve been reading the tarot for less than a year, so I’m going to give it time. But still… nervous.

Written By Dina
on October 26th, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

These are such beautiful cards! I really hope I win, that way I can actually learn some Tarot reading : )

Written By Steven
on October 26th, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

For a very long I did not use Reversals. The reason was I did not fully understand what I was doing. I am self taught. However, I gave a reading one day and one of my cards came up reverse. It was the Hermit card. I ask the person if she/he was open up to the prospect of dating. That was an affrimative. Since then, I do read reverse. To me it adds another depth of understanding that I would not otherwise get. However, I do understand that there is not correct/incorrect way to read cards. Right???

Written By Elizabeth Stacey
on October 26th, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

It all depends on the spread that I am working. Most of the time I will interpret reversals. As others stated when I started reading I did not know I could do it without. Now I think that it is an extra way for the universe to get in touch and hammer a point in. If you get the message in a card and the same message through a reversal, you need to pay attention to it.

Written By Autumn
on October 26th, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

The sometimes subtle tweaking of a card’s message due to reversals can end up having a great impact on the overall reading. It just makes sense to me. But if I didn’t use reversals, I’m sure the cards would know and they’d find a way of getting the message across either way ;)!

Written By Aurora Vinhais
on October 26th, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

Thank you for writing a book on reversals. Reversals are important for me when I am reading because they show what we don’t noramlly see in a reading that is all upright. Depending on which card they are next to, or across from they can be either a stronger card, or a weaker card. Reversal to me can validate an outcome as well because it makes you notice something is just not quite right, and to take a closer look. That’s my opinion on reversals. I appreciate your expertise in writing the book. I can’t wait to read it.

Written By holly
on October 26th, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

When I began reading the tarot 20 years ago, I was a total rule toting, new age geek! I thought that if the meanings for reversed cards were written in the book that came with the deck, it was mandatory to use them in every reading. As time has moved quickly since my initiation into Wicca, I determined my own methods and interpretations. It is a very rare occasion that you find me going by any book now – and, as I have developed my own sense of meanings, I will do reversed only if requested

Written By Christine
on October 27th, 2009 @ 2:03 pm

I use reversals because there can only be light with the dark. Sometimes the reversals are even a “better” inerpretation than the right side up ones. You have to look at the cards in every direction and life isn’t all about lolipops and fairies, sometimes it’s about obstacles, changes, turmoil and other things to make us grow and learn.

Thanks for this contest!

blessed Be

Written By Carolyn
on October 27th, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

I do not have an issue with reversals. Do I use them? Not really. I find you can get the same interpretation if you pay attention to the other cards or the “feelings” you get about a card. When I have used reversals, I do not pull out the book and read the definition for reversals, I look at what the card represents and what it would mean if the representation was reversed.

Written By Becca
on October 27th, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

Reversals introduce the Shadow element. They require a deeper look at the card. They can also signify something is dormant or certain information is not yet available to you…..I read them as a caution, but not necessarily as the opposite of the card upright.

Written By Lisa
on October 28th, 2009 @ 1:02 am

I take reversals as a message from spirit to make sure to work on what the particular card(s) is/are sending through and not ignore the warning of it. It is a jolt of awareness sent to wake you up and smell the Divine Notice Coffee.
For ex: Let’s say I’m asking about how I can earn more money and the high priestess card pops up in reversal position than I know that I’m not paying attention or listening to my intuition on the matter.
Reversals are meant to serve as constructive tools to help you unblock, alter, and bring to your conscious mind what is really going on and how to best work on the issue to make you more successful.
I view reversals as helpers who are demanding your undivided attention so they can assist you along to what you most need.
I also interpret reversals individually each time depending on the question being asked along with the other cards pulled around it. It will reveal to you in what way to decipher the meaning of the spread.

Written By gail
on October 28th, 2009 @ 9:19 am

When I first started to learn the tarot I was determined to learn the reversals along with the upright meanings of each card. I struggled to understand both meanings and often got frustrated when the meaning of the reversal just did not feel right to me. I was tied to the idea that “this author” said that “this was the meaning”. Through practice and years, I grew in my understanding of the tarot and eventually moved away from using the reversals as much. I allowed myself to feel the cards and understand their true meanings in a reading. I still wouldn’t say that I get ALL of the cards and their upright and reverse meanings, but, I’ve got a better grasp on them. For the most part, I use the cards in an upright fashion. There are times, however, when I feel that the question at hand is too deep and there are too many levels to be tied to just the upright meanings. During those readings, I use both.

Written By Kim
on November 17th, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

I don’t use reversals in the normal sense of the word. Cards are all in an upright position, but I allow my intuition to determine whether I’m getting the ‘upright’ meaning or the ‘reversed’ meaning. My readings flow very well by doing it this way.

Written By Cathy
on December 3rd, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

I firmly believe in honoring reversals. My preference is to call them “contrary” cards, such as they do with the Medicine cards.

Since half my cards are reversed or contrary in any reading, I can’t ignore them. The message of the energy block is too strong to discount.

And not all contraries are negative. Some are more positive, such as the 9 of Swords, the 5 of Pentacles or the Tower.

Using the meaning of the contraries is much more complicated, but for me this practice results in a more accurate reading.

Written By Beverly
on January 27th, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

I’m just starting to learning tarot and I think reversels help with the feeling and enviroment of the reading, I agree its very hard to learn both upright and reversed but so far I think its worth it

Written By niki goodman
on February 19th, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

i just cant read reversals! when i read normaly, i just let my intuition kick in and give me the links between cards. They never have the same meaning to me because of where they lay…Whenever i have tried reversals my intuition just leaves me and im left high and dry.

Written By Mary Ann Fricko
on March 19th, 2010 @ 11:58 am

I am trying to use reversals as the negative or opposite side of the card. Intuition also makes a difference in reading it.

Written By Kristine Humphries
on June 25th, 2010 @ 11:29 am

I have never tried to use reversals in any reading. I am interested in learning more about them and how to read and apply to a reading. Recently myself and 3 friends and family had our readings done and majority of their cards were reversals why mine only had a couple. Out tarot reader thought this was quite strange.

Written By maria
on July 6th, 2010 @ 11:01 am

I must admit I only use reversals in very particular instances. I find for a general reading that using reversals is pointless. But when the situation is full of turmoil or serious confusion, reversals are necessary. A reversal can bring a depth of revelation during a reading that may be necessary for the querent.

Although I must stress that i never use reversals when reading for myself. Self reading is difficult enough and reversals will only ad confusion in that situation.

Written By Ian Edwards
on July 13th, 2010 @ 9:41 am

I actually use reversals in all of my readings. How I work is the card has come out that way for a reason. I believe once a reading has been dealt out if you turn a card round cause its reversed its not the true reading that was meant to be given

Written By Lisa
on July 29th, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

I’ve just started to use the tarot so I’m really not sure. I’ve heard that even though the card is reversed, you should turn it upright. I’ve also heard that the reversal is the opposite of what the card meaning says. I have a tendancy to think that if the card is reversed and you know you’ve shuffled the deck correctly, then it’s meant to be reversed.

Written By Carmen
on August 3rd, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

I don’t read reversals. I think there’s enough depth and breadth in the standard 78 cards that I don’t need to invent a second set of meanings. However I *do* read the card depending on what’s around it, and what other circumstances dictate. For instance, the 4 of Pentacles can be a good or bad thing, depending. Are you saving money, being wise, or are you hoarding your money and hurting those you love because of it? Court cards have good and bad traits, just like normal people. The Fool can be bad, if you’re being rash and foolhardy. The Devil can be very good, if it’s indicating a devotion to your partner come what may. (or that can be bad…)

Written By Rose
on August 10th, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

I have been reading Tarot for almost 25 years, and I started with the Eden Gray book and a deck of Rider-Waite-Smith cards. I taught myself how to read both upright and reversed cards, but I always found the reversals confusing. I stuck with it, however, and as my intuition and my confidence blossomed, I found that the reversed meanings were helpful in the readings. I still read reversed cards when I read with the RWS deck, one of my favorite decks.

I agree with what James said above: The High Priestess is the High Priestess, no matter in what orientation she is thrown. A reversal can help you to see nuances in the cards and their meanings.

Having said this and followed this discussion thread avidly, I must admit that I don’t read many other decks using reversed cards. I find that the artistry of the deck lends enough meaning to all of the cards and gives subtle shadings (along with my intuition) as to what needs to be brought to the client.

I would also agree with Lunaea’s point: if you set your intention at the beginning of a reading that you would like to get as much information for the client as possible using only upright cards, then the Universe and your spirit guides (and the clients’) will comply with this request. I tell my students, if reversals are tricky for you, keep working with them, but don’t feel obligated to use them.

Great discussion, folks!

Written By Lyndsy
on August 12th, 2010 @ 6:20 am

Reversals have been a bit of an issue for me, personally – particularly recently. After about a 10-year hiatus, I have since felt compelled to utilize and “re-learn” tarot, if you will. I didn’t have too strong a feeling one way or another regarding reversals at first; I’d been focusing most of my energy on the cards’ traditional meanings, pretty much putting off the idea of reversals for awhile. But as I was just recently doing a reading for myself (granted, self-reading isn’t always the most objective), I noticed only one card near the end of the deck in the reverse position, so I turned the card upright (the way I prefer to keep my deck) and stuck it somewhere randomly in the middle of the deck, then proceeded to lay out, and choose my cards; I never re-shuffled. As I started laying down my spread, I turned over the next card representing “the present,” and there was the same exact card – in reverse. Not only did this shock me, but it applied perfectly to my question I was reading for. In fact, had the card been upright, I would have felt a total disconnect with the reading. I suppose the point here is that sometimes, at least for me, I believe that reversals are no accident, and they will occur for a reason. It’s also possible that other times, like when every card in the spread is reversed, for example, it really may not need to be read as such! All I can say is what I feel the universe has tried to tell me through my readings, which, in a nutshell, is to pay attention, but use your intuition. If it feels right, then it’s right. Perhaps just don’t discount reversals entirely; as I’ve learned, there may very well be an important message in them that you could not have otherwise seen :)

Written By Lorelei Steffen
on August 20th, 2010 @ 1:07 am

I haven’t used reversals until recently since I was not adept in tarot, however, I have started to use them and have found my tarot readings to be more in tune and correct which makes me very happy. I think I am now hooked and will be using them more often. Also, beautiful cards!

Written By Dominique
on September 7th, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

I started reading tarot just a couple of months ago, so i don’t really use the reversals yet. To me it feels like a lot of extra keywords i should remember, and i don’t like reading tarot with keywords..
a while ago i read something about reversals that it could mean that somethings are “blocked” in it’s way (don’t know exactly how to say it in english). and for me this feels right.
Most of the time i have the feeling wether the reversal is because there is an extra struggeling with the meaning, so i think this is the way i use my “reversals”.
Not with the stated keywords printed in any book, but just listening to my intuition.

by the way, great website! just found out about it, i think i will come here for hours and hours to read :)

and good luck with the one winning the deck :) you’ll hear it on my birthday :)

Written By Jeanine
on September 16th, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

I don’t like reversals. I tend to like things more “ordered”, I usually make sure all my cards are facing the same way when I am done with them. But if one does show up reversed, I do tend to pay more attention, because it is harder for them to come up reversed if you put them away all in the same direction.

Written By Jolene
on October 1st, 2010 @ 11:44 pm

When I did have my cards, I did not like to do reversals as I felt that they always seemed to mean bad meanings. Now matter how hard that I tried I could not seem to grasp or understand how to read the cards and understand their meaning. If I could win this contest, I could have another chance at learning to do it right. :-)

Written By Kirk
on October 6th, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

I don’t like reversals because I am just starting to learn and reversals overwhelm me a bit. However, as I become proficient I may start doing them.

Written By Adnyl
on October 13th, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

I used to think reversals weren’t necessary, but today, I look at them as just as important as upright cards. Why? Each card shows positive and negatives, sometimes we need the negatives to keep us planted firmly on this earth. Sometimes a card will tell us something negative, but with its accompanying cards, could change the entire outlook on the reading. Today I had a reading with the past card negative. Telling me about a past path that was unhealthy or was the wrong path, where I made a lot of bad decisions, but that I came through to the here and now alive and well. If not for the negatives, we would not learn lessons on how to move forward. I read at least once a day, just to study and each reading gives me such information that I cannot deny was there, is there, or will be there.

Written By Donna Nelson
on October 14th, 2010 @ 10:01 am

I’m still learning, basically.. everything intimidates me… so much so that I often put the cards away for lengthy periods. I JUST think I’m getting the hang of this then I get a reversal, and I vapor lock… When I hear people just dismiss the reversal, I feel a “no no no” kind of feeling, like.. “didn’t you see the yield sign?” But because I’m only a novice, I tend to sit idly by and wonder to myself, do they even know what their doing?
Thinking this book may make it’s way to by book shelf soon.

Written By Lisa
on October 25th, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

I do use reversals! When I first started learning the Tarot, I was leery about using them. I wanted to see as little negativity as possible! However, there were too many instances where if I read the reverse of the card I drew for a current situation I was reading for, the reversal almost always made more sense when applied to the question. The positive thing I have found with using reversals is it gives us a very real opportunity to understand what negative factors may be influencing a situation so we can do something practical about it. I belief strongly in empowering myself and others through reflecting on reversals. Great post and thanks for posting the opportunity to win a Sweet Twilight deck!

Written By Amber De
on November 11th, 2010 @ 1:28 am

I learned to read reversals from the beginning. I had bought another deck that did NOT use reversals and was uncomfortable with it. I guess at the moment I am not intuitive enough to read a reversal that isn’t actually reversed.

Written By cynthia g
on January 4th, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

I believe in reading with reversed card meanings. When I do readings I take the reversed cards to mean the opposite of it’s meaning if not reversed. How can anyone ignore the fact that a card reveals itself upside down?
I love the idea of a drawing for a new deck of tarot.

Written By David
on February 20th, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

Hi guys newbie here, VERY VERY new to the hmmm realm of Metaphysics…? Ha. I can spill my story out to who ever is interested. To start i’ll just say, i bought my second set of Tarot cards yesterday from the Labyrinth Metaphysics store. I had a rider-waite deck i’ve used 2 or 3 times, however i’m artsy by nature (i have an extensive dance back ground and appreciation for creativity and detail), so i did a minor upgrade to the Radiant Rider deck. I’ve read up on the subject of tarot, since i was pretty much clueless about spreads and the meanings of the cards, and i have a remedial understanding. So what i do currently is read both the upright and reversals of the cards i draw from my Past, Present and future readings. I’ve been referencing the little book you get when you purchase a deck. It somewhat helps, I would appreciate further assistance or reference points if anyone has any thanks! have a good one. BboyVybe@gmail.com

Written By Kelli
on March 21st, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

Some years ago I said something that has proven true at least for me, “Everything Absolute will become Obsolete”, in reference to things I was discovering in my life which shattered all I’d been taught & believed to be True & without Question!
Unless the entire deck was read for every inquirey, it would be impossible to make certain the point was clearly made & I feel it may be why, at times the cards cive confusing answers.
You cannot have One without the Other & be aware that Either Exist or are of any Importance therefore I feel reverasal is to be read as such, though the interpretations are not as set in stone as the upright positions are.

Written By LeXi
on March 30th, 2011 @ 11:54 pm

A symbol has a very different meaning when reversed. Take the swastika for example. I feel that reversed cards have their own meanings as the symbols and images are recreated viewed in a different way. Using reversals has completely changed my readings and not too surprisingly made them incredibly accurate at reading the future.

Written By Christina
on June 8th, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

I always read the reversal…and i honestly didn’t realize that some don’t. In my opinion, it only makes sense to do so though.

Written By Random Al Askendir Xtranj
on June 20th, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

I use and absolute DEPEND on reversals.
There is no other way I have found to identify a part of the reading that the querent is directly involved in that I might counsel him/her on what to do or change to ‘turn everything around’. (see my other Tarot comment).

Written By Jo-Ann Moniz
on July 8th, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

Being a new student to the art of Tarot readings, I found this article to be very interesting. I hadn’t thought about whether or not to use reversals but now I can see that they would be a very important part of interpreting the entire reading. Thanks for giving me some new insight to my study,

Written By Shelley Brown
on August 16th, 2011 @ 10:45 am

I have vacillated between using reversals and ignoring them for a long time.At times I feel it’s appropriate and then at others, they just seem unimportant…no defining circumstances for the change…it just happens.The Tarot, being a tool upon which to focus the mind and inspire the intuition;in and of itself, does not define the reading… the reader does…therefore, when in the act of reading, it seems fitting to follow your intuition as to the use of either a reversed meaning or not… for each particular reading.That being said , it would probably be a good idea for beginning readers to form an understanding of what each card reversed says to them in order to have a basis upon which to decide to use a reversed meaning or not. In any case, the use or dismissal of reversed meanings in a reading should be at the intuitive descretion of the reader in my opinion.

Written By Schinji
on August 31st, 2011 @ 10:34 am

Whenever I’ve done readings, I’ve pretty much always used reversals–though it has definitely made for a steeper learning curve to try and keep track of the meanings.

As I fully respect tarot as a tool for higher understandings, it is still only a tool, and the worker is the person who must both bring enough insight and connection to the higher realms going on bear on the reading and potential uses of that tool. Tarot, like so many card games, cannot simply be used as a story-engine (though, if you’re a fiction writer…). As practitioners of tarot, our higher purpose should be to see through the stories and get to the kernels of insight–and by using those cards to guide us–and not be conditioned too strongly by them.

In that sense, using reversals seems like a take-it-or-leave it particularity to the reader. Specifically in my use, I’ve felt that the reversals can go two ways.

A) A reversal represents the negative aspect of the card revealed.

B) More usefully, it is the blockage of that same energetic concept of the card.

The upshot of which, in my readings, and depending on what feels most appropriate, those cards, reversed or no, represent the current situation being viewed. If certain cards’ energy can be reversed, that may end up flipping the card in a more desirable fashion. Especially when a fair number of reversals show up, one card then can become a lynchpin or locus for a cascade of changed events, a center for awareness and change, and then allow for those other cards to right (or reverse) themselves accordingly.

At least, that’s how I tend to go with it. Of course, the practitioner, still, is key in interpreting those insights.

Let me know if that helps. :)

Written By Omar Ramirez
on September 23rd, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

I use reversals, because as you told there are several cards that would not be able to reflect the very same Idea of the reversal card. How do I use them? O don’t try reversals as the opposite of the straight card. Instead I try the reversal as a blockage of the straight result, but most often it appears as slow energy for the manifestation, like it is something weak. In case of the future it means it could take longer than expected, in case of the present ot could mean something not so meaningful. About the past, the reversal could mean something of little consequences today.

Written By Robin
on September 30th, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

Well in my case I have , only because it has been years since I have used my deck. But my all time goal is to not to. To trust my inner voice.

Written By Michelle
on October 9th, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

I definitely read reversals. Instead of opposites, these cards often for me mean internal rather than external situations.

Written By Katherine Nobles
on October 29th, 2011 @ 10:03 am

Although I do not deliberately use reversals, at times, one will simply show up in a reading. Whether by accident, my bad shuffling, whatever. When it does, I take note, and analyze carefully. There is a reason for all things, and obviously, Spirit wants me to take note.

Written By Catia
on December 8th, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

According to a friend (Genora), ” a reversal can mean a great difficulty calling urgently to be addressed or something that is easily handled. Reversals have to be considered carefully and sometimes delved into by pulling additional cards.”

Written By Jess
on January 10th, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

I’m a beginner so I don’t know how i feel just yet on reversals. like another said earlier, i do believe that they shouldn’t just be written off.

Written By Karen
on March 13th, 2012 @ 8:21 am

I use reversals.I can’t imagine *not* using them. I learned using reversals as all part of it years ago, and even in he very beginnng when I was obviously lacking experience and in depth understanding, I didn’t have a problem remembering and understadning them.I actually don’t understand when folks say they don’t use reversals, because to me the fact that there are negative cards in the deck still doesn’t equal the reversed meanings.
I believe with readers and readings, “to each his/her own”of course–if you do not like or feel comfortable with reversals, then by all means don’t use them. You are the Reader and you know how you read..(or will very soon, if you’re a very new beginner.)

But it seems overly linear and too precise to say that the corresponding elements, placements, and surrounding cards provide enough explanation.,Well, I guess..yes. Maybe.;-)

Speaking for myself alone, I can’t imagine plotting it all out in that maner.

I’ve read cards for 42 yrs and my intuition, and ability to grasp connections, correspondences and details grew over the years, But also at certain times, (oddly)…..my abilities grew in leaps and bounds .. but for reasons unknown!:-)

I had been reading for over 30 yrs when I came across Mary K. Greer’s
book on reversals,- that one lit up my mind unbelievably.
I had sensed certain internal and spiritual meanings with reversed cards, but Greer’s book felt like brilliant candles were all burning beautifully in my brain ..on reversals, Whether it was information I’d known intuitively for years, or somethng quite new to condsider..I loved it.

So Ms Kenner,like you said about how the 8 of Pentacles Rev made more sense than any other card could have *for that particular meaning* that day …most of the time *all* reversals seem like that to me.
And that includes when I didn’t even have much awareness and knowledge to begin with. lol :-)

Written By Jaime Rivera
on March 31st, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

The book I started reading Tarot with advised not to use reversals, so I did not. Recently I decided to give it a try, and the perfect situation came up:

A friend was told that the postman had tried to deliver a letter but, since he was not around, and his signature was needed, the postman told the person who was at home to tell him to go look for him at a certain location where he would be delivering letters later on that day.

This letter was news of legal matter. We knew that for sure. We even knew what it was about. What we did not know was whether it was good news or not. We would learn in just a couple of hours, so it was a perfect way of testing whether reversals worked. I didn’t tell my friend that I was going to do a reading to see what he could expect. If the cards had good news, I would tell him, but if they didn’t, I would let him find out on his own.

So, I did the reading, and it was full of reversals. The King of swords reversed in the immediate past position. Justice reversed in the crown position. The nine of cups (the wish card) reversed in the immediate future position. It was all just doom and gloom due to the reversals!! These cards were positive had they been upright.

So, I did not tell him. I just tried to clear my mind and try to see if I could clear the negative energy I had picked up from my reading.

He called me a few minutes later. It was GREAT news. So, there you have it. All these reversals led me to believe there were going to be delays, bad news, stagnation, blockages, etc. and in reality, the news was received quickly, it was good, and it was the best possible outcome.

I’m NOT using reversals ever again.

Written By Lisa Bowring
on May 1st, 2012 @ 9:59 am

I am a tarot beginner – soaking up information about its many aspects and uses. Everyone seems to be in different camps with regards to Tarot Reversals but from what I’ve read and tried so far I am trying to incorporate them into my readings. I think knowing about them and how to read them is an important learning process and even if I decide to forego them in the future as I get more practice I think knowing about them is part of the learning process.

Written By Melissa Gerber
on September 21st, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

I love the definitions in Tarot Reversals, and often consult them for shamanic-type answers. I do use reversals on occasion, but I have other books with answers to specific areas that don’t use reversals. Please enter me for the contest.

Written By Mavette
on September 28th, 2012 @ 10:09 am

Learning the cards is hard enough, but when it comes to reversals, I let my intuition guide me. I am new at learning Tarot, so I guess I am open minded.. When I pull a card… it always seems to fit …
I would love to be entered into the contest…

Written By Erika May Randolph
on October 16th, 2012 @ 11:45 am

I’ve not used the cards in a reversed position and have found for my readings the meanings are intuitively accessed. I am still rather a beginner and have not done readings professionally, just for friends and family.

Written By Cindy
on March 26th, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

I’m just learning how to use the cards and haven’t had any decks that come with reversal instructions. Perhaps I’ll check out the book :)

Written By Dalene
on March 30th, 2013 @ 10:17 am

I have always bn intriged by cards an my mom use to read she says I dnt do to bad but reversals really do get me all mixed up I live n a tiny town on a fixed income wit no transportation so I dnt get the opertunity to get with many other wiccan/pegans or talk to an id like to learn more an make a few new friends too

Written By Gary Suto
on June 4th, 2013 @ 10:59 am

I have been reading tarot for 33 years and don’t remember every not using reversals. For me it is about 78 other meanings, so to speak. Sometimes they are opposites, sometimes the same but to a lesser degree. I always read in sets of 3 or 4. To me it gives more of a story on the direction a person is going. I also don’t try to make it look like a good reading. Half the time people get a reading is because their are problems in their lives. I look for cycles for how long they will be there and also advise on personality issues that got them there. Reversals help with all that. Mary Greer’s book on the subject is a must have.

Written By D. L. Cocchio
on September 24th, 2013 @ 9:17 pm

I am the author of “So You Wanna Read Tarot?” by D. L. Cocchio. I find that it is best to read reversed cards as the energy is simply being blocked. As a tarot reader, you can help them figure out how to unblock that energy in their life by drawing a few more cards for clarification.

Written By Kelly
on September 25th, 2013 @ 9:17 am

I don’t really use reversals, because when other people shuffle the deck there is always room for tons of cards to be reversed. Also, like someone mentioned above, i try to rely on what the rest of the reading is telling me if it is a psoitve card or a negative card. Now if i shuffle the cards or if i notice that someone else is shuffling them and not turning them or when i choose to read with them. I always read them as a possibility. Something negative that could happen or something positive that could happen, but the energy is still not fully there yet for a definate outcome.

Written By Rhonnda Mick
on October 2nd, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

I do use the reversals and always have for many reasons… there are positive and negative energies in everything in the universe…yin and yang so to speak….so I tap into the intuition of the card and read the reversals and let it speak to the person I am reading for…..with the positive and the negative or reversed meaning it makes a clearer picture to the person being read to. Not everything is positive in life so we take the good with the bad there is a balance that must be reached and maintained in all things….

Written By Hyunh Le Nhu
on March 30th, 2014 @ 12:29 am

Indeed I do not use reversals with my only and one tarot deck Shadowscape.

I believe the art in every card already included both positive and negative meanings, based on the spread, we’d pick the right meaning. Let’s have an example with one of my favourite card – 8 of Swords. Though many people will judge it with the illustration of a chained swan, which is trying to reach out to the little free bird over its head. The whole sky is cover by a dark cloak of an unknown entity. But to me, when reading, I tend to combine cards’ elements, positions to interpret the true meaning of the whole scene; of course according to the spread, I will decide to choose bad or good influence from that card. To me, tarot reading is not we withdraw many cards and read them one bye one. Tarot readers also are artist and we paint the canvas with our cards and imagination.

Most of serious artists already put all the important strokes in the card so I think it’s not really necessary to use a reversal physically. If yes, it’s only for easier reading, which I do not prefer.

Written By Camille
on October 23rd, 2014 @ 3:39 am

Hi :)

Generally, when I shuffle the cards, there are always reversals! So, I have to deal with it ;)

It is true that tarot is so rich in itself, that you may wonder “why should I use reversals ?” But there are so many ways to interpret them ! Not only reading their “opposite” meanings. So it can become interesting to consider. It may mean there is a blockage or problem to be analyzed, an important point to consider. It can try to catch your attention. Etc. (Mary K. Greer’s Complete Book of Tarot Reversals is full of ideas like that! This is a great book about it.)

With a deck where it is difficult to differentiate reversals from others (for example pips cards), I do not use them lol ! But on the contrary there are decks (like the Revelations Tarot) which are so great for!

But there are also spreads that are designed for reversals. A few months ago, I have heard about the Camoin method (to do with his famous Tarot, but majors only). You start with a three cards reading (past – present – future), and then, by taking consideration where the characters are looking and if a card is reverse, you add cards around. (Well… I probably do not explain it very well, it is quite difficult in english !) Those are very active spreads. They are still a little bit difficult for me now, but so interesting!
And I am sure there are many others spreads playing with reversals like that :)

Written By Caitlyn
on October 25th, 2014 @ 3:24 pm

I rarely use reversals because I intentionally shuffle my deck in such a way as to keep all the cards upright. Perhaps I’m afraid of trying to learn additional card meanings when I don’t feel I even have the regular meanings memorized yet!

Written By Amarie
on October 27th, 2014 @ 10:31 am

I have been thinking of learning to read tarot for some time now. It’s like it’s calling me” I would love to have a deck but have no idea what to get I am waiting for one to speak to me. Maybe this one will…Thank you

Written By Melissa
on February 11th, 2015 @ 1:30 am

I read the cards upright most of the time, but sometimes, depending on the cards around it, i may take it to mean it’s opposite. but there are enough cards to never read them in their reverse meaning. Crowley and other famous tarotists are know for not reading cards in reverse(upside down).

Written By Elizabeth J Romain
on October 3rd, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

I’m open to the universal of tarot like in key 21 which is studying the tarot equates the pie. We take a slice of pie of astrology that is in sync with the tarot, via elements as well as the Qabbalah, Numerology, Court cards which connects with people we deal with in our live; Alchemy to me is relative to the key 14 (The Temperance) harmonizing under pressure using the key elements within said card: Air the balance of utilizing the intellectual skill; Water the balance of emotion. and Fire intuition and drive to enhance the goal. The Hangman key 12: looking at 78 cards at a different view point and or perspective view. It has been my experience in reading cards reversal it reveals the hidden shadows via underlining issues pending on the surrounding of the cards, and also taking a private view. I once read a client who felt uneasy around his boss, he would get nervous and unsettle every time he is around his boss. The Page of Swords Reverse was in his reading. I explain to my client that verbally he is not expressive and stammer for words that are choked within. In addition to,lack of confidence in which he feel small looking up to the boss as a Giant. I explain to my client he needs to sharpen his skills by returning to school in relationship to his trade. He was so amazed at his reading of the said reverse that he actually said, “I actually react that way every time my boss is near.” He now works in a better mode and is in college. So you see, Reversal to me are a part of the pie the universal language of the tarot. Keep growing my fellow tarot reader.

Written By Eliana
on October 16th, 2015 @ 10:55 am

I do not read reversals. I have enough trouble reading in the first place. In the future, I see Thai as a goal, however.

Written By Amanda Aiken
on February 18th, 2016 @ 8:33 pm

My opinion on reading reversals is simple. Everything about a reading is dependant on the natural connection made between the cards first through you, the reader, to the subject. The key word is natural. There is no other step in reading tarot that is changed from its original form. If tarrot was ever intended to be read upright only , or we were to believe that a reversed card means nothing, then somewhere along the way, cards would have been drawn or made to be like that of a modern day deck of playing cards. No matter which way you turn them, the appear upright, because the image is reversed and mirrored. I dont know about anyone else, but anytime I have chosen a reversed card, my intuition tells me that there is a reason for that. Any alteration of the rotation of the card after it is chosen feels overwhelmingly unnatural. And If i have ever ignored the reversal, and read the meaning as if it were upright, I am consumed with the feeling that I am missing something, or perhaps lying to myself.

Written By tracie
on August 27th, 2016 @ 9:11 am

I always read reversed after over 20 years I see a clearer picture and better understand the positives and negatives of a reading.

Written By Angie Hinds
on October 5th, 2016 @ 4:53 pm

I read both I feel I get a bigger picture thinking of the reverse yin and yang of things to see the picture clearer

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