The most common questions asked about reversals in
card readings are usually, "Should I use them?" and
"How do I interpret them?" For the most part, many
traditionalists stress the use of reversed cards.
Reversals cards can challenge the novice and seasoned
reader alike because let's face it, no one likes to
have their world turned upside down and fall out of
alignment with normal perceptions.
Reversed cards can appear in a spread by chance or or
by intention. Some readers choose half of the deck to
turn opposite the upright half before shuffling, while
others shuffle the cards randomly and thoroughly
before laying them out in a spread.
Another challenging factor in reading reversals is the
traditional reversed card meanings. Sometimes reversed
cards mean more than just the opposite of the upright
interpretations. Some reversed meanings are intuitively
negative while others are quite the opposite and have a
Every practitioner has to decide whether using reversals
is beneficial to their personal reading style. As a
well-rounded student of tarot, you'll want to include
tarot reversals in your curriculum as well as deepen
your knowledge of reversed card meanings.
Reversals are often interpreted as an absence or lessening
effect of a card's energy. Lack, disagreements, blocks and
refusal to accept one's circumstances are traditional ways
to interpret reversed cards. Here are a few other ways to
read the significance of reversed cards, should you decide
to use them:
1. Pay attention. Give special attention to the
reversed cards. No matter where they fall in the
spread, attend to these cards first or save them until
you have gone through the rest of the cards and tied
them into the reading.
2. Neighbors. Examine the card at the right, left,
top or bottom of the reversed card. Go over any special
connections between the cards
3. Remove the reversed cards and use them in a
separate mini spread.
4. View them as the positives. These may point to
what the querent has a handle on and thus it may not
necessary to address them at all.
5. Worst case scenarios. The reversed cards can be
used to represent the worst-case scenarios of the
possibilities explored in the reading.
6. Yes or No. The reversal can represent no or that
which is non-affirming.
7. Say goodbye. Reversals can point to what is
"leaving" a situation.
8. Wait for it. Reversal can represent what is delayed
from manifesting or that which is not apparent at the
time of the reading.
9. Ignore them. Remove them from the spread and
return them to the deck.
10. Turn them upright and read the meanings in the
11. Choose one detail from each reversed card that has
significance for the querent, and find a message in it.
12. Do the Math. Utilize the numbers of the reversed
card for special insight.
13. The Past. Reversals can be used to look at the past
or something/someone that no longer is pertinent to the
matter of the reading.
14. Patterns. Look for patterns such as colors,
animals, planets that seem to be a theme in the cards
that show up reversed.
15. Have querent make a list of dos and don'ts around
the focus of the readings and use the upright cards to
represent the dos and the reversed card the don'ts.
16. Choose a single reversed card that is liked even
though it is reversed. Then choose one that you are not
so fond of and examine the contrast between the two.