Do you have a handle on the Tarot card basics? Well, then, you're ready for reversals!
Most of the Tarot readings you'll see on Tarot.com deal strictly with upright Tarot cards because they are easier to interpret. But many advanced Tarot readers often shuffle their decks to include reversed Tarot cards because they can lend another layer of insight.
Turned upside down, Tarot cards can have an entirely different meaning from their upright interpretations. Some people think a reversed Tarot card guarantees bad news, but that's not the case at all. Often reversed Tarot cards deliver good news, or simply strengthen, weaken, or redirect the primary message of the upright card.
When reversed cards show up in your Tarot reading, you must listen to your gut and look at the surrounding cards to understand what the reversed Tarot card is trying to tell you. It may be positive, negative or neither -- it could just be conveying a lesson you need to learn.
Four of the most common ways to interpret reverse Tarot cards include:
Opposite meaning of the upright Tarot card
Many Tarot readers who use reversals simply believe the reversed Tarot card delivers the exact opposite message of the upright card. For example, if The Devil card shows up in a reading it can indicate being trapped, whereas the reversed Devil card can indicate being set free. This is the easiest way to interpret reversed Tarot cards, but it's not necessarily the best way.
Increased or decreased energy
Some Tarot readers believe reversed Tarot cards indicate the same basic energy of the upright card, only it will be strengthened or lessened. For example, if you draw the 3 of Swords Tarot card upright, it can indicate heartbreak. But if you draw the 3 of Swords in reverse, it can indicate you are either less heartbroken than you were previously -- or that your extreme hurt feels insurmountable. With this method of reading reversals it is up to the querent to determine the true meaning of the card, so you must listen to your gut and pay close attention to the surrounding cards.
Delays and blocked energy
It's possible your reversed Tarot card is simply trying to tell you there will be a block or delay before the upright meaning of the card is fulfilled. For example, the 10 of Cups in an upright position is a card of celebration -- it indicates happiness, marriage, birth and reasons to rejoice. If this card shows up reversed in your spread, it can mean you will still have these things -- but you'll have to wait for them. This isn't to be taken as a negative thing, however, simply a lesson to be patient or to help you find a way to remove the block.
Usually upright Tarot cards represent people, energies, and situations that are happening around you, impacting your life from the outside. When a Tarot card is reversed, however, its meaning can change to one of internal influence. For example, the Page of Cups in an upright position can indicate a new person or relationship entering your life. The Page of Wands reversed, though, could mean new emotions are welling up within you -- that your own views of love and feeling are changing, apart from outside circumstances or who happens to be in your life at that time.
Using reversed Tarot cards is more complicated because the meaning isn't always clear, so such readings are best for more advanced Tarot readers. But the way to become advanced is through experience, so go ahead and practice! The more Tarot readings you do, the more intuitive the process will become, whether upright or reverse.
Gi's view on reversed Tarot cards:
Introducing Gigi Santella! Gigi is a 4th generation Tarot reader based in Portland, OR. Aside from his passion for Tarot, Gi is an excellent chef and talented musician. Tarot.com is excited to bring you the insight Tarot has to offer from Gi's perspective, as taught to him by his generations past.
Not everyone agrees that reversed Tarot cards provide more insights. Sometimes, people believe that the reading is complex enough without the reversed cards aspect added. Gigi is one of those people!
From Gi's video:
How do you feel about reversed cards?
"I don't really do it very often because I feel like the cards are strong enough on their own that they [the reader or subject] don't need to be thinking about the negative and positive forces. It's usually a one on one personal reading — like if you’re doing it with someone who's very overtly negative, if the card is upside down, it's not going to be more negative than that.
It's how they're going to see it too. The cards are so clear. So for example if you pull a picture of this kid, people are going to have an image of what that means, like "Oh, that's me." For the Empress, they're going to say, "Oh, that's my mom,” etc. They already have the images there. The cards are already doing the work for you. So if you flip them upside down, it doesn't really matter. It's still the same card.
You’re going to see the negative or positive in it if you want to see it. I don't think there are any rules that need to be followed. I don't think there should be any rules. Just have fun and enjoy."