Sunday 20 April 2014

Tarot Tip Tuesdays - Reading With Reversed Or Upright Cards

Whether you are new to Tarot and in the throes of building a connection with your Tarot cards or an advanced Tarot reader diligently honing your Tarot reading skills, I am putting out a Tarot tip a week to help you to consistently make Tarot a part of your everyday life.

So here goes your Tarot Tip for this Tuesday:

One of the most frequent questions I have been getting from my protégés is whether or not I used reversed Tarot cards in my readings.  There really are no hard and fast rules with this.  If you feel comfortable using just upright cards, in your Tarot spreads, then go ahead.  What is important, is that each card picked for the spread is well-explained and interpreted with relevance to the situation of your querant.  And what is even more important, is that the the reading with or without reversed cards goes beyond cookie-cutter-straight-off-the-book interpretations, to be an advice-centric reading aimed to empower the querant to make the right decisions to move forward.

Often, my protégés who are at the beginning of their journey with Tarot, find reversed Tarot cards negative.  In fact, that is not the right approach to a Tarot card, reversed or otherwise.  Each card, reversed or not, is meant to provide an objective perspective to a situation and offer the multitude of options for the querant.  A reversed card may symbolize delays, blockages, resistance and sometimes it might reflect the opposite of what the upright card is.    So if you picked the "dreaded" Tower card for example, you could be experiencing an unexpected change in your life that threatens to rock your foundations of security.  If you picked it in the reversed, you might be looking at a situation whereby you are trying so hard to resist impending changes although you know it is necessary, or you might have been through an upheaval in your life from which you have not been able to move forward.  I am sure however you have interpreted this card to your querant's situation, as long as you understand the basic meanings of the card, you will not get far wrong.  

However, I feel that it is the responsibility of a Tarot reader, to turn this interpretation into an advice-centric one.  So whether or not that same "dreaded" Tower card was picked in the reversed or not, your advice to the querant could be that he or she should not be crippled by fear of the unexpected. The experience with these changes are meant to kick him or her out of the comfort zone, so that he or she can be opened to new opportunities critical to  personal growth.  In this way, the Tower card, whether picked in reversed or not, really should not be seen as a "dreaded" card.

I do not believe there are just 78 perspectives to the 78 cards in a deck.  Indeed, I do not even believe there are 156 perspectives to the deck if you choose to read reversed cards.  There are definitely more than 2 perspectives in a single card whether or not it is picked in the reversed.  The possibilities are in fact infinite.  

So do build a deeper relationship with your Tarot cards and gradually discover the multitude of facets that the cards may have.

May your Tarot cards provide you with a full deck of possibilities throughout your day.

About The Writer:

The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She was awarded a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also a certified numerologist.  She is currently running a Tarot consultancy based in Singapore called Sun Goddess Tarot,  which provides confidential intuitive readings combining the metaphysical disciplines of Tarot, Numerology and Astrology via face to face and emails as well as readings at corporate and private events and workshops.  A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she is also a reader for the Free Tarot Network and mentors Tarot protégés on behalf of the American Tarot Association



  1. Great Post Joanna!

    Definitely a common question. I have never used Reversals. I've heard some people claim you can't Read Tarot without them. I think this perspective comes from relying too much on the individual meanings of cards, rather than looking at combinations.

    I agree with you, and see each card as a "spectrum" of meaning. Holding to 78 meanings, or even 156, in the case of using Reversals, severely limits the Tarot...

    With the full spectrum of meanings for each individual card, and the infinite possibilities with combinations, there's no need to use Reversals.

    That said, there's no "one right way" to Read, and I fully support those who are comfortable with using Reversals...

    Dax Carlisle
    ~~President, The Tarot Guild

    1. Thanks Dax! So happy that you share my views and got the point:)

  2. I also agree with you on reversals. I think with just upright card you have 180 degrees of variations in meaning and with reversals you have the full spectrum. Usually I read only upright cards just because I like to be able to look at the pictures. I've ordered recently Joan Bunning's book on reversal to explore using the cards reversed a little bit more
    Great post Thanks!

  3. Thanks for your comments Ellen! Glad you enjoyed the post:)