Tarot Reversals

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Tarot Reversals

Do those reversed cards hold special meaning in a spread?. Patti Wigington

A reader asks, “I’ve read a lot about Tarot cards, although I don’t use them myself, and I always see references to reversed cards. However, I went to a reader at a psychic fair, and she told me that she doesn’t use reversed cards at all in her readings! The reading was accurate, but it still seemed weird to me. Was she doing it wrong?

Actually, I don’t always use reversals in my readings either. Not everyone does. For me personally, I occasionally choose not to use them because there are 78 cards in a Tarot deck - and often that is enough to give a Querent plenty of insight into their situation, particularly if their question is a simple one. Using reversals gives me 156 options - and I’m not always certain that 156 will cover something that isn't covered by that original 78. That said, I do use reversals when a Querent has a complex set of problems going on that require a more detailed reading. In that case, I’ll include reversed cards in the spread.

Are there downfalls to eliminating reversals from a reading? Sure. If the issue at hand is a complex or detailed one, it could be that this omission ends up leaving important clues out of the reading. There are a number of subtle bits of information that can show up in a reversal. On the other hand, if the issue at hand is a simple one, it's not uncommon for a spread without reversals to reveal all that needs to be shown.

I’ve also encountered readers who refuse to use reversals because they find them mostly negative and off-putting. I’m not sure that’s a great reason, because there can be plenty of negativity in the 78 upright cards. Also, one might argue that a reader is doing the Querent a disservice if they refuse to discuss something just because it seems negative or icky.

Brigit over at Biddy Tarot has a common-sense approach as to why it's reasonable to use reversed cards, even if you don't think you like what they have to say. She says, "Visit any of those free Tarot reading websites and you’ll often find the descriptions of the reversed cards are peppered with dramatic words and phrases such as ‘deceit’, ‘betrayal’, ‘divorce’ and ‘trickery and fraud’... To avoid anxiety-filled Tarot readings riddled with negative and dramatic interpretations of reversed cards, it is important to understand more about the many ways in which the reversed cards can be interpreted. In this way, you can effectively use reversed Tarot cards to provide your clients with deep insight, constructive feedback and advice, and renewed hope."

Also, it’s important to remember that no matter which way a card lands on a table, it always has multiple meanings to it, so whether a reader chooses to use reversals is sometimes irrelevant. A competent, intuitive reader will know what the symbolism of the card is, and how it applies to the Querent, no matter which direction it’s facing. Early Tarot cards were interpreted in one way, based upon astrological terminology, and it wasn’t until fairly recently that decks came along with little instruction books that included specific definitions of reversed cards.

So, was the reader you met with doing it wrong? Not necessarily. If you feel that your reading was fair and accurate, then it sounds like he or she did things correctly, and the lack of reversed cards probably did not make a difference in the final outcome of your reading.

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Your Citation
Wigington, Patti. "Tarot Reversals." ThoughtCo, Nov. 5, 2016, thoughtco.com/about-tarot-reversals-2561572. Wigington, Patti. (2016, November 5). Tarot Reversals. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/about-tarot-reversals-2561572 Wigington, Patti. "Tarot Reversals." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/about-tarot-reversals-2561572 (accessed January 21, 2018).