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How to Read Reversed Tarot Cards

tarot deck consists of 78 cards: 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. The meaning of each card depends on the question asked, your mood, your subconscious, and your thoughts. 78 different cards mean at least 78 different interpretation styles. That is, at least 78 different interpretations are possible. Consider a probability system. With this system, the interpretation and meanings of tarot cards reach almost infinity. As a result, whether to read tarot cards reversed is one of the most controversial topics in the tarot community. It is common to think that there are enough cards for different interpretations and that using reversals is simply confusing. 

Should I Read Reversed Tarot Cards?

the magician - reversed and upright

Tarot has no strict rules. If you like, you can choose a traditional way and read the cards upright. If you are still very new and have mastered the basic meanings of the cards, it may be difficult to do reversed readings at first. Once you feel like you’ve gained some reading experience, try reversals. 

If you don’t shuffle for reversals, one will pop up once or twice a year. When it does, you can assume the card is really screaming for attention, and you should give it extra weight. Don’t be afraid of reversed cards, and don’t panic when you see them. In my opinion, reversed cards offer a unique experience. It can give more straightforward answers when I consider that I can’t get an answer from the upright cards. I also experienced that reversed cards approached “yes” or “no” questions from different angles. 

What Reversed Tarot Cards Mean?

Reversed cards have internally expressed energy. This energy is waiting to open up to the outside world. It describes a passive involvement rather than an active one. Take the Sun card, for example. This card lacks the happiness and vitality of the Sun when it is reversed. Maybe we can talk about a kind of happiness and joy again, but there seems to be something missing. If you’d like a better understanding of what the main issue is, you can pull a clarifier.

3 Ways to Interpret Reversed Tarot Cards

If you want to give it a go, there are three techniques I can recommend for you to read cards reversed. These techniques are not absolute truths, but they are techniques that I have read and tried on tarot forums and blogs over the years. So let’s get started:

1) Opposite Interpretation

Let’s assume that you know the most familiar and basic meaning of the card you have drawn. This technique means interpreting the opposite, like having it flipped 180 degrees over. For example; The Hanged Man often represents sacrifice, insight, and looking at things from a different perspective. The opposite of this card can be interpreted as a refusal to look at things from a new angle, stubbornness, egoism ,and selfishness. Maybe you need to try looking at things from a different angle or let it go altogether.

Take the Strength card, for example. The Strength card represents courage, energy, action, power, and inner peace. The opposite of this card can be interpreted as cowardice, unwillingness to act, vulnerability, avoiding difficulties, and not fighting back. The person or situation may seem very frightening. Maybe you need to muster up your courage and take action. Maybe you need to face what you fear. If you’re wondering how to do this, pull a clarifier card or ask the tarot cards for advice.

2) Blocked Interpretation

According to this technique, there is will and intent, but it is suppressed. Energy cannot go out as it should. For this reason, it is not in a healthy and constructive state. Try to consult the tarot by asking questions to help you better understand your situation. For example, theWheel of Fortune card represents luck, change, and sometimes karma. The changes that the card brings are often interpreted as positive on their own. Blocked energy represents that this card has encountered an obstacle. A change has to happen, but due to an obstacle, the change is not allowed. The wheel wants to move up, wants to turn, but isn’t being allowed to. So you can ask the cards the question, what is causing this bad luck? What is preventing change and how can this situation change?

3) Upside-Down Interpretation

In this case, you need to concentrate on the visual aspect of the card in your hand and intuitively interpret the reversed card. For example, the Eight of Swords represents being a prisoner of your own thoughts, feeling trapped, victimized, and paranoid. The upside-down interpretation of this card can mean getting rid of your obsessive thoughts, finding solutions, and moving forward. When you turn the card upside-down, the swords will fall and the person will be freed from the blindfold. 

Now, take a look at the Ace of CupsThe Ace of Cups represents deeper feelings, new beginnings, love, happiness ,and fulfillment. When you turn it upside-down, the overflowing water from the card runs out and an empty cup remains. In this case, it can be said that there is an absence of love or a love that is consumed too quickly.

Post Scriptum:

Reversed cards should not be interpreted as “bad” cards. This is a technique only to be tried by those who want to read the cards in a different format. There are no rules in tarot such as right or wrong. It is natural to be curious about the reversed reading at some point during your tarot journey. Sometimes, a gut feeling tells you to read the cards reversed, or a reversed card pops up from the deck. Then the tarot cards may suggest you read the popping card reversed. 

You can read reversed cards in three different techniques: oppositeblocked, and upside-down. These techniques can add an alternative interpretation and nuance to your reading. Also, reading the cards reversed doesn’t make you a better tarot reader; it just means you interpret the cards differently. 

So, you know what they say in the tarot community: take what resonates, and leave the rest. 🙂

Suggested Posts

Dealing With “Bad” Tarot Cards and What to Do

Jumper Cards — Why do tarot cards fly out when shuffling?

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