Tarot Lessons for Beginners: Adendum 1 – Reversals

Dear student or accidental tourist: In this extra lesson, I would like to address the use of Tarot card Reversals!

For those of you who are ready to add an extra dimension to their Readings – you may feel like you want to use reversed cards as well.

This is NOT a requirement! Tarot is versatile enough that it can show you what you need to know without reversed cards.

Personally, I feel that some decks don’t lend themselves to being read with reversed cards – and I will rarely use reversals for decks with irreversable backs…

Also, some Readings are not the best for using tarot reversals.

Reversed cards draw extra attention to a situation, but are best seen in context. So if you are only going to pull 1 or 2 cards, I would not recommend using reversals.

If you want to use reversals, you can go about this in different ways. Sometimes, one or two cards get put back upside-down by accident, and you can choose to leave them that way. Or, you can take a small, random pile of cards (I suggest around 5, certainly no more than a quarter of your deck) and turn them around on purpose, then shuffle well so they get dispersed throughout the deck. You may want to re-order your deck after a few readings and turn another pile around regularly.

Reversed card meanings can be exactly what they sound like: the opposite of the upright meaning. Or they can signify too much/too little of the energy depicted within the card. Or they can point out where a change of attitude is needed to overcome a blockage. They can give advice as to which situations you may want to rectify or be extra aware of.

However, don’t disregard the upright meaning of the card. For me, a card can hold all possible representations, whether upright or upside-down.

Nothing is ever black or white, there will always be nuances and reading the cards is a balancing act… that is why I don’t usually feel the need to physically reverse my cards!

I tend to intuitively feel when and where to add some of the reversed meanings to the puzzle, depending on the question asked, the position of the card and how it relates to the whole spread.

Also, reversed cards can interrupt my flow – I find them jarring and distracting. Sometimes, it is necessary to be jarred awake – to have something that makes you sit up and pay attention!

I have to say that, even without intentionally turning cards upside-down, some still appear that way from time to time. When this happens, I find it much more significant than when the reversals appear continuously! The same may be true for you…

The choice of whether you want to work with Reversals or not is yours, and yours alone! You may want to try them for a while and then decide they are not for you. Or you may want to use them with some decks and not others. Or you may not want to touch them with a barge-pole! No choice will make your readings more or less valid and you are not a better or worse Tarot-reader for doing one or the other.

Having said that, it is still important to be aware of these additional meanings for the cards, so you can draw information from them where suitable.

In the next Adendum I have included reversed meanings in my list of keywords and phrases for the cards. Feel free to take a look and get some ideas!


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