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ultra-stupid question on reversed cards

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 12 Sep 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Sullanciri2002  12 Sep 2002 
okay here goes - although I have read the tarot for a number of years now ... I don't use reversed cards (which doesn't mean I don't know what the meaning of a reversed card can be)

one of the reasons that I don't use them ... is because of the question on how a card gets to be reversed in the pack.

- if you get your deck, the cards are all upright ... so it starts with the way you shuffle the cards whether some will end up reversed or not: shuffling the deck in some ways practically assure that cards never get reversed

if you cut the cards in two stacks and "shove" those (excuse me for not knowing the professional shuffling terminology) into eachother ... half the cards will end up reversed, so your can deliberately direct how many cards will end up that way through the number of times you repeat the process

do you - after each reading - put all cards back upright or not: another thing you decide and control to the fullest

I'm not joking here - give me some insight into why a number of people here do or don't believe in reversals - and what you see as the reason why certain cards end up reversed (shuffling or not)

Considering the way I've always shuffled the cards, there's only one way a card can get reversed in the deck: if I let it fall and put it back in the "wrong" way up ... implying that if I don't let it fall out again, it will stay reversed in the deck (unless I wilfully put it upright again after having read it) 

wavebreaker  12 Sep 2002 
You may find these threads helpful: 

pentunen  12 Sep 2002 

My take on it is: if you turn over half the deck before every shuffle, and you do a number of rounds of shuffles, eventually which cards are/aren't reversed becomes pretty random, since each card could have been reversed (and un-reversed) any number of times.

The number of reversed cards would also vary, though it will probably hover around the 50% mark (depending on how exactly you shuffle the cards).

Ultimately I think there's opportunity for a great deal of conscious human influence no matter how you shuffle. Do you lace big chunks at once, or do you carefully lace a few cards at a time? If you use the push/put method, do you follow a pattern of pushing from the top, then the bottom, top, bottom, top, bottom ... or do you use a more random approach? How random is 'random', anyways?

*stops her philosophical babble and goes back to her nice padded cell*

- LittleCub,
in mental quarantine 

Liliana  12 Sep 2002 
Personally I do not use reversals, the reason being that when i try to read intuitively seeing the card upside down totally throws my pace off. The push put method of shuffling i use assures no reversals unless i put them there. Also i prefer to intuit by what cards appear in a reading to decide whether the ard is leaning toward a reversed meaning or an upright one, or somewhere inbetween even.

I know my husband disagrees and thinks reversals should be used, but that's just him.


Laurel  12 Sep 2002 
Its not a dumb question, by the way.

When I shuffle, I don't focus on the cards in my hands as pieces of cardboard. I'm listening to the querent or relaxing into a semi-trance like state. I think this is comon for a lot of readers. So those that do shift the deck around in such a way that there will be reversals are not going to be paying attention to which cards or how many are becoming reversed.

I personally don't read with reversals very often at this point, except when I'm using my Voyager deck, and reversals represent merely internalized or "shadow" concepts.


DarkElectric  13 Sep 2002 
I don't think this is a dumb question either :)

I purposely shuffle so that there are a few reversals. But only a few. I basically lay them out in a spiral pattern (Deosil (clockwise) spiral) of 11 cards. At this point, they are all right side up. As I put them down, I will reverse a card once in a while, usually corresponding to the number of the pile ie: I will reverse the top card on piles 5, 7 and 9, as I lay the cards down onto the piles row by row. The last card in this spiral shuffle always ends up on pile 1. (I hope I'm not confusing the heck out of anyone, I'm trying to describe this process as best I can!) This guarantees that there will be 3 reversed cards in the deck. Then I combine the piles, and shuffle so as NOT to get any reversals I didn't plan. If I then get a reversal in the reading, I tend to attach more significance to it. And I go through my deck after, and right any that were reversed on purpose so the deck is ready for fresh reversals. 

Kitty  14 Sep 2002 

I understand and that was not a stupid question at all!!! I don't use reversals. But I have often wondered how people who do use reversals get the cards to reverse during the shuffling, seems complicated but going to read those threads about it 

Fuzzmello  14 Sep 2002 
Originally posted by Sullanciri2002
I'm not joking here - give me some insight into why a number of people here do or don't believe in reversals - and what you see as the reason why certain cards end up reversed (shuffling or not)

Reversals kept me from coming back to the cards for years and years!

This was mostly during my period of trying to read spreads based on the info contained in LWBs (hit it, Umbrae!). What a mess!

"Reversals reverse the meaning," "reversals don't mean anything," "reversals mean something, but it's sort of vague, could be good, could be bad..."

Finally, I came upon the idea that perhaps reversals are just like smudged or maybe curtained windows. That made sense to me, and seems to make sense to others, too.


Emily  15 Sep 2002 
I don't use reversals, I shuffle my cards so that they are always facing the same way. When I tried to do reversal readings I placed the deck on a table or clean surface and sort of swhirled it around to mix the deck then put them back together again.
This didn't last too long lol, most of the books I use don't give reversal meanings but they do give negative readings - if you're getting a reading full of swords and bad vibes then I think you can usually tell if its a positive or negative reading. 

Trogon  15 Sep 2002 
I use reversals in my readings and always have. I will admit, though, that this may have slowed down the learning process a bit. ;) The reason I use reversals is because that is how I learned (both from my first book and from the friend who originally got me interested in Tarot). Is this the correct way of doing things? I don't know - as with many things I've learned here at A.T. regarding the Tarot, it seems that it's pretty much up to you.

Having said that... I achieve the reversals of the cards by rotating the top half of the deck almost every time I shuffle the cards. I rotate the top half of the deck, square it up again, then cut & shuffle. The reason I say "almost every time" is because sometimes I forget and I just figure that's part of it.

On my Rider-Waite deck, I use a riffle shuffle as they are not overly large and are relatively easy to handle. With my Röhrig deck, I use the "reverse farot" method mentioned above by Umbrae in this thread. This reverse farot method is something I learned many many years ago as it is very good for playing cards as you get a very good mixing of the cards. It's also pretty unique to watch - makes your client think you're really special! })

As a side note on reversals: My friend who started me on this path, had told me early on that when she got a spread which contained all reversed cards, you were being told that this wasn't a good time to be asking your question. Interestingly enough, I had never had a layout with all the cards reversed until the other day - not even with a 3-card layout. I decided to wait about an hour before trying again, and about 5 minutes later my wife woke up and I needed to stop & take care of several things... I wouldn't have been able to take the time I needed to do the reading (it was a self-reading). Just a little more fuel to the fire...

[note; edited to remove the link back to this same thread. that'll teach me to copy & paste from another thread... :| ] 

wevers  15 Sep 2002 
I strongly believe in using reverse cards.....What I do, and you won't find this in any book.....I fan the deck, tell the client to start pulling cards out until I tell them to stop....I don't give them a number to pull out (which is 8 cards) as I want them to be concentrating on a question. I am usually asked why I'm doing this I explain that I believe that 90% of life is positive, the other 10% are reverse cards (10% of the tarot deck).....I do explain that not all reversed cards are negative and many times positive and add much to the spread. I do not know if this is right or not, but I believe in it and have had great success. Wally 

Trogon  17 Sep 2002 
Originally posted by wevers
I do not know if this is right or not, but I believe in it and have had great success.

Right?? Of course it is not right! Well, not right for me anyway. ;) Just kidding of course. One thing I learned very quickly here at Aeclectic Tarot is that what works for you is the right way to do it. (At least as far as reading Tarot.) 

ming  17 Sep 2002 
i thought you HAD to use reversals ? never heard of anybody not usin them except children or beginners. but since I joined this group I found that you can do whatever feels right, so it doesn't matter anyway.One strange thing happened to me last night---I work nights as a cleaner in a deserted office block in edinburgh. huge building, new, lovely. I sit alone up on the 5th floor(exectutive level!) and do the cards in peace and quiet....last night I read for my daughter, who is really worrying me at present. All the cards were reversed, i got to 4 cards & just thought "this is wrong..not right". I shuffled, started again, & GOT THE SAME 4 CARDS, all the right way up... now then.the first lot were all negative, the second lot were all more cheerful....We wait & see eh ! 

juice  17 Sep 2002 
Trogon, you need to fix that link to the description of reverse farot. It just leads to this thread which leads to... Or you could describe it again 

Trogon  18 Sep 2002 
Originally posted by juice
Trogon, you need to fix that link to the description of reverse farot. It just leads to this thread which leads to... Or you could describe it again


Thanks... I had copied the link from one of my posts in another, similar, thread which had linked back to this thread. :| The description of the "reverse faro" method of shuffling was posted to this thread by Umbrae. It does work quite well, but does take practice. Sorry for the confusion... :confused: 

The ultra-stupid question on reversed cards thread was originally posted on 12 Sep 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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