What&#39s the general opinion about reversals...?

J :)


I have been looking around for other discussions about reversals, seen it touched by other threads here and there, and think there seems to bee different points of view here.

Me, I'm a beginner - I haven't really started to bother with that just yet, but I'm beginning to think about what I really think about it... I can't help wondering how I'd be able to know that I wasn't holding the whole deck "upside down"... Know what I mean? To me it feels odd to give significance to something that could so easily end up all wrong... ;-)

What do you all think?


I never understand why people get so freaked out by reversed cards. There is nothing scary about a card that comes out of the deck upside down... even if the entire spread comes out upside down.

I happen to like reversed cards... they remind me to look for alternatives to the "usual" interpretations of the cards.

As a general rule (for me anyway), reversed cards cause me to focus on something other than the main image in the card and base my interpretation on that. For example, in a recent reading, the Heirophant came up reversed in a position which related to "what you need to do" in this particular spread. My eye was instantly drawn to the Heirophant's bare feet (Royal Fez deck) and to me that talked about the need for some humility.

Other times, being reversed helps soften the impact of a traditional "oh no!" card. An example here is the Tower. When it comes up reversed, I see the base of the tower as the main focal point of the card. While the top of the tower is being blown apart, the base remains rock solid. I often see this as meaning a safe, conservative approach is called for, or that the querent has successfully protected themself from imminent danger.

As for determining whether the whole deck should be properly aligned one way or the other, I use the bottom card of the deck to determine which end is "up" for a particular reading. After the querent has shuffled the deck, I pick it up and glance at the bottom card. I often find that this card will help clarify the reading anyway, but it also gives me a "direction" for orienting the deck. I place the deck down so that the bottom card would be upright as I read the cards.


I'm not a reversal person, but I suspect that might just be because I'm lazy :) I like keeping the cards all going in one direction, and rely on my intincts to tell me if they're negative or positive given where they are in the spread. All cards have some negative and some positive, afterall.


i believe that you use light to read upright and the darkness to read reversed because the reversed of light is dark.

that's my opinion, but it's a strong one for me.

light and love,

tiger lily

The cards show you the patterns that are currently operating in your life; the orientation of the cards indicate the direction of the energy flow that you put "through" the pattern. My theory is that energy + information ("pattern") = manifestation.

In other words, an upright 2 of Swords manifests differently from a reversed 2 of Swords, because the energy flow is different.

Upright cards mean to me that the energy is extraverted; accessible to the ego, accepted, expressed and progressive.

Reversed cards mean to me that the energy is basically introverted; restricted, rejected, resisted or regressive.

In both cases, it doesn?t have all the meanings simultaneously, but one of them. So, in my example of the 2 of Swords, it can mean:
a) you reject opposing views of a situation;
b) you have doubts, but repress them;
c) you?re unable to look at the situation from a different POV
d) you have an inner dispute about sth
e) you react overly sensitive to criticism (that?s falling under regression, which can manifest as immature behaviour)

I think using reversals adds *tons* of information!


Tigerlily's explanation is well-expressed!
The cards are basically neutral instruments. They are capable of expressing both ends of the spectrum & the intensities in between; hence, a card does not need to be reversed to convey an impression of "other" than whatever.
I prefer to shuffle in an upright style rather than willy-nilly; however, no matter how one may seek to shuffle cards reversals will occur as they are within the Tarot schematic of possibilities. Cards express energy patterns & reversals are part of energy patterns just as upright cards.
A reversed card does not necessarily have to have a negative connotation. It may indicate incompletion; a delay; not now. It may advise against a certain course of action as well as saying NO.


Mojo makes a valid point about focussing on the bottom of the card for an alternative inspiration or understanding.


Quote:tigerlily (29 Sep, 2001 05:02):
My theory is that energy + information ("pattern") = manifestation.
Reversed cards mean to me that the energy is basically introverted; restricted, rejected, resisted or regressive.

Wow. Never thought about it that way. Must be prejudiced left over from grouchy ol' RW deck where so many cards are depressing and reversals are just more depressing :p

Hmm. Damn you Tigerlily, I might just have to give reversals seriously now!

So, how would you read a reversed Tower?

tiger lily

Quote:Thirteen (29 Sep, 2001 08:29):

So, how would you read a reversed Tower?

Hmmm... well... ok, it would depend on the question and position in the spread and other cards involved, bla bla bla...

So it *could* mean:

a) you bottle up your anger when it would be much healthier for you to "blow up" (resistance, manifesting as suppression; the energy of the card gets very unstable and explosive as a result - in all cards, not just the Tower)

b) you reject the Tower energy: you see yourself as peace incarnate or as the calm center in the storm (denial), or you wonder why people always get at your throat when you did *nothing* to deserve such a reaction (projection), or you fear that people could hurt you physically or emotionally and strike out first, i.e. *you* are like the Tower: others never know what causes you to erupt like Mt. Vesuvius (overcompensation)

Denial, projection and compensation are all reactions to the rejection of the card?s energy.

c) Restriction: this originates in the unconscious, so that you have no access to the card?s energy: you may find yourself in an unbearable situation where you desperately wish for the Tower?s blow: for example, there?s a workmate making your job a hell, but you can?t find the energy to stand up and confront him; or a situation doesn?t break up overnight (in a typical Tower-style), but erodes slowly without your noticing it until it is too late.

Block, delay and negation/opposite are results of a restricted energy flow.

d) The last option is regression, showing as immaturity, weakness or introversion. This would weaken the impact of a Tower-influence on a situation or make it hard to recognise it at all; an introverted Tower can show as a nervous breakdown or physical degeneration (cancer, for example, although I would never dare to make medical diagnoses based on the tarot, it?s just the only example that came to mind right now...)


Tigerlily: Agree that a reversal can refer to an unstable energy. Have had occasion to see it strongly in reversed Wands mostly, but it is true of all the cards. Your insight is of great depth & understanding. Thank you for sharing!