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What's the general opinion about reversals...?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 27 Sep 2001, and now archived in the Forum Library.



J :)  27 Sep 2001 
Hi!

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? 


Mojo  27 Sep 2001 
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. 


Thirteen  27 Sep 2001 
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. 


jade  28 Sep 2001 
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,
jade 


tiger lily  28 Sep 2001 
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 doesnīt 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) youīre 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 (thatīs falling under regression, which can manifest as immature behaviour)

I think using reversals adds *tons* of information! 


MeeWah  28 Sep 2001 
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. 


MeeWah  28 Sep 2001 
Mojo makes a valid point about focussing on the bottom of the card for an alternative inspiration or understanding. 


Thirteen  28 Sep 2001 
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  29 Sep 2001 
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 cardīs energy.

c) Restriction: this originates in the unconscious, so that you have no access to the cardīs energy: you may find yourself in an unbearable situation where you desperately wish for the Towerīs blow: for example, thereīs a workmate making your job a hell, but you canīt find the energy to stand up and confront him; or a situation doesnīt 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, itīs just the only example that came to mind right now...) 


MeeWah  29 Sep 2001 
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! 


Thirteen  29 Sep 2001 
Quote:
tigerlily (30 Sep, 2001 07:19):

c) Restriction: this originates in the unconscious, so that you have no access to the cardīs energy: you may find yourself in an unbearable situation where you desperately wish for the Towerīs blow: for example, thereīs a workmate making your job a hell, but you canīt find the energy to stand up and confront him; or a situation doesnīt 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.


I like this one best. I always see the Tower as truth coming to light via a violent, maybe unplesant explosion or eruption. The illusions come tumbling down and, in the end, this is for the best.

I like the idea that the inversion is a desire to have this happen, but not enough energy (courage?) to make it/let it happen and take the consequences, both good and bad. Reminds me of the 8 of swords card--which I like to call the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" card. You can sit there, or you can move and get cut. Ultimately, it's better to move and get cut, because that gets you out of the trap you're in.

Rest stops are good, but the Tarot always seems to advocate going forward, growth and development, even when it costs or hurts. I've always liked that about the Tarot. 


nexyjo  02 Oct 2001 
Quote:
Rest stops are good, but the Tarot always seems to advocate going forward, growth and development, even when it costs or hurts.

this is great! i love it!
luv and light,
nexy 


mystic  31 Oct 2001 
Reversals are part of any reading as they change the meaning of the card, and the meaning of the reading.

Let's look at one example:

The 3 of Swords. In an upright position can mean immense sorrow and seperation, yet in a reversed position could mean that the worst is over in this seperation, or that you may be on the road of healing the pain and sorrow.....if you had flipped this card upright the reading would have changed a lot. I read reversed, and would recommend that everyone learn this as well......

Hope this helps... 


magpie  01 Nov 2001 
Quote:
Mojo (28 Sep, 2001 06:36):
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.


that's an interesting way to figure that out. in the past, when i did reversals, i often wondered how to figure out which way was up. lol.

now i generally don't do reversals. i figure that the decks i use have enough references to give me the basic meanings, and then i interpret the emphases and etc based on the other cards in the layout, position, etc etc.

:)
magpie 


The What's the general opinion about reversals...? thread was originally posted on 27 Sep 2001 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

 


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