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Are my spreads wrong if I don't use reversals?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 29 Nov 2001, and now archived in the Forum Library.

starangel  29 Nov 2001 
Hi everybody!

When I started out with tarot I read that it s ok not to use revearsed cards in a reading.
I followed this instruction, because it was hard enough just to learn the meanings of cards themselves.
Now I read everywhere here people are using revearsals and I am asking myself if my spreads were "wrong" in any kind.
My spreads always seemed to be so right when I did my interpretations. I am kinda confused now and hope you can give me some insights on this!


jmd  29 Nov 2001 
starangel (29 Nov, 2001 19:37):'s ok not to use revearsed cards in a reading...

...I read everywhere here people are using reversals and I am asking myself if my spreads were "wrong"...

Your spreads were not 'wrong'!

There are people who use reversals (such as myself), and many who do not...

Stick to what you feel comfortable with, and just deepen your understanding of the cards through wide reading, reflection and meditation... 

scorpio  30 Nov 2001 
when i started learning tarot i left the cards upright until i felt comfortable reversing them but it certainly did not mean that i hadnt had success reading before. i still start a new deck out upright until it is ready to change. im going to check my spelling now ive mispelled my last two posts its 4:30 in the morning and i cant sleep for coughing my head off. AARRRRGGHHHH!!! 

bec  30 Nov 2001 
Hi starangel :)

Just wanna say, that whatever ritual you have, however you shuffle your cards, whatever box you keep the cards in and wether you use reversials or not - your way is the right way for you.

Loads of tarot readers/teachers recommend you only use uprights untill you´ve gotten yourself comfetable with the cards and their meanings - your readings will be accurate, remember tarot does have 78 cards to choose from to give an answer.

IF you ever start using reversials, then yes ofcourse you´re adding an additional 78 cards to your deck - however it´s not nescessary.

IMO your deck will show you if it needs the possibilitie to show reversials - it will find a way to get the card reversed if nescessary.
My waite deck showed me 2 reversed cards in my (Ibelieve it was my third reading ever) spread, and the deck was suposed to be all uprigths - ever since my waite uses reversed. I´m getting shapeshifter soon, I let her decide wether we use reverse or not.

The main thing I wanna say - do what feels right, then you have found your way to do it :)

EveAnna  01 Dec 2001 
I don't use reversals with my Rider Waite or the R/W clones I have but do with my 1JJ Swiss. Also I bought a new deck called Russell Grant's Astro Tarot (great deck, very unusual :) slightly off topic) and when I shuffled them for the first time, I was trying to decide whether to use reversals or not and somehow they had been reversed as I shuffled them so I decided to read them reversed also.
Thing is I think, like a few others on here, that there are enough cards in the decks to give accurate readings without reading the reversals but sometimes the decks beg out to be read reversed as well lol :) 

Osher  01 Dec 2001 
I started on reversals, but now use all cards the right way up. I find it gives me what I need. I see the Tarot as a conduit, I feel more than I read, so the cards act as a guide. Use whatever method feels right. Or even change method depending on the reading. Just be happy with your feelings on this. 

Talisman  01 Dec 2001 

This is a discussion, I hope, that will go on as long as the Aelectic forums.

Here are some thoughts to add to the mix.

Perhaps it depends on the deck/system you are using. My first deck was the Aquarian and the one book I had used reversals, and so I did. That was all I knew, and I thought that was the way it was "supposed" to be.

Then someone gave me the Robin Wood deck, and I got her book, which I really like. She says, "I don't use reversed cards. I think there are enough cards in the deck to describe anything; and reversed cards are simply unneccessarily confusing."

So, I went along with this.

Then I got the World Spirit Tarot, and in the little book with the deck, Lauren O'Leary and Jessica Godino say, " . . . we have chosen not to include reversed meanings. Instead, we present a continuum, including the gifts and the lessons as well as the challenges and shadows of each card."

Gifts and lessons, challenges and shadows. That works for me.

So, whatever works for you.


Original Destiny  02 Dec 2001 
Hi all,Reading thru all the replies I gather that the general theme is one of,"do what feels right for you", and I agree.I started using reversals but have found that I get a better "flow" if I use them upright only .I use cards either side of the one that Im reading to give me the aspect of that particular card and how to read it.So just do what feels right. Let the cards speak to you! 

tiger lily  02 Dec 2001 
*Not* using reversals until you have a good grip on the upright cards is the most sensible thing you can do. And don´t use reversals until you have an idea what they are supposed to do in your spreads. If they don´t have a *function*. they´re pretty useless and just confusing.

I decided that reversals indicate the energy flow of the card. They modify the meaning, but they don´t change the actual quality of the card. A Tower experience is a Tower experience, whether it´s upright or reversed. So, I use them for "fine-tuning", but I´d come up with the same interpretation if I would use only upright cards (only in bolder colours and without the tiny details :-) )

I wrote about my use of reversals, if you´re interested, do a search under tigerlily. 

starangel  03 Dec 2001 
Hi everybody,

thank you so much for your many replies. I really do feel more comfortable with my "upright" readings and my learning process.
I feel so good about this forum as everyone here is helpful and kind. Thanks guys!
I suppose I ll go on reading upright until I feel totally familiar with my (Toth) deck.
It takes a long time, I now, and I often feel that sometimes the cards don t speak to me at all and I just can t do a reading about a certain subject at this point.
Maybe some of you experienced the same?

Love, Starangel 

Jewel  03 Dec 2001 
I use reversals now, but to me what a reversal means is a blocking of the particular energy to that card or something cutting into that energy. For the most part I have found that for me, the prescence of the surrounding cards in a spread give the "feel" so to speak of each card present in the spread, thus really making the actual reversal of a card just remind me to look a little closer to see if there is anything indicating blocking. What I do find interesting in using reversals is the things that sometimes will stand out in a reversed card that you might have overlooked if it were in an upright position.

I concurr that the Aeclectic Forums are the greatest! I too feel very comforatable asking anything :) 

Pollux  04 Dec 2001 
I agree w/u all, friends...

Actually, I believe I'll have to start using revearsals myself: it's a while that my cards jump out reversed while I shuffle.
Maybe they're tired of lying upright... 

arizonagirl  06 Dec 2001 
There's always a gem in every post by Talisman.

I use Robin Wood's Tarot almost exclusively now, and as Talisman said, she doesn't use reversals. I just make sure that all the cards are in the same position and shuffle them so that reversals are eliminated.

Even before I got her deck, when I was first learning Tarot, I couldn't keep all the meanings clear, much less trying to remember all the reversed meanings, so I simply chose not to pay attention to reversals. I decided that the meanings were the meanings regardless of the position.

My readings have always been appropriate and reliable. 

The Are my spreads wrong if I don't use reversals? thread was originally posted on 29 Nov 2001 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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