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to reverse or not to reverse?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 09 Feb 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

xeper  09 Feb 2002 
I personaly don't intepret "reversed" cards any different than if they were right side up. To me each of the cards has many layers of meaning which remain consistent regardless of whether the card is upside-down or rightside-up. Is this why my house caught on fire, my cat got became possesed with an ancient carribean shoe-spirit and my car got stolen? hmmmm 

kayne  09 Feb 2002 
LOL :P :-D :D I hope you are joking!

Fear not. I never read with reversed meanings either, although I make an effort not to 'allow' my cards to become reversed when I shuffle... 

xeper  10 Feb 2002 
Of course I'm joking, I live in an apartment not a house. I'm glad there are others who don't read into reversed cards. 

Pollux  10 Feb 2002 
I don't use reversed either.
I make so that they don't show up.
Of course I shuffle, and the querent just cuts the deck - or if I don't want him to, I cut, he just chooses 1 2 or 3, left middle right! :-)

I plan to start reading with reversals someday, though.
I think it adds something to the possibilities of insight.

I think Meewah will soon come around and give us one of her wondrous explanations of spectrum and energetics! :-) 

Scorpion  10 Feb 2002 
xeper (10 Feb, 2002 08:34):
Is this why .... my cat became possesed with an ancient carribean shoe-spirit

Now that I'd like to see - perhaps it explains why one of my cats used to get a really strange look on her face from time to time!

I don't normally interpret reversed cards any differently either as I agree with you that they have many layers of meaning which remain consistent and, like Kayne, I try not to let them get reversed in the first place. However, if I'm looking at a reading someone's posted which includes reversed cards, I take the view that the reversed cards have a slightly different meaning for the "postee" and I consult a book I've come to rely on as it's all a learning process for me - it also helps me think of more meanings when the cards are in the upright position. 

Kakyuu  10 Feb 2002 
I have read with reversed and not reversed. I choose not to read with reversed cards as for the most part, I can tell from where the card is and what surrounds it as to what the meaning is.
Perhaps it is because my readings are more accurate when I do not reverse. Perhaps it is because the first two decks I have gotten do not use reversed meanings. *shrugs* 

MeeWah  10 Feb 2002 
Basically, the cards are neutral. Their meanings are created within the context of a throw. This is when they are capable of expressing a wide spectrum of meanings from the "positive" to the "negative" & all the shades in between. The quality of the meanings are relative, subject to interaction with other or surrounding cards; also subject to the reader's view & understanding.
Talisman has oft stated that no card can be read in isolation; however, there are occasions when a card stands alone, independent of the associations or influences of other cards. Such a card is usually significant in its appearance, whether it appears as a single Daily Card or within a spread & whether it is upright or reversed.
The cards are very efficient in that they lend themselves to layered meanings. Reversals per se are a part of the spectrum of meanings & can enhance the interpretation. The resulting interpretation can encompass a broader range than the usual "upright". Meanings can address the spiritual to the mundane, with either all or some of the layers applicable. Nothing manifest on the physical level occurs without it first manifesting within or on a higher plane--but that is another subject.
Personally, I do not have to see reversed cards to read "reversed" meanings. That is partly why I prefer to shuffle so the cards remain upright--reversals can be distracting & take the focus off the rest of the cards.
The other reason is that reversed cards are oft misunderstood. A reversed card does not necessarily qualify it as an undesirable or unpleasant trait, situation, development, whatever. When interpreted with another card, a different, new or even a unique meaning may be seen that is pertinent to the occasion.
Since I read cards thrown by other people which do contain reversals, I read them accordingly. 

Ramses  10 Feb 2002 
Well, I have to admit that I used to read with reversed was easier to me to identify positive or negative aspects in a reading...
Now, when they are reversed I just read them normaly, as if they were not reversed...but, I donīt know...

Maybe we shouldnīt read reversed cards differently, but at least remember we saw a reversed card in a reading...

Well, thatīs why I bought my first round 

jade  11 Feb 2002 
a new book is comiing out in march.

llewellyn's is releasing
"the complete book of tarot reversals"
by mary k. greer
isbn 1-56718-285-2
$14.95 us $22.95 can
6 x 9 312 pages

"features eleven different methods of determining reversed card meanings."

"for reader at all levels of expertise"

"these interpretations (reversals) offer inner support, positive advice, and descriptions of the learning opportunities available, yet with a twist that is uniquesly their own."

in light,

kayne  11 Feb 2002 
That book sounds really facinating Jade.
I wonder if it will ever make it's way to Australian shores...
I have often wanted to create a deck that has reversed pictures reflecting the reversed meanings but have not learnt enough about them for me to feel comfortable creating a deck like this yet... Perhaps this book will be the key? 

divinerguy  11 Feb 2002 
I've always read reversals. I see the archetypes in the cards as possessing the attribute in differing strength levels. Reversals are one way to determine the strength. Adjacent cards are another.

I use round decks, because it makes stength levels easier to see.

I think you'll give the querent a better handle on the significance of a card if you can advise them of its strength.


Geenius at Wrok  11 Feb 2002 
divinerguy (12 Feb, 2002 01:24):
I've always read reversals. I see the archetypes in the cards as possessing the attribute in differing strength levels. Reversals are one way to determine the strength. Adjacent cards are another.

I use round decks, because it makes stength levels easier to see.

How would you read reversals with a round deck? By degrees-in-phase, like using a polarizing filter on a camera?

I've opted to use reversals but not to read them as having different or opposite meanings from the upright card. Rather, I follow the interpretation that the reversed card describes the same thing as the upright card, but in an incomplete or attenuated state. 

Pollux  11 Feb 2002 
Geenius at Wrok (12 Feb, 2002 01:41):
Rather, I follow the interpretation that the reversed card describes the same thing as the upright card, but in an incomplete or attenuated state.

My idea of reversals is fairly similar to yours.
I feelas if reversals want to indicate that the energy or influence or whatever connected to that card is somewhat faded, as if that card gets "ill" to represent the actual state of things.
Also, I tend to think of delays, of energy wasted, something like this.

P.S. When I first thought of my answer, I had some clear ideas. While writing them down, they just became smoke... a proof those reversals are just tricky! :-) 

divinerguy  11 Feb 2002 
When reading reversals with a round deck, I imagine the top of the card as being superimposed onto a clock face.

If the top of the card is at "12 o'clock," I consider the card as being at full strength or full energy.

1 and 11 = strength high.
2 to 4 = strength moderate, but decreasing.
5 and 7 = low strength level.
6 = minimum strength, but card energy still present.
8 to 10 - strength moderate, but increasing.

The drawback with rectangular decks is that energy levels are not as easy to determine. Reversals are not too difficult, with the energy being diminished. The question remains -- how much is it diminished? Adjacent cards can help you here, but that is the subject of a much longer post. Perhaps someone might know of a book which has already described adjacent card effects on strength.

It also begs the question of dimnished energy in upright cards which have adjacent cards with contrary strengths.

Can you now see why I find round cards are so nice in this situation?


MeeWah  11 Feb 2002 
Divinerguy: Very interesting & thoughtful considerations.
A number of years ago, I acquired The Motherpeace Tarot as gift.
Tried to approach the deck in a similar manner; but nothing has worked. It feels like too much female energy, lacking in balance--for me. 

divinerguy  11 Feb 2002 
I use the Motherpeace and Daughters of the Moon. I'd like to try the Tarot of the Cloisters, which is also a round deck. Maybe someone will trade it to me.

The feminist decks seem to wrok well for me. I enjoy looking at the images. The primitive drawings stir my spiritual juices, so the readings come easy.


Kitty  11 Feb 2002 
I do intrepret the card with the reversed meaning, I have found that the spread has a lot more meaning to me or the person I am reading for. I suggest trying it a few times and see how you feel. With tarot the meanings are in the book but it is also how you feel when looking at the card and the spread. 

jade  12 Feb 2002 
i never read reversed meanings. instead i just get a sense as to whether or not someone is using the energy to it's potential when i look at the cards.

i believe that to use reversed meanings i need to call in reversed energy.

since i read with light,....i need to call in dark to read i choose to only read upright. :)

in light,

Pollux  13 Feb 2002 
Jade: what do you mean "reversed energy"?
Why should one call "dark" energy? 

Kirali  13 Feb 2002 
I used to not read reversals until I got my Goddess Tarot deck and ever since then I have been reading the reversed sides.

I'm actually a bit weird that way since I will purposely mess up (hehe not destroy it but messily shuffle) my deck to have reversed cards. I figure, the world/life isn't perfect and it would be weird to have all the cards all perfect to me. Most things have two sides to them, err that's how I figure things anyway.

~Kirali Moondust 

Liliana  13 Feb 2002 
I was truly intending not to read with reversed cards with mynew Connoly deck, but when I wentto mix them up they reversed anyway, even tho i was trying not too, so i figured that meant I should use reversals with them. Connolly has the slipperiest cards Ive ever seen lol. They worked out rather well reversed, infact the madea joke sort of at me with the reversed card in my 3 card new deck reading thatI'llbe posting in the your readings forum 

Skatha  14 Feb 2002 
What I have found in my experience is that often times the 'reverse' meaning and the 'upright' meaning are both true in a reading. Say even if the card is upright depending on what the rest of the spread looks like a 'reversed' aspect could also be true. Kind of look at it as there are two sides to every story.
I believe it is important not to rule that out. 

kayne  20 Feb 2002 
I found this deck with reversed pictures! I really like this idea :) What do you all think? 

bec  20 Feb 2002 
great way to make reversed meanings ;D

defently worth a link to great tarot sites.

thanks for sharing

:) bec 

MeeWah  20 Feb 2002 
Kayne: A wonderful deck! The artwork is complex & intense; breath-takingly beautiful! So is the non-Tarot artwork. Thanks for the link! Another deck to add to my "wish list" :)
Wasn't able to determine if the deck is available for sale, though. 

Kellinator  21 Feb 2002 
For those who do go in for reverse readings, do you have an elaborate interpretation, or are you more likely to assume there's simply a block or a complication? I've been moving from the first interpretation to the second recently as I become more intuitive with my readings.


bec  21 Feb 2002 
i done a page for my takes on the reversals, it is the same as the ones posted here in TarotBasics, maybe you will find some use of it. :)

To safe the space ;) you will find the webby in my profile.

Cheers :) bec 

Marion  21 Feb 2002 
kayne (20 Feb, 2002 19:40):
I found this deck with reversed pictures! I really like this idea :) What do you all think?

That is a stunning deck. I wouldn't call them 'reversed pictures' so much as reflections. Not mirror images, but more like those magic mirrors in fantasy stories where you see things differently.
I don't reverse cards. It actually makes it hard for me to read if I reverse them, though surprisingly I am okay reading someone else's throw with reversals. 

Pollux  21 Feb 2002 
Is it only me who doesn't manage to see the CARDS!?!? ???
I only see the list with a keyword for each card.
Are there pictures with double-imaged cards?
UAHHHH!!! I wanna see them!!! :'( 

Pollux  21 Feb 2002 
I saw them, thank GOD!
There were links I wouldn't see.
Ah! :) 

kayne  21 Feb 2002 
Pollux: Just click on the link that says 'Crossroads' next title The Major Arcana and further down click on 'Milestones' next to The Minor Arcana...

Hope this helps... 

kayne  21 Feb 2002 
Oh - Pollux, Just saw that you saw them :) Excellent :P 

Liliana  21 Feb 2002 
Pollux dear, at the top of the list of majors andthe top of thelist of minors, he calls them a fancy title, that title is a link to pictures 

purplelady  23 Feb 2002 
When I first began reading tarot , I used reversals. Now I choose to keep them all upright in the deck and Not throw reversals. My boyfriend , who just began learning tarot , uses reversals and tells me I am wrong for not. It took awhile for him to seemingly accept that how a person choses to read reversals or not is their personal choice and that there is no right or wrong. 

Liliana  23 Feb 2002 
You're boyfriend is silly, being a beginner at tarot and telling you you arent doing it right? heheh 

purplelady  23 Feb 2002 
yeah.................he's more than silly! He's one of those who always knows everything about anything and everything. ;) :P ! 

Scorpion  23 Feb 2002 
Hey. Purplelady - at least he's trying: he's making the effort to share an interest with you. Probably terrified that you'll call his bluff and display your superior experience!! Could he have a word with mine?! 

purplelady  23 Feb 2002 
I figured out how to find the cards on the reversal deck Kayne posted a link to! Those are neat! Too bad it isn't a full tarot deck. I guess it's more of an independent or divinitary deck. Wouldn't it be cool to create a full deck of 78 cards but drawn in the same way, where each card has it's own picture or angle and looks uprighteither way, but displays the negative or positive end of the card? It Could even be a round deck! 

purplelady  23 Feb 2002 
LouiQ, yes, he actually is "learning the tarot"! He Took the beautiful "Celtic Tarot" by Helena Paterson that I ordered and decided it was his deck! It's a Beautiful deck. The one thing I don't like is that he uses only the companion book for the deck , and some of the meanings I find truly harsh and negative. For instance , under "death" it says actual physical death! And on cards with traditional negative meanings , it makes the reversals really negative also! When I told him I found this book harsh he said "The Celts Were harsh!" :-) I bought him "Learning the tarot " by Joan Bunning , (Which I want to read) and "Mastering the tarot" by Eden Gray, but he doesn't look at them much. 

Pollux  24 Feb 2002 
purplelady (24 Feb, 2002 07:25):
For instance , under "death" it says actual physical death! And on cards with traditional negative meanings , it makes the reversals really negative also! (...) he said "The Celts Were harsh!" (...) but he doesn't look at them much.

OUCH!!! This book seems to do more harm than good :(
Why doesn't he look at them? The frist I know, and it is vry clever and enjoyable - if you buy other books and he doesn't use them, send them to me! :D

Well, for his better learning, you could ask him to enroll in Barnes and Noble course created by Joan Bunning, he might enjoy the interactiveness of it!
Momof3girls, Strange2, Bella, and, last not not least, Liliana - our humorist superDIVA - and I are taking it next 5 March: our password is fun, of course. :)

Or, you could ask him to come to Aeclectic too! :D 

Scorpion  24 Feb 2002 
purplelady (24 Feb, 2002 07:25):
For instance , under "death" it says actual physical death!

Sounds like he would get on just fine with my partner - that was his original view of the Tarot. He's coming round now, though - has even had three readings (although he wanted to argue all the way through and wondered why I was having difficulty!). Who knows, maybe he'll try to sneak one of my decks if he gets really interested!

But, seriously, he does have a point. And surely it's what the Tarot means to (each of) YOU that's the important thing? If he's going to be involved it has to make sense to him to keep his interest. He may change his views later but not if you try to make him!

No, Pollux - not a good idea suggesting Purplelady's hubs comes on here: you know how addictive it is and if they've only got one computer between them they'll fall out all over again! We've got two computers and fight all the time over them (the second one is tucked away in the back of the house - no telly/stereo/quick access to drinks/snacks and the screen is slowly dying). I think she should keep it a secret - as if ^_^! 

magdalene  24 Feb 2002 
I do acknowledge when a reversal comes up in a spread by indicating that it is an area that needs greater attention in one's life.

It could also be an area that's lacking enough attention.


purplelady  25 Feb 2002 
Oh , he knows I'm on these boards all the time! I've even told him he ought to come here and post some spreads or ask questions, but he isn't interested . We only have one working computer too . But he mainly uses it for E mail , business stuff , and game playing. Well , I have to go out there this morning and it's snowing , doesn't it figure? 

The to reverse or not to reverse? thread was originally posted on 09 Feb 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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