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reversals--opinions, please

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 31 Dec 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.



Ursula  31 Dec 2002 
i was wondering what your opinions were about reversed cards in general. i've been studying the upright meanings for awhile, but it's harder to get any real detailed information on reversals, so i was wondering if you guys could help me out--or we could help each other out! i'll list some questions for you to ponder, but if you'd rather just express your own thoughts without them, please feel free.

1. do you use reversals? why or why not?

2. how do you think the energy of reversals compares to uprights? more/less/the same...???

3. do you see reversals as inherently negative, or more negative than the uprights?

4. what other insights/opinions do you have on reversals?

5. what experiences have you had using reversals, if any?

my thoughts so far are that perhaps they indicate sort of the underside of what's going on, like a less important, but still significant theme. OR perhaps they indicate influences that are more hidden in the subconscious. i'm really not sure, though, so i welcome all insights and discussion!

thanks,

~Urs :OL 


Thirteen  31 Dec 2002 
There's been a ton of recent discussions on this subject, including one recent and very highly charged thread. I'm sure someone will direct you to them. One recommendation is to check out bec's wedsite--she is the reversal queen and a wonderful resource for learning all about the different ways to read them.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ursula
1. do you use reversals? why or why not?


No. I think I've used revesals with only one deck, that being the Greenwood because it's images are impressionistic.

Why not? Frankly and simply, I bought my cards to see the pictures--and to tell me stories from the pictures. If they're upside-down, all I'm seeing is upside-down pictures, not a story. This interfers with my flow, my concentration and my interpetation. If I saw stories in upside-down pictures, then I'd use reversals. As I don't, I don't.

Some will argue that the interpetation is limited if all you use is right-side-up cards. My point of view on this is that interpetation is always limited. You can always delve deeper and learn more and find new ways to read the cards. One deck allows you to read them side-ways as well as reversed. In my experience, there are more than enough ways to read the upright cards to allow for a rich, detailed, complete and usually accurate reading.

Quote:
2. how do you think the energy of reversals compares to uprights? more/less/the same...???


What you're really asking, I think, is if an up-right-card can be interpeted the same way as a reversed card. And the answer is yes, depending on where it is in the spread and what other cards are around it. Reversals make it easier on the reader in a way, you know right away that this energy is "blocked" or "reversed" rather than having to intuit it from its position and the other cards.

Quote:
3. do you see reversals as inherently negative, or more negative than the uprights?


One of the best discussions of reversals I recall was one where we theorized that reversals are like running aground or being caught in an eddy. Uprights move the energy forward, as on a river. Reversals indicate that this energy is not flowing. They can also, as you point out, certainly indicate subconscious or hidden factors.

Reversals as inherently negative: I thnk it would be very difficult to lay out an all reversed reading and interpet it as "great, terrrific, go for it!"--something you COULD do with an all upright reading depending on the cards. However, the "negative" reading of all reversals may be more of a wake-up call to the querent than a pessimistic outlook.

Quote:
5. what experiences have you had using reversals, if any?


My experiences have been fine, but not comfortable or natural. This is the most important thing to understand: any experienced reader can do reversals. Those that don't, just don't feel that reversals enhance their particular readings. Those that do use them, feel that without reversals, their particular readings would be lessened. It's all a matter of what you feel is comfortable and right and in the end BEST for you and the reading. 


Silverlotus  31 Dec 2002 
I know there have been a lot of threads on reversals lately, but each one seems to add something new to the mix. I like your questions, Ursula, and I hope lots of people take the time to answer them.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ursula
1. do you use reversals? why or why not?

I do use reversals. I use them because when I was learning Tarot all the books talked about reversals and I never considered not using them. Now I like them because they give more shades of meanings to the cards IMHO.
Quote:

2. how do you think the energy of reversals compares to uprights? more/less/the same...???

I'm not sure what you mean by this questions. Ummm... I'd say in many cases, the energy of an upright card is free, whereas in a reversed card it is blocked somehow. Although I am sure there are several cards where this pattern is reversed or not present at all.
Quote:

No, I wouldn't say that. I'd say in some readings a reversed card would have the same meaning as upright, but maybe with slightly less movement, or energy directed towards it, or something like that. And there are cases where I'd say a reversed card as an opposite meaning to upright, but I don't think I'd say they were negative. I guess it all depends on the reading and surrounding cards.
Quote:

Do what works for you! :) If you like seeing all the pictures upright, read them that way. If you think you get a better reading with some reversed, do it that way. :)
Quote:

I've always read with reversals, so I don't think I can really give a good answer to this question. However, even after all the discussions about reversals and the pros and cons of both sides, I choose to remain reading reversals. I posted in another thread that I may try reading with only upright cards with one of my decks, but it felt very unnatural to me. I guess it's hard to break a habit of so many years. 


samantha  31 Dec 2002 
Reversals , Mmmm. Well, I can't say that I feel comfortable with deliberately introducing them into the shuffling proceedure. I feel that if they are meant to reverse then they will do so on their own accord. Since all of the cards carry light and dark sides to their character it wouldn't seem necessary anyway.
In my experience reversals do not come up that often (about 15% of the time maximum?) When they do come up my initial reaction is a "Hey!! Red light.....Warning !" which I either follow through in interpretation , or temper according to where the card is , and the other cards around it . I guess what I am trying to say is that I do err on the side of seeing the cards negative meaning if it is reversed. Again , in the readings that I have done the reversed card seems to come up when the questioner is deliberately and consciously behaving "badly" or out of character for him/her self in some sphere of life. It is as though they are out of harmony with their true selves/ path.I feel that the cards are saying "You have let yourself down......you can do much better !!" 


Umbrae  31 Dec 2002 
Quote:
Originally posted by Ursula
1. do you use reversals? why or why not?


If they show up in a reading I use them.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ursula
2. how do you think the energy of reversals compares to uprights? more/less/the same...???


It depends on how the reversed card fits with the rest of the spread. I do not read by absolutes (this card always means this). There are degrees, and grays.


Quote:
Originally posted by Ursula
3. do you see reversals as inherently negative, or more negative than the uprights?


Same answer as 2.

Quote:
Originally posted by Ursula
4. what other insights/opinions do you have on reversals?


They double your deck size. You now have 78X2=156 cards/meanings. Not recommended for the beginner. Get used to 78 for starters.


Quote:
Originally posted by Ursula
5. what experiences have you had using reversals, if any?


Far too many to chat about. After you’ve been reading for a few years, give them a shot. Some folks like them some folks hate them and some folks are ambivalent.

It is going to come down to one thing, your comfort zone. You may find that reversals are fine for some decks and not others. 


HudsonGray  31 Dec 2002 
1. Yes, the decks I use are made to have reversed meanings, so I use the decks with the cards randomized both ways. Not all the meanings are indicated by the upright card, some have distinct meanings in reversal that don't coincide with a 'lessening' or 'diminished' meaning of the upright. I figure why limit your reading with the deck if you know it's meant to be used both ways?

2. The energy is the same, for me. The meanings are pretty clear, and each card has the same type of energy.

3. No. As I said, some of the decks I have use several meanings for both upright & reversals, so the meaning has to be looked at, not whether it's negative or not. Actually, many of the reversals are positive. It's too simplistic to just think of a deck's card reversal as just being a negative of the upright stance.

4. Doing a card meditation on the reversal as well as the upright meaning does clarify it a lot. While some meanings may seem to not be connected to the upright, it gets clear that they actually are, though from a different perspective.

5. They're all part of the reading & add meaning. I also read with intuition, so that plays a part. The actual upright or reversal meaning may not be what's important in a particular reading, maybe it's part of the picture or it triggers a memory.

For instance, I did a reading about health for someone with my Haindl deck, and the 'cause' came up as the Chariot, which did NOT fit in with what the question was........till I noticed that the gray hairy beast (it was supposed to be a boar) on the top of the card looked like his gray cat shedding on everything in sight. THAT meant something, so I went with the image I got instead of the Chariot's traditional meaning. His 'health' question also included asthma (which the cat was a definite part of!). 


bec  31 Dec 2002 
Don't really think I can surprise anymore :P but here we go (again) - and don't think I am in agony here Ursula, I can't let a good reversal sit alone ;)

1. do you use reversals? why or why not?

Yes I do use reversals. I was "brought up that way" so to speak. I know beginners are recomented to let them be at start, I tell them so my self, but no one told me that 12 years ago - so now I am stuck - a fanatic reversal freak, and I wouldn't read with out them.

I got 156 cards in a deck, others have 78.

FYI I have to mention here, I don't use reversals in Shapeshifter for one reason only, the deck is not created to have such an ability and looking at the cards, I don't make head or tale in a reversed shapie card, so the artist got her way here.

2. how do you think the energy of reversals compares to uprights? more/less/the same...???

Hmmm .. I think this Q needs some re-phrasing, but I will try. I understand that you want my opinion whether a reversed or an upright weigh more in a reading ? It is said so often reversed shows lower energy or blocked energy. Well they could, and then again, they don't have to.

You have mary greer's book on reversals, I got a whole section on me webbie also dealing with this. The ways of interpretating a reversed card is uncountable.

As always, energies in a card, whether or not reversed, depends on issue, spread/postion and surrounding cards.


3. do you see reversals as inherently negative, or more negative than the uprights?


Oh no not at all. I see reversals as an solution, a way out, an explanation on the why's.

:P then again you ask one being total fascinated by the tower and scared s... less of the star. LOL


4. what other insights/opinions do you have on reversals?

http://www.anjastarot.dk/reversals/GuideToReversals-main.htm


5. what experiences have you had using reversals, if any?

One of the neat things I have experienced doing readings with reversals, especially readings for complete strangers from me webbie, is that I can't sugar coat :P I hate sugar coating in the first place, my reversals makes sure I don't do the "nice and neat" reading, being polite if there in fact are need of a kick in the butt.


Another thing is - if you want to shake a tarot community ( I am teasing now) :P you just yell REVERSALS

LOL 


VGimlet  31 Dec 2002 
Even though reversals come up a lot, I always learn something knew when we talk about them.

1. Do you use reversals, why or why not?

Yes, and that's how I learned to read - in fact I didn't even think about not using them until I came here and learned that some people don't. (My contact with other tarot users was zero.) Now that I have collected a few decks, there are some I don't use reversals with - the Shapeshifter, because as bec said, they really don't make sense, the Whimsical, a few others.

2. How do you think the energy of reversals compares to uprights? more/less/the same?
I guess I would have to say the same - because even if the energy were blocked (which I don't always feel is the case) it's still there. For me the meanings of ALL the cards, upright and reversed, are important, the energy of all of them can be impacted by the surrounding cards, etc.

3. Do you see reversals as inherently negative, or more negative than the uprights?
Nope. Sometimes a reversal can be more positive than the upright card. (think swords, LOL)

What other insights do you have on reversals?
I look at them as giving more options, more connections, and more insights. A reminder that here are always at least two ways of looking at *anything*.

What experiences have you had reading with reversals, if any?
Since I have always read with them, when I read without them I feel somewhat like I am not getting the full picture, that something is missing. So, when I use decks like the Shapeshifter, I feel compelled to use spreads that use more cards. (Silly, I know, :)) 


Trogon  01 Jan 2003 
Howdy again Ursula... you sure know how to stir things up in the ol' A.T. forums... :D I like what Bec said... walk into a room full of Tarot readers and shout REVERSALS!! }) Anyway...

"1. do you use reversals? why or why not?"

Yes I do. As already mentioned by others before me, this is the way I learned. The friend who first got me started in Tarot used reversals and the first book I started learning from also used them... so now I use them... well, because I do use them. They are in every deck I use. As bec mentioned, without them I would feel that I wasn't getting everything I could... I'd be playing without a full deck... so to speak. :joke:

"2. how do you think the energy of reversals compares to uprights? more/less/the same...???"
.... and
"3. do you see reversals as inherently negative, or more negative than the uprights?"

These questions seem similar to me, though I may be missing a point here... Anyway, I would say that it depends on the card and the position and my feeling on it in the context of the entire reading. The energy or movement indicated by a card will vary from reading to reading whether reversed or upright. Then again, see my comments on question #4...

"4. what other insights/opinions do you have on reversals?"

Well... my friend who first got me going in the Tarot, had told me once that if all the cards in a spread come up reversed, there is a blockage of energy or some other reason for postponing the reading. Essentially, it ammounts to an "ask again later" or "the answer is not clear" answer to the question. However, my friend basically only used the Celtic Cross spread and (as far as I know) didn't do readings with only 1, 2 or 3 cards. I have only had all reversed cards come up one time... that was a reading with my Röhrig deck - just after I picked up the cards and put them back in the deck something came up which prevented me from getting back to the cards for quite a while. Now having said that... I am wondering if I shouldn't re-think this idea in light of the smaller spreads - so I am reconsidering the idea.

One other thing that has helped me with learning them is that, in my perception if you were to put the differences between the upright and reversed meanings of a suit of cards, the chart would tend to be in an "X" shape for the Ace through 10. In otherwords... the Ace's upright and reversed meanings (to me) tend to be the most different from one another. The Two's are still pretty different, but a little closer, then the Three's are closer still and so on, till you get to the Five. The upright and reversed meanings are, to me, usually fairly close to one another. From there they start spreading out again till you reach the 10 with the upright and reversed meanings being more opposite again. Now this is just something which has helped me to reach a better understanding of reversals and may not be of any use to you... so if it just sounds confusing - please feel free to ignore it... ;)

"5. what experiences have you had using reversals, if any?"

Well... using reversed cards is a normal thing for me, so no particular "experience" necessarily sticks out in my mind (other than the one I just mentioned above - with all reversed cards). Occasionally, I've been a little confused or "stumped" by a reversed card in a certain position, but I have been by upright cards as well, so this isn't all that unusual.

I hope this has helped. 


tarotbear  02 Jan 2003 
Actually, I find the Fives to be negative when upright, and much better when they are reversed! 


paradoxx  15 May 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by tarotbear
Actually, I find the Fives to be negative when upright , and much better when they are reversed!


that is quite true with maybe the exception of the heirphant.
Wheneveri recieve the devil upright i reverse him myself an reassurance that such negativity can be removed from the situation. 


The reversals--opinions, please thread was originally posted on 31 Dec 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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