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Practical Reversals question sans debate

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 03 Jan 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.



lawguy51  03 Jan 2003 
OK, I'm not saying I was influenced by Tarotphelia's thread but, I'm studying the Haindl deck and thinking that when I start to use it, I MAY introduce reversed cards. Now, about those reversed cards. How do you control them? Obviously, if I riffle the cards I'm going to get lots of reversed cards. Currently, I riffle side to side so I never get reversed cards. But my question is, do you who read reversals have a way of controlling the percentage of reversed cards in a deck? Do you care? How do you prevent a reversed Lovers say, from continually being reversed in the deck? I seem to recall reading once that if the first card comes up reversed, turn the deck around. Which leads me to another question, which way is up when you shuffle for reversals? And you needn't remind me that it's all up to me. I know that already. I'm just curious as to your views and methods on reversed card husbandry.

Lawguy51

p.s. I'm still not sure how looking at a card upside down helps you understand its meaning and context in a reading. Ooops, and I said this would be sans debate :D. 


allibee  03 Jan 2003 
you... you barely human lawyer... sellout, sellout ...sellout ;)

But seriously, having USED to read reversals - yuk, feel my flesh creeping now, nausea taking over, bleurchhh, too late - to make the randomness truly random, I spread them all out after a reading face down and washed over them with my hands in a 'wax on, wax off' manner. No way to tell which card was up or which was down when they've been gathered up after.
IF, after this the Lovers comes up reversed again, that's coz its meant to.

allibee
your former friend, heheheh 


Keslynn  03 Jan 2003 
I used to do the "swirl" method of shuffling. Basically, I would lay the deck on the reading surface and smear and swirl it around. Then I'd reconstitute it into a pile and deal from that. The only problem with that is that I often got %50-70% reversed cards. My readings were accurate, but I started to get discouraged in my studies with so many reversals.

Now I make sure the whole deck is right side up before shuffling. I'll shuffle a little (riffle), then I'll turn a small section (20 or so) of cards at the back upside down. Then I'll riffle shuffle very thoroughly to make sure the reversed cards are well-distributed. I find that this method works a lot better. Instead of getting a lot of background noise, you only get the reversals you really need. That way you can confront the major blockages .

:) Kes 


Woof  03 Jan 2003 
I've had no problem with just taking half of the deck and reversing it when I riffle shuffle. I reverse about every other time, sometime more, sometime less. I do the same with my large deck that I riffle short sided.
I shuffle a lot, though. I find it soothing.
Woof 


lawguy51  03 Jan 2003 
Allibee, don't abandon me just yet. I just said I was thinking about it. As far as swirling goes, with the Haindl, you've got that eye looking at you and with Victoria Regina, it's good ole Queen Victoria, so you're going to see which cards are reversed, at least quantity-wise. I don't know, I still have two problems. Looking at them reversed and also, not having any choice in the matter when a card comes up reversed. Ahh, but I digress from this non-contentious thread. ;)

Lawguy51 


HudsonGray  03 Jan 2003 
Randomized decks mean 'randomized', you do it with intent, so when you do your shuffling, take part of the deck & turn it around, shuffle some more, take a small chunk out & turn that again, shuffle, do this till it feels 'done'. The swirl method works too, but if you don't have the space or don't want to damage cards (some decks have weaker paper than others), there are many ways to get reversals, and all work.

Remember it's not just randomized one time & that's it, it's a part of your shuffling process. 


Mojo  03 Jan 2003 
I make no efforts either way when it comes to shuffling... that is, I don't try to keep the cards all one way, nor do I purposefully turn cards over. Cards get reversed randomnly when shuffling, gathering, or otherwise handling the cards. I also have the querent shuffle, so depending on their style of shuffling, cards may get turned around.

After the deck is shuffled and cut, I glance at the bottom card on the deck. This tells me which end is "up" for this reading. I always place the deck so that the bottom card would appear upright when dealt (It also gives me another card I can incorporate into my reading if needed).

As for "understand its meaning and context in a reading," I don't believe that cards necessarily have specific "upright" or "reversed" meanings. I'm of the story-telling school of reading. I weave together my readings by looking at the images on the cards. The key to doing this style of reading is to make a mental note of the very first thing you notice on the card when you first turn it over. This is where your story starts.

For example, in one reading with the Knight of Wands, the first thing that caught my eye on the card was the mountains in the background. This gave me the feeling of speeding through life and missing the scenery along the way. So this was the direction that my interpretation took for this card.

In another reading with the same card (also upright), my attention was called to the size difference between the horse and the knight (Universal Waite). So this story had more to do with going off half-cocked and underprepared.

When a card comes up reversed, it doesn't change any of the meanings of the symbolism, but rather, it gives you a whole new canvass to work from. There's something about seeing things upside down that changes your perspective, in some cases making things clearer. For example, the best way to check a signature against an original is to turn them both upside down. You might have noticed store managers doing this when checking your signature against a credit card.

When a card comes up reversed, your eye is going to be drawn to very different things than on an upright card. You will end up paying attention to some of the lesser details of the card, and hence, there are going to be some really interesting and refreshingly new insights that are incorporate into your readings.

A good example here was in one reading I did for a client who was on the verge of a very important financial deal. The "advice" card was the Heirophant reversed. The first thing that my eyes noticed about this card were the Heirophant's bare feet. To me, this said "humility" was called for.

In all my years of reading cards, I had never interpreted the Heirophant in that way before, but it made so much sense at the time.

This is why I can't understand people who so adamantly refuse to recognize or utilize reversed cards when reading Tarot. If you don't allow yourself to see the card from every angle, you're likely to be missing something important.

Everyone seems to have their own theory on how the cards end up in their positions... everything from those dreaded angels to the collective unconscious to random chance. Regardless of how you believe the cards are guided, they end up in certain positions and in certain orientations and they should be read that way. Arranging your deck or shuffling them so that they always produce upright cards is adding a layer of manipulation to the process, which surely affects the outcome. To me, that's very artificial. I'd rather play them where they lay. 


Macavity  03 Jan 2003 
I like Keslynn's idea of taking some fraction (25%?) of cards and inverting them before randomizing. I was then thinking - Assuming you randomly distribute these inverted cards through the deck, then repeating this (or any other) procedure ad nauseum must gradually increase the number of inversions until you arrive at... a canonical 50%. Hmmm - I guess that might be telling us something? :) Alternatively, at some point you would have to start again from the beginning - to ensure different inversions at a constant level...

Certainly using a 50% cut and "twisting" then shuffling often still shows alarming "structure" in the number of inversions thrown up when I do it. This seems to illustrate more dramatically than card sequences just what a lousy randomizer (MY own) shuffling technique can be! But then are they really supposed to be random? Heheh :D

Mac 


jlbvt  03 Jan 2003 
I started inverting while shuffling about 3 weeks ago. I am getting way better readings now, and I will never go back to trying to read just upright again.

Here's how I go about shuffling now: I shuffle 9 times total like this- holding the deck right side up, I mix the cards in a poker style shuffle side into side twice, then on the third shuffle I seperate the deck about halfway and turn the halfs to shuffle the long way top into top, inverting half the deck. I repeat the whole procedure three times, making nine actual shuffles, each third one inverts half the deck. This works out great for me.

I find that reading reversed cards brings a lot more detail to your readings. My boss ALWAYS comes up as Q of Swords Reversed. I get this card reversed almost every time I do a spread about work. Today I got her in the past position. I am trying to get a new job, and it looks promising! Reversals are great! ;) 


lawguy51  03 Jan 2003 
Well, since I started this thread, just for fun, I took my Haindl deck and shuffled it in order to induce reversals. When I was 'finished' I took Mojo's suggestion and peeked at the bottom card in order to determine the orientation. Guess I got carried away. I just counted 49 reversed cards. OK, back to the drawing board. Keep you suggestions pouring in. :)

Lawguy51 


Major Tom  04 Jan 2003 
The book I learned from [/i]The Magick of Tarot[/i] by Denning & Phillips (unfortunately out of print) suggested you only turn a specified number 'if you were so moved'. I think for a full deck it was up to 15 and and for the majors only 5. 


Dark Inquisitor  04 Jan 2003 
Lawguy, you used the word control more than once in your original post in this thread. Previously you were controlling the uprightness, now you want to know how to control the reversals- and count them too !

I feel your anguish- it is not about the cards- it is about letting go. The unknown can not be controlled- it is worrying. But when you step up to the oracle, you take your chances.

Now- close your eyes- divide the deck in half .
Shuffle repeatedly, cut, turn shuffle more...
("Theres no place like home, there's no place like home...")
Put aside controlling thoughts, embrace thoughts of opening & safety....

Take a deep breath & know that nothing it tells you can hurt you.

Tarotphelia 


cuddles  04 Jan 2003 
this reversals conversation is turning into so much fun! lol

mojo, i liked what you wrote. makes wonderful sense to me. haven't seen it put like that before. but then again, i am new to all of this ;-)

i am using reversals for now. but not committed to using them forever. the coin is in the air. nice n wishy washy.

so, no more trying to keep most of the cards going one way. just let them land as they will.....oooooo, scary. 


lawguy51  05 Jan 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Tarotphelia
Lawguy, you used the word control more than once in your original post in this thread. Previously you were controlling the uprightness, now you want to know how to control the reversals- and count them too !
Take a deep breath & know that nothing it tells you can hurt you.

Tarotphelia


Busted!! :rolleyes: I was waiting for someone to latch onto that controlling nature of mine. Not surprised it was you, Tarotphelia. You are absolutely right, of course.

Well, I'm experimenting, if for no other reason than to get more knowledgeable of and comfortable with reversed meanings in order to make all of a card's meanings that resonate with me my own. I must say the cards look strange to me reversed. Well, I'm in first year learning mode so I'll keep at it for now and see how it goes.

Lawguy51 


Dark Inquisitor  05 Jan 2003 
Yes, controlling-- but secretly ADVENTUROUS!!!!!!!!!!

Tarotphelia 


lawguy51  05 Jan 2003 
It's late and I just spent an hour on a CC spread for myself using reversals. I had all of my books handy but went through the spread with 4 Rx cards and had no problem understanding their meaning and context within the reading. When I was finished I poured into my books, (78 Degrees, Tarot Reversals) and was happy to see that my interpretations were in line with the learned Pollack and Greer. Hmmm, this might be fun after all. :D Thanks Tarotphelia for that thread that caused such a kafluffle. It at least piqued my interest. Got to go to bed. Tired.

Lawguy51 


Trogon  06 Jan 2003 
Well Lawguy... I see you've got a lot of good advice on how to introduce reversals into a deck. I see you're counting the reversed cards in the deck too... LOL. My advice... don't bother keeping track of it. Just let go... use the force Luke... er... wait... wrong movie. I started using reversed cards when I started learning the Tarot... didn't know no better... ;)

Anyway, my advice... don't look at the orientation of the deck. I have 2 decks which have supposedly "non-reverseable" backs. My Victoria Regina is a perfect example - when I pick it up, shuffle, and start dealing... I don't even look at the back of the deck. In other words, cards which were reversed during one reading, may not (or may) be reversed the next time I pick up the deck. In other words, I just treat all the decks as if I couldn't tell which way it is facing. I just figure it'll be oriented the way it needs to be. I usually turn 1/2 the deck before a shuffle every now & then (whenever I feel like it... ;) ). 


Ursula  07 Jan 2003 
ok, actually it's a little annoying. i was just getting fairly confident reading the cards when POOF i introduce reversals and confuse the hell out of myself! i kind of enjoy it, though. i think that while it makes the readings a bit more challengine, it does add colors and contrasts to the readings that i just don't think you can get with pure uprights. someone said that adding reversals more than doubles the possible readings because the number of possible combinations MUCH more than doubles, which is true. even that doesn't take into consideration all the possible ways you can read a reversal: as blocked energy, as potentiality, as something passing in or out of one's life, as the opposite of the upright... the possibilities are more than a few! so despite the challenge--and because of it, really--i enjoy the greater room for creativity they give me with a reading.

i turn half the deck, shuffle, turn half the deck, shuffle, etc. however the first card comes up is how it comes up. i really thought that by doing that i'd get more reversals than anything else, but sometimes, all that wants to come out are uprights--other times the, um, reverse ;)

peace & have fun!

~Urs :OL 


lawguy51  07 Jan 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Trogon
Well Lawguy... I see you've got a lot of good advice on how to introduce reversals into a deck. I see you're counting the reversed cards in the deck too... LOL. My advice... don't bother keeping track of it. Just let go... I usually turn 1/2 the deck before a shuffle every now & then (whenever I feel like it... ;) ).


Well, I've stopped counting, that was just an exercise I felt like doing. And I've stopped looking at the bottom for orientation. And, I usually turn half the deck now and then like you and Ursula. But I've been reading using the Haindl deck and those cards are a challenge upright, never mind reversed, plus I'm trying to learn Haindl's meanings with Pollack's book so I've really gone on overload. But I did try reversals using my Universal Waite deck and I remember I got the 9 of Cups reversed and I immediately saw all these simple pleasures of life come falling out of those nine cups. Interesting. I'll stay with it for a while. I've given myself a year to experiment, study, practice, give readings, and then hopefully, find a comfort level with my knowledge, intuition, decks, spreads and orientation. Or maybe it will take 10. Or maybe I'll never quite get there, but I hope to get close. ;) 


Trogon  08 Jan 2003 
Another thought occurs to me about turning 1/2 the deck before shuffling. Each time you turn that 1/2 of the deck... you are reversing cards in that 1/2, but you are also turning back upright any which were already reversed. So, it is very possible, depending on how you're shuffling that you will end up with an unknown number of reversed cards. Each time you rotate part of the deck, you're changing the mix of reversed to upright cards.
Quote:
originally posted by lawguy51
Well, I've stopped counting, that was just an exercise I felt like doing.

LOL. It actually was kind of an interesting thought. I'm glad you did it... ;) 


Magus Ten  08 Jan 2003 
I'm brand new to tarot, I havn't even shuffled my deck for the first time. So if I understand correctly, I just have to shuffle it like I would a deck of poker cards, right? Just cut-turn-shuffle, cut-turn-shuffle? That easy? 


juice  09 Jan 2003 
Welcome to the forum and let me be ther first of many to say this since you will hear/read it often. Do it the way that feels right to you. What you mentioned is basically what I do only I'm careful not to damage the cards. Add cutting only a quarter or a third of the way through the deck sometimes and may not turn always to provide randomness and we're there.

And to earlier points made. If half the cards in the deck are reversed, that doesn't keep all the cards on top from being upright. You'll get what you need. 


Jewel  09 Jan 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Mojo
I make no efforts either way when it comes to shuffling... that is, I don't try to keep the cards all one way, nor do I purposefully turn cards over. Cards get reversed randomnly when shuffling, gathering, or otherwise handling the cards. I also have the querent shuffle, so depending on their style of shuffling, cards may get turned around.

When a card comes up reversed, your eye is going to be drawn to very different things than on an upright card. You will end up paying attention to some of the lesser details of the card, and hence, there are going to be some really interesting and refreshingly new insights that are incorporate into your readings.

This is why I can't understand people who so adamantly refuse to recognize or utilize reversed cards when reading Tarot. If you don't allow yourself to see the card from every angle, you're likely to be missing something important.

Arranging your deck or shuffling them so that they always produce upright cards is adding a layer of manipulation to the process, which surely affects the outcome. To me, that's very artificial. I'd rather play them where they lay.


I am with you on this one Mojo ... like you I just shuffle, cut and move on (let querent shuffle if I am reading for someone - then cut). I don't look at the bottom card though ... think I might start trying that. Thanks for the idea!

On another note, the deck I primarily use, the Cosmic Tribe, like that of someone who posted is "supposedly" non-reversible. Like that person, I don't look at the backs while I am shuffling and laying out the cards so that factor does not even come into play. 


The Practical Reversals question sans debate thread was originally posted on 03 Jan 2003 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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