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"creating" reversals

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 10 May 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Rusty Neon  10 May 2003 
Hi everyone ... There are many threads (past and present) in this Forum on the relative virtues of using or not using the concept of reversals.

This new thread is to discuss how to "create" reversals, if one decides to use the concept of reversals.

My problem with reversals is that, while it seems synchonistic that a given card is the one that is picked for a given position in a spread, it seems arbitary to me that the given card comes up upright versus reversed. If a deck is turned one way in the mixing process, certain cards will be upright and others will be reversed; and if the deck is turned in the other direction, the cards that would otherwise have been upright come out reversed, and vice versa.

Some techniques to counter the problem of deck orientation include:

(1) mixing all the cards in all sorts of directions on the table and picking card by card; and/or

(2) using a non-intent card pickup technique that involves picking up a card one way for certain cards in a spread and in another way for the other cards in that spread -- but in all cases, without any consious thought given to which way a card is picked at any given time.

Alternatively, mechanical approaches could be used to 'create' reversals:

(3) Elemental dignities could also be used as a mechanical technique to 'create' reversals. If under the rules of EDs, the card would be well dignified, treat it as upright, and if it would be ill dignified, treat it as a reversed card. You would interpret any such reversed cards exactly the same way as you would interpret a reversed card using naturally created reversals. Since the EDs were used to mechanically create a reversal, the reversal thus created would not necessarily be a bad thing as it would be in Golden Dawn approaches to EDs.

(4) Another example of an approach to mechanically 'creating' reversals that I have sometimes employed is the following: Keep the cards upright in mixing and selecting, but look to see what card is to the right hand side of a given card (or would have been to the right hand side if the spread were such that the cards were placed in the shape of a circle). If the card on the right is, say, of an even number, treat the given card as upright; and if the card on the right is of an odd number, treat the given card as reversed. 

Dark Inquisitor  10 May 2003 
Too much thinking.

Decide which way the deck is held to be upright for you .

Mix the cards up in a big pile every which way- just relax.

Put them back together & shuffle- twist them, turn them, cut them, whatever you want - go with the feeling,-- not the thinking/planning/organizing. Go mad with your newfound freedom.

When it feels "done" , lay them out. It's all abitrary- it's all synchronistic. It's letting go & being open to whatever it wants to tell you. Flow! Trust.


HudsonGray  11 May 2003 
That's right, I flip cards & turn 'chunks' as I shuffle them up, so the process is completely random.

You can start with swirling them in a circle upside down on a clean table top, then smushing them all together in a pile & pulling them back into an ordered pack (don't pick them up one by one, there's no need). Then allow yourself to rotate the cards as you see fit. 

azuremariposa  13 May 2003 
as for what method i use, i don't like the whole 'mish-mosh' on the table thing...that's always bugged me for some reason and i freaked the first time someone shuffled my cards that way (which was probably the last time or next to last time i let anyone shuffle them besides myself! lol)...
so, this is what i do, i take the deck and place it on the table so that they are straight 'up and down' in front of me...i cut w/my right hand, then pick them up and use a regular 'riffle' shuffle (like for playing cards) it on the table again, cut and then shuffle, etc....i've found that if i split them while the deck is in my hands, none get reversed...but if i cut and then go to shuffle, i get a decent amt of reversals (or, as i like to think of it, exactly as many as i need), i would suppose this has something to do w/how i hold the deck, but i hold them quite naturally (placing thumb at the 'bottom' and the rest of my fingers at the 'top' when i pick the stacks up), i dunno...but it works for me! :)

many blessings...


DarkElectric  14 May 2003 
Once again, the freakish DarkElectric planned reversal shuffle technique~

Are all the cards in the deck facing the same way? Good. Start laying them out in a circular, or spiral pattern. I end up with 10 piles of 7 cards each, and pile #1 ends up having 8 (78. Good way to determine if the deck is missing any cards too.)

On selected ODD piles (1, 3, 5, 7, or 3,5,7,9,11 or something like that), I will reverse one card as I lay it down. I only reverse 4 or 5 cards in any given deck. Then, I recompose it, and shuffle so that all of the cards will be facing the same way (reversals included). This prevents a preponderence of reversals in the deck at any given time. I replace any reversed cards which may have come up in the reading right side up, and periodically go through the deck righting those that are reversed, so different ones will be reversed for subsequent readings. Works for me. 

The "creating" reversals thread was originally posted on 10 May 2003 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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