History of Reversals


I have heard it said, that reversals in tarot are a somewhat "recent" trend, and because of that, I am somewhat wary to read reversals in a spread. Like many tarot readers, I consider the reversal, but don't necessarily tag a specific meaning with each reversed card.

Does anyone know exactly WHEN reversals began to be used in tarot card reading?

I've scrubbed the net to no avail. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


I'm not sure how 'recent' is going to be considered recent, but the earliest that I am aware of is from Etteilla's book from 1783.

As there is very little in terms of written documents related to reading the cards before that time, perhaps it can be considered that, as far as we are aware, reading with reversals is perhaps as old as using the cards for divinatory purposes.


Thank you for the info! I don't know where I heard that reversals are "recent", but for some reason I got the impression that it was a lot more recent than that and it made me a bit skeptical.

In any case. I think its good to know the reversals and at least read up on them once, even if I don't plan to use them. I'll probably hit up 13's meanings. 13 always does a great job of explaining things in an easy, practical context!


To Reverse of Not Reverse...

In my eagerness to learn 'everything' about the Tarot early on, I jumped on reversals at the start of my training, only to regret being overwhelmed just as quickly. So my suggestion is to thoroughly comprehend upright meanings first (which, of course, should contain the gray/negative elements often attributed to reversals anyway), and then dive into reversals later. Only then can you decide what works best for yourself.