OK - Which way is left??


Hi everyone,

I'm looking at my Hadar deck.
Call me stupid, I dont mind. I have got very confused with the direction the people are looking in the cards and the meaning. I had it in my head that as I looked at the card, a person looking to my left was receptive, passive, feminine, looking to the past, etc. I then read a post somewhere here about feet, in which it was stated that if just the right foot was showing it meant progress in spiritual growth. Thats fine his right foot is the left from my perspective. Then I recalled a different thread, I think on shuffling, dealing or something which made me think that my left would be the receptive side.

Then, the world crashed around my ears, all rationality went flying out the window, I started to sweat and shake and panic because I suddenly realised that I was utterly confused and didn't have a clue. I basically lost all confidence in myself. Help!!! Some clarification needed. Please someone put me right.

J :)


Different authors seem to refer to different things when mentioning left or right.

If one goes by standard heraldry, then right (dexter) and left (sinister) refers to the right and left of the shield or lozange, irrespective of the figure.

Tarot is not heraldry, however.

I tend to differentiate - and I hope I haven't omitted it at times - by stating, for example, 'to the Charioteer's right', or, alternatively, 'to the right of the card'. In the case of a figure facing the viewer, these two examples would indicate opposite sides of the card. The first, the side towards which the horses and Charioteer are looking to, the second, the other.


JMD, So your saying.. the right or left of the figure on the card.. not our right or left?
Jewel-ry.. if your stupid then so am I because untill we started the 78 weeks.. I never really about it, but now I am confused.

Rusty Neon

The different tarot authors and tarotists can have their own views on this. Paul Marteau's convention is that the side or direction is based on how you the reader of the upright card (rather than the person inside the card) sees the side or direction. So the person or horse in the card is facing towards the left if that's the way you as the reader of the upright card sees it, even though the person is the card thinks he's facing towards the right. The only exception is parts of the human body: thus, for example, the left hand is as the person in the card sees his hand, even though you as the reader of the upright card see the hand on the right hand side of the card.


I am glad you brought this one up Jewel-ry, as I had been wondering the same thing - my left or their left etc, particularly doing the 78 week study has made me look at it more and consequently look at all I can "see" and understand in the card.

Thankyou Moonbow, for the link to the thread - some very interesting and informative material there - will have to print it out as there is quite a bit there to take in....


crystal cove

I'm bumping this thread up in the honor of my interpreting the Chevalier de Coupes as facing the past when others interpreted it as facing the future in Lee's reading. :D Poor Lee!

According to this thread, I interpret the way Marteau does, but is this the least common way? I'm curious as to what everyone does in practice as opposed to what the different authors say. Anyone want to share?


lets see if i can get my thoughts in understandable words....

the figure/person in the card can look in a certain direction, meaning the figures own left/right.
also when i, thereader, look at the card, the figure in it is "looking" or oriented to the left, right or it is straight (facing you).

so there are actually two possibilities that you can use at the same time.


an example of this you can see in the attached file of the valet d'epees.
he is looking towards his own right, and at the same time he is facing/oriented to the left in the card for us readers.


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twenty~one said:
I'm bumping this thread up in the honor of my interpreting the Chevalier de Coupes as facing the past when others interpreted it as facing the future in Lee's reading.

I am thinking that it doesn't matter!!!! horror.... Well, looking at the outcome that we all came to in the thread you mention above. We all, kind of agreed.

So we got to it by different methods.... but does that matter?

To me reading the Marseilles deck is intuitive so whatever method is used doesn't really come into it, because its our interpretation that gets the message out.

I think that now being used to future as one direction would hinder my reading if I tried to change it and vice versa. So I think you should stick with what you think, its obviously working - your reading was great.

I even tend to put some RWS meanings in mine, its not intentional but if it comes into my mind - I use it, isn't that what reading is all about?