Posts Tagged ‘reversed tarot cards’
The Tarot Journey –Turning Challenges into Stepping Stones
Today’s topic is about Tarot reversals! Most people know that using reversals for tarot readings is an optional choice. You can use them, or you can choose not to use them. It’s as simple – and as complex – as that.
The reason I note “complex” is because a reader can literally have a huge debate with herself/himself about whether to use reversals or not. They are very aware of it being a “personal choice,” but they might question whether adding the option of reversals truly has value or not.
That’s the key – do you feel that using reversals adds depth to your tarot readings? Or do you feel that they are merely an annoyance you would just as soon skip?
Use reversals for the right reasons.
Don’t use them just because your favorite readers are doing so. Don’t use them because you feel you have to.
In the same token, don’t avoid reversals for the wrong reasons either. Don’t avoid them as a means of taking the “lazy” way out even if you think there might just be “something” to them. But only YOU can decide if reversals truly add anything to a reading or not.
Let me give you an example of the conflict I went through in my early days of reading the cards that told me I needed to be using reversals.
I read online and in books that reversals weren’t necessary. I found that opinion from several sources that made me question the use of reversals even more. In the beginning of my tarot journey, I was just coming to terms with the upright meanings, and I decided, “Hey, if I don’t need to learn about reversals, then why bother?”
After a week of doing readings without allowing for reversals, I felt frustrated with my readings. Something was missing, and it wasn’t just the fact that I was still fairly new to this craft at the time.
Alas, it was the opportunity for reversals to come up that was missing, and my heart and soul told me that I personally was going to be a reader that needed to use reversals.
It didn’t matter what others were doing or not doing. I was literally having trouble connecting to my cards and readings because I suddenly wasn’t allowing for the possibility of any reversed cards to appear. It was as if I was somehow “blocking” all the possibilities and potentials that could enter the picture. I was only letting “some” of it in.
So I started allowing reversals into my readings again. And I quickly felt “complete” and more content with the information I gleaned from the cards, even if a reversal didn’t come up in all of the readings. I felt like I was connecting more fully to the Tarot. And I knew I needed to listen to my feelings about that. My trial of not using reversals was the experience I needed to show me the way – the way that was right for me individually.
I don’t shuffle the tarot pack in a way where half or over half of the cards will end up being reversed. That was yet another element that I had to decide on as to the best way to handle – a way that would feel right to me personally.
When I turn cards over in a shuffle to make way for reversals, no more than 1/8 to 1/4 of the cards get turned. So generally, there will only be about 10 to 15 cards that can end up reversed in the final deal. That feels right for me. And let me tell you, if those reversals are meant to come up, you’ll see them in the layout!
Yet, a reversal won’t always appear, and I’m fine with that – because I know that I at least allowed the possibility to come through if the Tarot needed to show me something from a different angle. And I feel that the right cards will reverse when I’m turning about an eighth or so of the deck upside down to shuffle into the mix. I no longer worry about whether the right cards will be reversed or not. I have found my own personal system that clicks with me and that I can relate to.
So that is what I struggled with in my beginning experiences – and something perhaps you might struggle with, too, if you find yourself questioning the value of reversed tarot cards.
I felt like something was missing!
If the Sun card came up as an outcome, it made me wonder – what if that card had been reversed? The sunshine might be there sooner or later . . . but if the card was meant to be reversed, I would have expected a delay before the clouds went away.
If the 5 of Pentacles came up, and I was feeling like I had been through that kind of experience already, but things were easing up, it made me wonder if that card really wanted to show up reversed to indicate that problems were being solved and that I was actually getting out from under a hardship. Or did the upright card mean that I could expect things to continue being difficult – or even get worse?
This was all in the days of self-readings and lots of practice – BEFORE I defined my own style and techniques to take out into the world of reading for other people. But I had to find my own style. I learned that I couldn’t just imitate others were doing, because it might not feel right for me personally.
So the question for you, if you’re struggling with the dilemma of using reversals or not using them, is to ask yourself, “What feels good to me when it comes to reversals and using them or not using them?”
Don’t base your choice on what most others are doing or not doing . . . base it what you feel gives you a complete picture from the cards. If you feel satisfied and that nothing is missing by using upright cards only, then that may be right for you to do it that way.
For me, I find a lot of depth by using reversals. I am alerted to blockages or potential problems that can surround even a positive kind of situation. Because keep in mind that reversals do not always signify something “negative.” Consider the 5’s of the Tarot as an example. Upright, we know that those energies are about hardship, struggle, and conflict in some way. But if a 5 appears reversed, the Tarot could be showing us that perhaps some things are not as bad as we think, or that we are actually nearing the end of such a struggle.
If a favorable card appears reversed, that’s obviously not as fun to see as if the card were upright. If we get the Wheel of Fortune in reverse, well of course we’d rather see that card upright. But a reversal doesn’t always necessarily imply an “opposite” meaning, unless that’s the way you’ve chosen to look at reversals.
One might see the upright Wheel of Fortune as being good luck, and see “bad luck” in the reversal. But what I see with this reversal is that one may be on the “down side” of things in the moment, but this card speaks of cycles whether upright or reversed. And seeing the reversal would show me a downside of a cycle that I needed to work through in order get back on track to the more fortunate side of things.
If my question relates to whether I should go forward on something or not, and the Reversed Wheel of Fortune came up in response, I would see the need to hold back for the time being. Maybe I could go for it later, but now would not feel the right time to do so.
Reversed cards in a reading show us something that isn’t straightforward. Upright cards are naturally more straightforward in their meanings . . . but when reversed, something else may be going on that we should pay attention to.
If I just used upright cards only, and the outcome presented the Wheel of Fortune, I might expect things to be easier than they might actually turn out to be – because maybe – just maybe – that outcome card really wanted to appear reversed to show me a delay of sorts. The Tarot might be wanting to tell me that, yes, favorable things are still possible to attain, but I’ve got some things to work on first that might not be so enjoyable. In such a case, I would likely have to work through some issues in order to help myself create a luckier sort of situation.
Now some people consider that if you get a reversed card, you should just pay extra attention to that card and then turn it right side up again. But we’ve also been told that when Major Arcana cards appear, we need to give those cards extra weight and really pay attention to those cards.
That leads me to the opinion that ALL the cards in the reading are important. They all come up for a reason. And while the interpretation of one card might be simple, brief, but straightforward, another card may have a little more to say – yet it doesn’t mean that some cards are not important in the spread.
Yes, some of the cards may really stand out or be “in your face” to get your attention. And you know you’d better carefully explore the messages offered from Tarot in such cases. But reversed cards tend to get kind of a bad rap that they really don’t deserve. And because of that, some readers will simply not use them. But the question is, are they avoiding reversals for the right reasons? Does not using reversed cards really feel like it brings them the full picture?
This is why you will hear so often that using reversals is a personal choice – because it really is! It’s a matter of whether you find any value in them or not. Some people really don’t, and they are content without allowing for reversed cards to enter the picture. If you feel that way, and you don’t find yourself sitting on the fence about the choice for not using reversals . . . then you’ve found the style that works for you.
But if you happen to be like I was – and you feel like something is “missing” from your readings, maybe you need to be allowing for reversals to feel like you are also allowing for the full picture to appear. If you have to second guess yourself as to whether any of the cards in a reading “might” have come up reversed if you had let them . . . then that’s probably a sign that’s indicating you are one who needs to use reversed cards.
The value for me personally in using reversed cards is that it’s what I am comfortable with. I feel like I am leaving no stones unturned when I allow for reversals to appear – even if none show up in a particular layout.
I could go on and on about what makes a reversed card “valuable,” but if it’s not something you deem to be important, then it’s not going to be valuable to you personally. And that’s okay. Each reader should define his or her own style of reading the cards – from how you shuffle, to how you cut the cards, and to whether you use reversed cards or not, etc., etc.
As long as you are doing what feels “right” and comfortable to you personally . . . then you’re on the right track, whether everyone else is doing it the way you do or not.
I can’t sit here and tell you that, “Oh my, you absolutely need to use reversals, because that’s how I do it.” That would be silly! Maybe reversals aren’t right for you personally. But for some of you, it may be just what you need to get that “complete” feeling of connection with your tarot cards. You don’t have to let half the deck be reversed. Even if you just let a few of them have the chance to come up reversed, they will always be the “right” cards, and they will appear only if the Tarot wants them to come up as a part of the message being delivered.
Thus, it really comes down to personal choice in terms of what works for you and what feels right to you individually. As readers, we don’t just say it’s a personal choice to be saying that. There’s a reason behind that statement, as discussed in this post.
In the next post, I’ll talk about court cards. Those seem to be the cards to stump new readers more than any other cards in the Tarot. How do you know if they represent a person, an energy, a situation, or a part of yourself? Tune in next week, and we’ll explore.
Happy Tarot Journeys!
What about you? Do you find tarot reversals to be helpful in your reading experiences? Or are you okay without using them? What method feels right to you personally?