Reading Reversals
Yes or No

Reversals happen when a pack is shuffled and the Tarot card image becomes upside down. Okay, so how to read these cards is quite a bone of contention amongst the Tarot community. This is because there are different meanings for each position, upright versus reversed (upside down in ‘plain speak’). There are those who quite rightly point out that ‘reversal’ meanings were provided in the Original Rider-Waite (Waite-Smith) deck and therefore ‘intended’ to be a part of the reading. Interpretations for the reversed card are not always the opposite meaning of the upright position, although many are! Yep, clear as mud! In short, this means double the learning at the beginning of your Tarot journey. As I said, many Tarot readers insist this is the only way to give a complete reading, but I’m not one of them.

I have been reading cards for over 30 years and never used them.  Does that make it wrong? I don’t think so.  Firstly, all my cards are upright both before and after I shuffle because of the way I shuffle, therefore I don’t get any reversals. It’s probably fair to say that I have a touch of OCD and if a bunch of cards were upside down, well… let’s just say I’d lose my focus! What can I say? Tidy mind and all that! The second reason is that I have never fully understood the importance of them because I can give a satisfactory reading without them. There are plenty of cards to communicate a reversal or blockage for the client. For instance, almost ALL of the swords suit are a pain in the rear for the reader. As we all know, “life ain’t no bed o’ roses” but forewarned is forearmed in my opinion with those little beauties.

So, in summary, there will be experienced Tarot readers out there that might give me a serious ticking off for such heresy. But, I’ve yet to hear a good enough argument to convince me that an untidy pack is detrimental to my clients reading. I believe it’s a matter of personal choice and probably bottles down to how you were taught and your level of interest in Tarot symbolism. Let’s not forget that as a beginner you have 78 cards to remember! I recommend that you learn those 78 first, then move on to reversals if you feel this would add value to your card reading abilities. In the interests of balance and not a recommendation, I’ve attached a Reversal cheat sheet for when that time comes if you need it.

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