Finally, the truth about reversed (or turned) cards IMHO

  • I have been pondering the meanings of reversed cards in the Tarot, and after much analysis have come to the conclusion that it means absolutely nothing.

    I mean, think about it. Let's say you do a three card spread. What are the odds that one card will come up reversed? One in three, right? Sure, it is statistical. Now, take a ten card Celtic Cross spread. What are the odds that some cards are going to come up reversed? Pretty high! Each card has a fifty-fifty chance of laying down reversed. Correct? Sure. Now, what are the chances that ONLY one card will show up reversed in a ten card spread? One in a hundred! That is pretty lousy odds. I mean, how many times have you laid a Celtic Cross and saw only one card show up reversed? And were you to keep track over a long period of time, you will find that half of your cards will come reversed. IT HAS TO HAPPEN THAT WAY, there is no way that the angels can monkey around with statistics. That is some sort of Universal Law or something that states that about half of the time a card will come flipped 180 degrees. And by the way, that is a much better terminology for a card than 'reversed'. I mean, a truly 'reversed' card would be a card flipped over with the back of the card facing up, that is a true reverse. Not turned around 180 degrees. So to be accurate, 'turned' is a much more appropriate classification for a card that is turned head to toe.

    And so what do reversed cards mean? They mean that the Universe has NO CHOICE except to honor the laws of probability and make sure that 'approximately' half the time, a card MUST show up in a turned condition. So it means absolutely nothing! It is simply statistical.

    To have a reader tell you that a card in a turned position means something different or dire (I had a reader tell me that turned cards mean the opposite, so should you see the 'Strength' card in a turned condition, that means something bad, like you do not have enough strength in a situation. Huh? What are you talking about! It is still the Strength Card with the Strength meaning, whatever you want to give it. So to say that turned cards mean something different or worse or in any way negative than the cards upright position is patently absurd. Now, you can go use some interpretation like that, however it flies totally against the grain of what the Tarot was intended to do, and that is simply to help us become more conscious, spiritually enlightened, at peace, happy, loving life. That is the true intent of the Tarot, not to tell you that you are about to win at the casino or something, or find a tall, dark stranger waiting at your door tonight!

    To keep in spirit of what the Universe is trying to teach us through the Tarot, and you really WANTED to add some meaning to a 'turned' card, you should simply say that the meaning of a card is 'enhanced' in a turned condition! Like, let's say you draw the Two of Cups and you say YIPPEE! A new lovely relationship! In a turned condition, you would say YIPPEE, YIPPEE! A really, really NEW and very, very lovely relationship for me! Why in the world would anyone look at that card (or any card) in a turned condition and say something like "Uh oh... looks like your relationships are going to turn bad... or, uh oh.. I see that you have a divorce looming! (When the querent might have the most wonderful marriage in the world!)

    The Tarot is supposed to be HELPING not adding more negativity and dire omens and such. So a turned card shows up for you and you feel compelled to assign some 'special' meaning to it, you would be wise to simply say 'wow, how nice, this card is even better than it is normally! Or, you could look at the turned cards as the 'normal' meaning, and look at all of the upright cards and say, 'Wow! An Ace of Pentacles in an upright condition! How wonderful, that means that (insert your favorite meaning of the Ace of Pentacles here) is even MORE wonderful than normal!

    Every card has a wonderful meaning in the Tarot. A lot of us are hauling around a lot of tired meanings from by-gone days when people thought there were devils under every rock and stuff. So we are all exercising our capacity to see the GOOD and POSITIVE in the Tarot against the 'establishment' meanings. There are no hard and fast rules, that is just the thing! I mean, you want to look at the Death card and say, OMG, someone is going to croak! Well, that is YOUR CHOICE. We each assign the meanings we WANT to assign to the Tarot, and should you desire to deviate from the 'crowd' and going against thousands of years of history, you have every right to do so, AND YOU SHOULD! Because we are all trying to find brighter places in life, not darker. It is not always helping to keep perpetuating tired ideas and meanings from the past. Change! Think fresh! That is your honor and privilege to do so!

    The last time I checked, a negative interpretation in a reading that I arrived at never did me any good. The 'good' is in standing strong in your OWN beliefs no matter what. A million people can tell you 'this is what this card means!' (upright or turned), or there could be a million books on the shelf all saying the same negative thing about a card, and you would have every right to oppose that and say, you know what? I say the Three of Swords is the most wonderful card in the deck, AND YOU WOULD BE RIGHT I don't care that a million other people are telling you something else.

    By the way, the essential meaning of the Three of Swords is simply a planning energy related to intellect. That's it! Nothing more. Now, you could say, 'Uh oh... heartbreak, or crushed love, blah blah, who cares! Forget it! Heartbreak is NOT going to help us move on, PLANING SOMETHING WONDERFUL INTELLECTUALLY will though!

    We each have out own beliefs about these things, I simply want to encourage us all to be willing to step away from the Tarot herd mentality whenever we want, in order to move us toward more balance, more focus, more logical, composed, prosperous attitudes... and happy! And most of all, spiritually enlightened lives. That is where we all want to go. Unless you really enjoy looking at the Three of Swords and going 'sniff... sniff... yeah, my heart was broken... ' There is a time for tears, however tears and negative, depressing thoughts about our lives are not going to help. Unless as in my case, you were simply too dumb and it took gallons of tears to finally wake up and smell the coffee.

    So turned cards? They are meaningless, they add no different meaning to the card. The angels simply had to obey the laws of probability and assign SOME of the cards to turned positions. They have no choice! So it makes absolutely no sense to assign some special meaning to a card in a turned position based on the fact that a probability law had to be honored. Ask any blackjack dealer and they will explain what probability means. And by the way, there is no gambling card games that I am aware of that treat a card differently based on whether it lands turned around. Only among the Tarot readers could that happen! 🙂

    The only setting where that could even possibly work is with a one card spread. Then I guess (should you really want to), you could say, 'well normally, the Ten of Swords means the final end of something mental, however now that it shows up turned, it means that a Golden Goose is going to land in your back yard today and lay a bunch of golden eggs!" Okay, whatever you say! (Actually I could use a golden goose in my back yard lol).

    The angels (the Universe) are not in business to make you lay some cards turned around to bring you down, or change the meaning in any way. To do that we then end up with another 78 cards and now we have a 156 card deck! You want to try shuffling 156 cards? Not me. You want to keep reading bad stuff in the cards, go right ahead. Don't complain though when you aren't making much progress in life.

    Our future is in taking ownership of positive, helpful energies that move us closer to the light, and not closer to a box of Kleenex. Although sometimes tears still come. Healing tears are one thing, pity parties are another. And I am weary of the teary party, how about you? And a card meaning that makes me want to say, 'crud, my life is still lousy and crummy...' Are you serious? How long do you want to keep seeing life that way?

    And here is another proof that what I am saying is true... consider that in the Celtic Cross you have the crossing card, and it is at 90 degrees to the situation/present circumstance card. It can not land in a turned position, ever! How is that one card get special treatment? So by continuing to try and hold to some different renderings for reversed cards could be leading us all towards eventually... you guessed it - adding some special meaning to cards turned at 90 degrees! OMG! Depending on whether the head of the card is to the left, or to the right. Now, we don't have 156 cards in the deck, we have 312! You think that 156 card deck was hard to shuffle? Try the 312 card Tarot Deck, man oh man. The interpretation book for that sucker is going to be a book a foot thick!

    Here is another analogy to help you understand what I am saying. Take a penny. Throw it up in the air and it will land either heads, or tails (reversed), correct? Of course. Now ask yourself, did the value of the penny change because it happened to land upside down? Of course not, it is still the same penny, with the same value - one cent!

    This issue has been something i have been studying out, and it forced me to take a break from providing readings here, now I can continue.

    Peace and blessings to all,

    Astra Angel, live from planet Nibiru 🙂

  • Thank you for that, AstraAngel! I tried to read for myself and the outcome was the strength card "reversed" and I got all discouraged... I definitely see it all clearer now, though.


  • I view the reversed cards as an area that needs more attention. I look at the cards as how they relate to each other and their combinations. I look at the story they are telling me. The hardest readings for me are the ones that tend to go against the wishes or hopes of the querent. I have opted out of a couple because of this. Some readings suggest things will stay status quo, these are hard as well. I think tarot can be an indicator of the situation. If I didn't tell a querent about opposing card combinations, I feel I would be leading them down a primrose path, so to speak. My belief is that all good things do and will come, sometimes it's not on our schedules or timeframes.

  • I think the question of reversals depends on many factors. When we are first learning Tarot it is just too confusing to deal with the reversals so it is best to start with upright positions only. However, at some point you realize that your readings are not all that accurate and so the reversals come into play. Then it depends on whether you are honestly seeking the advice of Spirit and your Higher Self or if you just want a warm fuzzy message that makes you feel good. This is where a lot of people get stuck as it is difficult sometimes to relay the information that comes through when it is not perceived as all rosy or positive. Also, when reading for ourselves, there is usually a resistance to seeing anything other than what we want to see which is why it's best not to read for yourself. My philosophy is the "do no harm" but most people would consider doing no harm not relaying anything that may be upsetting to the querent. I believe that it may do the querent harm to NOT relay the information as it comes through. It is not our place to judge. We are not always privy to why the message is coming through the way it is - we are just the messenger and I believe it is our duty to relay it as received. If you are not comfortable doing so then as Daliolite mentioned, it is best to not give the reading. For instance, some may not want to tell a woman that a man she is just starting to date is someone she should steer clear of and so that Knight of Cups outcome may be given as a wonderful, beautiful romance ahead. However, what if the man is a potential abuser? I for one would not want to paint a picture that encourages her to continue dating him! Or, let's say that someone is considering a business opportunity and the outcome is 4 of Pents. Some would say "success!" But what if it's a warning to hold on to your money because the potential partner is a swindler? As Daliolite stated, it is necessary to look at ALL of the cards - the spread in its entirety - to get the full message. All the cards TOGETHER tell a story. If that 4 of Pents outcome is coupled with a 7 of Swords in the Environment, The Moon as the querent and a Knight of Cups as the potential partner, that raises a very large red flag! And, let's face it. Most people who are consulting Tarot are going through a difficult time and/or a period of spiritual growth....for growth to occur we normally have to be standing knee deep in manure first! This too shall pass is the motto, but it is better to deal with reality so you can work through the lesson and get to the ultimate "reward" or growth than to stay stuck in denial. Personally, once I realized my readings of all upright meanings were not accurate I started using reversals and they became much more accurate. But then I started to get a nudge to just move away from the card "definitions" altogether. Of course, I resisted. So then, my reversal readings were also becoming inaccurate! Spirit was nudging me to use my intuition. So then I learned that ALL the cards have their "positive" and "shadow" sides just as all us humans do. The best readings come from a person who is truly tapping into their intution and not on the learned definitions. For me, each and every card can mean sooooo many different things depending on the person, the situation, etc. This is Spirit's way of communicating with me so to limit how they can speak to me does not do me or the querent any good. Thinking only of learned definitions or only of upright definitions is tantamount to asking Spirit to communicate in "This is Spot. See Spot run." type of messages. I prefer to open myself up to receiving passages from Tolstoy! And now I am moving away from using the cards at all as my "gift" is more clairsentient or claircognizant. I have learned to recognize when my "thoughts" or "knowing" is not coming from me but THROUGH or TO me. I just get a sense of knowing. However, I still do not trust it completely so I may then pull cards to verify. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that for accurate readings that help you to grow and change it is imperative to develop and utilize intuition. Book definitions are helpful at first, but at some point you must allow yourself to just look at the image on the cards and see what "comes through." For instance, one day I pulled the Chariot reversed for a friend as her daily card (she is crazy good psychic and was helping me to learn). She had been in a really bad car accident a few months prior and was still healing, but something told me to tell her to be careful while driving. That day she got in her son's car (she was still too injured to even drive) and she got a very strong mesage to tell him to go the opposite way they normally go for him to drive her to work. He told her she was crazy and she continued asking him to please go the other way. He didn't. They were in a near-miss head on collision on the way to work. Another example - this one about how the message can be completely against any book definitions - was when I was pulling daily cards for myself. I can't remember the other 2 cards, but I do remember pulling the Ace of Pents reversed and the 4 of Wands reversed. I think the other two cards were 5 of Wands and a Page of some sort that may also have been reversed. That day there was an altercation with a neighbor with regard to his son and his basketball. The 4 of wands reversed - so about the "neighbor" environment not being good. The Ace of Pents reversed looks just like a hand dribbling a basketball. The page indicated the child and also that communications would be tense. I don't think you will find a reference to basketball in any book on Tarot when looking up the Ace of Pents! I also don't think I have ever seen a reference to neighbors with regard to the 4 of Wands. Now if I had just used upright cards, a person may have interpreted that I was going to have a great day...Ace of Pents and 4 of Wands??? WOW! How Wonderful! They would have been sooooo wrong!

  • Forgot one of the examples I wanted to share....

    I continually pulled the Strength card reversed one week. Couldn't uderstand it as it did not apply at all to what was currently going on in my life. Then one day I realized my cat was sick - took her to the vet and wound up having to put her to sleep. The reversed Strength card has not showed up since.

  • I need to keep practicing... I have a friend who does Tarot and will help me develop my sense of what the reading as a whole means when I do them.

    I'm really learning from all this!

    Thanks everybody 🙂


  • AstraAngel could you expand my reading a little bit if you have time I am still looking for a job every day i have to believe in what you say if you need my b day let me know. Thank you

  • Brightmoonshine,

    I know you didn't ask for my help, but thought I would throw in my two cents. What's coming through is that you are having trouble maintaining a consistent attitude and this is hindering your progress. I am feeling a lot of depression and ups and downs with your emotions. In short, emotion is rocking the ocean! Focus on bringing yourself into balance so that your emotions do not overwhelm you and leave you exhausted and/or paralyzed. This inner conflict needs to be resolved first. Have you seen a doctor recently? Part of this may be hormonal. I feel like there are some hidden insecurities you need to address, however you definitely need to change your consciousness from one of suffering to one of positive expectancy and be willing to put in the effort required as well as be patient for results. That means releasing fear, worry, and anxiety as well as keeping your chin up through any disappointments or setbacks. I wish I could say that things were going to change soon, but it looks like it may take a while longer. Trust me, I know how hard this can be, but you need to understand that what we project energetically is what we create. You can speed up the clock by changing your energy. I think it would be really helpful for you to listen to Caroline Myss' audio tapes regarding energy anatomy.



  • Thank you Watergirl18 I need to build up my confidence you are right. Love to you

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