Bring up reading Tarot with reversed cards, and you’ll find lots of different opinions. Some people feel reversals are negative or depressing. Some people feel like reversals are cards that expended a little more energy to make their way into your reading.
I get it. Look up a reversed Tarot card meaning in most Tarot books and you’ll find words like, “betrayal”, “deception”, “treachery”, and “manipulation”.
That doesn’t sound very fun!
Personally though, I love reading with reversals. I find they bring an extra layer of depth and insight to my readings… a level I just can’t get from upright cards.
So why do I LOVE reversed Tarot cards when so many Tarot readers don’t? Because the way I read with reversals is very different to many other Tarot readers.
In today’s post, I want to share with you how I interpret reversed Tarot cards, especially when all or most of the Tarot cards are reversed. If you’ve avoided reading with reversals in the past, I hope this post breathes new life into your Tarot reading practice.
What To Do When All The Cards Are Reversed
When I first started reading Tarot, if all of the cards were reversed, I would sweep them up and redraw the cards.
But that didn’t feel quite right, so I started looking deeper. Now, when I see all or more of the cards are reversed, I think “ah there’s something really interesting in this”.
At the heart of it, Tarot cards are energy. So when all the cards are reversed, read them as they are.
How to interpret reversed cards in a reading
Internal Energy vs. External Energy
While upright cards represent externally expressed energy, reversed cards can represent internally expressed energy. They can show us what’s happening privately, or what we’re keeping to ourselves and not expressing.
Reading reversed cards with this in mind can also show where change needs to be made, or action needs to be taken. If your Tarot reading is mostly upright cards, then you know you’re dealing with external situations and your relationships with others. If your Tarot reading is mostly reversed cards, then you know you’re dealing with yourself and any required actions or changes need to happen within you first.
To simplify, you can take the upright meaning of the Tarot card and add “self” or “private” to the interpretation.
For instance, in a relationship reading, a lot of reversed cards could indicate the answer lies within internal work. Perhaps there’s some internal work that needs to happen for you to show up in the relationship the way you want to show up.
That’s powerful insight!
What I love most about understanding cards as energy in this way is that there’s no “good” or “bad” message (unlike the traditional reversed card meanings which focus on the opposite of the upright card meaning). Instead, it’s simply a matter of where the energy is being felt – internally or externally.
Reversed Tarot cards can also point to an imbalance of energy. This could mean too much or too little of that energy.
Take the Queen of Wands, for example. Upright, she represents a confident person who enjoys social situations. However, what does this look like when there is too much or too little of this energy?
Perhaps she is over-confident and domineering, especially in social settings (too much of the Queen of Wands energy). Or perhaps she is a wall-flower or a ‘shrinking violet’ when in a room with others (too little of the Queen of Wands energy)
When you read with energy imbalance in mind, you can ask clarifying questions to determine if there is an imbalance of energy at play.
Another way to look at reversals is that they point to where energy is blocked. This is similar to the energy imbalance above, with a slight difference.
Energy can sometimes get blocked, or it isn’t expressed in the most constructive way possible.
For example, the reversed Temperance card may indicate that you are seeking out moderation and harmony in your life but right now, there’s a blockage to fully experiencing that energy in a positive way.
Ask, “What’s getting in the way of you achieving moderation and harmony?” That is, identify what is blocking the energy.
Then, ask, “How can you release any blockages associated with moderation and harmony?” Perhaps you need to reconnect with the mantra, “Everything in moderation”. Or maybe you need to pick your battles to create more harmony. It could also be you need to let go of the expectation that there will always be perfect harmony in all things.
To find the answers to these questions, you may simply have an open dialogue, or you may pose these questions to the Tarot to see what comes up.
Working with the pictures on the cards is so powerful. When a Tarot card appears in the reversed position, you can gather more insight about the card when you see the story the card tells in that upside-down position. For example, in the Ten of Swords reversed, it appears as if the swords are falling out of the man’s back. Perhaps the pain that has been inflicted in the past is now finally being released and the client can move forward into a new cycle (especially since this is a Ten – the end of a cycle).
Or in the reversed Page of Pentacles, the coin looks as if it might slip out of the man’s hands. His grip is not very tight and he doesn’t seem to be concentrating. Perhaps it is a sign that without the necessary discipline and focus, money is just slipping out of your hands.
This is a particularly powerful technique for interpreting reversed Tarot cards, especially if you’re a visual person. The images often create an instant link between your conscious and unconscious mind, helping you to connect with your intuition.
How To Know Which Method To Use To Interpret Reversed Cards
There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer here. Which method you use depends entirely on you and your intuition.
If one of the methods doesn’t immediately leap out as the one for you, set an intention to read reversed cards using one of the methods, and see how it works for you.
How does it feel?
Then do the same thing with the other methods. Trust your intuition and you will find which method works best for you.
And remember, there are multiple meanings for every card. Focus less on the traditional meaning and more on what your intuition tells you is the message.
Master The Tarot Card Meanings
If you’re ready to take your Tarot reading skills to the next level, I invite you to join my signature program, Master the Tarot Card Meanings.
In this program, I’ll show you how to interpret upright and reversed Tarot cards, from the heart. And I’ll teach you the “must know” systems that make up the Tarot, and make learning how to read super easy.
By the end of the program, you’ll feel confident in your intuitive Tarot reading skills! Click here to learn more about Master The Tarot Card Meanings.