Reversals Without Tears

An issue that many people run into when reading with tarot reversals is the confusion that happens when interpreting distinctly negative or distinctly positive cards when they are reversed. Is the negativity in a difficult card such as the Tower worsened or improved by the reversal, for example? There are a lot of opinions and approaches. Some will read the negativity as diminished while others will increase the negativity in the meaning, and some even have rules for individual cards that are applied on a case by case basis. The same confusion happens with positive cards. Are otherwise happy cards to be read using flipped meanings, or merely weakened?

Add to this the tension of an emotionally charged topic and it becomes all to easy to begin spinning the reversal in a certain way based on what you would like to have it mean.

This is one of the reasons some readers maintain that tarot reversals are unnecessary since the tarot already expresses the whole range of human experience - good and bad. No need to add that additional twist.

Personally, I think reversals can be very useful provided they are approached in the right way.

My Approach

When we decide to use reversals we are inviting the cards to speak in distinctly dualistic terms - and therein lies the key to rationally interpreting reversals. All the cards have so called ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ meanings contained within them; reversals then allow as to clearly define when and where we are going to apply these meanings.

My approach therefor is as simple as it is intuitive. When reading with reversals, upright cards are always read as positive and reversed cards are always read as negative. The Tower, for example, only means "ruin, calamity or destruction" when reversed. When the Tower is upright it is read something along the lines of "breakthrough, inspiration, fertilising jolt, explosive joy" etc.  Like this all negative and positive meanings are parsed by the upright or reversed positions without exception. To give another example; upright the Lovers only talks about unions, relating and harmony and reversed only signifies discord, splitting up and so forth.

You get the idea.

1 comment:

  1. :) This was the Question I always wanted to ask, but always forgot :)