Tarot Card Reversals — some long-time readers don’t believe in reading them while others abide by them to gain full understanding. I’ve come across several who choose not to read reversals because they don’t want their readings to be “negative”. I’ve also seen some that don’t read reversals because someone told them that if they truly understood the cards they wouldn’t need to read the reversal.
For myself, I’ve always read reversals since Day 1 and I’ve never not overlooked the fact that a card came up reversed. Through my experience, observation, and deep reflection over the cards over time, I do strongly believe that the reversed cards should be read — or at least the reversal meaning should be understood.
To highlight my point, I’m going to provide a short reading example. Let’s say that I asked the cards the question: How can I increase my chances of a romantic relationship in the future? The cards I deal are: Emperor Reversed, 9 of Cups, 5 of Cups Reversed.
The 9 of Cups often signifies “wishes fulfilled” and that there is potentially some satisfaction there. However, the other two cards seem to not be quite as positive.
The 5 of Cups, when upright, shows emotional disappointment and loss. Perhaps this person is still hurt from a past relationship, conflicts with a friendship, or problems in their family. Regardless of the exact source, the person has likely dealt with some relationship problems and struggles to have this loss in their energy field. However, since the card is reversed it is actually a hair bit positive (in the case with this card) because this card can signify depression. As a reversal, that means that this energy is slightly “blocked” or “kinked”, which would mean for the 5 of Cups Reversed shows that the person is now at a moving on point from this disappointment even though the energy is still slightly present. Is it significantly impacting them at this point? No, but its not completely dormant either because if it was it wouldn’t come up in the cards.
The Emperor, when upright, expresses structure, discipline, boundaries, standards, organization, etc. Since this card is reversed the energy is, as I said earlier, “blocked” or “kinked”. This particular card, since it is one of the Major Arcana, is rather neutral and represents deep core lessons in the soul’s evolution. There is a very significant lesson in this that could potentially really change the way person’s future is shaped. So imagine to yourself what would you possibly see in a person who has the Emperor’s true energy “blocked”? If a person has trouble with boundaries and standards what would you see? That provides an answer to the reversal meaning.
In this case, I can see two potential interpretations for the Emperor Reversed:
1. The person has “too strict” of standards that they don’t allow anyone in because they fear to be “dominated” as they may have in the past.
2. The person should remember to have standards and not just settle with anyone.
Though these interpretations both appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, the irony is that they can both very well be true and resonate with the client. Why? Because at both ends of the spectrum there isn’t an equal balance. To set standards and boundaries we have to have them, but not make them too strict. An equilibrium has to be developed between the two, and it is then and only then that the true Emperor energy can be properly utilized.
If we did not read or consider the reversal then we may have easily looked this aspect over completely. Yes we may have picked up on a need for “structure” but we would’ve missed in understand where the client fully is if we didn’t ask ourselves “If this energy is blocked, what would it look like?” By reading and striving to understand the different potential interpretations of the reversal, we are then able to ultimately understand the full depth of the cards themselves better rather than simply look at them at face value. It’s a complicated universe with many different variables — it’s a shame if we overlook these little things and miss them entirely, especially in this type of work.
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