How Do Tarot Cards Get Reversed?

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How Do Tarot Cards Get Reversed?

Tarot cards have long been used as a tool for divination, providing insights into the past, present, and future. Each card holds a unique meaning, and the way it is drawn and placed in a spread can greatly affect its interpretation. One aspect of tarot card readings that often sparks curiosity is the concept of reversed cards. In this article, we will explore how tarot cards become reversed and what this means for a reading.

The Basics of Tarot Cards

Before we dive into the mechanics of reversed tarot cards, let’s briefly cover the basics. A standard tarot deck contains 78 cards, divided into two main sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, each representing a significant life event or archetype. The Minor Arcana consists of four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles), each with ten numbered cards (Ace to Ten) and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King).

During a tarot reading, the cards are shuffled and drawn by the reader or the querent (the one seeking guidance). The position of the drawn cards in a spread, such as the Celtic Cross or the Three-Card Spread, provides insights into different aspects of the situation or question at hand.

Understanding Reversed Tarot Cards

When a tarot card is drawn upside down or reversed, it holds a different energy and interpretation compared to when it appears upright. Reversed cards often indicate blocked energy, delays, or challenges in the associated area of life or theme represented by the card.

Some readers interpret reversed cards as a more intense version of their upright meaning, while others consider them as an indication of the opposite or a lesson to be learned. The specific interpretation of a reversed card can vary depending on the reader’s intuition, the question asked, and the surrounding cards in the spread.

How Tarot Cards Become Reversed

There are several ways in which tarot cards become reversed during a reading. Let’s explore some of the common methods:

1. Intentional Placement

Some tarot readers intentionally draw cards reversed to add depth and complexity to the reading. By mixing upright and reversed cards, the spread becomes more nuanced, offering a wider range of insights and possibilities. This method requires the reader to have a strong understanding of the reversed meanings and their links to the individual cards’ upright interpretations.

2. Accidental Reversals

In the process of shuffling and handling the cards, they can occasionally flip upside down unintentionally. Accidental reversals can happen due to various factors, such as the reader’s dexterity, the condition of the cards, or the level of concentration during the shuffling process. These unintentionally reversed cards can provide unexpected insights or highlight hidden aspects of the situation at hand.

3. Energetic Influences

Some readers believe that the energy of the querent, the reader, or the surrounding environment can influence the reversal of cards. For example, if a person is struggling with internal conflicts or obstacles, it may manifest in the cards being drawn upside down. Energetic influences can also be attributed to the collective unconscious or the spiritual connection between the reader and the cards.

The Implications of Reversed Tarot Cards

Reversed tarot cards have certain implications that can shape the overall reading. Here are a few key points to consider:

1. Blocked Energy

Reversed cards often signify blocked energy or stagnant situations. They suggest that there may be obstacles or emotional hurdles that need to be addressed before progress can be made. The presence of reversed cards can serve as a gentle nudge to explore one’s inner conflicts or seek resolution in certain areas of life.

2. Increased Intensity

Reversed cards can indicate heightened intensity or amplified energies. They may signify that the situation in question will have a more significant impact or require extra attention. This intensity can manifest as both challenges and opportunities, depending on the specifics of the reading and the surrounding cards.

3. The Shadow Side

Reversed cards often delve into the shadow side of the human experience. They shed light on hidden fears, subconscious patterns, or unresolved issues. While the upright meanings of tarot cards tend to focus on the positive aspects, reversed cards provide valuable insights into the shadows, encouraging personal growth and self-awareness.


Reversed tarot cards offer a deeper layer of interpretation and insight in a reading. Whether intentionally placed or arising accidentally, they provide valuable information about blocked energy, intensified situations, and the shadow aspects of our lives. Understanding the meanings of reversed cards and their implications can enrich any tarot reading, offering a more nuanced perspective on the querent’s journey.

Remember, the interpretation of reversed tarot cards may vary depending on the reader and the specific spread. Developing intuition, studying the symbolism of the cards, and building a personal connection with the deck are essential steps toward mastering the intricate language of the tarot.

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How Do Tarot Cards Get Reversed?