Reversed Cards

One of the biggest questions in the tarot community revolves around card reversals. Does the direction of a card alter its meaning? My opinion on this is that it does, card reversals provide a method in which the state of the card is altered and as such adds a greater dimension to any reading.

Reversed cards allow the reader to ascertain whether the full impact of the card should be applied to the spread or not. Many readers may not agree with this position. We all have our own technique and there is no right or wrong.
Primary & Secondary Meanings
I consider the upright card to have the primary meaning, for example The Sun - a powerful positive force, this brings a powerful positive aspect to any reading. When reversed however, we apply the secondary meaning. This is not an opposite and definitely does not imply a powerful negative force just that the full impact of the card cannot be applied. In this case the outcome will be generally positive but with some issues remaining which need to be overcome. The same rule will apply to a dark card, for example The Devil - a warning of extremes such as obsession, violence or temptation. When reversed it suggests you will be able to overcome such negative bahaviours.

The court cards are an exception. For kings and queens, when reversed they tend to display negative attributes of the suit. For example, a reversed king or queen of pentacles will show that someone is being competitive, materialistic or jealous as they have not mastered the lesson of the pentacles suit. With pages the primary meaning is to stop dreaming and start making plans, whereas the secondary meaning is to hold off as the plans are totally unrealistic.

Overall, if we have a lot of reversed cards in a spread it is generally a sign that nothing will happen quickly, there are likely to be many delays and obstacles in the way. The challenge here is to work around these problems to find a way forward.
Updated: 15/11/2023