Tarot Reversals – Do You Need Them?

Revelations Tarot

Revelations Tarot – love that reversed Two of Cups!

I have a confession. I rarely read with reversed cards. I happen to think that the whole of the human experience is accurately reflected in the 78 upright cards. However, I’ve been thinking about it more lately and have tried incorporating reversals into my readings. I have some problems with them though.

Firstly, some people say you should deliberately turn half or a third of the deck in order to get reversals, but surely this is ‘interference’? Yes, it offers the chance to add depth and nuance to a reading but it also restricts it by effectively lowering the number of upright cards. Or am I missing something?

Let’s say the Three of Pentacles ‘wants’ to show up but the reader has included it in the bunch of reversed cards. The reversed Three of Pentacles (for me) represents a job done badly or failure to consult with others. Very different to the upright meaning. This puts me in somewhat of a quandary, especially when I am pretty sure the upright meaning applies in this case.

What about allowing the deck to take care of itself? All the cards are facing the same way, but occasionally one will turn itself around. I am much more in favour of that method and, while I will often turn the card back to the ‘right’ orientation, I’ll bear in mind that it showed up as a reversal. That way I can make sure my readings do have that extra depth when necessary.
Having said all that there are two decks that I like to read with reversals – the Revelations Tarot  by Zach Wong, where the reversed meaning is right there in the card. And very cleverly done they are too. I will include them in a detailed interpretation whichever way the card shows up.

The second deck is the Gilded Tarot  by Ciro Marchetti. There is something about the clarity of the images that lends them to quite revealing insights when you look at the card from upside down or even sideways.

Gilded Tarot reversals

To that end, because I have already made a concise list of the Gilded Tarot upright meanings, I have put together a list of reversed meanings too. I keep it to hand as I have an awful memory. I decided to upload it so anyone else who might be interested in my take on the Gilded Tarot reversals can reference it too.

Gilded Tarot Reversed Meanings

Gilded Tarot Meanings

What do you think about reversals? Do you prefer to use them, or does your heart sink when they show up in your readings?

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3 thoughts on “Tarot Reversals – Do You Need Them?

  1. Lucy

    Really interesting to read. I’m just starting out and struggling to get my head round the whole extra 78 meanings of reversed cards. It’s good to hear there are people out there that don’t use them. I’m definitely going to move forward not using them for the time being.

    1. theraggededge Post author

      Good for you, Lucy. I’ve been reading for 17 years and hardly ever used them unless it seemed appropriate. Rather than trying to learn the extra meanings, you could see a reversed card as 1. a weakened version, 2. the opposite meaning, or 3. an intensified meaning. Which one you choose will depend on the question and other cards in the reading. You’ll soon get a feel for it.

      Enjoy your tarot study!

  2. Lucy

    Thank you :o) will keep those options in mind and see what, if any seem right at the time. There’s so much info out there I think I just need to keep it simple x


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