The Significance Of Reversed Tarot Cards

The Significance Of Reversed Cards

Reversed cards are cards that face in different directions to the rest of the pack. This sometimes happens when the deck is shuffled. If this happens, one option is to just turn the cards around to face the right way. However reversed cards can also be worked with to help find answers during the reading.

In a tarot deck all the cards denote a certain energy. A tarot reading will portray the collective energy that forms the basis of a situation. So during a reading a story is written that takes into account your own energy and unconscious mind, as well as the energy around you at the time of the reading. Thus reversed cards can have meaning too.

If a card is facing the correct way its energy has free reign. This means that the qualities embodied in the card are free to move where they like. However reversed cards denote the opposite. In this case the card’s energy is stunted, in its initial stage of development or starting to lose power. So while the energy of the card is present, its expression is hampered in some way.
How reversed cards are interpreted depends on each card. If a Sun card is reversed it could mean that the energy and vitality of the sun is present but only at low levels. If the Empress card appears reversed it may mean that the energy of mothering or nurturing is somehow blocked.

Reversed cards should not be viewed as entirely negative in nature. There significance depends on what you hold most important as the desirable outcome. The card itself is not negative. For example the Three of Swords symbolizes heartbreak and betrayal. If the card appears reversed it means that while this issue is present it is not severely felt.

If reversed cards appear that seem to conflict with the reality of your situation it may mean that you could make the situation better by lowering the energy instead. You can also try to form card pairs from reversed cards.

For example Sun and Moon cards denote opposite extremes in terms of clarity. Sun cards show enlightenment, the Moon, confusion. If the sun is reversed and the moon upright it may mean that there is little certainty and a large degree of confusion. It might also mean that you are confused but can become clearer. Thus reversed cards that appear in pairs can be helpful.

If, during a tarot reading there are many reversed cards it could mean that the seeker’s energy levels are low and underdeveloped or that there is a lot of confusion within. The seeker may feel stuck or need to effect major changes in your life. This might be a good thing since it means you have the freedom to take any turn in the road. Using reversed cards can be helpful so try to do so instead of turning them around. State your intention to use the reversed cards in readings out loud before you begin. Reversed cards can bring extra meaning to a tarot reading and are unlikely to have no significance.


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Tori Weatherington

Tori Weatherington


  1. I’m confused how you can pull a reversed card…

    1. TheGoddess says:

      If the card is faced away from you, it’s a reversed card.

      Also, depending on the deck and if it comes with a book explaining a certain spread, it breaks it down by card and where it’s positioned in your reading – first card placed, second card placed, third card placed, etc. The position it’s in and the explanation for that position usually will indicate whether it’s a reversed card or not for you.

      I own a smaller portable set and the book it comes with gives the meanings for upright as well as its reversed meaning. As I handle the cards more, I realize what makes sense to me and what doesn’t when I’m inquiring about a situation.

      My book reads that the first card you throw, no matter what, is always assumed upright. If a card comes reversed, it does not necessarily mean a “negative”, it usually means just the opposite of the card’s upright meaning, or a weaker message. When I shuffle, I tend to cut the deck up depending on my mood, anywhere from 3 to 7 times. Then as I go put the cards together, I take one pile upright, one pile downside, and then shuffle some more. By then, my cards are no longer going in one direction but are mixed up nicely to reflect some up some down. All this time with all this shuffling and cutting, I clear out my mind. Then and only then do I throw cards down.

      But that’s just me. You may do yours differently.

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