A Quick and Simple Guide to Reading Reversed Tarot Cards

card meanings

Tarot cards serve as mirrors to our subconscious, revealing insights and guidance through their symbolic imagery. When a card appears upside down or reversed during a reading, it adds depth and nuances to its interpretation. While some tarot enthusiasts may find reversed cards intimidating, they offer a rich layer of understanding once deciphered. Learning how to read these cards opens a broader spectrum of meanings, enhancing the depth and accuracy of your readings.

At first glance, reversed tarot card might seem to convey the opposite of its upright meaning. However, the interpretation goes beyond mere reversal. Reversed cards invite us to explore suppressed energies, blocked pathways, or unresolved aspects of the card’s upright meaning.

Opposite Interpretation

When a tarot card appears reversed, it may indeed suggest a meaning that contrasts with its upright position. This reversal doesn’t necessarily imply a complete reversal of the card’s inherent qualities but rather a shift in emphasis or a different aspect coming to the forefront. For example:

The Hierophant (Upright): Tradition, Conformity, Guidance
The Hierophant Reversed: Rebellion, Nonconformity, Unconventional Beliefs
When upright, the Hierophant embodies tradition and conformity, often representing institutions or established beliefs. However, in its reversed state, it might signify a break from these traditional structures, advocating for personal beliefs, rebellion against norms, or unconventional paths.

The Emperor (Upright): Authority, Structure, Control
The Emperor Reversed: Tyranny, Domination, Chaos
In its upright position, the Emperor embodies authority and structured leadership. Reversed, it could indicate misuse of power, authoritarian tendencies, or a lack of control leading to chaos.

Understanding opposite interpretations of reversed cards involves a nuanced approach that delves into the spectrum of meanings and how these contrasts manifest within the context of the reading. It’s essential to consider the surrounding cards and the overall spread to accurately interpret the reversed card’s message.

Blocked Energy or Resistance

Sometimes, a reversed card signifies blocked energy or resistance in the situation represented by the upright card. Take the upright Empress card, representing nurturing and abundance. When the Empress is reversed, it might imply neglect, creative blocks, or issues with self-care.

From personal experience, a reversed tarot cards often signal a hindrance or resistance in the natural flow of energy represented by the upright card. This blockage might signify internal or external obstacles, stagnant situations, or unaddressed issues that need attention. Let’s have a look at a few more examples:

The Ace of Swords (Upright): Clarity, Mental Fortitude, Truth
The Ace of Swords Reversed: Confusion, Mental Blockage, Miscommunication
In its upright position, the Ace of Swords signifies mental clarity and a breakthrough in understanding. However, when reversed, it might suggest confusion, mental fog, or miscommunication hindering the ability to gain clarity or articulate thoughts effectively.

The Eight of Pentacles (Upright): Skill Mastery, Hard Work, Focus
The Eight of Pentacles Reversed: Lack of Progress, Distractions, Skill Misuse
When upright, the Eight of Pentacles represents dedication and skill development. In its reversed state, it might indicate a lack of progress due to distractions, a misuse of acquired skills, or a need to reevaluate the approach to achieve desired goals.

Interpreting blocked energy or resistance in reversed cards involves recognizing the barriers preventing the full expression of the card’s upright qualities. Addressing these blockages is crucial to understanding how to navigate through challenges and enable the energy to flow more freely.

Understanding the reasons behind these blockages, whether they stem from internal conflicts, external influences, or unseen factors, allows for a more comprehensive interpretation of the reversed cards within the context of the tarot reading.

Inner Reflection and Shadow Work

Reversed tarot cards often serve as catalysts for exploring our inner landscape, shedding light on aspects of ourselves that might be hidden or overlooked—the realm of shadow work. These cards illuminate the unconscious or suppressed elements, inviting us to acknowledge and address them. For instance:

The Moon (Upright): Intuition, Subconscious, Mystery
The Moon Reversed: Deception, Fear, Unresolved Emotions
In its upright position, the Moon represents intuition and the subconscious mind. However, when reversed, it may indicate deception, deep-seated fears, or unresolved emotions surfacing from the shadows of the subconscious.

The Hanged Man (Upright): Surrender, Sacrifice, Perspective Shift
The Hanged Man Reversed: Resistance to Change, Stagnation, Self-Sacrifice Without Gain
While the upright Hanged Man signifies a voluntary shift in perspective and surrender, its reversal might signify resistance to change, feeling stuck or stagnant, or sacrificing without gaining valuable insights or growth.

Interpreting reversed cards through the lens of inner reflection and shadow work involves acknowledging and confronting these hidden aspects. It prompts us to delve deeper into our psyche, encouraging introspection and self-awareness to address unresolved issues or fears that may be hindering personal growth.

By embracing the messages of reversed tarot cards within the context of shadow work, we embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing, paving the way for personal transformation and a deeper understanding of ourselves and our experiences.


Reading reversed tarot cards requires patience, intuition, and an open mind. Embrace these cards as keys to a deeper understanding of your readings. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach; allow your intuition to guide you as you interpret the reversed cards in conjunction with the overall spread. Through practice and reflection, decoding the mysteries of reversed tarot cards will become an enriching aspect of your tarot journey, unveiling profound insights and enhancing the depth of your readings.