Should You Read Reversed Cards in Tarot Readings?

card meanings

Tarot reading is a practice that involves drawing cards from a deck to gain insight and guidance. Each card holds symbolic meaning, offering a spectrum of interpretations that can be influenced by their upright or reversed positions. The debate over whether to incorporate reversed cards in readings has been a topic of discussion among tarot enthusiasts. Understanding the significance of reversed cards requires a nuanced perspective that explores both sides of this argument, so if you decide to include reversals into your readings, you should check out this Quick and Simple Guide to Reading Reversed Tarot Cards.

Upright vs. Reversed Interpretations

In tarot readings, the upright position of a card typically signifies its standard or ‘as intended’ meaning. Each card in its upright form holds a positive, neutral, or challenging interpretation, offering guidance on various aspects of life, relationships, or personal growth. For instance, the upright High Priestess might signify intuition, mystery, or accessing the subconscious mind, while the upright Tower card often represents sudden upheaval or unexpected change.

On the contrary, reversed cards—when drawn upside down—tend to reflect a deviation from the upright meanings. They are commonly associated with blocked energy, delays, internal conflicts, or the need for introspection.

For example, the reversed High Priestess might suggest blocked intuition or ignoring one’s inner voice, while the reversed Tower card could indicate avoiding necessary change or delaying inevitable disruption.

The contrasting interpretations between upright and reversed cards create a spectrum of meanings, offering a more nuanced view of situations. While upright cards provide a direct message, reversed cards infuse complexity by highlighting underlying challenges, suppressed emotions, or overlooked obstacles. Understanding these dual perspectives allows for a richer exploration of the reading’s depth and complexity.

Depth and Nuance in Readings

The inclusion of reversed cards in tarot readings introduces a layer of depth that can significantly enrich the overall interpretation. When integrated thoughtfully, reversed cards act as mirrors reflecting obscured aspects of a situation.

Reversed cards can unveil subtle intricacies, unresolved issues, or internal tensions that might otherwise remain unnoticed in a reading solely focused on upright cards.

By acknowledging the presence of reversed cards, a tarot reader can delve deeper into the querent’s psyche, uncovering hidden fears, unacknowledged desires, or overlooked challenges. This deeper exploration facilitates a more comprehensive understanding of the complexities surrounding the situation at hand.

Furthermore, reversed cards challenge the reader to consider the potential duality within each card’s meaning. They prompt a reassessment of traditional interpretations, encouraging a more flexible and open-minded approach to understanding the symbolism behind each card. This fluidity allows for a broader range of insights, fostering a dynamic reading that adapts to the nuances of the querent’s circumstances.

Incorporating reversed cards also invites a balanced perspective. While upright cards may offer clarity and direction, reversed cards provide a counterbalance, urging the querent to confront areas of discomfort or stagnation. This equilibrium fosters a holistic view of the situation, encouraging personal growth, and guiding the querent toward a more balanced resolution.

Ultimately, the inclusion of reversed cards elevates the richness of a tarot reading by unlocking hidden layers of meaning, encouraging introspection, and fostering a deeper understanding of the complexities inherent in life’s journey.

Reader’s Preference and Intuition

And yes, at the end of the day it is up to you if you want to read reversed cards or no. Some tarot readers choose not to use reversed cards in their readings, preferring a straightforward interpretation of upright cards. Others rely on their intuition and the flow of the reading to decide whether to include reversed cards. It often boils down to the reader’s comfort level, personal beliefs, and the specific needs of the querent.

Challenges and Clarity

While the inclusion of reversed cards can deepen the insights of a tarot reading, it also presents challenges that readers need to navigate adeptly. One significant challenge is the potential for misinterpretation or confusion. Reading reversed cards requires a nuanced understanding of the traditional meanings in their upright positions, as well as an awareness of how these meanings might shift or evolve when reversed.

Interpreting reversed cards accurately demands a higher level of skill and experience. Beginners in tarot reading might find it challenging to discern between subtle variations in meanings or to differentiate between a reversed card indicating blockages versus a simple delay in energy.

Moreover, integrating reversed cards could potentially overwhelm the reading with complexity, leading to information overload. Too many reversed cards in a spread might obscure the overarching message, creating a convoluted narrative that could confuse both the reader and the querent. Balancing the depth that reversed cards offer with the need for clarity and coherence in the reading becomes pivotal.

Another challenge lies in maintaining the flow and narrative coherence of the reading when incorporating reversed cards. Seamlessly weaving upright and reversed interpretations to form a cohesive storyline requires finesse and practice. Otherwise, the reading might appear disjointed or fragmented, hindering the querent’s ability to grasp the overarching message.

However, with practice and a deepening understanding of the tarot deck’s symbolism, these challenges can be overcome. Tarot readers who choose to incorporate reversed cards often develop their unique methods to manage these complexities, striking a delicate balance between depth and clarity in their readings.

Ultimately, while the inclusion of reversed cards poses challenges, it also offers an opportunity for growth and mastery in the art of tarot reading. Overcoming these hurdles empowers readers to provide more comprehensive, insightful, and nuanced guidance to those seeking answers and clarity through tarot interpretations.


The debate around reading reversed cards in tarot sessions is multifaceted. While some find immense value in the added depth and insight they bring to readings, others prefer the simplicity and directness of upright interpretations. Ultimately, the decision to incorporate reversed cards should be guided by the reader’s expertise, intuition, and the preferences of the individual seeking guidance. Whether one chooses to embrace reversed cards or not, the essence of tarot lies in offering guidance, introspection, and a deeper understanding of life’s complexities.