Should you read reversals?

Depending on how you shuffle your deck, some cards may be upside down when you turn them over.  These cards are called reversals.

It is not necessary to read reversals.  I have been reading cards for over 25 years, and I do not read reversed cards.  Many other experienced readers I know don’t read them, either.  However, some readers do read reversals and feel that they clarify the reading.

It’s completely up to you whether you want to read reversals or not.

If you do want to read them, here’s a few things they might denote:

  • Blocked energy associated with the meaning.  For instance, Heart reversed might mean difficulty in a relationship or delays in finding a partner.


  • Energy turned inward instead of outward.  In this case, Heart reversed would mean to love yourself first, rather than directing your love toward others right now.


  • A negative interpretation.  This reading of the card can indicate the exact opposite of the upright meaning.  So, instead of meaning love, as usual, Heart reversed might mean hate or strong dislike.  It can also mean a relationship ending.


  • Extra importance or focus on the meaning of certain cards.  If there is only one or two reversed cards, they may be emphasizing a certain point.  For instance, the reversals might indicate a warning or some intensity.  Heart could mean to guard your heart against possible betrayal, or it could mean a passionate affair in the offing.

Why not read reversals?

Because reversals automatically tend toward more challenging or negative interpretations, they may make your readings more pessimistic.  It can be harder to see the bright side of a reading if you get a lot of reversed cards.

While you don’t need to sugarcoat a bad outcome, you should be able to offer some guidance in a positive direction to help your seeker and yourself keep a hopeful perspective.  It’s easier to see encouragment when the cards are upright.

Also, when you get used to using certain meanings and techniques for the cards, you may start relying on general interpretations and not following your intuition as much.  This practice can skew your readings or make them less targeted for you and your seekers.  Simply memorizing definitions and relying on reversals can make you lazy as a reader.  Try to approach each reading with a fresh outlook.

Basically, you really don’t need to read reversals to give a good reading.  You can give a much more detailed and profound reading by interpreting the cards in pairs, as discussed in the Midnight Oracle Guide (download the cards and guide for free).  Essentially, the first card delivers the main message, and the second card clarifies it and adds more meaning to the interpretation.

As always, you can try different techniques and see which ones you are drawn to do.  Ultimately, you need to follow your intuition above all else.