What Is A Reversed Tarot Card?

Tarot reading is incredibly popular. It is a kind of cartomancy where readers will utilize Tarot cards in order to gain some insight into the future, the past, and the present.

In most cases, the Tarot card reader will come up with a question that needs to be answered, whether for themselves, or for the person receiving the reading. 

What Is A Reversed Tarot Card?

The reader will then draw the tarot cards upright, and interpret them based on the images and names of the ones chosen. But what if you draw them upside-down? 

These are reversed tarot cards. Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know about reversed tarot cards.

Tarot cards can help you gain insight into your life, and yourself. As a result, it is a form of self care and is highly therapeutic. If you are interested in the concept of Tarot cards, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s go over some of the basics. 

The Basics

There are 78 cards in a Tarot deck. These are divided by major arcana, and minor arcana which loosely means major mysteries and minor ones.

Within the deck, there will be 22 major arcana cards that relate to things in our lives such as our relationships, our careers, and personal development. 

The rest are the 56 minor arcana cards. These cards are more subtle, and relate to the small insights we can gain from our lives. A simple tarot reading will involve taking three cards from the deck, and laying them out.

With a three card pull, the cards represent the past, the present, and the future, or the mind, body and spirit of the person being read by the cards. 

While these cards are typically pulled and placed the right side up, there is a concept called a reversed tarot card reading. Let’s find out what this entails. 

What Is A Reversed Tarot Card?

There is a lot of debate in the Tarot card reading sphere about reversed Tarot readings. Many believe that they are dark, negative, or gloomy renditions of upright Tarot cards, but this is not always the case. 

Reversed tarot card reading is not a technique that all Tarot readers use. However, reversed tarot cards can bring more dimension and depth to your Tarot readings.

They can provide you with more insight than simply reading them upright.

Pulling a reversed Tarot card means that you have lost some of the intended energy you would find in an upright card, shown in the right side up position. 

Some Tarot card readers prefer to use reversals, as a reversed Tarot card conveys the exact opposite of what the upright card does. 

For instance, if you have pulled The Fool card upright, which represents someone who is carefree or a risk taker, then the meaning of this card reversed is the opposite, and connotes that the person who is cautious, nervous, or anxious to try anything out of the norm. 

How Do You Read A Reversed Tarot Card?

One of the easiest methods to read a reversed tarot card is to split the deck into three separate piles. Then, turn one pile 180 degrees so those upright cards will then be reversed. 

That being said, if you are shuffling your cards before a reading, and you place them face down on top of the table, mixing them up, you are more than likely going to have some turned upside down or ‘reversed’. 

When you then pull the cards, you will have a mixture of some upright, and some reversed. When it comes to reading them, the reversed cards require a little extra attention to detail.

If a card has been pulled in a reversed manner, then it is a sign that the card is vying for your attention.

These cards allow for self reflection, and are screaming at you to understand and interpret them. But, when reading the card, because it is pulled upside down, or the opposite way, you have to read them in the opposite way. 

A reversed card will mean the exact opposite of what it would convey if it was read if it was the right side up. 

In addition, some believe that a reversed tarot card has the ‘dark’ meaning of the normal tarot card. For instance, tarot can have light meanings and shadow meanings.

The light, as you can imagine, is the brighter, more positive, and optimistic reading of the card. 

The shadow side of the card is the more foreboding, negative, and darker interpretation of the card’s meaning. For instance, The Empress card is all about longevity, happiness and success.

When read positively, it represents success while enjoying life, and a good work life balance. When read negatively, The Empress represents a lack of work life balance, lower financial stability, or someone who is overwhelmed by their responsibilities. 

Reversed Tarot Card Meanings

Here are some examples of major arcana Tarot cards and their reversed meanings.

What Is A Reversed Tarot Card? (1)

The Magician

Upright: Creativity, manifestation, desire.

Reversed: Illusion, trickery, deception.

The High Priestess

Upright: Wisdom, instinctive. 

Reversed: Lack of inner voice, repressed emotions.

The Emperor

Upright: Control, fatherhood, authority, power.

Reversed: Tyranny, totalitarianism, rigidity, dictatorship. 

The Lovers

Upright: Unions, partnership, communication

Reversed: Imbalance, discordance.

The Wheel Of Fortune

Upright: Natural cycles, change, everything in motion, fate

Reversed: Bad luck, misfortune, lack of control


Upright: Truth will out, clear mind, actions and consequences.

Reversed: Dishonesty, lies, unfairness, injustice.


Upright: New beginnings, the end of a cycle, change.

Reversed: Fear of change, decay, inaction.


To summarize, some Tarot readers do not like to pull cards from the deck in a reversed manner, as these cards are often considered the dark opposite of the upright cards.

However, it can sometimes be potent to pull reversed tarot cards as these can act as omens that must be heard by the one being read.

In short, a reversed tarot card has the exact opposite meaning of an upright card, as it is pulled and shown from the deck upside down.  

Andrea Daehma
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