Your cart

Your cart is empty

What Does a Reversed Tarot Card Mean?

What Does a Reversed Tarot Card Mean?

A reversed tarot card is when you pull a card and it appears upside down. But what does it mean and how should you read it?

This is a common question asked by beginner tarot students. Does the meaning of a card change if it is reversed versus upright? 

Well, that depends on YOU. 

Our advice is always to start with setting clear intentions with your tarot deck– remember, cards are tools, and you get to direct how you use them. So, decide whether or not you want to read reversed tarot cards. 

But how do you know if you want to read reversals or not? 

First, if you are a beginner, we recommend not reading reversals. The reason is that interpreting reversals doubles or triples the possible meaning of each card. If you are just starting out, this can become confusing and overwhelming fast. 

It is best to wait to read reversals until you are confident that you know the meaning of every card upright first. We will go over more beginner tips to learn to read tarot in the next few posts. 

Setting your intentions can be as simple as stating out loud to the deck- either when you first get your tarot deck, or each time you pull cards- whether or not you will read reversed cards. Yes, talk to your deck. Really. 

If you do decide you want to read reversed cards, there are several common ways of interpreting them:

  • Reversed card as blocked energy. This is our favorite way to interpret reversed cards. If a card appears in your spread reversed, it means that the energy of that card is trying to manifest or is already present but is being blocked or overlooked in some way. For instance, if you pull a card on a job opportunity and you pull the Queen of Pentacles reversed, that means that that abundant and fertile energy is present, but is blocked in some way. The number one way that energy is blocked is because we are blocking it with our own fears or subconscious limiting beliefs. In this case, either spend some time journaling or reflecting on how or why this energy might be blocked, or pull another clarifying card asking why the energy is blocked or what to do to unblock it– at this point, I usually tell the deck to show me the next card upright. 
  • Inner versus Outer expression. Sometimes a reversed tarot card means that the energy is already present internally, within yourself, but has not yet manifested externally. For instance, if you pulled the Fool card reversed, you might feel like you’re ready to take a big leap of faith or start down a new path, but you might not yet be taking outward action toward it. 
  • Do the Opposite of the Upright card meaning- This is the most obvious interpretation, but our least favorite way to read reversals, as it over simplifies their meaning. Simply, if it is reversed, read it as the opposite of whatever the upright meaning is. So, if you pulled the Eight of Wands reversed, the upright meaning is generally to move quickly, full speed ahead in one straight direction. Reversed, it could mean to pause, move slowly, consider alternate options, or proceed with caution. 

So, with so many options for how to interpret a reversed card… which do you use? This is where your intuition and autonomy come into play. You're in control. 

Pick One. And use it every time. 

Decide which method of interpretation resonates most deeply for you, and then use that method every time. Do not rely on simply googling the meaning of reversed cards, as you will get wildly varying answers since different people interpret them differently. Learn the meanings of the cards upright, and then choose your go-to method for reading reversals from there. 

What does it mean if all my cards are reversed? 

If you pull a multi-card tarot spread (three or more cards) and every card is reversed… or you seem to be on a streak of pulling reversed cards every time you do a reading, then it’s time to look for the bigger issue. There is a larger energetic block at play. 

Consider doing some journaling or shadow work around these questions: What is getting in my way right now? Where do I feel stuck and why? Can I feel an energetic block? Do I feel any sense of powerlessness around this topic or question?

Remember that blocks are often subconscious so it can require some digging and brutal self honesty to find them. 

If you are pulling all reversed cards, you may also wish to do a simple three card spread asking about it directly. Pull three cards for each of the following questions: 

  1. What is this block about?
  2. What is it trying to teach me?
  3. What action can I take to unblock? 

Tarot card spread for when you keep pulling reversals

Have any questions about reading tarot card reversals? Drop them below? 

Shop all tarot and oracle decks here

Previous post