When you’re learning how to read Tarot cards, sooner or later, you’re going to have to decide whether or not to read reversed Tarot cards. It’s a topic that many Tarot readers will argue about incessantly, but really, the decision is entirely up to you. Do you have to learn how to read reversed Tarot cards to do accurate readings? No, not necessarily. Let’s take a look at why some readers love reversed cards, and why others prefer to keep all their cards upright.

Are you a beginner Tarot reader?

If you’re a beginner Tarot reader, it’s always easier to read all your cards upright. If you’re still working on getting a feel for the energy of the cards and the suits and the Major Arcana and the court cards…yikes, that’s a lot to take in, right? You might not be ready to add another layer to your readings, yet.

And that’s perfectly okay! Work with the upright cards, or if you’re feeling adventurous, keep your little white book handy with the reversed card meanings so that you can reference them until you get a feel for them. Remember, reading Tarot is all about feeling and sensing the energy of the cards with your intuition – it’s not just about memorization!

So, yeah. There’s nothing at all wrong with reading upright cards only if you’re just starting on your path with Tarot. If you happen to get a reversed card in a reading, just flip it upright and move on.

Does my deck even have reversed meanings?

Some decks, like my very favorite Animal Totem Tarot deck, don’t have reversed meanings to the cards listed in their reference book. This doesn’t mean that you can’t read the cards reversed if they happen to pop up that way, but it means that if you do decide to read reversals, you’re on your own to interpret the meanings of the cards.

That’s not necessarily¬† a bad thing! For an adventurous beginner who wants to really dive deep into the energy of the cards, reading reversals without a “safety net” is a fabulous exercise in developing and learning how to trust your intuition – and isn’t that what Tarot is all about?

Another deck that I love that doesn’t include reversed card meanings is the Fifth Element Tarot Deck. This is a monster of a deck – it adds in an additional 20 cards or so using the fifth element of ether. That’s 92 cards with 92 different meanings – in some cases, not having to be bothered with reversed Tarot card meanings is a blessing!

Why do you want to read reversals, anyway?

Reversed Tarot cards can add new layers of meaning to a Tarot reading. Reversed cards aren’t necessarily about bad things, doom and gloom, etc. Hell, some of the upright Tarot cards are hard enough to swallow. My 9 year old looks at the 5 of Pentacles in the Animal Totem Tarot and says to me, “Mommy! That card is BRUTAL!”

Well, yeah, kid. The energy of the Tarot is here to point out what needs to come to the surface to be healed, and it’s not always pretty.

But reversed cards can sometimes indicate that healing has begun, or it can indicate a block in positive energy flow, or it can sometimes mean an internalization of the energy of that card. There are lots of ways to read reversed Tarot cards, and the best part is that as long as you trust your intuition, you can’t read them wrong.

Try this quick exercise in reading reversals.

Want to try a quick exercise in reading reversed Tarot cards? Grab a pen and paper and see what you can come up with. The best way to do this is with automatic writing – just write as fast you can without thinking and see what spills out.

First card: 10 of Cups


Taking a quick look at the 10 of Cups upright: the number 10 is about completion and satisfaction. The cups are all about our emotions – and underneath these 10 beautiful cups we have a family of penguins. Penguins are great family creatures – the fathers stay with the eggs during the dark, cold winters while the mothers do the dangerous job of searching for food. It’s a true team effort to raise those little baby penguins in such harsh conditions, but they do it together. The 10 of Cups is all about having a happy family, and a strong family bond.


Now we take that card and flip it upside down. Take a look at it, and just start free writing – what are your impressions of the reversed card? (Remember, trust your intuition – there’s no wrong way to do it!)

Second Card: The Devil


Woa, The Devil! This Major Arcana card has some major lessons for us when it comes to our attachments and our perceptions. What is real, and what are we creating to hold us back? Is it true that things are exactly as they seem on the surface? Or are we being asked to get real about the stories that we’ve told ourselves? Are we in control of our lives, or are we allowing ourselves to be controlled by outside opinions?


Now look at the card reversed. What are your impressions? Start free writing and let your energy spill out on to the paper!

Trusting your intuition with reversed cards

Here’s the thing about reading reversed Tarot cards: it doesn’t really matter if you read reversed cards or not. Truly. If you trust your intuition, and you trust that the energy of the cards will be correct regardless of how you choose to handle the reading, you will get the answers you seek. The energy of the Tarot isn’t going to mess with you! As long as you have a solid trust of the energy you feel when you turn over the cards, you can’t do it wrong.

Take your time when you’re learning to read reversals. Do them when the situation feels right, and keep your cards all upright when you feel the need to do so. Tarot is such a very personal practice, so when it comes to reading reversed Tarot cards, whatever you decide to do will be perfect.

What were your impressions of the reversed Tarot cards? Feel free to leave a comment below and share with us, please!