In the standard tarot deck there are 78 cards, with 22 major arcana cards and 56 minor arcana cards. Each card has it’s own meaning and for many, they not only interpret the card in its upright but also when it’s in reverse. A reversed card is any card that appears upside down when you draw it. Many believe that when you come across a reversed card you interpret the opposite meaning of the upright, however, it’s a bit more complicated than this.
Although there’s no right or wrong way to pull and interpret cards, getting a card in reverse doesn’t automatically mean that something bad will happen. Instead, there are multiple approaches that you can take to a card in reverse depending on the type or suit you pull. For instance, an upright card might indicate the something is coming your way, whereas a card in reverse may mean that thing is already happening and you’re moving forward. This is called a decrease in card intensity and can actually make reverse cards into a positive interpretation. An example of this interpretation of a reversed card can be seen through the Devil. In the upright position, this card represents oppression, dependency, excess and addiction. But, when you interpret this card in reverse as a decrease in intensity, it means freedom, independence and reclaiming control.
Another way to interpret reversed cards is to view them as a blockage of the upright card. In this instance, a card in reverse can be understood that the energy or action of the upright card is being suppressed by something, which will depend from card to card. Say, for instance, you draw the Fool. In an upright position, they card represents new beginnings and change. But, if interpreting a reversed card as a blockage of energy, this would mean that you’re unable to move forward from something in your life.
A final way to interpret a reversed card is to recognize it as the extreme of the upright card. Say, for instance, you pull the Magician card. In the upright position, this card represents skill, ability, willpower and manifestation. This is a great card for creating new opportunities, whether that be in career, love or otherwise. However, when it’s in reverse, this card can be interpreted as illusion and trickery, showing that too much skillfulness can become deception.
The best way to further understand upright and reversed cards is to practice pulling cards. And don’t be afraid to investigate into other guides (apart from the one that comes with the deck) or create your own, as this can help build your understanding of tarot overall.