Sit down!

Another way to understand reversed (upside down) cards in a Tarot reading.

I don’t know who enjoyed the cartoons more, my daughter or me.

Kids in the early 2000s had way better shows to watch than we did. But then, I’m old and decrepit and had to wait for Saturday to watch them. Still, Spongebob and Jimmy Neutron rocked.

One of the funnier bits in Jimmy Neutron was when Jimmy and Cindy used double negatives to get the teacher to give them permission to leave the classroom. When Carl tried to use some sort of complicated quadruple negative, all he got from Mrs. Fowl was a loud “Sit Down, Carl!”

Sometimes reversed Tarot cards are like Carl’s double negative attempt and they need to sit down.

Energy flows like a river. Tarot can point out where the current flows most freely…and where there are rocks in the way. Sometimes there are whirlpools and eddies and quiet pools. Reversed cards can make things go in circles if you get too tied up in them. There is a general notion that if a card turns over upside down (relative to the person doing the reading) its meaning is also reversed, presumably flipping the card from positive to negative connotations. Sometimes a reversed card is generally felt to be a negative omen, regardless of the specific card or meaning.

If the card points to the dark side of life in the first place?

If the reversed bad card is turned into a good card, why not just throw down a good card in the first place? Isn’t there more to it than that? Doesn’t that rob the reversal of any meaning? So what if it does?

Reversed cards can be difficult for beginner readers, exactly because of these swirls of energy (and questions) and the double negative style of communication. This is why I tend to tell reversed cards to sit down.

Double negative communication and any difficulty with reversed cards begins from a place of absolutes. The root mistake is to think a card has a fixed positive or negative connotation in the first place.

My method for dealing with reversed card is to view it as neutral regardless of orientation on the table. Take today’s card, the Hanged Man as an example. Let’s give it the ‘stagnation’ meaning today. For someone who has been harried and hurried and pushed, a time of being “stuck” might be a gift of enforced rest just when it is most needed. For someone who is rested and ready to move, “stuck” is a source of enormous frustration. To the first person, if the hanged man is read as meaning lots of new starts and forward momentum, which indeed could be negative and stressful for someone already too much on the move. For the second person, reversed hanged man and the connotation of forward movement is good news, not one bit negative in any way. The card and its message is neutral, not matter how it falls on the table or which side of its nature steps forward. The good or bad, positive or negative is assigned in context by the sitter (Sitter or seeker means the person getting the reading. When you read for yourself, reader and sitter are the same person.)

By beginning from a position of neutrality about the base card meaning, allowing the client to make any ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ judgement about how the card’s message applies to them. It makes it easier to read a reversal: take whatever meaning steps forward to you. If it is reversed, that simply means that the idea, life lesson or energy movement is blocked or challenged in some way, like a whirlpool outside of the river’s primary flow.

Or, it may mean nothing other than random chance in a deck that has been used and shuffled.

Let your intuition be your guide. If no intuition steps forward, then default to method. In this case, make the base card neutral in good vs bad, consider all the possible meanings for the card, and take the reversal to mean slowed or challenged energy surrounding whatever the card is addressing.

Class dismissed. You can stop sitting down now, Carl.

Author: SageWordsTarot

I read Tarot, write e-books and make stuff. 25 + years experience reading Tarot, oracle cards. Retired Tai Chi instructor. Reiki master-practitioner 20+ years

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