How to Read Tarot: Reversed Cards or Cursed Cards?

A guide to reading the Reversed Card from “Tarot: Unlocking the Arcana” by Angelo Nasios

Reversed Cards: An Introduction

  • It is first necessary to understand that reversed cards are not meant to be read by every level of Tarot reader: Nasios recommends that beginners just read the cards upright, as they are still learning the deck and the meanings of each card they come across.
  • When reading a reversed card, it is important to consider the many ways one can read it: as a positive, meaning that the reversals allow you to see more and understand the reading better, exploring the many different dimensions.
  • On the other hand, some readers do not think reversals are necessary, as the upright cards already have both positive and negative aspects.
  • If you are open to learning (or relearning,) how to read reversed cards, follow the different interpretations below!

Interpreting Reversed Cards

Opposite

A simple reversed reading, where good becomes bad and bad becomes good.

Example Card: Ace of Cups, water pouring out signifies a never-ending fountain. Reversed, this could mean the fountain has run out of water.

Gaining and Fading

The energy of the card is either gaining importance or influence — the future or energy coming into the situation (not related to the past). If fading, the opposite is true: losing influence or importance. This energy, however, is related to the past or recent events leaving the situation.

Gaining Example Card: The Tower normally signifies a major shift or quick change taking place. If reversed, the change could be gaining influence over the matter, allowing more time for the change to occur or to process it.

Fading Example Card: Ace of Cups, instead of the water running out (as mentioned in the Opposite example), this could mean the water is simply fading — in need of rejuvenation or at risk of running out if not attended to.

Fanatical/Extreme and Weak/Lessened

The card is seen in an extreme view, pushing it’s energy to the limits. This impacts the card negatively, through exhaustion. If the card is seen as weak, it’s energy is lessened, the degree of it’s meaning depleted.

Extreme Example Card: The Sun typically signifies a strong sense of vitality and energy. The reversed method of extreme makes it so strong that it can cause burnout effect.

Lessened Example Card: The 9 of Swords for worry or anxiety. If the card is reversed, this could mean that your anxieties and fears have no foundation — simply put, you are sweating over nothing!

Blocked/Resisted

The normal energy is blocked, repressed, and rejected.

Example Card: Upright, Temperance can relate to balanced communication or cooperation. In a blocked reading, this could mean that all communication has ceased, or general balance is out of order.

Absent/Missing

The energy of the card is missing from the issue. This could provide an area of insight as to what needs to be added to improve the issue at hand.

Example Card: The Ace of Wands normally has similar energy to The Sun; sparks of passion, energy, excitement, and growth. If you read it’s reversal as absent/missing, that energy is not there, changing the matter at hand.

Karmic/Past Life

The card represents energies that are related to a past life or karmic debt. It is also an opportunity for a karmic lesson, which can be difficult.

Example Card: Upright, the Six of Pentacles is about generosity and helping someone/something. In the reverse, it may show that a lesson was to be learned here. In a past life, someone helped the other greatly and a debt was owed. In this life, however, it was finally repaid and they can move on.