PDA

View Full Version : Lesson One: Discussions



Glory
July 17th, 2007, 11:20 AM
To reverse, or not to reverse?

This is one of the earliest questions a new (or even experienced) Tarot reader might ask themselves. For me, it varies from deck to deck, even reading to reading, because adding in reversals can bring in a whole new dynamic that a lot of readers either embrace, don't feel is necessary, or perhaps don't understand. In this course, we'll study together in understanding the use of reversals, what they can bring to a reading, and whether we want to welcome it.

In this lesson, I'll raise up some issues and points from both perspectives. Your activity is described at the bottom.

Cons?

In the standard Tarot deck, there are 78 cards. For a newbie, it can be quite a feat to learn them all, whether out of a book or through intuition. So why would you want to double the amount of things to learn, when even the best Tarot readers out there say you don't have to? And for the experienced Tarot reader, why fix something that's not broken?
Often readers will argue that one card will hold both "negative" and "positive" meanings without needing to reverse, and it is up to the reader to determine what it means in relation to the spread and position. This gives us a broad spectrum to work with in relation to every card, without having to draw lines between negative and positive.
How does one determine a "reversed" meaning, anyway? Opposite seems, at best, illogical, and other definitions may prove to contaminate the original meaning, rather than adding to it. How can we discern what a "reversed" interpretation of a card is?
Imagery is an important aspect of Tarot, obviously. What meaning can an upside-down picture carry? Most seem illogical, or seem to go against an artist's intention.Pros?


The benefits of reading reversals are quite similar to some of the reasons to not use them, as mentioned above. One of which is the multitude of meanings. Certainly, one can see that double the amount of meanings can greatly enhance the potential for a more accurate reading.
Reversals can, in some cases, help us understand in greater depth the meaning of the upright interpretation as well, rather than taking away from it. We can also study to see if reversals truly are simply the negative or positive version of a card, and what that means in regards to the upright.
The amount of ways one can interpret the idea of "reverse" are plenty - outside of the LWB, usually there aren't any fixed ideas behind it (unless we're dealing with a deck like the Revelations Tarot (http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/revelations/), which has very specific ideas of reversals illustrated by the artist) outside of opinion. This could be a bad thing, but the lack of restraint might also be a benefit to some - especially if reversals are to be used strictly for study purposes.Activity

Within this thread, please pick one of the bullet points above and give your own opinions about the idea presented. You may disagree, agree, add something new. If none of them interest you and you feel you have a different pro or con to bring to the table, do so!

Feel free, also, to reply to the ideas of other's within this thread. Chatter is welcomed. I would very much like this class to be an interactive one.

Lylian
July 17th, 2007, 02:55 PM
How does one determine a "reversed" meaning, anyway? Opposite seems, at best, illogical, and other definitions may prove to contaminate the original meaning, rather than adding to it. How can we discern what a "reversed" interpretation of a card is?

I use reversals when I do my readings. I should say most of the time. There are times I don't use them. It depends on the spread, question asked and the other cards surrounding it. I find that they usually represents a lack of the attributes in the card drawn.

LisaT4P
July 17th, 2007, 07:19 PM
Cons?

In the standard Tarot deck, there are 58 cards. For a newbie, it can be quite a feat to learn them all, whether out of a book or through intuition. So why would you want to double the amount of things to learn, when even the best Tarot readers out there say you don't have to?When new to the tarot, the reversals can be daunting.. but then the whole deck is, usually. LOL Since there are very few reversals definitions that are not just blockages or opposites of the upright card, this teaches the new reader to notice the nuances of a reading better than just telling them to "feel" which meaning to use. While some people come to the tarot as highly intuitive and trusting of their intuition, many do not. The reversal can serve to reinforce the reader's initial thought on the card pulled and also make them look at the situation in a different light than they may have otherwise.


And for the experienced Tarot reader, why fix something that's not broken?This is a good question. My answer to this has always been, "why not just try it?" I used to use reversals every time. I wasn't sure if my readings would be as accurate without intentionally reversing the cards. But, I was challenged to try readings without them for a specific period of time. I did so, and now I can read with or without them and I feel that my readings are effective either way. It may not be broken... but it can always be improved upon!


Often readers will argue that one card will hold both "negative" and "positive" meanings without needing to reverse, and it is up to the reader to determine what it means in relation to the spread and position. This gives us a broad spectrum to work with in relation to every card, without having to draw lines between negative and positive.Reversed cards make this easier to see, especially for the newbie and less intuitive readers.


How does one determine a "reversed" meaning, anyway? Opposite seems, at best, illogical, and other definitions may prove to contaminate the original meaning, rather than adding to it. How can we discern what a "reversed" interpretation of a card is?I usually see a reversal as a blockage of energy, sometimes (rarely) as the exact opposite of the upright meaning. I see them quite often as action needing to be taken to correct the situation.


Imagery is an important aspect of Tarot, obviously. What meaning can an upside-down picture carry? Most seem illogical, or seem to go against an artist's intention.It is a trigger. You see the image upside down and it makes you wonder why it is that way. It can perhaps suggest that things are not what they seem, things may need to be looked at in a different way, things are about to get turned upside down! :)

Zephyrstorm
July 17th, 2007, 07:20 PM
Often readers will argue that one card will hold both "negative" and "positive" meanings without needing to reverse, and it is up to the reader to determine what it means in relation to the spread and position. This gives us a broad spectrum to work with in relation to every card, without having to draw lines between negative and positive.

I think a variety of meanings is a good thing. Like you, Glory, I have times when I don't read with reversals, prefering to use Elemental Dignities instead, and there are times when I do use them (though they are rare).
I like Elemental Dignities because they give a spectrum rather than the positive/negative readings that some readers use when they rely on Reversals. Ultimately, though, I think it is the reader's intuition that will tell them when the card is at it's most negative and when it would be read with a more subtle hand. I don't really see not using Reversals or using them as exactly changing a good reader's ability, but I can see where learning Reversals could make a more inexperienced reader stumble a bit or question themselves a bit much.

Z

Shatril
July 17th, 2007, 07:25 PM
Reversals can, in some cases, help us understand in greater depth the meaning of the upright interpretation as well, rather than taking away from it. We can also study to see if reversals truly are simply the negative or positive version of a card, and what that means in regards to the upright.


I rarely read reversals. I go to great lengths to keep my cards upright. If a card comes out of the deck reversed I'm absolutely sure that it was meant way down in the heart of my deck to be read that way. However, I do know what the reversed meanings are most of the time, and they lend an added depth of understanding to the interpretations of the card. They rarely are the opposite of the upright, and often are of a lack of the qualities.

Thank you for the wonderful lesson, and this is a great start.

:hugz: Shatril

Zephyrstorm
July 18th, 2007, 07:39 AM
Another thought.

Reversals can also be the expression of the card at such a strong point that its positive qualities become negative.

Glory
July 18th, 2007, 09:28 AM
Yay, lots of insightful stuff here.

Lylian: I agree that it's always good to be flexible in terms of method. How do you feel about rigid, personal Tarot reading rules, such as exclusively reading cards upright? Also an interesting take on reversals. We'll discuss these in more depth in the next lesson, I think you'll be interested. :)

LisaT4P: Thanks for all your comments! Going with what you said about an action needing to be taken - does this give the reversals a kind of action-related significance? Does it indicate how we might achieve/avoid the upright meaning?

Zephyrstorm: Nice comment, I like that you've touched on the idea of spectrum that exclusively upright cards can bring, versus the positive/negative line-drawing that upright-reversed might bring. It should be interesting to discover, as we go, if this is a solid theory, as sound as it is.

Shatril: Yay, thank you! :hugz: I, like you, feel that looking at reversals can be a good study tool, even if one doesn't read that way. When a card does come up reversed in a reading, how do you usually respond to it? Will it depend on the position, or is there a general take on it?

aranarose
July 18th, 2007, 09:36 AM
My use of reversals usually depends on my mood. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don't.


Often readers will argue that one card will hold both "negative" and "positive" meanings without needing to reverse, and it is up to the reader to determine what it means in relation to the spread and position. This gives us a broad spectrum to work with in relation to every card, without having to draw lines between negative and positive.

Whether a card is positive or negative, for me at least, depends less on whether it is reversed, and more on the position and the surrounding cards. The Ten of Swords, for example, is not a very nice card. To me this is one of betrayal, pain, isolation, fear, etc. Yet if it was surrounded by the Sun, the Stars, and other such very positive cards, it would take on new meaning. Perhaps what seems to be a betrayal is really a chance at a new beginning. Or maybe acupuncture will clear up those back troubles...

LisaT4P
July 18th, 2007, 10:44 AM
LisaT4P: Thanks for all your comments! Going with what you said about an action needing to be taken - does this give the reversals a kind of action-related significance? Does it indicate how we might achieve/avoid the upright meaning?Yeah, I got a little carried away. LOL

For me, yes, the reversals often indicate actions or attitudes that need to be taken / adopted to put that card in it's upright and locked position.

For example if a reading about a love life question was asked and I got the 3 of Cups in reverse, it would indicate to me that the querent might want a date... but never leaves the house! I'd look to the other cards and say something like, "The UPS man might be really hot, but he is probably not your Knight in Brown Armor... so get out there and meet new people! Join the party!" :lol:

Zephyrstorm
July 18th, 2007, 05:28 PM
Yay, lots of insightful stuff here.


Zephyrstorm: Nice comment, I like that you've touched on the idea of spectrum that exclusively upright cards can bring, versus the positive/negative line-drawing that upright-reversed might bring. It should be interesting to discover, as we go, if this is a solid theory, as sound as it is.



I think we're not talking about quite the same thing. I'm sure I wasn't being clear, since yesterday I felt like the walking dead.
I think that for me, reading exclusively upright is not my preference in the slightest - so I use Elemental Dignities, which allow me to see a broader spectrum of ideas based upon the surrounding cards and the nature of the question as well as the nature of the position of the card. Reversals are my second choice if I don't have time to do a full analysis of the Elements of the spread.

I don't think that either using or not using Reversals is going to affect the range of responses that a good intuitive reader will be able to produce, because oftentimes one can feel if the card is meant more negatively or less so, and the same with positive cards. The cards are just a prompt for what the reader and querent are able to see.

Your Mileage May Vary though.
I'm loving this discussion. It's fascinating seeing how everyone sees the cards.

Lisa, I particularly love how you talked about students learning more about the variety of insights that they can learn from Reversals and how it can help them understand the cards better, while I mentioned how they can be a stumbling block.
I think that ultimately it depends on the student. If the student is used to studying metaphor and symbolism then I think that Reversals lend a lot of insight to the student, but on the flip side, if the person is a very literal person and doesn't work well with metaphors, then perhaps it is more difficult to learn all of that information and how to glean it from the cards?

Shatril
July 18th, 2007, 05:34 PM
Yay, lots of insightful stuff here.

Shatril: Yay, thank you! :hugz: I, like you, feel that looking at reversals can be a good study tool, even if one doesn't read that way. When a card does come up reversed in a reading, how do you usually respond to it? Will it depend on the position, or is there a general take on it?

If it comes up reversed I read it reversed, and, of course will read it according to the place in the spread. I don't have a pattern to how I would read it, it would always depend on the position in the spread, and my intuition about the meaning.

gracelessone
July 19th, 2007, 07:47 AM
Often readers will argue that one card will hold both "negative" and "positive" meanings without needing to reverse, and it is up to the reader to determine what it means in relation to the spread and position. This gives us a broad spectrum to work with in relation to every card, without having to draw lines between negative and positive. This has been my biggest reason for avoiding reversed cards. Card position in the spread--past, relationships, self, etc--complicates the generic interpretation and can make the negative features of the card more important. So I've always thought of reversed meanings as sort of overkill. I've also never really liked the black/white meanings attached to reversals, where a reversed card means the 'opposite' of it's usual meaning. This is probably what's kept me from ever reading reversals.

One other thing that may seem silly, but has bugged me forever is what exactly makes a card reversed? I was taught a variety of ways to physically lay out cards, from shuffling and cutting to which way you flip them over. So is it reversed if it's upside down from my view? The reader's view? Only if I flip the horizontally instead of vertically? While I'm at a point where I know that I get to decide how to physically move the cards and make those decisions, this was one of the big things that kept me from trying to read reversals when I first started out.

LisaT4P
July 19th, 2007, 08:00 AM
Lisa, I particularly love how you talked about students learning more about the variety of insights that they can learn from Reversals and how it can help them understand the cards better, while I mentioned how they can be a stumbling block.
I think that ultimately it depends on the student. If the student is used to studying metaphor and symbolism then I think that Reversals lend a lot of insight to the student, but on the flip side, if the person is a very literal person and doesn't work well with metaphors, then perhaps it is more difficult to learn all of that information and how to glean it from the cards?Absolutely. I love that you picked up the opposite view! LOL We're reversed! :D

I am going through a study group with my coven right now, and I have both kinds of readers in that group. Some are very intuitive, some are way more literal. I used to fall into the literal category, it took me a long time to trust my intutition, so I can see the arguments on both sides. :)

LisaT4P
July 19th, 2007, 08:01 AM
One other thing that may seem silly, but has bugged me forever is what exactly makes a card reversed? I was taught a variety of ways to physically lay out cards, from shuffling and cutting to which way you flip them over. So is it reversed if it's upside down from my view? The reader's view? Only if I flip the horizontally instead of vertically? These are great questions! Glory, I don't want to address them if they will be in another lesson for us to touch on. Shall we discuss it here? Or save it for later? :)

Lylian
July 19th, 2007, 06:37 PM
[quote=Glory;3182172]Yay, lots of insightful stuff here.

Lylian: I agree that it's always good to be flexible in terms of method. How do you feel about rigid, personal Tarot reading rules, such as exclusively reading cards upright? Also an interesting take on reversals. We'll discuss these in more depth in the next lesson, I think you'll be interested. :)


I think every reader choose a way that works best for him/her. I have never been able to get a clear reading when I just use the upright position. I use my intuion on when to use reversals. I also don't use take the reversal to mean the opposite of the upright card but a lack of the quality of which the card represents.

LadyCelt
July 20th, 2007, 01:08 AM
Imagery is an important aspect of Tarot, obviously. What meaning can an upside-down picture carry? Most seem illogical, or seem to go against an artist's intention............


I think the upside down, as with a right side up, may depend upon the question and interpretation really. For instance, the hanged man is a good one upside down. Instead of being trapped, they are breaking free and right-side up. The Tower can look like a person is flying up or climbing up or something begins instead of ends. I don't know if an artist has a particular intention for each card that is broken when reversed since it seems known that all cards may end up reversed.

GalenaFaolan
July 21st, 2007, 11:34 PM
Reversals can, in some cases, help us understand in greater depth the meaning of the upright interpretation as well, rather than taking away from it. We can also study to see if reversals truly are simply the negative or positive version of a card, and what that means in regards to the upright.

I believe that reversals can help in "fleshing" out the reading more rather than take anything away from it. In the beginning when I really began to study the cards and was learning to read them I felt it was all I could handle. It seemed confusing to try and suss out a meaning of what the reversal meant, not only of the individual card, but the impact of the reversed card(s) to the reading as a whole.

Most think that a reversed card is the opposite meaning of what the upright is. In some cases it is opposite and negative. I have found though that reversed doesn't equal bad. In some cases the reversed meaning is positive and really helps to give even more meaning to the reading and even pinpointing a specific problem to get past or look out for.

I did a reading for a friend recently and saw that there were 2 cards reversed. This time it felt right to leave them that way so I deduced the meaning of what it meant on my own in relation to the whole reading and the cards around them. After the fact, I remembered I had the book of tarot reversals. So, I looked up those 2 cards and was quite surprised that I had read the meaning of them correctly. In this case both cards were a positive for her and also a bit of a warning in one of them. It does help to sometimes leave them that way.

Shatril
December 9th, 2007, 09:17 AM
Looks like we lost our teacher. She hasn't been back since the last post in this thread. Is anyone going to pick this up?

:hugz: Shatril

pixie realm
February 10th, 2008, 12:02 PM
Reversals can, in some cases, help us understand in greater depth the meaning of the upright interpretation as well, rather than taking away from it. We can also study to see if reversals truly are simply the negative or positive version of a card, and what that means in regards to the upright.








I have found that when a card comes up reversed , I sometimes get both positive and negative meanings. The reversed card isn;t always negative, but a forewarning, of what is to come .