How to Read Reversed Cards

How to Read Reversed Cards

To reverse or not to reverse—it’s a highly debated topic within the tarot community. On one hand, reversed cards can add nuance and detail to your reading. But they can also feel overwhelming to interpret and may even add more doom and gloom to your answers than you were hoping for. Should you bring reversed cards into your deck? And how?

How to bring in reversed cards into your readings.

To add reversed cards to your deck, take half your deck and turn it upside down. Then shuffle the two stacks of cards together a few times. Now you’re ready.

How to interpret reversed cards.

As with all things tarot, how you read reversed cards is a personal and intuitive choice. That means it’s completely up to you how you read them. To get you started, here are a few different ways you can read reversed tarot cards. You can use a variety of these methods. There are more I didn’t list here. Maybe you can even make up your own!

Don’t interpret them in any special way.

The first way is the simplest. Some tarot readers say that since the tarot was originally meant to be used as a playing card deck, the reversed cards mean the exact same thing as the upright cards. In this case, you can assume reversed cards in your reading mean the same as their upright counterparts.


In another way, reversed tarot cards can be a sign of confusion. If you get a lot of reversed cards in a reading, they can carry the same energy as upright cards, but maybe there’s an element of being unsure.

Decrease in energy

Reversed cards can also mean that the energy of the card is decreasing or waning. For example, the reversed Devil card can mean that addiction is becoming a thing of the past.

Blocked energy.

If you pull a card, the base energy of the cards is there no matter what. However, if the card is reversed, it can mean the energy is being blocked somehow. An example is The Empress reversed. If you draw this card, it mean your creativity is there but something is preventing it from realizing itself fully.


Reversed tarot cards can signify an imbalance. There is either too little or too much of the energy of the drawn card. The Hanged Man upright can mean a peaceful suspension or limbo—reversed, the same card can mean an unhealthy detachment.

So there you have it. Reversed tarot cards can add depth to your readings that is hard to get with just upright cards. And as you saw, they don’t always have to be negative! Remember, you can always interpret them the same as upright cards unless you feel the reversed position carries a special meaning. Though challenging, reversed cards can be incredibly rewarding.

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