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  • Phoebe Seymour

What do reversed tarot cards mean?

When I first started doing tarot readings, I ignored reversed (upside down) cards. I was still coming to grips with the meanings, never mind what the direction they faced meant!


But as I did more intuitive readings and I started studying an online course in Advanced Tarot with Centre of Excellence, I now realise how significant they can be.


There is no official rule when it comes to reversed cards. Like most things in tarot, it’s up to the reader to decide what feels right for them.


Some say a reversed card means the opposite or negative side of its upright meaning. And while that is often the case, I think this is an over simplification.


Whether you are a querent or a reader-in-the-making, here are three things a reversed card may be trying to tell you.

1. Expect delays

My usual response to reversed cards is that it’s meaning still stands, it just means there will be a delay.

The World card is all about completing a project or cycle in your life. However, when it appears reversed, this suggests that there will be a delay. Perhaps, a work deadline needs extending or an ex-lover is still in the picture and they need to come pick up the last of their belongings.

Whatever it is, if the card is in the present or future position, expect things to take longer to resolve themselves – during my lock down readings over Zoom, I have encountered many reversed cards, for obvious reasons!

2. Energy blockage

Sometimes tarot readings are just as good as at detecting energy blockages as reiki treatments!

The reversed card will still have the same meaning as it’s upright counterpart, only the issue or quality is blocked from expressing itself. This could be down to you consciously repressing your feelings or external influences stopping a potential situation from developing.

Say you had The Fool card. Upright it represents a leap of faith and the start of a new journey. But if it were reversed, it signals that you are feeling stuck and afraid to take that leap. An opportunity may have presented itself, but something is holding you back. Surrounding cards should provide context.

3. Internal influences

Similar to the second interpretation, this theory is about where the energy is coming from.

So if it is reversed, the energy is internal and therefore coming from within. This information may even be private knowledge and something you have not expressed externally yet. Whereas if it is upright, the card represents an external influence or that issues represented in the card are not yet common knowledge.


For example, The Hierophant upright is about education, tradition and seeking a mentor. So, if it were reversed, the type of learning you need requires you to develop what is already within you, rather than seeking external information. This could manifest itself as practicing a skill you already have or sharing your knowledge by teaching others.

Want to find out what your reversed cards mean for you? Book an online reading.

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