Reversed Card Techniques

James Ricklef’s Tarot Tells the Tale is well-known for its collection of entertaining and instructive readings done for literary characters. They really are effective learning tools. Because they are the main focus, people might forget or overlook the fact that this book is also a great general “beginner” book. Before delving into the readings, James covers all the basics, so even if you’ve never done a reading before, you’ll have all the information you need to get started.

Of course, James includes a discussion of reversed cards, which I thought I’d share part of it with you. The rest of the book is just as succinct and useful. It really is a treasure.

The Five D’s of Reversed Cards

In confronting the issue of dealing with reversed cards, I came up with an approach based on a synthesis of the various methods I had been taught and read about. I then refined this technique based upon my experience using it. In this system, I determined a reversed card’s meaning by considering that it may be affected by one of what I call the Five D’s of reversed cards, which are:

  • Diminution of the “original” effect or energy of that card.
  • Delay of the “original” effect.
  • Denial that something is going on or that it is a problem in your life. Note that this denial may be active (lack of acceptance) or passive (lack of conscious awareness).
  • Dark side of the “original” meaning. An example of considering the dark side of, say, the Knight of Pentacles might be to say that his prudence has become a case of “all work and no play.”
  • Direction of the “original” meaning is reversed. For example, the Hermit is often thought to mean going into seclusion, so reversed it may mean coming out of your shell to increase your interaction with other people. Or it may mean that there is inner work to be done on the issue indicated by the card, or that the energy of the card is affecting you internally.

Which of the Five D’s I might use in a specific situation depends upon its context within the reading, such as its position in the spread, the question being asked, and the tone of the other cards in the spread. For example, I am more apt to use “diminution” if the card is in a position that refers to the past, while I might be inclined to use “delay” when it is in the future. If it is in a position that deals with problems or obstacles, I may either “denial” or “dark side” more appropriate. And if the card refers to the querent, “denial” may be suitable again or perhaps “direction reversed” may seem best.

13 notes, March 21, 2011