Thursday, February 19, 2015

Reversed Tarot Cards

I do not read reversed tarot cards. There was a time when I did, or at least tried, but I gave up on the idea pretty early. Right side up has come to be the natural way I use my tarot cards and I learned to shuffle them in such a way that they are always in the same direction. The thing that tipped me to eschew reversed cards was that the first decks I learned on had asymmetrical designs on the backs. I found that when I used these cards I was constantly second guessing how to lay them down because I could tell how they were oriented before I even drew it. In retrospect I suppose I could have changed decks but it didn't occur to me at the time.

I am a big fan of the model in Mary K. Greer's 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card in which she suggests that each of the cards, Major and Minor Arcana, includes a continuum of potential meaning from asset to liability.  For me this opens up an opportunity for the cards to interact with those around it and to have a great variety of subtlety of meaning. The most difficult aspect of this style of reading, for me, was to quiet my thoughts down enough to hear what the cards were trying to tell me. I had to throw away the book because I found I was trying to fit the printed meaning into a reading in which it didn't necessarily fit.

These days I almost exclusively use Alejandro Jodorowsky's version of the Marseille Tarot. The simplistic design of the Minor Arcana, I find, suits a style of intuitive reading on a continuum. I find it difficult to read any kind of positive meaning or range of meanings into a 9 of swords in which a person is weeping or a 10 of swords in which a person is stabbed in the back as in the Rider-Waite based decks.

Once I truly grokked the idea of the continuum of meaning my tarot readings have become much more accurate and meaningful.

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