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The Mystic Witch’s Journey: Why I Stopped Using Tarot Reversals

By Nicki Ojeda (Tatiara)

I consider myself very fortunate to have had the tarot in my life for nearly 35 years. It’s such a wondrous tool for insight. Over time, my methods for doing readings have changed and evolved. The more you learn about the tarot and the more you use it, the more its potential expands.

Whether you use a traditional spread or a conversational, intuitive laying out of cards (like me), the finished reading, when looked at as a whole, confers a deeper impression than one card alone can symbolize. I have found that each card will express aspects of its holistic significance based upon its placement in the reading. The traditional reversed meaning of a card can be conveyed even when upright, if surrounded by certain other cards. Everything in the layout of the cards affects everything else. Because the nature of a tarot reading is holographic, the relationships between each card and the whole picture, as well as to each other, further determine the reading’s message. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts and this makes tarot reversals unnecessary… for me.

By honing the intuition more and more, the diviner learns to determine which holistic aspect of a card is indicated. Once the entire reading is seen holographically, the “reversed” meaning will show itself where appropriate.

I have noticed that inverting cards can, at times, be problematic. Even after shuffling, inverted cards tend to remain upside down unless time is taken to painstakingly insure that all of the cards are upright after each reading. Not exactly feasible when you are reading one client after another.

There are indeed some sound reasons for using reversals if your intuition directs you to do so. Viewing the reversed image literally exhibits another perspective on the meaning, perhaps triggering insight.

Tarot reversals can also put forth occasions to do some magick. Invert a card with unwanted energy and focus on your intention to diminish its effect on you. A reversed card that has energy you desire can be turned right side up as you envision attracting its essence into your life. This works very well for those inclined toward visualization.

Leaving out reversals doesn’t mean that I sugarcoat what I see in the cards. That would be a disservice to the querant, but thinking of tarot reversals in terms of positive and negative or good and bad, and that they should automatically be interpreted negatively is a mistake. This suggests that a tarot reading without reversals will offer a more uplifting message. It’s not necessarily the case. The message will be there, regardless. In any given reading, a “pleasant” card might indicate something troublesome while a generally “unpleasant” card might mean positive changes or opportunities for transformation.

In my opinion, stubbornly adhering to ideas like positive/negative and good/bad in our view of certain cards makes it harder to see the symbolism clearly. Having a broader interpretation can help us discern more opportunities for healing, both for our clients and ourselves. Often, what we truly need, we resist or fear and what we think we want doesn’t actually serve us. Ascertaining the energies shown in the cards without judging them as good or bad enables us to perceive more options for beneficial change.

The essential idea to keep in mind if you are not sure whether or not you will use reversed cards in your own tarot readings is this: a reversal reveals an aspect of the energy of the card. This facet of the card’s meaning will emerge in the connections with adjacent cards even if you keep them upright.

Most importantly, use your tarot cards in the way they speak to you most profoundly. Divination is an intuitive art, so don’t forget the most important ingredient. . . your own intuition.

Nicki Ojeda (Tatiara) has been a tarot and past life reader for over 35 years. Nicki learned about tarot through her witchcraft and herbal studies as a youngster when she was gifted “The Herbal Tarot” from her mentor. It has been with her ever since. Past life memories and psychic abilities showed up early and claiming those abilities in the face of oppressive religious family doctrines has been a gift in disguise, informing her purpose to help others free themselves from outmoded conditioning, release trauma, and make space for soul truth and hidden gifts to shine forth. Embodying her spiritual path, owning the mystic within and living from that truth is her continuing challenge and mission.

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