Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reversed Cards: The Human Condition

Hi Folks! Llewellyn’s Online Journal is currently featuring my article on “Tarot Card Picture Searches: Discover Meaningful Themes in Tarot Art Images.” My previous article on “Tarot Card Tracker: A Versatile Technique for Tarot Discovery” can also be viewed.

Picking up on my New Years Eve post, where I discussed JUSTICE as the Year Card for 2009, but mentioned that it came up reversed in my predictive reading, I want to emphasize that that doesn’t mean that we won’t see Justice as part of the change that many of us are looking forward to, but simply that we might not see its fullest expression.

In reference to the political situation with a new president, it is to be expected that he won’t be able to accomplish everything he wants in his first year. In reference to the greater human situation, very seldom does a group or individual feel satisfied that all of their demands for justice or other conditions are met, because human society requires a lot of compromise. Reversed Tarot cards therefore better reflect the human condition than the upright expression of the cards.

If you choose to reverse your cards, it can seem that the reversals come up more frequently than the uprights, and this is frustrating because it makes interpretation more complicated, with a great deal of ambiguity. However, in real life, seldom does anyone achieve the sublime perfections of the Magician or the High Priestess, or the states of happiness denoted by the Sun and the World, or even the skillful personal qualities denoted by the different court cards. This doesn’t mean happiness and other attainments aren’t possible, simply that complications are part of the natural flow of human life.


  1. Hello Janina!

    I think that it's apropo that the year card came up reversed, my initial thought was that we start the year needing to experience the energy of justice to grow, and as we move forward with the supporting work we manifest the justice or balance promised in the year card. A little karmic energy doing what it needs to do!


  2. Hi Grace! I really like the way you explain the reversed year card as a process of unfolding--and our need to take an active part in that process of unfolding. I hadn't thought about that, but of course it makes perfect sense, and can apply to reversed cards in general, as well as to the human condition itself. Thanks for your insight, Janina