Cartomancy 101.10 – Reversals

When a card falls in reverse, one of four things may happen.

  1. The significance of the card may receive a boost. This is what happens when the 10 of Clubs’ upright meaning of travel abroad becomes travel to far-off places for the card in reverse. For a British person, travel abroad would indicate a trip to the continent; travel to far-off places suggests something more exotic – Africa, Asia, Australasia. A citizen of the US could expect travel abroad to signify a visit to Mexico or Canada. The far-off places forecast by the reversed card would then encompass Europe as well as India, Africa, Australia and so forth.
  2. Secondly, the card’s significance when upright may be depleted. It may be depleted only slightly as it is with the 9 of Hearts. The success and fulfillment of desires promised by the upright card are not obliterated but only delayed if this card is reversed. Note, however, that when the significance of a negatively oriented card is depleted, it becomes a fortunate omen. See how the 4 of Spades, which when upright presages worries and broken promises, in reverse signals a turn of the wheel of fortune in the inquirer’s favor. On the other hand, on reversal a card may have its significance drained to the extent of turning the upright meaning on its head completely. A case in point is the 6 of Clubs, where the upright significance of ‘success of ambitions’ is replaced by ‘ambition thwarted’ when the card is reversed.
  3. The third alternative is that the significance of the card may remain unchanged when it falls reversed in a spread. This is what happens to the 8 of Clubs and the Ace of Diamonds both of which carry the same meaning whichever way up they are.
  4. Some cards have special meanings associated with them when they are reversed. The10 of Hearts reversed can forecast a birth, the reversed 9 of Diamonds is associated with difficulties encountered during travel and the 3 of Spades upside down describes either a bewildering situation or a confused state of mind. Similarly, the Ace Heartsdecorative-ace of hearts Reversed in reverse can indicate a removal. Yet this in only another example of a card’s upright meaning being turned upside down. For, right-way up, the Ace of Hearts is a symbol of a well-ordered, settled home life. The opposite of this is disordered and unsettled domestic conditions, such as hold sway during the brief but chaotic period when the family is moving house.

The meanings to be found on the list I have supplied you with are, however, not to taken as fixed. They represent suggestions only. They can be altered, even counteracted, by the influence of other cards in the reading. This is particularly true of reversed cards. Take, for instance, the combination: 4 Diamonds, 9 Clubs reversed, 10 Clubs. Ordinarily, the 9 of Clubs reversed would promote lack of success and signal that assistance the inquirer had been counting would fail to manifest. But as it lies between the 4 of Diamonds and the 10 of Clubs, these are unlikely to be its meaning on this occasion. The 4 of Diamonds presages financial gain or growth while the 10 of Clubs is associated with money luck and successes in business. In such blessed company, the 9 of Clubs almost certainly reverts to its upright meaning of professional advancement and/or success with money.

At other times a card’s reversed meaning is backed up by the cards associated with it. That is what normally happens. The 5 of Spades reversed sandwiched between the 3 of Diamonds and the 2 of Clubs has its meaning of “eventual success is not guaranteed” confirmed. Upright it signifies “reverses and anxieties, but eventual success”. Sadly, in the company of the 3 of Diamonds and the 2 of Clubs, the promise of eventual success will not be fulfilled. The 3 of Diamonds relates to disputes, with the possibility of a lawsuit hovering in the background. The 2 of Clubs signifies obstacles to the achievement of some goal, opposition to one’s plans and a disappointing outcome. In fact, in this combination, the 5 of Spades’ “eventual success is not guaranteed” is transformed into “no eventual success.”

A good many of the cards on the list of divinatory meanings do not have specific reversed meanings assigned them. Should one of these appear reversed in a reading, seek to apply the first three rules given above. By taking account of the other cards in the spread, you will be able to identify which of the rules is operating in any given instance.

Cartomancy 101.9 – Another Actual Reading

I’m using a reading from my files to illustrate two further situations which those starting to learn cartomancy will run up against sooner or later. I was consulted by a woman who wanted to know about her business prospects. She had recently been part of team that had lost a prestigious client. The company she worked for was understandably not-best-pleased with this turn of events. The team had lost out on a big bonus, and the woman was concerned that she might even lose her job.

She shuffled the pack. I made the cut and laid out the spread. As I dealt off the third card, two cards came out, as if stuck together. When this happens, allow both cards to be part of the reading. Place them side by side. In a positional spread, have them both occupy the same position – the first house, say, in a horoscope spread. When I had laid out all the cards, the pattern on the table before us looked like this:-

Queen Diamonds reversed:     4 Spades, King Diamonds/6 Hearts, 8 Diamonds, 4 Hearts, 3 Clubs

Diamonds predominate. If you recall, the Diamonds suit indicates: “Life outside the home – the practical, material side of life, especially that part concerning money.” That sums up well the area the lady consulting the cards was most interesting in having news of.

Her state of mind at the time of the reading is represented by the Queen of Diamonds. This describes her as active, outward-looking and enterprising. The card is reversed. The meaning on the list for the Queen of Diamonds reversed is, “This woman is flirtatious.” Now I’m immediately going to reject that interpretation. Reversed cards can be viewed in several ways; the meaning on the list is merely a guideline. This applies to all reversed meanings.

Sometimes reversed cards represent the opposite of what they signify when upright. Check what is said on the list about the 6 of Clubs. When upright it predicts financial aid or success. Upside down, it symbolizes the reverse: Ambitions thwarted. At other times, the upright meaning is only tweaked when the card is in reverse. Among other things, the 10 of Clubs upright can signify travel. When reversed, it can point to more exotic “distant travel”, thus extending or expanding the upright meaning. Another example of an upright meaning being extended in one direction or another is the 8 of Swords. Upright the card describes a situation where plans don’t work out and/or friends let one down. Reversed it indicates “a more serious state of affairs still”: plans fail so disastrously that one suffers financially or the indiscretion of a friend damages one’s reputation.

With court cards, the cartomancer has a further alternative to consider. The upright card can represent a person in her (or his) element, someone for whom all’s right with the world. The other side of the coin is that the reversed card can be telling us that the individual signified by the card is downcast, anxious or feeling like a fish out of water. That is how I interpreted the Queen of Diamonds reversed in this reading. The inquirer retains the enterprising and vivacious personality predicted of her by the upright card, but now, because the card is reversed, she is shown as worried and disheartened.

The next card in the line tells us why she feels this way. Although it confirms what we already know, take note of the configuration. If we were unaware that the inquirer had lost out on a bonus and in addition had fears of being fired, this card – the 4 of Spades – would have been a big clue as to the kind of thing she was worried about. It indicates business or money worries, and in this instance, both meanings apply.

As the King of Diamonds and the 6 of Hearts were drawn at the same time, they should be read together. One of two things will happen. Either the cards will back one another up, or the second card will flesh out the meaning of the first. The latter of these alternatives applies here. The King of Diamonds indicates a person – a man with a degree of authority or influence. Most probably he holds this status within the firm for which the inquirer works because he is represented by a Diamond card, and the suit of Diamonds points, as we have just seen, to the area of life outside the home that is connected to how a person earns their living. The card is upright so this man seems more a friend than an enemy to our inquirer.

This is confirmed by the 6 of Hearts, the card with which the King is conjoined. Its meaning is, “someone takes care of you, or takes a warm interest in you”, indicating that this man is looking out for the inquirer’s best interests. One of the other meanings for this card – “unexpected good luck” – may also come into play seeing as it stands next to the 8 of Diamonds.

diamonds 8-keyThe 8 of Diamonds forecasts either a new job or a change in business prospects. The problem of which meaning to choose is solved as soon as we look to the card following the 8 of Diamonds. It is the 4 of Hearts and it too signifies a change in business prospects. Linking the meanings of all three cards together, as any cartomancer must learn to do in order give effective readings, we can say:-

Someone in authority at the inquirer’s place of work is going to take her under his wing. Very likely he will move her to another department or place her in a new team. Either way she will be given the opportunity to show her mettle. What she makes of this opportunity will be up to her, but as Diamond-types are go-getters we can assume she will do her level best to succeed in her new post.

The final card in the reading is the 3 of Clubs, which has two meanings, both of which are applicable here. It can signify a favorable long-term proposition (which answers the question ‘Will I be fired?’ No you’ll be with the firm for quite a while), and it can show a person being given a second chance. Having been part of a project that went belly up, she will, by the good offices of her benefactor, be presented with the opportunity to redeem her reputation. At which point the reading ends. How the story continues is entirely in the inquirer’s own hands.

We should still consider the 8 of Diamonds to be the central card of the group of five cards that stands apart from the first card. Even though in this case there are six cards to take account of, we treat the King of Diamonds and the 6 of Hearts as if they filled just one space. The change in career prospects predicted by the 8 of Diamonds is pivotal in this reading. In specially produced packs of playing cards with designs oriented towards fortune-telling, this 8 is sometimes depicted with a key on it. (See illustration.) It is the key to opportunity, and this is what the inquirer’s mentor will be offering her when he has her relocated to a new department or a different team.

When can she expect this opportunity to present itself? Well, the predominant suit is Diamonds and the card representing the change is also a Diamond. This suit favors quickness, rapidity, and so I told my inquirer she should expect good news sooner rather than later. My intuition said it would occur in under two weeks and I went with my intuition. In fact, it took seven working days. My inquirer was given a position working directly under one of the head honchos in the firm, whom she learned later had personally requested her secondment. With my predictions in mind, she pulled out all the stops and through her drive, ability and good spirits, her stock rose in everyone’s estimation. As far as I am aware, she continues to work for the same firm.