Reversed cards have multiple connotations and are sometimes difficult to interpret. Some authors and readers suggest using only upright cards and will turn cards over if they appear reversed in a spread. The practice of using only upright cards limits the number of distinct delineations to seventy-eight, whereas the use of reversed cards doubles that number of possible card interpretations. I feel that a reversed card must have some significance even thought it's meaning may at times be elusive. If nothing else, reversed cards call attention to themselves and require extra effort to view in a spread. The only card that is naturally reversed in the Tarot is The Hanged Man, which may provide a clue to the meaning of other Tarot cards appearing in their reversed position. The Hanged Man (see image) advised us to view matters from a different and often more spiritual of internal perspective. Perhaps cards falling reversed also challenge us to change out outlook or approach to the upright meaning of the card.
We have come across readers in our profession who are of the opinion "there are enough negative cards in Tarot why is there a need to reverse them?" and certainly some authors (but not all) believe that, like the cards of the suit of Swords, reversed cards may carry a negative association. A predominance of reversed cards in a reading can sometimes suggest problems, obstacles, delays, hindrances, difficult decisions, the need for mental effort, anxieties, worries, illnesses, stress, bad news, and broken relationships - but only if the actual content of the cards is consistent with this interpretation. Each card, whether upright or reversed, must be interpreted in the context of the entire spread.
It is important to note that reversed cards are not necessarily negative. The archetypal meaning of a card remains the same regardless of it's orientation, but the subjects experience of the meaning of the card may change. Sometimes a reversed card simply means that the upright meaning is difficult to grasp or express. For example, the King of Cups is a card of compassion. When reversed, The King of Cups may refer to a man who lacks compassion (the negative meaning) or to a man who has difficulty expressing his tender emotions. It can also refer to our inability to appreciate the man's affectionate nature. The upright card may express itself in an over, conscious manner whereas the same card reversed may express itself secretly or behind the scenes.
If the upright card carries a postiive connotation, the same card reversed may indicate that the usually positive qualities are being taken to excess. If the upright card carries a negative connotation, the reversed position may mean the ending of a difficult situation. Tarot cards speak to us only in pictures. With the traditional rectangular decks, the cards in a spread may fall either upright or reversed in orientation. It is our belief that the orientation of a card in a spread, whether upright or reversed, bears a significant aspect of the querants situation and should be interpreted as such.