By Sarah Taylor
Last week, I invited readers of this tarot column to send their questions, comments and suggestions about tarot in general, and how I approach tarot here in particular. (You can read the article and comments here.) One of the questions gave me pause for thought — enough that it felt right to focus on it in an article. The question was, why don’t I use reversed cards in my tarot readings?
I think it’s a great question. The reason for this is that I had to do a bit of a personal inventory, revisit and add to my tarot credo, and it challenged me in the process. As a result, it asks for a several-stranded response, because I realised that for me it isn’t a single-answer matter.
I don’t do card reversals at all — whether for my readings here on Planet Waves or those with clients. They don’t resonate with me to the degree that I don’t just have a ‘take em or leave em’ attitude about them; rather, I have actively rejected them.
“Reject” is a strong word, I know, so the first thing I want to consider falls in the ‘personal inventory’ category of evaluation — that of the possibility that card reversals are a sticking point for me. Is there a part of me that doesn’t want to deal with them? I know my knee-jerk reaction to reversals is something akin to, “Oh, I can’t be bothered with them!” So I’m going to unpack that a little.
Fear of unpredictability; fear of change
There are certain cards that have the ability to create a frisson of fear in people. Tarot readers are no exception: at a tarot conference I attended, all it took was someone holding up The Tower card for the room to erupt with mock gasps. Yes, there was an air of theatricality to the reaction — but it also masked something authentic. As much as many of us like to believe that we are agents of change, creating as well as embracing it, I think that there is an aspect to us that resists it too. We are ambivalent.
Tarot, at its best, brings us face-to-face with resistance and ambivalence — because it’s only by acknowledging these that we recognise the potential for transformation. And what better reflection of change in tarot than seeing something standing on its head, 180 degrees removed from normality? That is a literal depiction of change if ever there was one — and, goodness, can the psyche kick and scream in its encounter.
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