Anyone who ever plans to carry out a tarot card reading needs to understand how to interpret each of the major arcana meanings. There are so many variables to consider when it comes to any and all readings: the selected cards, their order, and whether they are upright or reversed, are all examples of just some of the things we must take into consideration when interpreting the cards.
In this article, we won’t be looking at the simple major arcana meanings, but we will explore the reversed major arcana card meanings. As we focus on each of the cards in more detail, we’ll look at how the meaning can change depending on whether the card is upright or reversed.
As we begin to explore the reversed major arcana card meanings, this arcana begins with The Fool. This card represents a blank slate, a new beginning, and that excitement you feel at starting something new: something you have no experience with.
However, when this card is reversed it represents a blissful ignorance. It can be a sign of immaturity and a childlike-approach to tackling future problems and/or consequences. Take this card into consideration and approach your next decision with a more mature mind.
The next major arcana card meaning we’re going to explore is the Magician. This card represents a realization or epiphany. You’ve discovered that the only limits in this world are your imagination. If you have a goal, there’s nothing that can stand in your way.
When the Magician is reversed, it indicates that you’re allowing your natural talents to go to waste. It could also mean that you’re refusing to create any goals simply because you’re scared of the possibility of failure.
The High Priestess
Out of all the major arcana card meanings, the High Priestess is perhaps the one most commonly misunderstood. She symbolizes an unseen source of knowledge, offered to you from a higher power that exists beyond the physical world. You have a natural ability to separate yourself from the troubles of this world while you search for deeper meaning.
When the High Priestess is reversed, it indicates that you should have access to this knowledge, but something is blocking the flow of energy. It’s possible that new companions, a new environment, or a new diet is creating this blockage, leading to you feeling lost and confused.
The Empress is a symbol of fertility but interpreting this card can be tricky. The idea of “birth” isn’t limited to babies and offspring, it can also include ideas, project, and opportunities. Suffice to say, you’re about to discover something to channel all your emotional energy into.
When the Empress is reversed, it means that you’ve hit a mental or spiritual block. Sometimes, when you have the tarot cards explained to you, you learn that each interpretation depends heavily on an individual’s situation. When the Empress is reversed, you must find a way to break your routine, possibly by escaping the city to explore nature.
The next tarot card we’ll consider is the Emperor. This card is masculine energy and represents an attraction to logic and analysis. When upright, this card serves as a reminder that you must explore each idea from a rational perspective, but don’t forget to consider the emotional side of things as well, particularly if you’re in a position of power.
When reversed, the Emperor indicates misuse of power either from you or someone who has power over you. Consider the role of a leader and apply to your own situation, finding the aspects of your life that don’t fit the definition.
The Hierophant tarot card is a reminder that you’re not alone in this world and there are people who you can learn from. Don’t feel the need to take on every challenge as a lone wolf, not when the pack is eager to help you.
When reversed, the Hierophant indicates the need for a deeper commitment and exploration of religious or spiritual practices. It could be that you’re feeling lost, scared, or alone and in order to find your true calling, you must be willing to devote yourself to a worthy cause.
The next tarot card meaning we’re going to cover is the Lovers, a card that many people get wrong. Yes, this card can represent romantic love but more specifically, it symbolizes passion. This card can be indicative of achieving a goal within an area you feel passionately about.
When reversed, the Lovers card can be symbolic of emptiness within you. It could be that you feel alone in the world, but it could also be that you feel a general lack of passion towards what you do in life, which could be work, hobbies, family, or anything else.
This card suggests that you are naturally intuitive or even possess a hidden psychic ability that is yet to manifest itself. If you haven’t already, begin to trust in yourself and your gut instinct more often, you may be surprised where it leads you.
When reversed, the Chariot can symbolize a blocked intuition or a misleading one. Be careful of your feelings in the near future, they may be leading you astray or sending confusing messages.
As we continue to explore the reversed major arcana card meanings, we reach the Justice card. As with the others, this card is largely open to interpretation, but most people view it as being a symbol of karmic energy being brought into balance. When it comes to making a decision, consider the moral implications of each one, as you’re about to get whatever you deserve: for better or for worse.
The Justice card reversed is symbolic of moral corruption. Chances are, you’re already aware of what this card refers to it’s something that’s been praying on your conscience for some time now. You must face these demons if you wish to find peace.
The Hermit card suggests that the answers you’re seeking are within you already, it’s just a case of searching for them. Take some time away from distractions and truly allow yourself to explore your own mind and soul. You may find something that is worth passing onto others.
When reversed, the Hermit suggests that any isolation you’re experiencing is causing negative energy to build up within you. All introspection has served its purpose but now you’re entering a chaotic mental/spiritual state. Find someone with whom you can connect on a personal level.
The Wheel of Fortune
This card has ties to luck, fortune, and chance. There are certain aspects of our lives that nobody can predict and regardless of what decision you make, the outcomes can be as random as spinning a wheel. Such a change is coming your way and there’s no telling what the outcome will be.
When reversed, the Wheel of Fortune indicates bad luck. More specifically, it indicates changes that are coming your way that aren’t there by chance, but by the instructions of a higher power. Somebody or something needs you to face these challenges.
The next major arcana card meaning we need to explore is Strength. Of course, this card can sometimes simply refer to the strength of the mind, body, or soul. However, it can also relate to a sunny optimism or the desire to see something through to the end, in the hope that the outcome is positive.
When reversed, Strength can simply refer to weakness. It could be that your lack of assertiveness or fear of confrontation is creating problems in your life. Alternatively, it can indicate a lack of control and even the descent into chaos.
The Hanged Man
The tarot card meaning for the Hanged Man is usually misrepresented as death. In reality, it symbolizes sacrifice and selflessness. In some cases, it suggests that an opportunity is coming your way to prove yourself to be a good person. Much like Odin, hanging from the tree, your sacrifice will be rewarded with knowledge.
When reversed, it indicates an unwillingness to pay the necessary price for knowledge. It could be fear or stubbornness, but something is blocking you from proceeding down your path. Many of us are blocked by our egos, which have become inflated due to modern society. This is something you should consider exploring.
The Death card is one that many people fear. In reality, it doesn’t mean the end of life but rather the end of a cycle.
When this card is reversed, it typically means the opposite of its upright version. Whatever you were hoping would come to an end, whether it be a relationship, a career, an illness, or a TV show, it seems that fate has something different in store. Get comfortable, because unless drastic action is taken (and soon), you’re in for the long haul.
The next tarot card we need to look at is Temperance. The card is all about creation and inclusion. Typically, it represents bringing two things together to create something new and wonderful.
When reversed, it spells disaster. It doesn’t matter what you’re bringing together: friends, family members, ingredients, chemicals, or ideas, they simply aren’t going to work when combined.
I often say that there is no such thing as a bad tarot card, but this one is about as close as it gets. The Devil tarot card meaning is usually one of obsession, temptations, and being trapped. So naturally, you might assume that the reversed meaning is something more positive.
However, it symbolizes danger, or sometimes, the narrowing escape from danger. This danger can be from you or an external force. Make protection your priority and consider what steps you can take to keep yourself out of harm’s way.
The Tower tarot card is one of instability. Through learning and acquiring knowledge, certain truths show themselves to us, truths that shockingly teach us that surrounding structures are not as stable as you may believe.
When reversed, this card suggests that you’ll choose blissful ignorance over a hard truth. Just remember, that structure will be unstable, regardless of whether you know it or not. Be careful not to stick your head in the sand, especially when action can still be taken.
The bright, shining star is a symbol of hope and optimism, at least when it’s played upright.
When reversed, the Star carries quite a different meaning, one that sheds no hope on the world. It signifies the end of hope and the beginnings of a descent into darkness. Prepare yourself, because fate is going to test you.
The Moon reflects mental processes that can be positive or negative in nature. Anything from dreams to hallucinations can be represented by this card.
When reversed, this card can be symbolic of order arising out of the chaos, material being created by immaterial, and reality being forged by dreams. Nothing is impossible!
The sun is one of the simpler cards to interpret. Its rays reflect high energy, youthfulness, life, and seeing clearly.
When reversed, this card brings your attention to a harsh reality: the fading of youth. It might be time to accept that you or a loved one is aging, and nothing can reverse that. Don’t fear the end, embrace it, for out of the ashes a new phoenix will rise.
The Judgement tarot card is less about judging and more about releasing. This card indicates forgiveness and letting go of the past.
When this card is reversed, so is the meaning. It suggests that you’re holding onto baggage, either from this life or a previous one. You might feel just clinging to such emotions but you’re doing it for selfish reasons and the only person being negatively impacted by it is you.
This card usually represents the final stage in your journey: the teacher has become the master, and now it’s time to share what you’ve learned along the way.
However, when the World card is reversed, it carries a slightly different meaning. It suggests that your journey is going to come to a premature end, left uncompleted and unfinished. This may be down to your own actions or it could simply be fate. You’ll have to explore each possibility for yourself.