Reversed Cards

By Odyn PenDragon

I had long ago abandoned using ‘reversed’ cards in my spreads because to me that distinction really meant nothing. When a card appears, it is by its relation to the other cards in the spread that helps ‘refine’ the otherwise ‘wide’ meaning intrinsic to any card, ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ and all inbetween. It is, to me, linear thinking to rely on the card’s relative orientation to decide its ‘benevolence’ or ‘malevolence’. The querent’s (client’s) actions-behaviors-reactions will determine that.

But there is a property from Astrology that can be projected onto this issue of reversed cards, while still retaining the intrinsic dynamic balance of “benevolence” and “malevolence” in its appearance in the spread. Even in an astrological reading, I see those who treat a Retrograde Planet is somehow “opposite” the meaning of the Direct Planet, because of its ‘apparent’ “backwards” motion. However, there is a property of Retrograde Planets that is not mere ‘appearance’: for the planets outside of the Earth’s Orbit (Mars and beyond), they appear retrograde when they are closest to the Earth itself. Thus it is suggested that Retrograde Planets should be treated as if they are “too close” and therefore there is a “lack of perspective” or “lack of objectivity”. Armed with this notion, it was not difficult for me to shift my ‘word mind’ into considering Retrograde Planets as being “Indirect” as compared to Direct Planets.

A “direct” factor can represent that which is “definite”, whereas an “indirect” factor can represent that which is “vague” and “indefinite”. (The cynic in me can easily draw a parallel of comparing a Scientist and a Politician.) At least with this ‘Direct or Indirect’ model, it is simply a matter of “perspective” or “perceptual capacity”, completely divorced from the “benevolence” or “malevolence” of the factor. The ‘good’ or ‘bad’ morality model has been removed.

Why not apply this same principle to Direct Cards and Reversed Cards in the reading spread? A Direct Card can represent a property that has a greater potential of being more easily apparent, easily noticeable. A Reversed or Indirect Card can represent a property that will require greater awareness by the querent (client) to notice its manifestation; it will be more ‘indefinite’, ‘vague’ and maybe even ‘tricky’.


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