Reading Reversals in Divination
While some don’t do divination by the book, one thing is almost certain. A reversed answer is different from a right side up answer in most types of divination.
Runes are a form of divination that are not traditionally read reversed. Each rune has its own meaning, and it’s very straightforward. For example, The rune for Isa translates into English roughly as ice. The section about Isa in the Rune Poem reads “ Ice is cold and slippery. It glistens like glass. It is as bright as gems, The field wrought with frost is fair to the sight,” The meaning is basically that this is a time of great beauty but it can be dangerous. Oftentimes, it means there is no forward motion in an endeavor. Like the earth awaits the thaw in Spring before growth can happen, the querent must wait for things to change before they can move forward. In the meantime, like the buds form on the trees, and plants are pushing their way upwards towards breaking through the surface of the earth, the querent should continue to work towards the goal, and be patient until the time for action comes. The beauty of the time of waiting is taking in the “now”, and living in the moment instead of being overly eager to plunge forward before the time is right- which would be dangerous because it could ruin everything at worst, and waste time in the best case scenario. There is no reverse for this.
Although it’s not traditional, some do interpret reversals of Runes. For example, Hagalaz, or Hail, is written as “Hail is the whitest of grains, it sweeps from the sky, is whirled by the wind, and turns to water. “It stands for destruction, similar to the Tower card in Tarot. Unlike the Tower card, however, the frozen hail turns to water at some point, meaning the bad times will come to an end. But reversed, it can mean the time of disaster is either over, or the querent is worrying about some disaster that is not going to happen.
While some prefer Runes, others prefer cards for the images that can be used to illustrate the messages the reader is to deliver to the querent. Sometimes, a reversed card means close the opposite of what the card means right side up, although that isn’t always the case.
Take for example the Chariot card. Right side up everything is going swimmingly, and the querent will enjoy progress and forward movement. Reversed, things are held up. There may be some obstacle, or just maybe there needs to be more preparation before the chariot starts moving forward again. No two readings are just alike. This card will deliver the general message of forward movement or holdup, but depending on the querent and their situation, the details will be different regardless of whether the card is right side up or reversed. A reversed chariot card may also point to transportation issues!
If a querent comes asking about a romantic relationship, and the Lovers card is drawn, right side up, it communicates that this is a good relationship. Perhaps even these lovers are THE ONES for one another, or at least will have a great romance for however long they are meant to. Reversed, does not necessarily mean the relationship needs terminating, but could mean the querent and their partner have work to do to return that spark to their relationship. However, it sometimes means the relationship is all but over, and the lovers will part ways. The reading may have nothing to do with romance, and right side up it can mean harmony and feeling at peace. Reversed, it can argumentativeness, preferring to be more solitary than social, or can indicate second guessing a choice the querent has made.
It is important to keep in mind when using cards for divination the multiple meanings each card can have, and the reader must use their intuition to let them know which meaning is being communicated, regardless of whether the card is right side up or reversed. For example, the Empress card can mean one of many things, including; Motherhood, pregnancy, fertility, a strong female, or even just growth or the presence of a new opportunity. These are all different from one another. Then reversed, it can mean codependence, infertility, or that the querent is not meant to be a mother. It can mean lack of emotional nurturing, lack of financial resources, or being a predatory seductress. These interpretations are not all just non-motherhood. It is not necessarily denoting a woman, either. Right side up it can even mean that a man is very nurturing, and reversed it can mean he needs to cultivate that ability.
Some readers use reversals to aid in straightforward yes/no questions. The querent asks a question, and if the card is right side up, the answer is yes! If it’s reversed, the answer is no. Another way to get a quick yes/no answer using reversals, most especially if you don’t have your cards on hand, is to pick up a book, focus the energy from your question into it, and throw the book up, allowing it to land on the ground. Cover side up is yes, back side up is no. Some do this by flipping a coin. Heads up is yes, tails up is no.
It is that crucial each reader sit with their divination tools, allowing them to speak to him or her, and allow intuition to let them know which meaning is being communicated. Divination tools are just that, tools, and in the hands of somebody who is not gifted to read, they won’t reveal any answers. Using reversals can open the door for faster answers in readings, for those who have these gifts, but not every reader feels the need to use them. You will know which way works for you, and those you read for will benefit from your insight.
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