This post was prompted by reader Rohini. My last post was a technique for reading the natural flow of a card’s “energy,” by considering what card comes next in sequence. Rohini wanted to know if a reversed card was drawn, should we look at the next card, or the previous card? It’s a great question!

I tend to not use reversals, so that issue hadn’t come up for me. I had to ponder this. The point of this technique is to show how a card’s influence will likely progress. If a card is reversed, can it still progress? Or does it have to regress?
I would still look to the next card, because life is always moving forward. We may move backward at times, but life continues to move ahead, with or without us!

Paul Fenton-Smith teaches a nifty reversal technique, where he considers a reversal to indicate blockage; a sign that the client has yet to learn the lesson of the previous card in sequence. This is a nice way to handle reversed card meanings in readings.

In this case, we could think of the card drawn as showing a block. Life still wants to move forward and get to that next card, but there is some trouble — because the client or sitter is stuck on the current card. In this case, the reversal could say that the client is actually experiencing the previous card, and needs to work harder to get the next card to manifest!

6 of Wands – 7 of Wands (reversed) – 8 of Wands

Let’s work through an example. Supposed I asked about an ongoing project at work and got the 7 of Wands reversed.The natural progression from the 7 of Wands is the 8 of Wands. This would mean fighting hard, or drawing on some reserve strength, to move into a phase where the project seems to flow quickly and effortlessly. A payoff for hard work and perseverance.

In this example the 7 of Wands is reversed. So I could read that as a blockage, that indicates that I’m stuck. Looking at the lesson of the previous card, the reason for being stuck is that I haven’t made use of the last project milestone — success, shown in the 6 of Wands — to carry me forward and over the current hurdles. Or maybe I see a manager in the 6 of Wands, and realize I haven’t taken advantage of manager support to get past this stumbling block. I realize I have to work harder, and I now have a clue for how to get “un-stuck” and keep my project on track.

Either way, I am heading towards the 8 of Wands, because that is the natural progression of events. With the reversal it seems likely to take longer to get there, but I still have to head in that direction.

I hope that illustrates clearly how reversals could be utilized with this technique. Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences in the comments, as always.