Empowering Alternative to Reading Reversals

Reversals is a topic I am passionate about in card reading. To me, the whole idea of “reversals” feels very mental, very theoretical. I have NEVER read “reversed” cards as such, because it has never sat right in my gut. And over time, and lots and lots of card reading, a new way of reading reversals has emerged that works wondrously miraculously and that is touched upon in my book, The Playing Card Oracles, and is also the subject of a video in my free Oracle School.

I like to call it “Card Direction,” or sometimes “Layouts as Pictures.”

It is an OBSERVATIONAL way of interpreting cards, as opposed to a mental approach. In other words, what happens when I simply LOOK AT the layout as it appears on the table and see what it is trying to tell me. It is very visual, which to me, works very well with cards. I already have a tendency to get too much “in my head” during readings, too far away from what is actually happening on the table in front of me, and I find this approach keeps me ultimately rooted and I get SO MUCH MORE out of my layouts.

So let’s take an example.


In the above layout, cards appear in the “4-Card Spread” (from The Playing Card Oracles book.) In this spread, cards are laid out vertically. A new post will be written soon about the significance and meaning of laying cards out in this manner, but know that this technique does not depend on layout formation, and can be used with any layout.

Above we have top card) Jack of Diamonds, Dango; 2nd card) 8 of Hearts, The Garden;  third card: 5 of Diamonds, the Peddlar’s Ace; and fourth card) Queen of Hearts, Déja.

In a traditional sense, only the 2nd and 3rd position cards are reversed and their meanings would be altered as such. In the “card direction” technique I am looking instead at how the pictures on the cards relate to each other, like looking at the whole layout as a collage. In this technique, card meanings play into how the card itself is relating to the cards around it via the pictures. It doesn’t isolate out just “reversed cards,” but invites the reader to see a greater story.

In the example above, I see Jack at the top talking a walk in “The Garden” below him. His legs disappear underneath the card below it, as if covered in the tall grass of “The Garden.” Here is a photo of the whole card I am referring to so you get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

Now this card appears upside down or “reversed” below the Jack, but this hardly matters from a traditional standpoint. I am not thinking in “reversed” cards. The fact that “The Garden” is at the Jack’s feet with his legs wading through the thicket is what I am seeing. But what DOES happen with “The Garden” being the direction it is, is that now I see the snake on the card ending at “The Peddlar” below it. It almost feels to me like the snake is morphing into “The Peddlar.” Maybe this dubious looking character pictured on the card truly IS the snake in the grass that the Jack above, talking a leisurely stroll, needs to be aware of! Now THAT’S a picture!

Remember, I have erased the idea of “reversals” from my mind. I hardly care what is “upright” or “upside down” but looking only to how cards relate together to form a larger picture or story.

Now let’s look back at our example in the first photo to finish things off.

The Queen at the bottom sits, almost quite separate from all the cards floating above her. And I ask myself what to make of her from a “picture” point of view.

We see her “rooted” at the bottom of the spread, seated firmly on the ground beneath, yet with her eyes closed… Could she be having a dream? And the story we have seen is all taking place in her mind? Perhaps she is quite separate from all the events mentioned previously, and has the ability to muse on them from a distance and simply “meditate” on them.

This would be my take on the way these cards relate to each other from a picture point of view. Keep in mind now, all the cards KEEP their original potential meanings, but take on new depth and relevance as we see with clarity their relationship to each other.

If you are interested in this technique, check out the video with many more examples in the Oracle School. Also pick up a copy of The Playing Card Oracles, which talks about this as well as many other innovative and amazing card reading perspectives.


–Ana Cortez


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