Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review - Tarot In Reverse

Tarot in Reverse: Making Sense of the Upside Down Cards in a Tarot Spread by Janet Boyer is slated for release from Schiffer Publishing in April 2012, but I was lucky enough to read it early!

To read reversals in tarot, or not to read them, that is the eternal question.  The arguments abound on both sides, but whether you choose to read reversals or not, one thing is certain- each tarot card has a range of meaning, and to be a competent reader you must have a method of divining whether the Ten of Cups is the happily ever after your sitter longs for, too much tequila last night, leading to delusions, or somewhere in between.  This can be accomplished by using spreads with positional meanings, elemental dignities, good old fashioned intuition, and of course, the use of reversed cards.

In my readings, I rarely use reversals, but instead I refer to cards as ill aspected, or displaying their baser qualities.  How I come to that conclusion has to do with the position of the card, and how it interacts with the other cards in the spread, as well as what my gut tells me, but the effect is the same.  My exception to that is when I am doing one card readings, I will allow reversals, because without the help of positional meanings or interacting cards I need the pointer.

But, whether you read the cards physically reversed, or have some other method of pulling their meaning out from the possible range, does that mean you have to memorize 78 more "keywords"?  No, no of course not, and while I don't advocate reading only from keywords they can be a good springboard for intuition when you are put on the spot.  This book  does an excellent job of helping you decide how you read reversed cards, and so many options for what those reversals can allude to; I guarantee you will be amazed, and using them will take your readings to a new level, whether you read with physical reversals or not.

The book is clear and concise, written in easy language that can easily be devoured in one sitting.  You can use it like a cookbook, thanks to the layout, which lists each card, starting with the Major Arcana, and a paragraph which basically lists the authors' brainstorming on the card.  You could certainly do this yourself, and in fact I encourage you to, but when we are short on time bouncing off someone elses' ideas is one way to get to where we were going anyway.  This makes the book very easy to use on the fly, just flip to the page with the card you are looking for, and scroll through the meanings until something pings.

The author has included affirmations for each reversal, which is a lovely tool for cleaning up the mess a reading can uncover at times.  One example of the affirmations given for the Justice card is, "I show mercy to others.  Blessed are the merciful."  This can be an outstanding message to receive when Justice is showing up in your life in a lower expression of its' powerful energy.  Also included are examples from pop culture which help make the card relevant to how we live today.  Some of these references are humorous, some are poignant, some ironic, but all illustrate the meaning of the card in a fresh way.

The book is nearly 200 pages, but easy reading, with full color illustrations from the Universal Waite Tarot by Mary Hanson Roberts.  There are few books that discuss reversed cards in depth, and the light, sometimes irreverent tone of this one makes it a go to for study and quick questions alike.  I recommend Tarot in Reverse!

You can visit Janet Boyer at her website, visit her Pinterest board that relates to Tarot in Reverse, like Tarot in Reverse on Facebook, and preorder Tarot in Reverse wherever you like to get your books.  It will be released on April 28, 2012, by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.


  1. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing Tarot in Reverse, Amanda! I'm thrilled you like it, and honored that you took the time to post this. I have a blast making Tarot fun, accessible, contemporary and--above all--useful. I hope others find this to be true for Tarot in Reverse, as well! Many blessings to you!

  2. It was my pleasure, Janet. I think you have succeeded at all those things!

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