How Do You Know If A Tarot Card Is Upright Or Reversed? ANSWERED | Helpful Tarot Guide

  • By: Reece
  • Date: 21 February 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Tarot cards can be confusing when you’re first learning to read them. Part of the reason is that each deck has a different theme and design, but another reason is that it is sometimes difficult to tell if the card is upright or in a reversed position.

How Do You Know If A Tarot Card Is Upright Or Reversed? | Helpful Tarot Guide

When you’re doing a reading for someone, the cards you pull could be facing the client or facing you, but learning how to handle each of these cards is a lot easier than you think.

Still struggling with your readings? Try one of Kasamba’s top rated readers.

Try them out today for FREE with 3 free minutes plus 50% off your first reading!

Just the Basics

When you’re studying how to read tarot cards, one of the first things you’ll learn is that you read every card in two ways: one when they’re upright and one when they’re reversed. Sound confusing? It isn’t once you get used to it, but since there are 78 cards in a tarot deck, this means you have to be familiar with 156 different interpretations before you become an expert reader. Don’t panic, though, because you can be proficient at tarot reading before you know it. Let’s take a look at some examples of how to read cards correctly.

  • Strong versus weak influence. If you’re reading cards that are upright, they’re telling you that the traits, factors, and people involved in the matter have a very strong and powerful influence. Conversely, consider reversed cards to be an indication of a weak influence over the matter at hand.
  • Entering versus receding energy. With the card you’ve learned in your hand, you can consider an upright card to indicate lots of positive energy rushing into your client (or yourself, if you’re doing a tarot card reading for yourself). If the card is reversed, this means lots of energy will be leaving or disappearing from that person.
  • Easy versus difficult areas of life. An upright card can also indicate the areas of a person’s life where there is smooth sailing with little effort on their part, whereas reversed cards can indicate areas where the person is having some difficulties at the moment, or even experiencing a sticky situation.
  • Stable versus unstable areas of life. You can also think of an upright card as indicating the topic, personality, or situation at hand being very stabilized and needing no improvement; in other words, they’ve got this area of their life down pat! Reversed cards can indicate that their personality or even their life is in turmoil and needs to be tended to right away.

As you can see, there are numerous ways to read upright and reversed cards, but first you have to know whether a card is, in fact, upright or reversed. How exactly do you do this?

Upright Versus Reversed

Before exploring the upright versus reversed issue, please note that many tarot card readers do not read or work with cards that are reversed. A reversed card is usually considered a card that is upside down to you, not to the person you’re doing the reading for, and an upright card is considered one that is right side up when you yourself are looking at it. Reversed cards hold negative meanings, which is one of the reasons why some readers won’t work with them and will essentially ignore them.

In other words, what all of this is saying is: you don’t need to worry whether your tarot cards are reversed or upright because in the end, it isn’t about the position of the cards. Instead, it’s about your relationship with the cards and the reading itself. It is about your intuition and your ability to correctly identify and interpret the cards, regardless of how they are placed on the table and which direction they face.

Also, learning the upright major and minor arcana meanings is your first step to feeling confident to handle the reading professionally. Once you learn these meanings, you can experiment with your tarot cards and learn more on your own. Although reading an instruction book is a great start, at some point you should just put it down and practice until you get a good “feel” for how the cards look and what they are trying to tell you.

Bottom line: don’t worry about reading reversed tarot cards at first. Learn to read the cards by intuition and training because this way is always a lot more accurate for the client.


Even if you do want to learn how to read reversed cards, there is no set timeframe for you to do so. Reading tarot cards isn’t complex, but it does rely on skill and practice. Anyone can develop this skill as well as the intuitive ability to read the cards correctly. If you flip a card and can’t decide if it’s upright or reversed, don’t worry about it and don’t get nervous. Over time, your ability and instincts will tell you exactly how to read the card, and this is your best skill of all.