How To Correctly Flip Tarot Cards | A Step By Step Guide

  • By: Reece
  • Date: 20 February 2023
  • Time to read: 3 min.

As a general rule of thumb, you should flip Tarot cards horizontally. This maintains their natural orientation and results in a clearer reading.

However, there are some extra steps that you’re going to want to follow when flipping the cards. In this article, we will cover:

  • What are reversed Tarot cards
  • How to place Tarot cards during a reading
  • How to shuffle Tarot cards
  • Flipping the cards vertically
  • Flipping the cards horizontally
How to Flip Tarot Cards

Reversed Tarot Cards

Before you flip your Tarot cards, you will first need to decide whether or not you will be using reversals.

When a Tarot card is upside-down (reversed), it can have an entirely different meaning from its upright interpretations.

The meanings behind a reversed card may be the opposite of the upright card, or they may strengthen or redirect the primary message of the upright card. A reversed card could also mean “no” whereas an upright card might mean “yes”.

Reversed cards can make a reading more complex and specific, which can be a great thing. However, it also means that you have a lot more interpretations to learn. This may over-complicate a reading, and as such, if you’re new to Tarot then it is probably best to stick to upright cards for the time being.

Where to Place Tarot Cards

If you are using reversals, then it becomes even more important to flip the cards horizontally. Otherwise, you may end up with a reading which makes no sense.

When considering where you’re going to place the cards, you’re first going to want to decide on who the they will face. If you are reading for someone else, you might want to have the cards face them – but this is up to personal choice.

Conversely, when you’re reading yourself, it makes sense to have the cards facing you.

Shuffling the Cards

Following that, you’re going to want to give the Tarot deck a good ol’ stuffle.

You should take this time to truly focus on the question or intention that you would like the deck to assist you with.

One of the most common ways of shuffling a deck is by using the overhand shuffle technique. In this, you’re going to want to place the deck in one hand and release a section of the cards into the opposite hand until it has been adequately mixed. This works best for those who prefer to not use reversed cards.

Alternatively, you could use the pile shuffle. This is where you place the cards on a Tarot cloth and spread them around, before bringing them back together. This is the best method for shuffling if you plan on using reversed cards.

If a card falls out during shuffling, then this may mean that you should read that card. You should then pick it up and proceed to flip it horizontally using the steps below.

Flipping Cards Vertically

Flipping your cards vertically is almost never done. This is because flipping vertically means that you are changing the natural positioning of the card, and as such, could be throwing off the reading.

Vertical flipping is where you flip from top to bottom, and by using this method, all of your upright cards will appear reversed and vice-versa.

Flipping Cards Horizontally

Whenever you are doing a reading, you’re probably going to want to flip them horizontally.

To do this, you should first place the cards on the Tarot cloth so that they are either facing you or the person opposite. 

When you flip a card horizontally, you flip it from left to right, much as though you are turning the page of a book. This is very different from vertically flipping a card, as it maintains the natural orientation of the card and leads to clearer readings.

Then, you read from left to right when you are reading for yourself, or right to left when reading for someone else.

Which Way Do You Flip Tarot Cards?

All that said, there is no “right way” to flip a Tarot card. Instead, you should follow your intuition and do what feels right for you.


Once you feel confident in the way that you are flipping your cards, then you can start working on more complex readings. Perhaps you now want to learn how to read a reversed card..?

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