Aleister Crowley Tarot Reversal Reading

Tarot reversal reading in general is subject to much debate. Many people use them, some don’t, and you’ll find passionate reasons why they should or shouldn’t be used from professionals on both sides of the argument. As with anything, it comes down to what makes sense to you and how you want to do your readings. However, I don’t read reversed cards any differently than I would if they were placed normally.

As I have devoted my study to Aleister Crowley’s tarot system, it should be noted that there is no precedent in any of Aleister Crowley’s writings on the tarot to indicate that the symbolism or meaning of the cards is altered by standing upside down in the spread. . Also, the tarot system most closely related to Thoth, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn tarot, is unprecedented for reading reversed cards differently. This is the main reason for my aversion to reading reversals with the Thoth tarot deck.

Proponents of reading reversals suggest that interpreting the cards backwards allows you to get more information from the cards. They say that if we don’t consider the orientation of the cards, we may only be getting half the story. To me, this argument comes from a lack of understanding of the cards. Each individual tarot card can be interpreted differently based on its relationship to other cards in the spread, as well as its specific position within the spread. This makes the different interpretations of the 80 cards together with their possible permutations within a given spread infinite. The fact that the cards were meant to be interpreted this way is probably the reason why authoritative books on the Thoth tarot do not provide a concise summary of the meaning of each card like you would find in your average tarot book. .

From my point of view, there’s no need to complicate things by trying to ascribe different meanings to each individual card simply based on their orientation in the spread. Learning the complex symbolism of the Thoth tarot deck is a scholarly endeavor in itself. Once you become familiar with the Thelemic correspondence system, there will never be an ambiguous reading. I would suggest that you focus your efforts on familiarizing yourself with the cards and how the different symbols would affect the overall interpretation of the reading, when combined or opposed to each other. Use only simple descriptions of tarot card meanings as a quick start guide or reference point to begin your divination practice. In the end, if you think using inversions will help your reading skills; By all means do what you will, but for your own sake, don’t let it be a substitute for learning the deep symbolism of the cards.