Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The Inverted Fool

We might well interpret this as the Fool getting completely lost in his head, in hopes and imagination, in talk of what he's going to do, completely surrendering to the sky, with no way to actually walk toward anything, even disaster. 

This, we might say, is the Fool doomed to Foolishness that makes sense only to him. 

He is not in The Real World and whatever he proposes cannot be made Real.

" Introduction to Reversed Tarot Cards

" Let me start with this introduction, which is all my humble opinion.

A lot of books make it seem like you can just memorize upright AND reversed meanings at the same time. Certainly, you can, but I believe that reversals are difficult to interpret - often more so than upright. For this reason, I believe you should be familiar with the upright meanings first and save reversals for later.

Second, let me cover the oft-asked question: are reversals necessary?

The answer is no. Some readers believe that reversals allow for a wider range of meaning and possibilities. Some believe that all cards have positive and negative possibilities, and that the spread and question will inform the reader of what the card means with no need to have any of the cards upside-down. Other readers just find that reversed cards interrupt the flow of their reading, and so don't use them because they just don't like them.

In addition, some readers will use reversals with some decks and not others. And to make matters even more complex, there are some decks created with reversals in mind (the Revelations Deck, for example, which almost requires the reader to use reversals). Other decks will admonish the reader NOT to use reversals, and the backs of the cards will be such to help the reader keep the cards all going in the right direction.

In the end, whether you use reversals or not is entirely up to you. There is no right or wrong about using them.

Part II

A frequently asked question about reversals: are reversals always negative?

Answer: No. Reversals do not always mean that something horrible is going to happen or that the situation is awful and hopeless. A spread heavy on reversals may simply be a way for the cards to get a strong message across, or to inform the reader and querent that there is a pessimistic, negative or blocked outlook to the problem. In short, that a change of attitude, beliefs, ways of tackling the problem can restore the energy and get things moving again.

This brings us to the three most common ways to interpret reversed cards.

1) Opposite: the meaning of the card is the opposite of its upright meaning. Frankly, I think this is the weakest and sloppiest of possibilities when it comes to reversals - it's a little too simplistic and has one problem: if a "bad" card is reversed, does that now make it a "good" card? So, reverse the Ten of Swords, Five of Pentacles or Three of Swords and the message is now a good one? We'll get back to that...but the answer is, not necessarily.

2) Blockage: the energy of the card is blocked or diminished. Quoting myself, from an earlier spread on the subject: "One of the best discussions of reversals I recall was one where we theorized that reversals are like running aground or being caught in an eddy. Uprights move the energy forward, as on a river. Reversals indicate that this energy is not flowing."

This means that if the Three of Swords is reversed, then its energy is blocked. If that energy includes communication, however hurtful that communication, then it is being dammed up. The vocalizing of something important is being held back and the results, positive as well as negative, are being held back as well. Nothing can go forward.

3) Upside-down Image. This is where you re-interpret the image given that it is upside-down. So, upright cups are now spilled, and that man in the Ten of Swords - he's actually worse off than when he was upright. Upright, the swords are all in his back - the nightmare had ended, it is over and done with. Reversed, he's on top of them sinking down to their hilts - it's a lingering end, drawn out and torturous.

In the end, reversals are not happy things - but they are, perhaps, important life lessons which teach us far more than if we only got sunny uprights.

Go back to the list of Reversed Tarot Card Meanings.

Fool Reversed Tarot Card Meaning

Generally speaking, the upright meaning of the Fool is that of birth, new beginnings, fresh starts, journeys and exploration. It can also mean not looking where you're going, being naive or foolish, or a potential disaster if you don't stop staring at the stars and take a good look at what's directly ahead of you.

1) Opposites: If we were to go for a simple, opposite meaning, the card might mean an ending and/or wisdom.

2) Blocked: More apt is the blocked interpretation. If the energy of the Fool is all about starting something new, going somewhere new, then blocking that energy means that the querent is having difficulty starting anew, moving, seeing the world with fresh eyes.

There is also an implication of being stuck, uninspired. The Fool, if you will, is sitting at the side of the road with blisters on his feet and rocks in his shoes, unable to go on his way.

3) Upside-down: What if we turn the image upside-down? I'll use classic Rider-Waite here--but in reversing the image, interpretation, of course, will depend on the deck.

The cliff edge is hanging over the Fool and his feet have no real purchase. We might say that he's falling, dropping off from under the rock to free fall through the yellow sky. Everything, the sack, the dog, tumbles with him.

We might well interpret this as the Fool (in Rider represented by Air), getting completely lost in his head, in hopes and imagination, in talk of what he's going to do, completely surrendering to the sky, with no way to actually walk toward anything, even disaster. This, we might say, is the Fool doomed to Foolishness that makes sense only to him. He is not in the real world and whatever he proposes cannot be made real.

The Hermit Reversed Tarot Card Meaning

Upright, the Hermit is about a time of solitude and introspection, of investigation, learning, enlightenment and sometime teaching. Reversed....

1) Opposite: If we take "opposite" to mean the negatives of the card then we can view the reversed card as all the evil stereotypes of hermits. The mean old man, isolated, misanthropic, paranoid. In this instance, isolation does not bring insights and epiphanies, but rather turns the person sour and against the world. We might well get reversed Hermit for men like the Unabomber, using their isolation to formulate crimes and destruction.

Other opposite of the Hermit is the Fool. Such as a teacher who uses his position to do foolish or childish things rather than to impart wisdom and insights. Either way, this is not a trustworthy teacher or sage.

2) Blocked: The power of the Hermit - his energy - is in his lantern. The Hermit has keen insight, and an ability to see what is hidden to others, to look beneath the surface. If this is blocked, then we might well say that the Hermit's lantern has been shuttered. It offers no light and the Hermit is left in darkness.

Thus, if reading this card as blocked, a reader might say to a querent that they are having trouble shedding light on a problem, or that they're alone in the dark in this situation. To get out, they must find a way to rekindle their lantern. The lantern is emblematic of their keen mind, sharp eye, and analytical abilities. Though currently in darkness, the hermit has the means to shed light on things if he'll just rekindle his lantern.

3) Upside-down: the most telling thing about the Hermit upside-down is that he loses his lantern. This is similar to the blocked interpretation, only worse. In the blocked interpretation the lantern can be re-illuminated. But upside-down, the lantern is gone. The Hermit is totally in the dark...and all alone. He has lost all ability to find his way and is going to have to stumble on home if he can.

I would see this extreme example in the case of people having some mental problems - they can't concentrate, they can't think, they can't remember or see things clearly anymore. An elder who is foolishly giving away his money, for example, might well be a Hermit reversed. A once wise and canny old fellow who seems to have completely lost his lantern, his ability to make intelligent decisions.

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