Tarot for the Modern Reader
Reversed Court Cards
Have you ever gotten a reversed court card? What do you do when you receive a Court Card in a reading, but it is in reverse? Assuming you read reversals, then this post is for you. I read a reversed court card a couple of ways.
First and foremost, if it represents someone else, I often see this as a negative expression of the qualities of the person. I personally do not use the Pages in my readings to indicate a grown adult (normally a King or Queen) who is acting childishly or immature.
I will certainly use the "child-like" meaning of a page to describe a grown adult in a situation where they are trying something new, taking up a new hobby. Or they are in the beginning stages of something, or have a lot to learn yet on a particular topic. These are positive or neutral expressions. So just to be clear, I do use pages for myself, and sometimes others, in that way.
However, I do not use a page to indicate "childish" behavior in an otherwise Queen or King. I see childish behavior as one of the reversed qualities. I want to refrain from using the terms "good" and "bad". I'm talking about the qualities that deviate from what we would consider the healthy expressions of each of the personalities in a well-developed and adjusted personality.
So when a grown person is acting very childish (again, not bad, but "undeveloped"), I would expect for this to show up as a reversal of their usual significator. If the King of Cups represents your husband, then a reversed King of Cups might represent him in a situation that he is not displaying his best side or behavior. Maybe he's just having a bad day even.
Challenging or Negative Attributes
A reversed court card doesn't only indicate immaturity- I just wanted to address that quality in particular because many readers will read a Page that way. You certainly can! But I find that gives me additional meanings for my Pages that I don't necessarily want or need.
So a reversed court card for me as a person is most often representing a person who is not acting out the higher vibrations of their energy, but more of the lower ones. For example, the King of Swords may represent a person in charge who is stern but fair. Reversed, he may be more controlling, power-tripping or unjust.
As an event- again, it can be the less desirable manifestation of the upright card. So if we receive a Page and the meaning is a message, then this would not likely be good news. For example, the Page of Pentacles could be news about your health, such as test results. In this case, you would not welcome the news of the results.
The reversed Page court card can also indicate that something you are trying to start is not taking off. It may have started like a fledgling, but never taken flight. As a child, it could signal that one of your own kiddos is in need of something or having a challenging time. This is particularly true if you assign the people in your life, including your children, court cards, and one of those turns out. Read more about Tarot Significators here.
A Knight could indicate a journey you planned to take will NOT happen. The trip is cancelled. As the Knight of Cups, you would find that the new suitor is not Cassanova, but instead, the romance is dwindling- he's just not that into you.
Reversed Court Cards in your Outcome Position
One of the most important positions in a spread we want to clearly interpret is the outcome. So what happens when we have a reversed court card land here?
First and foremost, anytime a court card lands in an outcome position, whether it is upright or reversed, it can indicate that the outcome of the situation you asked about is heavily dependent on someone else. Namely, the person that card represents.
Let's break this down a bit more- I don't often read pages and knights as people when I'm reading for others. I mainly read them as events, with pages being messages or news, or small or new things. Occasionally someone's child. Knights I read as trips and and travels, action and adventure, and harbingers of change.
So when a reversed page shows up, I think that news is coming that is not what the seeker wants to hear, or that the project they are trying to start up (or new romance) just isn't going to take off. With a Knight, I think that their plans, trips, journey, adventure or even change itself, is blocked or cancelled. Nothing's happening.
With Kings and Queens I find it more likely a person to be blocking the outcome you desire. They are not only highly involved with the outcome, but the fact that they're reversed says that it isn't good or helpful.
Kings are our bosses and leaders, the people in charge of us or what we want. So a reversed King is like being told "no" by an authority. A Queen shows support. She can be your biggest cheerleader and make all of the right connections for you. But when she is reversed, she isn't being helpful and she may even be doing things like spreading gossip to hurt you instead.
When the Reversed Court Card Indicates You
This court card be indicating you (or your seeker if you are reading for others). In the case of the King or the Queen, it can show up as having a lack of support (the Queen) or mastery (the King) as necessary to the endeavor you've asked about. It could be a lack of those qualities from that card in particular, that are necessary for the desired outcome.
Is there an area of your life that you've assigned this court card to for yourself? How does that fit into your reading? Do you feel this side of your persona is out of balance one way or the other?
Reading Reversed Court Cards as You in the Advice Position
Interestingly, another place our reversed court cards can wreak havoc in our readings is by showing up in the advice position. What does it mean when we have a court card show up in reverse as a card of advice?
Depending on whether the court member is referring to themselves, someone else, or an event, I will interpret under the context of what to do for the best possible outcome (the advice).
So if the court card describes you (or your seeker), than I read that court card as the personality to emulate. In a reversed card, I do read it that those are the qualities you need to embody too- but they lose their attachment to negative connotations as they might in an outcome position.
For example, with the Queen of Cups reversed, we may see the advice be something like "Remove emotion from the situation" or even "you should be reserved with your emotions" for whatever reason.
Truthfully they can indicate what NOT to do- the reversed King of Pentacles might be signaling that it's NOT the time to apply for the loan or mortgage.
Reading Reversed Court Cards as Events in the Advice Position
As Knights I often read them as directions and stop/go energy. Knights are all action. So when the Knight comes up reversed as advice, it feels like we're being told to STOP. We are not going. The trip, the event, the changes, they've been halted. They may say turn around and go back.
What's interesting here is that you can look at which way each Knight's horse faces (in decks with horses of course) in the spread- to the future or the past, when in upright or reverse. They don't all look the same way in every deck.
The Page? Don't start something new, don't send messages. These would be clarified further by their suits of course! The Page of Pentacles reversed might indicate it is not the time to go back to school or learn a new trade.
Reading Reversed Court Cards as Someone Else in the Advice Position
The card that comes up here can also represent someone else. When it is a page it likely represents a child or someone who does not have any authority in the given situation. I often see this card here as a child to take into consideration more closely, or even reach out to your own, if you have children and they are represented by their Tarot Significator here.
As Kings and Queens, these could be the people involved that you need to go through or around in some way. For example, you may need the help of the Queen, or the permission of the King, yet these cards reversed here are an indication you may have more of a struggle to work through to get it. These may be the people you need to avoid or get around in some way- being reversed indicates they don't have value to offer you.
I hope some of these tips on how to read reversed court cards were helpful to you! I also like to read the qualities of each court card reversed as the more challenging aspects of the astrological signs they represent.
You can read more about each court card in depth in the Card Meanings Library- 78 Cards, Upright and Reversed here, including how their astrological aspects manifest in them and also find the Quick reference keywords for each court card upright and reversed.
And be sure to sign up for the 5 Day FREE Mini Email Court Card Course where you'll take a deep dive through the ranks for 5 days via a short email lesson sent to you once a day for a week! Get to know these ranks as yourself, the other people in your life, and events too!
I'm Liza, professional Tarot reader, writer and mentor, and this is Tarot Liza. Everyday we're working to bring our mission of delivering more value and Tarot education to the Modern Reader to life! Welcome! Read more...
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