Book: The Complete Book Of Tarot Reversals by Mary GreerMary Greer pioneered the psychological, experiential methods of reading tarot that have now become the norm. Her earlier books, especially Tarot for Your Self, are full of exercises to help beginning readers develop a personal relationship with their cards. I thus expected Tarot Reversals to follow this same pattern...a sort of workbook for getting comfortable interpreting reversed cards.
How do you read reversed tarot cards, the ones that appear upside down in a spread? In The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals, author Mary K. Greer addresses this commonly ignored or misunderstood situation. The most common wisdom about reversed cards is that they indicate resistance or problem areas. In fact, some readers simply abort a reading if too many cards show up as reversals, assuming that the person is too unreceptive, depressed, or dishonest to work with the reading. "Receiving too many reversals can make you feel like you have been dealt a 'losing hand,'" writes Greer, "but hopefully, this book will help turn that around." In fact, Greer claims that reversals offer a portal to the more mystical and esoteric influences in our lives. They "provide an opportunity to reach below logic and lead us into the realm of potentials and underlying causes where everything is connected and Magic happens." Greer (Tarot for Your Self), a seasoned reader and tarot teacher, suggests 12 possible reasons for a reversal. For instance, it could indicate a blocked or resistant situation or it could be due to the questioner getting ready to break through the condition pictured. Greer then offers Interpretations of all 78 tarot cards (both reversed and upright), while giving more lengthy coverage to the fascinating twist of reversals.
Although there are some very valuable exercises in this book, nearly 70% of it is devoted to card-by-card interpretation, typically a page or so describing the upright meanings of the card, then a somewhat lengthier description of the reversed meanings. These descriptions are an incredible resource for any tarot reader, especially if you use reversals in your readings. There is nothing even remotely comparable anywhere else. (Other tarot books explain the meaning of the upright card, but limit reversed meanings to a few keywords.) Besides the welcome in-depth look at reversed meanings, these card interpretations are just plain good, reflecting Greer's decades of experience as a tarot reader and teacher. A welcome inclusion is shamanic/magical meanings for each card, and healing/disease implications as well. This section of the book holds its own against any of the card-by-card interpretation guides on the market today. Although this book is part of Llewellyn's series on "advanced topics in tarot", a complete beginner could learn how to interpret cards very well by using this book.
The remainder of the book consists of general advice on using and interpreting reversals. Greer goes far beyond "reversals as opposites", describing twelve different senses a reversed card can have. The book includes a lengthy listing of words that can be used to modify the upright meanings of the cards. This is very useful, especially if your own deck is a little too far removed from conventional meanings to make use of the card-by-card descriptions.
There are a number of excursions into various tarot topics, such as elemental dignities, and some really interesting spreads. I could hardly read a page in this book without coming on something new I wanted to try out.
Although this book is not intended to be a substitute for a basic tarot book, it could probably be used as such without much difficulty. And as a resource for working with reversed cards, it is unique and indispensible.
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