Reading reversals in Aleister Crowley’s tarot

The reading of inversions of the tarot in general is subject to much debate. Many people use them, others do not, and you will find passionate reasons why they should or should not be used by practitioners on both sides of the argument. As with anything, it all comes down to what makes sense to you and how you want to do your reading. However, I don’t read flip cards any differently than I would if they were laid out normally.

Since 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 tarot indicating that the symbolism or meaning of the cards is altered by placing them face down on the roll. . Furthermore, the tarot system most closely related to Thoth, the tarot of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, 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 reverse reading suggest that reading the cards backwards allows you to get more information from the cards. They say that if we don’t take into account the orientation of the cards, we may only be understanding half the story. For me, this argument stems 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 endless. The fact that the cards were interpreted in this way is probably the reason why the authorized books on the Thoth tarot do not provide a concise summary of the meaning of each card, as you would find in your average book on the tarot.

From my perspective, there is 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 within the Thoth tarot deck is an academic endeavor in itself. Once you become familiar with the Thelemic correspondence system, there will never be an ambiguous reading. I would suggest concentrating your efforts on becoming more familiar with the cards and how the various symbols would affect the overall interpretation of the reading, when they are combined or contrasted with each other. Just use simple descriptions of the meaning of tarot cards as a quick start guide or reference point to begin your divination practice. In the end, if you feel that using reversals will help your reading skills; By all means do what you want, but for your own benefit, don’t let it be a substitute for learning the deep symbolism of the cards.

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