Tarot Reversals – The Fours

To a certain extent the Fours of the RWS deck can be said to deal with the results of abundance. How best to celebrate abundance other than as part of the community? That is the question that is answered by the Four of Wands. Or how to deal with the ennui of non-stop abundance? That would be the Four of Cups; our wastrel appears to have been the Kardashian of his day. How to deal with the problem of keeping that abundance when you’re a miser? This we see in the case of the Four of Pentacles. The seeming outlier here is the Four of Swords. It’s important not to claim a rule or order when perhaps there is none, so I shall not claim that this card focuses on abundance, as the other three do. Although… we could look at the Four of Swords as an example of the man who has successfully dealt with an abundance of activity in life. He now rests in peace, fondly remembered by the community. Community appears to be the unifying “perspective” in the Fours’ reversals; for it seems to be the community’s view that applies to the reversed meaning in each. What goes around comes around, they say. We could even place the four figures on a mini-Karmic-Wheel-of-Fortune, which is as good an organizing principle as any.

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Tarot Reversals – The Threes

As far as Waite and Colman Smith’s tarot goes, the threes can be said to be about well defined, sharp moments that require growth before they can happen. For wands, it is that precise moment when a plan turns into execution. For swords, the moment after the beloved walks out the door, when the lover feels the piercing of his or her heart. For Pentacles, it is the moment the former apprentice realizes that now, now, he is a master artisan. And for cups: well, the harvest is in, it’s time to enjoy the wine. The “sharpness” of those moments can be of both pain and growth. In this it is apparent that Binah, the third sephira on the kabbalistic tree of life, which some say represents the womb, has influenced Waite and Colman Smith. But we’ll leave the details to the one page guides, though, and concentrate on reversals in this post. In the first post in this series on tarot reversals, we introduced the idea that relationships between the divinatory meanings (as defined by Waite in the Pictorial Key to the Tarot) of the upright vs. reversed minor arcana can be interpreted as a change of perspective. In the threes we see that moment, from these two perspectives.

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Tarot Reversals – The Sixes

In the first post in this series, we introduced the idea that relationships between the divinatory meanings (as defined by Waite in the Pictorial Key to the Tarot) of the upright vs. reversed minor arcana in the RWS can be interpreted as a change of perspective. In the thirty six cards corresponding to the decans, we can find visual clues to understand reversals by looking at the characters’ points of view. Where there is more than one character, we look at their perspectives of each other. Where there is a single character, from the point of view of an outside observer. In this post, we look at the sixes.

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A Perspective Upon Reversals Part 1

Tarot reversals don’t have a rigid consistency. They can increase, decrease, negate, or make the upright meaning its opposite. If you go by the book, it’s twice the memorization. But if you think of it this way: reversals add perspective, it might help. In the RWS minor arcana, we see characters in various situations. We can use these as visual clues to understand reversals by looking at the characters’ points of view. Where there is more than one character, we can look at their perspectives of each other. Where there is a single character, from the point of view of an outside observer. A simple one page graphic showing a few examples, and a full table for the 36 minors might make you think a little differently about reversals.

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