Flipped Missives: Reversals As Insinuation

While working on my initial dream-analysis reading, I started to say that all of the reversed Wands cards in the dream scenario represented an “incursion” of Spirit into the reverie, but then I realized that, in the dream-world, visions of profound import typically don’t stand up and shout in order to draw attention to themselves, they murmur or “insinuate” themselves into the illusion. This got me thinking that, since one of the primary qualities I see in reversed cards is that they often communicate their meaning in oblique or indirect ways, it could be said that they “insinuate” rather than plainly elucidate their intent. This plays well with my idea that reversed-card implications can “sneak up on” the querent or “come in the back door.” The querent and the reader must be attuned to the proper frequency in order to catch the subtle intonation.

The least effective way to achieve this attunement is to just turn the usual meaning on its head. There is much more to reversal than mere overthrow or subversion of the upright interpretation, which isn’t very high on my list of assumptions about how they work. I think of them mainly as adverbs that “color” or “shade” the testimony of a card in ways that may make it less emphatic but no less potent at a more nuanced level of inward or outward manifestation. This influence is not necessarily negative but it can sidetrack or complicate the main message in the reading. I find them to be more advisory or cautionary than explicitly demonstrative. They remind me of “Easter-egg” rewards in a video game, you may have to look behind a bush or under a crate to find them but they are usually worthwhile. In fact, one of my favorite metaphors for absorbing them into a reading is “turning over rocks to see what crawls out from underneath.”

A much better way to contemplate the influence of a reversed card is to take a step back and consider what you might be missing about the situation, along the lines of the upright meaning but on a parallel trajectory that may offer opportunities to explore otherwise neglected byways. Look in the shadowy corners! It could also denote a figurative “speed bump” in the road; disregard it at your own peril, it could rattle your eye-teeth. I generally treat a reversed card as a signpost drawing me toward something that is more ambivalent about the querent’s circumstances.

I’m going to add “insinuation” to my growing list of qualifying factors attending the appearance of a reversed card in my readings.

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