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The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals (Special Topics in Tarot Series) Paperback – March 8, 2002

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Editorial Reviews Review

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. --Gail Hudson

About the Author

Mary Greer is an author and teacher specializing in methods of self-exploration and transformation.  A Grandmaster of the American Tarot Association, she is a member of numerous Tarot organizations, and is featured at Tarot conferences and symposia in the United States and abroad.  

Mary also has a wide following in the women's and pagan communities for her work in women's spirituality and magic.  A Priestess-Hierophant in the Fellowship of Isis, she is the founder of the Iseum of Isis Aurea.

Mary has studied and practiced Tarot and astrology for over 34 years.  Her teaching experience includes eleven years at New College of California, as well as at many workshops, conferences, and classes.  She is the founder and director of the learning center T.A.R.O.T. (Tools and Rites of Transformation).

Her books include Tarot for Your Self: A Workbook for Personal Transformation (1984); Tarot Constellations: Patterns of Personal Destiny (1987); Tarot Mirrors: Reflections of Personal Meaning (1988); The Essence of Magic: Tarot, Ritual, and Aromatherapy (1993); Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses (1995); and Aromatherapy: Healing for the Body and Soul (1998), with Kathi Keville.


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Product Details

  • Series: Special Topics in Tarot Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (March 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567182852
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567182859
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary K. Greer is an independent scholar, writer, teacher, and professional tarot consultant. She has an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Central Florida where she also first taught tarot in 1974. For eleven years, she was a teacher and administrator at New College of California in San Francisco, including teaching tarot as an interdisciplinary subject integrating art, literature, history, and psychology. She is the author of eleven books on tarot and on magic.

Mary's books have pioneered entirely new techniques for learning about and working with the cards, including being the first to present in-depth techniques for reading for oneself. In 2007, Mary received the International Tarot Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Tarot Studies. She also received the 2006 Mercury Award from the Mary Redman Foundation for "excellence in communication in the metaphysical field," and the 2006 Coalition of Visionary Resources (COVR) award for best divination book. She is also an ordained priestess in the Fellowship and Church of Isis.

Mary has lived in Japan, Germany, England and Mexico and in six states within the U.S., and continues to travel around the world teaching. She currently produces "Mary K. Greer's Tarot Blog" at which focuses on tarot history and research, tarot in popular culture, and tips and techniques for reading the cards. Her blog posts are frequently translated into other languages and reposted on other sites.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Tom L. Waters on October 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Mary 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.
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.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Barbara A. Bolek on March 24, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With "Tarot Reversals", Mary K. Greer (author of, "Essence of Magic", "Tarot Mirrors", "Tarot For Yourself") has created possibly one of the best Tarot resources for the serious student of Tarot divination. I don't want to repeat much of what other reviewers have said thus far, as they have covered the material well. Instead, I will try to add to their insights.
Many Tarot professionals don't use reversed interpretations. This is all well and good. But the numerous books out there that do deal with the concept of interpreting Tarot cards reversed, usually fall short in interpreting reversals. This could leave one to draw the conclusion that reversals are of minor importance in a spread, which is absolutely not true.
Greer corrects this inequity with a book that, not only focuses on the concept of reversals, but equally weights the upright and reversed interpretations of the cards. So you not only get the flip-side interpretation of the Tarot, you get an indepth analysis of the cards in both upright and reversed positions, making this a highly valuable resource for professional and novice alike. Along with this indepth analysis, Greer also offers a very brief, "traditional" interpretation of the cards, both upright and reversed.
The interpretations are the meat of the text. The introduction and the first two chapters set the stage, discussing the book's concept, providing specialized terms used in the text, viewing Tarot from a different perspective (reversals are more than just negative interpretations) and how to go about using reversals.
There are a number of wonderful spreads provided at the back of the book, some of which require you to use all reversed cards, an incredibly innovative concept.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Sandra A. Thomson on March 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals by Mary K. Greer

The inaugural book in Llewellyn's new Special Topics in Tarot series is unlike any of Greer's earlier books.
In addition to expanded information on the upright and reversed meanings for each card, the book also contains an explanation of elemental dignities, a list of the elemental correspondences for the Major Arcana, general suit and number keywords, Internet addresses and resources, and an innovating presentation of reversed cards as representing the heroine's journey.
For the brave of heart, Greer also presents the idea of doing basic one-card and three-card readings with all reversed cards (be brave, dear hearts). For her Hanged Man spread, each card is read first as a problem, and then as an inner response to Spirit. Her Hidden Influences spread is extensive and complicated, but not to be missed as a detailed experience in examining major life concerns and how they are influenced.
The example reading for Sarah demonstrates the way Mary can "work" a Celtic Cross spread. You'll never belittle the Celtic Cross spread after reading this chapter.
The reversed card illustrations force you to look at the cards in a new way (if you haven't before) and her ideas about reversed cards includes new meanings for projections, health issues, and the shamanistic and magical levels of the cards. Congratulations Mary and Llewellyn.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mar Calpena on March 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
The first in the new "Special topics in the Tarot" series, "Tarot reversals" is the great new book by the author of the classic "Tarot for your self". There's a big wealth of information on choosing your personal approach towards reversed cards (critical, as some of this approaches are in fact opposite), suggested meanings for both upright and reversed cards, considerations on what a majority of reversed cards stand for, spreads, examples, bibliography, resources and a very interesting essay on the heroine's journey, as opposed to the traditional hero's journey suposedly portrayed in normal position cards. Although this book isn't nearly as exercise heavy as "Tarot for your self", I still feel it merits five stars. It already would only because many aficionados have been waiting for one such for a long time, but the fact it's written by Ms Greer makes it a sure winner. It is a good addition for the intermediate/advanced tarot student's library.
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