The Shadow Side of the Major Arcana

Now that you have basic knowledge of the cards, it is important to develop a more comprehensive understanding of what each tarot card means.

First, tarot readers as individuals should be aware that every being has a shadow side. And though there are several people who choose to focus solely on love and light, there are those who choose to nurture their shadow side as well. Likewise, it is important to understand that tarot too, has a shadow side, and this post will briefly discuss a few basic meanings with respect to the shadow side of the Major Arcana cards.

Tarot readers often interpret the shadow side of the card when reading a reversal. If you choose to work with reversed cards, be sure to remember that the interpretation will be different than the interpretation of that same card in the upright position.

Basic Meanings of the Major Arcana Cards in Reversal Readings

The Fool ~ 0 ~
This card can represent things like foolishness, irresponsibility, recklessness, finding oneself in a precarious situation, or being taken advantage of.

The Magician ~ I ~
This card may signify lack of confidence, poor communication and planning, latent talents, and manipulation.

The High Priestess ~ II ~
The High Priestess in this case would denote imbalance, unrecognized potential, repressed feelings, and ignoring one’s intuition.

The Empress ~ III ~
The Empress could represent domestic and relationship problems, dependence on others, creative blocks, and infertility.

The Emperor ~ IV ~
This card may represent a lack of self-discipline, excessive desire for control, domination and inflexibility.

The Hierophant ~ V ~
The Hierophant heralds resistance, challenging the status quo, and nonconformity.

The Lovers ~ VI ~
The Lovers could signify imbalance, lack of harmony, ignoring problems, and making poor choices.

The Chariot ~ VII ~
The Chariot could indicate lack of willpower, lack of focus, lack of ambition, fear of commitment, lack of control, and aggression.

Strength ~ VIII ~
Reversed, this card would likely signal fear, doubt, inhibition, lack of self-discipline, feeling helpless. This card can also signify control issues.

The Hermit ~ IX ~
The Hermit could insinuate isolation, loneliness, withdrawal. In this case, this card denotes that it may be time to seek out others.

The Wheel of Fortune ~ X ~
When reversed, The Wheel of Fortune generally represents bad luck. This card may herald negative external energies are present, or that things may be out of control.

Justice ~ XI ~
Should this card appear in a reading reversed, it could denote injustice, unfairness, dishonesty, and bias. This card can signify failure to take accountability for one’s actions.

The Hanged Man ~ XII ~
The shadow side to this card would signal indecision, the inability to let go and to move forward, this card can also represent needless sacrifice or a fear of sacrifice.

Death ~ XIII ~
When this card appears in a reading reversed, it may signal fear of change, stagnation, delay, unable to move on.

Temperance ~ XIV ~
The shadow side of the Temperance card signals things like imbalance, excessive behaviors, extremes.

The Devil ~ XV ~
When this card appears in a reading reversed, it could denote detachment, breaking free, release, restoring control, or reclaiming your power.

The Tower ~ XVI ~
Should this card appear in a reading reversed, it could represent someone who is avoiding or delaying disaster, a fear of change, or even fear of suffering.

The Star ~ XVII ~
When reversed, this card often represents things like pessimism, discouragement, doubt, insecurity, faithlessness, or spiritual blocks.

The Moon ~ XVIII ~
The Moon reversed often insinuates confusion, deception, anxiety, fear, and/or unhappiness.

The Sun ~ XIX ~
When the Sun appears reversed, it often relates to things like negativity, sadness, and/or depression.

Judgement ~ XX ~
Should Judgement appear in a reading reversed, it often represents things like self-doubt, self-loathing, and could even indicate one’s refusal to evaluate oneself when necessary.

The World ~ XXI ~
If this card appears in a reading reversed, it could herald lack of closure, lack of completion, recurring problems, and/or emptiness.