Tarot cards have been around since the 1400s, when they were first invented in Italy. While decks have evolved over the centuries, the purpose remains to process the past and present—and to prepare for the future. And now, more than maybe ever, people all over the world are feeling drawn to the seemingly magical effects of the metaphysical process. If you, yourself can relate, you’re probably hoping to uncover the meaning of each of the 78 modern tarot cards. Of course, if you ask any tarot reader, you’ll quickly learn that the meaning is subjective. And, on top of that, each card can be analyzed not only on its upright pull but its reversal, too. Pulling a card like, say, page of swords reversed in tarot has a meaning that's open to various interpretations. Keep reading to discover everything there is to know.
- Ryan Trinh, tarot reader at House of Intuition
- Seth Vermilyea, Seth received his first tarot deck at 10, came out at 19, and starting ComingOutTarot at 40. He uses tarot to make sense of his client's experiences in a increasingly uncertain world. Seth and his husband live in Chicago with their rescue ferrets.
What is page of swords?
Before getting into what a reversed page of swords means, let’s talk about what an upright pull indicates. According to House of Intuition tarot reader and herbalist Ryan Trinh, the page of swords traditionally relates to finding one’s voice—“either an individual who is just finding their voice or someone with little filter in conversation,” he explains.
What it means to pull page of swords reversed
As medium and clairsentient, Seth Vermilyea points out the meaning of a reversed page of swords isn’t a be-all, end-all. “The meaning of this card could vary by deck, artist, reader, question, environment, and the energy of the moment,” he says. “While there is a traditional meaning, set down by mostly white men of a certain class, there are so many more avenues to explore when it comes to asking what a single card means in tarot.”
As if that’s not enough to confuse a beginner tarot reader, the fact that reversals come with even more meanings can make pulling feel even more challenging—from a mindset stance, that is.
“Reversals are highly personal to the individual reader,” says Vermilyea, who is a tarot card reader for Psychics1on1, a digital platform that connects people with new age healers. Some readers use a method that suggests the opposite of the upright reading. “Others believe it indicates a block of the energy read for the card in the moment,” he says. “And still, others may have another method. It all depends on the reader.”
That said, we know you’ve come for answers. So from the most general standpoint, Vermilyea says that the meaning of a reversed page of swords in tarot could hint at any of the below:
- Someone refusing to grow up
- Someone who’s no longer fighting
- Someone who has relieved themselves of altruism
- Someone stuck in the past
- Someone who needs to address childish behavior
- Someone who’s holding back
- Someone who’s not ready to come out and stay in the closet
- Someone who’s ignoring their identity
- Someone who wants to be protected
With all of this in mind, Trinh says that a page of swords reversal in tarot can ultimately be understood as imbalanced communication.
“Some can interpret this as a need for a filter, both in your verbal expression and discernment of information you may hear,” says Trinh. “Some may also read this as bad news or planning gone awry so we recommend proceeding with caution when this card comes up.” It doesn’t always relate to interpersonal communication, though.
“Occasionally a reversed page of swords can also point to confusion within your mind, so a physical energetic cleansing may be in order,” says Trinh. “In our ritual book, Your Intuition Led You Here, we have a passage on how you can personally create an aura cleansing spray to help provide clarity within the mind and energetic body. It is quite a simple base recipe that one can augment to their needs. Once you assembled this, you can set it on your altar but if you want to take it to the next level, you can place the page of swords card and set your spray bottle on top, set your intention either through prayer or meditation, and let it sit on your altar for a day before using it to cleanse yourself and sharpen your mind.”
Universal vs. Subjective
There are a number of contributing factors that can alter the meaning of any tarot card as well as its reversal. “The meaning definitely depends on the question asked, the surrounding cards, the layout used, the deck, the artistry, the environment, and the skills employed by the reader,” Vermilyea reiterates.
An important thing to keep in mind about page of swords reversed
Traditionally speaking, Vermilyea says that 78-card tarot decks are broken down into 16 court cards, 22 major arcana cards, and 40 minor arcana cards. “When tarot decks maintain their structure the creator of the deck may change the traditional style,” he explains. “For example, the hanged man may become the hanged one. The traditional white European court may become familial and matriarchal—mother, father, daughter, son—rather than patriarchal. This is important to the concept of reversals because it can also impact the meaning of the card. The deck I use most is matriarchal with a familial court system. It doesn’t have a page of swords. But it has a son and daughter of swords who each embody qualities of what a traditional meaning to the page of swords might produce.”
Vermilyea shares this to shed light on the fact that “if someone is using a deck that is not based in patriarchal white supremacy, they may find that the page of swords, reversed or not, is obsolete. In which case, the potentially corresponding card may have a different interpretation from the artist, the deck creator, or from the reader themselves as they work with the imagery.”
In other words, if you’re hoping for one steadfast meaning for any time you pull (or someone pulls for you) a reversed page of swords, that’s simply not the case. With that in mind, if you’re hoping for the most accurate—or rather, detailed—read, it’s best to sit down with a reader who is reputable and well versed in tarot.
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