Order a Reading from Me

Order a Reading from Me
Please send relevant information to zannastarr@gmail.com.

Monday, June 11, 2012

REVIEW: Tarot in Reverse (Boyer)


Tarot in Reverse: 
Making Sense of the Upside Down Cards in a Tarot Spread
by Janet Boyer
Paperback: 192 pages
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (May 28, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0764341014
ISBN-13: 978-0764341014
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches



"Written in a fun, accessible style, Tarot in Reverse  is an accessible yet comprehensive reference for reading upside down cards in a Tarot spread. Interpreting reversed cards is one of the major obstacles for both the beginner and the seasoned Tarot reader. With this guide's extensive "at a glance" keyword list and contemporary anecdotes for each card, readers are equipped to understand reversals immediately, without complex psychological methodology. Hundreds of reversed keywords and phrases boost confidence in readings and expand personal card associations. Addressing life's reversals, each card also includes a related quote, advice, and twenty affirmations providing additional help with life's journey. Full-color card images from the Universal Waite illustrate the concepts."


"Janet Boyer is the author of Back in Time Tarot  (Hampton Roads) and Tarot in Reverse  (Schiffer Books), as well as the co-creator of the Snowland Tarot  (Schiffer Books, 2013). As a respected, trusted Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, she's penned over 1,000 published reviews that have also been featured in magazines and other online outlets. In addition to being a Tarot expert and professional reader, Janet is also a social media consultant, blogger and homeschooling Mom. A true Renaissance Soul, she describes herself with four I's: Innovator, Iconoclast, Initiator and Instigator. Janet makes her home in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania with her soulmate, Ron, their son, Noah, and two fur babies (cats Stewart and Neo). You can visit Janet online at JanetBoyer.com."


Encased in a sturdy, colorful, laminated cover, Tarot in Reverse  exhibits the usual high quality I expect from Schiffer. The inside of the book features full-color illustrations of all 78 cards from the Universal Waite Tarot  (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.), upright and reversed. Pages are sturdy, glossy white stock.

In the 2-page Foreword, Lisa Finander (Disneystrology) describes her own Tarot journey as well as her impressions of Tarot in Reverse.

The Introduction is well organized and full of useful information. After a general discussion about Tarot reversals, Boyer offers a thorough description of the various ways reversed cards can be interpreted -- for example, No or Not; Upright Energy Directed Inwardly; Hidden; Needed, but Not Utilized; Blocked.  These are based on the author's "experience as a Tarot author and reviewer, as well as a professional Tarot reader with a worldwide clientele (not to mention the hours of trial and error I invested in the cards when trying to learn Tarot, especially reversals!)."

In addition to noting the meaning of the reversed card, we are reminded to also consider the topic of the reading, surrounding, cards, symbolism, positional definitions, and so forth.

As an introduction to the Affirmations, the book has a short section called "Dealing with Life's Reversals." Boyer notes: "In contrast to affirmations which tend towards the abstract and 'airy fairy,' I've grounded most of my affirmations in rubber-meets-the-road reality. . ."

Next we have "Some Frequently Asked Questions" covering the most obvious questions one might have about the book. Following that, the author describes and discusses The Basic Structure of a Tarot Deck.

Chapter One covers The Major Arcana; Chapter Two, the Minor Arcana (Aces-Tens); and Chapter Three, the Court Cards.

For each card the book provides:
  • Color illustration of the card (upright and reversed)
  • Key phrases for the Reversed card in regular Roman type (black)
  • Cultural references that reflect or express the nature of the card (in italic type, black)
  • An applicable quotation (in bold italic script, black)
  • Advice (in a text box in blue type with a blue border)
  • Affirmations (title in blue, following by full-sentence bullets in black)

Sample Readings come next, followed by a description of The Online Cover Contest that Boyer ran in order to choose a cover for the book. Although the winning design was not used, information is provided about the artist, Ana Haydeé Linares, and her work.

At the end we have a wonderful 2-page Bibliography, Additional Recommended Books and Decks, and two lined pages for Notes.


Those who deplore Tarot books containing long-winded narratives in which the author elucidates, elaborates, and explains ad nauseum will love this book. Why? Because the key phrases for each card consist of single words, common expressions (e.g., "Up a creek without a paddle" for the Wheel of Fortune, Rx), and familiar terms (e.g., "Shades of gray" for The Lovers, Rx)

These are followed by interesting and recognizable cultural references (e.g., how and why Boyer relates the 2 of Swords Rx to the story of the "Bind, Torture, Kill" serial killer who terrorized Kansas).

The quotations are thought-provoking and beautifully related to the card meanings (e.g., "Security is a kind of death" by Tennessee Williams, for the 4 of Pentacles, Rx).

The Advice box consists, again, of brief statements and familiar expressions (e.g., for the 8 of Pentacles, Rx: ". . . nothing substitutes for dedication and 'butt in chair.'")

The Affirmations (how on earth did she come up with so many?!?!?!) feature serious statements alternating with occasional clever or funny one-liners (e.g., for the Queen of Wands, Rx: "I make things happen" and "Aggression has its place. Mrrowww!")

Tarot Reversals  is a breath of fresh air to anyone who is tired of seeing the "same old, same old" keywords for the cards.


From the mundane (I really like the body type style!) to the sublime ("I dwell in the House of God" - Affirmation for The Tower), Tarot Reversals  is a delight to read. Boyer manages to be thorough and comprehensive, while maintaining a light enough touch to keep me happily reading on.

I picture Janet Boyer and her "inner crew" sitting around a table in a dimly lit, smoke-filled hotel room coming up with key phrase after key phrase, line after line, association after association -- "We just need a dozen more Affirmations for the 2 of Wands, come on! It's not even midnight yet!" (Okay, I made all that up -- I don't know if Janet even smokes, nor do I care whether she does or not.)

My point is that I consider this book a real jewel. I can see a writer using the key phrases, Affirmations, and so forth, as story starters, perhaps combining several of them into one fascinating tale (e.g., 9 of Cups, Rx: bar fight... too good to be true... inability to smell...")

Do yourself a favor and check this one out!

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.


  1. Thank you so much for such a detailed, enthusiastic and fun review, Zanna! You had me chuckling a few times. ;o) This Crew of One doesn't smoke and, surprisingly, doesn't have trouble coming up with an abundance of Tarot "stuff". My challenge is keeping the word count down and/or deciding which project needs my focus at any given moment. The opposite of creative block, I guess you can say!

    1. You are entirely welcome. I just recorded my honest thoughts about the book.

    2. I can tell. Honest reviewers are the BEST! :o)

  2. Thank you for the great and light hearted review. This sounds like a great book and exactly what I would look for with the more anecdotal references.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the review, Rachel! Thanks for stopping by.

      By the way, if you are interested, I am offering a free 3-card reading to the 100th person to Join this site with Google Friend Connect. Just scroll down the left column and you'll see:

      Join this site
      with Google Friend Connect
      Members (99)


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love hearing from my readers!
~ Zanna