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The Significance of Sideways Tarot Cards: (Meanings Revealed)

In the realm of tarot reading, every detail can carry its own weight of significance, including the orientation in which a card presents itself.

A tarot card falling or coming out sideways, often referred to as a “sideways card,” can be a source of intrigue and deeper insight.

I’ve had this happen two significant times so I’ll share my own experience and my interpretation for those moments below.

It’s worth stating first: The concept of a sideways or “blocked” card is not traditional in tarot practice but has been adopted by most modern readers to add nuance to their interpretations.

Lets talk about:
πŸŒ• What Does It Mean When a Tarot Card Comes Out Sideways?
πŸŒ” A Sideways Tarot Card Means To Think Deeper
πŸŒ“ The Challenge of Understanding Sideways Cards
πŸŒ’ The Challenge of Understanding Sideways Cards
πŸŒ‘ Sideways Cards In Love, Career, and Personal Growth
🌘 How to Approach a Sideways Card in a Reading
πŸŒ— My Personal Experience

What Does It Mean When a Tarot Card Comes Out Sideways?

If this has happened to you recently, you might be able to resonate with the reasonings below. However, as you’ll notice throughout the article, the sideways card is never cut-and-dry, and there’s always a bit of ambiguity when interpreting it.

Indecision & Ambiguity

  • A sideways card, unlike the clear-cut energy of upright or reversed positions, often represents a realm of ambiguity or indecision. It can indicate a situation or feeling that is not fully resolved, existing in a state of flux or uncertainty.
  • Mixed Signals: This positioning can suggest mixed feelings, partial truths, or situations where both the positive and negative aspects are intertwined and not easily separated.

A Sideways Tarot Card Means To Think Deeper

Reflecting on Complex Emotions

  • When a card falls sideways, it can be a prompt for deeper introspection. It asks the reader or the querent to consider all sides of a situation, acknowledging that reality often exists in shades of grey rather than black and white.
  • Incomplete Journeys: It might also indicate a journey or process that is midway, neither fully begun nor completed, urging a pause for reflection and assessment.

The Challenge of Understanding Sideways Cards

Navigating Unclear Readings

  • Sideways cards challenge both the reader and the querent to navigate through ambiguity. They bring an element of complexity to the reading, requiring a more nuanced interpretation.
  • Balancing Dualities: These cards can also speak to the balance of dualities within a situation or within oneself, calling for a harmonious resolution of opposing forces.

Sideways Cards In Love, Career, and Personal Growth

This is a common question I get so I wanted to give a thorough answer for each one. Again, this is what I believe to be the case in most situations, but please remember all is subjective. 🀍

Sideways Card in Love Readings ❀

When a tarot card falls sideways in a love reading, it often symbolizes the complex dynamics of a relationship that are not yet fully understood or resolved. For instance, encountering a sideways Lovers card could indicate uncertainty about taking the next step in a relationship or mixed feelings about a partner.

This orientation suggests that both parties may have unexpressed emotions or unresolved issues that need attention. It’s a nudge to look deeper, to communicate more openly, or to reflect on what each person truly wants from the relationship. A sideways card in this context can serve as a reminder that love is not always straightforward; it requires patience, understanding, and a willingness to navigate through periods of uncertainty to reach a clearer understanding of each other’s desires and needs.

Sideways Card in Career Readings πŸ’Ό

In career readings, a sideways card can be particularly revealing. It often represents a career or professional situation that is in a state of flux or transition. For example, a sideways Chariot might symbolize a career path that is currently at a standstill or a project that’s lost its momentum. It could also indicate a decision related to work that is pending or fraught with indecision.

This sideways position invites introspection – it’s a call to reassess one’s goals, motivations, and the direction in which one is heading. It might be suggesting that one needs to take a step back, re-evaluate their professional choices, and consider what truly aligns with their personal values and long-term career aspirations. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the path to professional fulfillment requires pausing and reflecting, rather than relentless pursuit.

Sideways Card in Personal Growth Readings βš–οΈ

In the realm of personal growth, a sideways card often signals an internal conflict or a period of self-discovery that is not yet complete. For instance, a sideways Strength card could represent an inner struggle to find one’s courage or confidence. It suggests that while progress has been made, there are still aspects of self that require understanding and development.

This positioning encourages looking within, confronting fears, and acknowledging the parts of oneself that are still evolving. It’s about recognizing that personal growth is a journey with ups and downs, and sometimes, the most significant growth happens in moments of uncertainty and introspection. The sideways card here is a gentle reminder that true personal development is a non-linear process, often requiring us to navigate through our complexities and ambiguities to find our true strength and potential.

How to Approach a Sideways Card in a Reading

Reacting To a Sideways Tarot Card

  • It’s important to approach a sideways card with an open mind, ready to embrace the complexities it represents.
  • Asking Probing Questions: Use the card as a starting point to ask more probing questions, delve into different aspects of the situation, and explore underlying reasons for the ambiguity.

My Personal Experience

I haven’t actually shared this before, so this will be a first!

The Sideways Lovers

I remember vividly the first time I encountered a sideways card during a reading. It was the Lovers, a card typically signifying relationships and choices, but it landed askew, neither upright nor reversed.

At that time, I was in a relationship that seemed perfect on the surface, yet something felt amiss, unspoken. The sideways Lovers spoke volumes to me – it was the embodiment of my internal conflict, the indecision I felt about committing to a path that looked right but didn’t feel entirely true to my heart.

In that moment, the card mirrored my own ambiguity, urging me to look deeper into my feelings and the relationship. It was a call to acknowledge the complexities of my emotions, leading me to eventually understand that what I needed most was honesty with myself.

The Sideways Chariot

The second memorable instance with a sideways card was during a career-focused reading (just last year). The Chariot, symbolizing direction, control, and triumph, fell sideways. At that time, I was considering a major career shift, but doubts clouded my decision.

The Chariot’s unusual orientation perfectly captured my state of limbo – a journey embarked upon but paused midway, filled with uncertainty. It forced me to ponder my motivations and fears, acting as a stark reminder that my path wasn’t clear-cut.

This reading pushed me to reassess my goals, not just in career terms but in what I truly wanted my life’s work to represent. The sideways Chariot was a profound symbol of the need to realign my ambitions with my inner truth, eventually guiding me towards a decision that felt aligned with both my professional aspirations and personal values.


A sideways tarot card is a unique occurrence that brings an added layer of depth and complexity to a reading.

It symbolizes situations or emotions that are not straightforward, challenging us to embrace ambiguity and explore the multifaceted nature of our lives.

Understanding and interpreting these cards require patience and a willingness to engage with the subtleties and nuances of our experiences, offering rich insights into our journey through life.