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August Tarotscopes with Brandon Alter

By Brandon Alter:

Let's talk about Sunday's New Moon in Leo, because she's a banger, and if you're tired of hitting your head against the wall, it can help you find a new path toward freedom. It’s time to shine. That’s what Leo Season wants out of all of us. After a month of deep lunar feels courtesy of Cancer Season, the Sun now sings supreme. Time to get out of the pool, dry off, and have a dance party. You see, Leo is the sign in which the Sun feels most at home. And so, in Leo Season we must explore our own Sun and learn how it wants to be expressed.

Every sign has its signature. The Leo Sun sparkles with drama, the Taurus Sun radiates stability and security, the Scorpio Sun is a shadow sun that vibrates with intensity. Learning how your Sun wants to shine is one of the key factors of living your chart. The time is now to explore, accept, and then express your unique Sun Sign signature.

No two Suns are exactly the same. Some are conjunct Mercury, others oppose Pluto; some square Saturn or trine Jupiter; some stand alone. The infinite combinations of Sun + Sign + House + Aspects make the Sun in your chart a unique expression of your soul. We must relearn our soul’s essence if we wish to be the most authentic version of ourselves in the world.

You see, the thing about identity is that it isn’t fixed. Our identities are fluid, they change over time. If we don’t keep checking in with who we are, we might find that we are just regurgitating an old version that is truly no longer alive. The New Moon in Leo offers us a chance to truly put ourselves first and re-discover who we actually are. Maybe being an Aquarius Sun isn't what you thought it was in your twenties. Maybe the stability your Capricorn Sun wants is less about career and more about inner peace. Time to let your Sun re-introduce itself to you. After all, you've been through a lot—and guess what, your sun has, too.

I was reading this very far-out-there book about alien abductions recently (what do you want from me? I’m an Aquarius Sun!), and one of the abductees shared that the way she fended off the aliens’ attempts to control her was to “make her own sound.” Literally. She claimed she had a sound inside herself, a singular tone, that since childhood she’d been able to resonate within herself. She made this sound, and it essentially asserted her agency with the aliens and forced them to back off. I mention this because the idea of one’s own sound resonates beautifully with the invitation of Leo Season.

What is your unique sound? What is your soul’s song? Can the Sun in your birth chart help you understand your true nature more clearly? These are the explorations of the moment. And if it sounds selfish or self-indulgent, good! Ego isn’t the enemy; it’s to be partnered with wisely. Leos have a reputation for making it all about them, but there’s a time and a place for that. Frankly, a healthy ego is a requirement for authenticity. Without a strong sense of ourselves, boundaries blur. And while we are all inextricably connected to one another and this planet, we are also wholly unique.

Consider the cells in your body. Isn’t it a good thing that they have independence and autonomy? Isn’t it good that the cells of your liver don’t blend with the cells of your blood? Isn’t it vital that our brain cells stay separate from our nerve cells? Without some ego, some sense of sovereignty and separation, we would just be one big soup. And while I love soup, I don't want to be it!

Now the shadow of all this Leo energy is not a secret. Self-absorption and self-aggrandizement are rampant in our world, and we keep seeing them play out in politics and The Real Housewives alike. Balance is key. We cannot lose ourselves in other people, but we also can’t forget our place in the larger family of beings. A healthy ego respects the egos of others. It doesn't assert its dominance over but rather empowers others to do the same. Think of Leo icon Jennifer Lopez: doesn't she inspire you to demand more from life? To radiate more brightly, to not take no for an answer? I know she inspires the hell out of me!

Leo energy is heart energy, the heat of love, the courageous fire that burns within and refuses to be extinguished. When Leo energy is high-vibe, it commands attention; when it's low-vibe, it demands it. But maybe Leos aren't so much drama queens as they are super-sized feelers. Life feels big to them, and so they have no other way to express it. Especially now, when the world feels like it's closing in, Leo energy can help us expand our sense of self and our place in the cosmos.

Leo is the Sun, which is a star, a star that shines brightly AF. It lights up a whole solar system, organizes it, keeps it swirling. But it’s just one star. The opposite sign of Leo, Aquarius, is represented by the starry night sky—constellations of stars and galaxies. Meditating on one star in a constellation helps me understand this dynamic more clearly. We must shine in the ways that only we can, but not without realizing we live among other shining stars. And together, our stars in sequence create cosmic pictures, tell celestial stories, mystic stories, legends about our lives throughout history.

The Zodiac only exists because all the stars shine. Without the Sun, the visible planets, we wouldn’t have Astrology. So this is not the time to diminish your light. But it’s also not the time to shine more brightly than is honest. Each of us has a unique star signature; this Leo Season, figure out how your soul wants to sign your name—and then write it in the sky!

Your Tarotscopes are meant to help you make the most of the New Moon.

They are heart-centered spells that resonate for your month ahead.

This month, start by reading for your Sun Sign.

If you're hungry for more, feel free to read for your Rising and Moon Signs.



Nine of Swords (Reversed)

The essence of Leo, the Cosmic Lion, is courage. The Nine of Swords shows us someone in the throws of fear, wide awake and anxious in the wee hours of the morning. But the fact that this card came in upside down suggests that the Leo Sun knows how to hold fear back, how to keep it at bay. Perhaps this is the true definition of bravery: not the absence of fear but rather moving forward in spite of it.

Maybe there's even a wisdom in fear, if we let it guide us. Instead of moving through the world in a way that avoids the things we are scared of, what if we made decisions based on the opposite? Could fear be a divining rod that leads us in the direction of our density!?

Spend these next few weeks doing the very thing that scares you. Let fear teach you, compel you, speed you along.



Eight of Cups (Reversed)

The essence of Virgo, the Celestial Healer, is being of service. The Virgo Sun shines healing wherever it goes, it can’t help it. And healing happens in layers. It's a curious, non-linear process that forces us to trust what we feel, not what we know. The Eight of Cups shows a figure walking away from the eight vessels it once cherished dearly. This card suggests that your heart has evolved, the things that you once relied on are no longer of value to you.

Healing does that to us. It changes us and forces us out into the world seeking new avenues of satisfaction. The upside-down quality of the card suggests you may be resistant to walking away. Maybe you’re overidentified with what’s wounded in you instead of what’s healed. Maybe you got used to being wounded and moving in artificial ways that kept your tender spots safely hidden.

The reason why we must abandon these perfectly good cups is because they no longer quench our thirst, no matter how beautiful and unbroken they may be. Sometimes we walk away because we feel in our heart the time has come to move on—it’s as simple as that.



Knight of Swords

The essence of Libra, the Cosmic Peacekeeper, is balance. Libra energy knows how to equalize and restabilize, it can play devil’s advocate easily because it really can see an issue from all sides. Perhaps that’s why the Knight of Swords is here for you this month. The Knight of Swords gives us permission to change our minds, especially when we start to feel rigid, dogmatic, and overly positional.

Think about what you wanted to be when you grew up. Aren’t you glad you changed your mind? Or else we’d all be astronauts or tennis players or presidents. Just because you used to believe something was true doesn't mean you’re held hostage to it. Go ahead, change your mind.

Think of this energy as a great benevolent tornado that sweeps your mind clear of anything that feels wooden and antiquated. Most importantly, let it sweep away those old limiting beliefs you have about yourself.



King of Cups (Reversed)

The essence of Scorpio, the Celestial Detective, is discovery. Scorpio energy wants to dig deep and won't rest until it's unearthed the depths of the depths. It’s interested in exploring relationships and intimate exchange. Often this energy wants to expose what’s hidden and bring light to dark places. The King of Cups, as the healer of the Tarot, shares resonance with this sign. Both are comfortable holding space for the pain, shame, and the trauma of others. Both are hard to scare.

Since this card came in upside down, however, the invitation would be to set boundaries this month. Be careful of playing the healer for others when it’s you who really needs the healing. Just because we are good at counseling and comforting others doesn't mean it can replace our own self care.

Sometimes we just need to say no. Not because we don’t want to but because we just don’t have it to give. Give to yourself this month. Give abundantly.



Nine of Cups

The essence of Sagittarius, the Cosmic Seeker, is adventure. This is an energy that wants to explore, learn, and grow. Never one to stay anywhere for too long, restlessness resides in their bones. The Nine of Cups is a card that suggests solitude but not loneliness—a perfect companion for a sign that needs to keep moving to stay engaged. At its essence, Sagittarius wants to know the truth, but the truth isn’t an intellectual proposition, it’s a heartfelt revelation.

The Nine of Cups wants to bring you back into your heart so you can rediscover what truly brings you alive. It suggests an avenue of fulfillment that only you can navigate. This month, try to discern your true desires from those society has foisted upon you. If you can pull out the thread of your own longing and then satisfy it, you will taste a freedom you’ve never known.

Seek to make yourself laugh, seek to entertain your own whimsy—ignore those who don’t understand. You are both performer and audience, self-reliant and self-assured.



Six of Cups

The essence of Capricorn, the Celestial Builder, is structure. This is an energy that craves stability, not just for today but for the future. It thrives under pressure and cannot help but unleash its ambition on all it encounters. But our ambition isn’t always our best friend. It can be a hungry monster who compels us to keep feeding it, all while we starve alongside.

I offer this up not to pour cold water on your dreams but rather to make sure the source of your dreaming is pure. The Six of Cups shows us offering a cup of tenderness to our inner child. It’s a card that indicates the time is now to commit to healing our past so the future is clear. If our ambition is rooted in shame, overcompensation, or pain, it’s a loop without end. But if our ambition is impelled by the heart, it can achieve impossible things.

Spend this month diving inward and exploring your wounds with curiosity and compassion. Try honoring the child in you as opposed to the adult. Seek play, whimsy, and follow a path of delight.



The World (Reversed)

The essence of Aquarius, the Cosmic Voyeur, is innovation. This is an energy that must allow their uniqueness to pave their way in the world. Not interested in the status quo or what’s come before, Aquarius energy seeks to inspire through strangeness. With Jupiter and Saturn currently traversing the electric landscape of this sign, it’s no surprise that a powerhouse card like the World would emerge.

The World suggests major completions, cycles ending, births, deaths, weddings, graduations. But reversed (aka, upside-down) the card takes on a different meaning. It wants to usher you into your own power to end things and begin again. What aspects of your identity are no longer alive? What old stories about yourself are played out?

Where we resist necessary endings we find ourselves languishing in limbo. Find the courage to say goodbye to outdated versions of yourself, knowing that bright beginnings are hidden in all endings.



Knight of Wands (Reversed)

The essence of Pisces, the Celestial Dreamer, is imagination. This is an energy that is more there than here, more mermaid than fisherman. A poet, a painter, a true romantic, Pisces lives in a feeling state that brings both intuition and delusion in equal measures. Pisces energy is magnetic, not unlike The Knight of Wands: the one who always turns heads when they walk in the room. Abundundantly charismatic, they hold nothing back and give of themselves freely.

The Knight of Wands is you when you allow yourself to be your most dynamic self. But since the card came in upside down, there might be some judgment or shame keeping you from experiencing yourself in this way. Your job on planet Earth is to be you, as fully as you can. If other people don’t like it, they will still be inspired by it.

Give yourself permission to express more of yourself this month. Surprise yourself with how many fucks you cannot give. The more you express yourself, the better you will feel.


ARIES The Empress

The essence of Aries, the Cosmic Ram, is leadership. This is an energy that wants to get there first, hates waiting in line, and knows how to get it done and fast. As the first sign of the Zodiac, this energy is inspired and inspiring in its ability to engage with the world and assert its dominance over it. Never one to back down from a fight (or a fuck) this energy wants to play, wrestle, and win.

The Empress, on the other hand, wants to enjoy. She lingers in her garden, savoring the beauty of the moment. What they both have in common is a surplus of passion. But Aries could learn from the Venutian touch of the Empress. She allows where Aries wants to force. She seeks a path of grace, Aries a path of power. This month, see where the softer touch actually completes the job more efficiently.

Above all, make sure you infuse all you do with the joy of why you wanted to be doing it in the first place. Passion is the life-blood of the Aries, don’t neglect it.


TAURUS Strength

The essence of Taurus, the Celestial Jewel, is growth. This is an energy that wants to root deep and move slowly. As the first Earth sign of the Zodiac, Taurus want to celebrate and luxuriate in all of the physical pleasures available, from gardening to shopping to sex. Taurus longs to enjoy and loves to linger. The Strength card, however, redirects our attention from the outer word to the inner world.

Strength shows up as an invitation to listen to our heart, who quietly cries out, "There has to be more to life than this!" It’s easy to assume that success, status, money, fame, or a shoe palace will satisfy our deeper yearnings. But the hard truth is that those only scratch the surface of our true desires.

Seek out the inner fortitude to turn away from the world and tune into your heart. What you actually want for yourself may be closer than you think-- in fact, you might already have it.


GEMINI Knight of Pentacles (Reversed)

The essence of Gemini, the Cosmic Charmer, is curiosity. This is an energy that wants to communicate, tell stories, and understand the world through their mind. As the first Air Sign of the Zodiac, Gemini energy is interested in identity and possibility, always willing to try it another way, always wanting to have their cake and eat it, too. It’s an energy that is quick, clever, and hard to pin down. Which is perhaps why the Knight of Pentacles has appeared for you this month.

The Knight of Pentacles is slow and steady, deeply grounded and fully committed to the manifestation of their dreams. This is the true builder of the Tarot, who knows how to take a vision and make it real. Perhaps you are in need of some of this energy right now—perhaps you need it really bad! It would suggest that you know what you want, so stop waffling. It may take work and it may take time, but if you are committed to the dream, there’s no way it can’t come through.

Instead of spending your considerable mental power on back-up plans and worst-case scenarios, use your gifts to hone in on how what you want wants you, too.



The essence of Cancer, the Celestial Mother, is intuition. This is an energy that answers to the Moon herself. Like the Ocean this cosmic crab came from, Cancer energy can be changeable and moody, powerfully emotional, and deeply informed by the psychic pull of the past. Because this sign is ruled by the Moon, they can tend to hide in their inner chambers and seek the comfort of safe havens. But the Sun card wants you to step out into the light. This month, instead of answering to the Moon, the Sun wants to rule you. It wants to take you out into the brightness of day and expose your beauty and bravery. You're such a natural nurturer that you might forget to let other people nurture you. Be an honorary Leo this month and let others celebrate you and center around you. Challenge yourself to express more and receive more. The Sun seeks to lavish on you simple joys and bountiful optimism, but you must be open to receive it. Focus on opening up your hard shell to receive, you’ll be so glad you did!


THE SPIRITUAL GAYZ are Brandon Alter and Angel Lopez, healers, husbands, teachers, and mystics for a modern age. With their combined experience of over forty years of Tarot and Astrology expertise, they aim to demystify the mystical and make spiritual practice accessible and effective. Through their podcast and their Spirit School, their goal is to create safe spaces for queer people of all kinds to gather together in spirit.

BRANDON ALTER is a spiritual healer, Tarot reader, Astrologer, mystic and writer living in Los Angeles. He is passionate about sharing spiritual tools that have helped him reconnect to the wisdom of his heart. Brandon is a thoroughly trained healer and teacher who co-hosts The Spiritual Gayz with his husband, a twice-monthly podcast dedicated to exploring the wide reaches of spirituality, without pretending that it all makes sense. Brandon’s mom took him to his very first psychic when he was seven and gave him his first Tarot deck when he was eleven. Since then he has devoted himself to the study of Tarot, Yoga, Pilates, Reiki, Astrology and the myriad ways one can work, heal and grow with the help of the spirits.

Visit to learn more. To sign up for The Spiritual Gayz newsletter and get these Tarotscopes delivered to your inbox, click here.

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