February Tarotscopes with Brandon Alter
By Brandon Alter:
Aquarius Season is a time to get weird. This is the sign where the Sun feels like a stranger to itself. It can’t behave in the way it’s most accustomed to—rather, it must embrace the electric strangeness of this cosmic air sign. Consider Aquarius the sign of the voyeur, the rebel, the alien. As an Aquarius Sun myself, I have always felt like an oddball; the things most people take for granted I cannot help but question. And as a result, I have that ferocious streak of Aquarian contrariness. I am always looking to swim against the current, not because I am difficult but because I am obsessed with finding another way, a way that is uniquely my own.
After the punishing rigidity of Capricorn season, Aquarius responds with rebellion. You, too, no matter your sign, must find a new way that is uniquely your own. You must rebel against who you’ve been. You must rebel against what you’ve been taught was acceptable and permissible. Instead, embrace your oddities and your peculiarities because they are all part of the larger celestial puzzle. And if you deny your individual pieces, the puzzle will never be completed. This New Moon at 4 degrees Aquarius is an escape hatch from normalcy and an invitation into your larger cosmic self.
This New Moon also officially brings an end to Eclipse Season. Remember that Eclipse Season shows up to bring us back into alignment, to eliminate the distractions and the illusions. It’s rarely subtle, and it's not often pleasant, but Eclipses show us, with striking clarity, where we have been deceived by others or ourselves. They make it impossible to stick our heads in the sand any longer. Eclipses come in to change you on a soul level—so you’ve been changed whether you like it not. This New Moon in Aquarius comes in on its heels and asks, "Ok, you’re changed, cool, now what?"
I am here to tell you that you are not crazy or making it up, things have been intense AF lately. Everything is evolving quickly and everyone is feeling it. Capricorn energy is heavy and has a tendency to make us overly serious and take everything a little too seriously—Aquarius wants none of that. Can you begin to be more playful with your whole life? That’s the key to understanding the invitation of this New Moon. Yes, there are big changes you need to make. This New Moon (happening on Friday at 1:41 p.m., PST) will square Uranus in Taurus, the planet of creativity, chaos and shaking it up, meaning your physical life needs to reflect this new you. But can you rearrange your life playfully? Can you cast off your old masks, your old goals, or even your old fears and step fully into the real you?
Here’s an Aquarian question: Who is the real you? Is it the voice (or voices) in your head? Is it your resume? Is it your past and the story you tell yourself about it? Or maybe it’s something way bigger; you see, Aquarius Season is all about the big picture. What if you pushed Google Earth on your whole life? Zoom out, further, further still. Can you get a sense of the larger patterns you’ve been acting out? And what if you, as you know yourself, were actually just a fraction of a wiser, ancient, more cosmic being? What if you could begin to live your life from your expansive and strange soul? These are the sorts of questions that this season offers us. Life isn’t something to be manipulated; it’s to be lived like you were riding a wave. Trust in the bigger YOU that you might just be coming to know.
When we deny our strangeness, we deny the world a new point of view. We can’t assume we know where this is all heading. But we can double down on our individuality, not so we can be the star of the show but for the greater good. As the sign that rules over humanitarian work, large groups, dreams, and hopes and wishes, Aquarius teaches that making ourselves small and normal makes the world small and normal. It’s not just time to break out of the box, it’s time to break the box.
At its essence, Aquarius speaks to our universal interconnectedness. We are a human family, we can’t deny that. And we can’t afford to give up on humanity; it’s all we have. But first, you can’t afford to give up on yourself. Use this New Moon and this Aquarius season to expand out into your curious edges. You’ll find that when you are brave enough to own the full landscape of yourself, it empowers all those with whom you come into contact. You can never know the full impact that being your whole self can have. It radiates in invisible currents, it empowers in silent waves. And once you get used to it, it feels a million times better than playing safe ever did.
Aquarius loves to learn. Some even consider Aquarius the ruler of Astrology itself. Perhaps you too have been feeling a call to expand your mind in 2020. Curious about practices like Tarot or Astrology? Well, guess what babies, I’ve got you covered. Starting in March, I’ll be leading an eleven-week online Tarot immersion with my husband, Angel. We're calling it "Tarot + Cosmos." During these eleven weeks, you’ll learn more than just how to read the Tarot; you’ll develop your own psychic gifts, build your own symbolic language, and empower yourself to answer your own questions. Learn how to use divination in your everyday life and make use of your intuition. Each class will begin with a guided meditation and end with a Q&A. You’ll get a copy of my extensive and original Tarot notes plus additional materials to inspire and expand your relationship with the Tarot. And as a bonus, you’ll receive free access to the Spiritual Gayz Moonthly Astrology Webinars while class is in session!
This is way more than a class, it’s your virtual weekly sanctuary where you can feel held in sacred space and gain perspective on your life. Give yourself the gift of self-care that will actually nourish your spirit and teach you skills to make your life better! Here’s a week by week break down of what you can look forward to learning!
For more specific Cosmic Updates and Tarot Wisdom, I highly encourage you to tune into The Spiritual Gayz. This twice monthly podcast that my husband, Angel, and I offer up is dedicated to exploring the wide reaches of spirituality without pretending that it all makes sense. We released an episode earlier this month all about the Astrology of 2020 that I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of. We have tons of episodes on Astrology but also Tarot and Shamanism and healing and magic. Not to mention fascinating interviews with groovy cosmic queers such as Steven Canals, writer/co-creator of the hit TV show POSE, actress/icon Lena Waithe, and beauty/make-up expert Lihja Stewart. If you’ve been looking to expand your spiritual horizons in a fun, accessible way, look no further!
You may have noticed I’m no longer pulling a collective card for these moonthly Tarotscopes. That’s because I’m pulling a card for the collective every week and doing a video reading. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll find these videos on my stories every Thursday and in my Highlights. But you can also find them on The Spiritual Gayz Youtube page, here!
Below you’ll find your individual Tarotscopes for the complete lunar cycle. Read for your SUN and your MOON . . . and if you don’t know your moon, look it up, gurl, that’s part of your personal power waiting to be claimed!
You’ll notice there are a fair amount of reversals this season, which doesn’t surprise me since our first Mercury Retrograde of 2020 happens at the tail end of Aquarius Season. But remember, reversed cards are not inherently bad. Reversed cards and Retrograde planets operate similarly, they want us to slow down with them and stop taking their meaning or influence for granted. If you find your card is upside down, please read this note on reversals for deeper clarity on what an inverted card might mean for you.
*A NOTE ON REVERSALS*
When a card comes in upside down, we say it is reversed. Every reader works with reversals in their own way; some readers don’t even work with reversals at all and that’s gorgeous, too. For me, a reversal represents a level of complexity that a direct card lacks. It does not mean the opposite, it does not mean weaker energy or just downright bad. A reversal can be likened to a retrograde planet, its energy is not different just slower. As one of my favorite astrologers, Anne Ortolee, says, "A retrograde planet is like a quiet kid in the back of the car, you have to turn around to see it." Maybe a reversed card works this way, too.
Perhaps reversed cards are just trying to get our attention. They might come in like an exclamation point, saying, “Look at me! You really need me right now!” Sometimes I think reversed cards are indicating a lack of neutrality, a push or a pull—whereas direct cards signify energy coming in clean but also maybe a tad boring, conventional. However you decide to see the upside-down quality of the card, please do not be dismayed by it. It could signify your own resistance to the message, but it could just as easily signify your own surprise.
It’s not that a reversal changes the energy of the card, it’s that your position has changed. Where you were once firmly with your feet on the ground, now you’ve completely flipped—you’re seeing things from another point of view. Simply put, a reversal opens us up to the unexpected. Just when you think you know a card, a reversal literally turns that interpretation on its head, expanding our capacity to understand the messages from the spirit world and ourselves.
Ace of Wands (Reversed)
The Ace of Wands is pure fire. It’s a big bang of energy and excitement. Consider what fire can do: it transforms everything
it touches, burns away the dry and dead. Fire can help us
release what is no longer needed. But fire can also initiate. Consider the expression "trial by fire," it starts us on a new
path. Think of your car engine, your hot-water heater, even starting your computer requires fire to spark. How you use the Ace of Wands is up to you—to release or to ignite, to let go or begin again—but no matter how you view the invitation this
card offers, a new beginning is at hand in the fire of your being.
Wands, as the suit of fire, rule over the things in our life that spark (i.e., our sexuality, our creativity, our spirituality). They teach us how to take action in our lives in alignment with the divine. Sometimes this card even signifies a new spiritual awakening, a soul being caught on fire. Think about lightning, which is ruled by Aquarius. Traditional people considered being struck by it an initiation as a shaman or healer. Perhaps this moonth is an initiation for you, a new way of connecting to spirit, to the divine—the very source of your life.
Even upside down this card signifies an explosive beginning somewhere in your life. It is a profound reconnection to universal love. When was the last time you felt connected to something larger than yourself? Was it during a theatrical performance, a long hike in nature, some truly passionate sex? The most important thing in life is to stay connected to the source of our being, even if that source surprises us or changes as we evolve. Find the electrical socket your spirit longs for and plug that baby back in.
The Moon (Reversed)
The Moon is a reminder that not everything needs to make sense. Sometimes our power can lie dormant in the mysterious underbelly of our psyche. How do we wake it up? We lean into the strangeness of ourselves. Consider the moon herself, how her light distorts the truth; it illuminates vistas and landscapes
in a way the Sun cannot. I think about taking Full Moon hikes in the desert; the moonlight makes the sand look like snow. Where in your own self have you been avoiding your own lunacy?
There is a power in your unique madness, let it come to you.
Did you know the Moon appears in more songs than any other heavenly body? More than the Sun, more than Venus, the Moon captures our imagination and creativity. It invites us into a sacred place that requires darkness. With this card showing up for you this moonth, perhaps you need to embrace your queerness in a way that celebrates your freakiness and transcends the shame others have heaped upon you. Shame is our understanding that something about ourselves is wrong. With the Moon to guide you, there is no wrong, only parts of yourself that have gone unloved or unseen.
Queer isn’t just about homosexuality. Queer is about the unconventional. All of us can embrace the queer spirit and innovate our lives by looking at them from a different point of view. As the card that connects to Pisces, the Moon suggests a deeper journey unfolding for you. Dreams and visions, psychic insights, unexpected downloads, mystery, magic, and wonder await you. But you will have to wait until the Sun goes down. This journey will only reveal itself to the moonlight.
Nine of Cups
This is one of my favorite cards in the deck. The Nine of Cups signifies that you’ve finally achieved a new way of flowing with your life and, in particular, your heart. Traditional Tarotists call this “The Wish Card” and would suggest making a wish when it shows itself to you. But I would like to take that concept a step further. Consider that you are a wish. You are a wish the Earth made, and she brought you here. What is it that only you can achieve? What is the unique magic of your soul? That will illuminate what sort of wish you are.
When we give ourselves permission to follow our deepest yearnings and satisfy the mysterious passions of our soul, we are firmly in the Nine of Cups. This is being alone but not lonely. It’s when you lose track of time working on a painting, writing your novel, or just wandering the forest. There is no need for others to validate your work or your choices because you know even if they didn’t you would chose the same. In some ways there is no choice except to live the life your heart knows is possible or to deny the very reason you are alive.
If it sounds deep, it’s because it is. But it doesn’t have to feel heavy. Quite the opposite. This is a time for profound joy, genuine Aries. The joy that comes from having found your path and walking it unequivocally. Don’t let others get you off course. You know what you came here to do, even if you can’t quite put words to it. There is a light inside you, and all you have to do is crack yourself open so it can pour out. Shine on, babe. Shine all the way on.
Five of Pentacles
Fives in the Tarot are sacred contractions, think of five fingers closed to form a fist. This is a halfway point, a bend in the road, a realization that what you packed for your journey is all wrong. Pentacles are the suit of Earth, they speak to our body, our bank account, our career—if it has a material form,
Pentacles rule it. Therefore this card can indicate a lack of physical resources. But Pentacles also speak to the invisible magic that is hidden in the ordinary things, and the Five is
where we realize we actually have everything we need—even if
it doesn’t appear that way.
While I would be lying if I said this is a favorite card, it tends to follow me around. I’ve had to learn how to embrace its medicine. It’s the medicine of asking for help. Where in your life are you too proud and trying to go it alone? If you would just ask for some assistance, you might find you are breaking through without the breaking down. This is not the time for putting on a brave face, this is the time to admit where you are struggling and seek the help you need. Easier said than done, I know. But when we come to others out of genuine need, you’ll be surprised how open and warm the exchange can be.
On a practical level, you might find that your bank account is bust, your cupboard a little bare. But that doesn’t mean doom is on your forecast. Trust that you have everything you need. Sometimes we have to make a little extra cash selling the clothes we no longer wear or the books we no longer read. Sometimes we need scarcity to make us appreciate what we have. You have the wide sky. You have the gentle sun. You have a universe that loves you and believes in you. That is a richness that no card or circumstance can take away.
Eight of Pentacles (Reversed)
Nose to the grindstone, clever Gemini, that’s the order of business for Aquarius season. The Eight of Pentacles is all
about work—working hard and working consistently. I mean,
look at the figure in the card; he is literally making money.
And you are meant to be making money at this time. But that doesn’t mean sweating and straining for every hard-earned
cent. There’s an invitation here to grow your skills and expand how you approach your work in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still have to work hard, but you can also be
You see, the Eights in the Tarot are evolutions. They bring us into a new dimension, like from 2-D to 3-D. Or imagine an ape slowly becoming a human; evolution is a slow process but then there’s a moment when BAM, you’re just a brand new being. The Eight of Pentacles is trying to help you evolve your technique. It’s not that your old tricks are bad or even ineffective; it’s just that if you keep relying on your old bag you’ll never develop your new skill set. This is a moonth to refine your technique, to let your craft grow wings and fly you to new worlds. Whether you’re an actor or a chef, an entrepreneur or a computer technician, let Aquarius Season evolve your game.
Perhaps the evolution of your work is remembering that there must be joy and passion in it. After working at something for so long, we can lose our original sense of why we do this work in the first place. We can just be going through the motions, spinning the same old wheel. Well maybe it’s time to reinvigorate your love for what you do by getting inspired. You must recreate the wheel for yourself; it still spins, but this time not just forward and backward, but in all directions.
Wheel of Fortune (Reversed)
The Wheel of Fortune never stops spinning, it never stops changing—the only thing that remains the same is the center of the wheel. Think of it like the eye of the storm where everything is calm and still. That’s where you need to be this moonth. Things are changing for you in a major way, and even though it may not feel like it, you asked for this. You see, our whole outer life is just a reflection of our inner landscape. When we make profound changes internally, it’s just a matter of time before our outer picturing catches up.
Sometimes, when this card comes in upside down, these changes don’t appear so fabulous at first. But trust me, the Wheel of Fortune always has your best interests at heart. It’s connected to the planet Jupiter, the expansive ruler of optimism and protection, growth and grace. So if you can trust that these big changes are for your own good, you’ll be just fine. Jupiter is always trying to make us bigger, more expansive—gently growing us up. Perhaps these changes are less than appealing because you realize how much work and responsibility are required on your part to address them. Well, tough cookies, sweet Cancer; it’s time to put on your big girl pants and attend to the blessings at hand. The bigger the gift, the more time and effort it takes to unwrap it.
I had a significant experience with the Wheel of Fortune in the reversed position a couple of years ago. I had been teaching pilates at a certain studio for years and had long been feeling like I had to get the hell out of there. I couldn’t grow anymore staying stuck in that place. But I kept putting it off; the money was good, I was comfortable, etc. And then I pulled the Wheel of Fortune upside down and that very day I was fired for an insane reason (bringing my sweet little therapy dog to work). I was livid, hurt, bewildered, and then within twenty-four hours, I was so grateful. I was free. And leaving that line of work allowed me to step into my full power as a healer and a reader and an intuitive. I share this because these are the sorts of life-changing moments that this card ushers in. So, if your life hasn’t changed yet, get ready, gurl, it’s happening soon.
Queen of Wands (Reversed)
The Queen of Wands is a deeply sensual creature. She moves through the world highly attuned to what she feels in her own inner landscape. She trusts that her body has wisdom and insight and she listens to it. She embraces the physical without losing her sense of the invisible. The Queen of Wands is you when you are truly alive in both worlds, the inner and the outer. Think about what you experience when you take a long hike in nature or watch the sunset; there’s the outer beauty, yes, but there’s also an internal response to all that beauty. The Queen
of Wands receives and participates in that exchange between what is seen and what is felt, what is known and what is awakening.
She is known as the witch of the deck but don’t think traditional witch imagery, with the black hat and the wart on her nose. Think of a sex witch, a love witch, a naked in the woods witch. Think Marilyn Monroe, Dita Von Teese, Lana Del Ray. This moonth is an opportunity for you to embrace your more passionate and seductive charms, not to manipulate others but rather to bring you more fully alive. Cast a spell that brings you back into the fullness of yourself. You are your own cauldron, find just the right recipe of herbs and powders and concoct a potion that wakes you up to the sheer magic of being alive.
This card is ruled by the opposing elements of Fire and Water. Water should extinguish fire. Fire should evaporate water. And yet somehow they coexist, magically. When you embody the Queen of Wands, you are learning how to balance your emotion with your action, your inner flow with your inner spark. Think of this card as being Water on Fire. You can set yourself aflame this moonth, but you won't burn; instead you’ll just keep shining.
The High Priestess (Reversed)
All the Tarot queens love the High Priestess because she’s the patron saint of all things mystical. She sits between the worlds and knows how to carry the messages and healing across the veil of physical and non-physical reality. Her appearance as
your card for Aquarius Season would indicate a moonth of mystery and magic. The truth is everyone is psychic, everyone has intuitive gifts. The question is whether or not you’re willing to suspend your belief that you’re crazy long enough to work
on developing this skill set.
Your dreams are not random, they have power. The thoughts that pop into your head, seemingly out of nowhere, are actually transmissions from beyond. Don’t try to make sense of these encounters by fitting them into one of your perfectly organized Virgo boxes; let the mystery unfold. You must become still and passive in order to receive the blessings of the High Priestess. She speaks to the divine feminine in all of us, who is pure, untethered and above all, highly receptive.
Let your invisible antenna do some work this season. Give over to your psychic self. Notice when you get chills or tingling hands. Observe the coincidences in your life with a hunger to connects the dots. Don't just take them for granted. The High Priestess doesn’t show up that often, so respect her and respect yourself enough to lean into your own cool, mystical waters. Perhaps you need to do a little work on yourself to create the sacred space to receive her intuitive messages. Meditation, healing, and above all quiet and stillness would serve you well at this time. It’s amazing how much you can hear when all around you, within and without, is silence.
Eight of Cups (Reversed)
Walking away hurts, but it’s also powerful medicine. Sometimes in our lives we evolve out of certain relationships, habits, and careers. We just wake up one morning and a cycle has completed itself while we slept. Certain things just don’t hold the same allure. Honor that. Holding on just because you feel beholden to the past is a surefire way to keep yourself stuck. And keeping the peace isn’t worth sacrificing your soul. This moonth is about asking this question: Has this outgrown its usefulness? Ask it about everything, from the food you eat to
the TV shows you watch—hell, even your personal trainer might have started to phone it in and it’s time to respectfully part ways.
You see, Eights in the Tarot are about expanding in all directions. We go from 2-D to 3-D, we grow wings, we become a new species. This card is all about the evolution of your heart. Thank the eight cups that served you well, cherish what they taught you, and then leave them at the threshold of your new adventure. Aquarius Season wants to teach you how to discern which obstacles should be tackled and overcome and which obstacles should simply be walked away from. Not every relationship is worth fighting for, not every job opportunity deserves your blood, sweat, and gorgeous tears.
Your heart is not the same heart from your childhood, or even your early thirties. It has grown. You must respect the growth you’ve facilitated for yourself and make sure your life is supporting this new, more vulnerable, trusting version of yourself. Don’t be afraid to be fierce in protecting this mature heart but also don’t be afraid to show it off. At its essence, this card teaches us new ways our feelings, relationships, and creativity can flow. If you keep walking the same roads all the time, you’ll never discover the path that’s perfect for who you are right now. Get out there and start exploring.
Seven of Pentacles
Sevens in the Tarot are sacred. There’s something about this number that has always inspired reverence. Consider the seven chakras, the seven continents, the seven colors of the light spectrum, the seven notes in the musical scale—imply put
Seven is a perfect system, a completion of some kind in the
eyes of the divine. When we pull a Seven, we are being asked to look at the realm of the suit through the eyes of spirit. In this case, it’s looking at your physical reality as an expression of your spiritual life.
I know you have some kind of spiritual life because you’re a Scorpio. But it’s not enough to just have it and keep it hidden. I have a teacher who says, "Anywhere you put your attention is an altar." So consider that your whole life is an altar, from yoru bathroom to your desk to your body itself. All of it needs to reflect the deeper spiritual truths you believe in. Now I’m not saying you need to be putting pictures of the Dalai Lama all over your house, but if you are a Buddhist, maybe one photo would be nice, you know, to remind you on a regular basis what you're putting your faith in.
At its essence, this card communicates bringing our spiritual lives and physical lives into greater harmony. There is an invitation to deeply tend your working life, your waking life, from a place of numinosity. What does that mean? It means if you don’t like kale, why did you plant a bunch and spend the spring keeping the bugs off it? It means if you don’t really want a career in social media marketing, why are you spending all your time online? This moonth can give you some big-picture clarity about what you are actually building with your time and efforts. And if that big picture feels more like a big nightmare, it’s not time to panic; it’s simply time to notice that you don’t like the direction your heading in and change course.
Ace of Cups
The Ace of Cups is a sweet energy to have in your forecast because it speaks to the waters of the heart. Sometimes this feels like a new door into your heart, a new creative project, a new city, a new man. Sometimes it feels like you’ve found a new flow in general. Whatever is starting to bubble up from the waters of your heart, go with it. There is not one good reason we cannot be fully in love with our lives. The Ace brings us to that pure love, the unconditional goodness that this planet home can offer when we move through our daily lives from our hearts.
The heart is a mystical organ, it exists in both ordinary and non-ordinary realities. It is the chakra that is meant to connect us to other people, places, and beings (like mountain beings or plant beings). Its energy moves outward to remind us that we are not so separate, we are part of a larger web, and the heart spins the threads. Perhaps this card has revealed itself to you so that you can begin to tend more deeply to your own human heart. There is so much wisdom and magic contained in this fist-sized organ, but it will not surrender any of its gifts until we reclaim our relationship with it.
Spend this next moonth really dropping down into your heart center and try to listen through your heart, talk through you heart; when you hold hands with someone, hold hands through the heart. This is a practice of unconditional love that will swell you and float you through any difficulties you face. What you remember when you return to your heart is that there is no one like you, there will never be anyone like you, and THAT is your gift: to shine as bright as possible.
So listen: full disclosure here, this is not a Tarot card. This is a bonus card that the creator of this Tarot deck put in here (the fantastically talented Oliver Hibert). But I like to keep this card in the deck because it has immense power and over time, its meaning has become clear to me. What is the meaning of Magic? It’s the understanding that everything in the physical world is rooted in the invisible realms, and by engaging with
the mystical world, we can change the ordinary one around us. Psychic and seer Harriet and The Star says, "Magic is finding yourself at the center of two extremes; it is learning how to
allow yourself to dissolve so that your soul can expand in all directions and you can manipulate outcomes at will."
Now I know your sign is not the most likely to engage in formal magic practices, but I have a feeling this most recent Eclipse Season has probably shaken you down some and you’re more capable of dissolving than you used to be. You see, magic needs space. Magic needs us vulnerable and open. And now, in the aftermath of your personal crisis, you are both those things. Whatever you’ve lost, good, you didn’t need it. In this more fragile and sensitive state, you can call in the things your heart longs for and actually be able to receive them.
The Magic Card indicates an ease in attuning to the hidden messages in nature. It means that synchronicities are popping up more and more ostentatiously. Pay attention. You are actually more connected and intuitive than you think you are. Use it. Trust your hunches, your dreams, your strange ways of knowing. Remember that magic has two parts: casting the spell and then trusting the work is done. Be clear on which part of the spell you’re working.
BRANDON ALTER is a queer healer, Tarot reader, teacher, 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. He is the Tarot reader in residence for The Numinous and he 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 Shamanic Skills.