By Brandon Alter:
In Hebrew mysticism, the North Wind symbolizes the future and the mystery contained within it. When we head toward the North, mythically speaking, we head toward our destiny. But the road only reveals itself one step at a time. This sense of North is not unlike the North Node in Astrology. Wherever the North Node falls in your chart speaks to how your soul wants to evolve in your lifetime. Even the North star itself, which has oriented sailors for millennia, gives us a sense of where we are heading and how we might get there. But we can’t always be moving forward. Sometimes, after a particularly brutal encounter with the North Wind, we have to retreat and seek refuge in the South Wind.
My Hebrew ancestors knew the South Wind to be a place of cleansing and clarity. The South is where we go for discernment and power. When the journey North seems impossible, we turn around, taking some time to settle and center ourselves in the South. It is here we regroup, reenergize, and reconsider how we might return to the Northern road with greater success. Astrologically, we are in such a time. Before we can move ahead in our ambition, we must retrace our steps and gather up the magic only the South Wind can provide.
The Mars Retrograde that we currently find ourselves slogging through is a prolonged moment in the metaphorical South. Mars rules how we take action, essentially how we get shit done. A retrograde Mars slows us down in our process, no matter how driven or resourceful we are. It’s an energy of taking stock that comes from being presented with many obstacles. The obstacles are not antagonistic by nature, rather they are cosmic attempts to help us reorganize ourselves. We can’t always be moving forward, sometimes we have to take those two steps back before we can charge ahead. The purpose of such a dramatic halt in the pursuit of our goals is that it forces us to re-strategize.
Mars in Aries, his current stomping ground, is the god of war on the battlefield. It’s a dynamic placement, even when moving backward. But the retrograde may have us feeling like caged animals. The key here is to move slowly. Any new beginnings you have put into place since June 28th are up for review. And it’s your actions that need reexamining. Did you go about something in the wrong way? Were you hasty or too quick diving into some endeavor without fully taking stock of everything you needed? This retrograde can teach us patience if we let it. But that’s not an easy lesson to learn. When you pray for patience, you get a line at the bank, traffic, an hour stuck on hold—so whether you asked for it or not, your prayers for patience have been set into motion.
It’s not that you can’t continue projects already begun, but please take into account that anything you start during the Mars retrograde will take twice as long to complete—at least. So, take a deep breath, know that, and prepare for that. Especially with Mars in Aries, it could feel like some major stop-and-start energy. Don’t let it aggravate you to the point of blowing up at anyone, particularly yourself. It’s easy to get all pent up with this energy in an unhealthy way.
So when it seems like you can’t proceed in the outer realms of your life, explore where you can take action internally. Your inner growth, exploration, and healing doesn't have to stop at this time. In fact, it’s the inner progress that this retrograde empowers in all of us. Do your best to stay physically active: yoga, dancing, sex— whatever it takes so that the energy doesn’t get stalled. But also note that if you’re more tired, this is why. The way I see it, Mars retrograde is a season of naps; and who doesn’t love a good nap?
On a deeper level, the Mars retrograde invites us to consider the underlying motivation for our ambitions in the first place. Most of us have been indoctrinated into the Church of Achievement since we were young. We’ve internalized the idea that our worth is tied up in what we accomplish—but that’s bullshit. We need to separate our self-worth from our success. Our actions need to be sourced from a place of love not from a deep-seated desire to prove ourselves. There’s nothing to prove. You are worthy as you are. You are deserving as you are.
The Virgo New Moon that occurs Thursday morning around 4:00 in the morning (PST) is a good time to really activate some positive structures for a new routine in your life. Challenge yourself to think beyond how you’ve always done things and get a little more creative with how you choose to move forward. Allow a little more play into it all too. Work and structure don’t have to be painful, especially if they involve activities you enjoy and are helping to build the bigger dream for your life. And don’t forget the dream. It’s easy to get caught up in all the practicalities. This new moon says, “Don’t forget to engage your imagination when it comes to your day to day.”
Your imagination and your intuition are opposite sides of the same coin. You have access to both but that doesn't mean you don’t have to work at strengthening them. For me, the Tarot was the most effective way to learn how to communicate with my intuition and learn to trust it. Have you been yearning to connect more deeply with your intuitive sense but don’t know where to begin? Maybe you even have a Tarot deck (or four) but feel overwhelmed by the idea of memorizing 78 different meanings? Well, sis, we got your back.
For more specific Cosmic Updates and Tarot Wisdom, I highly encourage you to tune in to The Spiritual Gayz. This is our twice monthly podcast dedicated to exploring the wide reaches of spirituality without pretending that it all makes sense. We have tons of episodes on Astrology and Tarot and healing and magic. Not to mention fascinating interviews with groovy cosmic queers like 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!
Below you’ll find your individual Tarotscopes for the complete lunar cycle.
Read for your Sun Sign first but feel free to read for your Moon Sign as well.
We are in the midst of a retrograde parade, meaning that Mars, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and the North Node are all moving backward. So I’m not surprised to see that ten out of the twelve cards for this season came in upside down. Reversed cards, like retrograde planets, are neither good nor bad. So you’ll find I’ve included my note on reversals below since the majority of you will find it useful in interpreting your Tarotscopes.
*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 negative 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!” Most often, I think reversed cards are indicating a lack of neutrality in the person being read. They indicate the querent is reversed to receiving the energy directly. There’s a push or a pull, a doubting or desperation, 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.
The card isn’t reversed, you are! 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.
Knight of Swords (Reversed)
The Knight of Swords is you when you give yourself permission to change your mind. This card is connected solely to the air element. Air can float us up into clouds, make us dreamy, diffuse, and completely delusional. Or we can use air like a great wind, wiping us clean. As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, don’t feel beholden to old ways of thinking about things.
Sometimes we get so comfortable in our old entrenched thought patterns that we don’t even question if we’ve outgrown them. The Knight of Swords shows up after a period of embracing our essential authenticity. Who are you growing into and what old stories and beliefs can’t hold on in the face of who you’ve become? Use this month to ask yourself regularly: What if I’m wrong here? What if this isn’t actually true? What if this is just the old me?
This isn’t a card about doubting yourself, quite the opposite in fact. There’s a ferocity of thought and focus available. Keep your eyes on where you’re trying to get, that will keep you from being too easily distracted by the dumpster fires all around you.
Wheel of Fortune (Reversed)
Nothing promises major changes like the Wheel of Fortune. So hold on to your wig and get ready to ride the wind. But these changes, while they may appear to come out of thin air, are actually a long time coming. They are fruits from the inner work and growth you’ve been applying yourself to. As above, so below—which is just witch-talk for saying that when we make internal adjustments, our outer world has to shift to accommodate. The Wheel of Fortune is that adjustment.
This card is connected to Jupiter, the planet of expansion, blessings, and abundance. So even if these sudden changes seem harsh or negative at first, trust that they are truly gifts you will unwrap for years to come. As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, don’t be afraid to throw the old dreams away. You don’t have to keep pursuing the same old shit just because it’s what you're used to.
No matter your relationship with change, it’s the only thing we can count on. So instead of resisting the big, exciting moves you’ve actually been courting, thank them for finally showing up. Then take them by the horns and ride them into the sunset.
Four of Swords (Reversed)
Whether or not we’re present for it, every experience of our life plays a part in our development. The good, the bad, the ugly, the confusing, the mundane, and the traumatic all play a role in who we've grown into. But we aren’t victims to our circumstances as long as we can track our thoughts back to where they sprang from in the first place. The Four of Swords is a prolonged and vital period of reflection to help you create a new foundation for your mind.
As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, you need to probe deeply into the true nature of your mind. Are you trying to make up for the past with your current aims? What if you could just forgive yourself for your history and walk forward untethered to the trials and failures of your past? Spoiler alert: you can.
Spend some time this moonth reflecting on your darker periods. What have you learned from them? How have they shaped you? Where are they still holding undue influence? The more clearly you can see why you are the way you are, the more freedom you have to choose a new thought stream and swim wherever you choose.
Five of Wands (Reversed)
The Five of Wands wants you to shake it up. Despite the circumstances and restrictions of this current era, there are still ways to thwart your status quo. Where can you begin to create new flows of energy within and outside yourself? Maybe it's a new diet, a new exercise routine, even a new walk around the neighborhood could make all the difference in reenergizing your engine. Your vitality is starting to crystallize around you, and that means stagnation isn’t far behind.
When we give ourselves permission to try new things, we can experience new rushes of energy that liberate us to explore new aspects of ourself. Learn a new skill and expect to suck at it. It’s not about learning a new skill to impress, it’s about reminding yourself that you’re never too old to play.
As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, let yourself explore out-of-the-box creativity to help you get there. Don’t look at how others have succeeded, commit to your own unique brand of enthusiasm and trust that the more energy you free up for yourself, the more mojo you’ll have to get where you’re going.
Queen of Cups (Reversed)
The Queen of Cups is you when you surrender fully to the subtler transformations of your psyche and your soul. It’s not a particularly chatty time. In fact, words may be hard to come by as it’s pretty much an incessant feeling state that allows you access to your hidden depths. Probably not the most appealing invitation for a Capricorn, but with all these major planetary collisions happening in your home sign, there’s no way you could avoid some serious internal overhauls this year.
Capricorn can actually be one of the more profoundly spiritual signs in the Zodiac; they have depth, range and fortitude. But they are more apt to deny their inner yearnings as a means of achieving external goals. Flip that script this moonth and keep your eye on your inner prize.
As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, notice where you have been changing and if those subterranean tectonic shifts have rearranged some of your more surface desires. This is a season for mystery and incisive self-reflection. And in some ways you are coming to meet yourself for the first time. Don’t worry so much about what others will think about this new you—make sure you are your own biggest fan and others will respect your substantial reincarnation.
Three of Cups (Reversed)
Bette Midler sang it best: "You gotta have friends." The Three of Cups represents a period of profound sisterhood, gathering together with those who know you most effortlessly. These aren’t your Hollywood friends, your party friends, or even your yoga friends—these are the people that would drive you to the airport at rush hour, bail you out of jail, or spend the night in your bed when you’re afraid there’s a ghost in your house. This moonth, seek out who truly composes your most sacred and trusted true inner circle and let them know it.
Life is not meant to be lived alone, no matter how comfortable you may be with solitude. We are designed for community. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable to those who love you most brings powerful connections that remind us why life is worth living in the first place. Joy is meant to be shared. And through the eyes of these trusted companions you might just be reminded of your own value, magic, and meaning.
Sometimes our oldest friends can’t see who we’ve evolved into. Sometimes our new friends lack crucial understanding of our deeper foundations. True sisterhood doesn’t have anything to do with when you met the person; it has everything to do with how naked you allow your soul to be in their presence. Strip off your skin this season and bare your soul to those who would celebrate your spiritual nudity.
The Emperor (Reversed)
Stop apologizing for yourself. Stop diminishing yourself. Stand tall like a redwood. Pour forth like a waterfall. Don’t be quiet for other people’s comfort. Take up all the space. Shout from the windows. Dance like a dervish. Fuck with abandon. This moonth is a moment to explore your boldness and finally stop holding back.
The Emperor comes to us with the reminder to spread out and root down. In a world that wants to reduce you into a convenient label or minimize your gifts so that they can sell you more shit, the Emperor owns themselves completely. Wherever you find yourself this season, don’t doubt yourself for a single fucking second. And when you feel the urge to shrink inward, catch yourself and do the opposite, expand all the way out.
As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, consider that you already have the skills and resources you need to succeed. The missing ingredient is unshakable confidence. Drink your own Kool-Aid. Get high on your own supply. Fake it until you make it, and with a little bit of Emperor energy, you undoubtedly will.
The Magician (Reversed)
The Magician creates their reality with their words. They write down their dreams as if they were already accomplished. And from this confidence of vision they allow the magic to live through them. This pure magic knows how to make your dreams come true; all you have to do is follow it wherever it may to take you. The key to manifestation is to become wholly obsessed with what you want and completely surrender how you think it’s supposed to happen. That’s why it’s called magic in the first place.
Where we doubt the validity of our desires or stay silent about our deepest wants, we go against ourselves. How can grace deliver your wildest dreams if you won't surrender them all the way up in the first place? The Magician knows that until they can say it out loud, they aren’t ready to have it. That’s why we have to wish upon a star—someone, something, some divine ear has to hear us claim our readiness.
Do you know what you really want? Are you ready to say it to anyone who will listen? As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, make sure that you aren’t giving up on them before they have a chance to bloom. Remember that your most powerful magic is the degree to which you believe you deserve your dreams coming true. If your thoughts are undermining your magic, time to invoke the Magician and rewrite your story from the inside out.
Knight of Pentacles
The fact that this card came in direct when every other card (except Gemini) came in upside down is a message in and of itself. You can trust yourself this moonth. You are not crazy. You are seeing things clearly. Your sense of right and wrong is correct. But that doesn't mean you’ll be able to convince any of the gaslighters around you. Stay the slow and steady course of your own determination. That is the key to your month ahead.
As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, don’t let the disappointments derail you. Wake up every morning and do at least one thing for which your future self will thank you. Distraction is rife these days, and it has its place, but it is not your ally this season—focus is.
The Knight of Pentacles is you when you are fully committed to the work at hand. There is a nose-to-the-grindstone, stay-in-your-own-lane, eyes-on-your-own-paper quality to this card. You need not preoccupy yourself with the doom and gloom being sold on the street corners. Don’t let your energy get sucked out through your eye sockets scrolling Twitter or your favorite feed. Keep pushing the boulder of brilliance across the field, one sure-footed shove at a time. While everyone else circles the drain, you may look back on this moonth as a surprisingly productive period.
Seven of Swords
The fact that this card came in direct when every other card (except Taurus) came in upside down is a message in and of itself. You can trust yourself this moonth. You are not crazy. You are seeing things clearly. Don’t second guess your intuition. Don’t explain away your inner knowings. But be careful not to overthink. Being too clever can be as dangerous as not being clever enough.
The Seven of Swords is a moment where we must tell the truth on ourselves, usually the one we’ve been avoiding for some time. Yeah, gurl, that one, that's been lurking at the edges of your mind. Just admit it already. There's relief in that. This is the same sort of hard reckoning that reminds us that if things seem too good to be true, they probably are. Sometimes we need to take things at face value, because people aren’t as good at lying as they think they are—even you, boo boo.
As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. Trust your hands and trust your heart. Bring more spirit into your clever, complex mind and trust the newfound grace that comes from simple, direct truth. She’s not always the most glamorous girl on the runway, but her walk will set you free. And mental freedom is exactly what you need to feel like your most aligned self this season.
Ace of Cups (Reversed)
Falling in love is a process that never ends. Just because you love something doesn’t mean you can’t find new doorways into its heart. Maybe you’ve had the experience of rereading an old favorite book to discover a new theme that hits you differently or listening to the same favorite song only to realize a lyric or melody hits you in a new way. The Ace of Cups opens us up to love, even with people, places, and things we already adore.
Love is a state of being, it’s the flow of the universe. Love is how we travel from one place to another, it’s how we yield to our true nature and how we reveal the gifts of the soul. This moonth, don’t seek love, be love. Choose to love yourself, your life, your every nook and cranny. Choose to love the long nights and the early mornings, love the struggle, love the distance, love the confusion.
As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, remind yourself where your heart figures into everything you find yourself pursuing. The more you make your heart the center of your ambitions, the more your success will be a natural result of the flow you already find yourself surrendering to.
Two of Wands (Reversed)
So here’s the deal: you’ve been at this particular crossroads before. A road diverged in your snowy woods, and you couldn’t take them both so you made a choice. It wasn’t the wrong choice at the time—so good for you for making a choice in the first place. Brava! But now you’ve backtracked, and here you are again. Maybe it’s still the right choice this time, too, but maybe, just maybe, it’s not. Maybe there’s an unexpected boon in this other road. Maybe not. But I’d be dishonoring my intuition if I didn’t suggest it's time to explore another option on your current journey.
As you continue to reevaluate your goals and how you will pursue them, allow yourself to think outside the comfortable strategies and techniques you’ve been applying for so long. There’s a brand-new adventure waiting for you. Befriend the unknown and explore where your uncertainty could be a real asset at this time.
The Two of Wands presents us with a choice, and it’s not neutral. It wants you to take a risk, to venture out and give over to the wilds of the world. You may fail. You may end up at this same damn crossroads a third time. But at the very least you’ll have a damn good story to share with the guardian of the threshold.
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 and heal with the help of the spirits.