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October 2020 Tarotscopes with Brandon Alter

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.  

Brandon Alter & Angel Lopez aka The Spiritual Gayz!

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.


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.