By Elizabeth Gracen:
Flapper Press is incredibly lucky to have Brandon Alter and Angel Lopez as regular contributors to the site. They are both gifted healer/teachers, and their popular posts are both entertaining and insightful. When they told me that they were launching a new online course called "Tarot + Cosmos, 2020," I wanted to make sure to promote it, because I know, firsthand, how valuable their courses can be. I can't speak highly enough about their intuitive skills and thorough attention to the esoteric practices they specialize in. The course will no doubt be chocked full of information, deep revelations, and lots of laughs. Let me tell you a bit more about them.
I've been lucky enough to spend some quality "spiritual" time with Brandon Alter over the years. His Tarot + Vino class was fantastic, and I truly enjoyed my tarot readings with him as well as the Breath Work and Soul Retrieval sessions I did with him. Brandon is a Shamanic healer, Tarot reader, Astrologer, spiritual 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. Brandon is a thoroughly trained healer and yoga teacher who co-hosts The Spiritual Gayz, a twice-monthly podcast dedicated to exploring the wide reaches of spirituality, without pretending that it all makes sense. Brandon writes monthly Tarotscopes for Queerty.com and is the Tarot Reader in residence for the Numinous. 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.
I met Angel Lopez through Brandon and have had two amazing astrological readings with him so far. Both sessions brought a deeper understanding about my life and personality and have assisted me in focusing my energy and intention toward the future. I encourage you to book your own personal reading with him soon!
Angel is an astrologer, producer, writer, and other co-host of the THE SPIRITUAL GAYZ podcast. Angel has been studying and working with both Tarot and astrology for over twenty years. He hosted the AOL.com astrology web-series ASTRO TALK WITH ANGEL and is the author of the blog ASTROLOGY REALNESS. He has also had thought pieces published on Upworthy.com, The Huffington Post, and Efniks.com. On the flip side, Angel produced the 2014 Sundance Film Festival award-winning film DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, as well as Meredith Danluck’s STATE LIKE SLEEP and Justin’s second feature, BAD HAIR, which just had its premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. He also wrote and directed his own short film, I CAN’T WITH YOU, which had its premiere at the 2016 HollyShorts Film Festival.
I asked both Brandon and Angel about their upcoming "Tarot + Cosmos, 2020" course that is open for registration.
EG: Brandon & Angel, as I’ve told you many times, I am so happy to have you both onboard at Flapper Press. Your Spirit Posts, Astrology, and Tarotscope posts are incredibly popular, and I always look forward to reading them. So, thank you for being part of the team!
Your new, fresh, and fabulous website, thespiritualgayz.com looks terrific—so vibrant. Aside from your usual offerings of the Spiritual Gayz podcast, one-on-one readings for in-depth tarot and astrology readings, healing sessions for breath work, and shamanic healing, I want to know all about your brand-new eleven-week online immersion class called "Tarot + Cosmos, 2020." Please tell me all about it!
BA: I am so excited about this eleven-week class. I'm really thinking of it as an online sanctuary, because when you decide to study the Tarot you open yourself up to your intuition. So it's not a class in the traditional sense; you won't be memorizing things, you won't have written homework. It's really an opportunity to connect with like-minded seekers and commit to your own psychic abilities (even if you don't think you have them). It's really not about the cards themselves but how through the cards your own gifts will come online. It's like going to a gym—everyone has muscles but if you don't lift weights, you're never going to develop them. Well, Tarot is like a gym for your intuition. But beyond all of that, it's going to be fun!
AL: Yeah, I am also really excited to have a platform that will allow us to engage more deeply with the community we've been cultivating through the podcast. We coined the name "Gayzers" as a term of endearment for the folks who listen to us, and the more we get to meet and interact with them, the more excitement and enthusiasm I gain for the work we do.
EG: Brandon, I took your Tarot + Vino class last year and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the tarot. Because of that class, I now do my own personal card pulls at least three times a week. I absolutely love this new ritual. I usually do it before I mediate. I don’t really use it as a divinatory tool—it’s more like a focus on what energies I need to be aware of. Can you explain the benefits of learning the Tarot? And tell me a little bit about what you’ll be teaching in your Tarot + Cosmos class.
BA: Absolutely. So the Tarot is a language, and once you speak the language you can use it any way you like. Some people use the Tarot for divination, others for creativity or, like you said, as a means of channeling energy. The Tarot is like Grand Central Station for all the great esoteric systems that humanity has studied: Astrology, Numerology, Elements, Archetypes, etc. This class unpacks the underlying themes that create the architecture of the Tarot. So we take it slow and we learn the foundation of the symbology. We start with Archetypes and Astrology for the Major Arcana. And then we move into Elements and Numerology for the Minor Arcana. Like I mentioned before, we don't memorize, we learn these cards by heart through understanding why they mean what they mean. And the truth is, the cards mean different things to every reader, and that is a good thing. My job, as your teacher, isn't to get you to co-sign my interpretation of the cards, it's to lead you to your own authentic interpretation of the cards. That's using your intuition!
EG: Angel, I still listen to the recording of the in-depth astrological reading you did for me earlier this year. It really has helped me focus on my inner life and brought about a keener awareness of what I really want for my future. So good! You are such an insightful intuitive who really knows his astrological “stuff,” so I encourage everyone to contact you for their own readings. I see that you’ll be giving lectures during the eleven-week course. Tell us a bit more about what you’ll be teaching and focusing on during "Tarot + Cosmos, 2020."
AL: All of the cards intersect with various aspects of astrology. Some more closely with certain signs or with planets, and some even a combination of the two. When I was learning both astrology and tarot, I used the commonalities in their languages to help me gain clearer perspectives on them and to make stronger connections to all the archetypes and meanings at play. So hopefully, merging the two will excite our students and inspire them to broaden their knowledge beyond just astrology or tarot, to see how these esoteric languages can be used to inform the other.
EG: Last question for both of you: why should anyone care about these esoteric practices? How do they relate to a person’s everyday life and how can they benefit or
assist someone to live a rich, more authentic life?
AL: All I can say is that I was someone who was raised in a religious environment that didn't work for me. I got out of it but always still felt like there was something greater than just the tangible world that I wanted to connect to. Metaphysical practices such as astrology, tarot, and meditation were ways for me to have a relationship with the divine that didn't feel oppressive, but instead became freeing. They are a certain kind of pathway for seekers who want to forge a connection with the invisible without having to pledge allegiance to one specific set of rules. They can also offer us insights into who and why we are, and are helpful tools for personal empowerment. We learn that we are the co-creators of the singular existence we are inhabiting right now. What a gift!
BA: Why? Well, these esoteric practices weren't always just for the elite or the mystics. These practices were for everybody to make sense of their lives. It's a means to answering your own questions! Spirit is always trying to communicate with us, but if we don't have a symbolic language, we won't be able to understand the messages coming through. Learning the Tarot gives you an active way to participate in not just your spiritual life but your ordinary life, too. I pull cards to get a sense of where to focus my energy each day. I pull cards to help me understand the true nature of certain relationships, trips I'm taking, AirBnBs I'm looking to book. The cards will do what we tell them to! Angel and I even pulled cards on choosing the right realtor. And they really helped us dialogue about what was important to us, but also revealed what we may not have considered when making such an important decision.