Tarotoscopes with Brandon Alter: September 2019
By Brandon Alter:
Hello, Queers and Queens and Allies of the New World Order. Virgo Season is here, and she means business.
Who is Virgo? She’s the Goddess of the Harvest, the Healer of the Zodiac. Virgo energy is all about alignment, hard work, and being of service.
Lady Virgo isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, to focus on the smallest of details without ever losing sight of the whole. It’s a sign that is very much connected to the here and now, the present moment and all that it contains. The opposite sign to Virgo is Pisces, which is much more consumed with the invisible world, the esoteric, the dreamland. But remember that each sign contains its opposite. Virgo reminds us that the magic of the spirit world is contained here—in the dirt, the leaves, the fundamental building blocks of our physical reality.
Virgo is the Mutable Earth sign of the cosmos. Mutable meaning changeable because this is the season between seasons—not quite Fall but no longer Summer. This is an Earth sign that knows how to change it up based on what is needed in the moment. And I think we can all benefit from this medicine. Changeable Earth is exactly what we are faced with right now. We need to change how we relate to this planet before it’s too late. Hear me when I say: it’s not too late to change. We are not beyond the point of no return. I think some of us wish we were so that we could throw up our hands and say, "Well, too bad—let’s enjoy what’s left of humanity while we have it." But that’s just fear talking. Now is not the time to shrink in fear. Now is the time to expand with action. And Virgo energy can take action with the best of them.
As the healer of the Zodiac, Virgo Season brings awareness to where healing is needed in our own lives. And yeah, duh, the planet is part of that. Healing yourself heals the world, too. If we ignore our own deep wounds and all continue to run around broken and distracted, then we are powerless to help anything else. Look at all the broken men in positions of power around our globe. Their inner landscapes are so ravaged and wounded that all they can do is cultivate an outer landscape to mirror their inner one.
What does it mean to pursue healing? It means having the courage to face yourself, day after day, and notice where you are still in pain. It means traveling into the past, confronting your trauma, reconciling it and moving forward with a newfound understanding and freedom. We have to heal in order to create the space for a new vision to emerge. For example, if Daddy Issues are still your operating program, there’s no way you’ll be able to run a new app of abundance and trust until you clear that shit from your hard drive. You feel me? And maybe, just maybe, that’s what’s happening for all of us collectively. We are seeing the shadows of our time in order to free them. We are being forced to feel them in order to heal them. Then, and only then, can we move the fuck on.
We can’t afford to dwell in the darkness. That only creates more of the same. We can’t allow ourselves to get bogged down. The means of making any change is to talk about the new program. Build with your words. Be impeccable about them. Virgos have a reputation for being perfectionists—fine, use that energy. Be perfect with your words. Be perfect in how you communicate to yourself. That will grow into perfection with others.
Talk isn’t cheap, babies. Speaking power to your visions is how we grow your visions. Talk about your sobriety, your dream relationship, your sustainable garden, your new business venture, your screenplay, your intention for your life. And keep talking about it. With everyone, gurl. Never stop talking about it. Make them know your vision, inside and out. That’s when it’ll start to manifest. Words have so much power. If we speak to the future we want to inhabit, eventually we will be living in it. Don’t forget words. Don’t underestimate them. The words are how we build. First we build things in our mind, then the world.
If it seems like I’m really harping on healing and words then congratulations, you’ve been paying attention. You see, Virgo has two ruling planets. One is Mercury, who rules over our minds, our words, and all things communication. That’s the traditional planet associated with this sign. But back in the late 70’s, another planet became associated with Virgo and that is the planet Chiron . . . which isn’t so much a planet as an asteroid who travels between Saturn and Uranus in an unusual orbit. In Astrology, planets take on meanings that speak to the time during which they are discovered. For example, Pluto was discovered in the thirties, during the depression. That informed its rulership of deep soul transformation. Chiron’s late-seventies discovery occurred during an explosion of “new-age” healing modalities and the intense awareness of psychological wounds that needed tending. Therefore, we connect Chiron with the archetype of the wounded healer and everything that goes along with it.
If you’re interested in learning more about Chiron, my husband and I devoted a whole episode to this curious astral body in our podcast The Spiritual Gayz. We have tons of episodes on astrology but also on Tarot and Shamanism and magic, not to mention fascinating interviews with groovy cosmic queers like actress/writer Lena Waithe, visionary artist and Tarot deck designer James R. Eads, and beauty/make-up expert Lijha Stewart. If you’ve been looking to expand your spiritual horizons in an accessible way, look no further!
Virgo energy combines the planetary forces of both Mercury and Chiron to deliver healing through harvesting our pain. We can only heal in others what we have healed in ourselves. We can only lead where we have followed. You would do well to accept that your personal traumas were perfectly selected for you in order to wake you up to your own powers of healing. If we can talk about the wound and then enter into the wound, at its deepest most painful point lies the cure.
The New Moon in Virgo (which occurs Friday morning at 3:37 A.M., Pacific Standard Time) is a perfect portal into healing; it's an astrological opening when you can wash yourself clean. The message this New Moon has is one of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the bedrock of healing, and this New Moon can help you forgive yourself for the past. There's no shame in your journey. It led you here. And if you can begin the process of your deeper healing today, a year from now you'll be so glad you started. How? You have to feel it to heal it, babies. That’s the secret to how you become a healer. And I want to let you in on another little secret: you are already a healer. Yes. You are. When you cut yourself, what happens to your skin? It regenerates. Your heart and your spirit are no different. To be a healer means you believe in the regenerative properties of life and you’re willing to encourage those forces in others. But you can start with yourself. You must.
In the interest of Virgo season, I am doing something I don’t usually do, which is offer a little discount for one-on-one healings. I am committed to being of service, especially to my Queer brothers and sisters, my spiritual seekers, my wounded weirdos. I want to help you move forward on your path and start to bring your unique gifts to the world. Whether it’s Shamanic Healing, Tarot, Breathwork/Energy Healing, Reiki, all my services will be discounted 15% for the whole of Virgo Season. Use the code VIRGOHEALING and the discount will be applied at checkout. Sessions can be done in person here in Los Angeles or remotely. Yes! The magic works wherever in the world you are—at this time, the only session that has to happen in person is Shamanic Healing due to the nature of the work.
You may have noticed I’m not longer pulling a collective card for these moonthly Tarotscopes. That’s because I’m pulling a card for the collective card every week and doing a little video reading. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll find these videos on my stories every Thursday. But you can also find them on The Spiritual Gayz Youtube page! Alright, enough about me, let’s get to your messages.
Below you’ll find your individual Tarotscopes.
Read for your SUN and your MOON . . . and if you don’t know your moon, look it up, henny, that’s part of your personal power waiting to be claimed!
Your readings are courtesy of the Shining Tribe Tarot by Rachel Pollack. Rachel is one of the most intuitive, innovative, and educated Tarot scholars out there. She created this deck after many years of study and experience, and it’s truly sublime. However, it can be a little confusing as she renamed the suits. To make things easier, I have written her name for the card first followed by its more traditional nomenclature.
9 of Trees/Wands
The road is made by walking it. Even with a clear destination in sight, the journey to get there can be surprising. The Nine of Wands speaks to the long pilgrimage one must attend in the pursuit of sacred dreams. In the Tarot, Nines represent a completion, a leveling-up of the suit. Wands speak to the fundamental things in our life that spark (i.e. our sexuality, spirituality, and most importantly our vital energy). The Nine of Wands is where you come to understand exactly what this goal will cost you.
It can be a period of overwhelming, especially if you seek instant gratification. But worry not, this card signifies that you are on the right path and you will achieve your aims so long as you walk your road one step at a time. Speaking practically, just do one thing every day that gets you closer. Don’t expect overnight success. And make sure that you are approaching your end goals in a sustainable way. Too many late nights and early mornings can dampen your own personal power. And the Nine of Wands wants to teach you how to gather up power as you bring your dreams to life, not exhaust yourself before the finish line.
It’s a cliche but it holds true, the point of the journey is the journey—not the destination. Make sure you are enjoying each moment of your manifestation. Self-sabotage comes in many forms, but the most insidious is in delaying our satisfaction. Receive your progress. Even inching forward is still an advancement. Don’t diminish your accomplishments just because you haven’t gotten the book published or sold the house—you will, when the time is right. Your secret weapon is making sure you are energized and activated when that divine timing approaches.
5 of Rivers/Cups (Reversed)
I’m going to give it to you straight up, sweet Libra: the Five of Cups is the grief card. It is a necessary contraction of the heart. If you can fully step into it, it brings the gift of acceptance. It will clear out whatever stuck sadness has been clogging the chambers of your heart. The good news is that this card came in upside down, which lessens the pain of the letting go. We could think of this as a soft grief, a welcome grief, the cry that feels so good to release.
Where we don’t allow ourselves to feel the truth of our pain, we literally stop our lives from moving forward. Perhaps before you can take the next step on your path, you need to lighten your load. Are there dreams that have long since passed their expiration date? Are you still holding on to them tightly? What about some relationships? Are you keeping a secret candle lit for a former lover that you know is just no good? Time to take these sorrows to the river; time to wash yourself clean.
What follows the Five of Cups is the Six of Cups. The Six of Cups is an expansion of the heart, a deeper, sweeter healing. You are being prepared for that. You are being wrung out, swept clear, so that a new, purer feeling can enter into your heart. Consider that we can only experience joy to the same degree that we allow ourselves to experience despair. When you numb out on one end, you actually numb out on the other—whether you want to or not. Surrender to the river of year heart, Libra. Let it take you where you need to go. Grief reminds us that we are alive, that we have a bottomless heart and deep reservoirs of emotion. And while it isn’t always pleasant to plumb the depths and release them, it is always beautiful.
The Chariot (Reversed)
Sometimes known as Victory, this card, even in the reversed position, is a welcomed sight. It speaks to egoic success, accomplishment, status, and power. It signifies a phase of becoming where you are actually realizing the dreams not just pining away for them. But upside down, this card becomes more complex. It can speak to your unwillingness to receive your progress. It can imply that while things are heading in the right direction, it’s a slower completion that perhaps you would care to experience. But take heart, the screenplay will sell, the house will be built—all in due time.
“At at a deeper level,” Rachel says, “the card teaches us that will flows like a river when we join ourselves to sacred truth.” If you are facing hurdles and roadblocks on your journey, perhaps you aren’t fully joined to your sacred truth. Perhaps you are being shown another path toward success. Maybe even a gentle (or not so gentle) shove into another realm of your career. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying abandon hope and your current job; I’m just asking: do you really love what you do? If so, cool, wait it out, good things are brewing. If not, is the money or the notoriety really going to compensate for what a pain in the ass this project is?
The Chariot is the vehicle for our soul’s purpose. It is the container for our most powerful remedy, our unique antidote to the poisons of contemporary life. Is your life a vessel for your gifts? At this time in your life, that is the only question worth contemplating. You must know by now that what you have to give is gold, but perhaps there is a better means of delivering it.
The Magician (Reversed)
This is initiating energy at its purest. As the first card of the Major Arcana, it starts our adventure. We set sail. We take that first step toward climbing the mountain or entering the woods. The Magician marks the true beginning of our Hero’s journey. Whether the endeavor is creative, romantic, spiritual, or otherwise, the Magician is the moment when we claim what we want and begin to go after it. Everything that came before was merely exposition.
But what to make of a Magician reversed? Remember that a reversed card doesn’t so much speak to the card itself but to you. Reversals signify that you are not neutral when it comes to engaging with this energy. It’s a push or a pull. You are somehow reversed to this new beginning. Are you resisting the change? The call of the wild? Perhaps you know what you want but still have doubts, afraid to speak it into existence. But until you can say what you want out loud, you aren’t ready to have it. Or perhaps you are desperate for a new start but haven’t fully completed your last adventure. Either way, the time has come to plant your flag in the ground and move forward on your mission.
Magic is real, and the Magician doesn’t just know it, they know how to channel it. This is a figure who is fully aware of the source of all power and that it isn’t themselves. Think of it like a flash of inspiration. It’s not about holding onto the idea, it’s about getting it out into the world where it can do the most benefit. Magician energy is best served when we don’t get hung up on our brilliance but instead continue to relate to ourselves as vessels for the greater good. Talent doesn’t belong to you, it flows through you. And if you hold it too tightly, you block any more from coming your way. Connect to source, ask for its assistance, and then let go.
9 of Stones/Pentacles
This card came your way back in Gemini Season, except back then it came in upside down. I would wager that the return of this card (in the upright position) signifies you’ve made some serious progress in claiming your worth. Remember that the Nine of Pentacles wants to give you a felt sense of your own true value. Nines in the Tarot are graduations; pentacles are the suit of money, business, and the making of magic. Maybe these last few months have allowed you to demonstrate your tremendous gifts—so much so that you are ready to believe in them. Because it’s not enough to know them, you need to feel them. You need to feel their power. And only by bringing them up and out will you learn how to work with them.
The Nine of Pentacles speaks to the very things Capricorns are known to have a knack for. It speaks to self-sufficiency, discipline, and above all the willingness to make sacrifices. If this sounds like you these last few months, then I have a feeling your efforts are about to pay off in some serious success. If you’ve been hemming and hawing, delaying the inevitable blood, sweat, and tears, this card is your reminder to get back to work. But the work must always be for yourself.
The best work happens when we make ourselves the boss of ourselves. Meaning, even if you actually work for someone else, you must always strive for your personal best. No matter the arena in which your career resides, this next cycle is about satisfying your own standards. Rely on your own gifts, rely on your own taste, rely on your own ability to validate yourself. I’m not suggesting you build yourself a tower and stay there forever; I’m just saying that tower is real quiet, and you can get some damn good work done if you spent just a little more time there.
7 of Rivers/Cups
Scorpio Sage Rupaul asked, “How do you know this isn’t a dream that you’re having? And if it is a dream, does that make it any less real?” This is the essence of the Seven of Cups card. This card entreats us to inquire deeply of our fantasies and root out the real from the illusory. Real doesn’t mean factual, real means the truth of our heart. Cups represent the realm of emotions, and Sevens in the Tarot ask us to approach from a purely spiritual perspective. This is the Spiritual Heart card, it requires us to tell the truth about our heart and the dreams contained within.
Is it a dream or is it a fantasy? What’s the difference? Dreams are always possible, even if wildly unrealistic. A fantasy is just a story spun to make ourselves feel better. How can you tell which is which? Ask your heart, only it knows. This moonth is your chance to sift through and separate the visions from the illusions. And then, only then, must you begin to choose which need your immediate attention.
On a practical level, this card can indicate too many possibilities. Choices abound, the mind overwhelms. You may find yourself “future tripping.” You might already be accepting an Academy Award for a screenplay you haven’t even begun to outline. You might be spending the money you’ve made from a business you haven’t even started. Time to get real. Time to get honest. Time to turn to your all-knowing heart and ask it, "How should I proceed? Which vision do I dedicate everything to?" I get it, trust me, I so get it. As an air sign, you want to know. You want to use your mind and sort through it all, figure it out—but this isn’t a moment for your intellect; it’s a moment for the pure reason of your heart. Go on, let your heart choose, it always chooses correctly.
Ace of Trees/Wands
No card says new beginnings like the Ace of Wands. It’s an explosion of energy, a big bang of inspiration. Something in your spirit is catching fire, and you will want to follow it like a comet streaking across the sky. Think of the energy of the Ace like giving birth; something in your life is about to be born. Maybe not where you can see it, but you will feel it. You won’t be able to help it. The same way you can’t stop a sneeze when it comes over you, or even an orgasm. Wands is a suit that speaks to things in our lives that spark, particularly our sexuality and creativity, as an expression of our spirit. But even more fundamental to Wands is the underlying energy of our being—Wands teach us how to be an energy body in a physical world.
It’s not that the body is a prison for the spirit; the body is the expression of the spirit. This is the canvas your soul chose to create with. As a Pisces, you are more in tune with the invisible world than most. Lately, you have been feeling bogged down in the physical realms, and now the Ace of Wands appears to bring you back to your source. Spiritual awakenings are a process that never stop. There’s no end to our continual remembering of who and what we really are. No matter how “awake” you feel to the esoteric realms, there is a deepening, an expansion of spirit that wants to visit you this moonth.
The symbol of your sign, Pisces, is that of two fish swimming in opposite directions but tied together. This represents your dual journey, moving inward and outward, exploring the physical and the ineffable. Let Virgo Season remind you of the inexhaustible world of magic and excitement, synchronicity and spiritual fire. At the end of the day, whether you are giving birth to a creative project, a child, an awakening, or an orgasm, it’s all an expression of your spirit’s irrepressible urge to create. Follow the urge back to its source, and you’ll be empowered for moonths to come.
5 of Trees/Wands
This card appears when it’s time to shake things up in a major way. In order to move our energy in a new direction, we must create the space around ourselves. And creating space usually comes from decluttering. Wands is a suit that speaks to things in our lives that spark, particularly our sexuality and creativity, as an expression of our spirit. But even more fundamental to Wands is the underlying energy of our being—Wands teach us how to be an energy body in a physical world. The Five of Wands is a complete reorganization of your vital essence.
Now is not the time to hold on; it is time to dive off the cliff, to let go with the greatest abandon of your life. This card is a tornado sweeping through your spiritual house, ridding you of every treasure you thought you still needed. The Fives in the Tarot speak to necessary contractions that clear us out for the expansion to come. Before expansion, contraction. This is your moment to contract. But I don’t mean get small. I don’t mean curl up into a little ball and hide. I mean get lean, get pure, get essential.
As you are right now, you can’t get where your life would have you go. You’ve been doing lots of good, strong work on yourself. You’re seeing patterns, you’re owning your weaknesses. Now you gotta just take off the last layer of resistance. Shed this last skin of fear and doubt. Give the baggage to Goodwill and become featherweight so that the clean winds of destiny will lift you where you belong. Of all the Fives, this is the sweetest, the most gentle—and oftentimes fun AF. Enjoy doing things differently in pursuit of the purest, most graceful version of yourself.
5 of Stones/Pentacles
Well, fuck, sweet Taurus, no one loves seeing the Five of Pentacles show up. It’s a bummer, but that doesn’t mean it can't bring about tremendous healing. The reason we pull cards in the first place is to get a sense of what is really happening around us, so the good news with pulling this card is that you can prepare for the challenges. The Fives in the Tarot speak to necessary contractions that clear us out for the expansion to come. Before expansion, contraction. This is your moment to contract. Pentacles speak to the most tangible realm of our existence, our bodies and bank accounts, the building blocks of ordinary reality.
When this card appears, it means there will likely be some feelings of scarcity, often financial but not always. It can also indicate some health issues that need to be dealt with swiftly. If we accept the Five of Pentacles as it comes, we can surmount it and be made stronger by it—but not on our own. We must ask for help. That is the essence of this card. Can you give up your control and surrender to a greater force?
Spiritual healing is usually the remedy for the crisis this card brings. We can be quite headstrong as humans; we refuse to change until we have crumbled first. If you’re feeling crumbled, gorgeous, now ask spirit to put you back together. If you haven’t crumbled yet, perhaps you could soften the impending problems by immediately relinquishing the idea that you know best. Where we harden, we fracture. Where we soften, we bloom. Try to soften yourself this moonth and ask for all the help you can. People love you. People will love to help you, if only you can practice the vulnerability of asking for what you need.
6 of Birds/Swords
It’s been a mental few months for you, clever Gemini. I mean, it’s always a little mental in your world, but I get the sense that recently things have been more psychological than usual—and that’s actually a good thing. You’ve been clearing out the cobwebs of your mind, sifting the many different voices that visit you and releasing the more critical and aggressive ones. Now, with all that radiant space inside your skull, you can actually begin to practice a new way of thinking about things. Bravo!
The Sixes in the Tarot speak to a period of expansion. And Swords refer to the realm of the mind. Therefore, the Six of Swords is the card of Mental Expansion. This card indicates a bridge between what has come before and what is yet to be revealed. You have fully relinquished your old ways of self-dialogue and that allows new patterns of ease and grace to emerge.
The old school Tarot readers thought this card was all about travel—usually literal travel. So, I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention that aspect. But the travel I associate with this card is a more mental sort. Time to travel to far-off realms without ever leaving your home. Pay attention to your dreams, travel through good books and documentaries. Maybe learn Shamanic Journeying or Astral Projection. This is your open portal to grow your mind—take advantage. These windows don’t stay open forever, and you’ve worked mighty hard to create this clearing.
I have a feeling that things are about to get really good for you, gentle Cancer. The Sun signifies a period of joy, satisfaction, and above all light. This is the safe space to emerge, to be seen, and above all to claim what is rightfully yours. If you’ve been in a struggle of sorts, the appearance of this card would signify the struggle is ending and in your favor. When we are working with Sun energy, we get to bask in the delights of the world with childlike enthusiasm. Open your heart to the abundance of simple pleasures coming your way.
The Sun is a constant star, it never changes. Unlike the moon who waxes and wanes her way through the sky, the Sun is unwavering in its generosity of light. The Sun grows our crops, warms our skin, illuminates the world around us. This is your time to see your life with clarity and bask in it. But too much Sun can burn our skin, melt our favorite ice cream, and blind our eyes, so it’s important to find balance within yourself. Don’t get so caught up in all this joy and excitement that you neglect your inner needs. By all means, bathe in the sun—just make sure to take a nap afterward.
In the adventure of the Major Arcana, the Sun comes very near the end of our Hero’s journey. The dragon has been slain, the danger averted. Now we travel the long road back home. We rejoice in our strength and our good fortune. And we look back, with clear eyes, at all the people who helped make this journey possible in the first place. Make sure to gather up all the teachings from your latest escapade. Before you can truly complete the cycle, you must learn the moral of your latest story. The Sun shines all around us, signifying the happy end of another journey, and in its light, we can now see why this was the only journey we could have taken at this time in our life. Celebrate yourself, you’ve earned it.
6 of Trees/Wands
The Fives in the Tarot speak to inevitable contractions that clear us out for the expansion to come. In the Six of Wands, the contraction is behind us, we can now fully enter into the expansive terrain of the spirit. Wands is a suit that speaks to things in our lives that spark, particularly our sexuality and creativity, as an expression of our spirit. But even more fundamental to Wands is the underlying energy of our being—Wands teach us how to be an energy body in a physical world.
Prepare for a new way of feeling yourself in the world. The healing this card provides will allow you to walk lightly over serious matters, to not get bogged down in the weight of those around you. You will rise above the petty trials of reality. You will remain attuned to the deeper spiritual truths of our physical existence and not be so easily glamoured. This moonth will not just help you find a new flow—it will imprint this new way of being onto your soul.
At its core, the Six of Wands is about discovering a new way of feeling about things. Your energy has been restructured, your very essence rearranged. This allows for a more sensitive approach to your life. What people say or do will be relatively unimportant—it’s all about how people make you feel (i.e., warm, cold, tingly, energized, zapped, etc.). Imagine you are a visitor from beyond, wandering through the wild forests of your life. Each encounter is a strange and wondrous dream. Being connected to the beyond will keep you confident as you approach each new opportunity. And confidence is your birthright.
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.