By Brandon Alter:
I am writing this to you from my at-home sanctuary that my husband and I lovingly call the “spirit room.” It’s just the second bedroom in our tiny two-bedroom Los Angeles bungalow, but it’s also a vortex for healing and love. I am gazing out the window at the bougainvillea in full bloom, creeping along the dark green fence that separates me from my neighbor. If I lean a little to the left, I can see the giant cactus that I planted from a trimming my friend Michelle gave me years ago. The sky is a faint blue, veiled with thin, gauzy clouds that allow the sun its full exposure. What I mean to say is, from this desk, from this vantage, everything looks the same. And yet, we all know, nothing is the same.
Since we were last together under the Pisces New Moon, our world has rearranged itself, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping any time soon. Each morning, I wake up and feel as though, in my sleep, we have all collectively slipped from one dimension into another. Each morning, we slide one more world away from the Earth we’ve come to call home for so long. And I don’t think we will ever get back to the first realm—I don’t think we are supposed to. What I think is that we are now on a great adventure. And each and every one of us are part of this exploration to find the new dimension we can call home.
I would encourage you not to get morbid. Don’t lean into the panic of the collective. Limit your news consumption, your social media time, and protect your brain space. Spend as much time outside as you safely can. Fresh air is healing. Nature can help keep us in right perspective. Because yes, absolutely, all of this change and uncertainty can bring up immense fear, anxiety, and panic. But I want to reassure you, this is our metamorphosis—not our destruction. You might even have moments where you feel like this is the end of days. But babies, it’s been the end of days (as we know them) for a good long time. And now, let me be the first to tell you, the end is over. What’s happening right now is what happens after the end. Simply put: Welcome to the beginning. And who better to teach us about starting over than Aries, the first sign of Zodiac.
As I wrote this last paragraph a new song came onto my Spotify shuffle simply called “An Ending, a Beginning.” So there we go. Shall we focus on the Ending, or should we use the energy of the cosmos to call forth a Beginning? Aries Season is the cosmic New Year. It’s where we start again. Aries energy is the innovator, the leader, the big bang that begins any new venture. Aries energy is charting an expedition into the jungle or to climb a mountain. It’s the call to adventure, a new horizon full of possibility open before us. Aries takes action. And we have no choice now but to either pick up our power and take some sort of meaningful action or else relegate ourselves to powerless bystanders watching the old world dissolve into dust.
Times like these are exactly why we have ancient systems such as Astrology to lean on. This is not the first pandemic to grip our globe, this is not the first invisible war. We are not alone in time or space. So let's lean into the energy of now and figure out exactly how to channel what’s available to us. This next moonth is all about taking action, but not in the old way. Taking action used to mean over-scheduling, being busy, planting your flag in the ground, getting out there. But most of us have taken the good sense to stay home at these times, so in true Aries fashion, we have to innovate what taking action looks like. A new beginning requires a new way of beginning. So maybe we are all learning how to start slow, how to take action inside ourselves before we try to conquer the outer landscapes of our lives.
Mercury will be spending the next month in Pisces, sign of the end, the invisible, the spiritual soup. So while our egos are ready to chart the next chapter, our minds are still making our way out of the woods. To me, this means we all would be best served by taking advantage of the quiet and the stillness all this social distancing creates. We must find a new place in ourselves to begin. We can’t start from our egos anymore, we can’t start from our bank accounts. We must find the pure place in us, the place that connects us to our perfect passion and initiate our lives from there.
What Aries energy has in spades is passion. This is our time to reconnect to our deepest passions. Do you even know what you are passionate about anymore? Maybe it’s gonna take you a week or seven of meditation and long baths, weeks of meandering walks through your neighborhood and gazing out the window before you even get a glimpse of your true new passion. That’s ok. You know what’s so beautiful about this current landscape? We all have time. We have time now for all the inner exploration that we put off. This New Moon in Aries, which perfects at 1:28 A.M. (PST) on Tuesday, is a portal through which we get to start again. It will empower all of us on this new phase of our lives. Our Aries Season Webinar will go into this New Moon more deeply, it will also explore the transits this moonth has in store, including the Full Moon in Libra and the significant shift of Saturn entering in Aquarius. Join us live or get the recording delivered to you within 24 hours!
The old world isn't dead, it was never really here. Don’t spend your energy trying to remake what has been. Don't exhaust yourself holding onto what must go. Whatever you are trying to resuscitate is as an illusion. Let’s spend these next weeks tending to what is real and lasting. Love is real. Connection is real. Nature and her abundant wisdom is real. Everything else is an old god, a statue of antiquity, a relic transforming into dust. We are pioneers embarking into brand new territory, and like our ancestors before us, we will discover, we will adapt, and we will thrive.
The Moon rules our heart, and so this particular astrology wants us to start with our hearts. If there are books in you wanting to be written, songs yearning to be sung, new philosophies or systems of dance or science your heart wants to chart, get to it. This is precisely the time to feel profoundly alive, to let yourself be swept up by new change. Don’t be afraid to find the fun, to celebrate what surplus of magic is still here, whispering to us from the hidden depths, waiting to be called into the light.
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 have tons of episodes on Astrology but also Tarot and Shamanism 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 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!
Growing up, my father used to say, "if you plant roses, you get roses; if you plant weeds, you get weeds." Now, as a child I never questioned this maxim, it always made sense. But as an adult and an amateur gardener, I’m left wondering: WHO PLANTS WEEDS? Am I right? Weeds don’t get planted, they just grow relentlessly. And they only become a problem if we stop our constant tending of the more precious varietals in the garden. So maybe we don’t plant weeds but rather we empower them with our indifference. If we aren’t actively ripping them up, we might as well be planting them. Perhaps Justice operates in the same way. Even if we aren’t intentionally causing trouble, our apathy to the trouble around us might be as harmful as if we caused the problem in the first place.
So what is Justice asking us to do? It’s asking us to take action and acknowledge our larger role in the world. As I like to remind people, you are a wish that the universe made. You are here with a purpose, to right some heavy wrongs, to restore balance. So the universe made the wish, brought you here—it’s up to you to make that wish come true. The action to take begins with an understanding of our big picture. Is it beginning to become clear to you why you were born in this time, with your particular connections and your unique skills? Justice awakens us to the divine justice we are here to fulfill. It is a card of karma, of cause and effect, and you cannot hide from that natural law.
This moonth is your time to renew the vision of your life with all this in mind. There is a balance to be paid. From the moment you are born, you accrue a cosmic debt—the air you breathe, the food you eat, the energy that powers your very body is borrowed to you from nature. You must pay it back with your life. Arrange your life around this vital contribution. How are you making things better in the way that only you can? How are you using your gifts to expand not just your world but the whole world. If it sounds like a big job, then you are hearing me correctly. It is a big job. It’s your life, and let’s be real, you wouldn't want it any other way.
Seven of Swords
The Sevens of the Tarot invite us to look at the realm of the suit through a spiritual lens. Sevens are a sacred number, they unite the four of below with the three of above. They persist in all the great ordered systems of our world. Consider the seven colors of the light spectrum, the seven notes in the musical scale, the seven chakras, the seven days of the week, the seven continents, the seven seas—in ancient Egypt, seven signified a dynamic perfection, a complete cycle. And since Swords are the suit that dominate our mental realm, we come to this card ready to perfect our mind.
Where have you been hiding the truth from yourself? Where have you been too clever for your own good? You know those people who are always busy with self-improvement but never seem to be improving? You know the ones, they run from retreat to retreat, yoga trainings, trips to India, healers in Hawaii, and yet they never get to the root of their own self-sabotage. These poor souls are avoiding the Seven of Swords, where we get all the way real with ourselves—we tell the truth to ourselves, and in doing so, we gain our freedom from the dark corners of our mind. Where we tell the truth, we become visible to ourselves. Where we live in deceit, we can never be found.
This moonth is your opportunity to reclaim your rightful place in your life. No more hiding. No more running away. No more telling yourself you’re doing one thing, when really that’s just an excuse to keep avoiding the inevitable. When we invite the spirit into our mental sphere, we get a glimpse of what the Buddhists call the Diamond Mind. What is the Diamond Mind? Gurl, I have no idea. Maybe it’s a mind that is free from rigid concepts, subjectivity, and judgement. But I think a taste of that Diamond Mind might help us recall our true self in fullness—as if we could see our own lives, our own being through a divine eye. Take your mind to Cartier this month, babies, buy her the biggest diamond you can find.
Eight of Pentacles (Reversed)
The Eight of Pentacles means one thing and one thing only (which is rare for the Tarot, where each card contains a myriad of complex and often contradictory meanings). This card says get to work, gurl; make that money, refine those skills, nose to the grindstone and eye on the prize. But when she comes in upside down, she shakes the fruit from the tree in a different way. Here’s what I think: Your work in the world is changing. Even more than that, it’s evolving. You will still be able to pay your bills, but it’s not going to look like the old hustle and flow.
Here’s a truth that you might be ready to hear: there are as many ways to make money as there are people on this planet. And you’re ready to find your own way now. There are really only two ways to make money: effort or skill (sometimes a combination of both). I guess inheritance is a third way that doesn't fall into either of those categories, but that’s beside the point, okur? What I mean to say is this: if you’re tired of all the effort, then start to monetize your skill.
Anyone who works for themselves will admit that it is not easy. Being your own boss can be relentless and confusing. But if you’re tired of the rat race or giving your gifts to the man, maybe it’s time to explore how to transform your busy-ness into your business. See what I did there? This moonth wants to help you up-level your technique in your chosen craft, not just for the love of the game but to assist you in playing your own game. Grow your gifts, Gemini, and they will lead you to the mythical money tree. It’s only a myth to those who think someone else will give them the seed. You alone can plant it.
The Hermit (Reversed)
The Hermit is the original practitioner of social distancing. Isolation is their realm. Retreat is their regular way. The Hermit knows that there are some shy truths that only perform for an audience of one. And those are the truths that change our whole lives. When we enter into this phase of the journey, we are called to pluck ourselves firmly from our regularly scheduled lives and invite the inner teacher to the table. Now, sometimes the Hermit can indicate an outer teacher as well, but keep an open mind. This could be a book, a teacher in spirit form, even a tree, a mountain, a global Pandemic can be a teacher—just sayin’.
But I’m less interested in the outer teacher who is showing up for you. I’m more interested in the inner teacher. The Hermit indicates that we are ready to learn from ourselves, from our inner sage and mystic. This part of yourself might not have revealed itself to you yet; perhaps you haven’t called out to it. Perhaps you don’t even believe that you can be your own spiritual leader and lead yourself forward. Well, take my word for it (I mean I do this for a living, okur?), you have a wise woman in your soul, and if you get quiet enough and still enough, you can coax her out of her invisible cave.
The reversal of this card may signify how resistant to alone time you are right now; don’t resist going within. The whole world has organized itself to allow you this time. Take it. Turn off the phone. Hide it in a drawer for a day. Turn away from the world, it’s not going anywhere—even if the media would have you believe otherwise. Be your own news for a week or two. Read the Twitterfeed of your heart. You see, in all the depictions of the Hermit, they hold a lamp. And that lamp represents the inner illumination the heart brings to all things. Go into your heart, find your way back there, and then sit at its feet like a child at story time. Let its teachings reignite your inner flame. And then you can school all of us on what you’ve learned.
Seven of Wands (Reversed)
The Sevens of the Tarot invite us to look at the realm of the suit through a spiritual lens. Sevens are a sacred number, they unite the four of below with the three of above. They persist in all the great ordered systems of our world. Consider the seven colors of the light spectrum, the seven notes in the musical scale, the seven chakras, the seven days of the week, the seven continents, the seven seas—in ancient Egypt, seven signified a dynamic perfection, a complete cycle. And since Wands are the suit that dominate our energetic realm, we come to this card ready to perfect our ability to take action.
I think of this card as the trailblazer card. Simply put, you are forging your own path through the wilderness. There are no role models who’ve done what you want to do. There are no paradigms to assist you in your efforts. You must make the path by walking it, alone. And no doubt there will be doubters, there will be side-eye. Was Nicola Tesla not balked for his ideas in his time; Van Gogh too, misunderstood for his innovation? Never mind the current naysayers for now. In the eye of time, you will be seen most magnificently.
What’s coming through for me as I channel this message to you is not the problem of outer skeptics, it’s the inner skeptic that needs to be convinced. The upside-down nature of this card reveals your hesitancy to commit one-hundred percent to your strange vision. Who in you doesn’t believe in you? Who in you hasn’t fully signed on to this long road into uncharted territory? Here’s why we invite the spirit in, to convince the non-believers. Spend this moonth seeking out that fighting spirit your sign is known for and then let that part of yourself give a pep talk to your most insecure inner players. This is the time in the movie where the team gets that perfectly written and exquisitely performed motivational speech from the coach—only in this movie, you’re both the coach and all the players. But if anyone can play all the parts, a Leo can!
Being alive is a fucking trip, am I right? And frankly it doesn’t make sense most of the time. I don’t think it’s supposed to. The more years I get under my belt, the more convinced I am that this time on Earth is a strange dream that isn’t so much a narrative film as an art-house opus full of scenes that don’t serve the plot and characters that disappear as soon as you fall in love with them. Our lives aren’t so much an exercise in understanding as they are in accepting. The sooner we can accept that each day is a mystery, the sooner we can actually dig into the art of living.
The Moon ushers us into the lush strangeness of our waking dreams. This is the realm that sits on the other side of the veil, and yet it’s also always at our fingertips. It’s the other world in this world. The invisible ripeness in the fruit of our unnameable longings. Can you give up your compulsion to control the story as it unfolds and just allow yourself to be held rapt by the telling of it?
This card connects to your polar opposite sign, Pisces. But you two aren’t so different after all. You’re both healers, both deeply intuitive and connected to the pure energies of the beyond; except where Pisces struggles to be here, fully, you struggle to not let yourself get swept away. But what if just for one moonth, you put your struggle down. What if you gave yourself permission to explore all the shadows you try not to see? The Sun might light up the day, might grow the crops and warm the skin, but the moon holds the secrets. She has a knowing that no light can penetrate. Lean in to the quiet grace of the unknown It will teach you how to behold the wonders of being alive. And there are so many wonders awaiting you.
The Empress (Reversed)
The Empress is the patron saint of your sign, connected to Venus (your ruling planet). This archetype speaks to all things beauty, luxury, nature, and passion. She is not a Queen, she is not a Mother—she is The Empress, honey, and she rules all things wild and untamed. The most wild and untamed thing is the human heart. And this moonth would have you plunge into this vast landscape to discover where your true passion lies. How does one begin to enter their heart? Well, it’s different for everyone, but perhaps this card can help walk you to the starting line.
Our hearts are made to connect, and in this time of isolation, you will need to work harder than ever to keep your heart open to the world. Getting outside, letting your heart commune with the hearts of the trees, the wind, even the vast sky is crucial. You can’t force the door of your heart open, especially if it’s been a little while since you last took refuge there. You must be patient. Let your heart learn to trust you again through your dedication to sitting and waiting for the right moment. I would keep it simple: spend a few minutes every day (at least three) with your hands on your heart center and just see what comes up.
You let The Empress live through you when you treat yourself. As best you can over these next few weeks, deny yourself none of the decadence which you so crave. And once the expensive ice cream and champagne have lost their luster, once the online shopping no longer soothes, perhaps you will learn the real definition of luxury. Luxury means having time, having space. Nature is luxurious in her abundance of creativity and diversity. Her passion for living is a role model to us all. How can you begin to really treat yourself, not just self-medicate in the most lavish way? How can you nurture yourself and nourish yourself in ways that grow your garden from the inside out? Remember, all things are beautiful when seen from the right perspective. Allow yourself to be surprised by the beauty of your current day to day.
Queen of Swords (Reversed)
You can handle the truth. I promise you, you can. Pull it off like a band aid and don’t be afraid to scream bloody murder when it hurts. This is not a time for gentle truths or half-truths—this is the time when we need your Scorpio intensity in order to gaze into the open maw of the beast and tell us what you see. The truth doesn’t just set us free, it keeps us free. And we need your tough-as-nails approach to living pushing us closer to our liberation.
When we pull a court card, we are essentially gazing into a mirror. Our own inner essence is reflected back to us and inviting us into a deeper embodiment. The Queen of Swords is you when you unflinchingly see the truth and speak power to truth. I have likened her to the Ruth Bader Ginsberg of the deck; she is an arbiter of justice and she holds nothing back. This next moonth would have you fighting for justice based on your ability to discern the truth both inside and outside yourself. The Queen of Swords earns the right to be the truth teller of the Tarot because she tells the truth on herself first. And for that, all respect her integrity, they open up to receive her wisdom and insight. Start within yourself and burn a bonfire in your mind, send light into every dark corner and make sure you have complete clarity with how you think and what you are thinking about.
The reversal here might indicate your tendency to catastrophize, to claim worst-case scenarios as fact when they are merely fantasy thinking of the worst kind. Truth is impartial. Truth doesn't allow for emotion. So run a fine-tooth comb through that tangle of brain and make sure you aren’t prematurely prophesying doomsday, even just to yourself. You are seeking to hold court in your mind, to find a throne on which you can comfortably sit and analyze both your inner and outer world. Emotion clouds our ability to be impartial, and we need you objective now—frankly, you need your objectivity. The medicine of being neutral is a strong medicine indeed.
Ace of Pentacles (Reversed)
Pentacles are beloved but chronically misunderstood; or perhaps not misunderstood so much as partially understood. We look to this suit to chart our careers and our bank accounts, our bodies and our homes. But it’s not as rock solid as it all seems. Remember that Pentacles are the symbol of witchcraft, they hint at the underlying magic of ordinary reality. They are coins, yes, but also spells. The Ace of Pentacles is the ultimate spell, the seed of all magic, not just the ripened fruit.
Aces signify beginnings—strong, auspicious, spiritually motivated beginnings. Of all the signs in the Zodiac, your new beginning comes first. It’s actually here now. It’s coming in upside down and inside out, but it’s still brimming with magic. Perhaps your plans have been delayed, waylaid, laid out to dry. Maybe the new job has gotten postponed or the house renovations stalled. Don’t panic. All is as it should be. Your new beginning was never dependent on anything physical in the first place. Your new beginning is only dependent on you. Whether your life is proceeding with grace or turmoil, there’s no denying that your day to day has significantly rearranged itself, and your willingness to go with the flow will keep you in touch with the magic.
Generally this card indicates a move either in home or career. It’s a card that signifies pregnancies and births of all kinds. You might be trying on some new identities or giving birth to a new creative project. The key is to keep looking at the ordinary pieces of your existence as if they hid a secret life. Spoiler alert: they do. Everything is conspiring to help you: your front door, your shower curtain, your collection of houseplants—they are all supporting you in this new endeavor. The danger is to feel as if you are all alone in your transformation. Look closer, feel deeper. There are invisible cheerleaders all around you trying to help take advantage of the unique and unrepeatable magic in the power of new beginnings.
Ten of Wands
The Ten of Wands is a warning. If you heed it, you can avoid working yourself to dust; if you ignore it, burnout is a sure thing. If we consider that the Ace is the penultimate source of vitality and energy for the suit, the Ten is pretty far out from the reservoir. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any reserves left, it just means you need to prioritize where to spend them. You can’t do it all. I’m sorry, I know you’re a Capricorn and you can do more than most, but you still can’t do it all. You certainly can’t do it all alone.
Sometimes the Tens ask us to consider our community. Maybe you could get all Ten Wands launched and running if you asked for help. Is there some delegation in your future? Asking for help doesn’t make you look weak, ending up with a bunch of half-baked projects does. The key to working with this card is admitting where you're running out of steam and maybe passing one (or six) of those wands to the next runner.
Look at the figure in this card, struggling to carry all ten batons. That’s you, gurl. You’re juggling too much, and it’s doing you a disservice because not all of those wands are magic. You need to put some fucking wands down. Which wands, you ask? The ones that don’t thrill you, that don’t light you up. This card is such a gift if you take the time to unwrap it. Why waste the limited time and energy you have on projects, people, and places that don’t bring you alive? Seek out the magic wands, wield them, and throw the sticks to the dirt.
King of Swords
When we pull a court card, we are essentially gazing into a mirror. Our own inner essence is reflected back to us and inviting us into a deeper embodiment. The King of Swords is you when you wield your mind like a sword and knight your community with your knowledge and wisdom. This is you when you embrace your role as a teacher and a leader in your world. The King of Swords is actually one of the cards that is most readily connected to your sign; you have a natural kinship with it. We need you to embody it most fully. You are ready—now, as you are—to step up and step into your role as a wise elder for our time.
Maybe public speaking isn't your bag, that's cool—a lot of Aquarians are more comfortable behind the scenes than standing in the spotlight. There are plenty of other ways to make your wisdom accessible to the collective. Perhaps now is finally the time you write the books that have been clamoring for your attention. Maybe there's an online class you can offer—even just a workshop is a step in the right direction. The thing is, we need you. We need your unique point of view, we need your teachings, we need your medicine, now. What medicine, you ask? The same medicine you've been brewing for yourself for years now.
You are an authority on your life. You are. You are the one who has lived it and survived and thrived. So let people in on how you make it through the day. What is common sense for you might just be mind-blowing for the rest of humanity. (I have a hunch it probably is.) Aquarian minds don't work like any other minds; they're futuristic and innovative and weird in the best possible way. Your perspective is invaluable, and you have to stop hoarding it. Make yourself vulnerable to be the King of Swords and claim your classroom; the kingdom is ready to hear what you have to say.
The Fool is the main character in the first ten minutes of a film, walking around their ordinary life, unaware they are about to accept an invitation into the unknown. The invitation is the one that actually allows their life to begin. All this time, the Fool has been asleep, imprisoned in an illusory world. Now the waking up begins. Fool energy is electric, impulsive, and intuitive. It evokes the eternal child in us all.
You can embrace this archetype when you release your judgments and your fears, your reasoning and your programming. As Tarot scholar Rachel Pollack says, “The Fool doesn't know fear because the Fool never learned fear.” Can you imagine living your life like that? This is the moonth to try. Exploring your every whim and delight will allow you to connect to the very essence of your being; and that might seem foolish if we look in from the outside, but what other way is there to live? Even in these challenging, unpredictable times, there is so much joy and fun to be found. Don't let the rational mind keep you from embracing all the magic that this world still has to offer.
As the number zero card in the deck, this energy suggests both the void and the vessel. You are a container for life-force energy to move through, and you are also the original source. This isn't just starting over, this is a re-birth. Giving yourself permission to try anything, to surprise yourself, is key here. Who would you be if you knew there was no one to be disappointed in you? What would you do if you knew no one was watching or expecting you to succeed? Be like a kite, let the wind carry you in new directions; once you catch the breeze, you might just find you don't want to stop—and baby, you shouldn't.
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.