By Brandon Alter:
For all its Cosmic significance, the Zodiac is as terrestrial as dirt. It grounds us on Earth and plants us firmly in our bodies and our lives. We look to the stars, not as an escape but rather, to illuminate our life here, on this planet. The story Astrology tells is our story, including not just our ancestors and descendants but all living beings. If we can harness its wisdom, this ancient system orients us to be in right relationship with the seasons, our diverse communities (human and otherwise), and (of course) ourselves. It is not an esoteric practice to be left to mystics and magicians—the Zodiac is for all of us to use practically, to build our lives out of its bricks of wisdom.
Sagittarius Season is here, inviting us into wisdom and philosophy but also celebration and expansion. If you know a Sagittarius, you know they love a party; which makes sense because this is holiday party season. We kindle the lights to stave off the darkness, we gather together and tell stories to keep our inner fires lit. This is a season presided over by Jupiter, Sagittarius’ ruling planet. Currently, Jupiter is in the last degrees of Sagittarius, its favorite corner of the sky. It won't return here for thirteen years, and so we best make the most of it. Whatever Jupiter touches expands. And so, this Sagittarius Season in particular is a perfect time to ignite your own expansion. Whether it’s getting your real estate license or getting a therapist, the time is ripe for personal growth through learning more about yourself and the world around you. Whatever you start now (right now!) will be blessed by Jupiter: remover of obstacles, great goddess of beneficent blessings.
It comes as no surprise that Sagittarius is a difficult energy to pin down. It’s mutable fire, meaning it dances in many directions all at once. This is a response to the depth of Scorpio Season. Remember that the Zodiac is a progression, each sign evolves out of the one that precedes it. With Scorpio Season behind us, the deep dive into our inner selves is empowered to spread out and explore the breadth of our interests and interconnections. Simply put: it’s time to come up for air! I’ve come to believe that Sagittarius is the Air Sign of the Fire Signs, it rules over all the great intellectual achievements of the modern world: philosophy, religion, higher learning, theatre, libraries, and travel. These are things that expand our worldview and, in turn, our view of ourself. As the days grow shorter and the weather less hospitable, we find ourselves traveling from the seat of our favorite chair, disappearing into favorite books, and pouring over old photos. Sagittarius Season comes just in the nick of time to re-inspire us and re-ignite us before the winter doldrums set in.
At its core, Sagittarius is the sign of the ultimate truth. The symbol for this sign, a centaur holding its mighty bow and arrow, says it all.
The centaur—half man, half horse—represents the blending of our primal intuitive instincts with our human capacities for intellect. Intuition + Intelligence = Wisdom, which is why the bow and arrow represent this Archetype's striving for universal truth.
Sagittarius is a seeker, following its fiery arrow wherever it may lead, all in the name of irrefutable knowledge. The New Moon in Sagittarius, which takes place on Tuesday morning around 7 a.m. (PST), is a gentle push in the direction of our own search for a larger truth.
The tricky thing about the truth is that it changes based on where you’re sitting. Consider that for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Sagittarius Season is the precursor to Winter, whereas for those in the Southern Hemisphere, Sagittarius Season is the time to break out your swimsuits and tank tops. So which is true? Is Sagittarius a Winter Sign or a Summer Sign? Well . . . both and neither. The truth is a story we tell ourselves based on the position from which we view it, and there are constantly higher and more complex truths available for us as we become ready to receive them. Sagittarius seeks the truth because it knows the truth evolves. This New Moon wants us to tell ourselves a new collective story about the truth of where we are heading. It’s a much-needed opportunity to meditate on what story we are willing to commit to for the next year, for the next thirteen years, for the next twenty-nine years.
As the great storyteller of the Zodiac, Sagittarius energy will demand you to consider what larger stories are you co-signing:
Have you already given up on the planet?
What about the 2020 election?
Are you resigned to a premature apocalypse?
Have you made up your mind that humanity is doomed?
Have you made up your mind that humanity is rotten?
What stories are you telling yourself about the wider world?
This New Moon is a portal in which to be a playwright and write some new scenes with some new parts you actually want to be playing.
Gemini is the sign which sits directly opposite Sagittarius. We always look to the polar sign to round out our understanding of the sign in question. Gemini is our neighborhood, Sagittarius is our global community. Gemini is our personal story, Sagittarius is our collective story. Gemini is the question, Sagittarius, the answer. This is a season to tap into the big picture. The story we choose to tell with our lives isn’t a story about just you and me, it’s about all of us. And since our beliefs empower our visions, it’s crucial we start writing stories we can believe in, with our whole hearts. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of the story that we are powerless to change the future. And I’m getting fed up with the old stories of misogyny, racism, homophobia, greed, and every “man” for himself.
The Shamans and poets have always known that the only way we change our world is to change the stories we tell about it. Storytellers have more power than kings and queens. Even if you’ve never taken a creative writing class in your life, you have the power to tell a new story for all of us to hang our wigs on-—and in each retelling of this new story, we call the new world closer and closer to us.
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!
You may have noticed I’m no longer pulling a collective card for these moonthly Tarotscopes. That’s because I’m pulling a card for the collective every week and doing a video reading. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll find these videos on my stories every Thursday and in my Highlights. But you can also find them on The Spiritual Gayz Youtube page, here!
For the Holidays (a.k.a. Sagittarius Season only), I’ve decided to reward your generosity of spirit. I’m going to offer a “Buy One, Get One Half-Off” special on readings and healings. If you give someone a reading as a gift, you will receive a coupon code to purchase one for yourself at half the price. Or if you buy a reading or a healing for yourself, you’ll get a code to give one to a friend or lover and save some serious dough (they’ll never know you bought theirs on sale!). Or if you’re really wanting some serious spiritual guidance, you can purchase a Tarot reading for yourself and get an Astrology reading for half-off, or vice versa. This is my way of helping you double down on your own self-care in the midst of a season where we tend to burn the candle at both ends.
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!
Knight of Wands
When a court card shows up, it’s because we need to step into an aspect of ourself that hasn’t been fully expressed in some time. This moonth, you are being challenged to embody your most charismatic, explosive, and enterprising self. The Knight
of Wands is you whenever you are feeling like a badass. Some people feel like a badass in the boardroom or the bedroom, others in the classroom, the laboratory, or the kitchen. The
point isn’t where you feel your power, the point is that you start to feel your power immediately.
This is your season, Sagittarius. It should feel like a homecoming to be in your own sign. And perhaps, in this homecoming, you remember who you really are. It’s your time to take up space, to be the star of the show. Maybe you’ve been lost in the shuffle of the seasons. Perhaps you’ve gotten swallowed up by the energies that swirl around you. Now is the time to shuffle off all that doesn’t light you up and make you shine. The Knight of Wands is fire + air, there is no more volatile combination—you are ready to combust in a glitter bomb of brilliance and inspiration. Don’t isolate and explode all over yourself, get out into the world where your power can be mirrored back to you.
The Knight of Wands is you whenever you are feeling like a badass. Some people feel like a badass in the boardroom or the bedroom, others in the classroom, the laboratory or the kitchen. The on even addiction. Of all the Knights, the Knight of Wands moves the fastest. You must move your own energy this month, put it to good use before you become a victim of your own magnificence. Don’t let your talents turn against you!
Three of Cups
The Three of Cups is the sisterhood card. It shows up when we need to be reminded of the simple medicine hanging out with our nearest and dearest brings. Sometimes this means getting together with our literal sisters or brothers—but more often than not, our sisters are not related to us by blood. Think of those in your life who really get you; when was the last time you put yourself in their presence? As human beings, we require connection to survive—isolation will inevitably unravel our psyche. So this moonth, it’s time to host a kiki for your favorite people and remember the sweetness that comes from heartfelt connection.
This card can also indicate new friendships coming in. Especially if you’ve been undergoing some major psychological renovations, your old friends may no longer reflect you back to yourself. That’s ok, too. It’s only natural that as we change and evolve, the circle around us will shift as well. If you can keep your eyes peeled and your heart open this moonth, you might end 2019 with a brand-new set of sisters. But the key is to stay open. Don’t judge a holiday party before you get there; you never know where you might meet your new best friend.
Have you ever heard the theory that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with? Who are those five people for you? Is this an encouraging thought or a chilling one? Even if that’s not true, there’s no denying the profound influence our nearest and dearest can have on us. And let’s be real, everyone is a mirror, reflecting our true self back to us. So make sure you like what you see in the reflections around you-—and if you don’t, no need to be bitchy. Just start clearing your social calendar and calling in your new squad.
Death happens. Everything dies. But you already knew that.
The important thing is that we partner with death and allow
that which has outlived its usefulness to fade into that good night. Death is a process that we can assist or resist. Either
way, whatever Death has in her sights can’t outrun her
forever—so why bother trying? Now, by no means does this mean you’re going to die this month-—the Death card is not about literal death, rather it’s about the death of identities, relationships, and dreams. Something in you or in your life is wanting to be released, and if you can unravel it, there’s a new life for you on the other side.
If we let it, Death will unstick what is stuck in us. If you’re ready to change your life, you want Death on your side. Perhaps this moonth is your long-awaited invitation to profound transformation. Which aspects of yourself are you ready to sweetly bury in the soft dirt? What versions of yourself are you still carrying around even after they have long expired? Imagine you are Madonna this Sagittarius Season and let this be a month-long reinvention tour! Because what is Death really but the predecessor to rebirth?
As an Aquarius, you are uniquely sensitive and connected to large groups. So I would strongly encourage paying close attention this moonth to which communities are no longer relevant for you. Or maybe this is an opportunity to change how you view the wider world. Has your pessimism or cynicism started to embitter you beyond repair? We must be careful not to villainize humankind; after all, we are humankind—and at the end of they day, human beings are all we have. We must believe in our brothers and sisters because the alternative is a fate worse than death.
Ten of Swords (Reversed)
The Ten of Swords is an opportunity to step out from a long pattern of suffering. It is truly a card that speaks to our own ability to liberate ourselves from the slings and arrows of the monkey mind. When this card shows up, it indicates we are finally ready to identify where we’ve kept ourselves in a torture chamber for too damn long—and the good news? You hold the skeleton to key that will pluck you from the dungeon and seat you in the central throne of your own castle.
This card always makes me think of a poem by Portia Nelson, and I think it would serve you to give a little read:
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
This moonth is your golden opportunity to walk around the old tired potholes of your psyche and find a new enchanting street to stroll down. I have every confidence that you will. And if you find yourself in the deep hole in the sidewalk of your mind, don’t give yourself a hard time, just pull yourself out of there.
Ace of Cups
The Ace of Cups signifies an inner awakening deep in the
waters of your being. If you allow it, this moonth can be a fresh start for your heart. The key is to attune to your more subtle sensitivities. Drown out the chatter of the outer world, and you will find a whole new flow—in a river you actually want to be swimming in. Only the river isn’t outside yourself, the river is in the marrow of your bones. The river is your bloodstream, it pulses to the beat of your heart. Your heart sets the pace, it is the rhythm maker, and if you can dance to it and it alone, you
will find yourself living an ecstatic dance of love.
Water is the most intuitive of the elements. It’s creative and sensitive, it feels its way through life. It isn’t intellectual, it doesn’t necessarily have words, but it does have insights and instincts. Your success this moonth will require dropping out of your head and into your heart, your belly, your psychic skin. The thing about finding a new flow is that you can’t think your way into it, you have to feel your way forward.
Aces are the beginning of the suit, meaning you are starting a new cycle. Something larger than you is trying to get you on a new path. This is a path that will lead somewhere you’ve never been before—meaning that your old tricks are useless here. All you need is direct access to your emotional truth; that alone can carry you forward. This card, more than any other in the deck, speaks to the energy of falling in love. And it very well may be that you are finding yourself falling in love with another person. But more often than not, we fall in love with ourselves, over and over again. When we see ourselves in new ways, we discover new inner talents. This moonth, through your own self-love you can give birth to a new ecstatic way of moving through the world.
The Magician (Reversed)
The Magician is a bridge between worlds. Standing at the threshold between spirit and form, the known and the unknown, magic courses through our veins. We speak power to our dreams and our dreams manifest. We speak power to our nightmares and they too come into being. Magic is neither good nor bad, it is our intention that determines the quality of the spell cast. With this card as your assignment for the moonth, you must inquire deeply into the foundation of your magical abilities and make sure your spells are impeccable. You see, words have power, whether we believe it or not—and perhaps your words have become wards keeping not your enemies but your allies at bay.
When the Magician comes in upside down, as it has done for you, it can indicate an unconscious aspect of sorcery in our lives. If you don’t take full responsibility for your power, you may be manipulating or spell-casting others around you. The sooner you can acknowledge this, the sooner you can stop it. And it’s in our own best interest that we limit the amount of influence we exert over others. Because the more we meddle in the energy of others the more vulnerable we make ourselves to be the victims of others' manipulation. The best offense is an immaculate defense.
The Magician is connected to the planet Mercury, ruler of communication and the mind. Mercury is the master of words, and words are how we build our world. A reversed Magician can imply a resistance to claiming your dreams out loud. If you can’t shout what you want from the mountaintops, you aren’t quite ready to have it. Figure out what’s blocking you from owning what you want (hint: the call is coming from inside the house!). When we can speak our heart's desire clearly and concisely, we are the Magician, calling in the dream and inviting it to inhabit this world of matter.
Full Disclosure: this isn’t a Tarot card. This is a bonus card that comes with the deck. Oliver Hibert, the mystic artist who created this genius deck, added the Magic card to the seventy-eight traditional cards. I leave it in there because who doesn’t want a little extra magic in their reading? After working with
this deck for some time, I feel like I have a pretty good handle
on what this card means when it shows up for someone—this moonth, lucky Gemini, it’s shown up for you.
The Magic card wants to remind you that everything is made up. Yes, everything. From the story you tell yourself about who you are, to the money we use to buy things, to the lines we draw in the sand that separate one country from another; it's all made up, it's all pretend. It’s not fake. But it’s also not real. You see, it’s magic. Magic is the invisible force that connects all things. Magic is molecular science, quantum physics, sexual attraction, pollen, parallel dimensions, and the secret songs of our heart. Magic is the impossible gathering steam and proving us all wrong.
This moonth wants you to suspend your disbelief and reignite your belief in the magic of being alive. Once you stop taking “reality” for granted, you’ll come to realize that everything around us, from a bumblebee to an oat milk latte, is an extraordinary impossibility come to life. You are magic. You have always been magic. And when you die, a long time from now, you will return to the ocean of magic that loaned you to us. Magic isn’t relegated to fairy tales or fantasy series—magic is a way of life, and the more you open yourself to it, the more magical your life will become. Trust me.
Page of Wands (Reversed)
Every morning I wake up and I say a little prayer. I ask the Divine to direct my dreams and my day. I surrender my limited and incomplete vantage of my life and ask to be guided in each and every moment. Essentially, I relinquish my life to the larger benevolent forces and pray to be delivered to outcomes that exceed my wildest expectations. This very act of putting my life in the hands of the Compassionate Cosmos is the embodiment of the Page of Wands.
When a court card shows up, it’s because we need to step into an aspect of ourself that hasn’t been fully expressed in some time. This moonth, you are being challenged to embody your most trusting, patient, and sustainable self. You must think of this card like a sailboat: you cannot force the wind, you cannot change what direction it blows in from; all you can do is adjust your sail. If there is no wind, sure you can exhaust yourself trying to row your way forward—but the smarter move is to enjoy the stillness before the next big gust comes along.
I know you are wanting to plow ahead in your day-to-day life, making moves, checking off your to-do list, cashing checks, and cracking whips. But this moonth may be more of an exercise in contemplation. You cannot force divine timing. You must give over the will of the ocean you have chosen to set sail upon. When there is wind at your back, by all means, catch it! But until then, make the most of your reprieve. Gather yourself up, call yourself back from where you have been displaced and diluted. You want to be at one-hundred percent strength and power when the wind comes. So use this time to get ready. Don’t throw away this opportunity for restoration just because it doesn’t align with your idea of how things are supposed to go. Who knows when it may come again.
Ace of Pentacles
Aces are the start of the suit, meaning that this moonth, in some way, in some realm of your life, you are beginning a new cycle. Something larger than you is trying to get you on a new path. This is a path that will lead somewhere you’ve never been before—meaning that your old tricks are useless here. Ok, maybe not useless, but the point of a new journey is to learn new skills. As this new road unfolds for you, see what the road can teach you about yourself. Let it draw from you new instincts and resourcefulness.
Because Pentacles are connected to the element of Earth, this card would indicate some sort of new physical beginning. Whether it’s a new home, a new job, or even a new creative project—there is something tangible in your life that is being born this moonth. But don’t get mired in the mundane reality of it; your job is to remember that Pentacles are also symbols of magic. This suit teaches us to notice the underlying foundation of magic that makes up everything we touch, taste, smell, hear, and see. Don’t neglect the magic as you embark on this new journey. Don’t forget to leave room for wonder and awe.
A common visual theme in the Ace Cards is the hand of the Goddess delivering the totem of the suit. In the Ace of Pentacles, the hand seemingly comes from out of nowhere, bestowing the gift of a Pentacle. Think of this Pentacle like a magic seed, it will grow whatever you tell it grow. Whisper to your new endeavor, your new script, your new home—tell it what you want it to ripen into. Your words will determine what sort of seed it is. Above all remember that this moment of your life is a gift from the Compassionate Cosmos. If you can treat this new chapter of your life as a blessing and not a curse, you will reap benefits beyond your wildest imagination.
The Hanged Man
I think I’ll have to rename this card when I create my Tarot deck because the gruesome title of this trump card is misleading. I think I might call it The Mystic of Surrender or The Unbound Soul . . . maybe even just The Acceptance card. Ruled by Neptune, the planet of spirituality and dreams, this card asks us to let go of control and float along with the cosmic flow. It’s a beautiful moment in a long journey where we surrender completely to the will of the Divine.
If you have been fighting yourself, stop it. If you have been fighting the world, stop it. There is no fight left in you. This moonth is your chance to submit and experience the beatific bliss of absolute surrender. Perhaps you have been fighting your own innate desires, your own heart, your own purpose. We cannot negotiate our authenticity. You are who you are and that is perfect, important, and it will never change. Perhaps you have been fighting the circumstances of your life. Rents are high, justice moves slow, and times are complex and tectonic—these are truths that must be accepted, even if eventually they are to be changed.
Here’s the thing about changing things, first we have to accept things as they are, on their terms. Only by accepting the way things are can we redirect how they might go. Perhaps the Hanged Man has shown up for you this moonth to remind you of your faith. Whether it’s faith in yourself, your heart, the planet, a benevolent deity, or just Cher—when you have faith in something larger than yourself, it’s easier to trust and allow life to unfold. This is one of the most spiritual cards in the deck, and maybe you don't know this about yourself but Virgos are one of the most spiritual signs in the Zodiac. Don't underestimate your own mystical qualities. Lean on dreamy Neptune this moonth, you may need his quixotic wisdom more than you realize.
Six of Wands
This moonth wants to see you rising above the fray, keeping
your nose clean and your gossiping to a minimum. The Six of Wands is a moment in our lives where our energy expands and finds a new flow. After a period of energetic reorganization, maybe even a crisis or a shake-up, we find a novel way of
feeling ourselves in the world.
from a fire and defied bronchitis by exclaiming, "Ain’t nobody got time for that?" She’s your patron saint this moonth. Ain’t nobody got time for petty bullshit, needless distraction, or getting mired in other people’s problems or opinions.
The Journey of Wands teaches us about how to be impeccable with our energy. It shows us that we exhaust ourselves and deplete ourselves when we lose our regular connection to source. This is a key period in your life to reconnect to that which makes you feel alive. When you are attuned to that inner fire, you can move through the world with grace. Doors seem to open magically, and things fall into place better than you could have orchestrated.
There is a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke that speaks to this far better than I ever could:
I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.
Ace of Swords (Reversed)
Aces are the start of the suit, meaning that you are in some way, in some realm of your life, beginning a new cycle. Something larger than you is trying to get you on a new path. This is a path that will lead somewhere you’ve never been before—meaning that your old tricks are useless here. The Ace of Swords is a Brand New Story for your life, and gurl, you know you need one. A story for your life is something that gets you out of bed in the morning; it’s what helps you surmount obstacles and stay motivated. I have a feeling Scorpio Season was rough, even for you, Queen of Intensity and Transformation. But now that you are on the other side of the season of death, what new story is wanting to emerge?
A common visual theme in the Ace Cards is the hand of the Goddess delivering the totem of the suit. In the Ace of Swords, the hand seemingly comes from out of nowhere, bestowing the gift of a Sword. If you are having trouble writing a new story for your life, something you can get your whole self behind, ask for it to be delivered to you. The Aces are gifts from the Compassionate Cosmos. If you don’t know, don’t be too proud to ask your dreams or your favorite deity to throw you a bone . . . or in this case, a sword.
Maybe it would be easier to start with the old stories. What old stories have you been telling yourself that you are sick to death of? Stories like: I have to work harder than everyone else. No one respects me. I’ll be single forever. My heart is made of stone. I’m no good with money. I’m damaged goods. These stories are like evil spells we cast on ourself day after day after day. But if you can root these stories out of your spirit, that empty space will call in a benevolent new story for your life, a sword you can wield like a magical machete, clearing the sagebrush on the path of your soul’s true purpose.
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.