Updated: Feb 19
By Brandon Alter:
Every sign has a dark side. Carl Jung called it a shadow. And everything that exists has a shadow. You have a shadow, the company you work for has a shadow, even (especially) this country has a shadow. Crystals, Tarot cards, and Planets have shadows, too. Jung explained shadow energy as the repressed quality of the unconscious. It's where we hide what we are too scared to face head on. It's a place where we shove our unhealed trauma, our shame, and our hidden desires.
Sometimes, when we have a lot of planets in one sign (as we do right now), the overload of singular energy can get blocked or twisted or turn in on itself. It can be more prone to be expressed in shadow. Here at the Spiritual Gayz headquarters, we call this a low-vibe manifestation.
It's important to know how to spot the toxic quality of a sign, that way you can avoid it. Currently we have six planets in Aquarius: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, which means everyone is feeling the Aquarian vibe. But that doesn't mean everyone is exhibiting Aquarius ideals in their highest best good.
Aquarius is the sign of humanity, hopes and dreams. Aquarians are innovators, rebels, unafraid to flaunt their inner weirdo and let their freak flag fly. They thrive in the unexpected and the unexplored, looking for new ways to express, impress, and expand into the future. Whereas their opposite sign, Leo, loves to be the center of the show, Aquarius prefers to lurk on the edges, loving the voyeur lifestyle where they can observe unhindered by self-exposure. This ability to remove themselves from a situation is one of their most profound gifts; it allows Aquarians to see the larger patterns that elude those of us who are firmly entrenched in them. But too much voyeurism can isolate the Aquarian, which is where they get their reputation for being aloof and unfeeling. And at the end of the day, Aquarius just wants to belong. Which is exactly where one of the pitfalls of low-vibe Aquarians can show up, as allowing yourself to become absorbed by the group. Low-vibe Aquarians wants to be part of the group so badly that they will sacrifice their individuality just to fit in. This chameleon-like quality is dangerous, and we need to be very aware of our tendencies to shapeshift our identity for the comfort of others. Ironically, for a contrary sign that's all about marching to the beat of their own drum, sometimes Aquarians can be highly susceptible to conforming, especially if they think it's for the "greater good."
The other hazard we should be keeping our eyes peeled for is groupthink and conspiracy—two of Aquarius' lesser-talked-about shadows. Now listen, I'm an Aquarius myself, and I love a juicy conspiracy. As a teenager, I devoured pretty much every book about Area 51 there was, and I still entertain some pretty far out there proposals from Atlantis to the Pleiades. But that doesn't mean I swallow it hook, line, and sinker. I can find it interesting without agreeing to it as truth. Consensus doesn't always mean correctness. The consensus of 1930's Germany was that Jews were engaged in a conspiracy to promote war—that didn't make it true. I'm not trying to be inflammatory, but there are a lot of really glamorous theories floating around right now that are looking to capitalize on your fear and your uncertainty. Stay vigilant. I'm not just talking about QAnon, I'm suggesting more subtle ways in which we are being molded by the culture in which we find ourselves. When you tuck in to social media, you are absorbing so many ideals that you may not even realize how they begin to shape the thoughts you think and the ways in which you present yourself to the world.
The New Moon in Aquarius wants to invite new thoughts that can spark new identities. It's a New Moon for embracing your authenticity, or at least beginning to seriously explore it. Who you are is why you are. The more clearly you can define yourself the more clarity you will get around your purpose for being here. That's not to say our identity is fixed, because it's not. The more we change, the closer we get to who we really are. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't stop, take stock, and reassert ourselves to ourselves. It's so easy to confuse your presence or your personality for your identity. You are not your public-facing self, you are not the photos of yourself on Facebook, you are not the things you Tweet. The version of yourself that sits alone in the driveway before heading into the house, that's you, boo. The version of yourself that walks quietly through the canyon, that's you, too. We've all fallen into a trap of celebrity, even you with 23 followers—like Narcissus, we've fallen in love with our reflection and we've forgotten our identity has nothing to do with how we are perceived by others. I think it's high time we remember that.
If this sounds harsh, blame Saturn. All six of these Aquarius planets are answering to the planet of tough-love and responsibility. Saturn rules Aquarius, and any planet in his realm must answer to him. So while Aquarius might have a hippie reputation, underneath all the tie-die and psychedelics is some serious grit. We can't expect the future to fix itself. And showing up as our true selves is the first step to fixing our future. It may sound heavy, but it's actually really exciting. You are being given a unique opportunity to discover yourself in new ways. Explore yourself, uncover yourself, recover yourself from the past, your conditioning, who you think others want you to be! Ignore the pressure you may feel to quickly wrap this new you in a package and present it to the world; the world can wait. Because what the world really needs is the real you— but only when you're ready.
This New Moon has an important guest star and her name is Pallas Athene. This asteroid Goddess is just a couple degrees away from the Sun and the Moon's rendezvous point, and so we must consider her participation in this cosmic event. It's auspicious by nature because Aquarius is one of the signs that Pallas is most associated with. She is a goddess of wisdom and insight but also warriorship. In some ways she represents the female counterpart of Mars—another cosmic warrior. So, not only must we collaborate with Saturn and take responsibility for our authentic self, Athene's presence suggests we may have to fight for this self-acceptance as well.
There are many stories about Pallas Athene, but the most suitable one for this moment is about how she sold out womankind to co-sign the emergence of the Patriarchy. As a Goddess who was born from the head of Jupiter, she did not come from a woman and therefore felt little allegiance to them. In securing a place for herself in the Pantheon, she severed her connection to the Matriarchal religions of old and re-imagined what it might mean to embody the feminine. Some say that Athene used to be Medusa and her sister Pallas as well. Athene had a hand in killing both of them. She murdered her past selves to become who she felt she needed to be for the present. There's innovation here in her desire to express her authenticity in the moment, unbound by gender roles or past expressions of herself, but there's also something heartbreaking in this tale. In her intention to belong to the Olympian boys' club, she fractured her identity, irrevocably. We should take heed that our desire to belong to the collective doesn't require slaughtering vital parts of our true self. A group that won't accept your whole self is probably not a group with whom you should align.
Where Pallas sits in a native's birth chart can indicate the style of intelligence and intuition they possess. To have her conjunct the Sun and the Moon in this New Moon portal opens us all up to new intelligence, new sources of wisdom, and new streams of insight. There is the intelligence of the body and the heart. There is the wisdom of nature. Let us not be so bound to the logical workings of the mind that we forget to look in all directions for guidance. The fact that Mercury has been retrograde for pretty much all of Aquarius Season, and will remain so until the 20th, means that we are challenged to revisit old ghosts and decide whether they are renewable or releasable. So much is up for reconsideration at this time. The warrior goddess Pallas Athene can bless us all with the courage required to reconsider our own selves and where changes may need to be made. Again, not for anyone else, but for the peace that being your true self can bring.
Astrology is a language for self-acceptance. As a queer kid struggling to understand myself, learning the planets helped me learn myself. That's why I'm so passionate about bringing this information to the world but especially the LGBTQIA community. For those of you who feel the call to steep yourselves in some cosmic wisdom, please consider joining my husband, Angel, and myself for our eleven-week course entitled, CHART + SOUL: The Magic of Astrology. We designed this course to give you a practical understanding of how to read your birth chart and feel empowered to use it. Over the eleven weeks, we will cover all twelve signs of the Zodiac, the planets themselves, how they aspect each other, and the twelve houses that set the stage for all this energy to play out. You'll leave feeling confident to begin to interpret your own chart and maybe even your friends' charts, too! Registration is open now! There are a fair amount of Astrology teachers and classes out there. What makes our course special is that we teach our classes live every week and we're queer AF, so you're getting an expansive non-binary take on both traditional and contemporary Astrological interpretations.
If eleven weeks feels like too much of a commitment, how about 90 minutes? The Spiritual Gayz Astro Club is your go-to monthly safe space for Astrological insights. If you're curious to explore your own chart or just want more information about the next few weeks of cosmic activity, join us, The Spiritual Gayz, on Thursday February 18th from 5:30–7 P.M. (PST). The Pisces Season Astro Club will dive in to the upcoming Full Moon in Virgo and New Moon in Pisces. Expect plenty of light-hearted conversation and Q&A designed to build community and your personal connection to the planets. Beginners are welcome, as are seasoned astrologers. These monthly meetings are all about advancing your practice of Astrology through personal exploration, lively connection and fun.
Lastly, please don't forget about the Spiritual Gayz podcast—which is truly the heart of everything we do. Not to toot our own horn, but our last few episodes have featured some truly amazing guests. At the end of last year we had Don Kilhefner on the program. Don has been on the frontlines of gay liberation for over fifty years and is the co-founder of the Radical Faeries. I lovingly call him the gay Yoda, as he is such a beloved wise elder in our community. Our last episode featured a phenomenal conversation with Astrologer Danielle Beinstien, a licensed spiritual therapist who brings tons of compassion and curiosity to the inner workings of the cosmos. And the episode that we released today features a thrilling conversation with Tarot scholar and award-winning writer Rachel Pollack. If you don't know Rachel, you're welcome. She is a pioneer in the spiritual community, a trans icon, and one of the wisest people we've had the privilege of entertaining on the show. Here at the Spiritual Gayz headquarters, we are always trying to mine the depths of the intersection between spirituality and queerness, and Rachel really helped us uncover some gems.
You'll find your Tarotscopes below.
As always, read for your Sun Sign, and if that's not enough go ahead and
read your Rising Sign as well.
In the interest of Mercury Retrograde, you'll find them razor sharp and to the point.
Five of Wands
The Five of Wands wants you to shake shit up. Shake what shit up? All of it, honey.
If you're bored of your lewk, change the lewk. If you're bored of yourself, change yourself. Just because you've always done it this way doesn't mean it's the only way.
There's new energy and excitement that wants to come in. But first, you have to clear the way.
Ten of Wands
The Ten of Wands wants you to slow down. Each of the wands you carry is a magic wand. But bundled together like that, they look like firewood, driftwood, trash. Take the pressure off yourself. You have plenty of time, you have your whole life. One dream is plenty to focus on, don't overcomplicate. Who told you the lie that you have to do it alone? Maybe they should be the one to help you carry all this.
Eight of Wands
The Eight of Wands wants you to catch the wind. Don't resist divine timing. If things are speeding up, hang on for the ride. We are not in control of our lives, we are only in control of how we react to them. The things you want, they want you too. They are bringing you to them. Don't resist. Less striving and more allowing.
This is a time to say "yes." This is a time to ask for more.
Three of Wands (Reversed)
The Three of Wands reversed wants you to seek a new vision. A vision is a plan.
Maybe your life is trying to lead you somewhere you've never been before.
It's not a place you can find on the map. You'll have to draw your own path to get there. Pull back from the stimuli, the TV, your phone. Remember your inner eye, the one that sees inside. That's where the vision lives. The vision is in you.
Knight of Swords
The Knight of Swords wants you to change your mind. Changing your mind is a form of sorcery. And you're in need of some magic right now. Now you see it, now you don't. Play with your thoughts. You don't have to believe everything you think, you know. Where could you have been wrong in all this? Where could you have been misled? Give yourself permission to try again, start fresh. Be reborn.
Seven of Swords
The Seven of Swords wants you to tell the truth on yourself. Truth is medicine, and you need a heroic dose. Where have you been lying to yourself about yourself?
Where have you been hiding yourself from yourself? Stop being clever and charming for a minute and get real. Love yourself enough to face your own darkness. Your hidden bits hold the answers you've been craving. Dig in.
Seven of Pentacles (Reversed)
The Seven of Pentacles wants you to live your life like a ceremony. From the cup you drink your tea out of in the morning to the jammies you sleep in each night. Bring your whole spirit to your daily chores and let it fold the laundry. Ordinary life is only ordinary when we stop paying attention.
Remember that your life, every second of it, is sacred. That will give you the power you need to stop spending your precious minutes on other people's bullshit. That's the secret to getting more of what you want and less of what you don't.
The Star (Reversed)
The Star reversed wants you to take a time out for healing. I know, the world is falling down around you, people need you.
Let them wait. You need you more right now. There are electric, cosmic waters that want you to bathe in them. The invitation has only your name on the envelope. Your healing must come first. And miraculously, your healing will heal others, too.
The Devil wants you to pick up your discipline. Some people think the Devil is about having a good time. They're not wrong. The Devil loves strong cocktails, dirty jokes, and expensive sheets. But without discipline, our pleasures become our captors. Who is leading who? Are you in charge of your caffeine, your shopping, your shadow? Where could you exert a little more self-control in your life? The work makes the play sweeter. Lean into your Libra gifts and seek the perfect balance.
Nine of Cups
The Nine of Cups wants you to explore satisfying yourself at all costs. It's easy to lose your true desires in the crowd of others. Find them again. What is your true joy? Where does your heart sing best? Be like Picasso, paint only the things you want to paint. Don't tell the jokes you think others want to hear; tell the jokes that make you laugh the hardest. It's your life after all, you should be the one who enjoys it the most.
King of Swords
The King of Swords wants you to step into your role as a teacher. Make yourself visible. Speak on the lessons you've learned. Don't harbor all your brilliance to yourself. Share it. Give it away. Now, as you are, you are ready to claim your authority. People need you, they need to see someone like you, owning themselves.
Maybe you'll teach through writing, maybe through speaking. Or maybe, just maybe, you'll teach through the way you live your life.
The Hanged Man (Reversed)
The Hanged Man reversed wants you to stop struggling against the current. Forget where you were trying to go and see where life wants to take you. If you keep paddling against the flow, you'll exhaust yourself, you'll drown. But if you can ride those waves, you might end up somewhere more amazing than you ever imagined. The key words here are TRUST and ALLOW. I know you think you can only trust yourself, but that's an old story. You can trust your life, it hasn't failed you thus far.
BRANDON ALTER is a spiritual healer, Tarot reader, Astrologer, 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 teacher who 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 the myriad ways one can work and heal with the help of the spirits.