Tarotscopes with Brandon Alter: New Moon in Cancer 2021

By Brandon Alter:


Cancer Season means coming home. For all its chaos and uncertainty, the world is still our home. And it's the only one we have. For some of us, the world may not feel safe anymore, for others it never felt safe. For some, our childhood home was a paradise we can never seem to recapture, for others a warzone we can't seem to escape. Home is a complex place. Like all the Zodiacal symbols, there are surface meanings and then a hidden trapdoor of insight; the home which Cancer alludes to is so much more than just a physical dwelling. Cancer is curious about our ancestral homes, the soul's home, maybe even the question of where souls come from in the first place, the home to which we will someday return . . . but perhaps I've gone too far.

As the first water sign of the Zodiac, Cancerian energy wants us to remember the roots of home; again, not so much as a place but a feeling. It's a highly sensitive and nostalgic sign that can connect our history to our destiny. In some ways, the water signs of the Zodiac help us catch our breath. Here we can begin to integrate the journey so far and let our hearts catch up to the rest of us. I don't know about you but so much has happened in these last eighteen months that I still need time to process. I'm still coming to understand who I am now in this mercurial world. I'm still coming to understand who this world is and how I might engage with her. I need a water season more than ever, for they sensitize us and give us space to feel into the truth of where we are. From there, they simultaneously prepare us for the next great leap. The element of water is emotional, relational, and intuitive by nature. And as human beings we are more water than anything else. While Scorpio Season and Pisces Season tend to get the fanfare for being witchy or visionary times, Cancer Season is just as lush. Whether you are entering into the peak of Summer or the pitch of Winter, these next few weeks have us answering directly to the moon, the chief beacon of psychic power. You see, Cancer is ruled by the moon, and any planet in her sign answers to her. When the Sun is in Cancer, as he is right now, he must acquiesce to the lunar body. He is subject to her whims, her tastes, her demands, and her moods. We all are. It's an opportunity for planets who usually exert themselves through strong will or sharp acumen to acquaint themselves with a softer side of their own power. In Cancer Season, everyone is ruled by the heart.

This isn't to suggest that Cancer Season is a walk in the park. The waters of the heart can be turbulent, strange, even foreboding—especially if we haven't taken the plunge for a while. But now that we are learning how to come home, we must learn how to be at home in our hearts, no matter the turmoil of emotions that characterize human life. Consider the ocean as a metaphor for your own heart. On the surface is the relentless churning of the tides, breakers hammering the coastline, whirlpools and riptides. That isn't going anywhere. There will always be a current. You can wrestle it all you like, the motion will not cease. But what if we allowed ourselves to submerge, to travel downward toward quieter oceanic depths. Do you think the bedlam on the surface would bother us on the ocean floor? Do you think deep-sea creatures are greatly troubled by waves crashing on the shore? What if we could become our own version of deep-sea creatures, so settled in our hearts that the superficial crises of modern day barely reach us.

Brandon Alter & Angel Lopez

Cancer the crab takes its home with it wherever it goes. This is true for us more than ever. Everywhere we go is our home, and yet nowhere is our home if we still feel out of place in ourselves. The more we can come home to being ourselves the more we can trust our own inner truths. So much of the drama of these last eighteen months has come from our reticence to source truth for ourselves. Is it fear, control, or just plain laziness that makes us so quick to relinquish our own authority over ourselves? When did we stop trusting our hunches? Our gut feelings? Aren't these messages coming from those inner oceanic depths?


The New Moon in Cancer, a striking lunation that answers to itself, occurs in the late hours of Friday night and wants us to grapple with these questions. Mercury, still in his rulership of Gemini, craves understanding. I imagine the Sun and Moon in this chart as legendary lovers huddled together in a cosmic embrace, safe among themselves but well aware of the other planets' designs on them. In some ways, this New Moon feels like a brief holiday, a respite from the storm. Not that the storm has so much stopped raging, just that we've finally found some decent shelter for a change. There is still much to be faced. Not long after his rendezvous with the Moon, the Sun will oppose Pluto, and a battle will be waged. Meanwhile, the grinding wheels of the Saturn/Uranus square continue to click along. But in the silent hours of this new moon, perhaps we can tap a stillness, an inner reservoir that can buoy us through some of these challenges to come. Perhaps the space to root deep into our hearts will allow us a new resolve that isn't as easily shaken by the relentless barrage of panics we scroll through in our daily feeds.


At its essence, this New Moon feels bolstering. Like the Cancerian crab, we can take a well-deserved retreat to withdraw behind the shell and tend to our soft meat for a spell. We can allow ourselves to be resourced by deeper aspects of our humanity and individuality. There is so much despair and anger in the world right now—much of it well-justified. And yet, anger can only fuel us for so long. Despair zaps our resolve. What ever happened to love? Where, in this great outlandish mess we call modern life, is love? When the ocean is on fire, can we still love her? When our people are sick and starving and turned inside out, can we still muster up the oldest medicine there is? Love doesn't cure everything. I'm not simple. I'm not a fool. But without love, nothing we cure has meaning.


What feels like the most striking astrological feature of this year is the Saturn/Uranus square. It's still in process, and like all great astrological turning points, its impact won't be fully known until we're looking back at it. But suffice to say this is a closing square (as opposed to an opening square), meaning we are being compelled to take action that empowers some sort of resolution. We might be trying to fuck shit up but it's in the interest of settling things down. Essentially, we are all trying to put something to bed, once and for all. A square c