Tarotscopes with Brandon Alter—September 2020
By Brandon Alter:
Is it just me or has the elasticity of our days gone slack? Every Monday, my therapist asks me to recount the past week, and my mind goes blank. Hours blur. I feel like it’s always 6 p.m. and I’m having to figure out what to make for dinner, again and again and again. I ask friends on the phone, "Did I just talk to you yesterday or was that two weeks ago?" "Gurl, we talked this morning," they reply. I wander the house, the dog follows me like a shadow: What am I looking for? Where am I going? My husband asks, "What’s wrong, babe?" I have no words; the best I can muster is to say, "I feel unmoored." I feel unmoored.
He admits that before he met me he’d never heard anyone use that term. It’s a nautical expression that refers to a ship having lost contact with the dock, nothing tethering it to land. I don’t know where I picked it up; I’ve never been a sailor—maybe in a past life but probably not. I feel unmoored. I repeat it like a mantra. I chant it, silently, out loud, whisper it to the dog, to the olive tree out back, to anyone who will listen. I feel unmoored. And as I lean into it, as I accept it, it changes shape. Instead of lamenting this feeling of confusion—this sense of being completely unanchored to anything—I start to celebrate it. I let it liberate me. "I’m unmoored," I proclaim. I’m free.
What does this have to do with Astrology, you might be wondering? Well, before there was time as we know it, before there were the seven days of the week and the Hallmark holidays, and Summer Vacation, there were the seasons. The seasons were how we charted time. They are an unchanging cosmology to which we can anchor ourselves. And these four essence energies haven’t gone anywhere. The original Astrologers determined the Zodiac meanings based on the happenings of the seasons on Earth. The cold, sometimes aloof expressions of Capricorn and Aquarius are not separate from the chilly winter frosts that accompany their birth. You see, we are the seasons. And as the outer (and somewhat arbitrary) structures of our contemporary lives continue to fall away, what we are left with is the truth of who and what we are.
We can look to the wheel of the Zodiac to help us understand who we are and where we are. Especially now, as our distractions and illusions melt faster than the glaciers, I find it a helpful practice to ask questions of myself that align with the Cosmic Season in which we find ourselves. The question that rules Leo is: How am I? And I don’t mean like “How are you doing?” I mean HOW do you behave, how do you express yourself? How do you truly want to be? When left alone to your own devices, how do you move through the world? What is your unique style of existence?
If no one were watching, if you couldn’t post about it on Instagram, how would you naturally shape your days? Would you be writing poetry in the nude? Would you be cooking lavish meals in your Sunday best? Would you be quietly sipping pink champagne by a creek somewhere? This is the perfect time to commit to discovering your true nature—especially now as there is more space than ever before to be as we truly are. If we can stop performing our lives for others and live them fully for ourselves, we will be tapping into the true power of Leo Season.
The truth is, we have always been unmoored. We just got really good at pretending otherwise. These inherited fictions (the Stock Market, Gucci, Valentine’s Day) are just stories that we have raised up as unchanging gods—but they are false gods and nothing more. The original gods are nature, and to those gods we are now returning. We might feel unmoored because we are being forced to question everything, to denounce our comfortable prisons in exchange for the wilderness of a new frontier. But as we lose our ability to distract from the truth of who are, what we gain is a sense of the divine order which permeates.
Leos live from the heart. And they live, primarily, for themselves. Yes, low-vibe Leos can be narcissists, the same way low-vibe Aquarians (Leo’s opposite sign) can be martyrs. But they are both coming at the same ontology from a different angle. Serving oneself is serving others. Honoring your innate nature is crucial if you're going to be of any good to anyone else. The mantra of this season is this: If you’re always putting out the fires of others, you’ll never be able to tend to your own. This is the time to pull your energies all the way back so that you can focus on yourself. Once you’ve fully explored and understood the HOW of your life then you can choose to put your magnificence in the service of others. But slow down, babies, that’s what Virgo season is for, and we aren't there yet.
The Leo New Moon that perfects Tuesday evening is the flag we plant in the ground that claims our lives for ourselves. Living for others isn’t as easy to spot as it seems—our ego's machinations can be insidious. We’ve been so thoroughly indoctrinated into the church of achievement that it takes practice to discern where societies' programming ends and your true desires begin. This New Moon is a window of clarity to ensure that we are living our best life. It’s a golden opportunity to take back your sovereignty from the powers that be and affirm that your life is your own and you get to live it however your heart deems best.
New Moons signify new beginnings. Each month when the Moon and the Sun meet up, they have a conversation about where they’ve been, what they’ve learned, and how they want to start again. But this New Moon has a guest star, Mercury. The planet of communication and mental gymnastics is part of the party, sitting only two degrees away from the Moon and the Sun’s reunion. This luminous trio wants us to communicate our inner and outer desires with the world but not for the world; cue "I’m Coming Out" by Diana Ross because that’s exactly what this New Moon is hoping for. The Moon also trines Mars in Aries, meaning that we are divinely assisted in taking the actions required to cement these intentions. It’s not enough to just talk about it, you gotta take some action to prove it to yourself. In fact, you may want to talk about it after you’ve already started doing it.
Mercury and Mars and the Sun and the Moon all in harmonious aspects with one another in the sign of the diva means we get to talk our walk and walk our talk. We get to ensure our insides match our outsides and that our appearances reflect our inner gifts. There’s a really nice harmony to all of this, an invitation to release anything that is contradictory or paradoxical. You get to be you, completely—it’s as simple as that. You get to walk like you, talk like you, dress like you, express like you. And anything that you’ve inherited from your family or your culture that feels heavy, you get to set it down. Yes! You really do! You don’t have to carry that shit one second longer! Mars is set to square the heavy hitters—Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all in Capricorn over these next few months—so you will feel resistance. You may even feel dangerous in how you continue to choose yourself over anyone else, over and over again. But sometimes danger means you’re on the right path, so don’t let the shade or the side-eye keep you from carrying on with your bad self.
This may seem silly, but I’m going to share it anyways. My grandma is always coming for me because I paint my nails. She doesn't get why a grown man would want his fingertips sparkling like the galaxies. I tell her, "Grandma, I just don’t understand why girls get to have all the fun." She nods like she gets it, but I know she doesn't agree. Because then she’ll call my Mom and tell her to convince me to take it off. This is that sort of square energy I’m talking about. This is the patriarchy coming for you and your freedom. Don’t let them have it. Just keep painting your nails and focus on you. But don’t think that just doing you to the fullest won’t instigate some pushback. It will. People will be threatened by your liberation. Pay them no mind. That’s the cosmic octave of Leo: the lust for life, the relentless creativity, and the unbridled enthusiasm to be your most authentic self. The more you can illuminate yourself, the more your life will liberate others.
From here on out, through the rest of 2020, our New Moons will be happening at the end degrees of the sign. This is significant, and it shifts how we might think about the intention setting that we do with New Moons. Each sign has thirty degrees, and I believe that any planet in the last five is leaning into mastery of that energy—so our New Moons are becoming more masterful. We are not starting from scratch anymore; we might still be starting over, but now with the awareness of what has come before. We can take our experiences to help inform the new choices, actions, and awareness we wish to empower. For more Astrological insights, I encourage you to join us for the Spiritual Gayz Virgo Season Webinar next week. Think of it as an Astrology kiki, as we get you prepped for the next moonth of cosmic happenings. And if you’re looking for a more experiential offering, our Breathwork Healing Circle is all about connecting to the Goddess energy that Virgo Season invokes.
And lastly, our magical divination course, TAROT + COSMOS, is set to start again on September 28th. This is our eleven-week online immersion into the Tarot that will help you unlock your own psychic potential. And it’s perfect for beginners who know nothing about mysticism or magic or experienced intuitives looking to sharpen their skills. Week by week, Angel and I will break down the hidden energies the cards illuminate and help you to uncover the language your own inner gifts use to communicate. It’s not just a classroom, it’s a virtual sanctuary—and goddess knows we all need a sanctuary at these times.
Registration is open now for our September 28th start date—but we will keep registration open for a full week after we begin in case you didn’t get the message in time. Sign up by September 1st and take advantage of our Early Bird Pricing, use the coupon code: EARLYBIRDIE and save some dough! And don’t worry if you can’t attend classes live, all students will get lifetime access to the sessions within 24 hours of recording. Each class will begin with a guided meditation and end with Q&A. You’ll get a copy of our extensive and original Tarot notes + additional materials to inspire and expand your relationship with the Tarot. And as a bonus, you’ll receive free access to the Spiritual Gayz Moonthly Astrology Webinars while class is in session! Here’s a week by week break down of what you can look forward to learning!
For more specific Cosmic Updates and Tarot Wisdom, I highly encourage you to tune into The Spiritual Gayz. This is our twice monthly podcast dedicated to exploring the wide reaches of spirituality without pretending that it all makes sense. We have tons of episodes on Astrology and Tarot 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.
Below you’ll find your individual Tarotscopes for the complete lunar cycle.
Leo is the sign in which the Sun feels most at home,
so please read for your SUN SIGN.
You could also read for your RISING SIGN, too,
if you're needing a double dose of cosmic guidance.
Queen of Swords (Reversed)
The Queen of Swords is you when you refuse to swallow your own bullshit like it was nectar of the gods. This is not an easy place to be, and no doubt you feel some resistance to owning your shit. But as we reach the end of your time in the Sun, it’s important to tell the truth on yourself. Ask yourself: What would the truth be if I weren’t afraid of it?
The longer we hide from ourselves the harder we are to find. So cut to the chase already! Courage is your middle name, so channel your inner Lion essence and expose yourself to yourself. I promise it will feel like a relief. We exhaust ourselves trying to hide from what’s really going on. The sooner you can sit still and face yourself, the sooner you’ll be on your way to a place you actually want to be going!
Once you start telling the truth on yourself, the more you’ll have earned the right to tell the truth on others. That’s where power comes from. That’s where freedom comes from. Don’t forget that real integrity is resourced from within.
Four of Cups
It’s time to take a break, Virgo. I’m not talking about a vacation; I’m talking about a retreat. Find a cave in the mountains and bury your phone under a rock. You need to be completely disconnected from everyone and everything at this moment. And even if you’re still totally stuck at home, that doesn’t mean you can’t find some creative means of “getting away” from it all.
At its essence, the Four of Cups is an invitation to resensitize yourself. It’s a call to sober up from whatever has been keeping you addicted. You can’t feel the extent of wear and tear on your nervous system or how overprotected your heart has become. We get numb so fast. Humans are amazing at adapting almost instantly, but that gets in the way when we don’t realize how quickly we adapt to the daily stress of being alive. You must pull yourself out of the river of your life in order to gain some new perspective.
You’re seeking a new emotional foundation, and you can’t build a foundation if you are still living inside the house. Give yourself some much needed time and space to feel again, to grow sensitive to the hidden forces of your heart. It will replenish you in ways you forgot you needed nourishing.
We all have an outer personality, it’s part of the game. These days, however, the outer personality has basically colonized the inner truth of who we are. We’ve become addicted to showing off who we’ve become without even considering if this is who we still are. Temperance is the antidote to this imbalance. Temperance is the inner core of your being, the hidden springs of your essence that only you can tap.
Take these next few weeks and begin to strip away all the outer trappings of your identity. The more uncomfortable you feel letting it go, the surer you can be that you’re on the right track. If we don’t know who we would be without a certain lifestyle, job, relationship, outfit, etc., then we don't really know who we are at all. And you deserve to know the real you.
At its core, Temperance asks us to blend, in perfect amounts, the inner and the outer, the mask and its wearer. It’s not that you have to walk away from your social media forever, but for a few weeks it might behoove you to stop promoting your ego and start exploring your soul.
Page of Cups (Reversed)
It’s time for some much needed vulnerability, Scorpio. I know, you’d rather die. Or maybe it’s just that exposing yourself in this way feels like death. I promise, it won't kill you. In fact, it might just resurrect you. The Page of Cups is you when you courageously wear your heart on your sleeve and allow your inner nature to be witnessed by all. The harder you work to keep yourself from being seen, the less energy you have for the things that really matter.
There’s a tremendous freedom that's available when we stop censoring ourselves and hiding our inner depths from others. The invitation this month is to see what it would feel like to stop keeping secrets. You are safe to be seen as you are. You don't have to camouflage what you're feeling. In fact, the more honest and available you can be to others, the less serious life will feel.
The Page of Cups lives life unfiltered because it’s a whole lot more fun that way. Stop judging your emotions, desires, and inner depths. Start accepting them, and you might just engender new connections and intimacy that bring lasting joy.
Nine of Pentacles
You own everything. Even if it doesn’t feel like it. Even if your bank account says otherwise. YOU. OWN. EVERYTHING. And why am I so confident that this is true? Because you own you. You are in total control of yourself, and you are totally awake to your unique genius. This is the secret ingredient that you can’t buy in stores, and you, baby, you got it in spades.
The Nine of Pentacles is a felt sense of our own true value. This moonth is a great time to double down on just how great you think you are. I’m not talking about arrogance, I’m not talking about cockiness—I just mean that there comes a time in everyone's life where they get tired of pretending that they aren’t fucking amazing. You are fucking amazing. Not because of anything you do, not because of your resume or your relationships, just because you are.
People look to us for how to respond. If we apologize or second guess ourselves, those around us look at us circumspect. But when we quietly and confidently own our brilliance, others trust us, look to us, and even hire us. That’s exactly where you’ll want to find yourself in the coming weeks.
Change isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen all at once. We have to keep choosing change or else it just won't stick. It’s like becoming a vegetarian. You can’t just stop eating meat at lunch, you have to keep choosing veggies over animal flesh at every meal. Eventually this choice is reinforced, but it takes serious commitment to build that momentum. And that’s where you find yourself at this moment, Capricorn.
You’ve changed for the better. There’s a hard-won, long-fought transformation that has just about completed itself. But that doesn’t mean you get to coast from here on out. These next few weeks are about continuing to assert that new identity, to keep choosing the new you before the old you asserts themselves.
The Judgement card always reminds me of when Dorothy returns home to Kansas after her escapades in Oz. She’s clearly changed, but it's up to her to choose to embody the changes that have happened. Will she pretend to be the same old Dorothy for the comfort of Auntie Em, or will she integrate her experiences and wisdom and let them inform a new, more-aligned life? You’re Dorothy this moonth. Keep choosing the change.
Knight of Pentacles (Reversed)
Nobody said Earth School was easy. Sure, peaches are in season right now and the Summer sunsets are next level, but it’s still hard AF to make it in this world. The Knight of Pentacles is you when you continue to commit to your dreams, hour after hour, day after day, even when it seems impossible—especially when it seems impossible.
There’s a nose to the grindstone, head down, just-keep-swimming kind of vibe to this archetype. Even if we don’t feel like we are making progress, even if we forget why we decided to pursue this shit in the first place, the Knight of Pentacles doesn’t know about giving up, they only know about giving over.
Keep pushing, keep grinding, keep on keepin' on this moonth. Don’t focus on the results. Don’t look for fanfare. Just keep polishing the dream, water it, sleep with it under your pillow. Allow the dream to whisper to you, to motivate you, to keep you questing. The more you tend to the dream, the sooner it will be a reality.
Eight of Pentacles (Reversed)
What is your life’s work? I’m not talking about how you pay the bills. I’m not even talking about what you went to school for. I’m talking about the work your soul came here to do. I know that’s an enormous question and more than a little esoteric, but you’re a Pisces, so I know you can handle it.
The Eight of Pentacles represents an evolution in how we think about work. Sometimes it suggests a major advancement in our technique and skill. But more holistically, it really invites an awareness of the overarching theme of your time here on Earth. And there’s no time like the present to start to unpack what that evolution looks like.
When we think about the grandiose plan of our soul’s purpose, it’s common to probably envision Oprah-sized lives. But the soul’s purpose isn’t just something you do, it’s how you live. It’s the energy you bring to every encounter and exchange. Our work is so much more than the books we publish or the jobs we hold. Start to meditate on the legacy you’ll leave behind. Is it a legacy of kindness? Of liberation? Of ingenuity? It may surprise you. It will probably surprise you, and that's a sign that soul is really speaking through you.
Seven of Pentacles
Our lives are an altar to who we are becoming. How we spend our time and our money, how we wash our face and dress our body courts the future. So it’s important that the spells we cast with our attention are magical workings we actually want to come true. The Seven of Pentacles is an invitation to align your physical world with the longings of your spirit.
Think about this way, the universe gives you more of what you already have. That’s why it's wise to spend more time noticing what you have and less time bitching about what you don’t have. You have to give your attention to those things you want to grow. Because our attention isn’t neutral, it’s powerful and it expands everything it tends.
These next few weeks are crucial in how you reconfigure your schedule to accommodate the things that actually matter to you. Stop putting in time on projects that feel like drudgery. Stop giving over to the demands of others. You get to build your life according to your soul. So get to it. Build a life that attracts the things you want by already living in those desires.
No surprise here, the Hierophant is the card that rules Taurus. But only recently did I really understand why that is. You see, this card is commonly known as the High-Priest, the Pope, the Shaman, the wise sage—and not that Tareans aren't known for their wisdom, but I never felt the true resonance of the sign with the card. Ya'll don't feel like priests to me! But that’s because I misunderstood what priesthood really means.
Once I learned who and what the Hierophants really were, it all clicked into place. You see, they were the priests of a very specific type of mystery school in Ancient Greece. They were the acolytes of Ceres, the great Earth Goddess and primordial mother who makes crops grow. So the religious wisdom the Hierophant engenders is from the church of Nature not the church of man.
The Hierophant represents a deeper spiritual learning that comes from reconnecting to our natural origins. When we remember the nature within ourselves, we can remember the mystery from which we emanated. Spend these next few weeks working your gardens, leisurely cooking your food and quietly embracing whatever outdoor spaces are available to you. Time spent in nature is never doing nothing—quite the opposite, it reminds us exactly who and what we are, and it can even give us a glimpse into where we are going.
Four of Wands
Here’s the thing about wanting things, there’s always more. You want one home, you get it, then you want two. You book two jobs, get the applause, then you want three. Wanting leads to more wanting. So instead of striving and craving and seeking, maybe try appreciating. Look at what you already have. Soften into the abundance that is already available to you now, right now!
The Four of Wands is a card that signifies success and achievement. Wherever you are, in some ways, you’ve already made it. Sometimes, the only thing that stands between us and contentment is the release of where we thought we were supposed to be. This is the healing power of acceptance.
I’m not saying don’t have big dreams. I’m not saying don’t want a big life. But don’t make yourself miserable until you get there. You are already there. That’s the freedom of the Four of Wands, a moment on the journey where you pat yourself on the back and applaud the successes that have already visited you. The freedom that comes from wanting less isn’t about playing small, it’s about opening up to a bigger possible version of your life than you can imagine.
Ace of Swords
This is the beginning of the rest of your life. Your Once Upon a Time starts now. Everything that came before was a prologue. Now you are actually engaged in the story of your life. The Ace of Swords is that one razor-sharp narrative that charts your way forward in the wilds of the world.
You know who you are and you know what you want. It took you some time to get here, so celebrate that accomplishment. Notice that your mind is clear. You are no longer distracted by false wants. This clarity is not an oasis where you daily bathe yourself, it is more like a machete. Treat this clarity like a weapon you use to fight for your life as you wish to live it.
In case you hadn't noticed, our lives are lived mostly in our heads. And our heads are filled with words that compose the stories we use to perpetuate comfortable identities no matter how false they may be. Recognize that you are now the writer of your own story. You get to choose the story you tell with your life. Each and every day, wake up, and be clear with what story it is that you are telling. Tell it with each and every moment your being.
BRANDON ALTER is a spiritual 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. Brandon is a thoroughly trained healer, astrologer and yoga 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.