In my recent confessional post about the cult of celebrity, I asked myself why I was feeling this topic so strongly. Was it just me? I guess I’d always considered celebrity watching a voyeuristic Neptunian escape – a cocktail of self-forgetfulness to indulge in here and there. But I’m considering this a Venus- worthy topic, too.

Upon reading a fellow blogger’s post whose thoughts were so conceptually close to my last post it was eerie (these thoughts travel collectively – see The Judgment of Paris) I thought about the way I’ve been questioning my own spirituality, poking it with a stick to see if it’s still around. It is. Connection to the Divine is unchanging – it’s all where you put your attention. My attention gets pulled into other things, but sometimes a simple acknowledgement is appropriate. As king of A-OK, Spirit is ready when I am. Actually make that I AM. Here’s my typical conversation lately with I AM:

“I should be more spiritual.”
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know. I don’t really like meditating. Maybe I should just take more walks.”
“But what is spiritual? What is God to you?”
“For me: living from the heart.”
“Isn’t that what you do?”
“Yes, but I haven’t done any cool spells or said any fabulous prayers or affirmations lately. But I know I can.”
“Maybe everything’s going good, then? Maybe Spirit’s got your back and you need to trust yourself enough to know where to look when you need it.”

Pan to my husband and I sitting at the dinner table last night on a delicious night alone. We lit candles; I turned off the light so we could appreciate the natural light of the sunset. I served organic squash (made like my grandmother’s), fresh green beans and tofu with our special almond dipping sauce. We held one another’s hand and paused to look in each other’s eyes lovingly, just as we’ve done since the first time we sat down to dinner together almost two years ago. We shared a moment of gratitude for one another’s presence, which for me, beamed from his deep eyes directly into my heart. This is everyday stuff around here. And our life together is absolutely the direct result of years of mantras, spells, affirmations and spiritual work on both of our parts. If you were looking for evidence of everyday spirituality, you could say we’re living proof.

So why question it?

A copy of Time Magazine lay between the bean and squash dishes on the table, and he asked me, “So, How Did the Democrats Get Religion?” which was the cover story about Democrat presidential candidates cultivating a faith-based image to get the vote. I really didn’t know I said sheepishly – as I had been of course waylaid by the entertainment page. Tori Spelling had become ordained as a minister so she could marry a gay couple at her B&B. The only thing we figured on this one was that there’s probably a Tori cult-like following in the gay community and getting married by Tori seemed so well, kitsch. I then launched into the one Tori loves Dean re-run I saw months ago (which I miraculously recited by heart) the one where Tori had to sell off her wardrobe to finance the B&B (because she frittered away her entire inheritance from dad, Aaron Spelling). “She lost all of it?” my husband asked. I shrugged. I described her off-site closet – it took a warehouse to store all of her clothes! And how she posted “Tori Spelling Yard Sale” signs all over Beverly Hills…and didn’t anticipate the hordes of fans to show up with lines around the block. And how she had “nothing to wear” to her own yard sale…at which she will sell her excessive wardrobe…so she went shopping! Spending tons’ o money, Tori whispered to the camera, ‘I’ll have to hide this from Dean’ as the camera panned to husband Dean, stressing over bills and genuinely worried about his wife’s whereabouts, who had promised to help get the house ready for the sale…and follow a budget.

So there we were having fun yakking it up at their expense. Then, suddenly sitting upright I said, “Shouldn’t we be talking about our spiritual studies right now, I dunno, maybe practicing our Sanskrit or something?” To which he replied in true Moon in Gemini form, “I was talking with my friend Ron outside Whole Foods today. You know he teaches Sanskrit, he wears that red thread around his neck, and showed me his new iPhone. I don’t know how he does it. He has that really nice convertible…”

The crux of the dilemma revealed as a conversation between spirituality and materialism, not mutually exclusive. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. We all need things – we want things to make our lives more comfortable. Its mindless consumption and the suffering caused that worries. Tori didn’t contribute to anyone’s suffering (but her own) by blowing her inheritance on truckloads of designer clothes. We’ve all got a right to learn from our mistakes. Celebrity is an easy sounding board for the “I learned the hard way…” dialogue. They are the Olympians if you will, whose fall from grace is just more fantastic and fabulous because it’s public. In reality, we all fall in different ways. And thinking that were we in their shoes -we wouldn’t make the same mistake they did – may be erroneous. If I were born into a Beverly Hills family, communal and collective culture, who’s to say I wouldn’t make the same mistake? As private citizens we get to learn our lessons on a smaller scale, and quietly, with that one thing we have that they don’t: privacy.

We wonder at them and ourselves. Our fascination is justified.

We’ve entered the shadow of Venus retrograde, and the ambivalence about celebrity-spirituality and pleasure seeking seem likely Venusian Leo-Virgo paradigms. If Venus in notice-me Leo shimmies in the luster of fame, Venus in Virgo wears the flame of Spirit. Virgo connects the dots, figuring out just exactly how we think and feel about what is pleasurable, exactly and precisely…and is it consistent with our image and our spirit. In other words, who do we think we are? As Venus visits only the first few degrees of Virgo for the next three weeks (before she re-visits Leo for round two in August) will we have the opportunity to evaluate our own judgments on what is good, right and true? Because if Venus holds sway over those things near and dear to our hearts, in Virgo might we take the opportunity to see how the fickle way we judge others as a just reflection on how we treat ourselves?