A Russian reader asked if I read Anne Rice. First, thank you for contacting me, Russia! Second, yes, I read Anne Rice. I greatly admire her ability to create a world that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go. I am not one of those people who adore vampires–really, during love-making, I don’t want my blood sucked–but I do love a good story, well told. Rice can do that. I hear she’s crazy religious now, which I regret.

But I do understand it. The call of spirit is always there. In my mind, writers are especially susceptible to the lure of the universe of creation. We hear it in the ear of our mind and its siren call is exquisite, undeniable. I can well understand the appeal and solace of a fundamentalist religion. To feel, every moment, that intimate ecstasy, that ravishing certainty…. Then there’s the other part of me that says, Vishnu is Jesus is Zeus is Adonai is Buddha, and it’s my uncertainty, my longing, that is holy. Heschel called faith “a blush before God.” Well, let’s keep blushing. Let’s not take on the anemia of knowing. It’s the approach, laden with wonder, that fortifies us, and praises the divine.

Now: we are a few days into Venus retrograde. In the Vedic system, some authorities say that Venus retrograde in Pisces, the sign of its exaltation, acts debilitated. I am not certain of that. The jury is still out for me.

What I have seen with retrograde planets is that they are internalized. A certain process of curiosity and exploration about them becomes necessary. When Mercury turns retrograde–communication and computers go haywire. You can straighten them out, you just have to ask yourself a series of questions: Why did this happen? How do I untangle this? What’s the deeper issue? With computers, I’ve seen a few times that there have been problems brewing, and Mercury moving backward brings those problems to light. You just can’t ignore the virus, or the erratic motherboard, anymore. Is that a debility, to deal with problems?

I like Vedic astrology and use it because it works. But I can’t forget that it is Moon centered, while Western astrology is sun centered. In Vedic astrology, there is an underlying assumption that what is comfortable, what solaces the moon, is what is best. In Western astrology, the underlying assumption is that we are all here to self-actualize, to become our fullest soul selves–to shine our light. So I always weigh the two systems, along with other archetypal systems. For me, it’s about having a variety of tools with which to understand.

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