The psychic energy dynamics have completely shifted in the last twenty years, growing more and more intense in the last ten. Why? What could have possibly happened in that time? The phenomenon is what some modern occultist would call the leap of the technosphere.
Early twentieth century work of philosopher French philosopher and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the biogeochemist Vladimir Vernadsk resulted in this concept of the noosphere, or the sphere of “reason” as the highest of the biosphere of Earth, akin to a more subtle layer than the geosphere and traditional biosphere. Some would consider it the field of human thought. We might frame it today in psychological terms as the collective consciousness or in the occult traditions in terms of the levels of the astral-emotional-mental planes, or the akashic. New Age biology might think of it as Rupert Sheldrake’s human morphogenetic field. The traditional Witch could see it as the ancestral ocean of blood from which human life rises. But framed as the noosphere, it led to the later concept of the technosphere.
Complimentary to the noosphere is the anthroposphere, the sum of human systems, which would include modern technology but also include things like agriculture and mining, not just electronic signals. The technosphere has now included not only the blanket of manmade electromagnetic spectrum of broadcasts, but also such ideas as the unseen digital space and databanks of information, and their unseen transfers online between individuals, groups, and systems. Some believe like other spheres, life might develop in it, fueling our fantasies and fears about artificial intelligence.
What is happening today relates specifically to the transfer of information digitally, but more importantly, psychically. Thoughts are things. Thoughts charged by emotion are really on the way to manifesting some result. That is the basic occult understanding of magick. We need an intention, not always conscious, a means to generate energy, such as an emotional reaction, and a means in which to direct it. Folkloric traditions protected against the evil eye, malocchio in Italian, as it as transferred usually unintentionally by a jealous glance, an angry stare, or even false praise. As information is shared in the technosphere, with posts and selfies, blogs, and videos, they are generating a reaction of psychic energy on one of the frequencies beyond the techno. Though they are also generating a techno response through thumbs-up, angry-face, and cascade of reactive comments.
As one develops a greater renown in a society, the people who are the center of such attention can be impacted by the energy of groups and individuals. Praise can strengthen and bring about success. Blame and jealousy can cause harm. Those who last long in the public eye have a few techniques they might not even be conscious of having.
Many who hold an office of some sort, official or not, can have built-in, almost ritualistic protections – government offices and royalty often have that, as the attacks, while seemingly personal, are usually not personal in truth. Though I might argue that point today in current American politics. Many automatically pray for those who hold the office, and can effectively neutralize the curses against them, at least for a time.
Others know how to craft a persona that is real, but also separate from themselves as an artistic creation. They can take off the persona at the end of the day. Some artists known how to funnel and channel energy, during a performance and after, and some are hit by it constantly, and behave erratically. Mixed with the excess of new fame and wealth, it is the recipe of young rock stars and movie stars to go crazy. It’s not simply a psychological flaw, but expounded upon by the energy being directed at them from others, without even realizing they are doing it.
Those who have celebrity status but no craft – they are not musicians, actors, artists, or other performers, with ideally, the study, formal or not, of an art, and the boundaries and protection such discipline, do the worst. Celebrities known for gossip, strange and outrageous behavior, or are famous for a quirky incident who then try to go onward to fame, do poorly. They have nothing to say, but don’t want to give up the spotlight for the hope of money, prestige, or more fame. The side effects become the goal. The fame and attention can help promote your art, your vision, your teaching, but they should not be the goal, otherwise you get sucked into a reaction-response feedback loop.
Don’t believe me? Have you ever participated in the psychic experiment, often done by occult teachers to demonstrate this, using applied kinesiology, also known as muscle testing? One person is chosen out of a group to be the “target.” Their average strength and health is tested with a simple arm push muscle test by another at a neutral moment. With their eye closed, the instructor give one signal to think “good” thoughts of happiness, encouragement, strength at the target. The muscle test is even stronger. Another signal is given for “bad” thoughts of dejection and insult. The same arm becomes immediately limp and all strength is gone. Ideally the subject has no idea what is going on until its over. I used to do this to prove a point in class, but grew uncomfortable with the results. The instructor should always end on an “up” note with the subject to rebalance them, but even still, it is harm. Now imagine that, multiplied across the world, directed at someone famous.
This article was inspired by a comment from a friend, Jules, on David Bowie. He said, “He was such a beautiful soul. Lecherous and cantankerous, but his presence was so full of power…almost as if he had become a human egregore or avatar of every thought and emotion the world’s people had about him.” In many ways, while Bowie is a great example of the skill of an artist, all celebrities become an egregore of what people think and feel. Egregores are collective thought forms usually around traditions and institutions. Good artists can do something with that energy. Notice how many celebrities, after the lower rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy are taken care of with money and fame, go through an awakening and devote much of their time and energy to altruistic pursuits, and their art takes on a higher meaning. Less than noble ones feed their ego and either try to stay the same, or unwillingly devolve. Some simply struggle. Look at the number of famous rockstars we have that never quite make it through their Saturn return. Non-astrologers think of it as the curse of the 27 Club, but occultists understand exactly what is happening.
Okay, you get it. But even if you are on board with celebrities, what does this have to do with you? Is that what you are thinking? Well the number of celebrity biomes, large and small, have grown exponentially. Due to social media, we are all celebrities in our circles, with much more observation, attention, and yes, psychic energy, good and bad, upon us than ever before. Starting with cable news and the 24 Hour News cycle, to regular email and then texts, to the now constant phone alerts, tweets, posts, photos, and dating apps, we have shifted the amount of connection, communication, and visibility. Many feel a pressure to post, to be seen, to let people in their circle of connection, many of whom they have never met in person, traded phone calls or have addresses for, know what is up in their lives twenty-four/seven.
Much of our economy is in the “gig” culture of turning our hobbies into jobs because there is not a steady source of income with paid vacation and health insurance. To entice buyers to our gigs, we need to promote in fun and interesting ways. There was a time with artists, musicians, actors, and authors had someone in their business dedicated to publicity and marketing, but these days, they are expected to do a lot of it themselves, from the larger celebrities to be “real” and in touch to the newly discovered and up and coming, to prove they have a platform of motivated fans before a company takes a chance and invests in them. The art is secondary to the ability to market.
Those not as involved in such work still constantly compare themselves to those who are. The average person will not look like a super model or rock star, yet feels the pressure to take a selfie that conveys that as a reality. Both the porn model and the guy next door might spend an hour for that perfect “casual” selfie, but the guy next door doesn’t realize the porn star is also using fancy lights, some make-up and is better versed in lighting, posing, and flex. Average looks, body types, and careers are no longer good enough in the culture of constantly celebrity.
So we are now directing all this energy upon ourselves, this pressure and judgement. And we are expecting things from others, positive reactions, while simultaneously evaluating them continuously and sending vital energy. Some take the posture to simply be happy for another if they look like they are having fun or success. This is the best strategy from a life happiness perspective and an occult energy one. Wish everyone well. Yet other’s will trigger our own issues, values, judgements and insecurities, on a level never done before when we were dealing with others mostly in person. We are all getting the star treatment of thoughts and emotional barrage at various points in our day, even just on a small scale, but not all of us are artists channeling it to fuel our next work. Those who are unconscious about it all fare well, as they don’t notice much either way, even though they can still be affected. Those who are sensitive to energy and critique fare the worst, as they feel it acutely all the time. Those with magickal training can at first shield, and at other times transmute and use it on some level. There is no such thing as bad energy if you can transmute it. But it is worth the effort of transmuting? I learned a few techniques long ago to help me take the drama of community directed towards me and turn it into money, health, and strange bits of good fortune. But the continual strain of doing it, of constantly being “on’ be it posting and living out loud and online, or managing the energy of such things, as we direct it towards others, or receive from ourselves, is exhausting.
As a magickal practitioner you can go through various stages of being more circumspect with energy exchange, then become all embracing and engaged, back to circumspect. You create your own little energetic ecologies and biomes, often only tenuously connected to a greater whole. Then you open it up for a while and close it down again, in cycles.
On a spiritual level, it deeply bothers me to see among practitioners of the holy arts. There is a necessary phase of boosting self-esteem, yet online culture has many stuck there. The constant desire, seeking and reception of approval is an addictive thing, but the initiate must ask “What’s next?” to become the adept. We must often build up the ego before we can discern its proper use, particularly for those who have had unhealthy childhood structures with abuse or chaos. You can’t start the process of transcending it, and living from a more sublime perspective if you don’t have an ego to transcend in the first place. But some mistake the self-esteem building as illumination. The healthy and balanced ego doesn’t need constant reassurance. Notice the de-evolution of metaphysical celebrities who are more known for their image, controversies, and social media muck raking rather than their teachings, techniques, or art.
Most with a deeper mystical experience realize that to find illumination, you need to build a container, and gather a certain level of life force energy, and direct it towards the next attainment, the next illumination. There is a real reason why the Abramelin Operation ask for sequestration from the world to “enflame thyself in prayer.” While that doesn’t work for the majority of us (though current circumstances might make it an ideal time to try), modern magicians need to gather that vitality in other ways. Fritting away life force routinely in social media dramas, while fun for someone for a time actually keeps us as arm chair occultists. We require a certain critical mass to make a permanent change in consciousness. I think of the teachings of the very flawed Carlos Castaneda, and what are actually very true teachings on self-importance and how much energy we expend trapping ourselves in a circular internal dialogue of self-importance, even when we are deprecating ourselves in an unhealthy way. There is a level of ego to beating yourself up by constantly reviewing your mistakes as much as there is in self-praise and remembering triumphs. We have to go through process to release the energy we have trapped in our past and release the energy trapped in worries of our future. Intention is fine, but excessive unhealthy repetition is not.
Sometimes a desire to be public and transparent with the world destroys intimacy with those next to you. When everything is a press release, an announcement, what do you have to share with others? While I am a big believer in the esoteric idea of global consciousness, it works in layers, building up from the individual, intimate, the local, the regional, national and then global. Interwoven are our sub-cultures and magickal orders. We can have a tougher time building “like mind” in a magickal group, coven, circle, or lodge when we can’t “keep silent” or know when certain things should be kept private to ourselves, and to our group. Its a fine balancing act to find the point of helpful sharing and the unhealthy level of seeking approval.
The cocooning of Covid-19 has made me deeply aware of it, both in the pause of life as usual, to feel the shift, and in perhaps a more intense amount of time online, to keep in touch with loved ones. I’m making the conscious decision of when and where to expend energy on how I look, or photos I take, and that it is not necessary to document every thought, action, feeling, and relationship. I remember, and invoke privacy. Just as Necessity, Truth, Beauty, Love, Strength and the Good are living virtues in magick, I think Privacy is becoming more and more an entity to honor in my household. I think of the three gates of speech – Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Am I adding to the amount of information, and energetic response, in meaningful ways that benefit more than just me. Or am I adding to the chatter, the noise and not signal. Am I harming, or limiting myself? Am I harming another? Silence. Stillness. Reflection. Charity. Humor. These have all been guideposts in navigating the media, social or otherwise, in these times. And that has helped ease the strain of energy in the time of continual celebrity and the psychic response.