by Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle
We have many souls. Our consciousness is a matrix of many selves, some personal and some collective. To be, one level of our awareness has to pass through the collective of our ancestry. Another has to pass through the spirit of the land, and in the larger sense of place, the nation. At one time, in some places, the ancestral and national souls were more closely linked, but today they are different functions. There is the cultural lens of our ancestry and the lens of our land. Likewise a part of us must pass through the spirit of the time, what some might call the zeitgeist soul, that also reveals our generational influences.
The tendencies of the zeitgeist are often revealed through our slowly moving outer planet placements, generational influences that affect us all personally. The continual movement of the outer plants triggers experiences for the older generations interfacing with the new generational forces manifesting.
Today’s astrologers might classify the modern generation by Pluto, with Pluto in Leo = Boomers, Pluto in Virgo/Libra = Gen X, Pluto in Scorpio = Millennials, and Pluto in Sagittarius = Gen Z. A simple start, but Uranus and Neptune also play a role.
While everyone in the planet is dealing with the same outer planet placements and generational waves, they look different in different places. How we express it will also be through the lens of our nation, state, town, and even neighborhood. One in a technologically advanced country will manifest forces differently than one who is not.
The interface, the relationship, between the overall national consciousness with our ethnicity adds another layer to the experience. Are we immigrants? Descendants of slaves? Descendants of colonizers? Indigenous? All have different relationships to the national soul and its power structures.
We are all participating with these levels even if we are not aware of it. They are the background forces of the daily personal experiences, but they shape the world. If we are more conscious, we can choose how we participate in these forces and even choose to resist or reform them into different manifestations.
I think of the radical reshaping of even the last ten to fifteen years. How did I start my day without my phone? What was life like back then? I think of the speed at which everything happens and wonder if it’s a virtue, with the changing attention span more often diminishing despite so much to learn.
It’s no secret I often have critique of some of the cultural changes as they play out in modern magickal community, but in truth every generation has its magickal problems. The key is flowing with and harnessing the patterns that are there, rather than seeking the nostalgia of the past and what is comfortable for your own generation, finding new expressions for cultural forces to draw them away from what you see as harmful or corrupt.
I’m often concerned that the drive for public status and fame will diminish opportunity for magickal attainment in practice, despite so many more magickal educational resources being available. The perfect selfie and the popular “hot take” become more important than the actual practices. Considering all opinions valid, both informed and uninformed, creates a culture where the idea of the actual practice of Witchcraft as a requirement for Witchcraft, rather than the simple declaration or aesthetic alone, becomes a controversial stance.
I observe new forms of tribalism growing strong and just as dangerous as some of the old. The massive spell that is cast, the mesmerism of social media, used to simultaneously inspire and horrify, connect and divide, is a starring act of both technology and well, magick, even if they don’t call it that. I wonder about the ethical and moral duties of the online influencer, and what spiritual responsibility they have when pushing the culture and community in a direction by participating in particular behaviors.
To keep vital, one must participate in the growing culture of the family origin, place, and time. While you can choose to separate from some aspects, they are the world we were born into, and we must deal with its ever-evolving nature. We were born here for a reason and have our work to do. If we are not actively connected in some way, we can’t resist the changes we feel are harmful, speak out, or model new ways and bring forth the wisdom of our generation. If we are still alive generationally, we still have some part to play in the story. But we also have to know when to back off, when we are not the leads in the story. So we find ourselves in a strange dance with our culture as we grow older and face the newer generations. We still have a personal relationship and life, but not a growing framework to relate to the ancestral soul, national soul, and zeitgeist soul. We have a deeper relationship with the collective.