The Importance of Franz Bardon for the Future of “Anthroposophy”***
***[ I experience that word as referring to a scientific Method of Cognition, while – for me at any rate … Spiritual Science is the Content. And like any science, we are free to disagree with Steiner, and let him be a human being, who had, and created again: karma.]
Wikipedia: “He was born in Troppau (Opava), Austrian Silesia. Bardon continued his work in the fields of Hermetics until 1958 when he was arrested and imprisoned in Brno, Czechoslovakia. Bardon died from pancreatitis on 10 July 1958 while in the custody of police.”
The lore is that he was also imprisoned by the Nazi’s in WWII. As an occultist, he would draw the attention of government agencies that would like to “use” him. If he didn’t give them what they wanted … Being a magic artist of the spirit, he hid in plain sight, having a career as a stage magician. His three books were first published, in German, in the 1950’s.
Divine providence led me to Bardon, about a year and a half into the change of personalities. In my early thirties, and living in the magic school of SF and company, I remained somewhat of a materialist, which was where Joey’s agnosticism was a primary tone in our shared soul-body. I read a book on the Magic of Findhorn, and became convinced that magic was real, which truth would account for certain unusual events that had already happened in my biography.
When I finished reading that book, I went for a spirit walk, seeking an object – that had become lost (stolen). My pretend wizards staff, decorated by my hand, – a five foot wooden treasure found in Yosemite Park. I did not expect to find it, but the idea of it was in my soul as I took a walk in the Berkeley neighbor were I lived. The spirit-walk involves coming to choices of direction, and making it up out of the intuition of the moment.
Within two blocks I was walking by a tiny bookstore that I frequently passed, but never visited. The window was full of used “poetry books” and books on the study of “literature”. The door was open, and leaning against an outside wall was a tall narrow bookcase, with a couple dozen books, and a sign: “Occult”.
I looked for a book on magic. There were none. I spoke loudly to the person behind a far counter in the back, and asked him if he had any books on magic. He said no, and then as I turned he said: Wait a minute. I just got this today, holding up a yellowish cloth covered used book.
I walked back to him, and when he handed the book to me I looked through it, and given that mostly I thought of ceremonial magic as how magic was done, this was obviously the book: “The Practice of Magical Evocation”. This contents page was pointed, and brief – one full page, sort of captured below,
“Introduction; Part One Magic; Magical Aids; the Magic Circle, Triangle, Cencer, Mirror, Lamp; Wand; The Magic Sword, Dagger and Trident. The Magic Crown, Cap and Magus-Band, Garment, Belt Further Magical Aids. The Pentacle, Lamen or Seal; The Book of Magic Formulae; In the Domain of the Spirit Beings …
… 12. Intercourse with the Beings, Genii and Intelligences of all Sphere’s by Mental Traveling; 13. Magical Talismanology, Epilogue, Part Three: Illustrations
The beginning page number for “illustrations”, in the copy I have now, is: 333. There are almost five hundred of these “sigils”, taking up about 160 pages, which are used to do ceremonial work. Several are very elaborate. Most … not simple, but basically just a line or two, with curved and straight parts. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigil
The book seller asked for $7.50, and that was exactly the amount of all the “money” I had in the world, at that given moment. Easy choice.
The subtitle to this book is: “Instructions for Invoking Spirit Beings from the Spheres surrounding us” There are about 112 pages of exact descriptions of the names of the beings, to which the sigil is a help in forming a connection. These are organized according to the Zodiac, as well as the Planetary spheres. So we might find different entities for Venus, or the Moon, or the Sun, whose “house” was in so many degrees of Aries.
In the above work he explains that one must “become familiar” with up to Step VIII, in this first book – “Initiation into Hermetics”, if we want to succeed with this guide to ceremonial evocation. The subtitle to that book is “A Course of Instruction of Magic Theory and Practice”.
“IIH”, as his Facebook followers call it, is 300 pages. The exposition of the Theory takes 40 pages. There are ten steps to practice. Each step is divided into three parts: Magical Mental Training; Magical Psychic Training; and, Magical Physical Training.
His third masterpiece is also the most mysterious in a way: “The Key to the True Quabbalah”. The subtitle: “The Quabbalist as a Sovereign in the Microcosm and the Macrocosm”. 270 pages, 30 pages of Theory, and then 210 pages of Practice.
For those interested in Eurythmy, the practice includes a study of each “letter”. These all appear to have an individual arrangement of sound, color, feeling, and idea, although some letters share certain aspects as do others … their particular combination is unique.
It is helpful to observe the basic structure of all three books. First Theory, and then the Practices by which we prove the Theory to ourselves. After about five years of reading and rereading these books, I met Steiner through his books. Then – almost ten years later – Tomberg. In IIH, at the time I starting read Steiner, I was learning to whole body breath in and out elemental fire, via Step III practices.
Like most of us, I spend a bit of time looking back over my biography. One of the riddles I‘ve been working has been how to give some order to the experiences that the Mystery has put me through. As to Bardon, and Steiner, and Tomberg, … I see them as a threefold revelation in the Good and the True. Not separate, or rival Ways, but one whole Way. Yet, King’s stream, not Shepherd’s.
Steiner teaches a path of initiation – via Cognition, as a scientific discipline (a new thinking). Tomberg teaches a path of initiation, as mystical and magical self studies of our Feeling perceptions. Bardon’s way of initiation trains the Will.
It is not necessary to master all of what has been offered. Still, a good library should include all three of Bardon’s books. Plus a fourth – for fun – book, not Bardon. St. Germain’s wonderful “Practical Astrology”, the ancient Egyptian version, which makes one system out of tarot, numerology, and astrology. Amazon has it.
Next: Bardon Made Easy.
There exists all manner of stories about magic and such. I use the word “lore” to identify a source more in the nature of delights for the imagination, that do not have to be believed, yet are a kind of teaching themselves For example, tales about magicians often have them chasing sacred books on “powers”.
In the lore of magic books there is the idea of secrets. Layers of secrets. To read such books is to be on the lookout for a puzzle or two or endless. An intentional puzzle. Makes the reader have to be awake while reading.
The main secret unveiled by Bardon, is the teaching of the meaning of the name of God: the Tetragammaton, or Yod, He, Vau, He.
In most modern schools, the history of science will cover those prior ages where the terms: fire, air, water, and earth were taught as the basis for material reality. These schools will assert that that way of looking at reality is not true. From Bardon we discover that fire is the symbol for will; air the symbol for intellect; water the symbol for feeling; and earth the symbol for consciousness.
It is called: the Key of the Elements. Ancient lore from India, to which Bardon concurs, is that the elements are born in the Akasha – the realm of causes – from which they descend in this order: first will-fire (Saturn); then intellect-air (Sun); feeling-water (Moon), and consciousness-earth (Earth).
The most important Step in IIH is – obviously – the First. The training only asks that you sit quietly, at least five minutes a day, on a regular basis. Faced just with earth-consciousness, we might contemplate the idea that this state we call “experience” is a consequence of a woven melody of will, intellect, and feeling.
Another crucial training-task is to learn to do full-body pore breathing of the light. So there we are sitting, and we can attend to the breathing, but add this magical nuance: light takes up ideas, and we can do a practice that imagines that the light that is breathing in and out of your whole body can contain a wish. Practice reveals that the simplest wishes are the best. I breathe in life and light, and breathe out disease. The former I imagine as coming from the cosmic periphery, and the latter is what my body eliminates on a regular basis.
The main experience to acquire is of the “vital force”. Try not to breath, and you will feel this living power. “In It (the Word) was Life, and the Life was the Light of the World”. St. John. “The river of living breath is flowing through the sun. He was there before the earth began” Moody Blues
The effect of this training is to become more awake in our ethereal body. Given that the ethereal realm of life and light is also the world of thought, for the anthroposophist seeking the mysteries of cognition this work is an aide.
In the magical mental training of Step I is the idea of learning to follow a train of thoughts for ten minutes. It is harder than we “think”. The untrained mind wants to jump around from concept to concept, with many of the connections missing. The mysteries of the use of the “intellect” are there to be discovered.
Step I Magical Mental Training: 1) thought-control, discipline of thoughts, subordination of thoughts.
Step I Magical Psychic Training: 1) Introspection or self-knowledge 2) Making of the (black and white) mirrors of the soul.
Step I Magical Physical Training: 1) the material or carnal body 2) the Mystery of Breathing 3) Conscious Reception of food 4) the magic of water.
Most all of us have morning Rites. These habits are ritual-like, and can be accomplished with a whole other self-chosen conceptual character. Bardon’s remarks on the “ideas” in the words above, give great depth to the understanding of the magical nature of ordinary life. When we leave our place of rest, and go into the world of rush rush rush, the inner skills – slowly developed with our morning ritual – can be applied the rest of the day.
A critical morning process is that on awakening we brush the skin everywhere – a two or three inch wide paint brush (hair based, not plastic) takes care of that. This opens the pores, and may result in a need to release water. After the brushing, we wash, by a hand-cloth, the whole body with cold water – no soap. This is not an immersion, just a washing away of various nighttime pore excretions. Then we dry the whole surface of the skin with a rough towel.
Keep in mind that the skin is the largest sense organ by far. As we are the microcosm, we might imagine the “skin” to be the materialization of the world of the stars. While the physical body has a peculiar shape, the ethereal body is rounded. From George Adams’ wonderful: “Physical and Ethereal Spaces”, we are led to the idea that ethereal space is infinite, while material space is finite.
This waking up the flesh increases the sensitivity of the consciousness, such that after a while of daily pore breathing of the light, even if just for a few minutes, allows the attention to have a more holistic experience of the material body. We don’t just imagine the breathing in of the life and the light, we start to feel it directly, everywhere. Bardon points out that we must leave the breath to itself. We just feel it, aka: the vital force, or in Steiner, the body of formative forces.
The watery nature of the material body allows for spiritual currents and waves to be generated into the ethereal, through thought. The pore breathing, left to itself, unites the various sensations we are experiencing in the moment. The back ache merges with the rising and falling of the chest, every aspect being interconnected.
Do this everyday, when possible, and the consciousness begins to discover order in the apparent chaos of how it feels to exist. Stuck in traffic? Pore breath. Draws us into the Present, and thus less agitated at being stuck.
Ceremonial Magic is everywhere. If we read Bardon carefully, we discover that ceremony can be as simple as crossing one’s self, or chanting, or making circles of the thumbs and forefingers.
The Gate-Steps (each a labyrinth and maze) in Bardon’s books are a necessity beginning, as most of us have hungers that are seldom leashed. Wish magic, remember. When I put up my videos on Youtube: “On Becoming a Real Wizard”, many correspondents thought of magic as powers. They wanted spells. This in spite of the first video talking about a “wizard” is one who has a wise head, and a wise heart. A person who is a student of reality.
In that first one (or the second) I introduced my audience to Steiner’s “A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe’s World Conception.” I still get complements. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBCW9MyliMM&list=PL4CAB86F6A9E5F238&ab_channel=JoelWendt
In a not so obvious way, Bardon points to a certain idea. Often we will find many sentences where the magician in training is called a magician. Once in a great while, Bardon uses the terms: “the meditating scholar”. We read the books, at our own pace – we become familiar with the basic ideas.
During our Rite, we can apply what we are learning as possible, when we are just “sitting”. In my own practice of late (two years ago, over the period of the Holy week at Easter, I reread IIH, and took copious notes … During this scholarship, I made a single copy of all the Magical Mental Training Steps.
We, as meditating scholars, can then move forward in this realm of spirit (mental = spirit; psychic = soul; and physical is the corporeal body. The scholar, who practices the Mental Training Steps, can advance in those disciplines faster then the others, as long as they continue the work of the black and white mirror, which involves self-determined moral achievements. Magic itself is neither black or white, but rather the question involves the “use” and application of the practices. If I wish to harm someone with magic, this will impede mental or spiritual development in the sense of the quality of our actions. As Baron puts it: Magic is like a knife, and the way we use it has consequences.
Vertical integration Magical Mental Training
Step I: 1. Thought control, discipline of thoughts, subordination of thoughts
Step II: 1. Autosuggestion or the secret of the unconscious 2. Concentration exercises: a) visual/optical. b) auditory. c) sensory. d) olfactory. e) taste.
Step III: 1. Concentration of thoughts with two or three senses. 2. Concentration on objects, landscapes, places. 3. Concentration on animals and human beings.
Step IV: Transplantation of consciousness: a) into objects, b) into animals, c) into human beings.
Step V: Space-Magic READ FIRST, and read often ~!~!~!~ the center of the book (and system) is here ~!~!~!~
Step VI: 1. Meditation on the own spirit. 2. Becoming conscious of the senses of the spirit
Step VII: Analysis of the spirit with respect to the practice.
Step VIII: 1. Preparation to mental wandering. 2. Practice of the mental wandering. a) in the room, b) short distances, c) visits to friends, relatives etc.
Step IX: Practice of clairvoyance with the help of magic mirrors: a) seeing through space and time, b) distant effect through the magic mirrors, 3) different tasks of projection through magic mirror.
Step X: Elevation of spirit to higher levels.
[Hint!: the best magic mirror is our own consciousness, just as the best magic circle is the thumb and first finger.]
Recall that in The Practice of Ceremonial Evocation, Bardon says that to have success, we need to have to “become familiar” up to the level of Step VIII: Preparation to mental wandering.
The meditating scholar can experiment. Theory, then Practice. The book on ceremonial evocation can be used to give some self-chosen order to our regular Rite. We can download a copy in PDF form, which means that we can search the book. Suppose we wanted to know something about electricity. We do a search for that word, which will lead us to specific spiritual beings, say those whose area of expertise is electricity, among other virtues.
For example, we can begin the study of this phenomena, following a prayer to the higher beings, where we ask for a specific being to aid our search for knowledge, through intuition. We don’t think about the evoked genius … we think about our riddle.
Steiner made us a bit dependent upon his thought, given that he was human, and capable of error. Here, with Bardon, we find ways to personally go to the source.
In the Theory section of IIH, Bardon points out that his books are but a trickle of the available wisdom, and the student should aspire to knowledge on multiple levels. For Steiner folk, we have Goethean Science, a treasure most have not studied, because our leaders don’t know their value.
Goofy? Magic actions I have undertaken, when under the influence …
I had taken some window-pane LSD (high quality), and was awake the whole night, out of my body. Mostly there was a lot of noise, many voices, seeming to give advice, but … at one point I recalled an elaborate image from Bardon’s book on evocation. The name of this powerful genius is: Aschmunadai.
We came toward each other, in a scary rush. I felt as if I would disappear. Fear drove me to run the other way, as it were. The event spoke: You are not at all ready to meet me.
One day I took some type of powerful drug, whose name I cannot recall. I was laying on a mattress in my basement hovel, and at one point my body began to shudder. I let this process go on for a while, when all of a sudden large air ducts from the nearby furnace crashed to the dirt floor.
California was experiencing a severe three year drought, especially in the Bay Area near SF. I went with a friend, to a party about 60 miles north, on a commune. The friend and I enjoyed sometime away from others, using a blanket.
Far in the distance, I saw three small clouds. I prayed to them to bring water. A little bit later we had a slight soft bit of rain. I took from my pack a small glass jar,
and went to a nearby stream, freshly rained upon, and filled the jar with its water.
The next day, back home, I walked to the Berkeley U.C. campus, going to the well known Eucalyptus Grove … in the center which is a small open area, with some fallen trees to sit on. A small stream, that is still allowed to run through the campus, passes by the Grove on its journey.
I took the water that I had collected, spoke another prayer, and poured it into that stream.
Three days later, after dark, while I lay on my back … drifting mentally, when the loudest thunderclap I’d ever heard broke a hole in the sky, and rain poured down in floods. Lightening hit transformers in various places, and people lost power.
At the moment of the power loss (learned of this much later), a woman of intimate acquaintance was in an elevator in a hospital, on her way to deliver a baby girl, to be named: Sage. The elevator she was in, stopped right after the thunderclap, which was heard all over the Bay Area. Fortunately, the hospital generators kicked in and the birth was successful.
One day I was working off some overdue rent, by painting out an apartment, where a smoker had lived for over twenty years. The liquid nature of the paint was pulling out brown nicotine spots everywhere.
At one point I took a break, lit a joint, and stared out the small window in the bathroom at a quite cloudy sky. I did an experiment. I formed a picture in my mind of a triangle, and into that triangle I projected a sigil image from Bardon’s text on evocation.
Immediately I saw forms in the chaos. They were frightening – skulls and bones. I had a hard time dismissing them.
As a consequence of these experiences I realized magical evocation was not something to play with. Fortunately, I was at that time getting deeper into Steiner, and the Goethean scientists. So I wisely abandoned wizardry for spiritual science.
All the same, the skill at pore breathing has grown. I recently had a V-tac event (heart racing), and the doctors talked me into allowing them to put in a defibrillator pacemaker, in the left side of my chest. My body rejected it, … the wound would not heal. Visiting nurses could see wires through the wound, so it was decided to take the object out.
This last procedure left a larger wound, which healed quickly … to the point that the supporting home nurses were quite surprised. I didn’t tell them that many times a day I was pore-breathing life and light into the area of the wound.
For folk, who do hands on healing work, Bardon’s IIH teaches how to transfer the light, via ourselves, to a client. In order to protect them from unbalances within us, we first take in the light, without releasing it – seven times. Only then do we “channel” the life and light forces from the cosmos to the client, keeping in mind the “idea” we wish these ethereal forces to incarnate.
The meditating scholar will soon discover that the highest power is knowledge.
Very helpful, thanks JW.
I’ve considered I(ee)-a(ah)-o(oh)-u(ooh)-e(eh) (the five pure vowels) and Iod-He-Vau-He add to that the in and out breaths
which I take as
eee-aah being the spirit exhaled in creation and
oh-ooh-eh as the human comprehending/inhaling that creation.
Prof. Roman Jakobson (MIT linguistics) found that the sequence of the five pure vowels spoken on the same base tone, and including overtones, is a descending
Lights, camera, action? Eh of course is “up against it.”
Bardon’s take on the four elements is also helpful.
I term them the “four design elements.”
I guess the chemical elements then are the musical mystery tour.
John H Beck
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