Lazy Bear's Wizardly Emporium
division of extremely arcane matters
Wizardry in the modern age is a Lost Art. It should not be mistaken for magic. The wizards of the fantasy books bear no relation to true wizardry, which in point of fact, as most everyone knows who wants to know, means wisdom. A wizard is a wise man, or at least one who seriously seeks wisdom. Occasionally in human history, a wise man knows the Arts Magic, since to pursue wisdom means in part to pursue learning, and the Arts Magic were and are something one not only could learn, but in more ancient times their understanding was a necessity. All of my websites concern learning, and in this particular portion I reflect on the Arts Magic.
My main research website, "Shapes in the Fire", concerns seeking after a wise understanding of human political and social existence. My main political website, created when for a time I put on the costume of a statesman, is called "some thoughts on the nature of public life - and an offer of service". And last, but certainly not least, is my website concerning the practice of statecraft by the citizenry: "Celebration and Theater - a People's Art of Statecraft". Oh. Then, of course, there is my weblog: Hermit's Weblog: everything your mother never taught you about how the world really works.
As in much that has happen on my particular path toward learning and wisdom, I was blessed by a remarkable Grace, which led me, when the time was meant for me to study the Arts Magic, to Franz Bardon.
There are two Bardon essays here. One immediately below, dealing with my personal relationship and a second essay: the third magi, concerning Bardon's general relationship to modern occultism, in particular modern attempts to reanimate the old mystery wisdoms, such as Wicca etc. In addition, there was a long dialogue on an e-mail list, to which I belonged at one time, concerning the work of Aleister Crowley. I have made a page of my comments here.
A few final words on Wizardry...
A modern wizard has no need for powers, although the dream of powers is a common enough fantasy. The Divine Mystery does not need for humans to have powers in this Age, although it does hope for certain forms of mastery. Mastery of the Shadow in the Soul is one such power the Divine Mystery hopes for us to seek, and with that some Craft, perhaps even Art, in the use of the Gift of the Word. These are hard enough goals for any human being, and while somewhat difficult, they are frequently more easy to attain than many might think, for the real question involves turning one's heart and mind in the right direction, honestly facing the right questions: How do I learn Mastery of the Shadow in the Soul? and, How do I discover the Way to create with the Gift of the Word?
There is much hidden in obvious places in our lives. We have, for example, a fascination with Dragons, and a modern Wizard is one who has learned that our true human spirit, when freed of its social and karmic encrustations, is a Dragon. We are Dragon's on the deep inside, as Ursula LeGuin has shown through her use of the Gift of the Word, in her six novels placed in the fantasy world of Earthsea. It was his Dragon that Gandolf revealed to Bilbo in the first Lord of the Rings movie, when Gandolf seems to grow larger and larger and loom over that oh so small Hobbit while he struggles with his Shadow. It is our Dragon self that knows how to Master the Shadow, and who knows the nature of True Speech. We are magical beings in essence, bits and pieces of the Divine Mystery - Dragons out of ancient lore, wise, deep, flying and fire breathing beings of great power and immortal hearts. We have had to forget this for a time, in order to raise our Dragon Nature from mere instinct into conscious choice and action. As someone said recently in the social activism movements: It is not our weaknesses we fear, but our power.
the mystery of
Franz Bardon, hermeticist, or
- what I've learned after over 20 years study and practice -
by Joel A. Wendt
Warning: to whomever reads these pages and is not intimately familiar with Bardon's three books (see below). Much that appears here will not be understandable, and may in fact seem altogether incomprehensible. After all, who in their right mind would imagine that magic could be real. This part of my cyber-home is not for the idle curious. Nevertheless, those who have some interest in aboriginal spiritual ways, or Magick, Wicca, paganism, and other attempts to reanimate the older spiritual pathways, may find what is below to be an invaluable aid in their work. Those who are passionately against such things, who disparage the "new age" without any real understanding of it or the people who pursue these realities with great forces of heart, you nay-sayers are invited elsewhere...there is nothing for you here.
Introduction: Years ago, I read a book called the Magic of Findhorn. Prior to that time, except for some odd experiments and experiences, I was very much a rational materialist; and the idea of the magical seemed nothing more than a pleasant foolishness. At this particular time in my life, I was transitioning from an interest in Tibetan Buddhism and becoming more and more fascinated with the views of Native American Medicine Teachers, particularly the works of H. Storm (see below for details). While both above points of view had their magical aspects, I was mostly interested in their pyschology, their understanding of mind - of inner life.
However, on reading the Magic of Findhorn, I decided to investigate these magical matters more closely and personally. I approached this quest in the following way:
I had years before, after a trip to Yosemite National Park, made, out of some fallen wood I found there, a magical staff - more as a kind of joke (so I thought). I had painted on this staff reproductions of three major arcana from the Paul Case Tarot, which were based on a reading done for me by my younger brother (he also thought we were "playing"). The cards and their "significance" are as follows: "Inner self" - the Zero Card - the Fool; "Outer self" - the Nine Card - the Hermit; and, "Life Destiny" - the One Card - the Magician. Subsequently, this staff was borrowed by a friend, and taken to Ho Chi Min Park in Berkeley, CA, and was there stolen.
With this in mind, since I was going to investigate magic, I decided to leave my house and go on a "spirit walk", looking for the lost staff. My understanding of a spirit-walk is to walk without conscious choice of direction, following only the mood of the moment, but having no intended goal. Within two blocks of my house, after making about three arbritrary turns, I found myself walking by a bookstore, which I had passed by many times before, but had never gone in, because the window only displayed poetry books, in which I had no interest. This time I turned into the store.
On my immediate left was a small narrow bookcase, which had a small hand lettered sign at the time, saying, "Occultism". I looked over the books for something on magic, but found none. I spoke up the clerk, who was in the back of the store, "Do you have any more books on magic or occultism?"
"No", he said, so I turned to leave. "Wait", he said, and when I looked back he was holding up a yellow cloth-bound book, which seemed to have been right in front of him all the time. I walked back and looked at the used and worn book, examining the table of contents and flipping through the pages. It seemed to satisfy all that I, as a complete novice, could have asked for in such a book. The clerk wanted $7.50, which was all the money I had in the world at that time. I handed it over and he gave me a first edition English copy of The Practice of Magical Evocation, by one Franz Bardon. (I never did find the staff. All the other Bardon books came to me in similar ways. One fall, several years later, I had to sell all my magic library to put food on my family's table. I now own the books in the purple cloth-bound editions.)
Some General Comments: When needed, the references to Bardon's works will be made as follows: page number, then text (i.e. p.23 - Initiation); with Initiation meaning: Initiation into Hermetics; Practice meaning: The Practice of Magical Evocation; and Key meaning: The Key to the True Quabbalah.
I do not consider alleged biography of Bardon, Frabato the Magician, to be legitiment, regardless of its stated provenence. It may well be, I have no occult knowledge to the contrary, but I do not like its style, it seems more imagined fiction then a reflection of a lived life and and such a life's real moral dilemmas. Further, the material in the back which purports to be notes for another book - a perhaps fourth leaf from the Tarot - lacks the subtle and very very dry humor of the originals. It seems more like someone else's ideas of what Bardon might have said, and adds almost nothing to what has not already been better stated in the original three volumns. Even the reference to abstinance from sex seems out of place, because this problem is certainly implied in Initiation, and yet was clearly and appropriately left to the practioner's own choice. As the essay below unfolds, the reader familiar with Frabato will come, I believe, to understand better my reluctance to include it in the masterwork which the main three texts represent.
It is also necessary to place Bardon's works within the general field of occult liturature, which of course will ultimately be a matter of personal taste. Those, who become familiar with the whole of my cyber-home, of which this essay is only a small part, will realize that I have been strongly influenced by Rudolf Steiner (the founder of Anthropsophy or Spiritual Science); Valentin Tomberg (a one time anthroposophist, then later a Roman Catholic, and finally the anonymous author of: Meditations on the Tarot: a journey into Christian Hermeticism); Hyemeyohsts Storm (author of Seven Arrows); the Moody Blues and their wonderful music and lyrics; and, Chogyam Trungpa (an authentic teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, and founder of the Naropa Institute of Boulder Colorado), in addition to Franz Bardon.
Some Additional Remarks: First, regarding my own experiences. Once I had a copy of Initiation, I worked rather diligently for about three years, achieving a early morning daily exercise period (sitting in the asana) of about 1 and 1/2 hours of uninterrupted concentration and exercising (meditation in the magical style; explicitly implying by this that there are a number of meditation styles of which the magical one, as taught by Bardon, is only one). I was working at inhaling the elements, Step III, when the circumstances of my life suggested a change of emphasis. As this is a crucial matter, I will describe it in some detail next.
In my outer life I was working at a repetory cinema (not first run movies) in San Francisco, as a theater manager. I had become curious, due to my studies of Bardon, about the spiritual and occult properties of plants, and had been looking in the various bookstores in Berkeley California, where I was living, for appropriate texts. One afternoon I chanced upon a book of lectures by Rudolf Steiner, called (the) Agriculture (Course), at Shambala Books, and bought a copy, going then across the street to the Mediterranian Cafe to begin reading it. The book so impressed me within the first lecture, that I immediately returned to Shambala Books, and bought two more Steiner "lecture cycles"; the Gospel of St John, and the Gospel of St Luke. [for a sense of my state of mind prior to meeting Steiner, see the long poem lazy bear's spirit song]
I will not say this was a decisive turning point in my life, for that would be untrue. Rather, it was one more major transition on a very strong learning curve that had begun, in my early thirties, with psychological work in the California of the late 60's and early 70's, transitioning to studies of Tibetan Buddhism (Chogyam Trungpa), then to Native American Shamanism (Storm's Seven Arrows), to Bardon, to Steiner, to Tomberg. These are merely the highlights; and, in the course of this work, I have never really left anything behind, just tried to take the best of what I had learned, and what I might keep learning and find some way to integrate it all and find the whole truth of it. Trungpa, for example, convinced me early on, that the best way was always to decide the truth of a thing for one's self (see his: Meditation in Action), and this has remained a basic guide post.
Steiner, to give another example, spoke of the Gospel writers as all being initiates of varying degrees and therefore writing about the Christ Events from that individual perspective. They are all looking at the same thing, which I will indicate in a basic way, as the truth, but each perspective is different, as if each stood at a different place on the same mountain. This is the way I look at Trungpa, Storm, Bardon, Steiner, Tomberg and so forth; they are all initiates of different streams, and speak from these individual perspectives.
Returning to the moment of transition from Bardon to Steiner ... The first week after acquiring the Steiner books, I was reading them at the Larkin Theater (I had quite a bit of spare time), when during my usual hourly rounds (check the theater - walk through, show a presence) I stopped at the lobby ticket counter, and began to make the hourly count - making sure the number of tickets sold corresponded to the change in the cash register - when a very unusual man walked up, and we began to have a conversation...
I had seen him once before, at least, in the theater, sitting in a seat, with his eyes closed. He was dressed the same as before. He was short, mature - silver haired - and wore tan (working) pants and shirt, with a dark blue windbreaker. In the pocket of his shirt were two or three large cigars, and tucked under one arm was a small oblong case (like a tiny flute case) wrapped in newpaper and tied with string. I began speaking to him in a rather casual inane way, inquiring after his need for senior citizen tickets, about his cigars and so forth as I carried out my count. In the beginning he was not looking up at me, but downward. As he was, perhaps, only five foot four (and I am six feet). I could not initially see his face.
When he spoke, it was really rather shocking, although in a very subtle way, because it was clear that his voice was resonating from his whole body. This is difficult, of course, to imagine, but I know that if you had heard it, there would be no doubt about it. I immediately glanced up from my paper work, and he looked at me at the same time. When our eyes met I was inwardly thunderstruck! I felt, at the deepest part of my soul, that my whole inner self was completely naked; what I was, what I felt, what I thought - all that stood revealed to him in an instant.
But this was not all. His eyes were completely clear. The iris's were bright blue, but that aspect of the eye, which is the white part for us, was completely clear - transparent, like the eye of a cat (excluding the cat's iris, which is an elongated oval shape rather than circular like a human iris).
After buying a ticket, he interrupted my irrelevant chatter (I was logically speechless, but not quiet), and said to me: "Don't you want to do something about that?"
With great intelligence, I replied "huh?"
He repeated himself, to which I responded with an even greater clarity: "what?". After which, he repeated for a third time, saying: "Don't you want to do something about that" and then gestured with his arm, vigorously pointing to the world outside the glass wall of the front of the theater.
Then he turned and walked into the theater proper. Once, months later, I thought I saw him from the back, when I was riding on a bus in downtown San Francisco, but, otherwise I never saw him again. [Lest one be tempted to think, this is a bizarre and isolated event, I suggest that they listen to the English rock group the Moody Blues, especially the eighth album - Octave; in particular the references in the first song to meeting a man whose eyes were clear, who taught of a magic stream, and how the apple grows; and then the following song which speaks of being "under moonshine, that's where I'm seen..." - see below about the different planetary qualities]
Of course the question for me was what does this all mean, leaving aside for the moment, who the heck he was etc.
From Steiner's part of the mountain, it appears that spiritual ways or paths are intimately connected to particular qualitative aspects of the landscape of the invisible world. It is possible then to speak of different systems as having a connection to the Saturn Quality, or the Moon or the Sun, and so forth. From this point of view, Buddhism and Magic are Moon wisdoms, Christianity and Anthroposophy are Sun wisdoms, and Native American Spirituality is a Saturn wisdom. [for more about Sun matters, see also on my cyber-home: The Message from the True White Brother]
After years of wondering about the mystery of this encounter I have discovered two aspects to it. One aspect is that at that particular moment in my own path, I was transitioning from Saturn and Moon wisdoms (Trungpa, Storm and Bardon) to Sun wisdoms (Steiner and Tomberg). The second is that a Being - I hesitate to say a man - appeared to me and blessed this transition by reminding me of something that I had lost during the political turbulence of the 60's and 70's, namely the belief that something could be done about the World. I had, as many had, retreated into deep spiritual practice, my soul bruised and bloodied by the battle with the dragon that occurred in those years. Yes, I did learn afterwards, that I still did care and still did want to do something about the World.
Besides my websites listed above, another ripe fruit of that subsequent labor is found on my cyber-home at: Strange Fire: the Death, and the Resurrection, of Modern Civilization.
So, after I began my studies of Steiner and all that followed, what did I do with Bardon and his work? This is next.
A Problem of Time: Steiner produced over the course of his life several dozen written texts, as well as over 6,000 lectures, many of which have been transcribed and published. In addition, his inspiration has resulted in an outpouring of books from others. In order to take this phenomenal treasure in, and give it the time it most certainly deserved, required some degree of sacrifice. I also, in my outer life at this time, entered into a second marriage and fathered, ultimately, two more children (bringing the total to five). Thus, slowly over time, I ceased certain elements of my Bardon practices, and replaced them with work following after the pathway pioneered by Steiner and his associates.
It needs to be clearly understood that Steiner was not offering merely a different spiritual point of view, but a fundamental alteration of one's inner life, by bringing to it a greater awakeness on multiple levels of soul and spiritual perception. Just the reorientation required by actually understanding, in practice, his philosophical writings is a major undertaking. See in this regard, again elsewhere on my cyber-home: pragmatic moral psychology and The Quiet Suffering of Nature. (I see no point in repeating these matters here.) In addition, to learn the practice of goetheanism (also pointed to and begun by Steiner), which is a whole new phase in the development of science, is again a work in itself (see again The Quiet....above). Since my own impulses had to do with deepening my understanding of social life, I was faced with the problem of trying (but not fully achieving in a satisfactory way) to translate goetheanistic observation and thinking practices into a means for greater perception of social and political realities. See in this regard, also on this aspect of the aether-loom:Threshold Problems in Thinking the Threefold Social Order; The Social-Spiritual Organism of a Waldorf School Community; and Basics of a New Social View.
Returning to Bardon...What I decided to try to keep, after this time, is the first step (Step I, Initation) practice. This is not as easy as it seems. If one understands the creative possibilities offered in this Step, then unusual opportunities arise. For example, a certain time of day can be set aside, best in my experience immediately after rising, when the rest of the household and the world are still quiet and resting. The brushing of the body, the washing of the eyes and body, the stretching, a certain amount of meditation and prayer in the magical style, to which can be added, at the end of the day, some purposeful reflection and work in a diary - all this can be done in a ritualistic fashion, so that every gesture and movement and accompanying thought carries forward and reflects that matters of concern and study of the moment.
This is difficult. The mind wants constantly to wander, the gestures to be semi-conscious. So that in bringing creative discipline to Step I, Initiation, there is a great work to accomplish. Tomberg, in his Inner Development, writes of the effectiveness of the rhythmic repetitions, slowing building the course of development, small step by small step. In Bardon (p 255, Key) we have this statement: "Rituals, too, have normally to be repeated 462 times, in order to make the necessary volting so strong that it works automatically."
Eventually even this did not satisfy my spiritual needs and was dropped in favor of something more oriented toward Steiner, but here we are talking of changes in practice that occured over many many years. What Steiner brought forward was a new way of understanding and practicing thinking (see my essay regarding a recent speech given on Emerson and my own practice).
Returning to my more intimate studies of Bardon's work - I probably read each book in detail at least a half a dozen times, and have returned to them again and again at various necessary intervals, I was eventually able to see - in all life experiences - how, certain phenomena, both inner and outer, also reveal the universal laws, as described in Bardon's work. You could say, that because of my studies of Bardon, whatever I looked at, whether Steiner, goetheanism, or whatever, I could always see an additional dimension to it, corresponding to the key of the elements. And, of course, always meditation, but even more crucially thinking itself, what with the added dimensions brought by Steiner and Tomberg - that is reaching for a unity of Saturn, Moon and Sun qualities in the work; but more especially, how one lived in the course of the ordinary day. This was where all my questions centered. How did I live among my fellow men? With what qualties of soul and spirit? Everyone's answer here is no doubt, in fact must be, individual.
Certain decisions accompanied this process. Some are decribed above, others, to follow, are more related to Bardon; for in the course of my own wandering development I discovered in Bardon's texts, a second level of meaning. Let me begin this next part with a concrete example.
"All this clearly shows that a true magic circle is really the best means to practice ceremonial magic. The magician will always find that the magic circle is, in every respect, the highest symbol in his hand."(p 27, Practice)
The above statement follows a very long and beautiful description of various types of magic circles, how they can be constructed and the significance in the meaning of the circle, as well as its point as an aid in ritual magic.
Let us now picture inwardly, with the imagination, a meditating magician, siting in his asana, and holding his hands - the palm up, with the thumb and first finger finger tip to finger tip, making the symbol of the circle - "...the highest symbol in his hand".
No more ceremony is necessary. No elaborate cloth, no waving of wands or knives (as in Wicca), only the forming of the fingers into the appropriate symbol. All that is needed to aid the consciousness in guiding it to the significance of the circle is contained in that simple gesture, which is pictured throughout the Orient as one element of mudra (hand ritual symbolism) (see also Bardon's own indications concerning ritual and gesticulation - Step IV, Initiation).
Let us continue with a look at the symbolism of the triangle, which Bardon refers to next...
At the end of the section on the Magic Triangle:
"Following the principles which by now are already well known to the magician, each power or being will only have effects within the spheres into which it has been called and in which it has been condensed. This means that, for instance, a being projected into the mental sphere will naturally not be able to influence the physical world, but will only become effective in the mental world." (p 31, Practice)
When sitting in the asana, with our arms and hands arrayed so that we are relaxed and can form the symbolism of the circle with our fingers, the arrangement of our head, torso, arms and hands, forms a natural triangle. We are that triangle, and our soul - our inner world - exists within the triangle, and we can, if we act properly, call into the mental sphere there encompassed those beings which we wish.
This should be enough hints to get the general picture, but so that there is complete clarity I will elaborate.
In the Bardon texts, it appears to me that, there is at least more than one level of meaning, and the level which one finds is accord with certain qualities as those manifest in the reader. These levels should not be construed to by higher or lower, but rather what is appropriate to the individual needs of the practitioner and the assumptions and desires that each individual brings to the text. The text then, and perhaps this explains the seemingly odd quality of the writing, functions like a mirror does, granting to the reader that meaning which he already intends to find.
Those, who seek for powers and intercourse with strange beings, will find their way following Bardon. Not only that, but if they follow his guidance carefully, they will find their way without falling into all the dangerous side paths, which have historically marked the byways of the practice of magic.
Those who seek a deep path of meditation (the reader intimate with Bardon will recall how often he makes a statement such as "...the meditating magician..." or "...the meditating scholar...") will find, again, the best guidance if they accept Bardon as the teacher of the way to practice the magic style.
Having reached this point, it will do to add some additional considerations.
At a certain point in my own practice I began to wonder about what kind of relationship I wanted to have with the beings of the invisible world. Much of Bardon's language describes the magician as one who is obeyed. This implies to me that the magician was to see his will as dominating the will of the being which was to be evoked or otherwise communicated with. Since I had earlier reached the conclusion that I did not want to have such a relationship with any human being - a relationship where my will ran over their freedom (except, in certain circumstances, such as children and others in need of special care), with what justification did I desire to command the hosts of the invisible world? How could I want to force an invisible being to have contact with me against its will? What kind of relationship was that?
I had no doubt it was something which could be done, at least as regards lower levels of invisible beings, but did I think I had, or could have, the will forces to command, for example, Archangel Michael?
[Since originally writing these words, I received some correspondence from one, Aaron Gage, who gently reminded me that a deeper idea lies behind Bardon's thought above concerning the "authority" of the magician and beings of the invisible world. Aaron puts it this way:
"Bardon points out in 'Practice' (to use your abbreviations) that in order to carry out successful evocation, the neccessary conditions (element, colour, vibration etc) for the being to be evoked must be created by the Magician himself. If this is not followed and the being (which manifests itself of it's own free will) must create the neccessary conditions the Magician's authority would be completely destroyed and the Magician would be in possible danger. This is but one example of Bardon's warnings regarding having control over the being during evocations, so as to avoid such dangers. So firstly such control is not meant to be used to influence the being, as I am sure any true initiate would not do so, and Bardon points out in 'Practice', that most beings are only to happy too help a true Magician of high authority, be within their range of influence and power."
My thanks to Aaron for deepening our understanding of this matter.]
Gradually I began to let go of the idea, incorporated into my consciousness through comic books and other immature depictions of the life of a magician, of having powers and commanding principalities, and in this way began to understand the admonition in the Bible concerning the dangers of contact with such members of the invisible kingdoms.
As these matters started to slide away, another vision of the possibilities began to appear. The magic style of meditation could enable one, depending upon one's maturity and forces of will, to learn mental traveling for the purpose of advancing human civilization. In such a case, what need was there to force an invisible being from its natural realm into the physical world, merely to show my power over it. Could I not, instead, develop myself sufficiently so that I could rise up, into the invisible world, and there, as a neophyte among new friends, find out in what ways I could make a contribution to the elimination of human suffering?
"Considering the universal polarity rules of good and evil, active and passive, light and shadow, each science can serve good as well as bad purposes...All depends on the character of the individual." (p 9, Initiation)
Having developed now, I hope quite clearly, the idea of individual interpretation of meaning and its significance in the study of Bardon's works, I would like to take up one last theme. For those who want to pursue the philosophical justification for this point of view concerning meaning and intention, thought and experience, I direct them to Steiner's: The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception.
Who Was/Is Franz Bardon? Certainly someone carried this name in life and, from what little I have read, left behind a normal trail and evidence of experiences - such as personal relationships and so forth. I have not personally made an effort to know Bardon's real biography, although, as indicated above, I do not regard Fabrato the Magician as equal to the task.
Those who are familiar with the life of other modern initiates, know that each of them has had, as well, a personal teacher, someone who did not become a public figure, but remained out of the light, and served as a helper and guide to the one whose destiny it was to write books and give lectures and perhaps acquire living students.
Bardon makes no overt hint as to this, yet he does continually make reference to what he calls "Divine Providence", a concept not unknown in ancient or modern times. We would do well, I believe, to recognize this as a hierarchy of beings lead by one High Being, a spiritual entity of deep and profound authority in the world, and who is not just some kind of karmic life coordinator. Divine Providence is not a law (even the so-called universal laws are the deeds of beings). It is only in the age of materialistic science that we have divorced the idea of force in the universe, from the idea of the will of Cosmic Beings. So there is a question: Who was the Cosmic Being who over saw the writing of these books, which books are, as Bardon himself has said, unparalleled in the field of hermetic occultism?
This problem gets a little more complicated. Over the years of my own reading, I have encountered two additional texts, which I believe relate to this question. The names of these books are Practical Astrology and Practical Palmistry. They are currently in print and published by Newcastle, and allege themselves to have been written by Saint Germain.
At first blush, one is tempted to dismiss the idea that the Count de St. Germain had left behind any written material at all, and that these texts must be, as is often the case with books of occultism, the works of someone else who sought to gain some kind of advantage by having their own work attributed to the mysterious St. Germain. However, when one makes a study of these books, the matter becomes more complicated because there is every reason to believe that only an initiate could have written them. I will deal with them in order.
Practical Astrology is, as it begins, just a very simple book of astrology, written with a kind of droll voice, the author not wanting us to take it all too seriously. Yet, there is no other astrology text existant (even the reborn astrology which comes from Steiner students, and which calls itself Astrosophy) that contains this material and is arranged in the manner of this text.
Everyone, who investigates occult matters, soon knows of the existence of tarot, astrology and numerology, rather individual systems, all elaborated in modern times in such a multitude of ways, that one could get quite dizzy trying to keep up with them. Most people have a favorite system, and a favorite author, if they haven't decided to invent their own way of doing it.
Practical Astrology, which declares itself to be the true method by which the ancient Egyptians practiced these disciplines, presents Egyptian astrology as a complete integration of the systems of tarot, astrology and numerology - not three systems side by side, but as an integrated - interpenetrating - single whole. This is not, by the way, through some kind of table of correspondences, as some modern texts will do, but rather, you can't do the astrology without first using the principles of numerology to translate the birth name appropriately, and then using what the author calls "fatidic circles", that advise as to where to place the planets and the relevant tarot symbols in the astrological chart.
These are not the only differences, there are many others. However, there is one unusual major one I have not yet mentioned, which is that the whole thing works without an ephemeris or other reference to the actual position of the stars! I have used this system only occassionally, there were too many other pressing concerns to practice it religiously, but it did clearly predict the one time I asked it for what is called a horoscope of revolution (a reading for the current year) that I would suffer a major illness (this in my 42nd year), which did in fact occur.
Practical Palmistry presents similar amazing elements. I will only give a few details. The author recommends to approach this science with a certain degree of discipline. When hands are examined, an ink pad and other materials should be used in order to obtain a palm print, which is retained by the practitioner so that study and skill can develop and assesments which are made can be reviewed and checked later against events as they happen.
The author further recommends that a magnifying glass be used so that no details are missed. It is not just a matter of the major lines and bumps, but of noticing the details which enables the practitioner to render a more specific appraisal.
In giving a theoretical explanation of why the hand can be used in the way tradition has suggested, the author asks the observer to notice that the patterns on the hand are quite similar to that pattern one might find in the sand, where the tides draw a river in and out of the ocean at the rivers mouth. The implication is that the pattern in the hand is the result of the plasticity of the body being imprinted with the inflow and outflow of the life forces which flow most strongly in and out of the body wherever it narrows itself down to points in its form. Students of Steiner will know that his researches into invisible realms gave him a great deal of knowledge about the etheric body, which is also called the time body and is said to contain, among much else, all the thoughts we will ever think.
Students of Bardon should realize that this flow is also the light which one is taught to work with in the initial practices of conscious pore breathing. In fact, for Bardon students wanting to appreciate more deeply working with the light, I recommend a thorough study of the work done by Steiner students on projective geometry, which is the mathematics of the etheral realm - the realm of the light. Examples of these texts can be found elsewhere on my cyber-home at: The Quiet Suffering of Nature.
Hopefully, from these brief words the reader will understand why I believe these books to have been authored by an initiate. Now to complicate matters even more.
In reading these books attributed to Saint Germain, and, as well, the books of Franz Bardon, I have constantly felt that the same mind (spirit) wrote all five books! The reader will of course have the arduous task of confirming (or not) these suspicions for himself.
So, who is/was Franz Bardon, and who is/was his guide and teacher?
Just for the fun of it (after all we have to be careful not to take ourselves too seriously in some senses and, of course, completely seriously in many other ways if we want quality to exist in our work, or morality, for that matter), let me take this all the way out and share with you my sense of these things at their deepest level. Consider this a kind of spiritual tale, as it were, not stated as complete truth, because I come to knowledge of these ideas in a derivative way - through reading the work of others. In assembling them into the tale below, it is also possible that I have made errors, so it all should be taken with a grain of salt.
Steiner, in various places, speaks of Christ as a Sun Being, as a Cosmic Being, who at one time had His abode in the spiritual Sun Sphere. At the beginning of the time of the Egyptians, the Caladonians and the Babylonians, this being was called Ahura Mazdo, by the Zorathustran mysteries of ancient Persia. This exhaulted Sun Being has as an opponent a dark god called Ahriman (See also my novel - partially completed and also on my cyber-home: Earth Ranger 2323).
According to the modern Christian initiates (Steiner and Tomberg) this Sun Being eventually incarnated in the body of Jesus, at the baptism at the Jorden, and lived on the Earth for about two and a third years, leaving behind profound and deep teachings, which are still not well understood or practiced.
From another point of view, the Christ, as a Sun Being, is carried by seven Elohim, true Sun Beings, as the Christ is, cosmically, of an even higher order than the Sun Sphere. During that period when the Nation of Israel was being formed from the various nomadic peoples of that region of the Earth, one of these Elohim sacrificed his Sun existence to become the God Yahweh, a representative of Cosmic influences that was to oversee the development of the Jewish race and its destiny, up to the time of the Incarnation, when the other six Elohim would bear the Christ into the Earth.
Are your with me so far?
Now one consequence of this is that the Yahweh Elohim becomes irrevocably bound up with the destiny of the Earth, which itself is of a whole other order than Cosmic existence. This Elohim, having sacrificed his Sun existence is now connected to the Moon Sphere aspect of the invisible world's landscape - that Sphere which is most concerned with condensation and materialization. In a sense, this being - the Yahweh Elohim - must follow the path of the elements, it is tied to the elements. This being the case, it is no wonder then that the practice of magic, as a system of initiation, is based upon the tetragrammaton, the YHVH, the four pole magnet, the mystery of the elements; and, therefore, it is this Elohim who oversaw/sees, at some level, the work of St.Germain, Franz Bardon, and that circle of co-workers, which includes all modern students of Bardon.
My own view is that it is the Yahweh Elohim that stands behind Divine Providence, and who graced me with a visit one day to send my still too lazy behind packing onward from the stream of wisdom he/she/it personally oversaw and into the one, the Sun wisdom, to which his brother Elohim are now connected to due to their relationship to the Christ.
The reason I share this material is that I want to encourage not only a deeper study of Bardon, but the broadening of that study to include much else besides. And further, I want those who wander into these pages and actually get some sense from them, to realize that we are not alone, and that all that we do on the Earth is seen by Cosmic Beings, who are waiting for us to again turn to them, but now, as fully conscious individuals and out of complete freedom. They cannot speak to us, unless we make a place in our hearts and in our meditative life for just this kind of communion.We ought never to command their presence, and probably will never deserve their grace, but surely they will find a way to work with us, if we but seek to learn love.
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