Correspondence from February 16th 2002
>Firstly I would like to say that your Rite of Ritual Defecation is by far and away the best piece of literature I have read in quite some time.
Heheh thanks :)
>On a more serious note, I was hoping you could help me out. I have a burning magickal interest which has filled me with so >much enthusiasm that I'm fit to burst. My problem is this: there are many texts on all kinds of occult and metaphysical topics >out there, but I have real trouble learning without any kind of schedule. I have recently started an online course in astral travel >which I have added my own touches of energy work to, but aside from this, I can't find any way of applying exercises to my >life without some sort of syllabus. I have taken your advice and ordered Initiation into Hermetics, but I was wondering if you >could recommend some way for me to apply certain practices into my life for the development of consciousness and psychic >abilities. Right now the only practices I perform are daily banishing (LBRP, BRH), the ritual of the middle pillar, a basic >energy meditation and the beginning exercises of the astral course. Apart from that, I just cant seem to apply any kind of >other exercise on a daily basis that I can stick to. Maybe I'm just complaining about something that I will sort in my own time, >but who knows.
It takes energy to do anything. This fact is particularly noticeable in any magickal practice. If you've worn yourself out during the day with any type of physical activity or even other forms of magickal/energy work, then you'll probably find it difficult to add on any more practices to your daily schedule. As it is, it sounds like you're doing a lot of daily work with LRP/BRP, middle pillar, and other meditations/exercises. If it were me doing them, I'd probably be pretty tired by the time I finished all those (if I was doing them properly, that is) and wouldn't have much more to give in order to effectively perform any other exercises or workings. Since you expressed an interest in Bardon's works and you've ordered "Initiation into Hermetics," I will recommend this:
Continue with daily banishings. The LRP isn't bad to do once or twice a day. The BRH is usually reserved for higher ranking members of G:.D:. based groups (adeptus minor level minimum), and some would say that it isn't good to mix in right away if you don't have a lot of experience in magick. (As it is, most people don't understand the symbolism of the BRH so performing it in rote fashion doesn't really help them much.)
Continue with the Middle Pillar ritual. It, along with circulation of light exercises, has a lot of similarities to some Qi Gung practices and can really help boost your energy and ability to manipulate energy. You may also notice yourself rarely getting sick when others are ill around you after a while of daily Middle Pillar practice.
I'd recommend holding off on other energy exercises beyond that for now, especially if you plan to work in the Bardon text. Bardon takes you step by step through each stage of the process, and he explicitly states that it isn't good to work with other forms of energy (such as elemental) until you've gone through the first few steps and balanced yourself out according to his 'program'. The reason for this is, for example, if you have an imbalance toward fire and you're constantly irritable/angry/hyperactive, then invoking elemental fire into yourself will only exaggerate that problem. Always follow and work through each of Bardon's steps IN ORDER and WITHOUT SKIPPING ANY STEPS. He'll teach you how to project astrally as well, but later on in the book - after other necessary preparation work has been accomplished. In my opinion, his course of study is the best because he begins at the true beginning, involves every aspect of your body/mind/spirit in the process of learning, and doesn't leave out any of the necessary preparations/exercises for truly impressive magickal development. You'll have to force yourself to set aside time each day to perform the exercises he describes, but I guarantee you'll be far more impressed with the results of studying his work than with anything else available today (that includes most big-name occult Order material). I wasted a lot of time years ago trying to pursue Crowley's ideas, symbolism, and practices, until I was taken under the wing of a person whose very direct methods closely resembled those of Bardon's. That's why I'm so excited about Franz Bardon - my 'teacher' had never read any of those texts in his life, but had been taught similar methods and techniques (only without the Hermetic bias and often through astral sources) - they were highly effective and didn't rely on rituals. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Bardon's works and first saw the great similarities between his methods and my mentor's! It felt like I had my friend/mentor back with me again, ready to fill in the gaps and complete my training.
Magick is, at its core, a psychic activity. With frequent practice and study of the book you'll soon be in possession of, you'll be able to run circles around practitioners of other systems in most practical applications. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to master the exercises (after all, there is no hurrying true spiritual development) - continue until you do and you won't regret it. When you're ready to progress to the next stage, then pick up the accompanying books 2 and 3 "The Practice of Magical Evocation" (very useful - the theory section explains all the stuff that almost NO other books explain to you - makes real evocation much easier once you understand the actual methods behind the lengthy and unnecessary conjurations found in most incomplete grimoires) and "The Key to the True Kabbalah" (useful to a point - has interesting ideas on 'letter essences' and could be used to relate to runes and even some aspects of enochian research). It's unfortunate that these books tend to be so expensive, but in contrast, they're practically the only books you really need to become successful as a magickian and build a good foundation for future practice.
I hope some of that helps out. Feel free to read the rest of my website and borrow ideas for your own practice if you like them - some of them might answer a few more questions. If there's anything else you'd like to know, just ask and I'll see what I can do to help out.
P.S. you can probably ignore Bardon's occult anatomy ideas in the Theory section if you wish - I don't actually use them anyway, preferring other methods based on medical (and some oriental) science. Also, here is a clarification on some of Bardon's terminology:
Magnetic fluid = the abstract/philosophical/spiritual basis for elemental water
Electric fluid = the abstract/philosophical basis or essence of elemental fire
He's from the older German occult schools of thought, and sometimes his terms are a little different from other modern authors.
P.P.S. - Be sure to read through the websites (available on my links page in the Bardon section) of William Mistle and Rawn Clark on Bardon's system. Their commentaries are EXTREMELY helpful and informative.