A Response to “Franz Bardon – True Guide or Deceiver?”

A Response to “Franz Bardon – True Guide or Deceiver?”

There is an article on the internet that I periodically receive questions about. It’s called “Franz Bardon – true guide or deceiver?” and is an attempt to portray Bardon’s books as dangerous guides that aspiring magicians should avoid. While it is well and good to warn others about books containing genuinely dangerous ideas, the criticisms contained within the article are founded on what can best be described as a combination of objectively false beliefs and misinterpretations of the contents of Bardon’s books.

In order to avoid having to discuss these beliefs and misinterpretations with every single person who emails or messages me about this article, I figured it would be a good idea to write one piece that does this job, and which I can send to anyone who asks me about this article in the future. In writing this piece, it is not my intention to express any form of disrespect nor animosity towards the authors of the article, and to the best of my ability, I have tried to word things so that my statements are as cordial as possible. At the same time, however, I do feel a need to clarify what needs to be clarified, and to correct any significant objectively false statements about Bardon’s writings found in the article. My efforts to do this come solely from a desire to promote truth and help confused aspirants acquire reliable information about the options available to them for magical training.

In this piece, I do not intend to address every single criticism the authors of the article make regarding Bardon and his training system. Some of these criticism boil down to Bardon’s system of terminology being different from the authors’ system of terminology. I do not comment on these criticisms because most people should be aware that each teacher of magic often has his or her own unique system of terminology, and that terms in one system may not have the same meaning as terms in another system. The important thing is that Bardon’s system of terminology is coherent enough to explain the teachings he wishes to convey to his readers in an intelligible manner. I also do not comment on criticisms I consider to be inconsequential. For example, at one point in the article, the authors state that Bardon’s teachings are not really Hermetic. Whether or not they are Hermetic is unimportant. What is important is whether or not they serve as a valuable guide to adepthood. In PME, Bardon explains what the term “Hermetics” means in his own idiolect, and his use of the term is consistent with this meaning; but again, this has no bearing on the practical value of his system.

Franz Bardon and His Books

In the section of their article following its introduction, the authors take issue with Bardon’s comments on the Tetragrammaton. The source of their issue with Bardon’s comments seems to be that their interpretation of Bardon’s comments conflicts with their own beliefs about the Tetragrammaton, which appear to be based on the writings of Helena Blavatsky and Eliphas Levi. They are especially critical of how Bardon mentions an association between the Tetragrammaton and the God worshipped by the Jews.

IHVH is in fact a name by which the Jews know God. This is objectively true, and since Bardon was using the term “Tetragrammaton” to refer to this name, as is extremely common practice, what he says regarding the Tetragrammaton is objectively true. As for the God of the Jews supposedly being an angry and jealous God, this is a fair source of concern if the God of the Jews plays an important role in Bardon’s system, as is the case. Let’s examine this further.

According to Daskalos, the Christian tradition is a continuation of the Essene tradition. The Essenes were different from other Jewish groups like the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees, whose beliefs and teachings heavily influenced modern Judaism, believed in and taught the doctrines found in the books contained in the Old Testament, which do state at times that God is angry and jealous. The Essenes used their own versions of these books. The difference between the Essene versions and the versions used by the Pharisees is that the Essene versions were purified of the verses espousing incorrect teachings about God, including the verses claiming that God is angry and jealous. In other words, the God of the Pharisees and the God of the Essenes (and Christians) is the same God. The Pharisees just had some wrong ideas about this God, which they developed over time, and these wrong ideas were eventually incorporated into their versions of the scriptures. There is only one God, whom the Nicene Creed refers to as “the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.” It would be wrong to say that there is an angry and jealous God of the Pharisees/Jews and another loving and merciful God of the Essenes/Christians. The God of the Pharisees, despite whatever wrong ideas they may have developed about him, is the same loving and merciful God that Jesus Christ, the Logos incarnate, taught about. It is this God that Bardon is referring to when he describes his system as a “path to, and union with, God” in the epilogue of IIH. As for Old Testament verses describing incidents that appear to support the idea that God is jealous and angry, we must remember that much of what is written in the Old Testament, according to both Bardon and Daskalos, is symbolic. Bardon mentions the symbolic nature of the Old Testament books when discussing the formula “M-N-D” in KTQ. As for Daskalos, whenever he discussed the symbolic language employed in much of the Old Testament, his go-to example was Exodus 2:12. According to Daskalos, the Egyptian whom Moses killed was not a literal Egyptian man, but his own identity as an Egyptian. In other words, it was at this moment that Moses stopped identifying as an Egyptian and began identifying as an Israelite.

Initiation into Hermetics

The authors of the article begin their section on IIH with the assertion that two of Bardon’s statements about the book contradict each other. The first statement comes from the introduction to the book – “I would never dare to say that my book describes or deals with all the magic or mystic problems.” The second statement also comes from the introduction – “No incarnate adept, however high his rank may be, can give the disciple more for his start than the present book does.” Contrary to the assertion of the authors, these two statements do not contradict each other in any way. Furthermore, they are both true.

The first statement – that IIH does not deal with all the subjects pertaining to magic or mysticism – is obviously true because there are an infinite number of subjects pertaining to magic and mysticism. A book that deals with all of these subjects would have to be infinitely long. Such a book would be useless, rather than useful, to the aspiring magician. If you tried to load the book as a PDF on your computer, your computer would crash. If you tried to borrow a physical copy of the book from your local library, you would not be able to carry it home. As for the second statement – that no one can give the aspiring magician more for his start than IIH does – this is also true. No one can give the aspiring magician more for his start than a balanced and complete training system, and what IIH gives to the aspiring magician is a balanced and complete training system. Two true statements cannot contradict each other, so there is no contradiction here. However, even if one or both of these statements were false, there is no reason to think that a book that does not cover every subject relating to magic and mysticism cannot give more to the aspiring magician than any adept can. Thus, there is still no contradiction.

After discussing the aforementioned two statements, the authors of the article ask where a student of Bardon’s system can turn to if they are in need of guidance. What they do not seem to realize is that in Bardon’s system, figuring things out for oneself is considered an essential component of magical training. Yes, we do have resources like online forums and the writings of genuine adepts like Rawn Clark and William Mistele. However, the sort of magical training that Bardon has the student working through entails dealing with karmic challenges that are always unique to each student who aspires to become an initiate. There are numerous passages from the writings of William Mistele that can shed light on this subject. One of them is the following passage from his essay “Problems in the Study of Magic, Part II.”

What happens is that serious magical practice accelerates your karma. Maybe in your life cycle over a thirty or forty year period you will have to come to grips with conflicts involving well-being versus insecurity, vulnerability versus self-confidence, love versus hate, trust versus suspicion, compassion versus selfishness, clarity of mind (even enlightenment) versus disorientation and domination, wisdom versus obsession and folly, inspiration versus depression, commitment and dedication versus stagnation and lethargy, etc.

What the magic does is that you find yourself confronting these issues not over the next thirty or forty years but in the next two or three years. It can be a heck of a ride. Do you take to drugs or alcohol? Do you get depressed, anxious, distracted, or hyperactive? There are all sorts of programs for working with various addictions and/or obsessions. Perhaps you moved a little too fast in your training but now you decide to slow down and catch up on your homework–round out your personality, gain more balance, and shore up the weak areas in your emotional life.

But some of these karmic problems you have evoked into your life through magical study have no solutions within this age of the world. This means no psychologist to turn to, no minister or priest, no mage or sage, no psychic healer or shaman is going to have the faintest clue as to how to help you. Oh, they will suggest all sorts of things and offer you remedies that give you temporary relief. But the study of serious magic (the kind that puts you in touch with creative and divine power) is not like Alice Bailey imagines in one of her images—you discover on your path that there are many other fellow students beside you and with you as you cross over a spiritual lake as the fog lifts in the morning. No, magic is not quaint, warm, and reassuring.

Following their questioning of the individual nature of Bardon’s system, the authors of the article assert that the magic Bardon teaches is grey magic rather than white magic. As Bardon was always encouraging his students to obey the will of God, it is clear that he was training people in white magic and not in any other form of magic. In fact, the structure and substance of his training system is such that those who seek to use the abilities they develop for egotistical ends will not make much progress. There are numerous passages in the writings of Rawn Clark that make this very clear. One of them is the following one, from A Bardon Companion, in which Rawn discusses the transplantation of consciousness exercises of Step 4.

The true magician will ask permission from the other being before initiating this most complete stage of transplantation of consciousness. Every object or being is capable of expressing (in one way or another depending upon the sort of consciousness the object or being possesses), its willingness or unwillingness to participate in this most intimate sort of melding. If you ever try to violate the privacy of another being by overwhelming their unwillingness, it will be the last time you do so. This is a very high form of magic and if violated or abused, it will retreat from you and remain elusive till you redeem [Quite literally, “re-deem” means: to give new meaning to, or return the original meaning to, something.] the negative karma this act will naturally incur.

Another relevant passage is the following one, also from A Bardon Companion, in which Rawn discusses the astral exercises of Step 6, which involve working with akasha.

Bardon states, and quite truthfully, that you will be able to manifest any desire from within the Akasha. What he doesn’t mention, and assumes you will realize, is that when you reach this stage of development, what you desire will look very differently than it does now. You will have no petty desires, and even if you did, you would not be able to manifest them through the Akasha. Please take heed of this if you are tempted to work with the Akasha before you are truly prepared, for you would only be wasting your time and you can easily cause yourself some pretty nasty karmic consequences. Remember, the fact that the Akasha is the realm of cause and effect is what gives it its power over the Elements – and, it is also what makes it so dangerous for the unprepared dabbler.

Anyone who reads Bardon’s writings will know that he places great emphasis on the moral development of the aspiring magician. The reason for this is that unless the aspiring magician possesses a high degree of moral development, he will be unable to safely practice many of the exercises at the intermediate and advanced levels of training. This high degree of moral development ensures that no magician who has properly worked through IIH would abuse the magical abilities and magical knowledge they have won through many years of intense training, but would always use such abilities and knowledge for the benefit of others. If this isn’t white magic, then I am not sure what is.

Following their discussion of whether Bardon’s system is a system of white magic, the authors of the article present what is, at least for me, the most confusing set of statements in the entire article. These are the statements they make regarding the image of the Magician card painted by Irina Novakova. Based on my reading, it appears that whatever ideas they present about Bardon’s system in these paragraphs are ultimately based on three beliefs, all of which are erroneous.

  1. Bardon’s system is based on raising Kundalini.
  2. Sex and the genitals are the center of Bardon’s system.
  3. Incorporating sex into one’s spirituality is inherently unwholesome.

The reason I state that these passages of the article are the most confusing of all is that I do believe the authors of the article at least read IIH before writing their article, but it should be obvious to anyone who has read IIH that Bardon’s system is not based on raising Kundalini, and that sex and the genitals are not the center of Bardon’s system. It appears that, for unknown reasons, the authors of the article came up with their own interpretation of an ambiguous symbol in Irina Novakova’s version of the Magician card and based their beliefs about IIH on this interpretation rather than on the contents of IIH itself. If anyone is interested in the role (or lack thereof) that Kundalini has in Bardon’s system, the comments of a genuine adept who has worked through Bardon’s system can be accessed here and here. As for the authors’ claim that spiritual systems based on the raising of Kundalini are black magic, this claim alone should be enough to discredit at least this section of the article. Paramahansa Yogananda considered Kundalini-based spirituality to be the fastest pathway to God. Ramana Maharshi disagreed, considering jnana yoga to be the fastest pathway to God, but he at least acknowledged Kundalini-based spirituality as a valid pathway to God. Swami Sivananda, a respected spiritual teacher, also considered Kundalini-based spirituality to be a valid pathway to God, and even wrote a book on the subject. And although Ramakrishna Paramahamsa primarily practiced and taught bhakti yoga, there are times when he engaged in Kundalini-based practices, as described in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. I do not believe any reasonable occultist would seriously consider Yogananda, Sivananda, and Ramakrishna to have been practitioners of black magic, but this seems to be what the authors of the article are implying. Furthermore, regardless of whether Kundalini is awakened and raised through exercises specifically designed to raise it, or if it is raised as a side effect of other spiritual exercises (as in IIH, Naqshbandi Sufism, and jnana yoga), it still must be raised as a necessary part of balanced spiritual growth. This is explained very well in Irina Tweedie’s book Daughter of Fire and also in Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee’s book The Face Before I Was Born.

Now, if the first two of the three aforementioned beliefs are erroneous (and they are), then the third belief is irrelevant. That said, I will discuss the third belief anyway. The authors’ negative view of incorporating sex into one’s spirituality appears to be based on a statement from the Hermetica. As Stephen Flowers points out in his book Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris, the texts of the Hermetica were not all written by one person. On the contrary, they were written by many people who often had views that contradicted each other. Thus, it is not a good idea to base one’s view of a subject as important as sex on one sentence from just one of these texts. As a Christian whose spirituality is heavily influenced by the teachings of Saint John of the Cross, I admire and agree with the view that one should not indulge one’s sensory appetites, and I applaud the authors of the article for mentioning this. However, I would like to point out that just because one is incorporating sex into one’s spirituality does not mean one is indulging one’s appetites. John of the Cross says many times that we should mortify our appetite for tasty food (when undergoing the active night of the senses), but doesn’t the Liturgy of the Eucharist involve eating? Also, as Thich Nhat Hanh points out in several of his books discussing mindful eating, including How to Eat, eating can be a sacred and spiritual activity. If eating can be a sacred and spiritual activity, why can’t sex? William Mistele has a great essay on the five senses, which can be read here. The section on the sense of taste gives insight into how eating can become a very profound spiritual activity. The second on the sense of touch gives insight into how sex can become a very profound spiritual activity.

Following this discussion of the image of the Magician card, the authors of the article take issue with Bardon’s statement that the aspiring magician should “concentrate absolutely on his body.” I agree that this is a poor choice of wording, but it should be obvious to anyone who even skims IIH that Bardon’s path does not entail concentrating solely on the physical body, so there is no danger that anyone will think this is what Bardon is advocating. Bardon is simply trying to emphasize the importance of maintaining good physical health. This is a very important thing to emphasize because there are many spiritual paths out there that approve of or encourage the abuse and neglect of the physical body. As for the authors’ additional comments on akasha and the higher self, all of these criticisms arise from the fact that Bardon does not employ the same system of terminology that the authors use. I myself could make a similar criticism, claiming that the authors of the article do not understand the prima materia because it is not the source of all beings either, but merely the means through which all beings take existence in the world of forms.

The final criticism the authors of the article make in their section about IIH is that Bardon apparently presumes that he understands Absolute Truth and therefore must either be a fool or a charlatan. Bardon makes no such claim, and when I read the section about truth in IIH, I do not receive the impression that he believed himself to understand Absolute Truth. On the contrary, in the epilogue of IIH, he writes that “the ways of Divine Providence are forever inscrutable.” These are his exact words. I am not paraphrasing.

The Practice of Magical Evocation

There is a lot to unpack in the ten paragraphs making up the section about PME. The first few paragraphs discuss the version of the High Priestess card found at the beginning of the book. I do not believe any criticisms contained in these paragraphs are worth discussing. I doubt Irina Novakova was trying to depict a sorcerous necromancer when she painted the card, and if I wanted to, I could also come up with my own interpretation of Waite’s version of the card in an attempt to portray it as evil. For example, in Waite’s version of the card, the black pillar and the white pillar are separate. Does this mean the card is implying that black people and white people should be segregated? Was the human rights movement spiritually detrimental to the human race? Was Waite a racist? Of course not! And of course, Bardon is not actually teaching necromancy or sorcery in PME, but on the contrary, warns many times against sorcerous and necromantic practices. Considering the authors of the article appear to hold Eliphas Levi in high regard, it should be pointed out that Levi (whom I also respect) once attempted to evoke the shade of Apollonius of Tyana using a necromantic operation. Bardon, on the other hand, went out every evening (as mentioned in the book Memories of Franz Bardon), to evoke the divine spirits listed in PME. In A Bardon Companion, Rawn writes the following.

Bardon has listed only a small few of the entities one can meet. The ones he chose to list here are ones that he contacted personally and who consented to having their sigils printed for all to see. These beings have also committed to looking favorably upon the sincere students of Franz Bardon’s works. Essentially, when one first uses one of these sigils, one works under the personal aegis of Bardon. In this way, Bardon has given a benefit or advantage to the beginning evocationist.

On this note, I have two comments. The first is that I know from personal experience that what Rawn has written is true. The second is that I believe many of the misconceptions the authors of the article have about PME could have been clarified if they had read the section about this book in A Bardon Companion before writing their article. According to their article, they did conduct a study of Bardon’s own writings, but this was clearly not enough to really understand his system. A study of the writings of the adepts who worked through his system would have also been a good idea. In lieu of actually working through the system, which requires a great deal of time, energy, and self-discipline (as does learning any art), consulting Rawn’s insightful and experience-based explanations in A Bardon Companion is the single best way to gain clarification on the content of IIH and PME.

Following the discussion of the image of the High Priestess card, the authors begin to present their criticisms of what Bardon teaches in PME. These criticisms appear to arise from two main beliefs.

  1. Practicing evocation will delay a person’s attainment of moksha.
  2. The controversy surrounding the names of the spirits listed in PME indicates there is something fishy about the book.

Regarding the first belief, I believe that much of Bardon’s system is reminiscent of esoteric Christianity. While practitioners of yoga may be driven by mumukshutva, practitioners of esoteric Christianity are driven by agape and a desire to further the Divine Plan. Daskalos was a great example of an adept working in an esoteric Christian tradition, and there are numerous similarities between his teachings and Bardon’s teachings. Daskalos once told his students that he would continue to incarnate as long as there were beings in the “worlds of separation” (samsara) who could use his help. The only thing he cared about was furthering the Divine Plan. Bardon was the same way. What is important is the Divine Plan, and by learning from the many wise and knowledgeable spirits listed in PME, magicians may become better servants of God and more effective in their endeavor to further the Divine Plan.

As for the controversy surrounding the names of the spirits listed in PME, I have two comments. The first is that while it is true that each spirit has a “name,” so to speak, it would be a mistake to think that the true name of a spirit consists of some sequence of phonemes. What genuinely esoteric texts and myths refer to as the true name of a spirit or being is not a sequence of phonemes, but something else. William Mistele explains this quite well in the following passage from his essay “The Presence of God, Part II.”

Fables and mythology speak of magical names. In the Old Testament, for example, the name of God was pronounced only the high priest and only once a year. In that highly ritualized and ceremonial tradition, a name properly spoken called forth the presence of the spirit it represented.

If you confront a demon or hostile spirit, a mythical beast, an archetypal image, or some unknown creature, you can overcome this being by knowing its magical name. The magical name is nothing else than containing within your consciousness the will, the dreams, the desires, and all that motivates and empowers the other at the core of its being.

To do this, you follow the desire in the other to its source and origin. You understand how the will in the other has been shaped and formed. You perceive the energy within it, what drives and moves it, and its strengths and limitations. This is an outstanding accomplishment. To know another’s magical name means that you are so present in the other’s strength and will that your opponent can only attack you by first turning against himself.

In other words, learning the name of a spirit is a metaphor for mastering the essence of a spirit by thoroughly understanding it. Like a lot of things in magic, this takes a great deal of time and effort, and is not as easy as merely learning a sequence of phonemes, which can be done in a second.

As for my second comment on the controversy surrounding the names of the spirits in PME, it appears that Bardon did not care too much about what names he gave to the spirits listed in PME, and for good reason. PME, unlike IIH, was written for people who are already initiates. In other words, they would know things that only an initiate would know, and that the casual reader would not. While working through IIH, the aspiring magician should have made contact with his Holy Guardian Angel, who in turn should have provided him with many key pieces of guiding knowledge, not all of which are contained in IIH. One key piece of guiding knowledge is hinted at in the eighteenth aphorism of the Arbatel of Magic, which was also written for initiates and not casual readers. To shed light on the value of this particular piece of guiding knowledge, consider this analogy. Say I wish to speak to the dean of Harvard Business School. I know that fifteen years ago, the dean was named Jay Owen Light, but I am not sure if the dean is still named Jay Owen Light (the current dean is actually named Nitin Nohria). Rather than requesting a meeting with “Jay Owen Light,” it would be better for me to request a meeting with “the dean of Harvard Business School.” Thus, we see why the author of the Arbatel gives the advice he gives in the eighteenth septenary, and why Bardon was not concerned with what names he put down in his book. Those who read the book and were ready to put its teachings into practice would know what they needed to know regarding what relevance or proper use names (in the sense of sequences of phonemes) may have.

The Key to the True Quabbalah

The section of the article about KTQ centers on a rather strange accusation, which is that Bardon encourages just anyone to experiment with the cosmic language. I am not sure where this accusation came from. Bardon states numerous times that one must have worked through the basic training presented in IIH before practicing the exercises of KTQ. In fact, as someone who has been corresponding with students of his system from many years now, I know that it is not uncommon for first-time readers of his books to get annoyed at how often he states this. As for the relationship between the cosmic language as taught by Bardon and the cosmic language as found in traditional Jewish Kabbalah, here’s what I’ll say. Just as a human language (e.g. English or Chinese) can have different dialects, the cosmic language can also have different dialects. But at the end of the day, the cosmic language is the cosmic language, and anyone who learns it will be able to employ Quabbalistic formulae for the purpose of helping to further the Divine Plan.

The section of the article about KTQ ends with a discussion of the version of the Empress card found in the book. The criticisms of the card in this section are based on the authors’ own interpretations and assumptions about the card. The presence of a square does not mean Bardon was emphasizing the material at the expense of the spiritual. This is an arbitrary and unintuitive interpretation of this symbol that was clearly contrived in an attempt to portray KTQ as advocating some materialism-based path, which it most certainly isn’t. As for the idea that there are correspondences in the card that are wrong, the purpose of the card is to illustrate the succession of levels of differentiated energy that arise from and through akasha. It is not designed to show how specific elements of one level correspond to specific elements of another level. This should be obvious from the fact that the order of each sequence of energies is simply some standard sequence. For example, the sequence of planetary energies follows the standard sequence of the Tree of Life, and the sequence of zodiacal energies follows the standard sequence of the zodiac. In other words, no attempt was made to rearrange the zodiacal and planetary energies so that they align with each other graphically. Bardon chose to keep things simple because there was no need to make things more complicated, even if a more complicated card may have been more satisfying, so to speak, on an intellectual level. The value of KTQ lies within its practical exercises, which are the means through which the initiate masters the energies shown on the card.

Frabato the Magician

The section of the article on Frabato the Magician does not really contain any criticisms of Bardon or his training system, so there is nothing to address here.

Conclusion

The main criticism presented by the authors in the conclusion of the article can be addressed by thinking about what William Mistele has written in the following passage from his essay “Teachings Methods, Initiation, and Esoteric Traditions.”

For me, secrecy is like someone guarding a few feet of sand on a beach stretching out into water a foot deep and advertising, “We can give you a taste and feeling for the sea.” Yes, they can do that and some do it extremely well. But what I am after are sailors who are adventurers and who are prepared to sail a sea which has no shores, a sea whose winds are ecstasy, whose waves are bliss, and whose depths contain the dreams and visions of eternity. This is what I believe is the scope of Bardon’s training system. It emphasizes discovery and direct, personal experience, an absence of secrets, and an endless process of transformation.

Exploration is never without its dangers. Ferdinand Magellan died before completing his voyage, and Ernest Shackleton and his crew almost died during their famed expedition to Antarctica. Sometimes when I discuss magic in my articles, I emphasize that the magic I am discussing is the magic Bardon teaches. The reason I feel the need to make this emphasis is that magic, for a large number of people identifying as magicians, is an attempt to obtain a taste and feeling for the sea. The magic that Bardon teaches, on the other hand, really is a voyage through “a sea which has no shores, a sea whose winds are ecstasy, whose waves are bliss, and whose depths contain the dreams and visions of eternity.” It is not my intent to romanticize the dangers associated with the sort of magic that Bardon is teaching through his books, but the magic of Bardon, with its exploratory nature, does often lead to groundbreaking insights and experiences, which in turn give rise to new forms of knowledge and wisdom that one can share with the rest of humanity, perhaps through books like this one or this one. This is especially clear to me when I read the writings of William Mistele.

Additional Comments

Without a doubt, Bardon’s system is not for everyone. There are many problems and challenges one will face in working through it, and as William Mistele’s articles and essays about these problems/challenges show (e.g. this essay and this essay), some of them can be very difficult and very intense, requiring an enormous degree of creativity and perceptiveness to solve. Some people are into that sort of thing. Others aren’t. For those who are trying to figure out whether or not Bardon’s system is a good fit for them, my recommendation is to spend some time researching what those who have worked through the system have shared with the world. As John the Baptist once said, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matt. 3:10). Any training system that produces genuine adepts who contribute to the spiritual knowledge and wisdom of the human race, as opposed to rehashing existing knowledge and wisdom, can be considered a tree that produces good fruit. Is the Bardon system such a tree? Each person should make their own assessment of the fruits by examining the writings of people like Rawn Clark and William Mistele. Aside from Bardon’s own books, Rawn Clark’s book A Bardon Companion is, at least for me, the most important book to study for those interested in understanding Bardon’s training system, whether because they are considering working through the system or only wish to write an article about it. In addition, the following essays by William Mistele also provide many useful insights into the nature of Bardon’s training system.

  1. A Commentary on the Step 1 Mental Exercises
  2. Problems in the Study of Magic, Part I
  3. Problems in the Study of Magic, Part II
  4. Teachings Methods, Initiation, and Esoteric Traditions
  5. The Earthzone as a Spiritual University
  6. The Venus Spirit Gomah
  7. The Shadow in Psychology and Magic

Before ending this response to “Franz Bardon – true guide or deceiver?” I want to share a few remarks about my own personal reasons for settling upon the path Bardon lays out in his books after a long period of exploring other paths. So far, I have based much of what I’ve written on statements made by adepts like Rawn Clark and William Mistele who are much more advanced than I am. It has always been my policy to do this because I still have so much to learn. But at the same time, I would like to give some thoughts of my own.

In IIH, Bardon writes that the aspiring magician “ought to be kind, generous and tolerant with his fellow men.” As I’ve mentioned in this blog post, I was an asshole all throughout my childhood, my teenage years, and my young adult years. But one of the things that really inspired me to cultivate kindness, gentleness, and respect for all people was Rawn Clark’s online behavior. There used to be a Bardon-themed Yahoo Group called BardonPraxis that was run by Rawn Clark. In the online occult/esoteric world, it’s not uncommon for egos to clash and this can result in things like heated arguments and condescending language. But most of the members of BardonPraxis, and Rawn Clark especially, were always very kind and respectful during their discussions. Occasionally, I would see incidents where someone would outright insult Rawn in a very rude manner, but Rawn always replied with kindness and respectful wording. As a young man who had been hoping to attain adepthood someday, I remember thinking to myself “Forget adepthood. If I could just learn to be kind and respectful to all people like Rawn is, that would be enough.” And so yes, working through IIH has allowed me to undergo many wonderful and spiritually enriching experiences, like meeting Cargoste and Itumo, both of whom are such incredible beings whom I’d call dear friends. But I think the greatest benefit I’ve gained from working through Bardon’s system is that, compared to how I was as a young man, I have learned to be much kinder, gentler, and more respectful towards all those in my life. I know this transformation is not just something I’ve imagined, since my own family members, as well several of my friends who have known me for well over a decade, have remarked that I am a different person now than I was back then. This for me is evidence enough that Bardon was no deceiver, but a true guide who helped me become a better and more evolved person.