An Introduction to Hermeticism
by Tanya Robinson
Before we investigate Hermetic Meditation, it is prudent to understand the origins of Hermeticism to fully understand all factors that are encompassed within this in-depth subject. I will endeavour to provide an outline comprehensive enough to gain an understanding of Hermeticism and to offer references to further study if required.
When we think about Hermetics, it is often associated with mystical phenomena, popularised by associations with Aleister Crowley, black magic, images of a wizard wielding a wand, or some vague connection to ancient Egyptian mystical knowledge.
For most of us, it is unclear what actually Hermeticism is, and has been often misrepresented and sometimes viewed with a degree of suspicion, reserve or perhaps even fear. This perception was certainly reasserted in the past due to remaining recondite to the general population.
For perhaps the first time since the Renaissance period, knowledge of the arcane mysteries now unveiled and readily available for those who wish to seek them. Interestingly, we can see a re-emergence of the occult sciences coming to the forefront of our consciousness again. Be it through movies and books entering into mainstream culture and popularised by such examples, including the best-selling Harry Potter novels, and Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Historically, the arcane mysteries were kept hidden from public view, hence where the term hermetically sealed arrives from. These teachings were always bequeathed by a teacher to student and kept within a certain tradition. The knowledge itself would also be encrypted within complicated symbology and elaborate language that often needed an adept (advanced practitioner) to decipher in order to gain any degree of comprehension, this was further to ensure that if the knowledge were to enter into the wrong hands it would still be protected, since the text would be incomprehensible to them.
Previously, if an individual wished to join a mystery school, the only way this could occur was by invitation from one of its members. The neophyte, once accepted into the secret order became a student. Often a ritual would take place where the new student would be sworn to secrecy by an oath, never to share such knowledge outside of the fraternity. To break such a silence, a misgiving that he would pay for with his life. The gravity of making such a mistake ensured the knowledge was never released into the public domain. Much has changed since those times.
These mysteries have now been unveiled within a compilation of three manuals, written in the Twentieth Century by a Hermeticist, Franz Bardon to guide those seeking spiritual advancement which is now available to all. It is deliberately written in plain language to offer all who seek such self-knowledge and spiritual advancement to be made readily available without the need of a teacher or a secret fraternity. We will be investigating primarily, the work of Franz Bardon in terms of hermetic meditation what that entails and the benefits of following such methods. Also, how Bardon applies universal principals that are beyond spiritual tradition as a training ground for growth in a balanced and harmonious way.
This article also offers a historical outline of the Hermetic knowledge and its impact upon Western civilisation, in particular, of the Late Medieval to Early Renaissance, moving in chronological order through to the present day, along with investigating the practices of Western meditation.
It is noteworthy to mention that hermetic philosophy and the occult sciences were always intended to be used for the advancement of man and are tools to aid him in self-knowledge (know thyself) in gaining wisdom and power to overcome himself and the forces of nature that bind him.
A Brief Outline of Hermetic Theurgy
Before we discuss hermetic meditation, an overview of Hermetic philosophy is presented by the Hermetic Fellowship:
“Hermeticism is an ancient spiritual, philosophical, and magical tradition. It is a path of spiritual growth. Hermeticism takes its name from the God Hermês Trismegistos (Greek, “Thrice-Greatest Hermes”), a Græco-Egyptian form of the great Egyptian God of Wisdom and Magic, Thôth. What the Hermetic Fellowship defines as Hermeticism has also been called the Western Esoteric Tradition, and embraces the Perennial Philosophy or the Ageless Wisdom. (1998-9 Hermetic Fellowship).”
Hermeticism (advocated by the Hermetic Fellowship)
“Is a poetic rather than an ascetic worldview” (1998 M. Isidora Forrest & Adam P. Forrest).
- Considers humanity to be on a spiritual journey to return to a state of unity with the Divine; this is the Great Work of humankind.
- Holds that if we would attain to the Divine, we must aspire to the Divine; spiritual growth cannot be achieved without human effort.
- Is eclectic and draws material from sources spanning the entire Western Esoteric Tradition.
- Is polytheistic, yet ultimately monotheistic (i.e., posits a multiplicity of Manifestations of the Divine Which emanate from an ultimate Divine Unity).
- Holds that the Divine is both immanent and transcendent.
- Holds that the Universe is Divine and basically good.
- Teaches that when we seek the Divine, we may best begin with the Mysteries of Nature.
- Encourages spiritual curiosity
- Understands that human beings can access the Subtle Realms through technique and aspiration; to this end, it embraces theurgy, meditation, ritual, and other spiritual and magical practices
- Urges those who seek the Divine to also seek balance in embracing all things.
From Ancient Beginnings
Hermetics has long been associated with the mysterious Ancient text that was forged upon twelve indestructible Emerald tablets and is thought of consisted of knowledge contained within of the Prima Materia, (the alchemy to the philosophers stone).
Hermetics was termed from the medieval Latin hermeticus, which is derived from the name of Hermes Trismegistus, meaning thrice great with reference to the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, in which was within contained the knowledge of three parts of the wisdom of the Universe, including Alchemy, Astrology and Theurgy. (The latter of which will be the focus regarding meditation).
Perhaps the most well known of philosophical writings is the Hermetic texts are contained in the Corpus Hermeticum, a collection of approximately seventeen treatises originally composed in Egypt and written in the Greek language.
Interestingly, there is evidence to suggest the presence of Hermetic mystery schools in Egypt. In 1945, Hermetic texts were discovered near the Egyptian town Nag Hammadi. One of these texts had the form of a conversation between Hermes and Asclepius. A second text (titled On the Ogdoad and Ennead) told of the Hermetic mystery schools. It was written in the Coptic language, the latest and final form in which the Egyptian language was written.
Hermetic Philosophy and it’s Influence Upon Modern Day Religions
The significance of Hermetic philosophy and it’s influence upon the forming religions within the Early Centuries is not to be dismissed.
Hermeticists believe in a prisca theologia, the doctrine that a single, true theology exists, that it exists in all religions and that it was given by God to man in antiquity.In order to demonstrate the truth of the prisca theologia doctrine, Christians appropriated the Hermetic teachings for their own purposes. By this account, Hermes Trismegistus was (according to the fathers of the Christian church) either a contemporary of Moses or the third in a line of men named Hermes, Enoch, Noah, and the Egyptian priest-king who is known to us as Hermes Trismegistus. Advocates of this theory were Marsilio Ficino and by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola who in the fifth Century used this ideology as a way to reform the Catholic church, states below by Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Archive:
“Ficino] saw himself as one member of a venerable sequence of interpreters who added to a store of wisdom that God allowed progressively to unfold. Each of these “prisci theologi,” or “ancient theologians,” had his part to play in discovering, documenting, and elaborating the truth contained in the writings of Plato and other ancient sages, a truth to which these sages may not have been fully privy, acting as they were as vessels of divine truth.”
Within Europe, it was evident that as early as 1st Century AD the knowledge of such teachings were familiar to and would have been read by theurgists and philosophers alike, (Tertullian, Iamblichus, and Porphyry) and were undoubtedly influenced by its teachings. In fact Iamblichus a treatise On the Mysteries in a theurgric discourse where he evokes Hermes :
“Hermes, the god who presides over learning has from ancient times been rightly considered the common patron of all priests; he who presides over true knowledge about the gods is one and the same, in all circumstances. It was to him indeed that our ancestors dedicated the fruits of their wisdom, by attributing all their own writings to Hermes.” (Iamblichus On the Mysteries E. Clarke, J. Dillon, and J. Hershbell AtlantaScholars Press, 2003).
His belief that gnosis cannot be reached through dialectical discussion alone, this could not lead to communion with the Gods it was possible not even through thought.
The Impact of the Corpus Hermeticum in Late Medieval to Early Renaissance Period
“Why do we think love is a magician? Because the whole power of magic consists in love. The work of magic is the attraction of one thing by another because of a certain affinity of nature.”
Marcello Ficino (1433-1499)
Perhaps one of the most influential people of his time to bring Hermetic philosophy to the forefront during the Renaissance period was Marcello Ficino (1433-1499). As head of the Florence Academy, his work included translating the treatises now named the Corpus Hermeticum, these collections of works were collated into a single volume in Byzantine times, a copy of this volume survived to come into the hands of Lorenzo de Medici’s agents in the Fifteenth Century. Marsilio Ficino translated the dialogues of Plato in order to put the Corpus Hermeticum into Latin first. His translation saw print in 1463 and was reprinted at least twenty-two times over the next century and a half.
There are noteworthy elements in his writings that are less traditional and orthodox by some contemporary philosophical standards. For example, he was deeply influenced by the Hermetic tradition and describes a species of knowledge, or natural magic, that draws down the intellectual and moral virtues of the heavens to the terrestrial world. Ficino also endorses an ancient theological tradition that included, to name a few, Hermes Trismegistus, Pythagoras, and Orpheus among its ranks. He held that this pagan tradition espoused a pious philosophy that in fact presaged and confirmed Christianity.
John Michael Greer comments about the arrival of the Corpus Hermeticum and its effects upon late medieval Europe on his discourse on An Introduction to the Corpus Hermeticum.
“The Corpus Hermeticum landed like a well-aimed bomb amid the philosophical systems of late medieval Europe. Quotations from the Hermetic literature in the Church Fathers (who were never shy of leaning on pagan sources to prove a point) accepted a traditional chronology which dated “Hermes Trismegistus,” as a historical figure, to the time of Moses. As a result, the Hermetic tractates’ borrowings from Jewish scripture and Platonic philosophy were seen, in the Renaissance, as evidence that the Corpus Hermeticum had anticipated and influenced both. The Hermetic philosophy was seen as a primordial wisdom tradition, identified with the “Wisdom of the Egyptians” mentioned in Exodus and lauded in Platonic dialogues such as the Timaeus. It thus served as a useful club in the hands of intellectual rebels who sought to break the stranglehold of Aristotelian scholasticism on the universities at this time,”
– John Michael Greer
Not only was hermetic theurgy having an impact on philosophical thought. Also, the astrology and occult sciences were also seen as being extremely influential in the attribution of the development of science due to its prominence within this genre. Due to the fact, these sciences brought knowledge of nature and the cosmos. The idea of conquering or having authority over nature greatly appealed to the renaissance scientists, thus leading to further their curiosity and investigate its arts such as alchemy and astrology.
One such pioneer in this area was Robert of Chester. In 1144, he translated three documents from Arabic into Latin which were attributed to Hermes. The third book on alchemy was to be associated with alchemy later became defined as Hermeticism.
The first document, Liber de causis, in which the creation of humanity is attributed to Hermes, The second, Liber viginti quattuor philosophorum, a text in which the image of God as a circle first appears. God is said to be in a circle whose centre point in everywhere, thereby making its circumference nowhere. The third book, Liber compositione alchemiae quem edidit Morienus Romanus, the first book of medieval alchemy appears during this period and attributes the invention of the arts and sciences to Hermes. (Introduction to Hermeticism: It’s Theory and Practice, Mark Stavish 2005).
Other such influential people of the time were:
(For those wishing to investigate occult history further)
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim – (1486–1535) was a German polymath, physician, legal scholar, soldier, theologian and an occult writer.also known as Agrippa von Nettesheim, German Philosopher. He studied theology, philosophy, law and medicine at the University of Cologne, Germany. In 1530 he published, De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum (the uncertainty and vanity of sciences).
John Dee – (13 July 1527 – 1608 or 1609) was an English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occult philosopher, imperialist, and adviser to Queen Elizabeth I. He devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy, divination, and Hermetic philosophy.
Dee’s contribution to Hermetics, in 1564 he wrote, Monas Hieroglyphica, (“The Hieroglyphic Monad”) Cabalistic interpretation of a glyph of his own design in an attempt to understand and interpret the mystical unity of all creation.
Ardent in his noble quest to seek out the divine language of the universe, he devoted his remaining thirty years in an attempt to commune with angels in order to understand the creation of language. His main interests were focused on magic, astrology and Hermetic philosophy. To assist him, Dee employed the help of Edward Kelly a “scryer” to work as an intermediary between himself and the “angels.” Together they produced detailed work recounting and recording the discourse from these interactions.
Giordano Bruno (1545-1600), an Italian Dominican friar, mathematician, cosmological creation theorist, philosopher and poet.
His notable works are his research in the art of memory and mnemonics. He became known for his skill in memorising and demonstrated his skills publicly. Thus bringing to the attention of King Henry the III where he subsequently wrote, The Shadows of Ideas. To quote Bruno,
“I got me such a name that King Henry III summoned me one day to discover from me if the memory which I possessed was natural or acquired by magic art. I satisfied him that it did not come from sorcery but from organised knowledge; and, following this, I got a book on memory printed, entitled The Shadows of Ideas, which I dedicated to His Majesty. Forthwith he gave me an Extraordinary Lectureship with a salary.”
Being a time of political and religious instability where religious thought was strictly under the control of the Catholic church. Due to Bruno’s outspoken views and teachings on his Creation theories not only lost him his popularity with his friends but also were considered an act of heresy. Later on, he was to pay for with his life being condemned to be the burned at stake by the Roman Inquisition in 1600.
He is theories rejected some of the core spiritual doctrines held at the time such as the idea of eternal damnation the virginity of Mary and Christ’s divinity and the Trinity but instead believed the universe to be infinite and there is no centre. this theory termed in philosophy as cosmic pluralism.
Interestingly, his theory was not unique and was popular in the Medieval period within Islamic thought amongst Muslim Scholars of that time. Perhaps his influences may have come from the Eastern hemisphere as the historian Frances Yates suggests. In her book titled Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, an examination of Brun0.
Robert Fludd, also known as Robertus de Fluctibus (1574 – 1637), was a prominent English Paracelsian physician with both scientific and occult interests. He is remembered as an astrologer, mathematician, cosmologist, Qabalist and Rosicrucian apologist.
The Emergence of the Mystery Schools 17th – 19th Centuries
In the modern age we witnessed the emergence of mystery schools such as The Ancient and Mystical Order Rosæ Crucis (AMORC), also calling itself the Rosicrucian Order, in the Seventeenth Century and later Freemasonry, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Ordo Templi Orientis (Order of the Templars) in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Another such pioneer of his time was Manly. P. Hall (1901-1990) who wrote the Secrets of All Ages (among other works) notably still one of the most popular works to date on esoteric literature. The hermetic seal was broken first by Aleister Crowley in 1905 where he revealed the inner teachings of Golden Dawn mystery school in his book and later by Israel Regardie in 1937, only then did knowledge become available in the public domain.
The Use of Meditation Techniques Within the Renaissance Era
The etymology of the word we now know as “meditation,” first began in use as early as the Twelfth Century derived from the old French word meditacion, meaning to meditate, think over, reflect, consider.
When we think of an of meditation practice, we tend to look towards an Eastern philosophical approach to meditation namely, influences that are drawn from Indian and Chinese traditions. Since antiquity, various forms of meditation have been present in both Eastern and Western hemispheres. Often taking in the form of chanting, singing and praying. In western spiritual both in pagan and Christian traditions, this was no exception.
The Corpus Hermeticum Attribution to Meditation
Although curiously hermeticism it is not well known for its meditation practice. But if we observe in The Corpus Hermeticum: Book 1, Poimandres to Hermes speaks about gaining enlightenment through meditation. When Hermes speaks of sleep, he is, in fact referring to a higher state of consciousness.
Presented here are two interpretations from two Hermetic practitioners and authors at Falcon Books Publishing, Martin Faulks and Virgil.
The first interpretation by Martin Faulks in the following commentary,
“I firmly believe the meditation taking place was on oneness as described in the video below. We can see this meditation practice clearly described in the many poetic texts by the presocratics who trained in Egypt. A meditation, whereby the practitioner sits and reaches forth into the world, expanding who they are, moving this awareness into everything. The practice is further described in detail in the works of Platonis and some of the Neoplatonic writers and the reference:
‘”Once thinking about the things that are”‘
“Perhaps the translator was not was not aware of this meditation or he would have translated it as:
“Once while pressing my awareness into all things that can be sensed”‘
“This is really the best rendering you could do. So this is my firm opinion as to what that practice was to be used. Incidentally, the meditation practice that is described in the video below was seen by practitioners in ancient times as simply as the imitation of the consciousness of a God. They even say, ‘”Divine experience comes from a God-like level of awareness.”‘ S0 you would enter through the senses into a higher state of awareness whereby your spirit permeated all things as a god does. This, of course, would give you influence over these things and awareness of them, a very important factor in the practice in those days.”
Please view the video below to for a detailed explanation of the conversation between Poimandres and Hermes by Martin Faulks.
The second interpretation offered by Virgil, in the following commentary.
1. Once, when mind had become intent on the things which are, and my understanding was raised to a great height, while my bodily senses were withdrawn as in sleep, when men are weighed down by too much food or by the fatigue of the body, it seemed that someone immensely great of infinite dimensions happened to call my name and said to me: ‘What do you wish to hear and behold, and having beheld what do you wish to learn and know?’
2. ‘Who are you?’ said 1. He said, ‘I am Poimandres the Nous of the Supreme. I know what you wish and I am with you everywhere.’
Virgil: “This chapter begins with writer performing some sort of meditation. In describing what he was doing, he says he was “meditating on the things that are,” as opposed to the things that were, or the things that will be. In other words, he was centered and focused on the present moment, or as Bardon calls it, the “Great NOW.”
The sort of meditation the author is performing is clearly different from the concentration or visualisation exercises that are sometimes labelled as “meditation.” He is not visualising things; he is not staring at them while practicing trataka. He is meditating upon things as they truly are. In Step 5, Bardon gives instructions for the practice of depth point meditation. In this section, he writes “In this manner, the scholar not only learns to understand and interpret every form from its centre, he will also be taught to master it from the centre.” Thus, it appears that the writer was practicing depth point meditation when he had the spiritual experience described in the chapter. We see that, for what it’s worth, some of the practices in IIH have very ancient roots.
The author writes that the senses of his body were obstructed and dulled; similar to what happens after a large meal. In the first mental exercise of Step 1, the student learns to turn his attention away from the senses and focus it inwards, toward his thoughts. The writer’s comparison with a food coma is not perfect, however, because this dulling of the senses does not come with a corresponding dulling of the mind. During this exercise, the student’s attention is focused just as vigilantly upon his mental activity as it usually is upon the impressions of his senses. This state of inward attention is later enhanced during the vacancy of mind (VOM) exercise . VOM is a prerequisite for depth point meditation, and depth point meditation is an extension of VOM.”
3. ‘I wish to learn,’ said I, ‘the things that are and understand their nature and to know God. 0 how I wish to hear these things!’ He spoke to me again. ‘Hold in your Nous all that you wish to learn and I will teach you.’
4. When he had thus spoken, he changed in front. and forthwith; upon the instant, all things opened up before me; and I beheld a boundless view. All had become light, a gentles and joyous light; and I was filled with longing when I saw it. After a little while, there had come to be in one part a downward moving darkness, fearful and loathsome, which I experienced as a twisting and enfolding motion. Thus it appeared to me. I saw the nature of the darkness change into a watery substance, which was indescribably shaken about, and gave out smoke as from fire, culminating in an unutterable and mournful echo. There was sent forth from the watery substance a loud, inarticulate cry; the sound, as’I thought, was of the lightc•
5. Out of the light came forth the Holy Word which entered into the watery substance, and pure fire leapt from the watery substance and rose up; the fire was insubstantial, piercing and active. The air, being light, followed the breath, and mounted up till it reached the fire, away from earth and water, so that it seemed to be suspended from the fire. The earth and water remained in their own place mingled together, so that they could not be distinguished, and they were kept in motion by the breath of the Word, which passed over them within hearing.’
Virgil: “Although the writer starts out by practicing depth point meditation, he quickly transitions to something even more exalted. In Step 5, Bardon writes “This consciousness transference into the akasa principle is the genuine magical state of trance and represents the preliminary stage of the connection with the cosmic consciousness.” In other words, depth point meditation is not the be all end all of meditation. It is only the very first step that leads to a connection with cosmic consciousness, however, in order to connect with cosmic consciousness in a balanced and harmonious (aka magical) way, one must first be proficient in depth point meditation. “
6. ‘Poimandres spoke to me and said: ‘Have you understood what you have seen and what it means?’ ‘I shall come to know it,’ I said. ‘That light,’ he said, ‘is I, Nous, your God, who was before the watery substance which appeared out ‘of the darkness; and the clear Word from Nous is the Son of God.’ ‘How can this be?’ said I. ‘Know this,’ he said. ‘That which sees and hears within you is the Word of the Lord, and Nous is God the Father. They are not separate from each other, for their union is life.’ ‘Thank you,’ I said. ‘But perceive the light and know it,’ said Poimandres.’
Virgil: “While performing his meditation, the writer has a spiritual experience where he meets “Poimandres.” Who is Poimandres? What is Poimandres? Is he a nous? Is he a neshamah, yechidah, or chiah? Is he a Holy Guardian Angel? Is he an aumakua? Is he a “higher self”? Is he a “divine genius”? Is Poemandres a part of the author? Is he separate from the author? These are all questions scholars and occultists have tried to answer, but for beginning students, they are a waste of time to think about. The important thing is that there is something greater and more exalted than what we currently consider to be ourselves and that somehow, it is possible to experience it or reach towards it. In the beginning, faith in this is all the beginner has, and all he needs to motivate his progress.”
Divine Reading (Leco Divina)
Guido II (1174-1180) – Lecto Divina
In the Sixth Century, Western Christian meditation existed that involved a contemplation of the reading of the Bible Lecto Divina or Divine reading and became a formalised practice a method was established by the monk named Guigo II (1174-1180) from a Carthusian Order (also known as the Order of Saint Bruno). In the Twefth Century, Guigo II wrote a treatise on meditation, called Scala Claustralium, Epistola de vita contemplativa (The Ladder of Monks, Letter on the Contemplative Life).
This practice is still to this day is used by the continues daily in contemporary Benedictine ritual meditation. It is comprised of four steps, lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio (i.e. read, ponder, pray, contemplate). Firstly, to read the text secondly to meditate on the significance of the text, then to respond in prayer and finally when in prayer, finally, to enter into stillness which these describe as contemplation.
Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600)
Another pioneer that cannot be ignored is Giordano Bruno Italian hermetic philosopher (1548 – 1600), and magician, who became renowned for his mnemonic abilities and developing visualisation techniques to aid in memory recollection which he used magically. In Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Yates discusses the impact that, “Renaissance Hermetism stimulated new attitudes towards the cosmos and towards operating with cosmic forces. It affected the religious issues, making towards toleration; Bruno’s message on its religious side was a variant of the religious Hermetism widespread in the sixteenth century.”
Bruno’s contribution to this is also paramount, skills that we usually associate with an Eastern origin such as meditation and visualisation techniques were being employed by him to great effect where he demonstrated such skills in public. He describes a number of methods using a form of contraction from the senses not only altering our consciousness, but also bringing us into contact with a force outside of ourselves, and also the use of prayer. These techniques in modern terms would be likened to present day meditation.
Franz Bardon (1909 – 1958)
It was not until the Twentieth Century, Franz Bardon (1909-1958) a teacher and student of hermetic philosophy emerged. For the first time producing a comprehensive guide to spiritual growth written plainly for all to understand. He is best known as for his works on the subject, revealing the first three leaves of arcane knowledge. These volumes include (IIH) Initiation Into Hermetics, The Practice of Magical Evocation and The Key to the True Kabbalah. Another book was found un unfinished version of the Fourth Tarot card. It is also purported that the occult novel Frabato the Magician, written by his secretary, Otti Votavova (although the author was named as himself) was in fact, an autobiographical account of his life.
Franz Bardon’s life
Franz Bardon was Born in Opava, Austrian Silesia. (1st December 1909–10 July 1958) and was a Czech occultist, student, and teacher of Hermetics.
Franz Bardon was the oldest of thirteen children, and the only son of a very devout Christian mystic, Viktor Bardon. Although he had achieved a certain amount of spiritual advancement, Viktor felt that he was unable to obtain an advanced initiation, and prayed that he receive this blessing. The story is that an advanced soul entered the body of his son Franz to become Viktor’s initiator.
In later life, Bardon became a stage magician who gained some fame in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s under the stage name “Frabato”.
Very little is know about Franz Bardon. We do know, in his hometown also ran an apothecary where he treated patients. Even when he was in prison when his daughter contracted a fungus disease from working on the farm. It developed over her whole body and became so unsightly she felt unable to leave the house. Franz Bardon was able to give instructions to prepare poultice to heal her. Within a few weeks of applying the poultice, she was fully healed.
During World War II he was captured by the Nazis who were aware of his occult abilities and tortured him to try and pressure him into demonstrating his skills. for which he refused and was then held in a concentration camp. On the day of his execution, the area of the concentration camp where he was being held was bombed by the Russians and he was able to escape unharmed.
Bardon returned to Opava and continued his hermetic work until he was again captured again in 1958 where he was arrested and imprisoned in Brno, Czechoslovakia and died in custody within the same year.
Franz Bardon is undoubtedly the only hermeticist who both understood Eastern and Western philosophies and training methods, he was able to combine ( in his book Initiation to Hermetics) to great effect. Drawing knowledge from countries such as Tibet and India in order to develop the training for clairvoyance and developing aspects of the mind which were absent in western esoteric systems of training. He was familiar with Raja yoga which he also practised. Franz Bardon even hints of a past incarnation as Tibetian Lama.
Franz Bardon – Hermetic Schools at Present
Within the Twenty-first Century is not without its own pioneers on the subject. Rawn Clark, William Mistele, Martin Faulks and Ray de Sole. All Franz Bardon practitioners and authors on the subject. sharing their wisdom for the benefit of others. There are two schools currently devoted to the practice of Franz Bardon’s methods of Hermetic meditation, Martin Faulks who runs Seshen School of Hermetic Meditation. and Ray de Sole who runs Sura Academy whereby students are guided through the 10 steps of Initiation (IIH Initiation into Hermetics) which is Franz Bardon’s first book.
Hermetic Philosophy According to Franz Bardon (IIH)
“The whole universe is similar to a clockwork with all its wheels intermeshed and interdependent from each other. Even the idea of the Godhead as the highest comprehensible entity may be divided in aspects analogous to the elements.” Franz Bardon
“That which is above is also, that which is below….”.Hermes Trismegistus
Hermetic philosophy is based on universal principals which can be applied to anything in life since they correspond to both the material and an immaterial universe. This is illustrated with the well-known axiom As above so below. If we look at the explanation we will become aware that whatever we do, will have repercussions on all levels. So then what we do in our meditation will have a direct effect on our outer life and how we conduct ourselves in our daily life will also have consequences in our practice. So it is important to harmonise both inward and outward expression to grow and progress, not only in meditation but in daily life.
Therefore the Divine is to be both immanent and transcendent. The Divine is within all things in the manifested Universe (notably including ourselves), and beyond them as well. Because of the interconnection between ‘above’ and ‘below,’ what happens on a spiritual level has consequences in the material. Conversely, what happens in the material can have consequences in the spiritual. Creating equilibrium between all these things, matter and spirit, body and soul, within and without, night and day, in fact, all polarities, is pivotal to the spiritual work of the Hermetic practitioner.
Balance is the key to growth. When we seek balance we seek harmony.
The Purpose of Hermetic Meditation
“Hermetics is a sun lamp on the natural process of development and growing up, a set of lessons in the art of being a human.” Martin Faulks.
The purpose of hermetic meditation is not only to seek harmony within meditation practice but also to use the principals to create harmony in all aspects of everyday life, including relationships, work, dealing with emotions. So every day we improve and become increasingly skilful in everything we do, therefore, ever developing a greater harmony with our surroundings.
So much so, we not only learn to overcome our lower nature we also learn to overcome the forces that bind us to the degree where we are able to conquer the elements such as having immunity to fire or cold. To view demonstrations of these skills, please view link Martin Faulks (The power of Meditation).
How Does Hermetic Meditation Work ?
Understanding The Elements
“Everything that has been created, the macrocosm as well as the microcosm, consequently the big and the small world have been achieved by the effect of the elements. For this reason, right from the beginning of Initiation, I shall attend to these powers and underline their deep and manifold significance …..” Franz Bardon
This form of Hermetic meditation focuses on Franz Bardon/s approach to Hermetics (IIH). IIH is a formal universal spiritual training program which focuses on developing the mind/spirit, astral/ emotions and physical/the body in bringing about harmony and equilibrium through taking the student through ten steps viewing through the lens of the element since all things contain these components. Using a tri-pronged approach this works to ensure all aspects of the individual’s development is kept in balance.
Bardon states categorically: “There cannot be growth without balance.” This is indeed paramount if success is to be met.
Not only is the discipline of a twice-daily meditation routine executed but within that, there are specific exercises to follow so we can improve and develop in this practice. For example, in the beginning, we train the mind in meditation to focus on the breath only and just observe thoughts. From there we move to meditating with no thoughts and so on. Each stage is treated like a scientific experiment that we can measure our progress with. We may wish to log how many thoughts we have during a 10-minute meditation practice. In the beginning, there will be many but over time an improvement will be noted, so recording the changes. It is a way to track your improvement, thus it is of great encouragement. These aspects of training are not just limited to a meditation practice. In daily life, we also learn to observe our thoughts, words, actions and correct them accordingly. Working this way ensures we are continually focusing on improvement and the greater good.
Soul Mirror Training
Throughout each developmental stage, the practitioner will work on introspection of self-knowledge regarding all aspects of their elemental makeup in order to balance out any elemental exaggerations and therefore to regain an inner equilibrium. This practice is known as soul mirror training, The individual will break down all of his personality traits both positive and negative qualities into their respective elemental association, eg earth, fire, air and water. So two books may be used to represent the two qualities (as can be viewed above). Over time he will refine his character and therefore develop elemental equipoise. For an example an individual who has an excess of fire towards the negative pole may exhibit traits such as, easy to anger, impatience, working hastily, experiencing insomnia etc. However, in the positive pole, they may be very positive, driven, inspiring, taking action etc.
For example, the first aspect of training focuses on dealing with the mind and emotions. Through learning to train our mind we have greater power and control over ourselves. We learn to observe negative patterns and change them to create positive outcomes. The same with our emotions we learn to listen to them so they become an advisory informing us that something is perhaps not right but we do not allow them to take control.
The reason being that all aspects are interrelated and therefore affect each other, so dealing with all three aspects it is able to gain greater control over the whole.
Over time the steps continue and we work on other aspects of the mind developing it further through the use of imagination and the subconscious mind.
There are 10 steps within Initiation into Hermetics (IIH). Each working on a specific area, covering the foremost mentioned areas. Each step working towards a goal of attainment for that level. To view an outline of IIH please click here.
I hope to offer greater clarity and understanding regarding Hermeticism and an insight into Hermetic Meditation, a beautiful path to perfection.
Hermetic Meditation here specifically relates to Franz Bardon IIH and is a well-balanced path to progression. It embodies all aspects of growth, offering attention to three components that make up a human being, body, mind, and spirit. As one progresses they learn to control and harness the underlying forces that control them, thus offering greater freedom to the individual.
- So as they sit in their meditation posture they learn to control their mind, during meditation, there are no thoughts.
- They learn to train their physical body so it becomes strong and flexible, they are able to sit motionless with ease with their posture perfectly aligned for long periods of time.
- From this practice, they then connect to a higher force.
- They learn to become harmonious with their environment and navigate life with ease.
By learning to master these aspects our inner life, our outer life becomes harmonious and balanced, a true reflection of who we are.
If you have enjoyed this article and would like to support us further in this research investigating Western Hermetic Meditation please contact: Martin Faulks
- Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, F. A. Yates.
- Memories of Franz Bardon, L. Bardon.
- The Secret History of Hermes Trisemegestus, F. Ebeling.
- The Emerald Tablet, A Commentary on the Path of the True Adept, M. Faulks.
- Initiation Into Hermetics, F. Bardon
- (Iamblichus On the Mysteries) E. Clarke, J. Dillon, and J. Hershbell AtlantaScholars Press, 2003
- http://www.armory.com/~mortoj/magick/newfiles/bardon.html by Tim Scott
- The Kybalion: Hermetic Philosophy, is a book anonymously published in 1912 by three people who called themselves the “Three Initiates.”
- Frabato the Magician, F. Bardon
- Rawn Clark’s collection of works http://abardoncompanion.com/
- Autohypnosis for Franz Bardon students, R. de Sole
- Enlightened Living, by M. Faulks
- The Secret Teachings of All Ages, M. P. Hall