The practice section from initiation into hermetics by Franz Bardon
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Let us now turn to the practical side of the initiation. We must always be aware of the fact that the body, soul and mind are to be trained simultaneously, for otherwise it would be impossible to gain and maintain the magic equipoise. In the theoretic part I already called attention to the dangers possibly rising from one-sided training. It is not advisable to hasten development, because everything needs time. Patience, perseverance and tenacity are fundamental conditions of the development. The pains taken in one’s development will be amply rewarded. Whoever is willing to enter the magic path should regard it as his sacred duty to practice regular exercises. He ought to be kind, generous and tolerant with his fellow men, but relentless and hard with himself. Only such behavior will be followed by success in magic. Refrain from condemning or criticizing and sweep your own doorstep first. Do not permit anyone to look into your sanctuary. The magician will always keep silence with respect to his way, rise and success. This silence grants the highest powers and the more this commandment is obeyed, the more easily accessible these powers will become. Manage it so that you spend as much time as possible in your rise or advance. It is quite unnecessary to waste time with sitting for hours, drinking beer and passing time in trivial company. Time is running away like water, never to return. A certain amount of time ought to be provided for, but it is very necessary to stick to it. Exceptions ought to be allowed for only in quite inevitable cases. Man is subject to habits, and once accustomed to a definite timetable for his exercises, he will feel compelled to do his exercises. In the same way as there is a want for the necessities of life such as eating, drinking and sleeping, it ought to happen in regard to the exercises which must, as it were, become a habit. This is the sole way to attain a sure and full success. There is no prize without diligence. It is my ambition to arrange for the instructions as if they were meant for the busiest man. He who has plenty of time of hand may be able to be occupied with two or more exercises at the same time.
Magic Mental Training (I)
Take a seat in a comfortable chair or lie down on a settee. Relax the whole body, close your eyes and observe the train of your thoughts for five minutes, trying to retain it. At first, you will find that there are rushing up to you thoughts concerning everyday affairs, professional worries, and the like. Take the behavior of a silent observer toward these trains of thoughts, freely and independently. According to the mentality and the mental situation you happen to be in at the moment, this exercise will be more or less easy for you. The main point is not to forget yourself, not to lose the train of thoughts, but to pursue it attentively. Beware of falling asleep while doing this exercise. If you begin to feel tired, stop instantly and postpone the exercise to another time, when you intend not to give in to tiredness. The Indians sprinkle cold water on their faces or rub down the face and upper part of their bodies to remain brisk and not waste precious time. Some deep breathing before you begin will also prevent tiredness and sleepiness. As time goes on, each disciple will find out such little tricks by himself. This exercise of controlling thoughts has to be undertaken in the morning and at night. It is to be extended each day by one minute to allow the train of thoughts to be pursued and controlled without the slightest digression for a time of 10 minutes at least after a week’s training.
This space of time is destined to the average man. If it should not suffice, everyone can extend it according to his own apperception. In any event, is advisable to proceed very consciously, because it is of no use to hurry, development being quite individual in men. On no account go further before the preceding exercise is perfectly under control.
The attentive disciple will realize how, at the beginning, thoughts rush on to him, how rapidly they pass before him so that he will have difficulty to recollect the lot of manifold thoughts. But from one exercise to the next, he will state that thoughts come up less chaotic, moderating little by little, until at last only a few thoughts emerge in his consciousness, arriving, as it were, from a far distance.
The keenest attention ought to be given to this work of thought control, as it is very important for magic development, a fact that everyone will realize later on.
Providing that the mentioned exercise has been thoroughly worked through and everyone has a complete command of it in practice, let us pass over to the mental training.
Up to now we have learned to control our thoughts. The next exercise will consist in not giving way in our mind to thoughts obtruding themselves on our mind, unwanted and obstinate. For instance, we must be able not to occupy ourselves any longer with the tasks and worries of our profession when we come home from work and return the family circle and privacy. All thoughts not belonging to our privacy must be set aside, and we ought to manage to become quite a different personality instantly. And just the other way round: in our job, all thoughts have to be concentrated in it exclusively, and we must not allow them to digress or wander home, to private affairs, or elsewhere. This has to be practiced time and again until it has developed into a habit. Above all, one ought to accustom oneself to achieve whatever one does with full consciousness, whether in professional work or in private, regardless whether the point is a big one or a trifle. This exercise should be kept for a lifetime, because it is sharpening the mind and strengthening the consciousness and the memory.
Having obtained a certain skill in this exercise, you may turn to the following one. The purpose will now be to hold onto a single thought or idea for a longer while, and to suppress any other thoughts associating and obtruding with force on the mind. Choose for this purpose any train of thoughts or ideation or a suitable presentation according to your personal taste. Hold onto his presentation with all your strength. Vigorously refuse all the other thoughts that have nothing to do with the thoughts being exercised. At first you probably will succeed only for a few seconds, later on for minutes. You must manage to concentrate on one single thought and follow it for 10 minutes at least.
If you succeed in doing to, you will be fit for a new exercise. Let us then learn how to produce an absolute vacancy of mind. Lie down comfortably on a bed or sofa or sit in an armchair and relax your whole body. Close your eyes. Energetically dismiss any thought coming upon you. Nothing at all is allowed to happen in your mind; an absolute vacancy of mind must reign. Now hold on to this stage of vacancy without digressing or forgetting. At first, you will manage to do so for only a few seconds, but by practicing it more often, you will surely succeed better at it. The purpose of the exercise will be attained if you succeed in remaining in this state for a full 10 minutes without losing your self-control or even falling asleep.
Carefully enter your success, failure, duration of your exercises and eventual disturbances into a magic notebook (See details under the heading “Magic Soul Training”). Such a diary will be useful to check your progress. The greater the scrupulousness you use in doing so, the more easily you will undergo all the other exercises. Prepare a working schedule for the coming day or week, and most of all, indulge in self-criticism.
Magic Psychic Training (I)
In our own mansion, meaning our body and our soul, we must find our way about at every moment. Therefore our first task will be to know ourselves. Each initiation system, no matter which kind it may be, will put this condition in the first place. Without self-knowledge there will be no real development on a higher level.
In the first days of psychic training, let us deal with the practical part of introspection or self-knowledge. Arrange for a magic diary and enter all the bad sides of your soul into it. This diary is for your own use only, and must not be shown to anybody else. It represents the so-called control book for you. In the self-control of your failures, habits, passions, instincts and other ugly character traits, you have to observe a hard and severe attitude towards yourself. Be merciless towards yourself and do not embellish any of your failures and deficiencies. Think about yourself in quiet meditation, put yourself back into different situations of your past and remember how you behaved then and what mistakes or failures occurred in the various situations. Make notes of all your weaknesses, down to the finest nuances and variations. The more you are discovering, all the better for you. Nothing must remain hidden, nothing unrevealed, however insignificant or great your faults or frailties may be. Some especially endowed disciples have been able to discover hundreds of failures in the finest shades. Disciples like these possessed a good meditation and a deep penetration into their own souls. Wash your soul perfectly clean; sweep all the dust out of it.
This self-analysis is one of the most important magic preliminaries. Many of the occult systems have neglected it, and that is why they did not achieve good results. This psychic preliminary work is indispensable to obtain the magic equilibrium, and without it, there is no regular progress of the development to be thought of. Therefore you ought to devote some minutes’ time to self-criticism in the morning and at night. If you have got the chance of some free moments during the day, avail yourself of them and do some intensive thinking, whether there are still some hidden faults anywhere, and if you discover them, record them on the spot so as not to forget a single one. Whenever you happen to find out any deficiency, do not delay to note it immediately.
If within a week you do not succeed in discovering all your faults, spend another week on these inquiries until you have definitely established your list of offences Having achieved this problem within one or two weeks, you have reached the point to begin with a further exercise. Now by intensive thinking, try to assign each fault to one of the four elements. Appoint a rubric in your diary to each element and enter your faults into it. You will not feel sure of which elements some of the faults are to be assigned. Record them under the heading of “indifferent”. In the progressing development you will be able to determine the element corresponding to your deficiency.
For instance, you will ascribe jealousy, hatred, vindictiveness, irascibility, and anger to the fiery element; frivolity, self-presumption, boating, squandering, and gossiping to the element of air; indifference, laziness, frigidity, compliance, negligence, shyness, insolence, and instability to the watery element; laziness, lack of conscience, melancholy, irregularity, anomaly and dullness to the element of earth.
In the following week you will meditate on each single rubric, dividing it into three groups. In the first group you will enter the biggest failures, especially those that influence you strongest or happen at the slightest opportunity. The second group will embrace faults occurring less frequently and in slighter degree. In the last group you are recording those faults that happen only now and again. Go on doing so with the indifferent faults, too. Work conscientiously at all times; it is worth while!
Repeat the whole procedure with your good psychical qualities, entering them into the respective categories of the elements. Do not forget the three columns here as well. For example, you will assign activity, enthusiasm firmness, courage, and daring to the fiery element, diligence, joy, dexterity, kindness, lust, and optimism to the air element, modesty, abstemiousness, fervency, compassion, tranquility, tenderness, and forgiveness to the watery element, and respect, endurance, conscientiousness, thoroughness, sobriety, punctuality, and responsibility to the earth element.
By doing so, you will get two so-called psycho-mirrors, a black one with the evil qualities, and a whit one with the good and noble character traits. These two magic mirrors are correct occult mirrors, and none but the owner has any right to look into them at all. Let me repeat once more that the owner must endeavor to elaborate his magic mirrors precisely and conscientiously. If, in the course of the development, he should remember any good or bad quality, he can still record it under the respective heading. These two magic mirrors will allow the magician to recognize rather exactly which of the elements is prevailing in his black or white mirror. This recognition is absolutely necessary to attain the magic equipoise, and the further development depends on it.
Magic Physical Training (I)
Hand in hand with the inner development of spirit and soul has to go that of the outer, the body also. No part of your Ego must lag behind or be neglected. Right in the morning, after getting up, you will brush your body with a soft brush until your skin turns faintly reddish. By doing so, your pores will open and be able to breathe more freely. Besides, the kidneys are exonerated for the most part. Then wash your whole body or the upper part of it, at least, with cold water and rub it with a rough towel until you feel quite warm. Sensitive people may use lukewarm water, especially in the cold season. This procedure ought to become a day’s routine and be kept for a lifetime. It is so refreshing and removes tiredness.
In addition to this, you should practice morning gymnastics, at least for some minutes a day, to keep your body flexible. I shall not put up a special program of such gymnastic exercise as everyone can draw it up according to his age and personal liking. What matters most is to keep your body elastic.
2. The Mystery of Breathing
Breathing is to be given your very careful consideration. Normally each living creature is bound to breathe. There is no life at all without breathing. It is obvious that a magician ought to know more than the mere fact of inhaling oxygen and nitrogen which the lungs absorb and exhale as carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The lungs cannot exist without breathing and food. All we need for our life, and what preserves our life, to wit, breathing and food, is tetrapolar, four elements plus a fifth, the vital element or akasa principle, as we have said in the theoretical part about the elements. But the air we are breathing has a finer degree of density than the grossly material food has. But according to the universal laws, both of them have the same nature, being tetrapolar and serving to keep the body alive. Let us therefore return to breathing.
Oxygen is subject to the fiery element and nitrogen to the element of water [or: nitrogen = air; hydrogen = water]. The airy element is the mediating element and the earth element [carbon, or carbon dioxide] is that which holds together the oxygen and the nitrogen. The akasa or etheric element is the lawful causal or divine principle. Just as in the great universe of nature, here the elements too have their polarity, the electric as well as the magnetic fluid. By normal or unconscious breathing, the body is supplied only with as much elemental substance as is necessary for its normal preservation. Here also the supply depends on the consumption of elemental substance. It is quite different with conscious breathing.
If we put a thought, an idea or an image, no matter whether it s concrete or abstract, in the air to be inhaled, it will take in the akasa principle of the air concerned and convey it through the electric and magnetic fluids to the air substance. This impregnated air will play a double role when it is conveyed to the lungs through the blood vessels. In the first place, the material parts of the elements are destined to preserve the body; secondly, the electromagnetic fluid, charged with the idea or the image, will lead the electromagnetic air colored with the idea from the bloodstream through the astral matrix to the astral body, and from there to the immortal spirit through the reflective mental matrix.
And this is the solution of the secret of breathing from the magic point of view. Many theologies utilize conscious breathing for instructive purposes, as for example the hatha yoga system, without knowing the right process. Several people have suffered severe damage to their health, a fact only to blame in the extreme breathing exercises asked for by this system, especially when such practices have been realized without the guidance of an experienced leader (guru). In most cases, the inexperienced reader has been persuaded to do these exercises because they were promised a quick acquisition of occult powers. If he wants, the magician can achieve this aim much more easily and sooner with the aid of the universal initiating system described so thoroughly in the present book.
Consequently it is quite evident that it is not the quantity of inhaled air that matters, but the quality respecting the idea impregnating the air substance. Therefore it is not necessary nor even advisable to pump the lungs full with a lot of air, putting a needless strain on them. Consequently, you will do your breathing exercises slowly and calmly, without any haste.
Sit down comfortably, relax the whole body, and breathe in through the nose. Imagine that with the inhaled air, health, tranquility, peace, success, or everything you are aiming at, will pass into your body through the lungs and the blood. The eidetic image of your idea must be so intense that the air you are inspiring is so strongly impregnated with your desire that it has already become reality. You should not allow the slightest doubt about this fact. To avoid weakening, it will be enough to start with seven inhalations in the morning as well as at night. Increase the number of breaths gradually to one more in the morning and at night. Do not hurry or exaggerate, for everything needs time. In any case, you should not proceed to the imagination of another different desire before the first chosen one has been completely accomplished. In a pupil endowed with talents of a high order, success will manifest itself, at the earliest, after seven days, all depending on the degree of imagination and aptitude. Some one else will need weeks, even moths for the realization of his desires because the kind of desires will also play an important role. It is therefore desirable not to form egotistic wishes to begin with, but to confine them to the above-mentioned ones such as tranquility, health, peace and success. Do not extend breathing exercises to more than one-half hour. Later on, a standard ten minutes will do for you.
3. Conscious Reception of Food
What has been said about breathing applies in the same way to taking nourishment. Here also the same elemental processes are going on as they happened to in the air being inhaled, but the effect of the elements is stronger and more material. Desires impressed on food have a considerable influence on the material plane, where they are exposed to the most material emanations of the elements. Therefore the magician will do well to consider this aspect if he wants to achieve anything concerning his body or other material desires.
Now sit down in front of your dish of food that you are going to eat, and with the most intense imagination possible, concentrate on your desire being embodies in the food and as effective as if indeed it had already been realized. If you happen to be alone, undisturbed and not watched by anyone, hold your hands in blessing manner above your food. Not having this opportunity, at least impress your desire upon the food you are taking in, or close your eyes. You may give the impression of saying a prayer before eating your meal, a gesture that is quite true, as a matter of fact. Then eat your food slowly but consciously with the intrinsic conviction that, together with your food, your desire actually is passing into your whole body, down to the finest nerves. The taking of food ought to be a sacred act to you, similar to the communion of Christianity.
For the magic constitution it is not advisable to eat in a hurry. All kinds of food and beverages are suitable for the magic impregnation with desires. Yet all the impregnated foods and drinks have to be consumed entirely, and nothing should be left over. Do not read during a meal. Unfortunately a great many people are in this bad habit. Any kind of conversation is also undesirable. One should eat only with the maintenance of one’s desire. It is to be noted that no opposite desire should associate. For instance, if you are aspiring after health through conscious or magic breathing, you must not concentrate on success during your meal. It is most advantageous to foster the same desire in breathing as well as in eating to avoid any opposite vibration or emanations in your body. Remember the proverb: “He who chases two hares at the same time will never catch one.”
Whoever in the conscious reception of food takes example in the eucharistic mystery, will find an analogy to it here, and remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Take and eat, for this is my flesh; take and drink, for this is my blood”; he will seize their true and primary meaning.
4. The Magic of Water
Water plays one of the most important parts, not only in daily life, being absolutely indispensable for drinking, preparing food, washing, producing steam in factories, etc., but also in our magic development; the water element may prove to be a great factor. As we have already stated in the theoretical par, the watery element rules magnetism or the attractive force, and it is just this property that we shall utilize in the development of our faculties. All the books dealing with the animal magnetism, emanation of od and so on are acquainted with the fact that water can be magnetized or od-ized. But it is far less known how to enlarge this quality or use it in a different way. Not only water but every kind of liquid has the special property of attracting, and according to the contraction, holding fast, no matter whether good or bad influences be concerned. Therefore we may consider the watery element, especially the material kind of it, as an accumulator. The colder water is, the greater its accumulative capacity. With its full specific weight, namely at 39° F (4° C) above zero, it is most responsive. This notion is not so decisive, for the difference of receptivity of water (or other liquids) up to 43° F (6° C) above zero is so insignificant and so faintly visible that only a thoroughly trained magician can recognize these differences. If by increase of heat, water grows lukewarm, its receptivity is rapidly diminishing. Between 7-99° F (36-37° C) it becomes neutral to magnetism. Attention! Here, our only concern is with the specific properties of the attractive power and its practical value with respect to magnetism which results from the interaction of the elements as an undeniable matter of fact.
The impregnation (through the akasa principle present in each substance and consequently in physical water too) with a desire can be operated in any object and at any temperature whatsoever. A piece of bread as well as a hot soup or a cup of coffee or tea might be loaded or charged magically. But this charge does not depend on the accumulative capacity of the water element, but takes place through the causal principle of the fifth power of the elements, and is brought about by the electromagnetic fluid of the elements concerned. It is important to pay attention to this difference to avoid errors. For instance, it is quite impossible to magnetize a dish of hot soup, because the accumulating power of the water element is balanced or increased by the expansion of the heat present in the water if it rises above 99° F (37° C). The soup, however, can be impregnated with the corresponding desire.
Now let us regard the magic of water from the practical side. Every time you are washing your hands, think intensely that by washing, not only do you wipe the dirt off your body, but also the uncleanliness from your soul. Think of failure, trouble, dissatisfaction, illness and the like being washed off and turned over to the water. If possible, wash yourself under the tap so that the dirty water can run off immediately, and at this moment think that your weaknesses are flowing off with the water. If you have nothing but a washbowl at your disposal, do not forget to throw away the used water immediately, so nobody else can contact it afterwards. You can also dip your hands into cold water for a little while, and concentrate on the magneto-astral attractive force drawing all weaknesses out of your body and your soul. Be firmly convinced that all failures are passing into the water. You will be surprised at the success of this exercise after a short time. This water also is to be thrown away at once. This exercise is extraordinarily effective if you can manage it in the summer while bating in a river, when the whole body (except for the head, of course) is beneath the water.
You can do this exercise the other way around also, by magnetizing the water you are going to use, or by impregnating it with your desire, remaining firmly convinced that through washing the power will pass into your body and the desire will be realized. He who has time to spare can combine both exercises by stripping off all evil in one water (say under the tap or in a separate basin), and then washing himself in another basin with the water impregnated with his desire. In this case, namely the first exercise, you have to use soap when washing off the evil. Female adepts have a third opportunity besides the two forementioned possibilities: they will concentrate their magnetism on the fact that the water makes the face and skin look much younger, more elastic and thus more attractive. It is therefore advisable not only to wash the face, but to dip the whole face into the water for some seconds. This procedure is to be repeated at least seven times in one turn. A bit of borax may be added to the water for this purpose.
There is a further opportunity given to the magician that ought not to be overlooked. I mean the magnetic eyebath. In the morning the magician dips his face into water that has been boiled on the previous day (using a half-filled water basin) and opens his eyes in the water. He rolls his eyes in the water, repeating this exercise equally seven times. At first, he will have the sensation of a slight stinging in his eyes, but this will disappear as soon as the eyes get accustomed to the exercise. Anyone suffering from weak eyesight may add a thin decoction of eyebright (Herba Euphrasia) to the water. This eyebath makes the eyes resistant against changes in the weather and consequently strengthens the visual faculty, improving weak vision, and the eyes become clear and shining. Do not forget respectively to magnetize the water destined to this purpose and to impregnate it with your concentrated wish. Advanced pupils who are training for clairvoyance are offered the opportunity here to promote their clairvoyant faculties.
That is all, for the moment, about the material development and training of the body.
Summary of Exercises of Step I:
The time limit for the completion of these exercises is fixed from a fortnight up to one month and is meant for people of average aptitudes. Those who have already practiced concentration and meditation should get along in this space of time. Those who are not yet experienced will have to extend their training period; success depends chiefly on the individuality of the pupil. For the practice, it would be useless for him to pass from one step to the next without having completed the foregoing one in such a way that he is well up in it.
1. Autosuggestion or the Secret of Subconscious
Before proceeding to describe the exercises of the second step, let me explain the secret of the subconscious and its practical consequences. In the same way as normal consciousness has its seat in the soul, and is activated by the cerebrum in the body, consequently the head, subconsciousness is a property of the soul, residing in the cerebellum, i.e., the back part of the head. With respect to the magical practice, let us deal with the study of the psychological function of the cerebellum, consequently the subconscious.
In every individual that is in his right senses, the normal sphere of consciousness is intact, i.e., he always and at any time is capable of making use of the functions of normal consciousness. As it results from our investigations, there is no power in the universe nor in man that does not vary between opposites. Hence we may consider subconsciousness as the opposite to normal consciousness. That which in normal consciousness we subsume by the concepts of thinking, feeling, willing, memory, reason, and intellect is reflected in our subconsciousness in a contrary way. Practically speaking, we can regard our subconsciousness as our opponent. The incentive or the impulse to all that is undesirable, such as our passions, our failures, our weaknesses, originates just in this very sphere of consciousness. To the pupil now falls the task of introspection to disclose the work of this subconsciousness, according to the key of the elements or the tetrapolar magnet. This is a satisfactory task in as much as the pupil will acquire self-reliance by his own reflection or meditation.
Hence, subconsciousness is the incentive of all we do not wish for. Let us learn how to transmute this, so to speak, antagonistic aspect of our ego, so that it not only does no harm, but on the contrary will help to realize our desires. Subconsciousness needs time and space in the material world for its realization, two basic principles valid for all things that have to be transmuted into reality from the causal world. Withdrawing time and space from the subconscious, the opposite polarity will cease to bring its influence to bear upon us, and we shall be able to realize our wishes through the subconscious. This sudden elimination of the subconscious offers the key for the practical use of autosuggestion. If, e.g., we inculcate in the subconsciousness the wish of not giving in tomorrow or any other time, to any of our passions, say smoking or drinking alcohol, subconsciousness will have time enough to put some hindrance, directly or indirectly, in our way. In most of these cases, mainly, in the presence of feeble or underdeveloped willpower, subconsciousness will nearly always succeed in taking us by surprise or causing failures. On the other hand, of we exclude the concepts of time and space from subconsciousness while impregnating it with a desire, only the positive pole of subconsciousness will affect us, normal consciousness being equated, and our impregnate desire must have the success we are expecting. This knowledge and the possibilities related to it, are of the greatest importance for the magical development and have, therefore, to be considered as far as self-suggestion is concerned.
The phrasing to choose for autosuggestion must always be expressed in the present or imperative form. You should not say: “I shall stop drinking or smoking or whatever”. The correct form is: “I do not smoke, I do not drink”, or else, “I do not like smoking or drinking” and so on, according to whatever you wish to suggest in a positive or negative sense. The key or clue to self-suggestion is to be found in the form of the phrasing. It is that which, always and in every respect, has to be considered if you wish to do autosuggestion through subconsciousness.
Subconsciousness is acting in the most effective and penetrating way during the night, when man is asleep. In the sate of sleep, the activity of normal consciousness is suspended, subconsciousness working in its place. The most appropriate time for autosuggestion receptivity, therefore, is the moment when the body is resting drowsily in bed, i.e., immediately before falling asleep as well as immediately after waking up, when we remain still half-awake. That does not mean that a different time would be quite unsuitable for self-suggestion, but these tow moments are most promising, subconsciousness being most responsive then. That is why the magician will never go to sleep in an emotional attitude such as anger or depression, worries which would have an unfavorable influence in his subconsciousness, going on in the same train of thoughts with which he had fallen asleep. Always go to sleep with peaceful and harmonious thoughts or ideas about success, health and pleasant feelings.
Before you practice autosuggestion, make up a small chain of 40 beads. A knotted piece of string also will do fine. This expedient is only meant to avoid counting when you are reiterating the suggestive formula over and over, so as not to divert your attention. This little gadget also will serve to make sure how many disturbances happened when you were practicing concentration and meditation exercises. All you have to do is move a bead or a know at every interruption.
The practical use of autosuggestion is very simple. If you have worded that which you want to achieve in a precise sentence in the present and imperative form, such as: “I feel better and better every day”, or “I do not like smoking [or: drinking, &c]”, or “I am healthy, content, happy”, then you may proceed to the real practice. Immediately before falling asleep, take your string of beads or knots and, whether in an undertone, softly, or in your mind, according to your surroundings, repeat the phrase you have chosen and move one bead or knot at every repetition until you arrive at the end of the string. Now you know for sure that you repeated the formula 40 times. The main point is that you imagine your wish as being realized already and having actual existence. If you do not yet feel sleepy after the 40 repetitions, engage yourself for a while longer with the idea that your wish has been accomplished, and keep doing so until at last you fall asleep with your desire still in mind. You must try to transfer your desire to the sleep. Should you fall asleep while reiterating the formula, the purpose will be achieved.
In the morning, when you are not quite up and have some time to spare, you ought to reach for the string of beads and repeat the exercise once more. Some people get up several times during the night to urinate or for some other reasons. If so, they can repeat this exercise as well, and they will attain their desires all the sooner [Editor’s note: A more modern practice is to use a repeating tape cassette deck to accomplish this automatically].
Now the question arises: what kind of wishes can be accomplished by self-suggestion? Principally, every wish can be fulfilled as far as mind, soul and body are concerned, for example: refining of the character, repression of ugly qualities, weaknesses, disorders, recovery of health, removal and promotion of various aptitudes, development of faculties, and so on. Certainly, desires having nothing to do with the personality as lottery numbers and such can never be fulfilled.
Magic Mental Training (II)
On the first step of our magical mental training, we have learned how to control and master our thoughts. Now let us go on to teach you how to raise the capacity of mental concentration in order to strengthen the willpower.
Put some objects in front of you, say, a knife, a fork, a pencil, and a box of matches, and fix your eyes on these objects for a while. Try to remember their shapes and colors exactly. Then close your eyes and endeavor to imagine a certain object plastically, in exactly the same form, as it is in reality. Should the object vanish from your imagination, try to recall it again. In the beginning you will be successful in this experiment only for a few seconds, but when persevering and repeating this exercise, the object will appear more distinct, and disappearance and reappearance will take place more rarely from one exercise to the next. Do not be discouraged by initial failures, and if you feel tired, change to the next object. At the beginning, do not exercise longer than 10 minutes, but after a while you may extend the exercise little by little up to 30 minutes. In order to check disturbances, use the string of beads or knots described in the chapter about autosuggestion. Move one bead at every disturbance or interruption. Thus later you will be able to tell how many disorders happened in the course of an exercise. The purpose of the exercise is completed if you can hold onto one object for 5 minutes without any interruptions.
If you have gotten to this point, you may pass on to imagining the object with your eyes open. Now the object ought to make the impression of hanging in the air and be visible before your eyes in such a plastic shape as to seemingly be tangible. Apart from the one object you imagined, nothing else of the surroundings must be noticed. Check disturbances with the aid of the string of beads. If you have succeeded in holding on to any object hanging plastically in the air for 5 minutes without the least incident, the task of this exercise has been fulfilled.
After the visual concentration, let us make an inquiry about the auditory concentration. At the beginning, the creative imagination has to perform a certain role. It is, as it were, impossible to say, “Imagine the ticking of a clock” or something like that because the concept of imagination generally involves a pictorial representation, which cannot be said about auditory exercises. For the sake of better understanding we ought to say: “Imagine you hear the ticking of a cock”. Therefore let us employ this kind of expression. Now imagine that you are hearing the ticking of a clock on the wall. You will succeed in doing so only for a few seconds at the beginning, just as in the previous exercises. But by persisting in your exercise, you will hear the sound more and more distinctly, without any disturbance. The string of beads or knots will be beneficial here also for checking the disturbances. Afterward, try to listen to the ticking of a pocket-watch or a wristwatch, or the chime of bells in various harmonies. You may also practice other auditory concentration experiments such as the sounding of a gong, the different noises of hammering, knocking, scratching, shuffling, thunderclaps, the soft rustling of the wind increasing to the howling of the storm, the tunes of a violin or a piano or other instruments. When doing these exercises, it is most important to keep within the limits of auditory concentration, not allowing for pictorial imagination. Should such an imagination emerge, banish it immediately. The chiming of the bell must never evoke the imagination of the bell itself. This exercise is completed as soon as you are able to keep this auditory imagination for 5 minutes.
Another exercise is the sensory concentration. Try to produce the sensations of cold, warmth, gravity, lightness, hunger, thirst, and tiredness, and hold on to this feeling for at least 5 minutes without the slightest visual or auditory imagination. If you have acquired the faculty of concentration in such a degree as to be able to produce any sensation you like and hold it fast, you may pass on to the next exercise.
Now let us throw some light upon the olfactory concentration. Imagine that you are smelling the scent of various flowers such as roses, lilacs, violets or other perfumes, and hold on to this imagination without allowing a pictorial image of the respective flower to emerge. Try to practice with disagreeable smells of different kinds. Exercise this kind of concentration until you are able to imaginarily bring about any scent at will and keep it for at least 5 minutes.
Our last exercise will deal with the taste concentration. Without thinking of any food or drink or without imagining the same, you have to concentrate on taste. Choose the thumping sensations of taste such as sweet, bitter, sat and acid to begin with. Having got some certain skill herein, you may carry out an experiment on the taste of divers spices, at your discretion. If you have succeeded in producing any sensation of the chosen taste and holding onto it for at least 5 minutes, the purpose of this exercise is fulfilled.
One or another trainee will meet with smaller or greater difficulties in practicing these concentration exercises. This means that the cerebral function with respect to the concerned taste has been neglected or imperfectly developed. Most of the teaching systems will pay attention only to one or two, or three functions at best. Concentration exercises performed with all the five senses strengthen your mind, your willpower, and you learn not only how to control all senses, but also to develop and finally tem perfectly. A magician’s senses must all be developed equally, and he must be able to control them. These exercises are of paramount importance for the magical development, and therefore should never be omitted.
Magic Psychic Training (II)
In the first phase, the pupil has learned how to practice introspection. He has recorded his good and bad properties in accordance with the four elements, and has divided them in three groups. In this way he has made two soul mirrors, a good (white) one and a bad (black) one. These two soul mirrors represent his psychic character. Now he must find out from these records which elemental powers are prevailing in him on the good as well as the evil side, and endeavor to establish the balance of these elemental influences at all events. Without a balance of the elements in the astral body or in the soul, there is no possible magical progress or rise. Consequently, in this step we must establish this psychic equipoise. If the novice magician possesses a sufficient amount of willpower, he may pass on to master the passions or qualities that exercise the greatest influence on him. Should he not own a sufficiently strong volition, he may start from the opposite side by balancing small weaknesses first, and fighting greater faults and weaknesses bit by bit until he has brought them under control. The scholar is offered three possibilities for mastering the passions:
1. Systematical utilization of autosuggestion in the way we described previously.
2. Transmutation of passions into the opposite qualities, attainable through autosuggestion or through repeated meditations on and continuous assurance of the good qualities.
3. Attention and volition. By using this method, you will not allow for any outbreak of the passion, fighting it right in the bud. This method is the most difficult and is appropriate only for people possessing a good deal of volition, or willing to achieve a strong willpower by fighting against their passions.
If the novice has enough time on hand and wishes to advance as fast as possible in his development, he may use all three methods. The most profitable way is to orient all methods toward one single direction, for example conscious eating, magic of water, and so forth. Then success will not be far off.
The purpose of this step is to balance the elements in the soul. The scholar therefore ought to quickly and surely endeavor to get rid of those passions that hinder him most from being successful in the magic art. Under no circumstances should he start with exercises belonging to the steps ahead before being absolutely possessed with the exercises of the second step and having booked a sweeping success, especially in balancing the elements. The refinement of character should be aspired after during the entire course, but as early on as this level, faults and bad qualities that handicap development ought to be eradicated.
Magic Physical Training (II)
The tasks of the magical training of the body according to Step I must be retained and ought to become a daily habit, such as washing with cold water, rubbing the body from head to toe, athletic exercises in the morning, magic of water, conscious breathing and so forth. The second step training of the body orders a change of the breathing exercises. In the previous step, we have learned how to breathe consciously and convey the desire inhaled together with the air (through the akasa principle) to the blood stream via the lungs. In this chapter I am going to describe the conscious pore-breathing.
Our skin has a double function, i.e., the breathing and the secretion. Therefore we may consider the skin as a second piece of lungs and as a second kidney of the body. Everybody will understand now, for which important reason, we have recommended dry-brushing, rubbing, washing with cold water and all the other directions. First of all, this was intended to exonerate our lungs completely and our kidneys partially, and secondly to stimulate the pores to greater activity. It is certainly superfluous to explain how very profitable all this is for the health. From the magic point of view, conscious pore breathing is of the utmost interest for us, and therefore we shall immediately pass on to practice.
Sit down comfortably in an armchair or lie down on a sofa, and relax all your muscles. Try to think that, with each inspiration, not only your lungs are breathing, i.e., inhaling air, but the whole body is doing so. Be firmly convinced that, together with your lungs, each single pore of your body simultaneously receives vital power and conveys it to the body. You ought to feel like a dry sponge which, when dipped into water, sucks it in greedily. You must have the same feeling when breathing in. This way the vital power will pass from the etheric principle and your surroundings to yourself. According to his character, each individual will feel this entering of vital power through the pores in a different manner. When, after a certain amount of time and repeated exercises, you are skilled in inhaling through the lungs and with the whole body simultaneously, connect the two breathing methods to your desire-inhaling, i.e., breathing in health, success, peace, mastering of passions, or whatever you need most urgently. The fulfillment of your desire (imparted in the present and commandment moods) is to be realized not only through the lungs and the bloodstream but through your whole body. If you have attained a certain skill in this experiment, you may also influence exhaling magically by imagining that, at each breathing out, you are secreting the opposite to your desire such as weakness, failure, trouble, and so on. If you have succeeded in exhaling and inhaling through your lungs and whole body, this exercise is completed.
The next exercise will deal with the control of your body. It needs a great skill to sit quietly and comfortably, and therefore it is necessary to learn how to do it. Sit down on a chair, in such a way that your spine remains straight. At the beginning, you are allowed to lean back on the chair. Hold the feet together so that they form a right angle with the knees. Sit relaxed, without any stain other muscles, both your hands resting lightly on your thighs. Set an alarm clock to sound off after 5 minutes. Now close your eyes and watch your whole body. At first you will notice that the muscles are becoming restless in consequence of the nervous stimulus. Force yourself as energetically as you can to persevere to sit quietly. However easy this exercise seems to be, as a mater of fact it is rather difficult for a beginner. If the knees tend to separate constantly, you may tie them together with a string to begin with. If you are able to sit without jerking and any special effort for 5 minutes, each new exercise is to be extended one minute longer. If you have managed to sit for at least 30 minutes quietly, comfortably and without any trouble, this exercise will be finished. When you have arrived at this point, you will state that there is no better position for the body to relax and to rest.
Should anyone wish to use these exercises of physic carriage for the purpose of developing the will-power, he may make out various carriages at his own discretion, provided he is able to sit relaxed and comfortable without any disturbance at all for a full hour. The Indian yoga system recommends and describes quite a lot of such positions (asanas), asserting that one may win various occult powers by mastering them. It must be left undecided whether it is on the strength of these asanas that such powers are set free. We need a certain position for our magical development, no matter which one, the simplest being that which we described above. It is meant to reassure the body and strengthen the willpower. The main point will always be that mind and soul are in need of an undisturbed action of the body, a problem to be discussed in special exercises further on. Those scholars who become very tired, mentally as well as psychically in performing the exercises of the first and second steps, and fall asleep regularly during the concentration and meditation exercises, will do best practicing them in the aforementioned position.
The beginner ought to practice this sort of body control in his everyday life. He will find a great deal of opportunity by observation and attention. For example, if you feel tired, force yourself to do something else, in spite of your tiredness, irrespective of this being any hobby or a short walk. If you feel hungry, put off the meal for half an hour; if you feel thirsty, do not drink on the spot, but wait for a while. Being used to hurrying all the time, try to act slowly and the other way around. Anyone who is slow should make a point of working fast. It is entirely up to the scholar to control and force body and nerves by willpower.
This is the end of the second step exercises.
Summary of Exercises of Step II:
Initiation into Hermetics Practice section excerpt Franz Bardon IIH full book available at http://www.merkurpublishing.com
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