Franz Bardon and initiation

From Anthroposophy

Franz Bardon (1909-1958) is the name used to refer to the spiritual Individuality and adept that entered into the body of a fourteen year old boy Franz Bardon in 1924, and dictated three books on initiation that are the most advanced guides for spiritual development in the modern western world.

In the book Frabato by Otti Votavova (1903-1973) (see references and download section below) he is described as:

  • an Individuality that had incarnated hundreds of times and has been a teacher of in the Mystery schools for millenia.
  • a member of the White Lodge that rises to the level of the circle of the twelve in the 20th century, replacing another Master.

The three books of Initiation are intended for the modern western person without guidance from a master, and are regarded as the best modern initiation pathway for the western culture and current cultural age.

  • Initiation into Hermetics (IIH): This is the english title of the book originally called 'The way to the true adept' (Der Weg zum wahren adepten). It is a densely written initiation guide consisting of ten steps whereby the student develops the mental, astral and physical bodies. Each step has criteria that the student has to reach before taking on the next step (using self-assessment of the newly developed faculties as a feedback loop for one's advancement). The first three steps correspond more or less to what is found in other books such as Rudolf Steiner's Knowledge of the Higher Worlds (KHW). Only when the student has reached step eight in IIH is he/she ready to also take on the next two books. Step 10 is about achieving 'Unity' or God experience.
  • Practice of Magical Evocation (PME) is about spirit evocation.
  • Key to True Kabbalah (KTK - or sometimes also KTQ when written Quabbalah) is about the cosmic language of creation.

See also: Initiation and the books of wisdom


  • names
    • Franz Bardon is the legal name of the 14-year old boy whose body the adept of the white lodge took over in 1924. On the timing, see also the note under point 2 on Franz Bardon and initiation#Introduction below.
    • he is also referred to as Master Arion
    • Frabato was the name that Franz Bardon used as a stage magician before WWII
    • in an interview of son Lumir Bardon by Martin Faulks, Lumir mentions he cannot disclose the true name of his father, but says it ends on 'ananda'
  • Individuality
    • lots of speculation exists about previous incarnations and the individuality of Franz Bardon. Hints are given in the last chapter of the 'novel' Frabato that Bardon dictated to his secretary at the end of his life. Multiple versions of this book exist, with various opinions about which is the true and unedited version (see 'Further reading' section below).
    • a handwritten archive note has been shared by Walter Ogris stating oa "body born on 1.12.1909, died 10.07.1958" but also "not entered into this world through the body of a mother since 1651". This might imply that the process of regular incarnation is not always followed.
  • publishers: The works of Franz Bardon have been made available to the world and distributed thanks to Dieter Rüggeberg of Rüggeberg Verlag (DE), as well as people from Merkur Publishing (US). Another early publisher was Alexandre Moryason (FR, website in English). More recently also secondary literature comes from Falcon Books Publishing (UK). More information is available via these sites.
  • Note: Rudolf Steiner provided a spiritual scientific body of knowledge that can be used as background and explanation for the exercises in IIH, see Initiation exercises


FMC00.408 shows pictures of Franz Bardon as appearing in his books such as IIH or 'The way to the true adept'


Lecture coverage and references

Franz Bardon

introduction of earliest German editions

The system which has been built with the utmost diligence is not a speculative method, but it is the positive result of 30 years of research, practical exercises and repeated comparison with many other systems of many different lodges, secret societies and the Oriental knowledge, which is only accessible to especially talented and only to a few selected individuals. It is therefore - let it be understood - to be destined from out of my own practice for the practice of many, and has been proven from my students as the best and most useful system.


Note 1 - Bardon practitioners

Below follows a small sample of some known Bardon practioners that have come forth via publications via the internet and/or books.

Milan Kumar

Bardon had several study circles in various cities, and one of his well known students was Dr. Milan Kumar. A short essay by him is contained as author 'Dr. MK' in 'Memories of Franz Bardon', a book written by son Lumir Bardon.

Jef C.

Jef C. (US, born 1945) found the books by Bardon is a small bookshop in 1971 and started practicing. In the period 2001-2002 he participated in an online forum where he gave some insights in his path. These posts were so out of the ordinary that they were stored for many years and later published by Marten Crawford in 2014 in the booklet 'The adept magician' (see below for a PDF excerpt). This book contains the story told by these online forum posts by an unnamed magician who tells about his path of some three decades of going through Bardon's three books and the three 'great transformations' after each of them.

The first practitioners to come forth actively and publicly in the age of the internet were William Mistele and Rawn Clark.

William Mistele

William 'Bill' Mistele (US) started practicing IIH in 1975 and wrote his online commentary to IIH around 1998-1999 and this is still online, but was never published in book form.

Rawn Clark

Rawn Clark (US, born 1958) for many years published through the website, started in 2001. The site then went off line and was brought back online by someone else as The site contains Rawn's first commentary 'A Bardon Companion' (his was and is freely available as PDF in the public domain), as well as his second commentary from the 2009 lecture series (available in book form). The published book 'A Bardon Companion' contains both V1 of 2002 (freely available) and the V2 of 2010. His third and most recent commentary, again a decade later, is now available on youtube.

Clark states he started with IIH in 1983, became involved in online forums (ao the BardonPraxis forum) a dozen years later (say around 1995) and spent the next 13 years (say until around 2008) answering questions online. In 2002-3 he performed a Bardon Questionnaire and published an analysis of the answers of 500 respondents.

Justin B. magician

Justin (US, born 1979) started posting his commentary on a blog in the period 2008-2012. The blog went offline, but the commentary was published in a 140-page PDF downloadeable from this site (see Further reading section below).

Since 2018 Justin has a new blog 'The Perennial Magic' on and in 2022 started posting youtube movies, see eg here.

An interview is available here, five audio podcasts are available regarding IIH and Bardon's books on "Knowledge and Conversation" (Chris and Justin), see here


Virgil has a blog since 2019 on, an interview can be read here. See his books under the 'Further reading' section below.

Ray del Sole

Ray del Sole (DE) has over 20 years of experience with Bardon's teachings (starting approx. 1994) and is author of many booklets on spiritual growth. He has a blog An interview can be read here.

Purnacandra Sivarupa

Purnacandra Sivarupa is the name for Nicholas G. M. G. Scheman (US) who is the author of two popular web blogs that have both gone offline: and (back online in 2022). His postings included commentary on IIH, eg re-initiation into hermetics in 2015. An interview with him is available here.

Emil Stejnar

Emil Stejnar (Austria, born 1939) is the publisher of over a dozen books on magic.


Just a selection of additional people who are active in public and whose work can be found on the web (facebook, youtube, forums)

  • Mark Rasmus, ao wrote 'Back Door Into Hermetics: A Guide to Becoming Initiated into the Mysteries' (2020)
  • Crystalf Maibach

Note 2 - On secondary literature around Franz Bardon's three books

Besides Bardon's main three books, additional flanker literature has appeared as practioners who started in the period 1970-80s and 90s started publishing over the internet first, as pioneered by the likes of Mistele and Clark who went online with their own sites in 1998 and 2001.

The internet has surely enabled people scattered all over the world to find eachother via internet forums first (eg FranzBardonMagi yahoo group), and later through the world wide web, thus bringing together a community of practioners where this was not possible before. This is a genuine positive from the 'free flow of information' via internet technology.

The next generation of students that benefited from the support by Clark and others furthered their initiation by a time the world wide web had matured, and this gave rise to many more blogs and commentaries.

However this community of practioners also found a mirror image in a wave of new books appearing, all related to Bardon in some way, or some new and unpublished materials.

Especially during the decade 2010-2020, after decades of silence on the book publishing front, there has been a new wave of Bardon related books and revival of general interest showing also in websites, blogs, and youtube movies.

However not all these books are written from experience or mastery, and so a word of caution is required. Filling a library with 'Bardon related' books will not help any student in practice, quite on the contrary it will only distract from focused practice of IIH and initiation exercises.

  • Books have been published by Seila Orienta, ao 'Das buch Anion'. Little documentation can be found, other than his son stating his father was a student of Franz Bardon.
  • Johannes H. von Hohenstätten states that he is "a student and friend of two masters called Anion and Ariane who helped him on IIH and asked him to write down his knowledge and experiences and make these public". Debated as to not trustworthy .
  • the website is another source of information and rumours about newly discovered unpublished materials
  • and so on .. .

This short note does not want to qualify or judge any source in particluar, but just conclude with the statement that the first book Initiation into Hermetics or IIH is all one needs. The path of Franz Bardon is experiential and one of practice, not one of intellectual study.

Note 3 - On Steiner and Bardon - anthroposophy and hermetics


Rudolf Steiner and Franz Bardon were two adepts from the White Lodge, who each brought humanity a wealth of spiritual knowledge and wisdom.

People may be confused from being attracted to both streams, or come from one and learn about the other.

This note discusses that it does not have to be 'or' but can be 'and'. This in line with this website which focuses on the work by Steiner, Bardon, Beinsa Douno and Daskalos.

1/ These considerations are to be positioned in a new era for mankind:

  • the year 1879 represented the start of a new Michael age (see eg Schema FMC00.239),
  • the year 1900 represents the end of the kali yuga or 'dark age' (see eg Schema FMC00.013).
  • And on a cosmic level and as a result of the Mystery of Golgotha, the 20th century is also the start of what can be called the 'Christ in the etheric' period where new faculties will develop naturally in mankind (such as natural clairvoyance and karmic remembrance and insight, see eg Schema FMC00.081).

2/ Council of guidance

  • Rudolf Steiner lectures on the fact that at certain key periods in time, certain councils or meetings are held by the White lodge to make for step changes in the guidance for mankind. Examples are given, ao at the 4th century AD (1909-08-31-GA113) or at the end of the 16th century (1912-12-18-GA130). For more on this, see White Lodge#Aspects.
  • In the last chapters of the book Frabato, Bardon refers in a very similar way to a council of the White Lodge (see PDF download below).

Note: On the side, it is interesting to note that, regarding timing, the above council where the adept (who would take over a body of a young boy and be known as Franz Bardon in earth terms) received his mission, may have taken place at the time of Rudolf Steiner's illness in 1924 and subsequent non-recovery and death in 1925. For more info on the potential link, based on a quote by Ita Wegman - albeit still only a hypothesis - see The life of Rudolf Steiner#2017-10-24-DL

3/ The terms:

These relate to streams as we know them in the world, from a historical cultural development point of view, in different timeframes.

  • Hermetics is usually linked to the name of an ancient adept Hermes Trismegistus in the ancient Egyptian cultural age, whereby Trismegistus means 'trice-great'. However Daskalos is said to have stated that this is erroneous, and that with 'Hermes Trismegistus' is meant any human being who fully masters the three bodies (physical, astral and mental) and thereby reaches a higher state of consciousness allowing him to travel equally in the three worlds. See quote here: Seven hermetic principles#Markides quoting Daskalos. Steiner explains why our current age sees a revival and has a link with the third Egypto-Chaldean cultural age - see eg Remembrance.
  • Just as theosophy and anthroposophy are quite related and have the same basis, so also hermetics is the name of the direct initiation science in the Egyptian cultural age. Both theosophy and hermetics have continuity of traditions down into the middle ages. Hence it is normal to find people also in the overlapping zones or streams (see also The Michaelic stream), and one should not draw up category walls between words like hermetic, esoteric christianity, theosophy, anthroposophy as they are but different versions of the spiritual science of initiation, or the 'ancient wisdom teachings of all the ages' taught in the mystery schools (see Mystery School tradition).
Perspectives on streams and lineage

See also: The Michaelic stream

Below follow some additional perspectives:

  • Rudolf Steiner's lectures on the White Lodge show a first point of convergence. All great teachers and their teachings have the same origin, key messages and purpose. 'The same wine in different bottles' to fit the cultural age: stage of consciousness, maturity of Man's bodily principles, language and culture. But also appeal to different cohorts or segments of the population, based on their Individuality and karma.
  • A second point is that many of Steiner's lectures actually describe or explain - in a spiritual scientific language or framework - the Initiation exercises such as described in Bardon's IIH, whereas the IIH book focuses on the personal practice and deliberately does not provide explanations for an intellectual grasp, or does not adhere to any particular worldview, religious belief or godhead. The reason why Steiner could provide such descriptions is because he invested twenty years in developing a consistent body of knowledge for spiritual science, related to his core mission. Bardon's mission was different (re: Frabato, see Reference section below). Note: besides the short 'theory' section in IIH, Bardon does give very concise and densely written background explanations in his fourth 'book of wisdom', which however was lost and has more recently been published based on what could be found.
  • For yet another perspective, or a third element in this buildup, one might study the lecture 1910-09-02-GA123 supplemented by 1911-02-16-GA060 on Hermes and 1911-03-09-GA060 on Moses.
    • The GA123 lecture sketches how both Hermes and Moses were students of Zarathustra (and also received his etheric and astral bodies), with each taking a different aspect or path:
      • Hermes: nature, space, contemporary - direct Sun wisdom - astral
      • Moses: time, old-new polarity - etheric - indirect Sun wisdom so Earth(ly) wisdom (the knowledge of earthly things, eg Earth's origin, Book of Genesis, etc). Moses also taught spiritual scientific knowledge and left the famous 'five books of Moses', which were later also taught by Philo of Alexandria. Philo of Alexandria later incarnated as Spinoza and Fichte, and Lazarus-John (see Individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz) was his pupil. One can see a clear lineage here.
    • For more info about what is said in this lecture, see also the Discussion area of the Michaelic Stream.
    • Based on the above premise, one can juxtapose again what Steiner and Bardon brought to the new age
      • As stated in the above lecture, Bardon's self-initiation (through his three books) is indeed about the 'direct' initiatory path. There are no moral guidelines, mantras, no intellectual knowledge or explanations. It's a manual for the student to develop his own inner temple and spiritual practices, whereby each step builds upon the experiences acquired in the previous step, and this irrespective of knowledge or belief systems. It leverages the facultie(s) of human will (and imagination), whereas anthroposophy as a knowledge stream is more about thinking, flowing into feeling-thinking or the imaginative thinking of the heart. (see also: D00.003 - Systemic aspects of the study process) One might consider, as some people have done, a third stream would consist of feeling-based devotion and pure love.
      • Rudolf Steiner's teachings belong to the spiritual stream of the Individuality of Christian Rosenkreutz and Individuality of Master Jesus (Zarathustra). In the context of the above, some sources relate Steiner's anthroposophy to the indirect Sun wisdom or Earth wisdom.
        • On the one hand Rudolf Steiner himself positioned anthroposophy in this way, differentiating it from theosophy (which has a strong cosmological focus) and focusing on Man and the earthly things.
        • On the other hand, certain sources point to Steiner's continuation of the work of Goethe, who was also clearly in the stream of Earth wisdom (and, speculated and/or rumoured to be a reincarnation of Moses). Those who have investigated the correlations have found multiple clues (which can of course always fall into 'hineininterpretierung'). Steiner states that Goethe received a rosecrucian initiation, and many illustrations show the link with the rosecrucian stream, eg the following excerpt on the six virtues and twelve petalled flower from 1906-06-06-GA094:

          We have another example in Goethe's poem, Die Geheimnisse, which expresses the ideal of the Rosicrucians. According to the explanation given by Goethe to certain students, each of the twelve Companions of the Rose Cross represents a religious creed

Further reading:

  • Ian H. Gladwin: 'Franz Bardon's Rosicrucian background and his ties to the Pansophers' (2018) - article
    • mentions oa Bardon's inner circle were taught to work with rosicrucian symbols and rituals; a letter signed 'Franz Bardon Initiator R. + C.' and that
On self-initiation

see also Discussion thread:

  • Rudolf Steiner wrote Knowledge of the Higher Worlds (KHW) around 1904 and also said he would write a second follow up book, which he never did.
  • In this bullet point we juxtapose several angles of perspectives that have to be taken together
    • a.o. in the lectures about Parsifal, see Schema FMC00.114 and Schema FMC00.380, is explained how there is a natural evolution in the process of initiation before and after the Mystery of Golgotha, and especially in the new age of the ripening consciousness soul.
    • this is related to Christ Impulse - meeting of two streams oa in Schema FMC00.113, Schema FMC00.438 and Schema FMC00.167
    • furthermore it is important to realize how the consciousness soul is really a stepping stone for natural penetration by the spiritual, see eg Schema FMC00.431 on Human character - the I and threefold soul (but also Schema FMC00.468 on that page)
    • last, and less key but added here as frame of reference, see Mysteries of the Spirit, the Son and the Father


The point from the above is that in current times, it is up to mature souls to act consciously and out of freedom and commit to initiation.

Initiation in the current modern times had to be brought to the working person living with a job and family, really fully living a 'normal' or regular life as part of society in the modern western world. This is the idea of self-initiation, and Steiner's KHW is the first book that goes into that direction, to put this out in the open publicly. Bardon then was an initiator from the mysteries through the ages, who had the mission to make public the 'path to the true adept', and his three books have done exactly that, as proven by generations of students, some of which have now themselves become coaches to support fellow students along that path.

There is a link here with the so-called 'Father-impulse', that the future teachers of mankind have to become, and will be, normal humans. This in contrast to the guidance of mankind done by higher beings not part of 'regular' humanity, see oa Three classes of Buddhas

Conclusion note

Steiner's mission was to be a teacher, to bring a foundation for spiritual science, the teachings of reincarnation and karma, and announce the Christ in the etheric (the last point together with Beinsa Douno).

Bardon was not teaching in an intellectual manner, he was an initiator with a different mission, and his focus was to bring to mankind a system whereby mature souls can - and will - develop to adepthood through self-initiation.

Related pages

References and further reading


  • Otti Votavova: Das Original-Manuscript des Frabato (2015)
    • Note there are quite a number of versions of the Frabato book, see below as well as The Three Frabatos
      • The ‘Bauer’ Frabato (1958, in DE, published by Hermann Bauer Verlag)
      • The ‘Rüggeberg’ Frabato (1979, in DE published by Rüggeberg Dieter Verlag - and in EN 1982 by Rüggeberg Verlag and 2003 by Merkur)
      • The ‘Aurora’ Frabato (1990, in DE, published by Verlag Aurora)
    • Digital PDF download version

Related source material

  • Lumir Bardon: 'Memories of Franz Bardon' (1992, 2004 in EN)
  • Dieter Ruggeberg: 'Franz Bardon: Questions & Answers and The Great Arcanum'
  • Alexandre Moryason published in French, see his website for information on Franz Bardon and his teachings
    • Paroles de Maître Arion suivi du Livre d'Or de la sagesse (2001)
    • Le Cercle de Prague: Enseignements inédits

Furthermore more books are now appearing:

  • Josef Drabek (1891-1961) & Franz Bardon: An aid for introspection (2022 in EN, original in CZ 2015)
    • magnificent work, the better/more complete version of the version published earlier as 'The Universal Master Key'
    • over 750 pages; comments on character attributes per element:
  • The Universal Master Key (2013)
    • discovered notes from the Prague study group with Bardon, compiled by Dieter Rüggeberg and published by Faulks Books
    • approx 330 pages; comments on character attributes per element: fire 40 properties, air 57, water 36, earth 35
  • The golden book of wisdom
    • see info on background and publishing of this book on this and other pages on
    • a book with this title was already published by Seila Orienta in 2014

Commentaries and companion materials

Several Bardon practitioners have written companions to IIH to support students with their first steps and expand on the very concise writings of the IIH book, the below is a non-exhaustive selection.

The most systematic and elaborate is Rawn Clark's 'A Bardon Companion'. If one picks only a single book additional to IIH, this would be recommended. However all individuals with different personalities offer various perspectives and styles of commentary.

  • Justin B. magician: Justin's Commentary on Franz Bardon's training system (PDF dowwload)
  • Marten Crawford: 'The adept magician' (2014)
    • publication of a sequence of remarkable postings on a public internet forum in the period 2001-2 by someone (anonymous, called 'Jef C.') who had followed Bardon's initiation system over three decades (since approx 1971)
    • as the book is no longer available and people have been looking and asking for this, this PDF download contains excerpts
  • Franz Bardon community (Falcon Books)
    • The Franz Bardon Tradition: Interviews with experienced practitioners (2021)
    • Equipoise: Insights Into Foundational Astral Training (2019)
      • contributions by > 20 practitioners
  • Virgil
    • The Elemental Equilibrium: Notes on The Foundation of Magical Adepthood (2017)
    • The Gift To Be Simple: My Answer to a Student's Question: An Answer to a Students Question (2020)
    • The Spirit of Magic: Rediscovering the Heart of Our Sacred Art (2019)

More and others

  • William R. Mistele
    • 'The four elements' (2019)
  • Emil Stejnar
  • Johannes H. von Hohenstätten
    • Das Leben des Franz Bardon (2013)
    • Die Verkörperungen des Meister Arion (2013)
    • Das 1. kleine Arkanum: Franz Bardons geheimer Schlüssel zur Gottesverwirklichung (2013)
    • Der hermetische Seelenspiegel (2014)
    • Auf der Suche nach Meister Arion (2015)
    • Das magische Gleichgewicht (2016)
    • and more oa on runes
  • Josef Drabek
  • Ray del Sole
    • Preliminary Practice for Franz Bardon´s Initiation into Hermetics (2010)
    • The Path of the Mystic: Special Edition for Franz Bardon Practitioners (2017)
    • Mystical Extra Training for Franz Bardon´s Initiation into Hermetics (2020)
    • Autohypnosis for Franz Bardon´s Initiation into Hermetics (2020)
  • Mark Rasmus with Jake Senn: 'Back Door Into Hermetics: A Guide to Becoming Initiated into the Mysteries' (2020)
  • Jacob Abramowitz (six books called The Franz Bardon series)
    • ao: 'Quintscher's training manual for magicians', 'Lomer's letters for spiritual self-training', 'Kummer's rune and finger magic'
    • this is qualified as an example of unfortunate mis-use of the name of Franz Bardon to sell books with materials using related thematic names and materials