Franz Bardon and initiation

From Anthroposophy

Franz Bardon (1909-1958) is the name used to refers to the high 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 incarned 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 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 God experience.
  • Practice of Magical Evocation (PME) is about spirit evocation.
  • Key to True Kaballah (KTK or sometimes also KTQ) is about the language of creation.


See also: Initiation and the books of wisdom

Aspects

  • 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
    • Frabato was the name that Franz Bardon used as a stage magician before WWII
    • he is also referred to as Master Arion
    • 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).
  • 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 via these sites.

Illustrations

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

FMC00.408.jpg

Lecture coverage and references

Rudolf Steiner lectures provide background and explanation for the exercises in IIH, see Initiation exercices

Discussion

[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 in 'The adept magician', a booklet published by Marten Crawford in 2014. This booklet just 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 abardoncompanion.com, started in 2001. The site then went off line and was brought back online by someone else as abardoncompanion.de. The site contains Rawn's first commentary 'A Bardon Companion', as well as his second commentary from the 2009 lecture series. His third commentary, again a decade later, is available on youtube. The published book A Bardon Companion contains both V1 of 2002 (which is also freely available) and the V2 of 2010.

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

Emil Stejnar

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

Justin B. magician

Justin (US, born 1979) started posting his commentary on a blog justinbthemagician.blogspot.com 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 justinbmagician.wordpress.com 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

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: magicalmessiah.wordpress.com and inpeaceprofound.com (back online in 2022). His postings included commentary on IIH, eg re-initiation into hermetics in 2015. An interview with him is available here.

Virgil

Virgil has a blog since 2019 on livingfranzbardon.blogspot.com, 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 sura-blog.raydelsole.com. An interview can be read here.

[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".
  • the website czechhermetics.com 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.

[3] - On Hermetics and Anthroposophy

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 to have stated that this is erroneous and that with 'Hermes Trismegistus' is meant any human being who mastered 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

Furthermore, just as Theosophy and Anthroposophy are quite related and have the same basis, so also Hermetics is the name of the initiation science in the Egyptian cultural age. Both theosophy and hermetics have traditions upto the middle ages. Hence it is normal to find people also in the overlapping zones and we should not draw up category walls between these 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).

Below follow some 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.
  • A second point that emerges is that very many of Steiner's lectures actually describe of explain initiation exercises such as described in IIH, whereas the IIH book does not provide explanations for an intellectual grasp. One main reason is that Steiner could do so 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)
  • A third element may be the info given in 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 wisdom (the knowledge of earthly things, eg earth's origin, Genesis)

For more info about what is said in this lecture, see the Discussion area of the Michaelic Stream.

As stated in the above lecture, IIH is indeed about the 'direct' initiatory path. There are no moral behavioural guidelines, mantras, no intellectual knowledge or explanation. It's a manual for the student to develop his own inner temple and spiritual practices, and this irrespective of knowledge or belief systems. It leverages the two 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. One could say a third stream would consist of feeling based devotion and pure love.

Note: Rudolf Steiner's teachings belong to the spiritual stream of Christian Rosenkreutz and 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 and focusing on Man and the earthly things; on the other hand, certain sources point to his clear continuation of the work of Goethe, also clearly someone in the stream of earth wisdom (and speculated by some to be a reincarnation of Moses). On the latter, 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.

Related pages

References and further reading

Frabato

  • 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'
  • Alexandere Moryason published in French, see his website moryason.com 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:

  • The Universal Master Key (2013)
    • this book is not written by Franz Bardon as is indicated. Some sources state it was written by Josef Drabek.
  • The golden book of wisdom
    • see info on background and publishing of this book on this and other pages on czechhermetics.com
    • 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 most elaborate being Rawn Clark's 'A Bardon Companion'. If you need only pick a single additional book to IIH, this one is recommended.

  • Rawn Clark: 'A Bardon Companion' (V1 2002, V2 2010, for V3 additions see youtube).
  • Justin B. magician: Justin's Commentary on Franz Bardon's training system
  • 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 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, the attached contains excerpts
  • Franz Bardon community (Falcon Books)
    • The Franz Bardon Tradition: Interviews with experienced practitioners (2021)
    • Equipoise: Insights Into Foundational Astral Training
  • 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)

More and others

  • Marten Crawford: The adept magician
  • 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 spiritiual 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