Franz Bardon and initiation

From Anthroposophy

Franz Bardon (1909-1958) is the name that refers to the high spiritual individuality and hermetic 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 that exist.

These books are intended for the modern western person without guidance from a master.

  • Initiation into Hermetics (IIH): 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. The first three steps correspond more or less to what is found in many other books (including Rudolf Steiner's Knowledge of the Higher Worlds). Only when the student has reached step eight in IIH is he is ready to also take on the next two books.
  • Practice of Magical Evocation (PME) is about spirit evocation.
  • Key to True Kaballah (KTQ) is about the language of creation.


Lecture coverage and references

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


The works of Franz Bardon have been made available to the world and distributed thanks to Dieter Rüggeberg of Rüggeberg Verlag, as well as people from Merkur Publishing and more recently Falcon Books Publishing. More information can be found via these sites.

Several people 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 Clarke's 'A Bardon Companion'.

A lot 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.

Hermetics and Anthroposophy

Just as Theosophy and Anthroposophy are quite related, so also Hermetics is the name of the initiation science of Hermes 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.

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. One main reason is that Steiner could do so because he invested twenty years in developing a body of knowledge for spiritual science, related to his core mission.
  • A third element is 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 in Discussion area of the Michaelic Stream.

In conclusion: 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 human will, whereas anthroposophy as a knowledge stream is more about thinking, flowing into feeling-thinking. One could state 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 follow 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