Initiation Into Hermetics is one of the best books I’ve ever read and worked with, and has helped me greatly in my magical development. In some respects it also hindered me, but I feel it’s definitely a net win. At some point I set it aside and pursued other avenues. But even then I often found myself coming back to Bardon’s books.
There’s a popular website by Rawn Clark called “A Bardon Companion”: abardoncompanion.de
With this, again, I’ve learned much, but in some respects it also slowed me down. I believe that some of the knowledge one acquires while pursuing a magical path (or anything really) is built upon the pitfalls encountered. So what I’m saying is basically that, you *will* have misconceptions (or missing knowledge) which you will encounter and iron out when working with a system. And it is by transcending these limiting beliefs that we learn what beliefs were wrong. Of course there’s also the things you can learn straight from a teacher/book, not just this part.
So here’s some advice.
1. Read all 3 books. Initiation Into Hermetics, Practice of Magical Evocation, Key to the Magical Kabbalah. Cross-read again and again, and work with it. Don’t pick up some limiting beliefs that Franz Bardon put in there, I think on purpose. Only someone sincerely and steadfastly working with his system (and their magical evolution of consciousness) wouldn’t be turned off by these limiting beliefs, and at some point recognize and transcend them. One example of a limiting belief is “this exercise is hard or dangerous” or “it has to be done exactly as Bardon describes”. These books are only an aid. Explore your consciousness by whatever means you’re drawn to at some point in time. It’s a damn good instructional course in magic written by a highly knowledgeable spirit incarnate adept and might provide a solid foundation of your other magical work, but it will be just one among many in your magical library.
2. Be gentle with yourself. It’s a lifelong course. You will have trouble with some exercises and soar at others. You will fail, but only temporarily. You might also get more patient as you recognize that the things you learn are not binary (can/cannot do), but are parts of an infinite continuum. For example, there are degrees of success/adepthood in Clairaudience. Talerman wrote about this very topic in another thread. So know that you are making progress. And sometimes we’re just blind to our progress and think we’re not making any!
3. Mix and match, if you’re really drawn to it, or the talents evolve naturally. I’ve developed Evocation, Mental Wandering, Telepathy, Transmutation and many other skills over the past 15 years to a significant degree. And there’s much, much more to learn for me in these disciplines and others! There are special people out there that focus on a skill and really have developed it to an astonishing degree. For example Animal Communication, a form of Telepathy. I have a desire in working on that. Then there’s Astral Projection. I have a difficult relationship with it. But at some point one has to make choices about what skills to work on. And I find it is natural then to follow one’s own unique interests and talents. It’s more fun and effective that way. I love animals and communication, so I’m pursuing exercises to talk to them. I’m intrigued in AP and think it would help me in my practice, but it doesn’t come naturally to me, so I have a hard time making progress. Also, it’s not as important as the former one. Sure, I’d like to develop both. But in the end obviously AP is not important enough for me, compared to other things. So it takes a backseat.
Also, at some point I think it is inevitable that one develops a skill that Bardon talks about in other, later places in the book, in a significant fashion. And then it can get confusing. You want to work on that newly found power and learn about it, so you work on a thing that, according to Bardon’s course, comes much later. It would appear that Rawn Clark, who is a good magician indeed, strictly adhered to Bardon’s steps in order. So either he is very different in his personality from me (and maybe many others), or he did skip ahead sometimes.
4. Bardon doesn’t talk much about emotions. What little is there is pretty general. Without emotions we are lost as far as power and perception are concerned, so any student of Bardon *will* get in touch with their emotions as they work the course. Which is actually true for all powerful magical paths I think.
5. Be sincere and humble. Seek the friendship of all beings you encounter. Let rejection take a back seat in significance. But honor “bad” emotions and experiences as much as you would the “good” ones. By honoring I mean giving them love and attention, your offer of friendship and welcome. Develop introspection. Develop empathy and intuition. Get out into nature, or put nature into your house. Seek peace. Peace of mind, peace of emotion, peace of body, and, ultimately and most supreme, peace of spirit.