The mental schooling of this entire Step is devoted to the establishment of the mental Equilibrium of the Elements. In Steps One and Two, the work was with the astral Equilibrium of the Elements as regards the personality. The mental Equilibrium is a somewhat different matter. The mental Equilibrium is not expressed in as concrete a way and is not something that can be itemized like the personality traits. The analysis itself is a major task, but the rectification of any imbalance is based upon methods the student will have already learned. Bardon's instructions in this regard will suffice for the student who has done the work of Steps One through Six. As always, this work demands inventiveness and a deep insight into one's own self.
The mental Equilibrium has a direct effect upon the astral personality. The student may find it necessary to once again pass through the work of the soul mirrors and bring them up-to-date in relation to the improved mental Equilibrium.
Attainment of the mental Equilibrium roughly equates with the basic mind-set of a seventh degree initiate in many of the popular Golden Dawn-type systems. This is the grade of Adeptus Exemptus (exempt adept, 7=4) and without this fully integrated Equilibrium of the three bodies, there can be no rise to the next level of Magister Templi (temple master, 8=3).
The seventh Step astral exercises serve the special cause of developing the student's astral senses, namely clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience. As Bardon points out, this may not be necessary for every student who has reached this level. Many students will find that they already have a natural ability with the astral sensoria and others may have developed their senses to a sufficient degree as a consequence of the Step One through Six work. Still others, who have done the preceding work, will find that they have little or no ability with the astral senses, and it is specifically this type of student for whom the seventh Step exercises are designed.
We each, by course of nature, possess the astral senses and use them continuously throughout our daily lives. Where we differ is in the degree to which our use of these senses is conscious. For most humans, our astral perceptions only reach our subconscious mind, but for those who are considered gifted, our astral perceptions reach our conscious mind and directly impact our actions, thoughts and emotions.
The reasons for this difference between individuals varies greatly. It can be due to the work we accomplished in past incarnations, or it can be due to mere happenstance (e.g., a severe accident or other traumatic incident), or even something so simple as our basic Elemental composition. The main barrier however, is the fact that our western cultures generally teach us to ignore and undervalue our more subtle perceptions.
Clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience can all be learned. But despite what the passive reader may think, the techniques that Bardon presents in Step Seven will not work for someone who has not passed through the previous Steps. For these techniques to be anything more than a waste of time, the student must already possess the Elemental Equilibrium and must have gained the full awareness of their three bodies. Again, this is a point where intimate knowledge of the mechanisms of human perception proves invaluable. In short, the astral techniques of Step Seven are 'magical' techniques and require a magician for them to be at all helpful.
The astral senses are difficult to describe. They are more than their physical corollaries. For example, the astral corollary of sight, clairvoyance, is essentially visual yet it provides the clairvoyant more than just visual information. When the clairvoyant observes a thing with their astral sight, certain information about the thing is revealed at an almost intuitive level. The clairvoyant will perceive the thing's essential nature along with its current motivation or 'raison d' etre'. Ultimately, this normally passive sense can lead to an active form of two-way communication.
Similar things can be said of the other astral senses. For example, the clairaudiant individual will be able to perceive the meaning of sounds and the clairsentient person will be able to perceive the meaning and the entire past of a thing that is touched.
The astral senses are what enables the magician to perceive the astral realm. This is an essential attribute for the magician who engages in astral wandering, for without the astral senses, the astral wanderer would walk deaf, dumb and blind. This is also an imperative faculty for the magician who wishes to practice evocation, for without it, the evoker has no way of truly seeing the inner nature of what they have evoked.
It is hard to conceive just how radically the blossoming of the astral sensoria can effect the initiate's life. At every level, the amount of information that the initiate will be able to perceive in any given moment will be multiplied a thousandfold. But along with developing the astral senses the student must learn to control them. It is not convenient for the magician to always have their astral senses active -- sometimes ignorance IS bliss! There are many who suffer mental and emotional pain because they cannot shut off their more subtle perceptions. Thus the student of magic should do their best to avoid this pitfall by learning to develop AND control their astral sensoria.
The exercises of this section are straight forward and well described by Bardon. One must however, pay close attention to the details for success to ensue.
In the sixth Step, Bardon teaches how to create an Elemental. An Elemental is composed of light or pure energy, impregnated with an idea, given a form, a name and a specific term of life. An Elementary, the topic of Step Seven's physical schooling, is different in that it is composed of one or more of the four Elements. An Elemental's realm of influence is primarily mental, but an Elementary can be created to immediately effect any realm or combination of realms that the magician desires. Of course, the degree of its effectiveness depends upon the capabilities of the magician.
An Elementary has life, whereas an Elemental has only purpose. The life of the Elementary however, comes from the magician's own life breath. Thus the relationship between the Elementary and the magician who creates it, is similar to that of parent and child. Furthermore, a magician is karmically responsible for all of the actions of their Elementaries. Needless to say, great care must be taken in the creation of an Elementary.
In order to be able to create a genuine Elementary, the magician must have complete mastery over the Elements, for an Elementary is created through the projection and condensation of the Elements. The magician must follow the pattern of life and create three bodies for the Elementary -- a physical form or body, an astral body and a mental body -- and, s/he must bind these bodies together.
In most cases, the physical form of the Elementary stays with the magician and only the astra-mental form is sent out to accomplish the Elementary's task. The realm to which it is cast depends entirely upon the task it is to perform and upon the will of the magician. All of the details are up to the magician for this is a true act of creation. Even so, certain rules have to be followed and since these are so well explained by Bardon, I have nothing to add to them.
An Elementary should be treated with a firm will, with love, respect and kindness. It should always be empowered with only a good purpose to fulfill. If you find that you are frustrated by your Elementary's inability to accomplish its assigned task within the time you have specified or in the manner you have specified, then back off. This is never the fault of the Elementary itself. It is due entirely to an insufficiency in your charging of it, or in your accumulation of the Elements, or in your impregnation of it with your ideation, etc. Or, it could be that its task is not allowed by Divine Providence. Whatever the reason, you can either make modifications (i.e., provide it a greater density of the Elements or refine its root ideation, etc.) that will make it more effective, or you can dissolve it and start over.
The termination of an Elementary takes nearly as much care as its creation. The process mimics exactly that of normal human death. Remember that an Elementary is connected to its creator in very real ways, so if the dissolution is too abrupt great harm can come to the magician's own self. In the rare case where an immediate, violent dissolution is necessary certain precautions must be taken so as to avoid personal injury.
The magician is free to create as many or as few Elementaries as he or she desires. But the passive reader would do well to consider the logistics of managing too large a brood! Unlike an Elemental which can form itself subconsciously, the creation of an Elementary is a conscious process and requires the magician's periodic attention once it has been released. A magician can draw an endless supply of Elementals to him or her self without having to pay them constant attention, but to create an endless supply of Elementaries is an entirely different matter.
The only truly practical way to achieve this sort of result is through still higher forms of magic. Thus the legends of magicians who possessed hundreds of Elementaries can indicate one of two things: Either -- 1) the legend confuses Elementals with Elementaries and really indicates a magician who has figured out how to draw Elementals into their sphere -- or -- 2) the legend indicates a magician of very advanced capabilities who is able manifest as many Elementaries as desired by means of higher magical techniques than those described here.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to what a magician can accomplish through an Elementary. The creative practice itself will enhance the magician's inventiveness to unimagined heights. This work will also test the magician's ethical maturity and may likely purify the initiate through a trial by fire. It is hard for me to describe to you how deeply this touches the initiate -- it is MEANT to squeeze out the last shred of ethical imbalance and if it does not, then no further advancement is possible. The subtlety of these tests is incomprehensible to one who has not come to this stage of the work and the specific tests themselves are different for each individual.
I would like to project ahead to Step Ten for a moment in order to explain the significance of the purifying tests that go hand in hand with Elementary creation. In Step Ten, Bardon speaks about the communion with one's own personal god (one of the goals of IIH). Imagine if you will, the significance of this. Pretend, for the moment, that you actually are your highest idea of deity. Consider the infinite number of options at your disposal and think also of the infinite number of consequences, many of them quite terrible, that each of those options will manifest.
Now return to your normal sense of self and feel how overwhelming just that little glimpse was. The truth of the matter is that the reality is infinitely more. Imagine now, from your normal state, what it would be like to have your conscious awareness permeate every one of that infinite number of options and their possible consequences, simultaneously and fully. Imagine that absolutely every thing that is, was, or will be, is encompassed within your own being. Imagine that amount of responsibility and you will have some glimpse of why the magician must first pass through these sorts of tests in order that they may be able to reach so high a magical practice as communion with deity.