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Step Three

Pillars of the Temple

Bardon opened Step Three with a brief discussion of four fundamental qualities necessary for a successful pursuit of Hermetic initiation. He called these the four pillars of Solomon’s Temple and labeled them Knowledge, Volition, Courage or Daring and Silence. I will discuss each one in sequence starting with what he called “knowledge”.

Clearly, knowledge is not a quality or trait. It’s a result, a thing we gain through learning and is not itself a character trait. The fundamental quality then is an ability, willingness and eagerness to learn. In other words, the successful Hermetic is one who is capable of learning from every source and from every experience.

This is not just about stuffing our brains with facts and figures from books; quite the contrary, since very little true knowledge comes from mere dogmatic factoids. True learning involves personal experience; personal testing of information that one has assimilated; deep consideration of the veracity of information and then the practical application of any truths one has gleaned.

Every thing teaches us. Or rather, we can learn something from every moment of our lives . . . if only we are truly willing to learn the lessons that each moment holds for us. Every interaction, every perception, every feeling and every thought is a brand new opportunity for us to learn something new or to refine what we already think is true. But whether or not we choose to learn from any given thing or moment is entirely up to us.

What is required for genuine success with Hermetic initiation is a passionate desire for learning and an openness to whatever the lesson might be. In other words, we do not turn away from difficult lessons; we embrace them because they are our doorways to true knowledge. Nor do we run more eagerly after the pleasant lessons just for their pleasantness – we run because we wish to learn from all things.

Reading and absorbing the words and ideas of others is great but it is never the whole of true knowledge. It can help us broaden our horizons and introduce us to new ways of thinking and feeling and to new things to think and feel about, but it must be personalized through direct personal experience and involvement for it take form as true knowledge. True learning must encompass our mind, heart and body. This is why just reading IIH does not make one into an actual magician. It’s only through the personal experience of doing the exercises that the information becomes true knowledge and understanding. Only then does the Hermetic theory come alive within your mind, soul and body and become true knowing.

To my mind, there are three things that enable true learning. First is a sharp and versatile intellect, capable of seeing to the heart of a matter, of making connections between ideas and experiences, and of discerning between truth and falsehood, between illusion and objective reality. Second is objectivity of perception, which is why so much emphasis is placed upon developing your mundane and subtle senses. And third is a genuine desire, openness and willingness to learn—even better if it is an eagerness to learn.

Of course, each of these traits can be intentionally cultivated and strengthened.

A second fundamental quality necessary for successful pursuit of Hermetic initiation is what Bardon titled, “volition”. This is the fiery power of your determination, the willfulness of your conscious intention; specifically, its ability to pass through any barriers that block your way. This requires an adroit balance or proportioning of fluidity and rigidity, of adaptability and bone-headed stubbornness. This kind of will must be able to change course in an instant when its course proves incorrect or impossible and yet be so stubborn that it will never cease searching for the correct path to its goal. And, will never cease pursuing that path once found.

This is most important in your character transformation work and your work with all the other exercises of IIH. It assures success.

Magical volition is eternally persistent – if it takes lifetimes to accomplish then so be it; that does not deter the magical volition. Magical volition is undeniable – it will always find its way through or around any obstacle. Magical volition is infinitely adaptable – instead of resisting changing circumstances, it readily changes tactics to best meet each challenge.

A third fundamental quality necessary for successful pursuit of Hermetic initiation is what Bardon titled, “daring” or “courage” depending upon which English translation you reference.

Personally, I prefer the word ‘daring’ over that of ‘courage’, because at the root of magical courage is a willingness to take risks -- willingness to risk suffering, willingness to risk failure and more subtly, willingness to risk succeeding. If you are willing to go through any experience whatsoever for the sake of reaching your goal then you are courageous.

Courage also requires groundedness in self, a steadfastness of character; otherwise it devolves into mere foolishness and needless risk-taking. True magical courage also requires a noble goal for which one is willing to risk everything in the attainment; otherwise it is a pointless waste of energy which debases true courage.

Courage is what enables us to take that next step into the unknown territory of self. To my mind the most courageous and noble act a human being can undertake is that of truly being their own self. Or, in the context of initiation, to engage in the work of intentional character transformation. Entering into the soul mirror work, it feels like we are risking the loss of everything familiar and dear to us – “what happens if we turn into somebody completely different?” is a common question. Facing that fear of rejection, alienation and aloneness takes great courage since inclusion, acceptance and community are so important to our well being

At first, courage is based upon imagination, belief, hope or faith, if you will. However, the exercising of courage breeds self-confidence and very quickly courage shifts its rooting to the firm ground of proven success. With each success, we learn that we are indeed capable of achieving our goals and of persevering to the end, so we no longer need to imagine that we’re capable – we know we’re capable and this self-assurance produces an even more powerful quality of courage.

Magical courage is the foundation of the persistence aspect of the magical volition or will. Without courage, the will has no staying power, no stick-to-it-iveness and is therefore easily defeated. But when the will is backed by a willingness to risk anything and everything, then it is inexhaustible and capable of persisting indefinitely.

The fourth and final fundamental quality for success in Hermetic initiation was titled “silence” by Bardon. Of the four qualities, this one is perhaps the most complex and by far the most difficult to explain. There are so many layers to the meaning of ‘silence’ in the Hermetic context.

One layer is that of simple self-preservation. Those who seek to penetrate the Hermetic Mysteries are, quite frankly much more difficult to control, thus they are perceived as dangerous to political and religious authorities whose primary function is that of controlling the masses of humanity. They are also a heretical threat to the dogmatic beliefs of religious fundamentalists and are often labeled as blasphemers, devil worshipers, witches, etc., in an effort to discredit them. In many times and places one risked one’s very life to be known as a ‘magician’ or to display any knowledge deeper than accepted dogma.

In the western cultures this sort of fundamentalist reaction was more prominent in the past than it is today, but today a Hermetic magician faces the prominence of another age old danger. You see, there are and have always been government and military organizations who take special interest in those who profess great magical powers, all in the hope of either suborning them as weapons or destroying them as threats. In today’s world of ever increasing surveillance and ever decreasing privacy this is a far greater danger than religious persecution.

Another age old consequence of being a known magician is that suddenly there are a lot of people who want something from you, who want you to save them or cure them or make them rich or even turn them into magicians with a snap of your fingers and nod of your head. Once people put you into this box titled ‘magician’, they expect things from you based upon all of their ill informed assumptions about what a ‘magician’ is and does. All magicians are exactly the same, right? And certainly all Bardonian magicians are carbon copies of Franz Bardon, right? While not exactly life-threatening unless you are taken in by it all and have the ego need to make everybody like you, it can nonetheless be annoying and draining over time.

Over all, it pays to be prudent about what you reveal of yourself to others. In some contexts, it’s no problem at all to be completely open about your Hermetic practice and perspective, while in others it simply spells trouble. So this aspect of ‘silence’ is really about prudence and about judging the context appropriately.

Another layer to the Hermetic meaning of ‘silence’ is less mundane and more significant to one’s magical advancement. This has to do with the way in which the inner power of a very personal experience is diminished or dissipated by sharing that experience with others. Psychotherapy uses this fact as a healing tool with talk-therapy in which the patient tells the therapist or group all the details of a negative experience. The phrasing of the experience in words has a very powerful effect of distancing and expressing simultaneously, of encapsulating and releasing. Sharing of the experience spreads the emotional power of the experience to other hands. This process of talking about one’s problems clearly helps to diffuse their inner power and helps to put the emotional content into a broader, less self-centered perspective. Conversely, if the negative experience is kept secret and never spoken of then the internal emotional content becomes toxic, causing illness.

The exact opposite is true of positive experiences and it’s this fact that Hermetics makes use of when it speaks of ‘magical silence’. Just as with a negative emotional content, the internal power of a positive experience also grows exponentially the less it is communicated to others. The difference is in the result – the internal growth of the positive experience exponentially increases in positivity, whereas the internal growth of the negative experience exponentially increases negativity. The negative produces a deadly toxin while the positive produces a sacred elixir.

A perfect example is the little secrets that lovers share only with each other. Those completely private moments of intimate affection that are never spoken about with others. And if they are put into words for other’s ears they become immediately degraded, they lose their sacredness, their intimacy and their deepest inner significance. Such deeply personal experiences can never be truly communicated with words and the attempt alone transforms the originally fluid emotional content into fragile sheets of ice that shatter and quickly melt away.

In your Hermetic work it is vitally important that you cultivate the transformative inner power of your experiences through this aspect of ‘silence’. If you do not ever put them into spoken words for another’s ear or into written form for another to read, then their powerfulness will expand within your astra-mental body and thus increase your rate of progress in your initiation. Conversely, if you are always speaking of them to others or writing about their details for others to read, then the powerfulness of those experiences is diminished and the nature of the experience is transformed instead of your nature. This significantly slows one’s progress with initiation.

Yet another layer to the Hermetic significance of ‘silence’ has to do with confronting and transforming your own ego needs. Why would you be inclined to speak about your Hermetic experiences and knowledge in the first place? Is it necessary? You can certainly share your insights, thoughts, opinions, etc., without ever using Hermetic jargon or without ever mentioning the details of your intimate magical experiences, so why would you do so at all?

There are of course good reasons in certain circumstances for sharing such things with others but those are really few and far between. Most often the answer to the question of “why?” has to do with some personal ego need such as the need to impress others or to dominate others with your dazzling intellect, etc. So the inclination to speak about your inner Hermetic experiences and accomplishments must be examined each time it arises and when this is done with sufficient self-honesty, a natural reticence arises. In effect, this practice becomes part of the ongoing character transformation work.

So, those are the four fundamental qualities that when applied to your Hermetic initiation, assure success. An eagerness to learn, which opens you to boundless knowledge; an unshakeable determination which assures ultimate success in all your endeavors; a willingness to risk everything in the face of fear and thus gain absolute freedom; and, a disciplined reticence that nurtures your inner life.


There’s not much to be said about these exercises since they’re so straight-forward and, if you’ve mastered the work of Step Two, so simple. I do strongly recommend that you follow Bardon’s sequencing here of starting with the simple and progressing slowly and sequentially to the more and more complex. Don’t let your ego get in the way of going slowly and precisely! It’s not a timed race with a prize for coming in first! The quality of your performance is what’s important and a high quality is assured if you follow Bardon’s step-by-step approach here. This work is an important precursor to the Step Four mental work of transferring your awareness, as well as being a support to your astral section work with the Elements.

Other than that, I can’t think of anything helpful to add in regard to the multi-sensorial concentration exercises


In Step One and Two, you’ve worked with the Elements somewhat indirectly and primarily as internal things. For example, you have been working with the internal Elements of your character traits and your progress with the sensory concentration exercises has affected your internal Elemental balance as well. But now with Step Three, you begin to work with them very directly and as external things.

As Bardon stated, it is very unwise to begin this work with the external Elements before having first attained a rudimentary internal balance of the Elements in your character transformation work. You should have at least transformed your most important negative character traits before beginning the astral work of Step Three. It’s not so much that you risk injuring yourself. Instead, it’s that you will most definitely hinder your progress.

This initial direct work with the external Elements will amplify your internal negative character traits, so you do not want to be amplifying something that is already dominating your character. This is self-defeating and inevitably leads to much greater difficulty in transforming the negative trait. On the other hand, if you have achieved the rudimentary Elemental balance, then this initial work with the external Elements will bring the lesser negative traits into greater focus for you and actually render them easier to transform, thus speeding your attainment of the astral Equilibrium of the Elements.

Either way, this Step Three work with the external Elements will stir the pot of your psyche, so to speak, and in the right context, this is a very good thing and a very necessary thing. The whole of the psyche must be brought to the surface and involved in the transformation of character and this work with the Elements guarantees that this occurs.

The point of these exercises is to introduce you to the factual Elements. To accomplish this, we use the tool of our creative imagination of the effects of the Elements to lead us to a non-imaginary experience of the Elements themselves. Do you remember what I said in the mental section about the Law of Attraction and the mental plane? Within the mental plane, similar things attract. So here we use the tool of our creative imagination to generate a very strong manifestation of the effects of the Elements – such as heat, cold, lightness, heaviness, etc. – on the mental plane and thus draw the factual, non-imagined Element to us. This is what I mean when I say that the exercises introduce us or lead us to the Elements themselves.

However, what we create with our imagination are the effects of the Elements, not the Elements themselves. For example, we imagine heat and radiant expansion with the Fire Element, but both of these are effects caused by the Fire Element; they are not the Fire Element itself. The Elements themselves, the factual Elements, are actually Principles, with a capital ‘P’ or more properly, “Philosophical Principles”. Principles though are very difficult to wield in the same way that a flame, for example, is easy to wield, so to learn how to wield a Principle we begin by wielding the effects of the Principle such as heat or cold.

The thing is, whenever physical heat is present, the Fire Element is active, so wielding the effect leads to being able to perceive and experience the underlying or causative Principle itself. Once the Principle is perceived and experienced then it becomes possible to directly wield the Principle, separate from the effect, and thus there is no longer any need to use the creative imagination. In other words, when we accumulate the Principle itself, we automatically experience warmth without the need to create the sensation with our imagination.

As you are working with these exercises it is important that you remember the distinction between the effects of the Elements and the Principles themselves, because what you are really aiming for is an experience of the Principles, the factual Elements.

The Principle of Fire is the dissolution of rigid structure, the creation of space between solid things, the unbinding of all attachments between structural components, and so on. An effect of the presence of this Principle of Fire within a physical ice cube, for example, is that the atoms of water begin to move away from each other and bounce off each other more and more rapidly. This excitation of atoms is perceived as heat and as a melting of the solid ice, an unbinding of its rigid structure. Eventually, the liquid water turns to vapor as the atoms push further and further apart. Thus we see the effects of the Fire Principle as excitation, as expansion, as heat and as radiant force.

The Principle of Air is best illustrated as that space created by the Fire as it forced the atoms apart. It is the absence of structure, of density and of attraction. It is also the absence of repulsion. It is the resting state that exists without structure; thus its association with pure awareness. We perceive the effects of the Air Principle therefore as passive neutrality and weightlessness.

The Water Principle is the opposite of Fire. It’s the closing of space between particles, the filling of the emptiness created by the action of the Fire Principle, the gathering together of separate things, the movement toward structure, relationship and organization. It is attraction and binding. Its effect is seen as cooling because it slows the activity of atoms and brings them closer together, condensing the substance.

The Earth Principle is a bit more complex. It’s the cyclical interaction of the Fire, Air and Water Principles; which is to say it is rigid form, it is the dissolution of rigid from and it is the embodying of awareness in form, simultaneously. The Earth Principle appears to my eye as a very active state of constant change, of shapes endlessly forming and dissolving around a core of awareness. Its primary impression though is of form and substance, thus we associate the effects of density and weight with the Earth.

For these exercises we combine two techniques we’ve learned in previous work; pore breathing and the creative sensory imagination. As Bardon stated, “This whole process of inhaling the Element through the body is, of course, a purely imaginary occurrence and should be exercised with the utmost plastic imagination of the Element.” In other words, you have to make this happen, you have to create the Elemental sensations and you have to create the experience of their effects filling your own body. You can’t just imagine that the external universe is filled with the element and then start inhaling with the expectation that you’ll start feeling the Element’s effects in your body. You have to create those internal sensations for yourself.

The emphasis in these exercises is upon the physical, bodily sensations associated with the Elemental effects: expansive heat with Fire, constrictive cold with Water, calm weightlessness with Air and dense gravity with Earth. By basing the initial experiences with the external Elements upon an internal physical sensation, our eventual experiences of the factual Elemental Principles also become associated with physical sensations.

Establishing this connection between the Principle and sensation makes it much, much easier to attain the ability to wield and manipulate the more ephemeral Principles. It’s like the difference between someone telling you how to tie your shoes and actually using your fingers to tie them yourself. It isn’t until you’ve done it yourself, physically that the instructions really mean anything and you understand how to wield a shoelace.

You may, of course, add additional symbolism such as color, sound, imagery, aroma, etc., to your sensory imagination of the Elemental effects if that helps you. But beware of becoming too detailed or too specific. For example, with the Fire Element you may benefit from imagining the universe has turned a fiery red color and this will indeed be helpful, but if you go further and imagine the world filled with flames, then you start to hinder your ability to connect with the Principle underlying the effect. Flame is only one out of the infinite number of ways that the Fire Element may manifest so this sort of imagery is too specific and complex and thus leads you away from the Universal Principles.

It seems that a lot of people don’t understand Bardon’s instructions regarding these exercises so I will try to explain them more clearly.

Get comfortable in your usual asana and close your eyes. Use your creative imagination to create the sensation of heat surrounding you in all directions. You sit in the exact middle of a universe filled with the fiery heat of the Fire Element. Once your imagination is firmly established, begin inhaling this fiery heat into your body through your pores.

Once each inhalation is completed you must use your creative imagination once again to create the sensation of warming within your whole body. Go slowly and take empty breaths while you create these sensations for yourself. In other words, do not stop inhaling or hold your breath, etc., while you are creating the necessary sensations. Inhale and exhale normally, through your nose, while you do this preparatory work and then use the magical whole-body inhalation when you are ready to actually take your next inhalation of the Element.

In total, you want to do seven of these inhalations during your first exercise. As Bardon noted, you should increase by one inhalation with each successive exercise until you reach a maximum of 30 inhalations.

Once you have completed your seven inhalations of the Element, you want to then exhale those seven inhalations with the magical whole body exhalation. You want to completely rid yourself of the Elemental sensation. This too is accomplished with your creative imagination. So take however many empty breaths you need to wrap your mind around expelling the Element’s sensation from your body and when you’re ready, grab hold of one inhalation’s worth of the Elemental sensation and magically exhale it through your pores. Creatively imagine that it exits your body and returns to the external universe from where you imagined it coming originally. Creatively imagine that the heat within your body has diminished and that the internal pressure of the Element has decreased as well. All of this must be done with your creative imagination. As with the magical inhalation, work slowly and take however many empty breaths you need between each magical exhalation.

At this point, many folks worry that they haven’t rid themselves of all the Element that they had previously inhaled and thus fear damaging themselves by having some left over after the seven exhalations; or conversely, that they have exhaled more than they inhaled and thus risk harming themselves by depleting their body’s natural supply of the Element.. This self-doubt arises from the idea that these are the factual Elements – however, all that has been inhaled and exhaled are sensations created by your own imagination. At this stage you are not working with the factual Elements so there is no reason to fear. This whole process is in the hands of your imagination so it is up to you to imagine that what you have exhaled is equal to what you inhaled. At the end of your seven exhalations you must imagine that no sensation of the Element remains.

Once you have gotten used to the magical inhalation and exhalation of the Element with your eyes closed, start working with your eyes open. The goal is to be able to work with your eyes open instead of always having to close your eyes when you want to accumulate an Element; nonetheless, it is easiest to begin learning this technique with eyes closed.

Bardon presented a very specific sequence for this initial work with the Elements. Start with the Fire, then the Air, then the Water and finally, the Earth. This sequence is repeated throughout IIH and it is wise to adhere to it. The fact is, once you establish a connection with the factual Fire Element by repeated practice of this first exercise, then your connection with the factual Air Element will come very quickly. Then, once you have connected with the factual Air Element, your connection with the factual Water Element will be very quick indeed, and so on.

My recommendation is that you work only with the Fire Element exercise until you establish your connection with the factual Element. Once you have connected with the factual Fire Element and you no longer need to create the sensation of heat during your inhalation, then begin working with the Air Element and create the Air sensations, etc, until you attain a similar connection and no longer need to create the Air sensation. Thus you will be working with the factual Fire Element while you begin your work with the imaginary Air Element. And once you’ve made the connection with the factual Air Element, then begin adding work with the imaginary Water Element to your daily regimen, and so on. By the end of your Step Three work you should be working every day with all four factual Elements.

Many take a different approach and start working with all four imaginary Elements each day, one after the other, thinking that they are thus speeding up their attainment of mastery. However, this actually slows progress and delays that initial connection with the factual Elements.

Mastery of the Step Three work with the Elements is very simply defined. You attain mastery of these exercises when you no longer need to use your imagination to create the Elemental sensations during your inhalation. Connection with a factual Element is apparent when the sensation arises spontaneously as an effect of your inhalation and is not created by your imagination. This is very important because all future work with the Elements is predicated upon the assumption that you are indeed accumulating the factual Elements and are not creating their effects with your imagination.

As Bardon wrote at the closing of the astral section of Step Three, the work with the Elements is “the most important magical domain and he who does not possess the Elements will scarcely get on in magic science.” We possess the Elements only when we are capable of working with the factual Elements. Otherwise, we are just engaging in creative self-delusion and that is not what constitutes Hermetic magic.


In Step Two and in the mental and astral sections of Step Three, we have been using our imagination to create sensory impressions. But now, for the first time, with the Step Three physical exercises of accumulating the Vital Energy, we use our imagination to cause energy to obey our will. Thus we begin to work with imagination’s second function, that of instructing or guiding energies.

Everything in the practice of Hermetic magic is accomplished by the magician’s own awareness. And all of the energies that are employed in Hermetic magic are wielded by the magician’s focused imagination and will. This is a fundamental law of Nature that Hermetic magic is built upon. All astra-physical energies are susceptible to the influence and control of mental awareness.

But this works only if we have first established a connection with the factual energy. For example, if we want the Vital Energy to fill an object then we imagine it happening and, assuming that we have indeed established a connection with the factual Vital Energy, the Vital Energy will do as we wish.

The pore breathing exercises of Step Two were intended to introduce you to the factual Vital Energy so that when you begin this Step Three work, you will no longer have to create the physical sensations associated with the Vital Energy within your body. They will arise spontaneously, on their own as a result of your inhaling the factual Vital Energy.

The Step Three physical exercises then are about directing, manipulating and using the factual Vital Energy. The first use is internal, focused entirely upon our own bodies. It isn’t until we get to working with the appendices that use of the Vital Energy is directed outward.

This reveals a three stage pattern which is seen throughout Bardon’s three instructional books; one that is fundamental to true Hermetic practice. Phase one: use the creative imagination to establish a connection with the factual energy. Phase two: wield the factual energy internally, upon one’s own body. And phase three: wield the factual energy externally.

Phase one of this process was accomplished with the Step Two physical exercises and Phase two is presented here, in the physical exercises of Step Three. The phase three external work is presented in the appendices.

The phase two process of first wielding the energy internally, focused within your own body is essential to a true Hermetic initiation. It accomplishes two important functions simultaneously: first, it quite literally transforms your astral and physical bodies; and second, it informs you of exactly what effects you are achieving when you wield the energy. As Hermetic magicians, we are our own proving grounds, our own laboratories and our own experimental subjects.

I’m often asked “well, how do I really know if I’ve accumulated the Vital Energy correctly?” My immediate response is “you will know” and I say this because it is within your own body that you experiment and practice your technique, so you know first-hand what, if any, effect you’re having. You will know when you get it “right” and when you get it “wrong”.

Phase two assures that when it then comes to wielding the Vital Energy externally, you will already know from direct personal experience exactly what effect you are having upon your environment. For example, if you condense the Vital Energy into a friend’s body to help them heal, you will know exactly how it feels to have the Vital Energy condensed in your own body and you will know from this how much is enough and how much is too much.

This internally focused work always begins with the whole body, the integrated physio-astra-mental body, and then moves on to focusing upon smaller body parts and organs, until every square centimeter of your body has been touched. It was in Step Two that we experienced the whole-body pore breathing of the Vital Energy and established our connection with, and direct experience of, the factual Vital Energy; so here in Step Three we begin with breathing through smaller body parts and internal organs.

We inhale the factual Vital Energy into one of our legs, from hip to tip of toe, and then immediately exhale it back to the universe. We breathe it in and then out and then in and then out for seven full breaths and then move to the other leg and repeat the same procedure. In this way we move through the entire body, part by part, going into ever greater detail over time until we have experienced breathing the factual Vital Energy into and out of every individual part of our body.

But, and this is an important point here, in order to do what I’ve just described, we must focus our awareness into each of these body parts, some of which are very small and which you have never even felt before. Bardon described this with an interesting degree of brevity through the simple instruction “transfer yourself, with your consciousness into one of your legs”.

When I first read that statement I said to myself, hey, wait a minute, is it really that simple? So simple that Bardon would just assume you were able to transfer your awareness into different parts of your body without any instruction or exercises or practice? The answer of course, is yes, it really is that simple because it’s another one of those things that we do automatically, an instinctual response that happens without our intention or even recognition. The classic example is that of hitting your thumb with a hammer or stubbing your toe. Your awareness is immediately drawn to the point of injury and you experience with excruciating clarity the sensation of pain that exists there.

On a somewhat more intentional, yet still unrecognized level an example would be when touching a soft fabric with your finger tips, more of your awareness becomes focused within the nerves of your finger tips. Or when savoring a wonderful taste, your awareness becomes more focused within your tongue. Our awareness is instinctively drawn by sensory perception, especially those perceptions that trigger a “danger” warning. In effect, our awareness is automatically and unintentionally “transferred” to various parts of our body, all the time.

The difference here, in regard to the Hermetic training is the factor of intentionality. When we intentionally focus our awareness in a specific internal organ, we sense it with greater depth and thoroughness than when the transference is instinctual and unintentional.

And as it turns out, this simple act of intentionalizing the internal focusing of your awareness within parts of your body is an essential precursor to the upcoming Step Four mental work of transferring your awareness into the external world. For there is only the slightest difference between transferring your awareness into your foot and transferring it into an object 3 meters away.

If you find it difficult to intentionally focus your awareness within a part of your body then here is a simple experiment that will help you. Take an ice cube or anything cold and touch it with your finger. Focus upon the sensation of coldness that you feel in your finger and place your awareness as completely as possible into the exact part of your finger that is actually touching the ice cube. Once you’ve succeeded at this, touch the ice cube to another place on your skin, such as your arm or face and focus your awareness again into the part of your body experiencing the sensation of coldness. Move the ice cube around from place to place until it becomes easy for you to quickly shift your awareness into the place experiencing the sensation of coldness. Now try intentionally focusing your awareness in your finger without touching an ice cube.

For these exercises with the internal organs, I recommend that you purchase an anatomical chart that shows exactly where each of the human body’s internal organs is situated. Knowing where to focus your awareness will greatly aid your work.

When you have succeeded in focusing your awareness in each of your body parts and organs and have breathed the factual Vital Energy into and out of each one, then it is time to begin working with the dynamic accumulation of the factual Vital Energy. With dynamic accumulation, we are confining the energy within a limited space and building the density of the energy within that space. The more energy we accumulate within the confinement, the greater its dynamic intensity becomes.

We start with the accumulation of Vital Energy into the whole body. Accumulate seven inhalations of the Vital Energy at first and add one additional inhalation with each successive session. Since you are now working with the factual Vital Energy, there will be no need to creatively imagine the sensations that arise within your body. Here, the creative imagination is used only to confine the Vital Energy within your body. In other words, you must instruct the Vital Energy to remain within the confines of your physical body and, using your creative imagination, visualize its confinement.

Once a certain density or dynamism of the Vital Energy is achieved within the confined space of your body, it will naturally begin to radiate outward into your surrounding environment. At this point, you should use your creative imagination to augment and amplify its radiation by simply imagining that wave upon wave of the Vital Energy is emanating from you.

Bardon set a time limit of no more than 20 minutes per exercise but set no limit on the number of inhalations to be accumulated. This is because as you get more proficient at accumulating the Vital Energy, each inhalation will produce a larger quantity of the Vital Energy. Very quickly a single inhalation will equal the same quantity that you inhaled with 7 inhalations during your very first exercise.

With practice, the numbers become irrelevant and you must then become sensitive to the actual quantity of the Vital Energy, separate from the number of inhalations you’ve taken.

You should at all times be aware of your own bodily limitations and not increase the quantity of your accumulation too quickly. Give your body time to acclimate to the tension of your accumulations before increasing their intensity. In other words, expand your body’s limits respectfully and gradually instead of rudely and all at once. This will make you much more resilient in the long run.

At the end of each exercise, you must expel all of the accumulated Vital Energy so that your body returns to its normal state. At first, this is achieved through the practice of whole body magical exhalation which you are already familiar with. Once this method is mastered, you begin to practice an explosive release in which the whole of the accumulated Vital Energy is released from its confinement all at once in a single expulsion.

When you have mastered these techniques of dynamically accumulating, radiating and then expelling the Vital Energy with your whole body, you must then turn to mastering the same with each and every individual part of your body. As with the opening exercise of breathing the Vital Energy into and out of each body part and organ, you must now systematically create a dynamic accumulation within each part and organ, radiate the Vital Energy from each organ and then expel the accumulation from each organ, first through magical exhalation and then through the explosive release.

To quote Bardon, “The exercise at this stage will have answered its purpose if you have learned how to accumulate vital power not only in the whole body, but in each single part of it, and emit the rays of this accumulated force directly to the outside. When you master this exercise, the third stage of the magic physical training will be at an end.”

However, this is not the end of the Step Three work with the Vital Energy – there’s still the matter of the two appendices whose work must be explored immediately after completing the physical exercises. This of course is the third phase of the pattern I mentioned earlier in which you begin to focus the Vital Energy externally, using it to accomplish various tasks.

Addendum to Step Three

Here, for the first time in your initiation, you are given the opportunity to use what you’ve learned thus far and perform what most folks define as “magic”. The most common image of the magician is of one who manipulates their external environment through the use of occult forces, and that is exactly what the appendices to Step Three are all about. But beware! If you wish to continue making progress in your initiation, your spiritual advancement, then you must use these techniques and energies only for truly noble deeds. If you use them for petty reasons or to do harm and to disrupt, then your advancement will come to a halt and you will begin to recede instead of advance. The universe does not take kindly to the interference of little twits who like to always force the manifestation of their petty desires, especially those who do so through magical means. But if you act wisely, which is to say ethically and morally and with respectful restraint, then the universe will support you in all your actions.

So, enough preaching, let’s look at the appendices and see what gems they contain for us.

Bardon titled the first appendix “space impregnation” and the second, “bio-magnetism” mainly to differentiate between two basic types or arenas of usage. Space impregnation pertains to inanimate objects and bio-magnetism to working with living creatures. While this distinction does have some practical relevance in terms of goals, the rudimentary techniques are the same for both. So I’ll focus upon these techniques first and then talk a bit about usage afterward.

Whether you are working with an inanimate object or a living creature, technically speaking what you are doing is impregnating a defined space with the Vital Energy. There are two basic methods for accomplishing this. First is to accumulate the Vital Energy within your body and then radiate or project it outward until it fills the desired space. Second is to draw the Vital Energy directly from the universe into the desired space without it first passing through your body. The second is the more advanced technique so we’ll start with the first method which is based upon the whole body pore breathing.

Very simply, dynamically accumulate the Vital Energy into your whole body through whole body pore breathing until you become dynamically radiant. Increase your accumulation until you reach the desired size sphere of radiant Vital Energy surrounding you. For example, if you wish to impregnate a room with your radiation, then the sphere would need to be sizable enough to completely encompass the room.

If you wish to dynamically accumulate the radiant Vital Energy within a defined space, then you will keep inhaling the Vital Energy, increasing its dynamism within your body and thus its radiant intensity. Simultaneously, you will need to use your creative imagination and force of will to keep the radiant energy confined within the spatial limits you desire and thus create a dynamic accumulation of the radiant Vital Energy.

Alternately, instead of filling the space through radiation, you can project the Vital Energy you’ve accumulated within your body, as a whole directly from your body into the desired object. This is accomplished, need I say it, with your creative imagination and force of will.

Either way, when you have accumulated the desired degree of dynamism or density of the radiant Vital Energy within the space then you must instruct the accumulated Vital Energy in regard to the following three factors. First you must give it a purpose, which means you must impregnate the accumulation with your desired ideation, such a health, success, peacefulness, etc., or whatever is most appropriate for the intended purpose. This is, of course, accomplished with your creative imagination and force of will.

Second, you must give it duration. By this I mean that you must define how long it is to last before it dissipates. Again, this is accomplished by the creative imagination and force of will in the form of a direct mental command. It is entirely up to you to decide how long the accumulated Vital Energy should occupy the space. Bardon gave several examples in this regard so I won’t go into particulars as to what duration you should use for what task.

And third, you must give it sustenance. In time, your dynamic accumulation will dissipate and lose it dynamism so if you wish a longer duration for the accumulation you will have to arrange for its replenishment. This can be accomplished in two ways. Most obviously, you can periodically accumulate more Vital Energy within the space and thus revitalize its accumulated dynamism. Or, you can instruct the accumulation to continuously draw Vital Energy from the Universe and thus maintain its own dynamism without your needing to recharge it yourself. Again, this is accomplished with your creative imagination in combination with your force of will. First you mentally command that the accumulation replenish itself from the Universal supply of Vital Energy and then you visualize this replenishment happening.

Once you are finished instructing the accumulation in regard to its purpose, duration and sustenance, you must then eliminate all the accumulated Vital Energy remaining in your body. Simply release it back to the Universe while leaving the accumulated Vital Energy in the room or object you’re working with. Spend several moments visualizing that the accumulation is functioning exactly as instructed before turning to other matters.

The second, more advanced method for creating a dynamic accumulation is to draw the Vital Energy directly from the universe into the desired space without it first passing through your body. This has a number of advantages. It diminishes your personal, astra-mental connection to the accumulation and thus to those who are subsequently affected by the accumulation and it takes considerably less time and effort to accomplish. In most instances, this is the preferred method.

There are two basic ways of achieving this. First is by using your creative imagination to visualize that the Vital Energy is coming from every direction, out of the Universe itself and is filling the chosen space directly and then using your force of will to cause your visualization to manifest as fact. Having worked with the pore breathing method for so long, this new method will make intuitive sense and should take very little time to master.

The second way is through transferring your awareness into the object, person or place that you wish to impregnate and then draw the Vital Energy from the Universe and thus fill the space with a dynamic accumulation of the Vital Energy. This however assumes proficiency with transference of awareness that is more relevant to Step Four than Step Three.

Whichever way is employed, once the accumulation is in place it must then be given purpose, duration and sustenance as described previously.

So, those are the techniques presented in the two appendices of Step Three, boiled down to their essence. With just a bit of imagination they can be adapted and applied to achieve an almost infinite array of needs. To help stimulate your imagination I will now describe a few examples of how I personally use these techniques with the Vital Energy and some of the things I’ve learned over the years.

Whenever I’m working for or on myself, I always generate the accumulation within my own body and then either radiate it or, most often, project it into the desired space. For example, say I’m charging a crystal for personal use with a healing influence. First I draw the Vital Energy into my whole body if it is for general healing or into a specific body part if it is for healing of that particular body part, and create a dynamic accumulation of the Vital Energy.

Then I project the whole of the accumulation into the crystal. To achieve this I use my imagination to take hold of the entire accumulation, push it out of my body and direct it through the air into the crystal. Almost like shooting an arrow. When I first started working with these techniques I also used my physical hands to sort of guide and direct the projection but after a time this became completely unnecessary. These days I simply use my awareness, unless I’m working with others in which case an accompanying physical movement will help increase the group’s cohesiveness and keep everyone in sync.

At any rate, once the entire accumulation has entered the crystal I use my imagination to confine it permanently within the body of the crystal and to, in effect, integrate the Vital Energy into the molecular structure of the crystal. This decrease in size of its spatial limits greatly condenses the accumulated Vital Energy and thus greatly increases its dynamism. I always take a moment before proceeding to perceive the dynamic accumulation of Vital Energy now housed within the crystal.

Next I begin to instruct the accumulation in regard to its purpose. I do this through what I guess would be most accurately described as a command, but it’s more than that. I don’t literally speak to the accumulation and say “you are for healing”. Instead, it’s an intention that I hold very strongly and willfully within my awareness and I impress this awareness upon the accumulation. By doing this, I intentionally alter the essential nature of the accumulated Vital Energy and it becomes the purpose I’ve given it. Thus transformed, it can do nothing else other than fulfill this singular purpose.

Then I give it its duration or life span, so to speak. This too is delivered in the form of a mental command like what I’ve just described and the resulting transformation of the accumulated Vital Energy is the same.

And finally, I arrange for its continual replenishment from the Universe. This is more visualization than command though it’s no less willful. When I first started working with this technique, I needed to use my creative imagination to visualize a connection forming between the accumulation and the Universal storehouse of Vital Energy and a continuous flow of energy into the accumulation from the Universe, all created with my imagination. But now, it’s a matter of will and perception and no creative imagination is required.

When all of this is complete, I spend several moments perceiving the fact that all of these instructions have been realized. Since I projected the entire accumulation into the crystal, there is nothing remaining of the accumulation within my body to rid myself of.

When I wish to charge a larger space, such as the cabin I used to live in, I will, as before create the accumulation within my whole body but this time I will transfer the charge through radiation instead of projection. I’ll do as Bardon described and create a very intensely radiant accumulation of the Vital Energy within my body and emit the rays of this radiant force until they completely fill the space in which I’m standing. I will at this point confine the radiation within the room and let it radiate no further out into the surrounding environment. I then keep increasing the density of the accumulated radiance within the space until I reach the desired intensity.

At this point I push all of the Vital Energy out of my body and into the space, and then give the accumulation its instructions in regard to purpose, duration and sustenance. And as before, when it’s all complete, I spend several moments perceiving the fact that all of my instructions have been realized.

If I’m charging a room or other large space from afar, I do not accumulate the Vital Energy in my own body and radiate it. Instead, I draw the Vital Energy directly from the universe and cause it to condense within the space until the desired dynamism is achieved. When I first began using this technique I needed to use my creative imagination to visualize all of this happening but now, as I’ve mentioned before, all I do is will it and then perceive it happening.

I find that transferring an accumulation through radiation is most gentle as it tends to insinuate its way into the target. Conversely, transferring through an explosive release of the accumulation from my body is the most forceful and abrupt. And the third option of projection is sort of the middle way between explosive release and radiation. So when I wish to be gentle and subtle I will radiate the accumulation. This is especially good when performing face-to-face healing or influencing of others. On the other hand, I will use an explosive release when forcefulness or lack of subtlety is required such as with self-defense or the prevention of an immanent accident. Projection though is usually the most practical method and can be used in nearly every circumstance with appropriateness.

When I’m working for someone other than myself, I only rarely accumulate the Vital Energy within my own body first. Instead, I will either stand outside of the target and draw the Vital energy directly from the universe, causing it to condense within the target or I will transfer my awareness into the target and from its inside, draw the Vital Energy into it.

Working from the outside is perhaps the simplest method and it requires the least amount of effort, but this in no way diminishes its value. It is very practical and is usually the most appropriate method, especially when working for others. It implies the greatest objectivity and produces the purest accumulation of Vital Energy. By never passing the Vital Energy through one’s own body, the accumulation remains untainted or influenced by one’s astral “od”.

On the other hand, when we use our own body as a vessel for the accumulation, our own astra-mental energies will naturally mingle with, and thus color or taint, the Vital Energy. This is unavoidable and it builds an energetic and karmic connection between you personally and the person you’re working for. Most often this is a drawback, a disadvantage, but there are some circumstances where this is positive and appropriate, such as when your work concerns a loved one.

The transference of awareness method in which you literally inhabit your target with your awareness also generates an energetic and karmic connection but it is much milder, and less astral in nature. There is also very little, if any, tainting of the Vital Energy by your astral “od” using this method. Its greatest advantage is that it alone allows for infinite precision and delicacy. This method however, is possible only when you have attained some proficiency with the Step Four transference of awareness.

I hope that these few examples will ignite your own creative spirit and serve to inspire your own exploration of what all is possible with these techniques and with the Vital Energy itself. And while you are on your journey of exploration and discovery I hope you will keep the following in mind –

This is a test. What you do with these techniques and why you do it will determine your future as an initiate. So tread carefully, conscientiously and respectfully if you truly wish to reach the highest heights. This work with the Vital Energy is only the very beginning of what is possible and it’s the quality of your actions and intentions that determine what portion of the possible you will achieve. Remember, the Universe is watching your every thought and deed . . .