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Step Five

Mental

Direct Perception of Essential Meaning: The Causal Root of All Things

I think for the modern reader especially, this is perhaps the most enigmatic section in the whole of IIH. But with just a few essential bits of additional information it begins to reveal its meaning. The first essential bit of information that I suspect most readers are unaware of has to do with the philosophical conceptualization of a point. In geometry, a point has no dimension. It has no length, width or height. It is infinitely finite, infinitely small in relation to its surroundings. One could say that it does not exist as a physical thing but rather is solely a philosophical idea or construct meant only as an indicator of position within three dimensional spaces. With this idea in your mind that a point is dimensionless, infinitely finite and non-physical, listen anew to Bardon’s introduction to Step Five --

“The wise Archimedes once said, ‘Show me one point in the Universe and I shall lift the globe off its hinges!’

“Very few people probably know that this sentence is concealing a great occult mystery, namely the secret of the fourth dimension. As we all remember from our schooldays, every thing having a shape – a stone, a plant, animal, man – in short, every body owns length, width and height, definitions familiar to us. If in the middle of a form, for example a spherical form, we imagine a double-crossing; on the crossing spot we get a point, the so-called depth-point. And Archimedes certainly did have this point in mind, because it is actually the point of beginning, the starting point, the nucleus of every form. Regarded from this point, every form is symmetrically (uniformly) objective; that means, it happens to be in its true equilibrium. This is the base of the mystery of the fourth dimension, hence the concept of time and space, of timelessness and spacelessness, and therefore also the secret of space-magic. The scholar is advised to meditate very intensely about this problem, and he will be able to open up profundities he never dreamed of and a high intuition will be his reward.”

Here then, Bardon is talking about a center-point, not just any point, but the center-most point of a three-dimensional form. This is an important distinction since the nature of an infinitely finite point is that it always exists at the exact center of an infinite space. Considered in a generic, universal context, such a point exists at the exact center of the infinite Universe, but this is not what Bardon is focusing upon here. Instead, his focus is specifically upon the center-point of a finite three-dimensional form, such as the sphere in his example.

Because such a point is infinitely finite, it must exist within an infinitely large space; yet we are speaking here of the center-point of a most assuredly finite form. This is the “great occult mystery” Bardon mentions. In order to begin to comprehend this mystery you must do as Bardon instructs and “meditate very intensely about this problem” of the infinitely finite point.

The instructions for this meditation are very simple: Consider a point in space. It is infinitely small.

If you sincerely follow this concept in your meditation, it will lead you to many amazing realizations and experiences in regard to the nature of infinity. One of the first things you will notice is the sensation of inward motion as your mind tries to find the stopping place of infinite finiteness. The mind cannot grasp such smallness so it continuously strives for a smaller and smaller point which produces this sensation of falling deeper and deeper toward the final resting place of the infinitely finite. But of course, since it is infinitely finite, there is no resting place for the mind and thus it seems to contain an infinite depth, which is why Bardon uses the term “depth-point”.

Furthermore, you will be led to understand and indeed experience the fact that from the perspective of an infinitely finite point, the surrounding space is infinitely infinite. In other words, space extends infinitely in every direction from the infinitely finite point. So this point must therefore exist at the exact center of the infinite space. Or as Bardon stated it: “Regarded from this point, every form is symmetrically (uniformly) objective, that means, it happens to be in its true equilibrium.”

Once you have achieved this realization it becomes apparent that every point must exist at the exact center of an infinite space. Space still extends infinitely in every direction from each and every point within an infinite space. So, this means that every point shares in this property of centrality. No point can be said to exist off-center.

And then comes the Big Leap – the realization that every point contains within itself the essence of the whole infinity, just as the drop reflects the ocean in which it resides.

You must of course pursue this meditation for yourself and not rely just upon my description. Your work with Step Five cannot be based solely upon an intellectual understanding of the infinitely finite point; instead, you must experience these realizations first-hand in order to truly make use of them.

Having meditated intensively as Bardon instructed, you are now ready to begin the first mental exercise of Step Five. This is a preliminary exercise in which you practice transferring your awareness into the center of an object, not its depth-point. The difference between this exercise and the Step Four exercises with the transference of your awareness is slight. Here you are focusing your awareness at the center of your target; while in Step four you inhabited the entirety of the target, sensing is boundaries and its surroundings, etc.

The instruction for this exercise is very simple. Place a symmetrical object, such as a small ball or cube before you and transfer your awareness into its center-most point. When you are able to perform this exercise for 5 minutes uninterrupted, then move on to a differently shaped but symmetrical object and transfer your awareness into its center. When you reside at the object’s center, try to make yourself smaller and smaller, as small as an atom. Work with a variety of symmetrical objects until this transference becomes an easy matter, then move on to the same with asymmetrical objects.

It’s when you’re working with the asymmetrical objects and shrinking your size further and further that you begin to realize that this point is not a spatial locale. It has no physical dimension and as noted in your meditation on the nature of an infinitely finite point, every point within the infinite space exists at the exact center of that space and thus “center” has no definite physical location either – it can be anywhere within the infinite space and still be labeled “center”. By working in this way with an object’s center, you quite naturally begin to identify the object’s depth-point.

The depth-point is, in fact, a philosophical thing, not a physical thing like a form’s spatial “center”. It expresses and reveals the philosophical nature of the space; which is to say, it houses the essential meaning manifest by the finite object. If you spend enough time in this depth-point you will eventually perceive the essential meaning of the finite object. And so the next set of exercises concerns just that, transferring your awareness into the depth-point of objects.

Start as before with a symmetrical object and transfer your awareness into its exact center. Now you must sense the dimension and shape of the object, its external boundaries, and then make yourself smaller and smaller until those boundaries are an infinite distance away from you.

This point is, of course, infinitely finite and it’s by considering its infinite smallness that you transform the defined, finite size of the object into an infinite space. In other words, your own infinite smallness is what extends the physical boundary of the shape infinitely in all directions from your position. The object itself does not magically increase its size; but rather, it is your awareness that infinitely diminishes in size as you become the object’s infinitely finite depth-point. Thus you are completely surrounded by the object as it extends infinitely in all directions around you. The object becomes your entire universe. Nothing else exists other than this infinite form with your awareness at its center.

If you look back to your first work with the Elements in Step Three you will recognize that you performed a nearly identical feat of imagination when you surrounded yourself with an imagined universe of each Element, so this should not be difficult for you to manage.

Hold this depth-point awareness without interruption for at least 5 minutes before working with a different object. Practice with a variety of symmetrical and then asymmetrical objects, each time transferring your awareness into their infinitely finite depth-point. When this becomes easy to perform with objects, move on to working with plants, insects, animals, humans and even objects that are not before your eyes.

Since this depth-point has no dimension -- no length, width or height – it is in effect, “spaceless” and where there is no space and no matter, there is no time or duration. Thus the depth-point is an aspect of the spaceless and timeless (i.e., non-sequential) Akasha Principle. It is the infinite causal root of the finite form from which we can learn everything about the form and through which we can directly influence the entire form.

When your awareness exists at a thing’s depth-point, you effectively transform the finite form into an infinite space. Since every point within that infinite space becomes its center-point, every point is thus the same; or rather, every point contains the essential meaning of the whole form. As we’ve established already, similar things attract each other within the mental realm, so when you inhabit a thing’s depth-point, every point within the form is attracted to your awareness within the mental realm. Since all points within the form are exactly the same in terms of essential meaning, the whole of the form with all of its points piles up on the focal point of your awareness, in effect spreading your awareness completely and uniformly throughout the whole mental body of the form. In other words, you encompass the entire infinitely infinite form with your awareness whenever you enter its infinitely finite depth-point.

An important Hermetic axiom, as it were, is revealed here; namely that inhabiting the infinitely finite leads to encompassing the infinitely infinite.

If you completely open your perceptive awareness and set aside all of your preconceptions, expectations, interpretations, etc. -- in other words, rise above your thinking mind – then the form itself will communicate its essential meaning to your awareness. Everything is a manifestation of a unique quantum of essential meaning. Bardon used the term “Akasha Principle” to describe this root causal force but I prefer “essential meaning” since it is more descriptive and thus more practical. In any event, essential meaning is the root or essence of every thing that exists; each form being a perfect manifestation or expression of its essential meaning. Thus each form can be said to communicate its essential meaning. It doesn’t speak its meaning with words; rather its expression is perceived as an inner understanding that defies description and rebels against categorization and labeling. It’s therefore impossible for me to give you a concrete example of an object’s essential meaning but it is very simple to experience this, at least superficially, for yourself.

A simple experiment is to quickly look from one object to another and focus your awareness on the differences between how one object feels in comparison to the next and so on. You will perceive a subtle difference in the feeling generated by each object you view. This is a communication of each object’s essential meaning albeit at a fairly dense emotional level. With this experiment you perceive only one small layer or level of the object’s essential meaning. On the other hand, when you use a deeper, more focused and infinitely more objective state of awareness in your perception, you can directly perceive the raw essential meaning itself. This deepest layer of essential meaning is infinite in scope and it is this level of essential meaning that is perceivable from the object’s depth-point.

This depth-point interaction with essential meaning comes as a flash of insight that rushes into your awareness and fills it entirely with an infinite amount of detail. It is too much information for the thinking mind to encompass, so you must resist the habit of immediately thinking about the information filling your awareness and instead, focus upon the raw perception itself and the feelings it generates within your astral body. Wait until after you have vacated the form’s depth-point to begin thinking about and analyzing the information you have absorbed. I say this because if you begin thinking too soon, then you will not spend enough time perceiving and what you learn will be incomplete and thus inaccurate.

With practice it becomes very easy to quickly dip your awareness into and out of the depth-point of any thing or person and thus rapidly gain a very deep understanding of the thing or person based upon your perception of, and interaction with their essential meaning. Since essential meaning is an aspect of the akasha Principle this interaction occurs outside of time. In other words, it takes less than an instant for the fullness of understanding to fill your awareness. Conversely, it will take at least several seconds for you to then process this abundance of information with your rational, thinking mind.

The amount of detail communicated during this interaction with essential meaning is truly astounding. Once received, it is possible to filter through to any level of information you wish to know. For example, when interacting through its depth-point with the essential meaning of a pocket rock I carry, I can focus in on the first person to pick the rock up ages ago. Through this connection, I can also discover anything I wish to know about that person, who he was, what he did, what he thought, etc.

In addition to perceiving essential meaning through the depth-point, we can also communicate or project essential meaning into the depth-point and thus affect the entire form. For example, we can impress an idea or thought upon an object or person through their depth-point and it will immediately manifest throughout their entire form. We can likewise accumulate the Vital Energy or an Element uniformly within the object or person from the inside-out, so to speak, through their depth-point.

There are other methods of interacting with essential meaning that do not entail transference of your awareness into the depth-point, but these methods allow only for the perception of essential meaning and by their nature preclude an opportunity to affect the subject from the inside-out. For example, it is quite possible to perceive an object’s essential meaning from observation of its external form – from the outside, as it were, instead of from the inside – and achieve the same relative depth of information as one receives through a depth-point. But since one is on the outside, it is only possible to affect the object from the outside-in, instead of from the inside-out as with the depth-point. Even though this technique does still require a highly cultivated degree of objective perception or openness, it is much simpler to master than working through the depth-point. It’s primarily a mystical technique used to increase one’s understanding of one’s surroundings and not to directly influence them.

Bardon’s intention with the Step Five mental work however, is that as a Hermetic magician, you must encompass more than just perception – you must also be able to influence or change what you perceive. This is an important distinction between magic and pure mysticism.

I recommend that you experience the depth-point of everything you can, however briefly. Each moment of each waking hour presents us with innumerable opportunities to explore. Just looking around me now as I sit here writing, there is my coffee cup, my computer, a lamp, a bit of meteorite, a book, a feather, a stone, a small figurine, and on and on and on. The opportunities are endless and I have explored the depth-point of each of these things. And when I go for a walk in town I am constantly exploring everything I see from the old buildings to the people I see walking past to the birds sitting in the trees to the dog turds scattered along the sidewalk. I do not care whether it is a thing of beauty or ugliness; I explore them all without bias for the sheer joy of increasing my understanding and experience of all things. It is even possible to touch the depth-point of nonphysical things such as ideas and feelings, overall situations and moments in time, using this technique and all of these explorations are equally important.

Some things of course deserve a much longer and deeper probing. For example, experiencing the depth-point of each of the four Elements, of our planet Earth and our Moon and Sun should be prolonged sessions. Nonetheless, it is possible to probe anything and everything with this method and from each experience you will gain a treasure of understanding and experience attainable in no other way. This practice expands your awareness incrementally and readies your awareness for the Ultimate, Quantum Expansion of Step Ten.

Once you have mastered the technique of transferring your awareness into the depth-point of any object, plant, animal, human, etc. that you desire and interacting with their essential meaning; and furthermore, affecting them from the inside-out, you are then prepared for the final mental exercise of Step Five – inhabiting your own depth-point. This is placed last in the sequence because it’s the most difficult. It’s no more technically difficult to achieve than with a small ball, for example, but it is infinitely more difficult to achieve the objectivity required to truly interact with your own essential meaning.

As before, Bardon splits the exercise into two phases. First you must accustom yourself to maintaining your awareness as a small point at the center of your body. Bardon stated that this point is congruent with your solar plexus, situated between your spine and the frontal pit of your stomach. Of course in a male body this corresponds roughly the body’s center of gravity and it is also correlated with the Akasha in Bardon’s third book, The Key to the True Quabbalah.

Once you have mastered the transference of your awareness to the center of your body and are able to maintain this awareness for at least five minutes without interruption, you must then begin to shrink the size of your awareness as before until you reach the infinite finiteness of the depth-point. You are completely surrounded by your own being as it extends infinitely in all directions around you. You become your entire universe. Nothing else exists other than this infinite you with your awareness at its center.

Once you reach this depth-point awareness, Bardon instructs that you meditate upon the following affirmation: “I am the center-point of my physical existence; I am the determining power therein!” Since this is an accurate and factual description of the depth-point, instead of an imaginary supposition, Bardon’s affirmation will reinforce your objective connection with your own depth-point and enable you to perceive your own essential meaning.

This perception is very subtle and may be more accurately described as the experience of intentionally being your own essential meaning, instead of actually perceiving it. Because of its unfamiliarity, this experience might be quite disorienting at first so patience and persistence are necessary. Eventually though you will shift into a radically different perspective of yourself and of your life, one which is surprisingly objective and calm. You will stand separate from your mundane life experience, yet intimately connected to it as the causal force, able to perceive and influence all that concerns your being.

Bardon stated that “This consciousness transference into your own Akasha-Principle is the genuine magical state of trance and represents the preliminary stage of the connection with the cosmic consciousness.” In kabbalah, this state corresponds with Tiphareth and the Individual Self which stands directly below Kether and The One Self, and enjoys a direct connection with the influences emanating from the Supernal realm. And in the terminology of the Self-Healing Archaeous, this is the Fire region of the mental body, the Individual Self perfectly isolated and standing before the Akasha region or eternal mental body – the Greater Self.

Inhabiting your own depth-point is essentially an advanced form of the Step One emptiness of mind state. Depth-point awareness however, represents an important deepening and activation of the emptiness state. It is with this level of self-awareness, known as the Individual Self, that we hear the voice of our so called Holy Guardian Angel with the greatest clarity and understanding. It is therefore a very significant turning point in the sequence of initiation, the point at which one gains direct and reliable access to the most important internal source of guidance. This is the first stage of so called “adepthood”.

The depth-point or Individual Self is not only the prime place for receiving inspiration – the incoming breath – but it’s also the seat of expiration – the out-going breath. It’s the Individual Self that takes astral and physical form during incarnation and when physical death ensues, it is the Individual Self that lives on to reincarnate over and over. It is the breath of life that fills the astra-physical form. So when you inhabit your depth-point, you are absolute sovereign of your existence. From this point, you can affect any and every aspect of your astral and physical being from its essence to its manifestation. It is therefore the seat of your own Individual power, the most advantageous place from which to enact your transformative power upon yourself.

From within your depth-point it is also possible to access memories of your past incarnations since the Individual Self is the storehouse of all your previous experiences. This is accomplished by intentionally probing the infinite vastness of Self that surrounds your point of awareness for past life memories. Your projection of intention will automatically draw these memories to your awareness.

As Bardon noted, inhabiting your depth-point induces a state of mental Equilibrium, similar to the way in which the Step Four astral exercise of balancing the Elements in the four regions of the astra-physical body harmonizes the astral Elements. I experience this as a sort of standing above; separate from my astra-physical existence, in the same way as in the first mental exercise of Step One I stood separate from my mental chatter. Yet in standing separate, I know that I may influence any part of my astra-physical existence that I wish to merely by act of will. This ability to stand-back, to disengage during moments of extreme emotional or mental stress can be very empowering, grounding and balancing when it is most needed.

Bardon wrote: “Working through this step, the scholar should be able to transfer himself, at any hour and in every situation, into his depth point, that means into the Akasha Principle, from there perceiving and influencing all that concerns his being.”

This implies that the more you practice this transference, the quicker and easier it becomes. Furthermore, his statement also implies that it is possible to inhabit your depth-point while simultaneously engaging in mundane interaction. In other words, it is possible to maintain awareness of the depth-point perspective while having a conversation with a friend, for example, and still be fully present and attentive to your conversation. The key to this is that once you have experienced your depth-point you know how it feels, you recognize it and this makes it exponentially easier to reacquire. With time and repeated practice you become able to make an instant internal shift to your depth-point perspective without having to go through the meditative process Bardon described.

Once you are able to inhabit your depth-point while simultaneously engaging in mundane interaction, it becomes possible to perceive the Individual Selves of everyone and everything in your environment. This makes it possible to interact with others at an Individual Self level, Individual Self to Individual Self. This type of interaction is radically different than personal interaction which is often clouded by conflicting personal motivations. With Individual interaction, communication of essential meaning is direct and unfiltered.

Eventually the seating of your awareness permanently shifts from being rooted in your personality to rooting in your depth-point of Individual Self. As a consequence, you intentionally interact in all your affairs as your Individual Self through your astral and physical bodies. In fact, the work of the next Step in Initiation Into Hermetics presupposes that you have either made this internal shift or are at least well on your way to its attainment.

Astral

The astral exercises, which focus upon mastering the external projection and condensation of the Elements, are divided into three basic parts: First is the projection of the Elements through the solar-plexus and through other parts of the body into a defined space. Second is the projection of the Elements through the solar-plexus as defined shapes. And third is the condensation of the Elements directly from the universe.

From a technical perspective, based upon what you have accomplished with the Elements thus far, these exercises should be quite simple and just require repeated practice to fully master. However, Step five is just as much about overcoming the final vestiges of your internal resistance to letting yourself do, and letting yourself accomplish as it is about increasing your technical proficiency. In other words, the ultimate challenge of Step five is to your belief in the actuality of what we call “magic” and so here you are forced to confront your disbelief in the reality of magic head on. Until you overcome this subtle doubting, you will make no appreciable progress in Step Five or you will become diverted into chasing after unrealistic and inappropriate goals.

Throughout this section, Bardon challenges your doubts by offering up tantalizing opportunities that would seem to prove, once and for all through the generation of physical phenomena that magic is “real”. But in each case he reminds the reader that pursuing these abilities to the degree of being able to accomplish such physical proofs would take years of constant practice and he points out that this is a distraction, a diversion from the greater, more important task of spiritual development -- once again reiterating the idea that Hermetic initiation is a path of spiritual development, not merely the development of fantastic and miraculous powers.

A magician does not create the powers that are wielded. A magician merely directs and shapes the powers provided by the Universe; the Elements, Fluids, Lights, ideas, etc., that already exist independent of the magician. A magician is merely a conduit of these substances, so most of the training exercises are designed to slowly break down your resistance to allowing these substances to pass through you.

The greatest hindrance to this allowing is disbelief or doubt that the substance itself is real and that its described effects are even possible. Hopefully most of this sort of doubt will have been purged through your previous work with the Elements but for most at this stage there will still be the question of whether or not the Elements are capable of producing physically measurable effects. So Bardon’s challenges are aimed precisely at this question, but he’s not really challenging you to prove the question; instead he’s challenging you to examine the question and especially to ask yourself why it’s important to you. He does this by first pointing out what’s possible and then telling you that to pursue it at this stage would be unwise and a waste of time, all of which should lead you to examining the desires and needs that are at the root of your doubts.

This of course occurs in the broader Step Five context of working with the depth-point in the mental exercises and tapping into your inner guidance with the physical exercises. All of which focuses you deeply into your own self and ultimately, its connection with the Universe.

If you keep these factors in mind as you work with the astral exercises of Step Five, then it will go well for you but if you ignore the need for allowing, for being a conduit and the necessary confrontation with your doubts, then you will most likely get nowhere fast and end up completely frustrated. So let’s move on to an examination of the exercises themselves.

The task in the first exercise is to repeatedly accumulate an Element within your whole body through the whole-body pore breathing and then to project it outward through your solar-plexus into the room or space surrounding you until you have created a dense external accumulation of the Element. The accumulation within the room or space must be dense enough that you can feel its sensory effects. With the Fire, your room must feel warm; with the Air it must feel light; with the Water, cold; and with the Earth, heavy.

At this point it’s important to understand why this exercise involves the solar-plexus specifically. It goes back to what I said earlier about letting and allowing. From a physiological perspective, the solar-plexus is the abdominal brain, the seat or control center of the Sympathetic nervous system which controls the body’s automatic systems such as digestion, heart beat, etc. In other words, it controls all those essential bodily functions that do not require our conscious participation – the functions we must simply allow to happen. Yet these functions may be handicapped or perverted by our negative emotional states. For example, anxiety will increase the heart rate and disturb digestion, etc.

From a Hermetic perspective, the solar-plexus is situated at the top of the Water region, near the division between the Air and Water regions of the astra-physical body: the “place”, if you will, where our thoughts most affect our emotional state, and conversely, where our emotional states most affect our thinking.

And from an energetic perspective, the Solar Plexus center is one of the main power chakras of the individual. It’s associated with the functioning of the aura and with Mental and Astral plane sensitivity. Through this center the various spiritual energies enter for distribution to various parts of the body. The Solar Plexus chakra is also the center of psychic intuition.

All of these various factors I’ve just listed support what you need to accomplish with the Step Five work. With the depth-point work of the mental section, the solar-plexus supports your letting go of all your preconceptions and allowing objective perception of self. Here in the astral section, it supports your letting go and allowing the Elements to pass through you. And in the physical section, it supports your letting go of your doubts and allowing your inner knowing to emerge.

So, getting back to the exercise at hand; when we project through the solar-plexus we must let go and allow the Element to pass. Projecting the Elements through the solar-plexus thus involves an examination of all that keeps us from simply allowing the Elements to follow our will. Often the first place we perceive this resistance will be in how we are holding our physical body during the exercise. Most will discover that they tense up, especially in the abdominal area, and try to force the Elements. If this is the case, then the first step in addressing those inhibitions is to completely relax your body and release all muscular tensions. This alone will usually lead to the discovery of the deeper emotional and conceptual blockages.

As I said earlier, this exercise of projecting the accumulation through the solar-plexus is technically quite simple. However it’s another matter to build a projected accumulation within the room that is dense enough for you to sense its physical effects – to sense them, not create them with your imagination, but to actually feel them with your normal physical senses. To accomplish this you must act without reservation, without doubt and without any holding back. You must, quite simply, allow it to happen. Not expect it to happen or force it to happen. Just let it happen through you. The most difficult part is the act of getting out of your own way, but once you do, you will be amazed by how simple it really is.

A subtle form of getting in your own way is succumbing to the need for external physical proof such as relying upon a thermometer to substantiate a rise in the room’s temperature. This is basically an admission of doubt in regard to the veracity of your own physical perceptions. You must rely upon and trust your own sensory perceptions instead of needing an external verification.

This first exercise is deemed complete when you are able to project all four Elements through your solar-plexus and fill a room or area with a dense enough accumulation to be felt physically. At this point you will have overcome your inhibitions in regard to letting the Elements pass through you freely and with all of their power intact, so working with the solar-plexus is no longer necessary and now you can achieve the next exercise of creating an equally perceivable accumulation by passing the Elements through your whole body and through various parts of your body.

Begin by projecting each of the Elements through magical, whole-body exhalation into the room or space and continue practicing until you attain the same degree of physical affect as you did through your solar-plexus. Once this has been mastered with each Element equally, proceed to working with projecting each of the Elements through different parts of your body. Of greatest practical value will be projections through your fingers, hands and eyes.

When this has been mastered with each of the Elements, the first phase of the astral exercises is complete. As you can imagine this alone is a fairly monumental work that may take many months of steady consistent practice to complete. The reward however, greatly outweighs the effort required.

The next phase of work presents a change of perspective. Till now we have been projecting an accumulation into a room or area so that the accumulated Element surrounds us and we feel its effects from every direction. Now however, the task is to project a smaller, contained accumulation that hovers in the air before us and which affects us physically from a single direction. Additionally, we are now working with molding the accumulation into a specific, defined shape. Because these exercises venture into new territory, they once again are focused in the solar-plexus. It’s within the solar-plexus that we shape the accumulation and from the solar-plexus that we project the shaped accumulation.

So, begin as usual to accumulate the Element within your entire body with the whole-body pore breathing and then condense the entire accumulation down to the size of a small ball in your solar-plexus. This sphere should be about 6 inches or 15 centimeters in diameter and be a very dense, powerful accumulation of the Element. Next, let this sphere emerge from your solar-plexus, separate from your body and float in the air a short distance in front of you. Once it is separate from you, you should perceive its qualities physically. For example, your ball of the Fire Element will radiate physical heat which you will feel on your face. You must master this process with each of the four Elements equally.

Next you must master the same process with each of the Elements but in a variety of shapes and continue until you are confident that you can create and project through your solar-plexus any shape of accumulation you can imagine. Thus ends the second phase of the astral exercises.

The third and final phase of astral work involves yet another radical shift in perspective. Now we will work with drawing the Elements directly from the Universe into the room and thus create a physically sensible accumulation without the elements ever passing through our bodies. By now you will thoroughly understand that it is your imagination that directs and shapes the elements so this exercise should present no great difficulty once you get the knack of it.

You know as a matter of fact that the Elements exist everywhere in the Universe surrounding you so it is a simple matter to cause them to accumulate and condense where you want them to. It’s no different really than causing them to accumulate within your own body except that instead of inhaling them into your body, you draw them into the space surrounding you. Here though, you must really be ready to allow things to happen and let your imagination do the work. Let the Elements stream into your room and condense to such a degree of density that you feel their effects with your physical senses. You must master the ability to condense each of the Elements equally within your room by drawing them directly from the Universe to such an extent that you can physically sense their effects surrounding you.

The final Step Five astral exercise with the Elements is to draw the Elements directly from the Universe into a chosen shape which hangs in the air before you. Instead of filling the room or area so that the Element surrounds you, you must now create a shape that radiates the Element and thus affects you from a single direction. Begin by creating spheres of each Element and once this is mastered, create a variety of different forms until you are again confident that you can create any shape of condensed Element you can imagine.

By the end of the long months devoted to the Step Five astral work with the Elements you will have truly mastered the Elements.

Physical

To my mind, Bardon designed these exercises to be started after you have begun working with your own depth-point. The passive communication techniques themselves presuppose that you are already capable of inhabiting your own depth-point and yet that exercise comes last in the sequence of the Step Five mental work, so either Bardon expected the two preparatory exercises in passive communication to take many months to master or he intended for the student to postpone work with them until work with one’s own depth-point had begun. The fact is, the work with your own depth-point will assist you in mastering the preparatory exercises, especially the first one, so whether or not it was Bardon’s intention, it is my advice that you do wait till you have begun inhabiting your own depth-point before beginning the physical exercises of Step Five.

The primary goal of these exercises is to convince you of the existence of, and establish communication with, the inner source of guidance known commonly as your “holy guardian angel” or “genius”. In point of fact this guidance is the manifestation of a higher level of your own awareness; your eternal mental body or Greater Self.

I mentioned this important source of internal guidance previously in my comments on the mental exercises of Step Five in relation to the work with inhabiting your own depth-point. Here then Bardon presents a second, less direct and therefore more passive form of interaction with your internal guidance. Through your depth-point you may come literally face-to-face with your Guardian but here, with the physical exercises, communication is more akin to a telephone or email conversation.

On its own, this technique can eventually develop into a more immediate and deeper interaction; but no exercise in IIH exists on its own and this one is no different. Along with this exercise you are also working with the mental depth-point exercises which eventually lead to inhabiting your own depth-point and this factor leads very quickly to an exponential deepening of the passive communication. Ultimately, the passive turns into active and you access an immediate, continuous, clear and completely reliable guidance.

A secondary goal of these exercises is to convince you of the existence of, and establish communication with, “another world which everybody will enter and live in after passing away” -- in other words, the astral and mental planes where, after death of the physical body, the astra-mental body spends a certain amount of time before reincarnating.

This is a very important precursor to development of the astra-mental senses and then wandering the mental and astral planes. Without a deep, in-your-bones conviction that these realms exist, the more advanced astra-mental work is impossible.

The key to these passive communication techniques is the disconnecting of your own will from your hand and this is the essence of the “magical preparation” of your hand. The first aspect is to render your fingers individually and then your entire hand free of dependence upon muscular action for movement. This is accomplished with the Air Element and a form of “levitation” or, more properly, weightlessness.

First the entire hand is filled with an accumulation of the Vital Energy into which you must strongly impress the idea that you are in fact able to move your fingers and hand by your mental will alone, without having to contract your muscles, etc. In other words, that by merely imagining that your finger is rising, it rises without your having to physically raise it in the usual way with your muscles. After a few moments, release the Vital Energy from your hand and return it to the Universe. Here, the Vital Energy is merely acting as the conduit of your intention and setting the attitudinal stage, so to speak, for the next part of the exercise.

Now you must accumulate the Air Element in your forefinger and thus create a state of weightlessness within this finger. Focus your mind upon the fact that you can move your weightless finger merely with your will instead of your muscles and then will your forefinger to rise. You must have the feeling that it is your willpower that moves your finger, not your muscles. You can actually feel the difference – when you hold your finger up with your muscles, it will quickly tire and will take effort to keep aloft, but when you are using your willpower alone this does not occur and it feels as if your muscles are completely relaxed while the finger is aloft.

This exercise can be quite difficult and frustrating until you let it happen. Again, you must allow it to happen instead of forcing it to happen. This exercise depends upon how thoroughly you let go of your normal inclination to use your muscles for physical movement. You must sever the connection between your will and your muscles. Instead of flexing your muscles, you must shift your intention to causing your weightless finger to rise solely by force of will. No muscles are required for this at all so the more completely you shift your focus away from your muscles and allow your willpower to cause your finger to rise, the easier it will be. This is as much a mental shift as it is an emotional shift.

Once you have raised your weightless forefinger with your willpower, let it drop, again by force of your willpower, not your muscles. Practice this exercise with your forefinger until it becomes easy and then move on to the same with all of the other fingers of both hands. Once you’ve managed to lift all your fingers in this way, practice with your entire hand, lifting it and then letting it drop, all with your willpower and the Air Element. When this is mastered, practice with the other hand, and then with both forearms so that you are able to raise either forearm up to the elbow. When you are able to lift both hands, forearms and all your fingers by this method you may move on to the next exercise of “exteriorization”.

With this next exercise you will learn how to sever your will entirely from your hand and, for that matter any body part you desire. This is crucial for true passive communication; for without this separation of your own will or directing awareness from the medium of communication, in this case your hand, you would be most liable to interference from your own subconscious psyche and end up talking with yourself instead of a discarnate entity.

Although our will has its root in our mental body, it is enacted through and personalized by our astral body when it comes to influencing our physical body. It is our astral body that mediates between our mental and physical bodies and integrates them. So in order to truly sever the whole of your personal will from your physical hand, you must remove your mental and your astral hand from its physical shell.

I say this specifically because as a friend recently pointed out to me, Bardon repeatedly used the terms “mental hand” and “spirit hand” in his instruction for this exercise, seeming to indicate that only the mental body component needs to be exteriorized or relocated. However in practice, it is absolutely necessary that both components be removed – only when both components are removed does the empty physical shell become, as Bardon described it, “visible” in the Akasha. If only the mental component is removed, leaving an astra-physical shell, then the hand is visible only in the astral realm to astral entities and this is generally not enough for contact with one’s Guardian Genius.

The practice is very straightforward. Sit at a table and place both hands, palm down on its surface in front of you. Now imagine that your astra-mental right hand and forearm, from elbow to fingertips, descend out of your physical hand and forearm, passing through the table and coming to rest on your right knee below. They must feel exactly like your regular hand and forearm while you must have absolutely no sensory awareness of your physical hand and forearm. Focus on the idea that your physical hand is now a completely empty shell and that your real hand rests upon your knee. Then return your astra-mental hand to the physical shell and flex your fingers, move your arm, etc., to firmly reintegrate them.

Practice with your right and then left hand and forearm until you can easily exteriorize them for at least five minutes at a stretch. That completes the preparatory exercises so now I will turn to discussing the passive communication technique itself.

Each of the techniques Bardon described, whether it is with a pendulum, planchette or medial writing, requires four basic steps. First step is to gather the materials needed, such as pendulum, planchette or pen and paper. Second is to “magically prepare” the hand and forearm by making them weightless (and thus easily moveable) through an accumulation of the Air Element and levitate them as necessary. Third is to exteriorize the hand and forearm. And fourth, is to enter your own depth-point and call out to the entity you wish to communicate with. Once these four steps have been enacted, communication may begin.

I’ll use the sidereal pendulum technique to illustrate these four steps in action. First, gather together all the ingredients Bardon described; the pendulum, thread and tinkling objects and set them up as instructed.

Second place both hands and forearms on the table in front of you and create an accumulation of the Air Element in your right hand and forearm up to the elbow. If you are normally left-handed, then use your left hand and forearm instead of your right. Next levitate (i.e., cause it to rise with your will) your hand and forearm until it rests on your elbow and the pendulum swings freely a couple of centimeters above the table surface.

Third, exteriorize your hand and forearm and let them glide through the table to rest on your thigh below. Your physical hand and forearm are now completely empty and will stay propped up on their own because of their weightlessness.

Fourth, you must shift your awareness into your own depth-point, into the Akasha, and call out to the entity you wish to communicate with. At first, it really should be your own Guardian Genius that you seek out, but eventually you should pursue communication with other entities as well.

Your desire thus placed in the Akasha will create a magnetic resonance within the mental realm and the desired entity will be drawn to you and will be able to use your empty hand to maneuver the pendulum.

When you are finished, you must intentionally and thoroughly reintegrate your astra-mental hand and forearm with the physical shell, release the accumulated Air element and then once again resume normal control over your hand and forearm.

The only case in which the levitation or raising of the Air Element-filled hand is not required is the example Bardon gave of having the hand in your pocket and using just finger movement for communication. In this case, the hand must be filled with the Air Element but does not need to be levitated into position. Furthermore, only the hand itself or just the fingers involved will need to be exteriorized.

As Bardon pointed out, abilities cultivated in future Steps will override these techniques of passive communication and make them seem quite primitive and cumbersome in comparison, but for the time being they are quite valuable and deserve to be pursued. To my mind, their most important gift in terms of your initiation, is that they instigate an ever-deepening relationship with your Guardian Genius and thus, with your Greater Self.