The mental exercises of Step Eight are devoted exclusively to the task of thoroughly mastering the art of mental wandering. This work alone will take somewhere between several months to a year or two to fully master depending primarily upon how completely you have mastered the work of the preceding Steps.
The technique itself sounds deceptively simple but in practice it turns out to be quite difficult. This is because what you perceive during your wandering must not be a product of your creative imagination. The point of mental wandering is an absolutely objective perception of your surroundings and this takes quite some time to achieve with any consistency and reliability.
Only half of the whole mental body is employed during mental wandering -- the Fire and Air regions, your central spark of self and your intellectual capacity to assimilate and express essential meaning. Your Water and Earth regions, your awareness of astral and physical sensations, are left behind, so to speak. Separating the aspects of your awareness that are capable of objective perception, from those aspects whose perceptions are subjective, is what enables the truly objective perception involved with Bardon’s technique. Thus the subjectifying astral and physical aspects of awareness are not employed in Step Eight mental wandering.
In my comments on the mental exercises of Step Seven, I stated that mental Equilibrium of the Elements must be attained before beginning the work of Step Eight mental wandering and here is why – in order to precisely and reliably separate the regions of the mental body awareness, there must exist an Equilibrium of strength among all four regions. If, for example, the Earth region were dominant, then there would be great difficulty separating awareness from physical sensation; if the Water region were dominant, then it would be difficult to separate awareness from the influence of emotions; and if either the Fire and/or Air regions were dominant then separation itself would be very unwieldy and difficult to control and tend toward self-delusion. The presence of a regional Equilibrium however, actually facilitates the accurate separation of the regions.
By this point in your initiation you are quite capable of focusing your awareness wherever you want, as well as disconnecting your awareness from where you don’t want it, so isolating your awareness to just two regions of your mental body will pose no problems whatsoever, neither conceptually or practically.
The Fire and Air aspects of the mental body are not influenced by relative emotional significance. Their domain is purely that of raw essential meaning; nonetheless, the Air region specifically is capable of perceiving the essential meaning of emotional significance. In effect, the Air region “translates” emotional significance and thus perceives its existence when one is mental wandering within the astral and physical realms. Similarly, the Air region “translates” the essential meaning of all objects encountered while mental wandering within the physical realm, rendering them, in effect, visible in the mundane sense of the word, as physical objects. In other words, you can mental wander the physical realm and perceive physical forms, and mental wander in the astral realm and perceive astral forms. And of course, when mental wandering within the mental realm itself, one perceives only essential meaning or mental “forms”.
Thus with the conjoined Fire and Air regions of our mental body, what I like to call our “solitary mental body”, we can wander the physical, astral and mental realms and objectively perceive whatever we encounter there. On the other hand, our astral body -- which is to say, the conjoined Fire, Air and Water regions of our awareness – is capable of wandering only the astral and physical realms and is incapable of entering the purely mental realm. Likewise, our physical body is capable of action only within the physical realm and is incapable of entering the astral or mental realms.
Bardon’s exercises in mental wandering begin with wandering the physical realm and once this has been thoroughly mastered and the physical realm thoroughly explored, you are considered ready to advance to mental wandering the astral realm. Only when mental wandering the astral realm has been thoroughly mastered and explored are you considered ready to mental wander within the pure mental realm. If this progression is strictly observed then you will develop for yourself a truly dependable ability that will take you where you need to go to further your higher advancement. And if you choose to not so thoroughly apply yourself to this progression and only partially pursue wandering the physical or astral realms, then your result will be of dubious and unreliable value and incapable of taking you much further along your initiatory rise.
A thorough mastering of mental wandering is essential in regard to your “spiritual” or mystical advancement. The highest states of Being or Awareness are accessible only through the highest quality mental wandering. Partially or poorly trained technique doesn’t suffice.
So let’s turn now to an examination of the exercises. As I mentioned earlier, Bardon presented a very specific, and in fact a very rigid progression of little steps that must be taken in sequence, each of which must be mastered perfectly before the next step is taken. At every step along the way, the objectivity of your results must be tested and either verified or improved upon. Only when you reach the point where your results prove true consistently should you take the next step. In this way you will attain a reliable objectivity, and thus accuracy, and achieve the highest quality of technique.
Bardon described the first exercise as preliminary and preparatory for mental wandering proper. It is in fact, an exercise in the transference of consciousness, here into your own image reflected by a mirror. The primary goal is to cultivate your ability to use your mental “eyes”, so to speak, from a perspective external to your physical body; in other words, to truly “see” your physical surroundings from the location of your solitary mental body.
Secondarily, by focusing your mental sight upon your own physical body, your experience of factual separation from it is strengthened. This exercise develops your ability to perceive your solitary mental body’s immediate surroundings and allows you the perfect setting in which to verify exactly how objective and accurate your perceptions are through subsequent physical examination of what you saw with your mental “eyes”.
Basically, the exercise involves sitting in front of a mirror, imprinting the reflected image into memory, then closing your eyes and creating the image of the mirror in your mind. Then you project your awareness into the mirror before you so that you are inhabiting your mirror image and looking out on your real body, etc.
What you must project into the mirror image is, of course, just the conjoined Fire and Air regions of your mental body. You must separate from the Water and Earth regions and leave them behind. You must, in fact, look at them and perceive your separation from them as fact.
At first, some use of your creative imagination might be required in order to connect with the factual reality and begin to objectively perceive. But reliance upon your creative imagination must be let go of as quickly as possible so that the shift from creation to factual perception is encouraged.
Once you are comfortable with perceiving your surroundings from the location of your projected awareness and have consistently verified the objective accuracy of your perceptions, you may move on to the first true exercise in mental wandering.
This exercise begins with a few minutes of a specific meditation that Bardon described thusly: “Do concentrate on your spirit. Think, while you are doing so, that it is your spirit which is seeing, hearing and perceiving everything and – absolutely independent from time and space – able to move around freely as if still connected with the physical body. The deeper the penetration of your meditation will be, the stronger your sensory experience and the certainty that your spirit is unrestrained and able to step out of your body according to your will, all the better and quicker will be your progress and your success in mental wandering.”
This is a very important meditation. When Bardon wrote that you must “concentrate on your spirit” this means that you must focus your awareness exclusively into the Fire and Air regions of your mental body. You must turn your attention away from the Water and Earth regions and ignore them. This focusing unlocks, so to speak, the force that normally binds the solitary mental body to the astra-physical body. It still takes a confident act of will to actually separate the solitary mental body from the astra-physical shell and that’s where the affirmation intrinsic to the meditation enters in to play.
For many, the greatest hurdle is right here at the beginning -- actually separating from your astra-physical shell. It can be a surprisingly challenging conceptual shift. So starting out with a self-confident mindset is supremely helpful!
Bardon continues the exercise: “Provided you have the sensation of inner liberty and self-determination, following this meditation, then imagine yourself stepping out of your body just as from a shell, and standing beside this body of yours.”
Essentially this is the transference of your awareness into an empty space instead of into a mirror or object. There are at least three ways to approach this task. First is as Bardon described and to literally cause your mental body, in the shape and size of your physical body, to step out of your astra-physical shell and stand right next to it. This is perhaps the most challenging approach since emulating the physical act of stepping out of your astra-physical body can be quite difficult at first, mainly because it is ingrained in your awareness as a physical act, with predictable physical sensations attached to it.
A second and perhaps easier to manage approach is to float out of your astra-physical body, either in the shape and size of your astra-physical body or in the shape of a sphere which then expands until you have assumed the size and shape of your astra-physical body.
And a third approach is to creatively imagine a facsimile of your body stepping out of your astra-physical shell and then projecting your awareness into this imaginary self.
Bardon’s literal approach is, of course, the superior choice, but whichever method you choose, the aim is that you must stand as your solitary mental body, in the same shape and size as your physical body, right next to your astra-physical shell.
Bardon continued: “You must understand how to transplant your consciousness into your spirit in such a manner, that you can feel yourself like standing physically beside your body.”
This is a somewhat deceptive statement. What he is really saying here is that you must practice long enough for your solitary mental body, the Fire and Air aspects of your awareness, to grow accustomed to translating its perceptions of essential meaning into the language of emotional significance and physical objects. Once this translating is occurring, your mental body perceptions are then experienced by your awareness in almost physical terms and it begins to feel like you’re standing in your physical body instead of your mental body. At first, but only at first, you will likely need to use your creative imagination to create these perceptions of physical-like sensations.
I say “physical-like” here because mental wandering can never be exactly like being in your physical body. Instead, it can produce sensations only similar to the physical due to your awareness naturally translating its perception into the most familiar terms that it is accustomed to experiencing.
As soon as you’re confident that you are indeed standing next to your astra-physical shell, start gazing around your surroundings with your mental “eyes” and take note of what you see. Again, at first, but only at first, you will likely need to use your creative imagination to create these environmental details.
When you are finished, take great care to thoroughly re-integrate your solitary mental body with your astra-physical body.
This first exercise must be practiced over and over and over and after each session you must look around with your physical eyes to verify whether or not your mental sight has been accurate in the details. Don’t move on to the next step until you are able to “perceive all the objects in the room as distinctly and truly as if you were looking at these objects with your physical eyes.”
Now that you have perfected your ability to objectively perceive your surroundings as your mental body, your next task will be to master the controlled movement of your mental body around the confines of your own home. It is very important that during this exercise, you fight against your natural inclination to zip around or fly, etc., and restrict yourself to moving as you’d ordinarily move within your physical body. In other words, you should walk normally and intentionally, as if you were a physical presence. This discipline will greatly strengthen the factuality of your mental separation from your physical body.
This is also to be an incremental process. Start out with first mastering controlled movement around the room in which your astra-physical shell is sitting. Once you are comfortable with this, pass through the door of your room and venture out into the surrounding rooms of your home. Wander your whole home and after each session, retrace your steps physically and verify the objectivity of your mental perceptions with your physical eyes. When you have mastered walking around your own home and your mental perceptions are consistently accurate, you may go on to the next step and venture outdoors.
Your first journeys outside of your own home should be for only very short distances, no more than a few blocks away. Here again, you should walk normally and intentionally instead of giving in to the inclination to fly or speed along. Bardon suggested checking in on local friends and visiting their homes to see what they are up to, etc. You can also visit local shops and other locations in your area. The idea here is that you visit local places and people you are already familiar with, without traveling too far away from your astra-physical shell.
At every opportunity, you should try to verify your mental perceptions, perhaps by taking a physical walk immediately after your session in which you re-trace your mental footsteps and compare what you see with your physical eyes to what you saw with your mental “eyes”. Another method of checking the objectivity of your mental perceptions can be enacted during your mental wandering. Simply imagine that the person you see with your mental “eyes” is suddenly doing something entirely different, or that the building you see with your mental “eyes” is suddenly a different color or shape, etc. In other words, try to radically alter what you are observing with your mental “eyes” and if the change occurs immediately then you can be sure that you are not perceiving your surroundings and are instead, imagining them.
You must continue with this exercise of local wandering until you are absolutely certain that your mental perceptions are completely and consistently accurate. Furthermore, you must continue until you become capable of perceiving sounds and sensations with your mental senses. When, after long and consistent practice, these goals have been achieved, you may move on to the next step of venturing further out into the physical world.
Until this point, all of your movement has been in the form of normal walking, just like you were moving within your physical body, but now you must master a new type of movement – I will call this “mental translocation”, for lack of a better term.
Even though our focus has been on perceiving the physical plane in these exercises, our mental body still exists upon and moves within the mental plane. When separated from the astra-physical shell, our mental body is not bound by the laws of the physical plane; but rather, obeys the laws of the mental plane. This means that our mental body is not limited by space or time. It can be in one physical location this instant and then in an entirely different physical location perhaps thousands of miles away in the next instant.
This is accomplished through the mental plane Law of Attraction. All you have to do is formulate the desire on the mental plane to be in a specific location and your mental body is instantly drawn together with that location on the mental plane. Mental translocation works for all physical, astral and mental plane “locations”.
Experiment at first with mental translocation to the local spots, friends, businesses, etc., that you’ve already visited through mental walking and gradually venture further and further away from your home, but always to places you’ve visited physically at least once in the past. When you are able to manage these translocations with success, start translocating to places you’ve never been before and explore those parts of the world that are new to you.
In addition to using mental wandering for relatively passive exploration and observation, during this phase of your exercises you must also become active while mental wandering and use the abilities you’ve gained to aid others that you encounter during your adventures.
When you have become satisfied that you have sufficiently explored the physical world you may venture into the astral and mental realms. The mental wandering of the astral and mental realms is dealt with extensively in the mental section of Step Ten and in Bardon’s second book, The Practice of Magical Evocation so I won’t go into it here.
There is some confusion among readers of IIH about whether the Fluids come from the Elements or whether the Elements come from the Fluids. This confusion stems mainly from the way in which Bardon phrased his explanations, or at least, how his words were translated into English. Secondarily, confusion arises from the nature of the exercises themselves which use the Fire and Water Elements to connect with the underlying Fluids.
The truth of the matter is that the Fluids are causal or superior to the Elements in that the Elements are produced by the Fluids. The four Elements are therefore manifestations of the two Fluids. The Fire Element is a manifestation of the Electric Fluid and the Water, a manifestation of the Magnetic Fluid. The Air Element is created by the neutral balancing of the two Fluids and the Earth Element, by the dynamic interaction of the two Fluids.
In the exercises Bardon described we use the Fire and Water Elements because they are quite familiar to us by now and thus make for easy access to their underlying or causal Fluids. For example, because of our familiarity with the Fire Element, it will be easy for us to recognize the presence of the Electric Fluid within its attributes. Likewise, our familiarity with the Water Element makes it easy for us to perceive its internal Magnetic Fluid. In fact, connecting with the Fluids is only possible once one has garnered extensive experience, and thus familiarity, with the Elements.
Bardon described two methods for accumulating the Fluids, an inductive and a deductive method. With the inductive method, the Element surrounds the body and the Fluid is drawn into the body from the Element. And with the deductive method, the Element is brought into the body and the Fluid is drawn out of the Element. The inductive method is mastered first and then the deductive method is mastered. After discussing these two methods, I will describe an additional, third method which becomes possible once one has become sufficiently familiar with the Fluids through mastery of Bardon’s inductive and deductive methods.
The inductive method for accumulating the Electric Fluid is as follows. First adopt a tri-polar state of awareness and then imagine that your body itself is hollow and that you are completely surrounded by the Fire Element. Now you must imagine that the Fire Element is so radiant that it literally presses light into your body, through your pores and thus fills your hollow body to bursting with light.
Next, to quote Bardon, “As soon as you have produced so strong an accumulation of light that your body is nearly bursting, you will feel, at the same moment, that your whole body, mainly your fingertips, have been loaded with a strong electric current. Do impress this perception very firmly on your mind, because this is factually the Electric Fluid I am talking about.”
The sensation of the Electric Fluid is very distinct but may take some time to perceive at first since it has to be distinguished from amongst all the sensations you’re used to experiencing with the Fire Element. What is required here is a very careful examination of the sensations your body will experience as a result of the dynamic accumulation of Light. When you do sense the Electric Fluid for the first time you will know without a doubt that it is indeed the Fluid you’re experiencing. If there is any doubt, then you must keep practicing until you connect with the factual Fluid.
At the end of each practice you must, of course, let the Fire Element dissipate and completely rid your body of the Light and any Electric Fluid you may have accumulated. Keep practicing until you can easily generate a charge of the Electric Fluid. Only then may you pass on to the next part of the exercise, which is to impress your desire upon the accumulated Fluid.
Proceed as before with the inductive method up until you feel the Electric Fluid accumulating. At this point, impress your desire upon the Fluid that it “does reinforce and increase your active powers in the spirit, in the soul and in the body.” Then release the Electric Fluid from your body and let the Light and the Fire Element dissipate as usual.
This practice will strengthen all of your mental, astral and physical faculties associated with the Fire and Air Elements.
Once the inductive method with the Electric Fluid has been mastered to the point where it is easy to perform, you may begin work with the inductive method to generate the Magnetic Fluid.
The inductive method in regard to the Magnetic Fluid is very similar to the previous exercise except that it involves use of the Water Element instead of the Fire. As before, adopt a tri-polar state of awareness and imagine that your body is completely hollow, an empty shell. Now imagine that the Water Element completely surrounds you and furthermore, that your hollow body is sucking in the magnetic, attractive power from the surrounding Water Element.
Your prior experiences with this magnetic power of the Water Element in the Step Seven astral clairfeeling exercises should make this imagination fairly easy to accomplish. The feeling of the Magnetic Fluid is quite distinct from that of the Electric Fluid and once you connect with it factually, you will know without a doubt that it is the Magnetic Fluid you perceive. Bardon described it as “a contracting, and at the same time, attracting force”, and later as “an astringent coolness and an attracting power like that of a real magnet.”
As usual, when you are finished with your exercise, you must banish the Magnetic Fluid and the Water Element. Practice until it becomes easy for you to accumulate the Magnetic Fluid in this manner and then, as with the Electric Fluid, work with impressing upon the Fluid the desire for increased mastery of all abilities associated with the Magnetic Fluid, Water Element and Earth Element. Once this inductive method is easy for you to accomplish, you may go on to experiment with the deductive method.
With the inductive method you were essentially drawing the Fluids from the outside and filling your body with them. With the deductive method however, you are doing just the opposite – generating the Fluids internally and radiating them outward, so that they accumulate on the surface of your physical body.
The deductive method for the Electric Fluid involves generating a very dense and dynamic accumulation of the Fire Element within your whole body. This will cause a radiation, so to speak, of the Electric Fluid which will be felt on the surface of your body. The stronger the accumulation of the Fire Element, the stronger the radiation of the Electric Fluid.
The deductive method for the Magnetic Fluid is the same except that here you must create a very dense and dynamic accumulation of the Water Element instead of the Fire. This will likewise cause the Magnetic Fluid to collect on the surface of your physical body. As Bardon noted, this can have a temporarily paralyzing effect on the physical muscles, but this will pass with repeated practice.
Once both of these methods have been mastered with both Fluids to the point where you can perform them with ease and very quickly, you might wish to experiment with the following technique of my own devising which I find quite useful.
This method does not rely upon the Elements; instead, it taps into the Fluids directly upon the mental plane. First, adopt a tri-polar state and then focus your awareness into your depth-point, your central spark of self. Next, connect with the Fluid upon the mental plane and draw it down into your physical body. In this way, you can instantly draw as much of a Fluid as you wish into your body or even set up a continuous flow of a Fluid. To terminate your connection with the Fluid simply exit your depth-point.
The next set of exercises teaches you how to accumulate and wield the Fluids. Bardon specifies that the inductive method be used to generate the Fluids, but the third method I described works just as well.
The first exercise is quite simple and is intended to expand your limits in regard to the quantity of the Fluids you are able to accumulate and the length of time you are able to withstand such an accumulation in your body. It also teaches how to isolate the Fluids from their Elements.
To begin, follow the inductive method and accumulate as much of the Fluid as you are able. Then, let the Element dissipate while holding onto the Fluid. Alternately, you may use the third method that I described earlier and simply fill your body with as much of the Fluid as you can stand. Hold onto this accumulation of the Fluid in your body for as long as you can and then let it completely dissipate.
Work in this way with both Fluids until the process becomes easy and quick to accomplish. Once you have reached this degree of mastery, move on to the next exercise. Here you will load the Earth and Water regions of your body with the Magnetic Fluid and the Air and Fire regions, with the Electric Fluid. The effect of this practice is very balancing and integrating and is quite similar to loading the four Elemental regions with their Elements. The establishment of a Fluidic balance is essential for the Step Nine separation of your astral body and astral wandering.
Using either the inductive method or my third method, accumulate as much of the Magnetic Fluid as you can stand into just the lower half of your body, the Earth and Water regions conjoined. And then accumulate as much as you can stand of the Electric Fluid into just the upper half of your body, the Air and Fire regions conjoined. Hold onto these accumulations for as long as you can and then let first the Electric Fluid, and then the Magnetic Fluid dissipate.
In addition to this upper and lower regional accumulation of the Fluids, I also recommend that you practice a left and right side of your body accumulation. While Bardon’s upper and lower practice balances the Elemental polarities of Fire-Air vs. Water-Earth, practicing with a left-right accumulation balances the positive and negative polarities of each Element. First the Magnetic Fluid is accumulated into just the left side of the body and then the Electric Fluid is accumulated into just the right side of the body. The accumulations are held as long as possible and then the Electric Fluid, followed by the Magnetic Fluid is dissipated. [Note: If you are naturally left-handed instead of right-handed then you should load the Magnetic Fluid into your right side and the Electric Fluid into your left side.]
The final exercise in the astral section of Step Eight is to lead these polarized accumulations into your hands. First, load both regions with their Fluids. The Magnetic Fluid is drawn up from the Water-Earth region, along the left side of your body and into your left hand. Then the Electric Fluid is drawn from the Fire-Air region and into your right hand. Alternately, you can start with a left-right regional split of the Fluids, instead of Bardon’s upper-lower split, or you can load your hands directly with the Fluids using my third method and guiding the Fluids from the mental realm into your hands. [Note: If you are naturally left-handed instead of right-handed then you should load the Magnetic Fluid into your right hand and the Electric Fluid into your left hand.]
Hold the two Fluids in your hands for as long as you can and build up stronger and stronger accumulations. When you are finished, let the Electric and then the Magnetic Fluid dissipate. You may of course, make use of these Fluids by impressing a desire into them before you let then dissipate.
This work with the Fluids is very important and should be mastered thoroughly. Without perfect mastery of the Fluids it will be impossible to truly form effective Electro-Magnetic “volts” in Step Nine, for example. And in the absence of the Fluidic Equilibrium that naturally results from this prolonged work with the Fluids, rising to, so called, “higher” planes would be very limited, if not impossible. Really, all future work relies upon this Fluidic Equilibrium.
Regarding the physical section of Step Eight, which concerns various simple magical techniques for influencing through the Elements, the creation and loading of Fluid Condensers, and the construction of a Magic Mirror, I haven’t much to say. Bardon’s instructions are quite clear. All I will say is that working with the Fluid Condensers is especially useful and that creating a Magic mirror for yourself is important if you wish to practice any of the many techniques Bardon’s describes in the mental section of Step Nine. A Magic Mirror is a very useful tool!