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Step Nine

Mental

The mental section is comprised of a number of methods for using a Magic Mirror which were quite well explained so I see no value in my adding to Bardon’s words. The astral and physical sections however, do require some further explanation.

Astral

There are actually two parts to the astral section of Step Nine. The best known, of course, is the work with Bardon’s method of astral wandering. Given less attention is the final astral exercise of impregnating the astral body with the four Universal or “divine” qualities, yet this exercise is by far the more important in terms of the ultimate aim of Hermetic initiation, union with The One Self.

So called “astral travel” and “out of body experiences” are very popular these days, seemingly everybody wants to do it and is looking for the quickest, easiest method. It’s become just another addictive entertainment; part of the popular culture often treated like it was the latest high-tech computer game. Bardon’s astral wandering however, is the exact opposite. It requires copious amounts of very serious work to master and is, in fact, life-threatening if precautions are not taken. This is not a game; this is initiation. This is not mere entertainment; this is magical practice.

Astral wandering has two basic uses: One is for experiencing the astral realm and interacting with astral beings with your astral body intact and thus your full astral sensoria; and second is to perform magical acts that will immediately affect the physical realm when you are unable to be physically present. In most instances however, a magician will employ mental wandering instead of the more involved astral wandering to explore the universe and enact their will.

There are several prerequisites to beginning this work with astral wandering. First is an unshakable astra-mental Equilibrium of the Elements and the Fluids. The astral realm is highly subjective in nature and can be very alluring at an emotional level so wandering within the astral realm requires a steadfast sense of self and the unshakable ability to remain centered and in control of your emotional responses.

Second is perfect mastery of mental wandering. The astral wandering technique is based upon your having perfect control over your exteriorized mental body and furthermore, it is your well exercised mental objectivity, gained through long practice with mental wandering, which insures that your astral experiences will not lead you into self-delusion.

Third is well developed astral senses. Without them, you would be, in effect, blind and deaf within the astral realm.

And fourth is reasonably good physical health and stamina. If you are ill or too weak, then astral wandering can become physically damaging and depleting.

The great danger in Bardon’s technique is the risk of physical death should your physical body be touched by another person or even a large pet while you are wandering. As Bardon warned, such a touch would most likely sever the silver cord that connects your astral and physical bodies, making it impossible for you to re-integrate with your physical body; which is to say, your physical body would die. So you must be absolutely certain that you will not, under any circumstances be disturbed while astral wandering. Lock yourself into a room alone if you have to, it’s that important.

Bardon’s method is really quite simple. First, you separate your mental body exactly as was learned in Step Eight mental wandering. Then, using your imagination and will power, you draw your astral body out from your physical body and as soon as it stands separate, you step into your astral body with your mental body or awareness.

Once you have stepped into your astral body, you must integrate your mental awareness with your astral body. The binding agent is your breath or rather, the act of consciously breathing with your conjoined astra-mental body. This is quite different than the usual passive relationship we have with breathing when we inhabit our physical body. Then, the breath pretty much takes care of itself and requires no intention. However, back in Step Six, we learned to master tri-polar action in which all of our actions, including our breathing, were led or directed intentionally by our mental awareness, and this is what we must practice here in the binding together of our astral and mental bodies, except that now it is a bi-polar instead of tri-polar action.

To bind the astral and mental bodies and negate the attractive force between the physical and astral bodies, we must breathe with our astral body and direct this breathing with our mental awareness. In other words, our mental body must cause our astral body’s breathing similar to the tri-polar action in which our mental body causes our physical body to breathe. Once responsibility for breathing has been taken over by your separated astra-mental body, your physical body will stop breathing.

It’s important to understand here that the Elements and Akasha absorbed through breathing is what sustains the link between the mental body and the astral body, or as Bardon phrased it: “the mental matrix is kept working by normal breathing, which supplies the blood vessels with the four Elements, including Akasha, via the lungs.” And furthermore, that what sustains the link between the astral body and the physical body is the Elements and Akasha absorbed through the digestion of food and drink.

By Step Nine you will have come to a thorough, experiential understanding of the connection between the four Elemental regions of the physical body, the astral body and the mental body and the ways in which the regions of each body relate to those of the other two. For example, the Fire regions of the mental body, the astral body and the physical body are each similar in terms of their functions. Additionally, you will have come to understand the connection between the Air region of the physical body and the overall mental body; and between the Water region of the physical body and the whole astral body. This is a concrete example of the Law of Sympathies or the Emerald Tablet statement, “As above, so below.” Herein lays the key to understanding why the breath sustains the mental matrix and physical nourishment sustains the astral matrix.

The physical breath, the expansion and contraction of lungs, is driven by the rhythmic contraction and relaxation of the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm actually forms the upper-most limit of the physical body’s Water region, the dividing line, as it were, between the physical Water and Air regions. Since the diaphragm belongs to the Water region, its primary function is not that of breathing, but rather that of rhythmically compressing the contents of the abdominal cavity and thus creating the tidal movement necessary to proper digestion and excretion. The physical body relies upon the nutrients provided by the digestive organs of the Water region and, following the Law of Sympathies, the physical body likewise relies upon the astral Elements provided by the astral body through the astral matrix, thus binding the astral and physical bodies together in the common purpose of sustaining life.

This connection between the astral body and the physical Water region is further seen in the fact that the silver cord of the astral matrix is rooted in the physical body’s navel. When a newborn child takes its first breath, its mental body integrates with its astral body. But the cutting of the umbilical cord is the moment when the newborn child’s astral body gains its first experience of relative autonomy and separation from its mother’s astral body.

The mental matrix on the other hand, the violet cord that connects the solitary mental body with the astra-physical body, is rooted in the physical Air region at the solar-plexus or diaphragmatic interface between the physical Air and Water regions. As I said, it’s the contraction and relaxation of the diaphragm muscle that causes the bellows of the lungs to open and close. Thus the Air region is dependent upon the Water region’s diaphragm for breath, in effect binding the two regions and by extension, the mental and astral bodies.

Although this doesn’t relate to astral wandering, it is interesting to note in the context of what I’ve just said about the Air and Water regions, that the Air region also contains the heart which is responsible for pumping the blood through the lungs. The heart is the Fire region’s agent within the Air region; which is to say, it’s empowered by electrical impulses that come from the brain. Conversely, it is the circulating, oxygen-rich blood, pumped by the Air region’s heart that nourishes and sustains the Fire region’s brain. Thus it is the beating of the heart that sustains the link that binds the Fire region of the mental body, the central spark of Self, with the Air region of the mental body and all the other regions of the physio-astra-mental body. And when just the Fire region of the mental body is detached a golden or white cord is seen rooted in the crown of the head.

So, getting back to the astral wandering exercise: The intention to breathe and the sensation of breathing must both be transferred to your conjoined astra-mental body in order to bind the astral and mental together and to override the natural magnetic attraction between your astral and physical bodies. This part takes extended practice and can be quite disorienting at first. It can also be quite frightening at a deep, pre-rational level because once you succeed at transferring your breathing to your astra-mental body; your physical body essentially slows way, way down, your breathing ceases and your heart slows to almost imperceptible levels. Our physical bodies recognize this state as an “I am dying” threat and self-preservation instincts naturally assert themselves. This is in part what empowers the magnetic attraction between our physical and astral bodies. It is only through will and understanding that this natural body-fear is overcome.

In truth, the body is not actually dying here. The heart does still beat occasionally and some blood does still circulate and absorb oxygen from the lungs which, because they are completely relaxed, remain open to the subtle flow of fresh air. This oxygen-rich blood does still reach the brain and the brain does remain electrically active, though at a severely reduced rate. So as long as the two cords or matrices remain intact and feed the Elements and Akasha to the physical body, the physical body can remain viable in this state for a surprisingly long time, depending mostly upon how physically fit the body is in the first place.

By taking command of, and responsibility for, making your astral body breathe, your mental body keeps your astral body from returning automatically to your physical body. So, quite logically, to separate your astral from your mental body, you simply stop your astra-mental breathing. This loosens the binding between mental and astral and allows the magnetic attraction between physical and astral to reassert itself. Your astral body is then drawn back by your physical shell and physical breathing resumes automatically. Once your physical breathing has restarted, you may then reenter your astra-physical body and reintegrate your three bodies.

This exercise of separation and transference of the breathing has to be practiced over and over and over, until you have mastered it perfectly and are able to separate and reintegrate very quickly and easily. Only then may you go on to actual wandering.

Up until this point your focus has been riveted to your physical body and mastering the transferal of your breathing. But now, having mastered that part, you must turn your focus away from your physical shell and begin examining your surroundings. Take one step away from your physical shell and spend a few moments experiencing the resistance, and then step back. With each new exercise, take one additional step away until you can easily move around your home. Then venture outdoors being ever mindful of not going too far all at once.

At first, it will be very difficult to move even a step away from your physical body due to the natural attractive force between your physical and astral bodies. It’s like trying to move through thick mud or against a very strong wind. But by moving just a step further away with each successive exercise you will slowly break free from this influence and eventually, you will be able to venture as far away as you wish without experiencing the slightest resistance.

To travel great distances with your astral body, you make use of the mental plane Law of Attraction and just like with mental wandering, imagine you are at your destination and you will instantly be in the location you desire. However, this works only when you have finally broken free of the magnetic attraction between your astral and physical bodies.

As a sensorial experience, astral wandering is like an amplified physical adventure. You experience physical-like sensations that partake of a much greater emotional significance. It is also like an amplified mental adventure in that every perception of essential meaning is clothed in emotional significance. Everything takes on a luminous beauty that is rarely experienced through physical interaction or mental wandering.

Astral wandering is so enjoyable and pleasing to the emotions that, as Bardon noted, every magician will inevitably reach a moment when they are reluctant to return to their physical body and their mundane existence. This is a very transformative and important moment in a magician’s spiritual evolution. It places everything into a context of choice. Does one choose to embrace life and return to the physical body or not? To be or not to be is one of those ultimate questions, no? And with astral wandering this question is the central “test”, so to speak.

Once you have become proficient at the mechanics of astral wandering, you should give your wanderings an altruistic purpose beyond mere exploration and use them as opportunities to help others.

When you have reached this point with your astral wandering, have chosen life and are completely comfortable in your astral body, it is then time to begin the work of transforming your astra-mental body by impregnating it with the four Divine or Universal qualities.

Although Bardon wasn’t clear on this fact and didn’t state it explicitly, these “meditations” as he called them, on the four qualities must be undertaken while the astra-mental body is separate from the physical body. In other words, during astral wandering.

These are not normal meditations in the sense of their being purely mental explorations. Instead, these are to be ecstatic astral experiences of the four qualities. They begin with an intellectual consideration and building of the qualities within your awareness. This, as expected, creates a strong resonance within the mental realm and you are drawn together with the factual quality in this way, but the fact that you are bringing your astral body with you, so to speak, means that your experience of the factual quality is also astral. Your whole astral body becomes imbued with the quality and eventually this transforms and purifies your astral and mental bodies remaking them into vessels suitable to truly house and express these Universal qualities in their fullness. In effect, you become an intentional and conscious astra-mental manifestation of the four Universal qualities.

This takes considerable time to accomplish. How long or how quickly depends upon your level of spiritual maturity at the outset. No matter how long it takes, this transformation of your astra-mental body must be completed prior to beginning the work of Step Ten.

What Bardon wrote about the four Divine qualities lacks in depth and there is a minor conflict between his list in Step Nine and what he listed in Step Ten. Clearly he assumed, and rightly so, that anybody who has sincerely pursued and mastered all the work up to this point will not need any sort of elaboration. In the present context however, of my giving commenting about this Step, it seems appropriate to take a few minutes to describe the four qualities in question, or at least relate some of my own understanding of them to you. To that end, I will read from an article I wrote in 2004 titled, “Dimensions of the Divine: The Four Divine Principles Examined.”

The Universal Quality of Fire: Omnipotence

This doesn't simply mean that the Divine is all powerful and therefore capable of doing anything It wishes. Instead, it means that the Divine encompasses all power and all force. This power is infinite in terms of quantity and quality. In other words, there is not a single erg of energy that is not a part of the Divine and there is not a single quantum of willing that is not an aspect of the Divine Will. When we as individuals enact our personal will, we are making use of the Divine Will. When our Sun shines, it is radiating an energy which is Divine in nature. When an electron spins within an atom it does so because it is moved by a Divine energy. When a thought forms within our minds, it is because there is a Divine Will which empowers its formation.

Another way of looking at this is that everything that occurs, every action and every manifestation of energy or force whatsoever, is a manifestation of the Divine Will. In the temporal realm, we often see and experience the action of forces which we find hard to perceive as having a Divine source or purpose, let alone a Divine permission, since they seem so counter-productive and so opposite to our conceptualization of Divine. We plead with the Divine to change this or that circumstance or pray that the Divine will defend us from this or that circumstance, yet all the while we are asking the Divine to counter Its own Self, Its own Will. When the circumstance is defeated or changed to our satisfaction, we think that the Divine has answered our prayer, yet we remain ignorant of the fact that the original circumstance was itself a Divine Act of mercy.

The energy that powers our existence as individual beings is wholly Divine. We are each a spark of the Divine energy and we each employ that same Divine energy in all of our thoughts, words and deeds. The question is whether or not we use the Divine energy with respect and reverence for its Divine source.

Do we think thoughts, speak words and act in ways that honor the Divine origin of the energy we are using for our thinking, speaking and acting? Most often not. Hermetics however, affords us the opportunity to do so in a disciplined and consistent manner. The keys to respectfully wielding the Divine energy are self-knowledge, self-exploration and self-perfection. In other words, the path to power lies inward and is one of self-transformation -- one of transforming the self so that it harmonizes with the Divine Self.

When all power is recognized as Divine in origin, one then has the opportunity to let it flow through one's own individual self as Divine energy instead of manipulating it and reshaping it into a personalized energy, fit only to meet one's self-centered wants and desires. This releases the fullest potential of Divine energy since it is then allowed to flow unhindered into material manifestation.

From the eternal, non-sequential perspective, the only sort of power that the Divine ItSelf wields is the infinite will to be, to exist. All other types (quantities and qualities) of will are expressions of that Divine Will to Be.

The Universal Quality of Air: Omniscience

This doesn't simply mean that the Divine knows everything. Rather, it means that the Divine Awareness is infinite. All awareness is encompassed by the Divine Awareness. There is not any type (quantity and quality) of awareness that is not an aspect of the Divine Awareness.

The Divine directly and immediately (i.e., in each moment) experiences the infinite number of discrete quantas of awareness that compose the temporal infinity. In other words, it is the Divine Awareness which is aware through us and through every thing that exists. Furthermore, the Divine Awareness is eternal, which means that the Divine is simultaneously and non-sequentially aware as the infinite number of discrete awareness's which manifest throughout the entire infinite passage of time and sequence.

This is the Hermetic aphorism that "ALL is Mind or Awareness / Consciousness". This is echoed in Kabbalah where we find the Letter Aleph, which is the Mother Letter of Air, spoken of as the "plan of the Primordial". All of which is to say that the Divine Awareness represents a universally sustaining continuity, the inherent nature of which results in this specific manifestation as we know it.

The inherent nature of Divine Awareness manifests within the sequential realm as "Legality". In other words, it is the template to which all materia must invariably adhere. The Divine Awareness serves as the matrix that gives form to all force or power. It is the Great Director and the Great Creator of each and every moment.

Encompassed within the infinite Awareness of the Divine are the infinite number of individualized quantas of awareness that populate the realm of sequence. Each experiences itself as discrete, yet each is connected to the Divine Awareness by virtue of its self-awareness. In other words, awareness is the common denominator which binds together the whole of creation. It is what we share in common with other human beings, animals, plants, rocks, clouds and all other things that fill the temporal realm. It is what binds us all together as Divine in nature.

By virtue of this connection with all other things, we can therefore communicate with all other things at the level of pure awareness. When we focus exclusively within our own pure awareness, we can then directly perceive the essential meaning of any other thing. A thing's essential meaning is nothing other than its individualized quanta of awareness -- its particular, unique manifestation of the infinite Divine Awareness. The awareness or essential meaning resident within each thing is what gives it form -- it is what causes the physical, astral and mental materia to coalesce into that specific form. Without the presence of that spark of Divine Awareness, the form would not coalesce and there would be no existence for that thing.

The Universal Quality of Water: All Love

This doesn't just mean that the Divine is a "good guy" who loves us all in spite of our short comings, someone we can call on when we get in a fix, etc. Instead, there is a very deep, mystical significance with infinite consequences implied here.

This is the Providence aspect of the Divine which provides everything that is involved in the eternal creation and sustenance of all that exists. We think of this in terms of love only because we conceive a certain separation between us and the Divine, so it feels like a gift of love. In truth however, we are encompassed within the Divine so this is really an aspect of how the Divine naturally sustains ItSelf. It is not a gift given to us, but rather an impersonal fact of Divine nature. All of our needs, and the needs of everything, are eternally and perfectly met because that is an inherent part of Divine BEing.

At a personal, human level, this means that every thing that happens in our lives is an aspect and manifestation of the Divine Love. We also call it karma, which is nothing other than the Divine setting before us, in the absolute best manner possible, the lessons we need to learn in order to evolve.

Divine Providence provides us with exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. It never places before us something we don't need. Even the vilest of circumstances are, from the Divine perspective, necessary. Furthermore, they are presented according to the Universal Legality, which means that the form in which they are presented is the only form in which they could, in that moment, be presented to us.

The consequences of this astound the mind if one contemplates them deeply enough . . .

I would like you to picture yourself sitting in a meadow of spring grasses. The air feels clean and refreshing. The sun's rays caress you gently with their warmth. Everywhere you gaze you see the beauty of spring time. Now imagine that every thing surrounding you is conscious and aware. Imagine that the air you breathe is aware, that it loves you and intentionally sustains you. Imagine that the sun's rays are aware and are consciously and intentionally expressing their love for you by sustaining your body and soul with their gentle caresses. Imagine that the water you drink, the food you eat and the earth below your feet are all there to express their love by sustaining your every need. Now imagine that all the people you know are, likewise, expressions of this Divine Love which sustains you, albeit in less material ways. Now imagine that every circumstance of your life is also an expression of the Divine Love, eternally sustaining you.

The only time any thing feels like it is not a manifestation of the Divine Providential Love, is when we do not recognize it as such and therefore do not harmonize with it. It's when we ourselves are not consciously aware of our own role as manifestations of the Divine Love and do not harmonize our own thoughts, words and deeds with that Divine Loving, that we become blinded to the eternal and infinite manifestation of the Divine Love all around us.

But as creatures of the temporal realm which wield our human free will, it is our prerogative to choose whether or not we consciously harmonize with the Divine Love and therefore aid its expression, instead of hindering it. When we choose to not harmonize, we become blind to the fact that a difficult circumstance is in fact an expression of the Divine Love designed specifically to advance our personal evolution. This choice breeds difficulty, strife and the experience of suffering.

On the other hand, when we do recognize that every circumstance is an expression of the Divine Love and begin to consciously participate in the Divine Love through our thoughts, words and deeds, then strife and suffering disappear. We then become eager to face any challenge that confronts us because we recognize the value we will derive from not resisting it and from intentionally learning from it. In this way, we let the Divine love us and love through us.

The Universal Quality of Earth: Omnipresence

Omnipresence means more than just being every where. It also means being every when, every who, what and why. In other words, this is not just a spatial and temporal aspect of the Divine. Instead, it is physical, astral, mental and Akashic (i.e., eternal). Another term for omnipresence is immanence, which comes from the Latin meaning "to stay within its own place". The Divine is indwelling -- It fills Its own Self.

Omnipresence also implies infinite duration or eternity. Eternity is a difficult concept to grasp intellectually. Most often we think of it as "a really, really long time" or as an infinite sequence of moments, all strung together in a row stretching infinitely in all directions. But this is only how eternity appears to a sequentialized human mind, which knows only the perspective of existence within the temporal realm. Our only point of reference is that of living in time and space, so we naturally think in those terms. Unfortunately, it is this habitual thinking based upon appearances that prevents us from accurately conceiving of eternity.

The Divine is not immanent sequentially. That is to say, the Divine is immanent at this very moment throughout all that exists right now; plus, the Divine is immanent throughout the whole infinite span of time and all the infinite number of "nows" that have and will occur. AND, the Divine maintains this awareness uniformly throughout all of time and space. AND, the Divine Awareness experiences all the parts of the whole and all the moments of time, all at once or simultaneously. In other words, the Divine experience of its own immanence is non-sequential. The Divine is eternally experiencing the first moment, the final moment and every moment in between, right "now".

The eternal realm is not separate from the temporal -- it is integral to the temporal. The eternal is immanent and its duration is infinite. Every single form however, exists only for a limited amount of time before it disintegrates and the immanent force which holds it together is released. The cyclic transition of an immanent force being contained within form and released from form and then contained in form anew, is also eternal. In other words, individual forms themselves are not eternal but the sequential process of immanent force inhabiting a variety of forms is eternal.

Thus throughout the whole infinite span of time-space, the Divine Awareness assumes an infinite variety of temporary forms, each of which is unique. Or rather, the Divine experiences an infinite temporal duration through a simultaneous, non-sequential existence as an infinitude of sequentialized temporary forms.

When we are focused exclusively within our mundane awareness, we have no cognizance of our eternal essence. We experience life as a short and rather chaotic string of moments; with a beginning, middle and end to each moment and to the whole string itself. On the other hand, when we focus upon our pure awareness -- that part of us which is infinite and eternal -- we begin to realize that there is reason, purpose and order to every thing. But this Divine order is recognizable only when we step out of our slavery to the minutia of time and view existence from an eternal perspective.

Since the Divine is infinite in its duration and is immanent within all things throughout all time, there exists an eternal Equilibrium wherein all forces exist in perfect balance. However, this perfect Equilibrium exists only as an aspect of the eternal realm. Within the temporal, sequential realm, each moment is imperfect and does not manifest a perfect Equilibrium. Instead of Equilibrium, the temporal realm exists as a state of continuous change in which balance is gained and then lost, re-gained and re-lost, over and over, ad infinitum.

The Mystery which connects the temporal imperfection with the eternal Perfection is that an infinite number of imperfect moments are manifest throughout the infinite stream of time-space and that infinite number add together to form the Perfection of eternity. It is the immanence of that Divine Perfection which causes the temporal imperfection to be in a constant state of evolution toward perfection.

By tending to our own path toward personal perfection and Equilibrium, we consciously participate in that Divine evolutionary force which moves the whole Universe toward the holistic Perfection of eternity. When we do this, we find that the Divine directly supports us along our path and the Divine immanence shines forth clearly through us.

Physical

The physical section of Step Nine is divided into three basic parts: First is healing with the Fluids; second is the loading of magical tools such as amulets and talismans with the Fluids and other energies; and, third is the creation and deployment of a so called, “Electro-Magnetic Volt” into the Akasha.

In regard to healing with the Fluids, you will at this stage have no need whatsoever for books on anatomy and diseases, nor lists of correspondences between organs and Fluids. All of this information is immediately accessible through use of your own astral and mental senses. You will see, feel and know what is wrong and how to heal it without reference to any external resource. There will be no guessing and no uncertainty.

I have nothing really to add to what Bardon wrote in regard to the loading of magical tools with the Fluids, Elements, etc. His explanations are certainly sufficient to spark your creative imagination!

About the third part however, Electro-Magnetic Volting, I do have a couple of comments. First, this is the highest form of what I’ll call “manual magic”, the magic performed with one’s own hands, so to speak. It’s on par with “non-manual” types of magic such as Kabbalistic utterance, the work of Bardon’s third book, “The Key to the True Quabbalah”, and higher forms of working with essential meaning that would have been the subject of Bardon’s planned fourth book, “The Golden Book of Wisdom”. Thus its practice carries with it a grave and deep responsibility. This is not something one plays at or attempts to use for anything but the most serious and sincere matters.

My final comment has to do with generating the large quantities of the Fluids necessary to create Volt that will be truly effective within the Akasha. Bardon specified that it must be at least 2 meters or 6 feet in diameter and creating this large an accumulation incrementally as Bardon suggested, can take an enormous amount of effort and time. On the other hand, if you employ the technique I described in Step Eight of connecting with the Fluids on the mental plane first and then drawing them down from the mental plane and into the physical plane, you will find that creating the size necessary for a Volt is made easier and much quicker. With practice, it becomes simple to set up a continuous flow of the Fluid and thus attain a diameter of one meter in just a few seconds time.