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Correspondence Excerpts

Written between 2001 and 2007

Theory

The Elements

On the Elements

06 September 2004

» There's something I'm not clear about. If you draw a lot of one element to yourself, don't you somehow create an imbalance of it somewhere else? Where does it come from? Is it an infinite supply? «

The Elements are qualities and therefore cannot be depleted through their accumulation. In other words, you are not accumulating a physically quantitative substance. Instead, you are accumulating a quality whose effects are quantifiable. This is why an accumulation of 3 inhalations of an Element will produce a smaller quantifiable effect than one of 30 inhalations.

» Quantity applies only to manifestation (things like matter and energy) and elemental force is clearly prior to manifestation, as is any metaphysical principle: as such it is not quantitative, and cannot be depleted. «

I think the point of confusion here is that when a magician accumulates the quality of an Element, s/he thereby produces a quantifiable effect. Take for example the first exercises with the Elements in Step Three. The first step is to creatively imagine the qualities of the Element as if those qualities filled the entire universe surrounding you. The second step is to begin inhaling these qualities into your body so that you experience their very quantifiable effect upon your body. It is the accumulated quality of the Element that directly produces the experiential quantity of an accumulation. This quantity does not come into existence until the quality of the Element has been accumulated.

» To me the answer might be closer to something along the lines of the accumulation of an element is but a dislocation of it from one area to another. «

No. It is the transformation of a quality into a quantity, or of a principle into a material effect. Consciousness has the power to cause such a transformation of a principle into a manifest effect by focusing itself intensively upon the quality within whatever realm of density (mental, astral and/or physical) and thereby accumulating the quality to such a degree that the materia of that realm is affected by it. This effect, once generated, is transferable through projection and can be induced separate from one's own self through the transference of consciousness.

» Are the elements quantifiable on the mental and astral planes? «

Within the sequential realm (i.e., in the physical, astral and the sequential aspects of the mental realm), only the effects of the Elemental qualities/Principles are quantifiable. It is only in the non-sequential realm of eternity that the Elemental Principles themselves can be truly quantified in the sense that therein lays the root of their essential meanings.

The Elements Vs. Physics

12 November 2002

» It seems to me that the ancients saw the elements as fire, air, water and earth mainly due to an incomplete understanding of physics. Yet, Franz Bardon's system is so tied into these 4 elements. Can someone explain this? «

It certainly appears that way from our modern perspective which is so saturated with the philosophy of the physical sciences, but the ancients held a different understanding and a different philosophy. It's really incorrect to say that the ancients held an "incomplete" understanding of the universe or to assume that modern Physics holds a "complete" one -- each perspective is simply different. Each uses a different set of symbols to describe the same essential thing -- our universe. What distinguishes the Elemental model is that it encompasses more than just the physical aspect of the universe; whereas Physics focus just upon the physical universe. Therefore, it is more than Physics and can't really be compared directly with Physics. Much of Physics can be explained from a Hermetic perspective, using Hermetic symbols, but very little of Hermetics can (as yet) be explained from a Physics perspective, using the symbols of Physics.

The reason for this is because the Elements are not physically measurable things. Physics deals with the physical materia that naturally adheres to the Elements, so in this sense, Physics studies the effects of the Elements. Hermetics, on the other hand, studies the action of the Elements AND the effects of them. This is why I said that the Hermetic Philosophy is more than physics.

They also differ in methodology. Physics uses physical tools to explore the universe, whereas the Hermetic uses their own self -- their own physical, astral and mental bodies -- as the tools of exploration. This places the exploration into an entirely different context and in that context, the symbols of Elements, Fluids, Principles, etc., make perfect sense.

Meditation on the Elemental Regions

29 September 2004

I am often asked for some sort of written text that better explains the Elements and my answer is always that reading about the Elements is not the best way to actually learn about them. The best way to learn about the Elements is through meditation and direct work with the Elements.

The Hermetic mind-set which views the universe as being the result of an interaction between Elemental forces was derived from direct, personal internal and external observation. The most basic starting place for such observation and self-education regarding the Elements is one's own self. For example, in Bardon's "Initiation Into Hermetics", the student begins their introduction to the Elements through the observation of their own character and the subsequent assignment of each character trait to an Element. But that is not the only place within ourselves where we can observe the qualities of the Elements -- we can also learn about them through the observation of our physical bodies and this is what I propose in the meditation that follows.

Lie down on your back next to a wall, with a couple of pillows behind your torso and head. The ideal position for this meditation is to have your torso elevated at a 30 degree angle and your head at 60-75 degrees. This assures a slight compression of the abdomen, an elevation of the heart above the legs and an elevation of the head above the heart. Get comfortable in this position and rest your hands, one atop the other, over your lower abdomen.

Become aware of your head region and gently descend into your chest region, then your abdominal region and end in your leg region. Relax all the muscles in your leg region starting from your feet and working your way up to your pelvis. Include your buttocks and sphincter muscle in this relaxation.

Now spread your awareness throughout your entire leg region and consider the ways in which your leg region manifests the qualities of the Earth Element.

Feel the inertia and still calmness of the entire region. Spend a few moments meditating upon the fact that this region remains inert until movement is consciously willed, sending an electric signal from the Fire region of your body to activate the muscles of the Earth region. Meditate upon this region's utter passivity without that impulse from the brain. There is no motion within this region except for what reverberates through it's uppermost layer, from the Water region above where the rhythmic motion of the breath originates; and what reverberates through the veins, from the Air region above where the heart's rhythm originates the pumping of blood. No motion originates within the Earth region, yet those higher motions from the Fire, Air and Water regions are what sustain the leg region and animate it.

Now shift your awareness to your abdominal region and deeply relax the muscles of your abdomen and lower back. Now spread your awareness throughout your entire abdominal region and encompass the area from your hips up to, and including, your diaphragm muscle. As before, consider the ways in which your abdominal region manifests the qualities of the Water Element.

Feel the fluidity of all the organs of the Water region as they process the food and drink you have consumed and as they purify the blood that pumps through your veins. Focus upon the slow and regular rhythm of the diaphragm muscle's contraction and relaxation, contraction and relaxation, over and over in a seemingly endless cycle. It is like the gentle ebb and flow at the ocean's edge on a calm day, causing the breath to come in and go out, come in and go out, over and over. Sense how this steady rhythm impacts all the organs of the Water region, moving them back and forth like seaweed caught in a wave's current.

Located just below your sternum and above your navel lies the solar plexus of nerves which control most of the functions of the Water region. This "little brain" keeps the intestines contracting and relaxing as they should, keeps the diaphragm muscle contracting and relaxing as it should, keeps your kidneys and liver functioning and so on. Notice how all these functions carry on without out conscious (i.e., "big brain") intervention. We can take conscious control of some of these functions but our control is always temporary and soon enough, the "little brain" takes back control lest we die. A good example is our control over the diaphragm muscle -- we can stop our breath but only for so long before we are forced to breathe. While respiration (i.e., the actual exchange of oxygen with the blood) occurs within the Air region, it is controlled by the Water region.

The Water region is responsible for the absorption of nutrients and the expulsion of toxins. It causes the breath through which we absorb nutrients and expel toxins; and, it causes the functioning of the organs that absorb the nutrients from our food and drink and that expel toxins through regurgitation, defecation and urination.

While the "little brain" has a high degree of autonomy and the organs of the Water region are responsible for much of the sustenance of our bodies, it is nonetheless dependent upon the heart beat of the Air region and the organs of the Fire region which serve as the seat of our conscious awareness. Without the animating force of consciousness awareness and the pumping heart, the "little brain" dies and the organs of the Water region cease to function. Yet it is the Water region which sustains the body and keeps it fit for consciousness to inhabit . . . one cannot exist without the other.

Now shift your awareness to your chest region and deeply relax the muscles of your chest, shoulders and upper back. Now spread your awareness throughout your entire chest region and encompass the area from your diaphragm up to, and including, your shoulders. As before, consider the ways in which your chest region manifests the qualities of the Air Element.

Feel the expansion of your entire chest cavity with the intake of breath forced by the expansion of your diaphragm. It is as if you are unfurling your wings and taking flight. It lifts your entire being, making it feel as light as air with the influx of oxygen to your blood. And then, with the deflation of your lungs forced by the contraction of your diaphragm, your body is momentarily focused upon the exhalation of carbon dioxide and, perhaps, upon expressing the distillation of your thoughts through speaking or singing.

The Air region lives with the same rhythm of the breath imposed by the Water region, but with the addition of a second rhythm imposed by the Fire region -- that of the heart beat. This is a much faster rhythm than that imposed by the Water region. It is here in the Air region that these two rhythms meet to serve their single purpose -- oxygenation of the blood. Fed by the lungs and powered by the heart, your life's blood is pumped to and from every corner of your body.

It is in service to your life blood that your heart and diaphragm interact and influence each other. For example when your heart beat increases and you need a greater supply of oxygen to feed its faster rate of blood flow, your breathing increases; you can slow your heart rate intentionally by slowing your breath rate; etc. In other words, the two rhythms of Fire and Water are interdependent and together, they create a third, more complex rhythm within the Air region.

Now shift your awareness to your head region and deeply relax the muscles of your neck, face and cranium. Now spread your awareness throughout your entire head region and encompass the area from your shoulders up to the top of your head. As before, consider the ways in which your head region manifests the qualities of the Fire Element.

Herein lays the most complex organ of your body -- your brain. This highly specialized organ translates your consciousness awareness into electrical and chemical signals that are capable of communicating with your entire body and which allow you to communicate and interact with the external world. Your brain is a place of ceaseless electrical and chemical activity. The input of every active nerve in your body gets routed through your brain and your brain perceives and then interprets all of that input.

All of the sensory organs are located within the Fire region except one -- your sense of touch, which organ (the nerves) is spread throughout your entire body. Nonetheless all perception through the senses and all interpretation of those perceptions occurs within the Fire region.

The Fire region is also the center of expression. It is here that the signals originate which move your hands and feet, flex your facial muscles, form your mouth into words and synchronize your breathing in the service of speech. It is here that your consciousness translates itself into thoughts and words and feelings and causes them to be expressed.

The organs through which we physically feed ourselves (mouth and nose) and through which we astra-mentally feed ourselves (eyes, ears, sinuses, and tongue) are also located in the Fire region, while those systems through which we normally excrete (urinary and bowels) are located in the Water region.

The Fire region is the place where your consciousness integrates with physical existence. From here, your consciousness extends its will upon the Air, Water and Earth regions and, through them, upon your external environment.

Now expand your awareness to encompass all four Elemental regions simultaneously. Spend several moments meditating upon the interaction of each region with each of the other regions. Observe and experience their interdependence.

This meditation can also be expanded and applied to the Elemental regions of astral body and temporal mental body. For more information in this regard, I recommend the first three Lessons of the "Self-Healing Archaeous" audio series.

Karma / Cause and Effect

Redemption, the Discipline of Karma

12 November 2001

» Would you mind penning a few words on what you mean by “redeeming” karma as opposed to paying back / suffering the consequences, etc? I have a feeling this is a very important point. Could you give an example? «

To re-deem a thing is to restore to it its original value or, to give it a new value. This is the proper action in regards to karma, as opposed to “suffering”, “wallowing in” or “paying back”.

Karma is best described by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” The part that’s usually left out is: “For surely, what you do unto others will, in the end, be done unto you.” This expresses the fact that we live in a reciprocal universe wherein causation creates an effect that ultimately returns to its source.

In practical terms, this means that every one of our actions has consequence, either positive or negative, depending upon the nature of our action and its relationship to the environment in which it occurs. When our action is motivated by negativity or when it is inappropriate, a negative effect ensues. When this negative effect returns to us, we call it negative karma. Conversely, when our action is motivated by positivity and is appropriate, a positive effect ensues, and when this positive effect returns to us, we call it positive karma.

At its root, karma has one purpose: to teach us a lesson. What resolves karma is the learning of the lesson it seeks to teach us. With negative karma, this lesson is to never repeat the negative causal action. With positive karma, the lesson is a bit different; namely, that we must multiply positivity.

Negative karma is not redeemed when all we do is suffer its effects. It is only redeemed when we have completely integrated the lesson it carries for us. For example, when I was young and foolish, I cheated on my lover. This causation resulted in the ending of that relationship and in my entering into another relationship wherein my lover cheated on me. This negative karma taught me exactly how painful it is to be cheated upon. Once I integrated that lesson and learned to never, never cheat on another person, I was released from relationships in which cheating was a factor. Now, I would never cheat on another person and I do not attract people who would cheat on me. Out of this negative experience, a positive result was achieved, and this is the aim of karma. In this way, I returned the original positive value to my negative karma and I gave to it a new value—I re-deemed it.

Similarly, positive karma is not redeemed by merely basking in its glow. To redeem positive karma we must pass our good fortune on to others and in this way multiply the positivity we receive. When we treat our positive karma in a self-centered way, it demeans it and drains it of value. But when we instead, spread our good fortune outward and share it with others, it then acts as a positive causation anew and within the lives of others. For example, when I was young and foolish, I was allowed, due to an accumulation of positive karma, to penetrate a ways into the Mystery. I basked and reveled alone in my discoveries and in the end they amounted to little—I drained their value away through my selfishness. Eventually I learned to share my good fortune instead of hoarding it all for myself. In time my good fortune multiplied as I repeatedly shared it, and now I share it freely and my penetration into the Mystery continuously grows. In this way, I increase the value of my positive karma—I re-deem it.

The key to the redemption of karma is our discovery of its essential lesson. When we experience either negative or positive karmic effects, we must look within for its root causation. We must seek out the causal act and understand why this act caused this effect. From this dynamic we must learn what it is about our actions that we must change (in the case of negative karma) or increase (in the case of positive karma). Otherwise, our karma will accumulate and repeat itself until we do make these discoveries. Karma is neither punishment nor reward—it is our most persistent teacher and task-master.

The greatest guide in this journey of discovery is our conscience. It alone will tell us where we have erred and where we have excelled.

I said previously that in order to be free from the wheel of Samsara (reincarnation), the adept must redeem karma the instant that it is created. At the moment of the adept’s physical death, all personal karma must have been redeemed or reincarnation will ensue. Thus for the adept, the redemption of karma is a continuous discipline. As each negative effect is caused, its root lesson is immediately sought out and integrated; and as each positive effect is caused, its positivity is passed outward and multiplied throughout the lives of others.

It is important to note that it is the elimination of all accumulated personal karma—negative and positive—that frees the individual from Samsara. Negative karma accumulates until we learn its lesson and change our behavior, but positive karma accumulates when we hold onto it and do not pass it freely on. Thus the adept gives freely and without reservation, acting as a conduit for positivity, not as a source. This is a subtle and important distinction between being a conduit and a source -- when you are a source of positivity, you accumulate positive karma, but when you are merely a conduit, you do not accumulate — you re-deem.

As incarnate beings we incur not only personal karma, but also group karma (i.e., family, nation, species, etc.). Personal karma we can redeem on our own, but group karma must be redeemed by the entire group. Thus, the redemption of group karma requires more time. As we redeem our own personal karma, we are doing our part in the redemption of our group karma. But we can never alone redeem the entirety of the group karma. All we can do is our part and actively promote the group’s awareness that it has karma that requires redemption. This is where the multiplication of positivity enters in. As we multiply positivity, it helps redeem the group karma, or at least, brings the group one small step further toward its redemption.

When we redeem our own personal karma, we, in effect, remove ourselves from participating in the increasing of the group’s negative karma—we therefore diminish the rate of accumulation. But we will still experience the effect of our group karma at a personal level, just as all the other members of our group experience it. For example, an instance of group vs. personal karma would be the destruction of our planetary environment. At a personal level, we can change our habits so that they are not destructive and we can promote the knowledge that our actions are destroying our planet, yet still we all experience the negative effects our species has wrought upon our environment. Until we learn, en mass, that our actions are destructive and then change our actions, we will all suffer.

Another example of where personal and group karma intersect is war. We can individually live in peace and manifest love, but until we, as a whole people, learn to live in peace and manifest love, war will remain.

When we redeem our own part of our group karma, we remove ourselves from many of the group consequences; or rather, we change our relationship to those group consequences and experience them in a more positive way. For example, when we live in peace and manifest love in our lives, we are less likely to find ourselves in contentious, violent situations; or when we do, we deal with the contention from a place of peace and love.

Whether karma has a personal or group causation, it must be redeemed at a personal level. Ultimately, group karma is redeemed the moment all members of the group redeem their own personal parts in the group karma.

Karma is not an onus or burden, nor is it a debt owed. Karma is our greatest opportunity for spiritual growth; if approached correctly, Karma is our surest, most trustworthy, friend. It’s our conscience turned outward for us to see. It’s the voice of our Holy Guardian Angel, whispering its message of love. All we need do is listen, trust and follow.

On the Nature of Karma

22 September 2005

As human beings we possess “free will”, or more accurately “freedom of choice”. We have, at all times, an absolute personal power to choose between this or that action, thought, emotion, etc. And as Nature shows us clearly, for every action there is an equal reaction; or in this case, for every choice taken there is an equal consequence. And to the same degree that we are responsible for choosing, we are equally responsible for the consequences of our choices. There are no choices taken without consequences for which we are personally responsible.

The Universe in which we live exists solely for the purpose of our personal growth and maturation. As we weave our web of choices, the Universe reflects the natural consequences of our choices back to us. This is what we call “karma”. Karma is the primary expression of the Divine Principle of Love within the human experience. It is the Divine looking after us and making sure that we are always presented with the best opportunities to make the correct choices and thereby evolve “spiritually”.

The consequences inherent to each one of our choices affect the Universe and the Universe responds to this causation by adjusting and adapting itself to our choices. It adapts to our choices by reflecting their consequences back into our lives in whatever way will best serve for us to learn a better, more holistic way of being and of choosing. The only “motivation” for this reciprocation between us and the Universe is Divine Love. There is no anger, no “I’m punishing you for being a bad boy”, and so on, involved whatsoever.

Nor is there any “I’m rewarding you because you were a good boy”. All of our choices have consequences to which the Universe must adapt itself, regardless of whether they were positive or negative choices. And since we do not attain an absolute Perfection as human beings, even our most positive choices produce consequences that contain lessons for still further growth. Ultimately, there is neither “good” nor “bad” karma—there is only ‘Karma’.

The causal agent of the Universe’s reciprocal reaction to our choices is often (in occultism) referred to as the “Lords of Karma”, said to reside within the (Hermetic) Saturn Zone or (Kabbalistic) Binah. This is really a poor symbolization of the objective truth in that it tends to keep us separate from these so called “Lords of Karma”. It implies that they are continuously looking down upon us and judging our every action, thought, etc. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

The objective truth (as opposed to the subjective, symbolic truth) is that the causal agent of our karma is our own Self, just a higher level of Self than our incarnate mundane self. We each are intimately connected to our own “Lord of Karma”, so to speak!

The sole causal agent of our personal karma—the one who adjusts our universe so that it always leads us forward in our evolution—is what I call our “Greater Self”.

Our Greater Self is our eternal mental body which has no beginning and no ending and which exists at the Kabbalistic level of Binah (Saturn Zone), within the eternal realm. It is our Greater Self which projects our own Individual Self (among countless others) into the temporal realm. This projection of Self into the temporal realm also serves to create and sustain the substance of the temporal realm. Thus it is our own Greater Self, with whom we possess the most intimate relationship, which adjusts the Universe within which we exist, to always meet our deepest and truest needs (not necessarily our “wants”).

So instead of being about punishment and reward, Karma is all about Love. It seems negative at times to our experience but this is only because we are, in that moment, resisting what our Greater Self has set before us. If, on the other hand, we are able to recognize that every thing, thought, emotion, circumstance, object, friend, lover, etc., the Universe blesses us with, is there only to lead us forward in the best way possible for us in that moment—then there is neither good nor bad karma, but only Love. And when we live with this perspective on Karma, we evolve rapidly because we are then taking advantage of the absolute best opportunity, custom designed just for us in that moment, and are working hand-in-hand with the Divine instead of resisting its Will.

In other words, Karma is a precious, precious Gift—not a burden or debt.

Physical, Astral and Mental Planes

A Very Modern Question About Astral Projection!

06 June 2002

» A question posed itself to me during my meditation the other night. I realize that it is impossible for someone to astrally project themselves past the zone girdling the earth. So what would happen if you were physically on the moon and astrally projected from there? If we were living on another planet, would this mean that there would be different sets of spirits that would have effects on us? If we colonized another planet would we have another equivalent of a zone-girdling thingy? Would this have implications on the locations of our re-incarnations «

The planetary planes or spheres have nothing to do with the physical planets themselves. The connection is purely symbolic and Philosophical. This is true even of the zone girdling the Earth.

These planes, including the zone, each represent levels or densities of consciousness. Since we have dressed these levels in human symbols, they seem specific to our solar system and our home planet, but they are not. The fact that they do seem this way is due to the nature of human consciousness and not to the levels themselves.

The reason we dress them in human symbols is because we experience these universal forces in a human, Earth-bound context. Nonetheless, they are universal forces.

That means that what we call the zone girdling the Earth is really a zone of a specific level of consciousness (the astral) that surrounds physical matter, All physical matter. The entities that inhabit this level of consciousness manifest within our Earth environment in specific ways; so this, being that it is our only reference, is how we describe and symbolize these otherwise universal forces. Thus we define entities belonging to the degrees of the zodiac (relevant only to Earth) and assign them very Earth focused duties, powers, etc. But again, these Earth-oriented symbols express universal forces as they are perceived through the human eye.

So, to answer your questions:

If we lived on planet X, circling the distant star Y, we would have a slightly different set of symbols to describe these universal forces, but they would still be the same universal forces that we were dealing with and trying to describe in terms relevant to our human experience of planet X. The zone exists in a separate, non-physical dimension, so to speak, in which physical location is irrelevant. In a manner of speaking, this dimension intersects with every point in physical space, simultaneously. When human consciousness rises into this zone, it is not rising into a physical place. Even though planet X is millions of light years away as the crow flies, the zone girdling planet X and the zone girdling planet Earth, are the exact same zone, the exact same astral "place". Therefore, if I were to rise from planet X into the zone, I would be rising into the same astral "place" as I would if I were to rise from Earth, into the zone. It is the self-same zone and it surrounds all physical matter. Of course on planet X, we wouldn't be calling the "higher" planes, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sol, etc. We would use descriptors that were more relevant to planet X. Nonetheless, each set of descriptors would describe the same universal forces and planes.

My rising from the Earth zone to the Moon zone would take me to the same "place" as rising from the planet X zone to the next highest "Satellite A" zone.

Similarly if one were physically standing on our own physical Moon, one would still rise with their consciousness into the zone. This zone surrounds all physical things. This means that it is not the Moon plane (a mental density of consciousness that has nothing to do with the physical Moon) that surrounds the physical Moon; instead, it is what we Earthlings call the "zone girdling the Earth" that surrounds the physical Moon.

Your question about whether you'd die if you tried to rise from the Moon was interesting. What I draw from it is a question whether or not trying to rise into a mental plane, with the astral body, would be harmful. Yes? If that was indeed the essence of your question, then the answer is no, it would not be harmful for the simple reason that it's not even possible. The astral body is too dense to enter into the purely mental level. It cannot be forced and one cannot accidentally take a wrong turn and end up there, etc. It's simply impossible. A good physical analogy is straining a pot of lasagna noodles through a colander. The water passes through with ease, but the pasta won't fit through the small holes. The same applies to the inability of physical matter to penetrate into the astral realm.

What excites me so much about your questions is their modernity. The fact that we now do think in these terms of the genuine consequences of living on other planets, presents us with an even greater need to understand the difference between our human, Earth-based symbols and the universal forces they represent. We must always remain aware of the fact that our symbols only represent -- they are not the universal forces themselves. We must always look beneath the dressing of symbol and seek out the thing being symbolized.

Light -- Fluids – Elements: Their descent from Mental to Astral to Physical manifestation.

February, 2002

» I have been re-reading KTQ and saw a point related to healing that I think is also mentioned in IIH. Bardon mentions that a damaged organ can be brought back to health by using white light and the imagination, by thinking with conviction that the organ is completely restored back to normal health. HOW do the light and the imagination combine to effect a healing? What process is followed from a hermetic point of view? «

Physical materia adheres to an astral matrix which in turn adheres to a mental matrix. A strong conviction impacts the mental matrix and causes it to resonate in accord with the magical desire for health. The Light acts to enforce this resonation and carry it downward through the degrees of density into the astral matrix, and ultimately, into the physical materia. Without the empowerment offered by the Light substance, the mental impetus will take quite a bit of time to truly transform the astral matrix and may not ever transform the physical materia.

As the astral matrix is transformed, the physical materia adhering to it will also transform. The cells of the human body are ceaselessly dying off and being reborn. With each cycle of new cells, those newly formed cells pattern themselves upon the astral matrix as it exists in that moment. If the astral matrix of an organ has been transformed from a diseased state, into a healthy state, then the new cells will manifest health instead of disease. Eventually, the organ will be renewed.

How quickly this transformation occurs depends on several factors, such as the power of the magical conviction, the facility with Light work, and how thoroughly the patient has dealt with the karmic lessons that disease implies, to name a few.

» How is the light that you are speaking of here related to ordinary light from a candle or lamp? What differences and similarities does it have? «

Every physical thing has an underlying astral matrix, composed of the four Elements. Physical matter adheres to this matrix and displays specific characteristics analogous to each Element. These are the characteristics that we know the Elements by -- that we symbolize them with. But these are just the reflections of the astral Elements as they are expressed by the physical materia in the process of adhesion. They are not the Elements themselves. The Elements are non-physical Philosophical Principles.

Each type of materia expresses the Elemental characteristics differently. For example, a mineral expresses Fire one way, a plant another way, and an animal still differently. To see the Element within the physical characteristic, you have to first understand the peculiarities of the adhering materia. The characteristics of the materia symbolize the Elements to which the materia adheres -- the Elements do not symbolize the characteristics of the materia.

So, in reference to the Light, the candle's flame would be a reflection of the astral Fire which in turn, is a reflection of the higher Light. In other words, the characteristics of a physical flame, through the process of physical materia adhering to an astral matrix, reflect the astral Fire Element; and the characteristics of the astral Fire Element, through the process of astral materia adhering to a mental matrix, reflect the creative Light.

» When you say that the physical materia expresses the element's characteristics differently, do you mean that they, like fluid condensers, accept or absorb certain elements more readily than others depending on the uniqueness of the materia? And this is what gives the symbolic representation or analogy of the pure elements? «

It's the other way around. Only certain types of materia are capable of adhering to the Fire Element or to the Water, etc. So when the astral matrix has a preponderance of Fire, for example, then the materia that adheres to this astral matrix will be predominantly the sort that naturally adheres to the Fire Element.

Only when it comes to the magical use of a Fluid or Elemental condenser, is the course of nature reversed and we use the properties inherent in the materia in order to hold our accumulation. In other words, we choose a materia that naturally adheres to Fire when we want to create a condenser for the Fire Element.

The Structure of Self

On The Structure of Self

29 April 2002

» Why then are new spirits created? «

The span of time is infinite and in order to fill that infinite span, there must be infinite variety. This infinite variety cannot fit into a single temporal moment all at once so it must be spread throughout the infinite passage of time-space. So Individualized spirits come and go -- they are temporal. However, there are higher, more inclusive levels of spirit that are eternal. It is from this eternal root that the temporal, Individualized spirits spring forth. I call this level of Self the "Greater Self". It is subordinate (i.e., not as all-inclusive) to the Unity. These Greater Selves are eternal. This means that they have no temporal beginning or ending. Only the Individualized spirits (mental bodies) that spring forth from them have beginning and end.

» Now I'm confused, I thought the mental body or spirit was eternal? «

I think the confusion lies solely in words. The most difficult one is "individuality". At every level of BEing, there is the experience of individuality, even the Unity experiences this sense of individuality. However, only some forms of individuality are eternal. The physical and the astral individuality are temporal and only the mental individuality is eternal. However, the "Individual Self", corresponding to Tiphareth is temporal. This Individual Self is primarily a mental body but it is a transitional phase which only exists in relation to incarnation into physicality.

The Greater Self (corresponding to Binah) is the truly eternal mental body. In order for the Greater Self to incarnate into the temporal realm, it must split itself (as an eternal and therefore infinite thing, it cannot fit its entirety into the physical present moment all at once). It therefore splits its wholeness into Individual Selves and projects these into the upper (mental) reaches of the temporal realm. The Individualized mental body is what actually incarnates into physicality.

The Individual Self or temporal mental body is very long lived, but it is still temporal. Once it self-realizes as its Greater Self, it retreats into the Greater Self and stops incarnating into physicality. It does not die, per se, but it does lose its coherence. In this sense, the Individual Self attains Unity since the Greater Self is inseparable from Unity.

It is the non-eternal Individual Self mental body that rises after astra-physical death to the "spiritual planes" (the various planetary spheres) where it resides until reincarnation. This is repeated over and over (a sequential, non-eternal process) until it is purified sufficiently and self-realizes. These planetary spheres are a (mental) part of the sequentialized temporal realm.

» I assume that the incarnated self is the one we are aware for the time being in the physical plane? «

Each Individual Self projects a single incarnation at a time. This is the self we are normally aware of while incarnate. However, through the process of self-realization, we raise our conscious awareness to, first the Individual Self (Tiphareth), and then by degrees to the Greater Self (Binah). At the level of Greater Self, we become directly conscious of the other Individual Selves projected by our Greater Self. While experiencing the Greater level of our awareness, we are cognizant of all these projected Individual Selves simultaneously and that becomes the definition of our sense of individuality. In other words, each step "up" opens us to a more inclusive sense of self.

» Between incarnations, there will be multiple copies of "self" in the temporal mental/spiritual plane. Presumably though we are only aware of one of these instances as our present "awareness" or "consciousness" at any one time - otherwise we have multiple "awarenesses" concurrently, which would be most confusing? But what determines which awareness or consciousness we are aware of at any moment in time of being? «

As it descends, consciousness splits itself over and over, increasing its diversity. With initiation or self-realization, we are following that splitting in reverse and in effect reuniting this split consciousness. At the level of physical corporeality, consciousness exists in its most specific, smallest, least encompassing form. As we rise "upwards", we integrate consciousness. The first level is that of the Individual Self and here we unite all of our Individual incarnations throughout the stream of time. This is the first level of re-unification of Self.

The next significant level is the Greater Self which encompasses a nearly infinite number of Individual Selves, each of which encompasses a very large number of personal incarnations. This is the second level of re-unification.

The third significant level is Unity. The Unity encompasses all of the infinite number of Greater Selves and all of their projected Individuals, with all of their incarnated personas.

So, when a person dies and their astral body disintegrates, they are released to the mental level corresponding to their Individual Self, not their Greater Self. Since the Individual Self projects only one persona at a time, the awareness experienced is solely that of the Individual Self. There are no "multiple copies" as you suggest.

The Individual Self includes the memories and experiences of all the past incarnations and it is this inclusive aspect of self that then “plans” the next incarnation.

When in the course of incarnating, the personal self self-realizes as the Individual Self, it is the same as dying and reaching the mental level of the Individual Self, but without the loss of the personal self. Then, the personal and Individual levels of Self become united. It is only this unified persona-Individuality that is capable of self-realizing as the Greater Self.

When the persona-Individuality unites with awareness of its Greater Self, this indicates the temporal end of the necessity for incarnation of that particular Individual Self. This Individual Self is then either blended with the Greater, adding its consciousness to the Greater whole; or it is preserved by the Greater in order to serve a specific purpose.

» Is attaining "greater self" the same as attaining "Divine Unity"? Or is it one step removed? «

When an Individual Self self-realizes as its Greater Self, it is simultaneously at one with the Unity. This is so because the Greater Self is an eternal BEing and therefore fully conscious of the Unity at all times. There is, in fact, no separation (no sequence) between the Unity and the Greater Self except from the perspective of those of us looking "upwards" from "below".

Questions Regarding the Greater Selves

12 April 2004

» First, you have said that the Greater Selves project and condense their awarenesses into Individual Selves, who inhabit the time-space realm which results from the projection process. I assume that every Greater performs his projection “by himself”. «

Well, yes and no, it’s not quite that simple. Each Greater Self is responsible, so to speak, for the Individuals that it projects and each of the projected Individuals is an aspect of a specific Greater Self. However, the Greaters exist in the non-sequential eternal realm. This means that even though their projections experience separateness, the Greaters themselves (in addition to experiencing separateness through their Individual projections), experience togetherness, commonality and an integrated awareness that is infinite and which includes the Unity/Kether. To say that the Greaters are just one thing or just one level of awareness is to underestimate how infinitely encompassing their awareness truly is.

» So, if each Greater Self performs his projection individually, and each projection results in the creation of a time-space universe, how come the time-space realm all the Individual Selves descend into is the same one (the one all of us currently inhabit)? «

All of the infinite number of projections by all of the infinite number of Greater Selves together causes one time-space universe. As I said, all of the Greaters are just as interconnected as they are discrete. Their Work is a collective or group work.

On the "Mystic Death"

04 August 2003

» You wrote a while ago that the student doesn't lose his ego as the result of the Bardon practice, "There is no ‘loss’ of identity in this process. There is only the transformation of identity." How does that concur with what Bardon states in IIH, "Only when he voluntarily surrenders his individuality and becomes one, will he voluntarily enter in to a dissolution which in mystical terminology, is depicted as the mystic death”? «

There is no loss in this dissolution of the Individual Self. It is instead, the Ultimate Transformation of identity, an expansion from the Individual to that of Unity with All.

Let me explain Bardon's terms a bit. Perhaps that will help you see what I mean more clearly:

"Individuality" here refers to the temporal mental body or Individual Self attributed to Tiphareth. The Individual Self is a projection into the stream of time from the Greater Self (the eternal mental body) attributed to Binah (the “Zone” of Saturn). The personal or physical self is the time-space incarnation of the Individual Self or temporal mental body.

Upon physical death, the personal self becomes re-absorbed into the Individual Self. It "dissolves", so to speak, into the Individual Self.

When an Individual Self has evolved sufficiently and therefore reaches the natural end of its cycle of incarnations, it will either voluntarily merge with the Greater Self from which it springs or it will voluntarily retain its Individualized structure and serve as a temporal agent of the Greater Self, undertaking any tasks required within the temporal realm.

What Bardon described above is the voluntary merging of the Individual with Greater Self. The Greater Self, due to its position in the eternal realm, is our personal connection with "God" or The Unity, as I prefer.

When this dissolution of the Individuality structure occurs, that quantum of the Greater Self is reabsorbed and withdrawn from the temporal realm. There is no loss of awareness here -- only an infinite expansion of it.

» If I passed this point of merging into the consciousness of the Divine godhead, would I have sufficient ego left to even care about the trivialities (perhaps a poor word, a better word being "details") of the past rungs on the tree of life? «

If you did not possess this quality of caring in sufficient quantity, then you would not be capable of such a merging in the first place. The integration of Loving Kindness must precede the merging since without this level of caring, it is not possible to simultaneously manifest all four divine qualities.

Past-Life Memories and the Individual Self

30 June 2004

» I do have a question regarding an individual’s experience over multiple lives. Does an individual “Self” retain its unique set of experiences (i.e. memories and associated Karma) from one incarnation to the next? «

Yes, an Individual Self is the sequential or temporal mental body wherein the lifetime’s memory of time-space experience is retained. An Individual Self “remembers” every moment of each of its incarnations, except that these “memories” exist within an ever broadening experience of a single present moment. Furthermore, the Individual Self is the true focal point of all the Karma generated during incarnation, which is how Karmic responsibilities pass from one incarnation to the next.

» In an earlier thread you stated that the incarnating spirit after death goes to the astral plane. Their astral body eventually disintegrates and the mental body eventually merges with the Greater (I hope I got that right). What do you mean by eventually? How long is eventually? Does a self have to merge with the Greater prior to incarnating again? «

Upon physical death, the focus of the astra-mental awareness is shifted to the astral realm. Over a span of astral-time, the persona works out all the unresolved emotional issues left over from the immediately previous incarnation. This is the dis-integration of the astral body and it takes as long as it takes, depending upon numerous factors unique to the persona. When that process is complete, the awareness of the solitary mental body or Individual Self is shifted to the mental realm. The level or “zone” to which the Individual Self shifts corresponds to the Individual’s level of spiritual maturity.

It’s at this point that the Individual Self becomes consciously aware of its Greater Self. When I spoke of “merging”, it was not an irrevocable merging; but rather more akin to a conference or face-to-face meeting. This interaction between Individual Self and its Greater Self occurs within the mental “zone” where the Individual Self resides, as opposed to within the eternal realm where the Greater Self resides.

Since this meeting involves the eternal and the temporal aspects of self, it does not involve any space-time duration. In other words, from our physical perspective, this meeting takes no time whatsoever—even though the experience itself can seem very prolonged or lengthy.

This interaction between Greater and Individual occurs before each incarnation. It isn’t until the Individual Self attains to the level of Binah/Saturn while incarnate that the opportunity to merge irrevocably with the Greater Self arises. The attainment of Binah while incarnate means that after the astral disintegration, the Individual Self automatically rises to the Saturn zone. This means that the Individual Self and its Greater Self have become as one. Only then is an irrevocable merging even possible.

» Does a “forgetfulness” always occur between incarnations? Or does a more evolved mental body remember more than a less evolved one? «

As a person evolves over lifetimes, the memories become easier to retrieve; or rather, to re-connect with at the level of the mundane awareness. And eventually, it is possible to intentionally incarnate without losing one’s connection to those past-life memories. In any case, by raising one’s conscious awareness to the level of the Individual Self, it is possible to re-connect with all of those past lives in the most intimate manner.

» Given that trauma, tragedy, very painful death and criminal behaviour will no doubt feature if one goes back far enough, how does one integrate these memories into oneself harmoniously? I have no doubt elemental equilibrium plays a crucial role, but as one progresses, does one learn additional techniques that aide this process? «

Well, as you state, the Elemental Equilibrium is the crucial factor. The other thing is the awareness that these are past actions that one cannot change but must accept as being part of one’s history. In a sense, this is no different than accepting the present self during the soul mirror work.

A Hermetic Perspective upon the "Soul Mate" Phenomenon And Other Multi-Incarnational Relationships

31 October 2005

While the term "soul mate" is commonly used to describe quite a broad spectrum of human relationships, from a Hermetic perspective it refers to a very specific and relatively uncommon phenomenon. It means far more than just an uncommon intensity of human love or an uncommon degree of rapport. It is, in fact, the most intimate and longest term sort of relationship that can exist between two human beings.

This sort of intertwining of lives occurs at the Individual level of Self and begins the moment that a single human Greater Self originally projects two Individual Selves into the same moment of time-space. Usually, when a human Greater Self (our Eternal Mental Body) creates or projects a quantum of ItSelf into the temporal realm, it projects only one quanta of ItSelf into a single temporal moment -- thus an Individual Self is "born" and begins its cycle of incarnations into the material realm.

Such an Individual Self (a temporal mental body), once projected into the stream of time-space, repeatedly descends into the astral and then material realms in order to incarnate physically. Throughout the incarnations of such an Individual, many human loves and relationships will develop that span many lifetimes, but none of them would qualify as a true "soul mate", regardless of their intensity or significance.

A true "soul mate" phenomenon occurs only when a human Greater Self projects/creates two new Individual Selves (temporal mental bodies) into/at the same moment of time-space. When this occurs, the two Individual Selves are inexorably entwined for the remainder of their existences. In other words, they will incarnate together throughout their entire existence, each time directly affecting each other's lives and development in one way or another. As these Individual Selves progress throughout their span of time-space together, they will progressively weave themselves together and, upon the mental plane, will appear to be embracing each other like two snakes entwined.

This entwinement continues until either one of the two Individual Selves reaches the temporal end of their cycle of incarnations and permanently re-merges their quanta of temporal mental Awareness with their Greater Self (Eternal Mental Body). Often, both Individual Self "soul mates" will reach maturity simultaneously, but not always. When the two do not reach their maturity simultaneously, the one Individual who does reach it first may choose to preserve their Individuality astra-mentally, in order to directly affect their "soul mate" from that realm and thus continue to aid in their "mates" development.

During each incarnation as a human being, the Individual Selves will form some sort of relationship. Common relationships for "soul mates" are parent-child, siblings, mentor-student, "best" friends and, most potent of all, lovers or life-partners. Each of these relationships is highly charged in terms of karmic significance and pertains directly to the developing maturity of the Individual Selves involved.

The essence of the "soul mate" phenomenon is that it is a very powerful and focused manifestation of the Universal Force (or Principle) of All-Love at the personal (time-space-matter) level of existence. The two Individual Selves are repeatedly giving birth to each other, loving each other and teaching each other, over and over and over, throughout the whole of their existences. Over time, their incarnations become, in many respects, like astra-mental mirror images of each other, so close is their harmonization.

But just because the two are "soul mates" this is no guarantee that these relationships will all be "perfect", "easy" or filled with "happy endings". :) Nor does it guarantee that either or both of the incarnate persons will even be aware that they are true "soul mates". Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether or not an awareness of this relationship exists at the personal level during incarnation.

To my mind, there are two main reasons why it doesn't matter: Number one, all of our relationships with others should be treated as if they were with our "soul mate" (i.e., enacted with sincerity, honesty, respect and love). :) And of perhaps equal importance is number two, it is hard to know for certain that so-and-so is your "soul mate". ;-)

There are really only two ways to know for certain, both of which rely upon direct personal perception and both of which are prone to self-delusion and the influence of an emotional desire for an affirmative result.

One method is to regain conscious awareness of your past incarnations to the degree that you can willfully review them and, in effect, "remember" them. This is done by first focusing and seating your conscious awareness within the Individual (or Tiphareth) level of your own Self Awareness. [In the language of the Self-Healing Archaeous: within the "solitary mental body", or "Fire and Air regions of the temporal mental body".] Then let your Awareness expand slightly with the Fire until you can perceive your own Individual Self as if from slightly "above". If you see that your Individual Self is entwined with another Individual Self and has been entwined since their mutual point of temporal origin, then this is an indication of a "soul mate" relationship with another Individual Self.

However, you must verify whether or not this is a self-delusional projection of an emotionally rooted desire to be in such a relationship with another Individual or person. Of course, if you have truly been able to focus your awareness within your Individual Self then there will be no emotional motivations involved, but therein lies the test -- have you truly focused your awareness??? A second test is whether or not you can make the entwining Individual disappear from your perception. If you can change the initial perception then odds are, it was not a reliable perception. But here again, there is a great possibility of self-delusion -- can you convince yourself that you can't change the "perception" if you have a deep seated emotional desire for your "perception" to be an accurate one?

So, assuming that your perception is that your Individual Self is entwined with another Individual Self and that you have verified this perception to your satisfaction for the moment, you must then look closer and see where you both incarnate together. Project your awareness "down" and "into" several of those incarnations and you will come to "recognize" your "soul mate" as they have been in those past lifetimes. You will see that even though their personalities are slightly different in each case, there is a recognizable essence shining through each face.

Then, using your mundane awareness (in its holistic sense of being an intentional combination of all the levels of Self-Awareness available), "scan" the people in your life for this essence that you've perceived as belonging to your "soul mate". A BIG caution here is that your mundane awareness naturally includes your emotional body and all of its perhaps subconscious motivations!

The only other reliable (yet equally unreliable and equally susceptible to self-delusion) method that I am aware of relies upon the direct perception of a specific physical energetic that develops between two incarnate "soul mates" when they are both within close spatial proximity of each other. It is not uncommon for true "soul mates" to experience this physical energy without realizing what it is. And it is even more common for only one of the pair (the one more naturally sensitive or the one with trained senses) to perceive it. This energetic can become very addictive, to the degree that one literally craves the other's presence and feels temporarily "down" when the physical distance becomes too great. This physical energetic feeds both parties and is caused by the astral and mental energetics that are likewise caused when two "soul mates" come within close physical proximity of each other. This is a physical consequence of the powerful and focused manifestation of the Universal Force of All-Love at the personal (time-space-matter) level of existence.

It is actually very difficult (for me, at least) to accurately describe the physical sensation of this energetic since such perceptions are so intimately subjective. In general terms though, it feels very physically pleasing, electric and sparkly and as if it could sustain itself forever. :) I hate to say it, but it really is the sort of thing that one recognizes only when it is experienced. Usually, if there's any doubt at the moment of experience then odds are that you perceive something else. It is easy to misinterpret very strong emotions and/or sexual desire as being this specific energetic, so beware.

There seems to be a limited spatial radius within which this physical effect is felt. Unless its radius is consciously extended by one or both parties, it seems to be naturally limited to around 9 meters. This "natural" distance seems to increase substantially when two "soul mates" remain within visual range of each other, and of course, it can be extended as far as desired through conscious effort.

As I said earlier, this physical energetic that forms when two true "soul mates" are in close physical proximity of each other, is caused by a similar energy dynamic that forms at the astral and mental levels, only when the two are in close physical proximity. Although there is always a mental level energy dynamic in play between two "soul mates", this dynamic changes substantially and is greatly amplified when the two parties are in close physical proximity. At the mental level, this is seen as a radiant brilliance whose hue depends upon the maturity of the two "soul mates" -- it is a mutual radiance. This radiation causes an excitement of the astral materia surrounding the two "soul mates" which quickly becomes very colorful and active with motion (usually circular).

So, if you feel that you perceive the physical energetic of a "soul mate" with another person, you can further investigate it at the astral and mental levels. But as before, this is all quite open to self-delusion and truly requires a very high degree of self-honesty.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether or not some one is your "soul mate". That is, until one or both of the Individual Selves nears end of their cycle of incarnations. Then, it becomes quite important, but by then there is certainty. The reason it becomes vitally important at that point has to do with the final resolution of the mutual karma between the two Individual Selves. This karma must, at that point, be consciously and intentionally resolved and this can take several lifetimes to accomplish.

"Soul mates" are blessed with the opportunity to develop a degree of intimacy unrealized in the majority of human-to-human relationships. Such intimacy may be used by both parties to speed their individual and/or mutual maturation process and thus attain final Liberation more quickly than "average". And even when this extraordinary degree of intimacy is not achieved, the relationship that still exists between the two "soul mates" will "stir" and "quicken" the karma (i.e., it will shorten the temporal lag between action and consequence) of each to such a degree that their evolution is still sped beyond the "average" pace. This effect is increased exponentially when the two parties are in close physical proximity of each other due to the physical-astral-mental energetic that arises in such a circumstance.

The "soul mate" relationship also presents a special burden to both parties because of the high degree of emotional and mental intimacy it produces. The attachment at these levels is so significant that when it is severed by life circumstances, a very deep emotional and mental loss is experienced by both parties and this loss can cause a debilitating sadness. It is not uncommon for a "soul mate" to "die of a broken heart" after their "mate" has physically died; especially if the two were lovers or if they were manifesting a parent-child relationship and the child "mate" died first. Additionally, emotional injuries that arise during their relationships will be felt more deeply and more painfully by both parties than in "average" human relationships. On the other hand, as their astral and mental harmony increases over time, they are both better equipped to resolve any differences that arise and mend any injuries that result.

Out of the currently incarnate human population of the earth, approximately 10 percent of us are paired with a true "soul mate". This fact is quite remarkable considering that the actual overall incidence of this phenomenon between human Individual Selves (incarnate and discarnate) occurs less than 1 percent of the time. But while this phenomenon is relatively rare between humans, it is quite common among other types of Individual Selves and, in fact, many types of Greater Selves create/project by this manner exclusively (e.g., the Greater's who are responsible for mineral life forms). In other words, many types of Greater Selves normally project large quantities of ThemSelves into the same moment of time-space; but with specifically human Greater Selves, this rarely occurs and when it does occur, it involves only two Individual Selves at a time.

Conversely, there are three other multi-incarnational relationships that commonly arise between humans but which are uncommon between other types of Individual Selves (and in many cases absolutely do not occur between some types of Individual Selves). The most common multi-incarnational relationships arise from interpersonal karma. For example, a person kills another person and due to the karmic consequences of their action, they will incarnate repeatedly with that other person until such time as the karmic issue is finally resolved between them. While this is an extreme and negative example, the instigation of this sort of multi-incarnational relationship can be anything which develops a karmic issue (positive and/or negative) between people that is not resolved within the lifetime during which it occurs. These relationships can span anywhere from just one following incarnation together, to thousands of incarnations together.

The second-most common multi-incarnational relationship that arises between humans is rooted at the level of their respective (and separate) Greater Selves. Within the eternal realm, Greater Selves experience affinity with other Greater Selves. To the mental eye, this is indicated by their "proximity" to each other -- Greaters who appear "close together", appear so because they are similar in essential nature and experience an "affinity" with each other. Their commonality draws them together, so to speak, and this is expressed through their projected Individual Selves. Thus, Individual Selves who are projections of Greaters who share affinity in this way, will often incarnate together and manifest some sort of mundane affinity as well. These relationships are invariably supportive and often span hundreds of incarnations, if not the entire temporal existences of the Individuals involved.

The third-most common multi-incarnational relationship is that shared by Individual Selves projected by the same Greater Self (but into different moments of time-space). In many ways, this is similar to a "soul mate" relationship but is not as intense, nor as karmically significant. Similar to the "soul mate" phenomenon, such persons will share an extraordinary commonality which can (and usually does) result in a deeply transformative relationship.

For the "average" person it is not very common to meet another incarnate projection of their own Greater Self, face-to-face. Instead, they are more likely encountered as influences from afar, such as an author whose writing really inspires you, or as a person whose life accomplishments really inspire you and resonate with you. However, as the Individual Self matures and moves closer to its final Liberation, face-to-face encounters become more and more common with each successive incarnation until at the end of an Individual's incarnational cycle, their lifetime is literally filled with encounters and relationships with others who share the same Greater Self.

Recognizing another projection of your own Greater Self is easy if you shift and expand the focus of your personal awareness so that you, in essence, become your own Greater Self. From this perspective, all the Individual Selves projected by your Greater Self are "visible", so it is just a matter then of investigating which of them are incarnate at the same time as you are and whether or not the person in question is among their number. It is also quite possible to simply recognize your own Greater Self manifest within another person, but this again presupposes a deep familiarity with the Greater Self level of your own awareness.

Face-to-face encounters with other incarnations of your own Greater Self are marked by a physical, astral and mental energetic similar to that generated by true "soul mates", but in this case it is much, much less intense. Since these encounters do not carry with them the degree of intensity of "soul mates", they tend to be less emotional and more intellectual, and generally filled with an easy openness.

While each of these multi-incarnational relationships are, in essence, specific manifestations of the Universal Force of All-Love at a personal level, the "soul mate" phenomenon is the most powerful and significant of them all. When it occurs, it indicates a mutual necessity to learn the proper way to experience, manifest and exemplify the Universal Force of All-Love at a personal level specifically. As the two "soul mates" mature through their cycle of incarnations together, they forever help one another in the fulfillment of this overriding necessity.

Awareness

Consciousness and the Brain

31 July 2005

» Is consciousness a product of the brain or is the brain a product of consciousness? «

The physical brain is the physical medium or organ which human-type consciousness requires in order to be able to directly interact with and directly experience the physical realm. Consciousness or awareness exists with or without the physical brain and is in no way its product nor is it in any way dependent upon the physical brain for its existence. However, if human-type consciousness wishes to directly experience or interact with the physical realm it must do so through a physical brain.

» Most of my own experience supports the theory that it’s all up to neurons and brain chemistry. My own experience of oneness and expanded consciousness, and being god and beyond life and death, where induced by drugs, so is enlightenment a change in brain chemistry? «

No. Artificially altering your brain chemistry only produces an effect upon your perceptual faculties that produces a very, very poor imitation of “enlightenment”. True “enlightenment” is the transformation of consciousness itself, not of the brain chemistry. This transformation of consciousness itself permanently alters the way in which consciousness integrates with the physical brain and the clarity with which consciousness is able to fully express itself through the limitations imposed by the physical brain.

» And if the brain is damaged or the chemistry change by alcohol or sickness, is the enlightenment lost then? «

If the structure of the physical brain is damaged, then consciousness is unable to experience and interact with the physical realm in a “normal” way. The “enlightenment” would not be “lost” but its ability to express itself within the physical realm would indeed be altered or hampered. Temporarily changing the brain chemistry with alcohol or other drugs does not in any way affect true “enlightenment”.

How Does Physical Perception Affect the Astral and Mental Bodies?

03 February 2004

» I think I understand the basic description of how an idea moves from the mental body, then is “strengthened” as it passes through the astral body based on the emotional state of a person, then is manifested by the physical body, but how does it work going the other way? As in, what happens when something is experienced with the physical senses? Does it directly interact with the mental body to create an idea of what is being experienced, or is the astral body somehow involved? If so, how? «

It is our mental body that perceives. Which is to say, our conscious awareness perceives. We perceive essential meaning with the Fire region of our mental body; ideas with the Air region of our mental body; emotions with the Water region of our mental body (astral body); and, physical sensations with the Earth region of our mental body (physical body).

When our conscious awareness is focused within the Earth region, then the Fire, Air and Water regions of our mental body simultaneously perceive physical sensation, emotion, idea and essential meaning. However, at the level of our mundane awareness we are usually conscious of just the physical sensation. Nonetheless, it is our mental body which is doing the perceiving.

There is an infinitesimal time lag between the mental body’s perception of the essential meaning which underlies the physical sensation and the physical brain’s final processing of that information. The perception of the essential meaning simultaneously encompasses the Air region perception of that essential meaning at the level of ideas, but there is again an infinitesimal time lag between that and the physical brain’s processing of those ideas.

The physical brain breaks down and digests the perceptions of the Fire and Air regions before they reach the surface awareness. Part of that digestion process encompasses the perception of the essential meaning and ideas with the Water region of the mental body—the astral body and the emotions. This astral/emotional perception plays a very significant role in the physical brain’s processing of the physical sensation and indeed, is the main factor in the brain’s final product or response to the perception.

All of this happens very, very quickly and some parts (the Fire and Air aspects of perception) happen outside of time (i.e., they are simultaneous to the experience of the actual physical sensation). It happens so quickly in fact, that very few humans ever realize the sequence of events. It’s only through very deeply introspective meditation, akin to an advanced form of the Step One observation exercise, that the time lag and sequence of perception can be perceived.

On the Astral "Sight"

12 August 2002

» I was wondering about the actual mechanism of astral sight, how does the brain interpret it? When I see my bedroom through my closed eyes it appears clearer than with physical eyesight, more sharply in focus - even the peripheral vision, which with normal sight is blurred - and more intensely coloured. Since they are not actual eyes that are seeing, what sensory apparatus of the astral body is collecting the light waves to be imprinted on the brain and HOW for goodness sake? Is it even light waves that are being perceived? «

The intensity that you're experiencing is actually the mental component within the astral sensation. The mental component is more noticeable with the astral sensoria than it is with the physical sensoria. This is what makes the astral sensoria feel so different and exciting.

The astral vision is not dependent upon physical light (e.g., you can see clearly in a dark room). What your astral eyes perceive is the underlying emotional significance generated by the essential meaning (the mental component) radiated by all the things in view. Hence the "feeling" that more than just visual detail is being perceived. Each thing communicates its essential meaning at a mental level and with your astral sensoria you perceive this mental communication more directly and without the distractions of the physical sensoria, brain, etc.

We experience all of this normally within our physical senses but seldom notice these subtle layers of perception.

The physical brain is habituated to integrating the mental perceptions with the astral and physical sensations, so when we perceive things at the astral level, the brain will automatically translate these perceptions into physical sensations. [Bardon makes use of this in his Elemental accumulation exercises by consciously tying the astral perception of the Element to the physical sensation.] This explains why your astral vision is so physical in nature. The mental component of your astral perception is recognized by the brain and the brain responds as it would if light were triggering your optic nerve, etc.

The Scientific Vs. the Hermetic Understanding of Emotions

17 March 2004

» I’m trying to understand how the current scientific theory of emotions relates to the Hermetic theory of emotions. In the scientific theory, emotions are chemical in nature. They are said to result from the transmission of chemical neurotransmitters from a single neuron to either a single adjacent neuron or to a group of nearby neurons. This is supported by the fact that people can be made to feel a variety of emotions such as joy and sadness by injecting these neurotransmitters into the brain. In addition to the neurotransmitters, which have specific short term effects, there are also neuro-modulators and neuro-hormones which have longer, more generalized effects on moods rather then individual emotions. I’m curious how this would relate to the more subtle description of the astral body, especially since I assume that it is possible for the mental body to perceive the same emotions that the physical neuro-chemicals can produce when one is not connected to the physical body, either because of physical death or conscious separation. I also assume that the astral body is able to affect the production of these chemicals in the physical body, which I have a hard time making sense of. «

From the Hermetic perspective, the physical body is the result of the astra-mental body. In other words, all of the physiological functions are caused by the astra-mental body. For example, the production of neurotransmitters, modulators and hormones is caused by emotions and thoughts which occur within the astra-mental body of the individual. Neurotransmitters, etc., are not the causes of emotions—they are the physical results of emotions.

Granted, by artificially introducing certain chemicals, one can either induce or suppress certain emotional manifestations, but such actions do not alter the source of emotions and once the chemicals have been purged by the body, the same dynamic returns.

The question that this scientific model doesn’t address is “What source of intelligence or consciousness causes the body to create neurotransmitters, modulators and hormones?”

Why are emotions referred to as illogical?

10 April 2004

» In your description of Netzach in the 8T meditation project, you describe it as “the realm wherein the universal emotional archetypes intersect with personal expression. This intersection is pre-rational. It happens at an immediate, spontaneous, illogical, experiential level.” I can see how logically analyzing an emotion can never come close to re-creating it, and I know how different people can respond to the same environment with different emotions because of the characteristics of their psyche, but the mechanisms causing the emotions seem quite logical and consistent. «

You may be able to rationalize about emotions, and often to good end, but the immediate experience of emotion does not involve the rational intellect. The rational intellect can, after the direct experience of emotion, analyze and respond to the emotion but it cannot experience the emotion, it cannot feel the emotion. What it can do is understand the emotion, respond to the emotion and dictate the expression of the emotion. But again, in the immediate, direct experience of emotion, ration plays no part.

Exercises in Mental Discipline of the Emotions

18 December 2003

One important issue which Bardon didn't speak about directly in IIH is the necessity for control and discipline of the emotions. Although such emotional discipline is a direct result of both the mental discipline and the soul mirror work, it is still worthy of specific attention since so many budding magicians fall prey to their own habitual emotional reactions. Emotional discipline is also an important part of attaining the astral Equilibrium of the Elements that, if ignored, can lead to years of frustration.

While the experiencing of our emotions must not be suppressed, they must still be examined and understood, and their expression must be within our conscious control. Just as an initiate's thinking must be reshaped into a useful tool, so too must our emotions be transformed from knee-jerk reactions, into conscious choices of expression.

As with the transformation of the thinking processes, this transformation of the emotional processes begins with detachment and observation. Here then are series of exercises which will lead from observation, through to discipline and ultimately, to the conscious use of emotion as a means of clear Self-expression.

Exercise #1:

Choose a piece of music that is very sentimental and which you know can stir up a strong emotional response within you. Play it through once and let its sentiment play with your emotions. Just go with its emotional flow. Abandon yourself to it and really get into the emotions it makes you feel.

Now play it a second time and, as before, go with its flow. After a few moments, step back from that flow of emotions and separate yourself from them. Observe them exactly as you observed the mind's chatter in the first mental exercise of Step One. Listen to the remainder of the piece of music from this detached perspective and observe how your emotional body is being manipulated by the music.

Now play it a third time and resist involvement with the sentiment of the music. Refuse to involve yourself in the emotions that result from the music's manipulation of your emotional body.

With a fourth playing of the musical piece, alternate between giving in to the experience of the piece's sentiment and stepping back from involvement. Work at gaining that power of choice to participate or not, as you wish.

Now choose other, equally sentimental pieces of music and practice your ability to engage and disengage at will. As you're practicing that ability, take careful note of the ways in which this mechanism works. What sort of input results in what sort of emotional result? Why? What parts of you are involved in that process? Etc.

Exercise #2:

Repeat exercise #1 but this time, with a piece of music that gets your foot tapping and your body dancing, something that stimulates and cheers you. As before, work to gain that power of choice to participate or not, and examine the workings of this mechanism as well.

Exercise #3:

Now repeat the same exercise, with the same aims, but this time, view a beautiful painting or picture that moves you deeply. Also view images that disturb you. As always, work to gain the power of choice to participate or not in the emotions that images elicit and examine the mechanism.

Exercise #4:

Now apply the same exercise to poetry and to stories that move you, both favorably and unfavorably. Gain that power of choice and examine the mechanism by which ideas affect your emotional body.

Exercise #5:

Now watch a movie or television program that you know will stir deep emotions with its strong sentiment. Exercise your power of choice and examine the mechanism by which images and sound and ideas affect you when they are combined.

Exercise #6:

Now extend this exercise to your everyday encounters and the emotions that they generate. Gain that precious power of choice and examine very closely the mechanism by which live interaction affects your emotional body.

Exercise #7:

This exercise is a departure from the first six. Here you must create an emotion within yourself. This is really an extension of the Step Two sensory concentration exercise, except here, the feeling one creates is emotional instead of tactile. Practice this in private meditation until you can invoke any emotion you wish, at will.

Exercise #8:

Now put these abilities into action and make your emotional expressions conscious acts of will. During your everyday encounters, first note the emotion as it naturally arises. Before you express it, examine it and see if it exists as you would choose to express yourself. If it does match your true will, then consciously and willfully express it as it is. If, on the other hand, it does not match your true will, then modify it and express an emotion that does.

» I have trouble distinguishing between detachment and repression, especially when it comes to emotional tones. What is the difference between resist involvement, refuse to participate and repression? «

Repression is when you deny the existence of an emotion that you are nonetheless experiencing. Repression is done out of fear and denial. What I suggest here however, does not deny the emotion that is experienced. Instead, it honors the emotion and then shifts the awareness to a position of detachment for the purpose of truly coming to know the essence of the emotion. Please note that in my previous post, I carefully distinguished between the experience of an emotion and the expression of emotion. It's the immediate participation in the experience of the emotion that one detaches from and examines the mechanism of.

With repression, you deny the emotion itself and separate yourself from it without ever coming to understand it. In this sense it still controls you just as much as if you had let it sweep you away. But if you do as I've suggested then you come to understand the emotions that arise within you. This enables you to express them consciously and intentionally, with the full awareness of what caused them to arise and what aspects of yourself are manifest through them.

» What is one supposed to do with emotional difficulties rising through self-crafting work? They seem to be reactions, a sense of "I"ness, an old-self who resists change. «

Well, examine them, learn from them and transform them. Here is an example where emotional discipline is essential -- without it, these emotional reactions will delay your progress, but with it, these emotional reactions can move you forward even more rapidly because they hold within themselves the key to your advancement. Internal resistance actually points the way to where we must tread.

What Is the Definition of a “Thought”?

06 November 2003

» What is the definition of “thought”? «

To understand the definition of a ‘thought’, one must first understand the definition of an ‘idea’. An ‘idea’ is a finite quantity of infinite essential meaning as perceived by a mental body. A ‘thought’ on the other hand, is what a mind does with the perceived ‘idea’. An ‘idea’, even though it is a finite thing, holds within itself the potential for a countless number of ‘thoughts’ as the mind processes it. This ‘thought’ processing by the mind, is a matter of personalizing an otherwise impersonal ‘idea’. The personalization is accomplished by “clothing”, if you will, the ‘idea’ in countless reactions and evaluations. Thus the mind recognizes a swarm of different perspectives upon the original ‘idea’ that it perceived.

The mind’s chatter is primarily composed of emotional responses to the thoughts the mind generates to clothe an ‘idea’. This is a very dense and busy aspect of the mind which taps very directly into the subconscious.

When one detaches from participation in the mind’s chatter, that busy-ness fades to reveal the underlying ‘thoughts’ and the thinking process itself. It is within this context that one-pointedness occurs. And within the emptiness of mind, one directly perceives the ‘ideas’ that underlie ‘thought’.

BEing, Consciousness and Self-Awareness

18 Feb 2002

» What is the difference between ‘consciousness’ and ‘awareness’? «

At first, we are barely aware of Self. It doesn’t even enter into our daily lives as something of practical importance. But eventually we do become aware that there is this whole other layer of existence, both inner and outer, that we call Self. This is the first stage of Self-awareness. It is mostly investigative and Self is still a separate entity. Eventually we become conscious of Self. By ‘conscious’ (as opposed to ‘aware’) I mean that we come to a point where we know Self well enough that we begin to participate in Selfhood. We BE Self, if you’ll excuse my poor use of Ebonics.

This, at least in my book, is the essential distinction between consciousness and awareness. Consciousness is participatory and immanent; whereas, awareness is a self-other dynamic.

BEing is consciousness of Infinite Self

On the Occult Anatomy of Minerals, Plants and Animals

08 November 2003

» Do plants, objects and animals have astral feelings in the same way as humans do? «

While every physical thing has an astral body, the structure of the astral body itself and its relationship to the mental and physical bodies, is different in each of the three categories you list. The astral body of the average human for example, is very complex and capable of a broad range of experience and expression. The astral bodies of most other animals are not quite as complex and not capable of the same degree of expression and experience as the human. An animal does experience emotion as they interact with their environment but it is significantly different than human emotion. The astral bodies of plants, while quite complex, do not experience “emotion”, per se. They do interact with their environment and experience an astral reaction, but these reactions are very simple (unlike “emotions”) and are necessitated by nature as opposed to choice. Objects, in general (unless they are infused with an astral charge through magic, worship, etc.), possess very rudimentary astral bodies and while they are capable of storing emotional/astral energies, they are incapable of experiencing emotions or of emotional expression.

» Do plants, objects and animals have thoughts in the same way as humans do? «

For physical things, thinking requires a physical brain so only animals and insects are capable of thinking. However, every thing exists within an ocean of ideas, so to speak. The temporal mental body of every thing attracts ideas, ingests and expresses ideas, but not all temporal mental bodies are capable of interpreting, comparing and choosing from the ideas that surround them. An object for example, expresses at least one idea by its very nature but is incapable of doing anything other than purely expressing the idea(s). It does not filter those ideas or think about how it might want to express those ideas. A plant, since it has a more complex temporal mental body, experiences and expresses ideas, but again, it is not capable thinking (i.e., interpreting, comparing and choosing); whereas animals, which have rather complex mental bodies and brains, are indeed capable of thinking. Some species (such as humans, Elephants, Whales and Dolphins, to name a few) have very, very complex mental bodies with brains to match and are capable of profound thinking. In general, insects are capable of thinking but it is probably the most rudimentary type of thinking, except when it comes to hive- or group-minded insects. Some of the most complex insect group-minds are capable of profound thinking.

» Do they have an immortal spirit in the same way humans do? «

Yes. Every thing has an eternal mental body. Or rather, every thing is an expression of an eternal mental body / immortal spirit / Greater Self.

» But there still is one kingdom missing: the mineral (and metallic) kingdom in special. This part of our matter cannot be classified as being only a part of “objects” in general. «

In relation to the original question which was about thinking and feeling, the mineral kingdom does belong to the category of “objects”, especially when compared to animate life forms such as plants and animals. However, I understand your Alchemistical viewpoint of their significance! Just because something is not capable of thinking or emotional feeling, doesn’t mean it lacks significance!

» From my point of view - as you know an Alchemical one - one can find the purest expressions of mental and astral energies in minerals and metals. Perhaps that was the deeper reason why true alchemy primarily was concentrated on the so called mineral kingdom more than on the plant or animal kingdom, human himself included. The alchemists always said that the strongest energies are enclosed in the mineral kingdom. Who learns to release these energies from this kingdom will have much more energy at his disposal than he ever can concentrate in products derived from plants or animals. «

The pure minerals and especially the pure metals express, through their forms, a single essential meaning or root idea more clearly than any other physical substance. The clarity with which they express their essential meaning is what generates their power—the essential energy you seek.

Power is a product of the clarity with which a form (be it physical, astral or mental form) expresses its (Akashic) essential meaning. The metals express their essential meaning with great clarity at each level -- 24k Gold being an example of perfect clarity in which even the physical form is a perfectly clear expression of the essential meaning. A human on the other hand, generally presents a very muddy expression at the physical level and of a compound essential meaning instead of a single essential meaning.

But at each level, that essential meaning is bound up in the form (be it mental, astral or physical). Form is the medium of expression. At the mental level, where form is at its most rarefied state, essential meaning is a radiant thing and one’s mental body can easily perceive and absorb the power of its radiant clarity. At the astral level, the clarity with which an astral form expresses its essential meaning becomes an important factor in one’s ability to perceive and absorb its essential meaning. At the astral level, the essential meaning has usually been muddied and compounded by its passage through the astral materia. However, with 24k Gold for example, which possesses a physical purity and clarity of expression, the astral expression is just as pure and radiant as the mental expression.

» It seems that we are All One down to the level of Chokmah, but what about at the Binah, Tiphareth, and Yesod Levels of being? Say for example with animals- does each animal have a unique Personal self, Individual self and Greater self, or is there a group self at one or more of these levels, like a ‘group dog greater self’? It seems to me that each animal has a unique personality, but do they each have a unique individual self that reincarnates as well? «

Most individual animals do have a unique Individual Self that incarnates as one single personal self at a time. However, not all animals are the same in this regard. For example, there are certain fish species that possess a “hive” mind and each “hive” represents a single Individual Self and a single personal self, even though this is manifest in a series of simultaneous physical bodies. Such a “hive” Individual might incarnate for several centuries duration while constantly renewing the bodies which compose its incarnate “hive”.

All things are part of a Greater Self at the level of Binah. With some animal species, all the Individual Selves and their personal incarnations belong to a single, species-wide Greater Self. But the more complex animal species represent several unique Greater Selves.

» And what about plants and minerals? Is there only one eternal tree, or one eternal tree for each species, or for each tree? «

Plants make for an especially interesting study. For some species of plants there is only a single unique, species-wide Greater Self. For other species there are several Greater Selves, each representing a specific variety within the species. Some plant species, for example the foresting trees, manifest many, many Greater Selves, each of which might incarnate as a specific group or forest of trees. There can even be several Individual Selves composing a really complex forest. Generally, each Individual Self will incarnate as several simultaneous personal selves, thus prolonging the temporal duration of a single incarnation for several thousands of years (as in the case of Redwoods).

Minerals, on the other hand, have a very simple occult anatomy (which is one reason why they are so useful in Alchemy). Each specific, unique mineral has a single unique Greater Self at the level of Binah. Each Greater Self manifests a single, unique Individual Self or temporal mental body. And while each of these Individual Selves manifests only a single astral body (of very long temporal duration), it will have countless physical representations which either exist in combination with other minerals, or exist in their (physically) pure state amid other minerals.

» These higher levels of consciousness must be quite fluid if there can be several ‘beings’ manifesting through one place or organism (like a local deity and a more universal one like Mother Earth) «

Consciousness is infinite and it “pools” or “collects” or “solidifies” at an infinite number of levels. It is really the sequentialized consciousness of the observer that splits this unbroken, infinite continuum into specific, defined and finite levels. Thus it’s just a matter of “where” (i.e., at which point along that infinite continuum) one looks or rests their vision, if you will. If one focuses upon the planet as a whole, then one sees Mother Earth, but if one narrows the focus to a specific location upon the earth, then one sees the Spirit of a Mountain, for example.

Truth

Subjective and Objective Perception

08 March 2002

From a Hermetic perspective, we do indeed exist in relation to an objective reality. Normal human perception however, is a subjectifying process and it is only in this sense that we “create our own reality” or live in a subjective universe of our own making.

There are several levels of this subjective human universe existing between the poles of the human collective and the human individual. It has mental, astral and physical density. As a whole, it is a feature of the objective reality but it is a very small, finite part of this objective whole.

The human brain-bound mind is not capable of perceiving the infinite objective reality all at once. Therefore our mechanisms of perception interpret this infinite wholeness by reducing it to finite increments that are processed sequentially and related to and through the filter of the small human self. In other words, normal human perception is a subjectifying process of interpretation, not one of direct objective perception.

Normal human perception places us slightly out of temporal sync with the objective reality. The amount of this discrepancy is the time required for us to take a finite snapshot of the objective infinity, interpret that snapshot, and then integrate it into the sequence of past snapshots. During the phase of interpretation, we subjectify our perception and it is here that perception becomes more about the perceiver than the object of perception. This is where emotional reaction comes into play.

The result is that we treat our subjective perception as an objective thing; hence our confusion as to what is really real.

With IIH however, we are taught a different form of perception that is not “normal” in human terms. This is objective perception of the objective reality.

The first step in attaining objective perception is to learn to identify the subjectifying mechanisms of normal human perception within our own selves and then look for the underlying objective bits that initiate our subjectification. In IIH this is achieved with the early work of the soul mirrors, the mental discipline and the work with the senses. This work slowly teaches us how to identify those factors of normal perception responsible for subjectification (i.e., responsible for reducing the infinite into sequential finitisms). Once we are able to identify these aspects of ourselves we can then filter them out and begin to perceive the objective cues upon which our subjectification is initially based. In essence, it’s a matter of becoming so familiar with our own internal processes that we can then see what underlies them.

For example, if you know that you are looking through a red filter, you can eventually figure out that a green object looks black when viewed through a red filter. Obviously then, what appears black may in fact be green when you remove the filter and look at the thing itself.

By knowing the ins and outs of our own subjectifying filter, we bring ourselves closer to directly perceiving the objective reality. But this is like looking through a dark glass since many other things can, to use my analogy, create the appearance of black through a red filter. The only way to directly perceive the objective universe is to remove our filter of subjectification entirely. However, this requires more than just the normal brain-bound human mind.

Setting aside our subjectifying filter is the point of the Center of Stillness Meditation and of the middle work of IIH (such as the transference of consciousness) -- teaching one how to set aside the sensory input, and the input of the emotions and the mind’s chatter, since these are at the root of our mechanisms of subjective perception. This reveals the raw mental body itself which is the only part of (human) self capable of perceiving infinity directly.

When the filter is removed, an entirely different universe is revealed—this is the objective universe. To perceive objectively, you must become the object of perception, which is to say, you must come into absolute sync with the objective reality.

This is extremely rare for the modern human, but not at all rare for the non-human beings that surround us. My favorite example of a being that perceives objectively is a blade of grass. Its body turns in perfect sync with the sun’s rays. It doesn’t need time to realize that the sun is actually striking it, nor does it need time to decide whether or not to turn. It exists in perfect sync with the objective universe and has no bubble of subjectivity that separates it from its objective surroundings.

This is the degree of perception that the work of IIH eventually builds into the magician.

It’s important to consider this in relation to interpreting the meaning of the later Steps of IIH and to interpreting the life of someone like Franz Bardon. In fact, it’s an important factor in the interpretation of many things written by those who have gained the faculty of objective perception.

The early work of IIH is designed to inform you, through direct experience, of your own mechanisms of perception. These are primarily emotionally driven reactions to objective events that we encounter. The most important part of this process of self-discovery is the Step One soul mirror work where you pick apart and define your own emotionally rooted personality. This is the first step in identifying your own subjectifying filter through which you normally perceive every thing.

The Step Two work of character transformation forces you to learn that you can set aside your emotionally driven, habitual reactions and look at things more objectively. This is the second step toward objective perception in that it teaches you how your subjectifying filter alters the appearance of things and that you do have some control over it.

The Step Two work with the senses informs you of the nature of the sensory input and of its control. The Step Three work with the senses then teaches you their creative use. And so on. Throughout the course of the Steps, the faculty of objective perception is built piece by piece.

By the time you reach Step Eight and begin the work of mental wandering, this faculty is well established. It is even more so when you begin the Step Nine work of astral wandering. In Bardon’s system these experiences occur entirely within the context of fully conscious, objective perception.

The Direct Perception of Essential Meaning

An Exercise in the Direct Perception of Essential Meaning

05 May 2003

Every form is a manifest expression of an essential meaning. In other words, form communicates something of significance to our perceptual faculties. We always perceive essential meaning every time we perceive a form of any kind, be it mental, astral or physical. Ordinarily, this perception is an unconscious experience and consequently, we are seldom aware of the fact that we perceive this essential meaning. Yet it informs our every perception in significant ways.

As an experiment to demonstrate my point, I set out several small plastic figures in front of a couple of my “Hermetic Visitors” one day. These were toy caricatures of different dinosaurs, a Godzilla, King Kong, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and so on. Each one of them expressed a unique and easily identifiable “personality”. For example, the little King Kong figure expressed a very gregarious personality, while the Hunchback expressed a hurt innocence.

Each one of these figures communicated something about itself through the details of its particular form. This ‘something’ is its essential meaning. The voice, so to speak, of that essential meaning is the form’s personality—i.e., its emotional tone.

The personality of each one of these figures is very easy to perceive, and because it “speaks” so loudly, it’s also fairly simple to directly perceive the underlying essential meaning that their personality communicates.

Having opened their awareness of this level of their own perceptual faculties, I asked my Visitors to examine the forms of the other objects in the room and try to perceive their personalities and underlying essential meanings. Most of the other things in my living room (where we were seated at the time) don’t “speak” themselves as loudly as the plastic figures do, until you get into the groove of this level of perception. But once you do get the grasp of it, every form is expressive of an inner, essential meaning.

This little experiment was quite a success! I recommend this experiment! It’s an excellent method for exercising the whole of one’s perceptual faculties.

The Magic of Essential Meaning

05 May 2003

Every form expresses its essential meaning. This holds true for those forms we create with our imagination as well. When we visualize a gold box, for example, the form we have created possesses its own essential meaning, expressed through a perceivable personality (or “emotional tone”), all of which is inherent to its form. The essential meaning, in this case, comes from us, the creators of this image. It is our own will which establishes the essential meaning of “gold box” and it is our own mind from which the visual details are harvested which, in turn, adhere to this essential meaning and result in the visual form of the gold box.

Herein lays an important mechanism of nature which magic takes full advantage of. Namely: when an essential meaning is created, it serves as a causation which will take form. The density that the form will reach depends upon the force of will which empowers the creation of essential meaning. For example, given sufficient power of will, the creation of the essential meaning inherent to ‘gold box’, will result in an astral-density image which we can see with our mind’s eye.

Nature herself takes care of adorning the essential meaning with appropriate astral materia, drawing it as I said, from our own mind’s storehouse of images and emotional significance. It’s not something we can force or direct with the rational intellect alone. Nature directs the process, not us, and if we try to impose an ingredient that doesn’t fit with the essential meaning, Nature rejects it for us.

The same holds true for bringing an astral form into a physical density. Nature adorns the astral form with physical materia appropriate to the form’s essential meaning. In other words, physical form is the result of essential meaning, not the other way around. If you alter the essential meaning, then the form changes apace; but if you alter the physical form alone, you do not thereby change the essential meaning—all you do then is express it less clearly.

In each of these natural transitions, from mental to astral-density and from astral to physical-density, the magician has the opportunity to aid Nature and to speed Nature’s work by supplying a ready source of the raw materials that Nature works with. For example, one can accumulate the Earth Element (which contains Fire, Air and Water by nature) into an astral-density visualization, thus providing the raw materials it will need to gain physical density. Nature herself will see to it that what is needed is drawn from this source of raw materials, all the magician does is supply the resource—s/he leaves to Nature that which is Nature’s domain and doesn’t try to micro-manage processes so complex that only Nature can manage them.

“God” and other conceptions of “Deity”

In the Image of G-d?

11 March 2002

» Bardon states that God made man in his own image. I understand the meaning of that completely - I think. But does that imply that humans are the superior physical race in the Universe? «

Here is my Understanding of this, but I must warn you that it lies in contrast to most popular belief and in some small, superficial way, is contrary to Bardon’s statement.

The modern conception of this idea stems from the Genesis 1 creation story. To my mind, it has been totally misunderstood. Primarily this has to do with the taking of highly symbolic statements as literal things instead of the symbols they are. There is also the additional factor of translation—Hebrew does not translate well into other languages. Attendant to the idea that humans alone are made in the image of Deity, is the idea of “dominion over”, also derived from a misunderstanding of Genesis 1.

In short (and believe me, I can be very long-winded on this topic) the Hebrew term translated as “man”, in the context of Genesis 1, refers to corporeal life of all kinds. The things that “man” (corporeal life) is to have precedence or superiority over (this does not imply a right to use) are the astral and mental realms, and the Elements that compose all three realms. The references to “beast, fowl, fishes, trees, etc.” in Genesis 1, are actually references to the Beings of the Elements—i.e., the astral Elements.

Corporeal life (i.e., every physical thing) is said to be “made in the image of Elohim” because it is composed of a mental, astral and material body that surrounds an Akashic root. In other words, every physical thing reflects the structure of the Whole.

We humans are, in general, very self-important creatures and it comforts us to think that we are special. This however, is The Great Lie, a delusion that blinds us to the greater reality of the Unity of all things. We are not special; we are only unique, just like every other thing that exists. But in our desire to be special, we create concepts of Deity that are made in our image as a way of justifying or validating our specialness.

On “Satan”

06 December 2002

» On a forum where I moderate religion, I got into a nasty dispute about the existence of Satan as a real and overarching source of evil on Earth. Even though I am Catholic, I never could accept something like Satan. I have always thought of it as a cognitive tool by which people rationalize their own mistakes. «

For the most part you’re correct, the concept of Satan is a tool used by organized religion to distance the individual from the power to change themselves. By attributing one’s own negativity to an external god-like being, it enables a denial of personal responsibility and disempowers one’s ability to change. This leaves the individual dependent upon the religious hierarchy.

The concept also presents a subtle schism to the psyche of the believer. For example, how can an all-powerful and perfect god be in contention with an equally powerful imperfect devil? This essential dualism simply doesn’t fit with a mono theism and this confuses the psyche at an unconscious level, again increasing both the sense of self-powerlessness and dependence upon the religious hierarchy.

However, Satan does exist. Because this concept has been believed and, in essence, worshiped for such a long period, it has been given both mental and astral density by humanity. In effect, it has become the representative of (anthropomorphization of) all the negativity resident within the human group-mind. In other words, humanity creates its own devil, out of its own self and calls it ‘other’. This is the greatest schism of all within the human group-mind.

Asceticism and Sexuality

Homosexuality and a Hermetic Path

03 July 2002

» Is homosexuality an Elemental imbalance? «

It is only we humans who divide sexuality into hetero-, homo- and bi-. This has nothing to do with sexuality itself since all species that express sexuality, naturally express all three of these human-defined types. Sexuality is sexuality, period, and its sub-type is not a matter of differing Elemental balances.

Sexuality is an aspect of the mental body. As the mental body incarnates, it seeks out a life circumstance that best expresses its nature and which will lead to the learning of the lessons needed during that incarnation. It is fundamental and not a matter of mundane choice that arises during the incarnation itself. With the human being, each type of sexuality brings a specific set of life lessons because we are social creatures who live within the context of specific culture. In human culture, a homosexual faces a very different experience than a heterosexual.

Sexual orientation is not an issue of Elemental balance. Where Elemental balance comes into play is in the individual's response to, and enactment of, their sexuality, whether that be hetero-, homo- or bisexuality. This is the arena of concern so far as the impact of sexual orientation upon the Hermetic path.

A heterosexual person is no more or less suited to spirituality and Hermetics than a homosexual and vise versa.

» Can a Homosexual person advance in the path to perfection or is that something they have to overcome? «

Homosexuality, like hetero- and bisexuality, is not something to be overcome. The path of self-perfecting is built upon being your true self as completely and as clearly as possible. Since sexuality and sexual orientation are fundamental qualities that an individual possesses, striving for perfection would necessarily include manifesting one's sexuality in a self-defined positive way. This is true regardless of one's sexual orientation, and the specific type of sexual orientation makes this process no harder or easier than another. In other words, homosexuality itself presents no unique barriers to following a spiritual path. A bi- or homosexual individual faces the same basic issues of positivizing their sexual expression as does a heterosexual individual.

Time

Expanding Perception of the NOW

06 July 2002

» I'm attempting to expand my perception of NOW by using the commonality of the "quality" of the event (all the actions involved that make up a teeth-cleaning event) - to achieve the "quantity" (experiencing the event as a whole without being directly involved mentally with the sequential enacting of each moment or detail). «

I suggest that in meditation you explore the Now itself. What defines Now? How long (duration) is Now? What differentiates Now from past and future?

In your tooth brushing example I see that you are trying to encompass a larger quantity of the sequential present-moments and are considering that a greater Now. In the temporal sense, where Now is perceived as the "present moment" (i.e., a sequential thing) this seems relevant. However, the Now and the present-moment are not exactly the same thing. The present-moment is our normal experience of the Now, but it is a sequential experience of a non-sequential, eternal and infinite thing.

Simply put, the Now itself, is infinite. It encompasses the whole temporal sequence of present-moments, not just a few of them or a million of them. Nonetheless, as sequentialized creatures, we must approach this eternal experience of the true Now incrementally and, as you propose, increase how many present-moments we can encompass within a single Now of our conscious awareness.

Therein lays the key -- our conscious awareness. The present-moment itself is defined by our own sequential awareness of the temporal manifestation of Now. When our awareness is heightened (focused) we naturally remain conscious of the commonality between several present-moments in a row and thus have the experience that you describe of time seeming to shorten and compress. But it is only the physical tempo of time that seems to compress since our awareness of events is actually greater. In other words, even our experience of the physical speed of time's passage is dependent upon our awareness.

Oddly, what really takes you deeper into this encompassing more of the temporal Now, is to focus yourself down into the infinitely finite present-moment. This is the doorway to the infinite Now.

With your tooth brushing example, instead of focusing upon the thread of intention, you would focus solely upon the present-moment and let go of the sequential process of brushing your teeth. In fact, let go of every thing other than exactly what you are doing in the immediate moment.

On the Question of Free Will in the Temporal and Eternal Contexts

09 November 2003

» I have long been under the impression that there is no free will at any point as every action undertaken is a perfect representation of every circumstance that has lead to the present level of consciousness, thus any action / reaction that occurs in the physical is, by definition, the only action that could have taken place; any other response / action / whatever is physically impossible to happen. So the question is, to what extent is there genuine free will? «

For the sequentialized mind, the apparent conflict of free will is the most difficult aspect of the eternal perspective to integrate.

The fact that what is, is as it should and must be, applies only to what is -- i.e., to what exists. From an eternal perspective every thing exists and the whole infinite span of time (i.e., the sequential realm) exists as a whole—within an infinitely encompassing Now. So in the eternal realm, it’s a fait accompli and there is no free will (in the mundane sense).

However, in the sequential realm the only thing that exists is the present moment of the sequence. In the sequential realm, the past doesn’t exist, nor does the future exist. The only thing that exists in the sequential realm is a finite now. Since future does not yet exist, it is created by what transpires within the finite now. Free will is our ability to decide right now how we will act and it is these temporal decisions that create the future; or rather, when we make a choice, we change the now and move it forward through the sequence.

Within the temporal present moment we do have free will. In fact, everywhere within the sequential realm we have free will.

An important aspect of integrating the eternal perspective (or rather, the eternal experience) into the sequential layers of conscious awareness is learning how to hold these opposite perspectives simultaneously. One must be able to function within the temporal realm and consciously exercise their free will, while simultaneously remaining aware of the eternal perspective. And vise versa, while in the eternal perspective, one must also be cognizant of one’s temporal existence and experience. [This deepens the eternal experience since its essence is that of participation (immanence) and not that of separation.]

This means that the enactment of one’s temporal free will and the intentional creation of the future (i.e., continual re-creation of the now) are essential parts of true “ascendance”. This is what brings the eternal into the temporal and “heals the rift”.

The essence of free will is the power to choose. This power stems from Chokmah (Wisdom) and is an essential part of the sequential realm. It is not an “illusion” as many state—it is a Primordial Law.

» Also, does the extent of potential free will differ depending on the level of an initiate? «

No. One’s freedom to will is infinite. What does differ is one’s ability to manifest their will. This has primarily to do with the fact that the process of initiation brings the individual into ever greater harmony with the Divine. The petty will is transformed into the Divine Will. Ultimately, none of one’s willings conflict with the Divine Will and there is then a direct and immediate manifestation of one’s free will. But you must understand that the Infinite Divine Will manifests through the finite free will as it is exercised an infinite number of times throughout an infinite number of temporal present moments.

Many equate this with greater freedom, but this is not so.

» I am aware that this argument (i.e., there is no free will) can be used as the perfect cop-out for anything, but I think it’s also a necessary realisation for ascendance. «

To my mind, it’s the easy way out. It absolves one from all responsibility for their actions and for the future. If that were the Ultimate Goal, then why bother.

This attitude/assumption is also indicative of dis-Equilibrium of the Elements in the temporal mental body, with roots in the astral personality structure. It reflects a character need to be absolved of, or to avoid, personal responsibility. Often, this is very subtle—so subtle that it doesn’t make itself known to the initiate’s consciousness until the work of integrating the eternal experience is begun.

Miscellaneous Subjects

Defining Hermeticism

22 September 2002

» Please define Hermeticism for a beginner. «

It may sound a simple question, but to answer it is not since the term “Hermetics” means so many things to so many different people. The best I can do for you is try to express what Hermetics, specifically Bardon’s Hermetics, means to me.

There are several features of the Hermetic philosophy that are defining. Here are a few:

1) The philosophy of the Four Elements, plus the Akasha; and of the two Fluids (Electric and Magnetic).

2) The philosophy of the Four Realms: Akashic, Mental, Astral and Physical.

3) The philosophy of the three bodies: Mental, Astral and Physical.

4) The philosophy concerning the causal relationship between consciousness and time-space.

5) The philosophy concerning the structure of Self which declares that all things exist as part of the divine Unity of Self.

6) The philosophy that all things are alive and, in their own way, conscious.

7) The philosophy that not only are humans capable of communing with the divine, but that this is our birthright—our true “normal” state of being.

8) The philosophy that declares “know thy self” as being the first step toward knowledge of The One Self.

There are also features of the Hermetic practice that are defining and here are a few of those that are specific to Bardon’s Hermetics:

1) Introspection and examination of the immediate, personal self. This is done within the context of the Four Elements and the three bodies. In Step One of IIH, this is seen in the work of the two halves of the soul mirror and in the mental exercises. Through all of these, you come to know yourself—what you manifest currently and the mechanics of how you manifest it.

2) Self-transformation. This is also accomplished using the context of the Four Elements and three bodies. This is the longest, most arduous task since there are so many layers of Self to be transformed. The first stage is the transformation of the personality as witnessed by Steps Two through Four of IIH. This entails the complete transformation of the astral body, hence all those exercises that develop the magical abilities. The second and far longer stage is the transformation of the Individual Self (i.e., the temporal mental body), as seen in Steps Five through Eight of IIH. The third and final stage of Self-transformation is perhaps the most challenging; namely, the conscious integration of the Greater Self (i.e., the eternal mental body) into the Individual and personal levels of Self.

3) Transformation of the external world. Even though this is thought of as being concurrent with the task of Self-transformation, it is secondary to it and is actually part of the process of Self-transformation. When the Self-transformation reaches the completion of its third stage and the eternal mental body is consciously manifest at the level of personality, there is suddenly no “external” world — the formerly “external” world is then experienced as a part of Self. At that point “transformation of the external world” is Self-transformation.

4) Personal experimentation and direct personal experience. The practical work of Hermetics materializes the intellectual comprehension. It also provides the fertile ground from which the intellect may grow still higher.

5) A sharp intellect. Hermetics hones the mind to a razor sharpness.

6) The guide of Equilibrium. Every bit of the work of Hermetics is done to augment and create balance within the levels of Self. The first goal is the attainment of an astral Equilibrium of the Elements within the personal self. Once achieved, the goal then becomes a mental Equilibrium of the Elements within the Individual Self. All of this leads one to the Abyss between the temporal and eternal realms, the crossing of which requires an absolute and steadfast Equilibrium.

7) Self-direction, or conscious control of the self. The Hermetic training teaches the student how to make conscious use of nature’s own forces. This pertains to the natural forces that operate within ourselves and those that operate external to us. For example, Step One of IIH teaches the student the nature of their mind and trains them in the art of how to control it. It also teaches the student the nature of their own personality (soul mirror work) which is the crucial ingredient to the art of successful self-transformation. Furthermore, it teaches a rudimentary way in which the student can make conscious use of the laws of nature to effect external change (the Eucharistic magic of air, food and water). In order to grow in the ability to effect external changes, the student must learn the ability to control their own self. Self-control (i.e., the ability to define one’s own responses to external and internal stimuli, instead of those stimuli being the determining factor) is an essential ingredient to attaining an Elemental Equilibrium.

8) A respectful and worshipful attitude. At the heart of the Hermetic philosophy and practice there lies a devotion to the divine Unity of Self, “The All”. This manifests as a sort of moral code that emphasizes loving kindness toward others and service to humanity. This is the beating mystical heart that powers Hermetic magic. Even so, this spirit of respectful worship manifests itself in a multitude of forms, but it is the nature of Hermetics that its practice breeds unique Individuals.

IIH and Kundalini

29 January 2004

» Does Bardon's system raise the Kundalini in the initiate and if so at what stage. «

It's not a matter of raising the kundalini. It's a matter of the kundalini rising of its own accord as a natural consequence of the initiate's mago-mystical advancement. When initiation is balanced, the chakras unfold and the kundalini rises without any ill effects. This is because in a balanced Hermetic initiation, the kundalini and the chakra system are not forced. In fact, they are not focused upon at all.

The chakras are reflective of the initiate's inner state of maturity. They flower of their own accord when the initiate reaches the stage of maturity to which they correspond. The kundalini force of its own accord naturally rises to fill the flowering chakra. When this natural process is left to its own wisdom, instead of being interfered with and forced before its time, there are no ill effects. Instead, it is empowering and immediately carries the initiate forward.

effects on the other hand, are experienced because the individual has not reached the stage of maturity which naturally unfolds the chakras and the kundalini. In such a case, the kundalini meets resistance in the form of "impurities" (i.e., a lack of maturity) and, as is its nature when faced with this sort of resistance, the kundalini burns away at the impurities and at the surrounding area in the individual's emotional energy structure. From an Hermetic perspective this is ultimately destructive because, even if the energetic manifestation of those blocking impurities are effectively burned away, the level of maturity remains relatively unchanged and those energetic impurities inevitably re-manifest.

There are very complex eastern methods by which one can safely work with the kundalini, but, contrary to what most westerners surmise, they involve intensive focus upon one's level of maturity and its growth. In other words, these methods involve a great deal more than just trying to move the kundalini. Really, they are about using the kundalini (very carefully and precisely) to encourage one's maturation -- the goal being maturation and not the mere movement of the kundalini.

Bardon's system sidesteps all of these issues by focusing upon developing the initiate's mago-mystical maturity directly. In Bardon's system, the kundalini is left in nature's hands and its rate of rising is left to nature's wisdom based upon the initiate's own rate of maturation

When someone is suffering the discomforting consequences of having forced their chakras open and their kundalini to rise unnaturally, the remedy is to focus upon the work of character transformation. Only in this way is the individual's level of maturity raised to par with their unnaturally elevated or active kundalini.

Predators, Energy Vampires and Astral Irritations

06 July 2002

There are several ways to view “negative” astral entities. One popular way is to set them up as combatants -- predatory entities that exist outside of one's own self and which seek to parasitize you and draw you down. The great problem with this way of looking at this dynamic is that it places you as the victim and gives your "attacker" the advantage. With this dynamic in place, it is impossible to permanently rid oneself of these pests and one ends up expending all their energy in battle instead of in forwarding their own personal evolution. In other words, to combat them, you expend your energy defensively, if not offensively as some have suggested, and you never seem to have quite enough energy since there's always a bigger, more powerful predator around the next corner.

There is however, another way of looking at this dynamic that will rid you of these pests and which will forward your own personal evolution instead of diverting it. And that is to always look within to the "place" in your own psyche that these entities "attack". In point of fact, an entity can have no influence over you unless you give permission in one form or another. Most often this permission is given at a subconscious level that we're not normally aware of; hence the need to look within.

It’s apparent that the vast majority, if not all, of these entities are generated by one’s own psyche. Thus it is doubly important to look within.

It is impossible to permanently rid oneself of a part of one's own psyche through the use of the defensive techniques that many have described. Even if you magically sever the link between you and it, and dissolve the image of it that your psyche has created, it will spring anew since the basic environment which created it has not been changed (i.e., your own psyche). The only method that works for this kind of self-created pest is the soul mirror (or similar) work of self-transformation of the personality. This work directly addresses the unexplored psyche and transforms it into a known thing. It places you into a relationship of true powerfulness in regard to your own psyche and its automatic, subconscious reactions.

The work of self-transformation is not a "War in Heaven" sort of thing. It's not a battle. Instead, it's transformation. Transformation requires first finding a common ground with the thing to be transformed. It means accepting a thing for what it is, not what we'd like it to be or what it appears to be, etc.

These entities are not foes and they are not a threat. For those involved with the work of IIH, they are often manifestations of your own psyche generated (by your psyche) as a natural response to the work of self-examination. It's as if your own psyche is saying to your conscious mind, "Hey, look here! This needs work!" In truth, this is a manifestation of your inner or "Higher" guidance which is meant to help you in the work of self-transformation. If accepted on this basis, then the experience presents an invaluable opportunity to work directly with the wisdom of your own guide and focus your attention on the parts of yourself that need the most attention.

If instead of reacting with fear and revulsion by pushing these entities away, you were to sit down with them and truly get to know them, you would learn something very valuable about the ways in which we sabotage ourselves. There is almost always some degree of internal resistance to self-change, just as there is to any change. Magic training also tends to stir the internal pot, so to speak, and all sorts of stuff bubbles to the surface. But this is as it should be and if true magical progress is desired then each thing that rises to the surface must be faced head-on and transformed (not "destroyed", but transformed).

» They attempt to prevent your awareness of them. They attempt to pacify you/turn you into a dumb animal. They will attempt to come between you and the divine. They so much do not want to be discovered that they will try to trick you into believing they do not exist. E.g. leaving you for some time so you think you imagined them, or encouraging you into a magical path that may be wrong for you so you think you're making progress when you're actually going in the wrong direction. «

What you describe here are the natural mechanisms of the human psyche in action, especially when parts of the psyche are under attack by other parts of the psyche and a schism develops. In other words, the more you try to separate yourself from a part of your psyche and deny that it is a part of yourself, the more manipulative it becomes.

» They are ugly and ungainly if you meet them on the astral. «

Yes, the astral is the realm of symbol and these parts of the psyche -- especially when we are afraid of them and are denying that they are a part of self -- translate symbolically as horrific, ugly, "evil" creatures. However, their appearance says more about how we feel about them than it does about their own true nature.

» The kinds that are inconsequential astral leeches, by the above, coupled with cleansing/light/regular banishings/good astral hygiene. They are like bacteria that one picks up from not washing and from coming into contact with dirty people/places. «

If, through the work of self-transformation of the psyche, you afford them no place to attach themselves, then they are never a nuisance. And if you are pestered by such things, they can teach you nearly as much about yourself (i.e., where you need to work on yourself) as the self-generated creations of your own psyche. The "trick" isn't to gain ever greater power to fight them with; instead, it's to so transform yourself that they have no interest in you. Then you can co-exist peacefully with them instead of endlessly doing battle.