Initiation into Hermetics: The Path of the True Adept (英語) ペーパーバック – 2001/3
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Initiation into Hermetics if the first and most important of Franz Bardons works and is rightly regarded as the cornerstone of his entire opus. In contrast to other booths on the subject of magic, Bardon focuses his attention on the practical training necessary for all true magical attainment. Using the four elements of fire, water, air and earth as a foundation, Bardon teaches the student how to master these universal forces in the three worlds of body, soul, and spirit. Bardon leads the student step by step through exercises providing detailed training in the entire arcanum of magic, from basic techniques in thought control to advanced teachings in astral travel, and much more. No other writer has ever developed such a clear, concise, and practical program of magical development.
In spite of the author's warnings that readers with prior magical experience might have to unlearn a lot while studying his books (which is true!), I don't think very many beginners would find themselves well-served to rely on this book as an introduction. Initiation into Hermetics is a dense book that frequently, actually, assumes that the reader already has some background in magic. This book is not a history lesson. This book is not a comprehensive overview of the subject of hermetics. This book is not just a preparation for more serious work - it IS the more serious work, for those who are prepared. The author explains many things in depth, but much of it will sound like nonsense to a magical novice. It takes a little foreknowledge and practice to properly navigate Bardon's idiosyncrasies and outdated science (although not as much as it takes to interpret even the most lucid writings of Aleister Crowley, or any pre-20th century occultist), and he devotes very little time to joking, bragging, or making lurid claims. Less mature occultists will quickly become frustrated and/or bored. This newer translation is improved, but some passages are still difficult to decipher. There are good reasons for why there is a market for supplemental material! The book starts with a whirlwind "Theory" section, at the end of which the author insists that anybody wishing to embark on the practical exercises (which comprise the bulk of the text) must first review and meditate and reflect until they fully grasp all of the theory. The process could take years, he says! Yeah, well, that was in 1956, and it's 2015 now, and there are many effective ways for a novice to gain a lot of mystical insight and experience very quickly. Buy yourself a copy of Modern Magick, or Liber Null if you're cheap, and magic yourself silly, kid. You would just roll your eyes at Bardon's warnings and claims, because they would sound outrageous to you right now. You would not treat this book with the proper respect. That's okay. You do not know any better yet. Come back when you've got a few bruises, when you've developed a healthy fear of your own power, when you need a real teacher but you don't want to join a cult. And be ready to unlearn a lot.
For you who are already on a self-directed mystical path and who have never found complete satisfaction in all of your wanderings, congratulations. This is what you have been looking for.
All of the magical texts you have read until now - all of the legitimate ones, at least - have basically handed you a series of increasingly deadly firearms. The authors of these books have instructed you to juggle all of these firearms, and they have told you to try to shoot and hit moving targets while you continue to juggle the entire armful. They have assured you that all of the old gun-juggling books, the ones that traditionally warned readers about the severe dangers of juggling guns, were just written by paranoid people and elitists, and you definitely probably maybe won't shoot your own face off.
You have realized this by now. You have stopped being stupid. Magic isn't a toy. Magic is an armful of loaded guns. And you aren't even thoroughly educated in the care and maintenance of a simple pistol yet.
Initiation into Hermetics is not an introduction, it is an initiation. It will break you down to square one and build you back up as a true magician, and it will not always hold your hand along the way. Because Franz Bardon respects you. Franz Bardon knows that you can figure a lot out on your own. Franz Bardon sits down with you and plainly says, "Here are the universal, fundamental building blocks of magic. Here is what they are, here is how they work. Here is a fantastic, structured way to completely master these fundamentals. And as you master them, you can invent countless creative new ways to apply them. Here are some examples. BE CAREFUL."
Initiation into Hermetics is a ruthlessly pragmatic and technical book about utterly mastering the four/five primal elements in both understanding and practice. This involves a variety of intensive mental exercises. There are no elaborate rituals - Bardon's firm assertion is that rituals constitute an advanced form of magic, and in the hands of novices they amount to simple acts of ignorant sorcery, achieving nothing better than that which is achievable through simple applications of elemental mastery. His second book is about ritual magic, but he insists that students must painstakingly master the primal elements and their own consciousness, in accordance with the guidelines in Initiation into Hermetics, before attempting advanced work.
The author is not the most well-spoken, at least in the English edition. He uses many of his own proprietary terms, and some of the word choices - whether the fault of the author or the translator, I can't say - can be confusing until you adapt to them. There are things that he over-explains, and there are things that you will find yourself wishing he would explain more thoroughly. All of this is excusable, in my opinion, because the end result is still the greatest occult text I've ever read.
Franz Bardon's work is without a doubt a true masterpiece. I know of over 40 individuals who have gone through the book from beginning to end and worked through the exercises (over the years I have run more than a few occult book clubs where we worked through different grimoires)
and I can tell you that not one failed to enhance their abilities and overall understanding of nature of reality ten fold. The only issue/problem (more of a cost to participate than a true issue or problem) is that it takes and incredible amount of time and effort. It took my first group about 1 1/2 year of almost daily study to get through all the material properly, (mind you, we were all advanced practitioners and had at least 20 years of serious study and training prior to starting IIH.) unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) very few people have that kind of focus and determination. I will refrain from mentioning the abilities of manifestation and pure cosmic gnosis that we received along the way, culminating with a boon in power that I thought with all my years of serious study, was strictly reserved for fantasy novels.
Like most pursuits in life, you tend to get out of it, what you put into it, and of course everything is not for everybody. To those who did NOT like this tome, or it did not resonate with you, no problem. Your path to happiness and enlightenment, be it magickal or mundane is out there waiting for you.
I just wanted to share a little of my experience with this hermetic path, in hopes that it might inspire someone to keep at it, if and when you start to have doubts or it seems overwhelming. The rewards I assure you are beyond most peoples true comprehension. Good luck to all!!