Today we are very excited to present an interview from ‘Bob’. He wants to retain some privacy so his first name Bob is all he is willing to share. But he has shared a great deal in the interview itself, in fact I think some of what is written here could give people who have been stuck for years on IIH the motivation and trust in themselves to move forward.
SOFB: Firstly could I ask you to introduce yourself to the readers, please tell us a little about yourself and how you first discovered Franz Bardon's books.
Bob: I made the usual rounds of traditional Chinese martial arts (specifically Yang style tai chi and Clyman’s nei gung from Temple Style, bagua, and hsing yi), took in a few Buddhist empowerments over the years (most notably the Emei Mountain Sudden Enlightenment School, Pure Land, the Medicine Buddha, etc.) and studied with a Taoist practitioner, but none of it really stuck. I was good at it and didn’t really care. I even tried the Golden Dawn material for awhile. It wasn’t until I ran into Bardon’s material that things clicked.
As for Bardon’s material I ran into Mark Rasmus at a seminar, I thought he was sincere and I went to visit him in Thailand. Over the next three years I worked through the first and third book. The second book is not a big focus of mine, although I have been working more with the planets lately.
SOFB: In every interview I like to ask some standard questions about sticking points found in IIH:
VOM: Franz Bardon said he expected step 1 to be completed inside of 2 weeks. Do you think this was realistic or the first of many tests of the students 'Will'.
Bob: The real issue with this is that learning any of the material in the book from another person is much easier than learning it from a book. Perhaps it has something to do with learning via transmission, but in general it shouldn’t take more than an afternoon to learn how to perform the techniques involved. It can take up to a month to be able to perform the initial focusing exercises for approximately 5 minutes, which seems to be the “magic” point where it becomes useful. More is better in general, however anything over 20 minutes doesn’t seem to make much of a difference.
VISUALIZATION: People tend to spend years here expecting IMAX like results, what is your advice for those on these Step 2 exercises. Did you follow the method from IIH or come up with your own approach?
Bob: The auto-suggestion exercises are fantastic for changing bad habits. I’ve taught these to a variety of people and everyone reports good results. It’s also a technique anyone can use. The key thing is to make sure you use a positive command. It must be something you want to do. Choose one thing to work on and run a string of beads directly upon waking and directly before going to sleep. The whole process should take about ten minutes. Do this for 30 days straight. For a really ingrained habit it might take 100 days. Don’t stress when you fail in the beginning. Just let it go and keep practicing. Over time this will happen less and less often. Then you won’t think about it anymore and it becomes a natural behavior.
I found the sensory gate exercises to be fairly straight forward. Perhaps this is because my sense of smell is the most developed of my senses and having an earth correspondence it makes everything else easier. I don’t really have any advice for this. But I had already spent years working on a five element Taoist system and running the orbits from both Clyman and Morris’ material. Visualizing light, the sensation of energy, etc were all old hat.
The pore breathing and posture exercises are two critical components of the first book.
Pore breathing is critical as this is how you will engage with all of the other energies (elemental, astral, mental, Akasha and even non-dual light) until such a time as you can open the energy center above your head and stream it directly down into the body.
You do not “visualize” fire energy so much as you breathe it in to the body while sensing its heat, seeing its red color, and hearing its Sch sound as an example. As another example, when you breath astral energy in time slows, you feel that soft sensation and some people even hear sounds like chimes. But you are still breathing it into and out of the pores into the center of the body and out again via the hands/pores/orifices/etc.
A key component to always perform is to program what you want the energy to be BEFORE you begin pore breathing. This is especially important with vital energy. And is even more important when it comes to the letters of the third book. Otherwise, the energy defaults to your background belief settings and tends to make those stronger. So sick people stay sick, weak people stay weak, manic people stay manic, etc. Spend a moment making the energy what you want it to be. Some schools refer to this as the secret smile technique. It is important and mostly speed bumped in the text.
The key to being a magician is in bending reality to your will. This includes yourself.
The asana exercise is Bardon’s only contribution to training the structure of the body in his book. This is a very lengthy subject and not well presented in a written format. The posture holding exercises of the Taoist internal martial arts are typical of these. These can be performed via movement and frequently use resistance as well. They can build and/or integrate the soft tissue of the body depending upon what is done. The short answer is the better you can stack your structure the more efficiently your body will move energy.
VITAL FORCE: Some people cannot feel the accumulation, what can they do to feel it more intensively?
Bob: Rasmus has an exercise called building the ball. In this you pore breath vital energy in and exhale from the palms forming a ball between the hands. You then play with the ball.
What a student is looking to do is to feel the boundary layer of the ball between their hands. Rasmus has a very good video on Vimeo on how to do this. I highly recommend this. Most of the better systems out there have an exercise like this. I learned it originally years ago from a Taoist system. It can take up to ten hours of practice to do this, but most people can do it much quicker. I’ve rarely seen it take more than a week of consistent practice to master.
SOFB: Also seeing that you are a person who likes to use weights etc for your physical health, have you found ways to integrate the two?
Bob: Aside from Jesus allergy and a strange predilection for weird diets, the next biggest obstacle to achievement in this work for most practitioners is the pathological aversion to the concept that being physically strong makes your energy strong.
Anyone who has spent time around physically strong people quickly realizes they have strong energy as well. The quickest way to become physically strong is to use barbells. Martin Faulks demonstrating a 200kg deadlift is a good example. It is also the quickest way to develop strong energy. Most of the astral exercises are about learning to manipulate energy, but in and of themselves do little to increase strength at it.
Additionally, the basic barbell movements also build the tendon network in the body very effectively. And the stronger that is, the stronger energy moves in the body. It’s not complicated.
So, I use weightlifting to build tissue and maintain strength. The tendon training exercises teach you how to manipulate the electric, and magnetic, currents and further integrate the tissue.
Being fat on the other hand slows energy down. So, an ideal magician would be both strong and lean. Without steroids, most people will put on fat with muscle. You then diet the fat off. You can become very strong this way. Lama Gant, for example, could deadlift 525pounds/238kg at a bodyweight of 123pounds/56kg.
On a practical basis, if you can squat 1.5 times your bodyweight and deadlift twice your bodyweight you are good to go. Additionally, once you’ve gotten to this point, you don’t need to maintain the muscle mass required to do it for life. The ligaments/tendons stick around long after you lose the muscle due to inactivity/age. As does the strength of your energy.
Keep in mind that the bodyweight you gain doing this is directly related to your caloric intake. If you eat a lot you get bigger and stronger faster. If you don’t, it takes longer but you are smaller. The lightweight lifers in powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting are superhumanly strong. If you ever meet some of these people, you will find their energy is also amazingly strong as well.
While a lot of classical systems didn’t have access to barbells, almost all of them held objects while in posture, used heavy weighted weapons, wore weighted vests, etc. They were simply using resistance to increase their ability to generate and move energy.
On a basic level your ability to focus and the size/integration of your ligaments and tendons determines how strong your energy is. If you want to be really strong at the physical generation of energy, you need both.
This gets confusing as most magicians are lazy and weak willed. As a result, they use spirit infused magic to have an entity throw the appropriate switches within their body allowing them to run more of something than they can on their own. Aside from being very physically destructive over time this also results in a very fucked up kind of dependence upon the entity. It also explains a lot of the questionable decision making in this community as well. Maintain your sovereignty. None of these things are giving you anything you can’t do on your own. And none of them are doing it for free. Franz Bardon himself was an excellent cautionary tale in this regard.
ELEMENTS: Getting in contact with what Rawn Clark called the principle of the element can be difficult as at that point the student has no real idea of what this and when it is make believe and when this goal is finally achieved. What are your thoughts here?
Bob: Here is a fundamental problem that has no good solution.
The easiest way to get around this is to practice the elements from day one as Kabbalah using three point focus (sound, sensation and color). The problem with this is that without being initiated into this, or having prior experience, the letters are incredibly harsh. I’ve had people without these things go directly into the elements as Kabbalah and describe scenarios where working with water as the letter M initially felt like someone stabbing them in the liver with a freezing dagger. It takes a lot of balls to keep going under circumstances like that.
Bardon’s books are in the order they are so someone can do it without a teacher. In this regard, doing the planets first gives you a good preparation and many potential internal guides to walk you through the letters.
Without this, just going through the elements is very slow. The only advice I can give is to pay attention to the sensation as much as possible. Make sure your pore breathing and posture are well developed. Understand that you train the physical component via a strongly audible vocalization with the tendons engaged and your attention focused on the lower abdomen. Astral is a whisper with the tendons engaged and your attention focused on the solar plexus. Mental is silent with a focus on the center of the head.
DEPTH POINT: This is perhaps a big development in the IIH where a big shift has to occur in order to understand the point Franz Bardon was trying to make. Can you comment on the significance of this exercise?
Bob: Very important. The depth point is crucial as this is how an earth body type conducts out of body projection. People who are very grounded generally cannot do this from the head until they master the depth point exercise using the solar plexus.
The easiest way to do this is to imagine you are shrinking and collapsing down into your solar plexus. Down, down, down. Faster and faster. Until you are screaming downward. Jumping out of an airplane in freefall is slow in comparison. At the end of it I usually crash land on what appears to be a small hill. Around the base of this are all of my prior incarnations. In front of me is a flat wall carved into the side of a cave. I generate a huge screen of Akasha at the front of the wall. Then I fly into the Akasha.
At this point I am in the Akasha and project to wherever I am going to. I go deeper and deeper into the Akasha. I go until all of my senses are blocked out. Then and only then when I am completely wreathed in Akasha, I call on the letter, planets, wherever of where I want to go. At first this will appear as a flickering light. It gets stronger and stronger as I key into the vibratory, or energetic, state of the thing. Then I slam into it.
Keep in mind this takes you to the astral level representation of a thing.
Projecting out of the head is more a matter of separating my mental body from my astral-mental matrix and floating off to where I want to go. The rope suspension method works well here.
SOFB: Can you comment on the difference between the spatial center of a thing and the depth point of a thing.
The spatial center is just that. The middle of something. You perceive the world from its viewpoint. I learned how to do this with a clay Buddhist medallion. You can also get some background information on its construction. Animals I haven’t worked with much. Human beings you can ride like a meat suit when you get good at this, but this is a severe violation of their freewill and not advisable. Also, their energy, emotions and memories backflow into you as well. And most people are a filthy mess. As one of my teachers once said, “it is what we do not know about others that allows us to work with them.” Caveat emptor.
The depth point is an altered state of experiencing something generally at the astral level. Here trees have consciousness, the laws of physics bend and shit starts to get weird. Depending upon where you interact things can be very similar to the here and now or much less so. You can also branch off into the mental and Akashic levels of something quickly as well. Maintaining your focus here is important.
GESTURE: Not much is ever heard about the application of Gesture training to create our own finger rituals. Has this been a useful part of your training and if so how have you applied these rituals in your training and daily life.
Bob: Very important. Anything you need to be able to do quickly and on the fly is best conducted with this. You can also link this to sigil magic as well, but I’m not going to get into that here as that is a rather involved process.
The easiest way to do this is to project into the Akasha. While there complete a ritual to do whatever it is you would normally do that you want associated with the gesture. Make the gesture. Do this a couple of times. Use one gesture for turning it on and one gesture to turn it off. Leave the Akasha. Then practice whatever it is you programed the gesture to do without all of the intermediate steps.
I have one gesture on call for fah jing. That way I can do this whenever I need to with lining up, getting ready, etc. This is a pretty common application in the Chinese martial arts community where these old codgers use a gesture they generated 30 years ago to fah jing with. Its why they never get any better and you can’t figure out how they are doing it. It’s also why they are essentially stealing from their students and are assholes in general. If the guy isn’t willing to break things down into component steps and teach you how to do it tell him to fuck off and spend your money elsewhere.
I’ve got another for single pointed focus. Since I tend to get a little ADD at times it allows me to get more done.
Keep in mind potential “gestures” cover a lot of ground. And not all of these require a physical movement that is visible using the hands.
The downside to gestures is also worth talking about. If you use a gesture to do something you don’t better at it by just using the gesture. In essence whatever level of ability you had going into the Akasha to generate it is where you are stuck. To get better at something, you still need to practice all of your component parts in sequence. Then you go back into the Akasha and upgrade the gesture again.
Also, other people with enough sensitivity can copy your gestures and use them. So, keep this to yourself.
SOFB: Though of course working through IIH has to have had an enormous impact upon who you are, did this have any overt impact upon on your working and public life and how others saw you?
Bob: In general, these kinds of practices make you more of whatever you are. If you are a good person underneath it all things tend to work out. If you have any personality defects, it tends to amplify that. All that said, misbehavior is an issue particularly when you start to come into your own power. Everyone does it. Good people get over it. I still cringe thinking about some of the things that happened.
It made the latter part of my military career possible. I deployed for the last time in my mid-forties. Now, I wasn’t the fastest guy out there, but I could still pull my own weight. Without these practices it simply wouldn’t have happened.
Shortly after I went through kundalini awakening it caused a lot of problems. I was young and my physical energy was very strong. This polarized the reaction of other people toward me. Part of the problem is that the Chinese systems I trained in only taught me what amounts to the electric pathway in Hermetics. After learning how to manipulate the magnetic force a lot of problems, including personality related, resolved themselves.
All of this greatly complicated my relationship with people of power (general officers, politicians, high level civilian officials, etc.). At the end of the day, they know at some level you are not their servant. And ultimately, they do not like this at all. This is not a negative thing either. Powerful people don’t spend lots of time with peers. They are surrounded by people helping them achieve their goals. And if you are not doing that, your being there is a distraction. If they view you as a threat, it’s much worse. To this day I can’t get into most night clubs by myself as I tend to set the bouncers off.
When you generate a certain amount of physical/astral/mental energy it tends to set people off a little even subconsciously, but they can deal with that. Once you begin to generate Akasha and non-dual light, unless people are family members or very close friends they generally start to avoid you. I’ve lost a lot of friends this way. It pretty much screws you out of any long term employment working for others. At the end, you have to work for yourself.
Part of this is that the energy you produce changes people when they are around you. Akasha in general represents the chaotic power of the void. That primordial chaos out of which duality sprang. People who have this are quite literally capable of anything. They can bypass most egregores at will. And most people really aren’t into this. And this is assuming you aren’t doing this intentionally. If you are, you are an asshole. But if you aren’t, you are weirding them out and they don’t like it. Most people get divorced when going through this as well.
And, if the practitioner is male and straight, their wife usually goes through some kind of energetic development as well. Women generally absorb large amounts of energy when an empowered man has sex with them. In this regard, women can achieve development just by regularly having sex with a powerfully developed man.
Also, people who spend large amounts of time around you gradually get exposed to otherworldly things. And when it happens often enough, they can’t cognitively dissonance their way out of it. At that point they become afraid of you. And that sucks. It sucks really hard. I still speak with one of my best friends I had as a young man almost monthly. I haven’t been to his new house in the three years he moved.
SOFB: We asked earlier about sticking points that some have trouble with but in your rise through IIH did you also come across steps that caused you real trouble? If so, how did you get past this and move on?
Not really. The main thing is that a lot of these skills take an extended period of practice to master. The clairvoyance based skills can take years by themselves depending upon personal constitution. Which is why once you learn how to practice a given skill you move on to the next chapter while continuing to practice that skill. The whole thing of not moving on until you master something is a formula for failure if you are working by yourself. Also, the book is remarkably misorganized.
The more I find out about Bardon himself points in the direction of his being mostly a ritual/evocation style practitioner who wrote an internal power book. And that makes sense. Every picture I’ve seen of the guy makes him look like a sack of potatoes. And the chain smoking would have limited internal power after a certain point anyway. My guess is that he wrote the book while under the influence of a spirit entity via mediumship/channeling.
Even a lot of his Kabbalah points in the direction of mental with some astral level effects. Which you can pull off without much body training assuming a spirit entity is throwing the switches. It’s not like he was using this to physically manifest fire or to run 100km at a time.
SOFB: We have had some questions from the community in regard to the energetic model in IIH compared to methods shown for example in Yogic systems or Taoist Cultivation systems. So we see in both Yogic and Taoist a refining of the energy and a slow rise either through central channel and chakras or from dantien, mid and upper via mco. Do you have any experience of these other systems and how those methods compare energetically (for example Kundalini) to what is occuring in IIH.
Bob: That’s a good question.
On a fundamental level one of the big takeaways from going through Kundalini is the ability to generate Akasha. I’m not sure you can generate, or harness, Akasha without it.
If you look at icons of certain Buddhist saints, Fudo Myo is popular, you will see a thin band of purple in the energetic field around the saint. That’s Akasha. The problem is that none of the Asian systems bother to explain what that means and how to use it. Which creates a lot of problems as you have any number of people walking around with the ability to fundamentally warp reality and no real control over it. It also turns most people into spirit magnets and this results in their being manipulated a lot. These people can be remarkably unstable.
A couple of ways exist to go through the Kundalini. You can condense and circulate vital force via the orbits until it explodes up the central channel/spine, you can keep slamming vital force up against your crown until it breaks open (mostly yogic), a teacher can open it via transmission (i.e. Shaktipat) or you can frequently establish equilibrium using a four element system (i.e. Bardon).
But because of this, most of these systems do not result in your ability to manipulate the elements with any strength as they are working with vital force and Akasha predominantly. Fine for enlightenment. Crappy for working magic.
The first three tend to happen fairly quickly and often explosively. Using equilibrium on the other hand is a fairly slow process whereby you keep practicing and then one day you notice this weird purple stuff creeping into your elemental work.
Kundalini awakening started in my case at the age of 13. I was from a not particularly religious family in south Texas. It took another decade to figure out what was going on. I met my Taoist teacher in my late 20’s, read Glenn Morris’ books and I was off to the races.
The main issue is that the equilibrium method lacks a certain density to the development of physical energy that the orbits do provide. It comes with many fewer side effects than the traditional yogic methods tend to come with. I also think it is much better for longevity and health over the long term. The yogic method of up and out is depleting over the long term in my experience. People become emaciated. And the orbits tend to damage the metabolism/thyroid over time as well from what I’ve seen. Guys get fat.
In all, the equilibrium method is one of the main contributions of Bardon’s work to esoteric development.
SOFB: Mental Travel and Franz Bardons specific approach to Astral travel. How significant were these skills in your development. What I mean here is was your worldview impacted at all after completing these steps in what you experience upon being successful in the training?
Bob: Pretty important. Due to being very physically grounded projection out of the head using the mental body was something that took way too much effort and rarely happened. Until I learned Bardon’s system. For people in this position you must learn to project via the depth point exercise at the solar plexus before you will develop any real ability to mentally project at will. Perhaps this has something to do with elevating the energy in the body via the energy centers. I really don’t know. I have seen this progression solve the problem for people who had spent years trying to project from the head with no success. And keep in mind I had already been through the Kundalini using the orbits and still couldn’t project from the head for the most part.
As for my worldview, it didn’t change that much. I’d already been through the Kundalini and experienced immersion into non-dual light. What it did was give me a much greater ability to explore the Kabballistic realms and to engage the denizens of the other layers of reality on my terms versus theirs. It was basically the difference between always playing defense and going on the offensive. Or for those who have issues with that language it’s the difference between being a passive participant and an active one.
Evocation takes an outsized level of importance in Western magical practice for the same reason. Since many people lack the internal development, or natural ability, to travel to these places they bring that world to them instead. It is the primary strength of the ritual systems.
SOFB: How important is it to do the Astral Travel training of Step 9 in the way Franz Bardon explains rather then creating some sort of Astral double or illusory body without the Mental/Astal separation before integration? As much of what is read about all seems to point to practitioners taking the later approach and not the former challenging approach of Bardon.
Bob: The fact that this is left out of the book despite the many fantasy elements the translator injection to what Bardon originally wrote is completely baffling to me. And to people who have not gotten to this point write this down.
Being able to separate your astral body allows you to control the time of your death.
If you can only travel via the mental body, when it comes time to die, you will suffer just the same way everyone else does. And that is the real value of having control over your astral body as a separate entity. If you gained nothing else from all of your training, that by itself would make all of the work worth it.
The training is very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. The warnings to be in a locked room by yourself without an open window that a fly can come in through are crucial. You can die practicing this. You are going to die at some point without it. Best to gain control of this process in advance.
SOFB: PME and KTQ.
What have these books brought to your practice? We know these are very private but would appreciate anything you can share.
Bob: I’m much more of a Kabbalist than an evoker. In fact, I worked my way through KTQ before I did anything with PME. My main work with PME centered around developing resistance to the influence of the entities contained therein.
KTQ is much more useful on a tactical level as it is done via an internal power model and can be engaged on the fly without a big ritual buildup. It is also free of the influence of the entities in the third book. Applying it strategically is much more difficult as an entity is not there to do the work for you. You have to fully form the volts being put together and fully direct it. With PME the entity is working for you 24/7 for as long as they are tasked. Ultimately you are the power source either way, but in one you are on your own and the other you get worked over.
Some things for readers to consider. A true demonic entity will shrug off Akasha by itself as they are largely associated with Saturn. However, the E-N letter combination can be weaponized to energetically sterilize a space and get rid of these creatures. Likewise, the E-U combination can be used as well under the right situations.
Breaking with an entity whose school you have formally joined, as in one of the 360 Earth Heads, is very uncomfortable. It can be done, but you basically have to destroy everything you built with them (ritual implements, books written, et al) and formally release them. Then you run large amounts of Akasha through the energy center above the head for a few months. It will also be physically painful at times.
The E-N letter combination can be used to chase them off for awhile as the connection fades. Performing the compound moves in weightlifting while generating the E-N letter combination greater increases your power to use the combination. The reason for this is that once you make a pact with them, they bond with the energy center above your head and then control your access to Akasha and non-dual light. And yes, that is just as bad an idea as that sounds. It is much better to pay them off with ritual offerings with a clear understanding that the good stuff is not on the table.
As far as the letters are concerned, keep in mind that it is very important to program what you are looking for with the characteristics of the letter (Akashic, mental, astral and physical) before you start to work with them. It takes at least 10 hours of continual practice with a since letter to be able to generate that energy in a stable manner. Also, you need to be clear as to what level of reality you are engaging the letter as this radically changes what you encounter.
SOFB: Did the way you saw IIH change after moving onto these books? In that it was preparing you for something?
Bob: A lot of the exercises made much more sense. For example, the automatic writing stuff. FYI, that is how you get the seal for entities you encounter. Everything in there has a reason for being there. It may just be the case that you don’t need it depending upon what you are doing.
Also, all of the exercises are building blocks that reinforce one another. So, it is okay to skip ahead as long as you keep practicing the earlier exercises to the point of mastery. And you’ll want to revisit things you’ve previously mastered from time to time to amp up their performance.
SOFB: Lastly is there anything else you would like to add that you feel is important for students of IIH.
Bob: If you are interested in learning more about evocation and its central role in Western magic traditionally speaking check out the Glitch Bottle podcast. But always keep in mind you don’t get anything for free and these things all have a price.
Always vette and evaluate carefully anything you learn from the great beyond.
Make the gods envy you.
View your life as a multi-episode cinematic movie extravaganza. And every time you are watching Netflix ask yourself, “Would someone want to watch me doing this or find this interesting?”
Then get to work.