by Br. Martin Faulks.
He is one of the most important but least known magicians and spiritual teachers of the Twentieth Century. He published a complete path of spiritual and magical development that is completely based of the four elements and stands beyond any tradition. Known only through the four books he wrote which were published in the 1950’s and through the writing of his students. Many have borrowed his techniques and terminology without giving him proper credit, indeed no matter what tradition you follow the chances are you are practicing at least one exercise from Franz Bardons first book “Initiation Into Hermetics” .
But who was Franz Bardon?
Unlike most “Magus” of the time, Bardon seemed far more interested in producing something of value than he did in trying to create a legend about himself. Indeed unlike a few other authors that could be mentioned he hardly ever mentions himself in any of his works. To find more about Franz Bardon we need to read the accounts of his life left by others. Our two main sources are Frabato the Magican an occult novel/biography or Franz Bardon written by his secretary Otti Votavova and Memories of Franz Bardon by his son Lumir and his student Dr M.K. Though the two accounts do have some contradictions they all agree on the following.
Franz Bardon was the oldest of 13 children, and the only son of a very devout Christian mystic, Viktor Bardon. Viktor felt that he was unable to obtain his spiritual goals and prayed that he receive this blessing. The story is that a sudden change came over his son. His parents and teachers become amazed by the sudden change as the boy developed a calm and wise temperament over night. An advanced soul entered the body of his son Franz to become Viktor’s spiritual teacher.
We are told nothing more about Bardon until he is an adult when he makes a living as stage magician with a twist! Under the stage name Frabato (Franz Bardon- Troppau-Opava) we are given accounts of his performance in which he demonstrated genuine magical abilities where most stage magicians use tricks. The reading of minds, healing, astral projection,Mind control, levitation and much more. A little research assured me that Bardon did indeed gain some fame in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s under the stage name “Frabato”
A Life of Persecution
As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party gained power in the 1930’s occultists and spiritual groups were banned. Gipsies and Freemasons were taken to the concentration camps along with the Jews. In occupied country followers of the old ways were hunted down.
Otti Votavova states that Hitler belonged to the legendary “FOCG” or “99 Lodge” of black magicians, described in Frabato The Magician. In both accounts we hear of the attempts of this organisation to bring Franz Bardon into their fold and the eventual magical battle that ensures. Bardon however is eventually arrested by the Nazis and imprisoned in late 1941 along with one of his students. While the prisoners were being whipped, the disciple lost his control and uttered a kabbalistic formula to immobilize the torturers. However, the effects of the formula eventually wore off and the disciple was shot in revenge. When he refused to help them, the Nazis cruelly tortured Bardon. Among other things, they performed operations without anesthesia, and forged iron rings around his ankles and fixed heavy iron balls to them.
After regaining his freedom, Bardon recommenced his occult work and healing. This type of thing was strongly discouraged in the very repressive political climate of post war Czechoslovakia and indeed it turns out that the new Russian Communist ideologies persecuted free-thinkers, Gypsies, Jews, and anyone interested in the occult or esoteric subjects as efficiently as the former Nazi Rulers. In 1958 Bardon was arrested by the communist government for his occult practices and died the same year under mysterious circumstances.
Franz Bardon’s Teachings
Bardon’s works are most notable for their simplicity, their relatively small theoretical sections, and heavy emphasis on practice. Franz Bardon is of the old school of occult thought. To him we are dealing with real spiritual forces that you can learn with practice to draw into yourself and control, direct and condense. In his books you will find instruction on all magical exercises Talismans,astral projection, mediation, control of the elements, concentration, mind reading, self hypnosis,spirit summoning, magical words and gestures, healing, Clairvoyance meditation/mental control, refining and balancing of the spirit, control of the elemental powers, conversation with unseen beings, astral projection, scrying, invocation of higher forces, invisibility, construction of talismans, fluid condensers, creation of elemental beings, magical pictures, loading and protecting a room/space and much much more.The whole course is completely based on the Four elements and directed towards physically tangible results. One thing that makes an enduring impression is Bardon’s evident sincerity. He insists frequently that he is doing as much as possible to transmit a system of occult development to the serious student who is either unable to find a teacher or work in a group. .His stated purpose was to give the serious student of magic the most complete and best possible magickal instruction obtainable outside of an occult lodge and without the benefit of a personal teacher.
Did he succeed? The only way to judge is by trying his curriculum yourself.
Books by or about Franz Bardon
Initiation into Hermetics By Franz Bardon Published by Merkur Publishing
The Practice of Magical Evocation By Franz Bardon Published by Merkur Publishing
The Key to the True Kabbalah By Franz Bardon Published by Merkur Publishing
Questions to the Master By Franz Bardon Published by Merkur Publishing
Memories of Franz Bardon By Lumir Bardon and Dr M.K Published by Merkur Publishing
Frabato the Magician By Otti Votavova Published by Merkur Publishing
A Bardon Companion: Commentary Upon Franz Bardon’s Books By Rawn Clark Published by O2