While reading a myriad of mystical and occult texts in my various magical studies, I came across the work of Franz Bardon. He was a Czech, who in his early career had been a stage magician and later became a teacher of Hermetics. In one of his books, Initiation Into Hermetic, he wrote instructions on how to aid a magician’s physical, mental and astral abilities.
A segment of his work was used for analyzing the negative and positive qualities of the personality called the Black and White Mirror. Bardon made use of the ancient four elements, air, earth, fire and water, plus the akasha or quintessence. He believed that the accomplished magician was one who could manipulate the elements to achieve a desired effect. Before the student could become master of the elements without, he had to first harmonize and control the manifestations of all elements, within. It was only through a thorough self-analysis that one could become a successful magician. With each working one came to some balance with the self and the elements. He instructs the student in theory and practice, within a magical curriculum. An excess of an element had to be lessened and a lack of an element needed to be developed. Bardon taught that without this inner control, outer elemental workings could not be accurately achieved. He is the author of also two other books written on magic: The Practice of Magical Evocation, and The Key to the True Quabbala. After Bardon’s death, his secretary Otti Votavova wrote a fourth book, Frabado the Magician, which was based on Bardon’s life.
It was one line in Bardon’s book, Initiation Into Hermetics that sent me headlong into the direction that I had been looking for:
“It will be very useful if the adept becomes acquainted with the cause and the effect of the four elements and knows how to use them correctly. By drawing analogies to the human body, one will certainly find out how to draw the parallel to the elements.”
An astute astrologer, Tim Scott (a contributing writer on the Franz Bardon website), helped me to expand upon Bardon’s small example of this process. We created a working balance sheet for the personality in order to transform vices into virtues, and cultivate balance and harmony. This transmutation is in essence an alchemical and magical process requiring practical training through introspection and self-discovery. By the time we had concluded our analysis, nearly 600 specific characteristics of human personality traits had been assigned their elemental assignations. This became the first real delving into the elements for me, and I teach a class on Franz Bardon, Initiation Into Hermetics to this day.
As the years ticked by and I began to apply what Bardon described, by applying the process of the Black and White Mirror, a new understanding of what a person could do for his or her self became clear on a personal level. These changes for me were slow to achieve, but eventually there was improvement, and the process came to be useful in honing the magical and alchemical self that became my new goal. At this same time, the process of becoming a hypnotherapist began to occupy my time. Assisting others in turning bad habits and fears into positive forces and strengths seemed a logical and parallel path with the working of the Black and White Mirror. In fact, my business was called, The Balance Within, with the byline “Learning to go inward, in order to go forward.” Here was a way in which assisting others, who were not involved in a magical practice, could see the value of changing their life for the better. In fact, hypnotherapy works so well it almost seems magical to my clients.