We would like to introduce William Hegeman (Bill) “Archonstone”. He has been very generous in sharing his journey through the magical arts. Please leave us feedback in the comments and please do share the post if you feel inspired to do so. Contact details for Bill can be found at the of this post.
PAA: Please introduce yourself and let us know how you found the teachings of Franz Bardon as well as sharing a little more about your extensive background as mentioned on your website.
William Hegeman (Bill) “Archonstone”. 1983, out of the Marines, couldn’t afford a Community College, struggling financially, I moved from Troy, NY to Albany. I was finally able to afford books as a typist. I think the store at that time was “Blue White Rainbow”. IIH, 777, Magic without Tears, and others I managed to acquire.
I started having mystical and paranormal experiences when I was 2. At 7 my grandfather came back to say good bye 2 weeks after his passing; and had local earth based creatures visit me also. At 13 I started going to a Baptist church, and practiced meditation and energy work from Evans-Wentz book: “Tibetan Yoga: The secret doctrine”. I lived in an “exit” suburb, with drug gangs, poor, criminal and troubled people. My family had its own issues. At 14 I did a progressive fast 40 days and prayed for the wisdom of Solomon or God. I saw a physical visual manifestation and got my answer in the affirmative, and said I’d be released in 32 years. El is not Yahweh. My life was filled with trials and ordeals. There was no shaktipat, or grace. Meditation and energy basics, along with my own visual techniques, I was faced with supernatural adventures where other people saw the same thing I did. Also realized that the “Christian” perception of God was flawed, finite and that there had to be a much larger metaphysical reality. I was 19 then. In my early 20’s in 1983, I had a girlfriend, with a household that had books on Kabbalah, Kyballion, and some Theosophic works. At that time I studied much further. I was a part-time professional reader. I planed walked with a structure based on the symbolic frame work from Kabbalah. I had created fetches , bodies of light or in Bardon’s work Mental bodies, to do reconnaissance and help inform me of the goings on of the Albany tri-city area. Kabbalah and the fetch’s attachments were all traps and I let them go, over a decade, then restarted and creating my own system and methodologies when I moved to Atlanta in 1996.
PAA: Many have problems with the early steps like VOM in step 1 and the visualization exercises in step 2. What advice would you give to help students pass these steps?
I can find no reference to VOM in my Bardon Books. I am assuming visualizing excercises. Step 1 I was practicing self control through my meditation exercises since I was 12 or 13. I did conscious breathing pranayama, and Bubble breath. Element Tatwas I had a harder time with. They evoked presences that I had to shut out. I did practice retrospection as a mean for mental body traveling. I agreed with Bardon’s assumption that disturbing the astral matrix can be harmful, and in my experiences would provide a feeding ground for negative vampiric beings in astral projection. Astral traveling pulling reality is not much better. Mental Body work, I call Aspecting and to be functional it has to use Astral accumulated to it to tune into the realms they walk in, and where one can relate the information back, so the energetic patterns can be remembered and not lived.
I have found that people have affinities for using a limited set of senses that concentration exercises work well with. Visual and physical senses are my primary. Auditory is the worst. All exercises we go back to basics continually to improve ourselves over time. Other senses that get translated to our physical senses develop over time as you develop a symbolic, mental/emotional patternings that mean something to you. Kabbalah is convenient system, building your own requires a lot of introspection and study. In an energetic framework, systematic contrived systems usually fall short to the social contextual framework one lives in. Excercising whole frameworks to work with egregores of divine, supernal/ infernal egregores, one can compartmentalize it, and work detachment and withdrawal, and choose other dynamics as one develops. I like the Tibetan or chi-gong expression for Bubble or Bell breathing better than the description of Pore Breathing.
PPA: Additional follow up on VOM from Bill.
My method is different than either observing the river method, or pure will which is what I started out with. Having a good potbelly breath and using the stillness at the end and top of the breaths, helps.
The idea that people today can still their mind and emotions is excessively difficult. The traction of distractions makes an ingrained habit. I use a Taoist Longman tradition of using judgement of mindful meditation. Proper Asana sitting with buttocks rolled forward and underneath so to take stress off of the psoa muscles sitting straight. Then have the chest expanded and hanging, breath the 4 square pot belly breath. starting with a count of four, Breathe in count of 4, hold at the top of the breath, breathe out for a count of 4, hold at the of the breath for a count of 4. The mind is like having a 2 year old running around the house of hoarders home with memories and impressions from the day we were born. Every thought or emotion that comes up, if it is yours own it, box it, categorize it, good bad or indifferent, labels and categories of your choice. What is not your detach from it, this is not mine let it go. After a mediation session, a standing sun stretch holding on to you, letting go what is not you with a modified and modest horse stance, bending knees, and pushing hands to the earth, letting go and grounding out what is not you. After 2 – 6 months, one is likely to have nothing come up and one can sit in silence, in a void. This and other techniques to manage the energy in the body, detaching the energetic issues in the body, and mindfully managing what has been sorted out. This is to help energy in the body and resolve previously categorized thoughts and emotions. Then do the same with Taoist microcosmic orbit breathing. These techniques are in my book. It explains how we hijack the body’s autonomic system to assist in the process, by breath, asana and recognition of the emotion and energy connection in the body.
PAA :What in your opinion are the crucial steps of IIH that ensure success and did you follow IIH by the book or did you go your own way with it?
I worked the concentration exercises. Some were inherent, I had been using them. Identifying and breathing the elements, because I saw them as phases, that didn’t work for me. Charles Luk’s book on Chi Gong: Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality, made more sense. Breathing in Yin type of elements, work better for physical and spiritual integration. The western elements work better for Yang elements methods of controlling yin.
I went my own way. The description of electric versus magnetic a western way to describe masculine and feminine energies with Pingala and Ida didn’t make sense. I realize that science, western culture, and the time Franz wrote these books, it was probably the best way to describe biomagnetism (which was a popular means of talking about spiritual energy at the time) given the time. What concerns me is that a lot of the writing seems to be heavily influenced by theosophists or more likely the interpretation into English was done by someone heavily influenced by Theosophists. My studies of Eastern schools of yoga and western schools of magic, theosophists made a mishmash of things to sell spirituality to the west. Eventually I had to go my own way. The Victorian poetry of Crowley was filled with metaphors that only literature and divinity PhDs could keep up with. Taoists and Hindu writings are filled with similes and cultural metaphors. After deep studies I’ve been able to tease out the salient meanings in them. PAA: What influence has the practice of Franz Bardons Hermetics had upon your life?
The most important thing I got out of Franz Bardon’s works was his systematic methodology of practice and discipline. Hinda and Taoist Yogas also put that at the forefront. His methodology of systematically developing practices and exercises and building upon them, to develop the self. Self examination, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and the use of the minds perceptions and analysis, to create a control of the spiritual practices. Also to order the mind and develop self discipline to control behaviors in context. The magical and spiritual mindset people have they tend to loose their way when they have to work with the blind public. The body, memories and faculties we loose when we pass. Disciplines, desires and personality are spiritual dynamics that we carry from life to lifetime. His methodologies keep that as a priority whether he had good direct information from Hindu yogi’s/guru’s or not. There were nuggets of information that the theosophists managed to get into the west. People’s interpretations and summaries, were filled with parochial and western lenses that were highly flawed. He managed to pull the nuggets out of the wash.
PAA: What challenges did you face during your training in IIH/ PME/KTQ. Was there any specific step that took longer for you than others?
I think I covered IIH in the previous answers. KTQ I don’t own a copy. There are plenty of other contemporary books and authors on Kabbalah. PME I didn’t practice. Nor have I ever made a practice of evocations. My personal history with El and other spirits who would interact with me but not speak to me, was a concern. That mystery of why I have since unraveled. Fighting demons, I can force them to speak, but they avoid me like a plague. Only if they are held in space by magicians, can I force them to communicate Evocation based on Western or Kabbalistic practices, requires an invocation of divine presence to effectuate the egregore where the respective spirits can be summoned. I have spent much of my life contemplating my relationship with that being and beings of their respective systems.
PAA: Are you able to share anything from your work in the second and third book? Such as experience of specific spheres via mental wandering or your first evocation? And Yet, with all the caveats and hesitations, I still do plane walking. There are natural planes, with various time skews, and affinities to geography, earth based, underworld and overworld, that are not inundated by parochial influences of heaven/overworld, hell/underworld, or spheres of deities and or their pantheons. I found that mental bodies that are attuned to specific spheres and or realities that are heavily influenced by divine egregores and the cultural contexts, can be a trap and an anchor to those realities. By 1990 I had to let them all go and detach from them.
Instead I created mental bodies at 8 compass points, zenith and Nadir, that I keep constructed and have them interface with any number planes. It is a constant practice. This pattern is repeated 26 times so I have 296 aspects to work with. All are shielded. Each has access to planes around the world, angle, speed, skew, overworld or underworld. At times they intersect with patterns from people and divine contexts that they identify with. Magic and its limitations depending on the attachments and detachments you choose, is a deep study. I prefer that these aspects do the work directly in whatever spheres of influence. Silence even from, to and around spirits, are necessary for magical operations. It is great if they are in agreement and act in congruence with your volition. When they are stymied and restricted because the control and edicts from the egregore, denies you access in any shape or form. Well that is past lifes, history, and more. For the sake of understanding and moving forward, I won’t get into what I think my hagiography might be.
PAA: I see from your website that you have vast experience with different systems and traditions. How have these impacted your work with IIH/PME and KTQ?
When one works at the Great Work, all things blend together. When you perceive non-duality, methods, apprehensions and dynamics, there is a truth in all of them. Your own personal context if worked to the degree of discipline one creates from trial and error what works best for themselves.
PAA: Do you think they have made things easier?
IIH more so has made things immensely easier. The step by step development of practices is a requirement for any one experienced or not for spiritual, mental or personality development. Most schools or traditions don’t have that. Books tend to pick practices by the type of development or by the traditions for the symbol set. PME, and its methodology, and studies from other practices have put me in the mindset to create my own.
PAA: Were there any areas that clashed?
The idea of electric and magnetic aspects of energy, while it fit the time of the writing, and appealed to the scientific terms of the time, it doesn’t fit. Mesmer and static electricity the affects and feelings are directly yang energy. Equivalating that to Astral or even the term astral I find misleading. It is a product of the time. Aether and astral were terms built from medieval and renaissance magical treatises and brought up to date of the time of the 19th and 20th century neo-romanticism recrafting magical traditions. It doesn’t help the idea of Spirit and Soul was turned inside out by the catholic church, and terms like astral, having people focusing on heavenly bodies, or spheres that can have both overworld and underworld influences, not separating the masculine for controlling the feminine presence and substance of spirit, and calling it soul. While spirit is relegated to the spark of god, giving over the soul to one spiritual egregore or demesne, all the other possibilities and proper designations spirit are ignored. Greek, Hebrew, and even translations of other cultures have misconstrued spirit and soul. Soul is the expression of your immortal being in the world. Spirit is everywhere in everything and there are technical terms for it and its function in Hebrew, Greek and other cultures. Calling it astral, light, spirit interchangeably does not fit. This is one of the things that I am quite pedantic about. Having this clarity it helps me make clear comparisons between other systems.
PAA: If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice on how to best approach the journey of these books, what would it be?
Like anything practice, practice and experiment and see what works. Study everything. I wish I had these books when I was 14. My IIH was printed 1975 and PME 1981. Enid Hoffman’s book “Develop Your Psychic Skills” wasn’t available then either.
PAA: Closing thoughts – anything you wish to discuss. This could be advice for practice, information on your own projects like books, podcasts, website etc.
Meditation, 4 square pot belly breath, breathing with just the diaphragm, to quiet the mind, ask yourself, is thought or emotion mine, yes or no. If yes, label and order it. No let it go. Ground it out. Instead of quieting the mind by force, one develops the discipline of control of the mind and emotions, observes them, and then can interpret energy and senses from what is not you and where it comes from.
Questions for analyzing the body inch by inch, how does it feel, flow and connect at each step of the breath. And more is it me or not me. A good way to clear the body of energetic influences that are not your own.
Practice Bell or bubble breath for energy accumulation as pore breathing. Erect and comfortable sitting posture with a full yogic breath, 4 square breath while using the ribcage.
These meditation techniques and the section on Internal Alchemy ordering, and managing mind, emotions and conscious control of evolving personality and ego to work with one’s spirit and magical experiences or journeys is in the book.
I hope in my book the step by step method of developing the mind, spirit and magic in successive steps that build on each other could be compared to Franz Bardon’s IIH book. Granted it is different in many ways. The first half of the 20th century industry and personal work ethic was the hallmark of the mindset of the west. Critical thinking, and developing an inquisitive mind has been squashed out of the west or at least here in the United States, that questions and exercises for reflection on the steps to build that has been built into the book.
PAA: Thank you Bill for your time and generous sharing.