A guest post from Virgil
Given that it is the last week of Advent and Christmas will soon be upon us, I wanted to write an article to help Christian Bardonists develop an understanding of this day that is relevant to the magical path they are called to. Of course one does not need to be a Christian in order to appreciate Christmas and develop a useful understanding of the significance of this day. You have probably encountered at some point the idea that the birth of Christ represents the birth of divinity within oneself. This is a very good teaching, and a universal one that all spiritual seekers regardless of their particular tradition can appreciate. Paramahansa Yogananda also provides many additional universal teachings on Christmas ,here. In the Bardon tradition, universal teachings are greatly appreciated. But even so, I am not of the opinion that every Bardon-related piece of writing has to contain only universal teachings, or that it is some horrible form of heresy to write a Bardon-related article containing teachings that are for only certain types of Bardonists, such as Christian Bardonists, Druid Bardonists, or Buddhist Bardonists. And so with this in mind, I share the following reflections and teachings.
The Prophecy of Isaiah
Imagine the situation. It is roughly 742 B.C. The kingdom of Assyria is trying to take over the world. The king of Israel does not wish to be taken over by Assyria and is rebelling. He wants the kingdom of Judah to join him in fighting off the Assyrians. Given the superiority of the Assyrian military, Ahaz, the king of Judah, knows that it is a bad idea to try to fight the Assyrians. The king of Israel, upon learning that Ahaz does not want to join him, attacks Judah in an effort to depose Ahaz and replace him with a king that is willing to join him in fighting off the Assyrian invaders. Ahaz is now faced with two options.
- Join the Israelites in fighting the Assyrians
- Turn to the Assyrians for help fighting the Israelites
Both of these options are bad. If he joins the Israelites, he will be defeated by the Assyrians, because even the combined military strength of Israel and Judah cannot stand up to the Assyrians. If he turns to the Assyrians, he will effectively be surrendering to these invaders.
The prophet Isaiah goes to Ahaz and encourages Ahaz to turn to God for help. Ahaz is offered a sign of God’s ability and willingness to help – “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”(1) Ahaz, in response, says “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.”(2)
Now, one of the commandments is to not test God, so at first glance it may appear here that Ahaz is being pious in refusing to test God by asking for a sign. However, Ahaz is a very arrogant man. He wants to make his own decisions regarding how to run his kingdom. He wants to figure things out himself. And so, his statement about not wanting to test God was really an expression of false piety. It was an attempt to keep God out of things.
Isaiah, being a prophet and a master of akasha, easily sees what is really in Ahaz’s heart. He rebukes Ahaz for his false piety and states that, regardless of whether or not Ahaz wants one, he will receive a sign from God. Isaiah then goes on to utter his famous prophecy.
Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. The Lord will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah – the king of Assyria.(3)
On the day that this child, Immanuel, is born, a third option will become available. At this point, one will no longer need to choose between the two already-existing horrible options; those two options will be destroyed. However, because of Ahaz’s arrogance, this prophecy would not be fulfilled for over 700 years when Christ Immanuel was finally born of the Virgin Mary. Of course by then it was too late for Ahaz.
Christ and the Path of Hermetics
So, what does all this have to do with Bardon’s system of magical training? In addition to a literal interpretation, Holy Scripture also has several allegorical interpretations, and some of those allegorical interpretations are very relevant to those engaged in the work of initiation. Many Bardonists who have been stuck on Step 1 for years are faced with two options.
- Continue to struggle futilely to advance through IIH
- Give up their efforts to advance through IIH
The struggle of the Israelites against the Assyrians was always going to be futile. The Assyrians were simply far too powerful. Therefore, continuing to struggle futilely to work through IIH is analogous to siding with the Israelites.
The Assyrians were worldly people. If Bardon’s system of magic is the spiritual path to which we are called, then giving up our efforts to work through IIH will result in us becoming worldly people. Therefore, giving up is analogous to siding with the Assyrians and becoming one of them.
So, are we forced to choose one of these two options? Or, is there a third option which can save us from having to choose one of these two options.
There is in fact a third option. Isaiah’s prophecy makes it clear that when Immanuel comes into this world, then one will be saved from the two options and presented with a third option. For us Christian Bardonists, this third option is to advance steadily and efficiently through the steps of IIH with the help of Christ – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”(4)
Praying to the Key of David
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ. However, it is not enough for us that Christ came into the world two millennia ago. If that were enough, then every aspiring magicians would be making steady and efficient progress toward adepthood. That is clearly not the case. In addition to Christ coming into the world, Christ must also come into one’s magical training. This is something to think about this year on Christmas.
One way to bring Christ into one’s magical training is to pray to Christ. This can be done using a rosary. A rosary is a set of prayer beads consisting of several large beads and many small beads. A specific prayer (usually the Our Father) is said on the large beads and a different specific prayer (usually the Hail Mary) is said on the small beads. If you wish to use a rosary to pray to Christ, it is simple. On the large beads, say the following prayer.
O Key of David, please unlock for me the door to adepthood. Amen.
And on the small beads, say the following prayer.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. Please purify and open my heart, and please help me advance through the ten steps of Initiation into Hermetics as safely and as efficiently as possible. Amen.
Regarding the first prayer, “Key of David” is a title of Christ that is found in the Book of Isaiah as well as in the Book of Revelation. As Christian Bardonists, we can interpret this title to mean that Christ is the key that unlocks the door to adepthood. We do not have to give up our efforts to get past the door as the Bardonists who have sided with the Assyrians have done, nor do we have to continue to beat futilely against the door as the Bardonists who have sided with the Israelites have done. We have a third option, which is to have this door unlocked for us by the Key of David.
Regarding the second prayer, this is an extended version of the famous Jesus Prayer that is repeated by hesychasts in their endeavor to attain Theosis. It contains three petitions. The first petition is for mercy, since through God’s mercy the negative karma preventing us from advancing through IIH will be removed. The second petition is for a pure and open heart, since this is a valuable asset for those walking any spiritual path, including Bardon’s magical path. The third petition just straight-up asks Christ for help advancing through IIH.
God is Love
Magical training is not just one of many parts of our lives. For those truly called to the magical path, all parts of one’s life become training. For Christians, Jesus was God incarnate, so to bring Jesus into our lives is to bring God into our lives. The New Testament teaches that “God is love.” (5)Just as oil and water cannot mix, God cannot come into our lives if we do not live in a way that expresses love. So let us do our best to cultivate love during these last few days of Advent, so that as we prepare to celebrate Christ coming into this world, we may also prepare for Christ to enter our lives as well. As a starting point for this process, let us consider the advice the “master of mystics” gave in the Sermon on the Mount.
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.(6)
To be a child of God is to have divine power. This is the power of the genuine magician. It is a power that is only acquired through perfect unconditional love.
1. Isaiah 7:11 RSV
2. Isaiah 7:12 RSV
3. Isaiah 7:14-17 RSV
4. Philippians 4:13, NKJV
5. 1 John 4:8 RSV
6. Matt. 5:38-48 RSV