>> What concerns me is that I recognize that Bardon teaches a somewhat advanced method of spirit contact (hence the necessary prerequisite training up to Step 8 in IIH), and wondered exactly how different the system was in approach compared to the popular reflective scrying surface technique (would I be wrong in assuming that Bardon endeavours to get the student to a level of clairvoyant ability where a facial distortion method is unnecessary?) <<
Bardon's evocation is a radically different thing than what is described in your OTA quote [Note: these quotes have been deleted because of their length.] or what you will find elsewhere in the "Solomonic tradition".
The reflective mirror or facial distortion technique is not genuine evocation, as Bardon defines it, in that anything "evoked" is heavily filtered through one's own psyche. Furthermore, with these other approaches, the practitioner is not provided the tools that enable one to discern between their own psyche and an external entity or between a self-created vision and genuine contact with another entity. In essence, this sort of "evocation" is a form of self-administered psycho-therapy.
From a Bardonian perspective, this is what Runyon is saying with the quote:
"I think that as you move higher than Yesod on the Tree the spirits become more abstract and less emotion-driven ----that is if you are working them in the actual Sephira (such as Chesed, Geburah) as opposed to Chesed of Yesod, or Geburah of Yesod as we do in our regular dark mirror Goetia operations. In this case I think a non-reflective mirror might be better."
In Kabbalah, Yesod is the realm of the personality and the lower psyche. Here, Runyon is saying that the OTA's "regular dark mirror Goetia operations" are rooted in Yesod, which means that they are encounters with parts of one's own psyche; or rather, that what one can expect to encounter is heavily filtered through one's own psyche (Yesod) and will have more to do with the contents of one's own psyche than it will the essential spirit of the entity "evoked".
This sets the stage for a great amount of self-deception. It's like a city-dweller exploring the deep jungle at midnight -- without any understanding of the territory, it is inevitable that you will misinterpret your surroundings. This is why Bardon doesn't introduce evocation until after the student has completed Step Eight of IIH.
IIH begins with the *direct* examination of your own psyche (as it manifests through your personality) and of your own mind. Then it progresses to the control and reshaping of both your mind and your personality. Then you learn the rules of the road, so to speak, of the astral and mental realms, and how to be consciously active within them. So, by the time you complete Step Eight, you know VERY well your own psyche and evocation is no longer a matter of self-directed psychotherapy.
Bardonian evocation is a method of exploration, not psychotherapy. In my opinion, it's most important use to the magician is for the exploration of the higher spheres. It is also part of process that forwards the magician's *spiritual* growth. It's magical usefulness (the reason why most folks are attracted to evocation) is secondary at best.
Runyon's comment -- "Bardon's magick is for the advanced student who, having completed our Goetia/Almadel program, is ready to accept a long term regime of personal magical development" -- made me cringe, like when some one scratches their fingernails across a blackboard! ;-) *True* evocation is in no way ever a beginner's work! What Runyon describes, in this quote at least, is *evocation-like*, but only in so far as it employs the same ceremonial dressings. Unfortunately it lacks the magical abilities and understanding that would make it *true* evocation.
>> Also, do you think that there would be anything 'wrong' with training in a less holistic, comprehensive program (such as that of Konstantinos or the OTA for instance) and performing magical evocation? <<
It's not a matter of right or wrong. In my opinion, it would be risky, unreliable and unwise. Which is not to say that it would be impossible or hasn't been done.
>> Better yet, what would be the consequences of working with Bardonian spirits in the context of a different system? Or conversely, how do non-Bardonian spirits apply to his system? <<
Bardon's technique can be applied to any spirit whatsoever. It's not whose system of spirits one adheres to that matters. What matters is the technique. The facial distortion/reflective surface method would achieve the same result with Bardon's sigils and list of names as with any other. It would neither improve nor diminish the chances of success.
>> Does making a commitment with Bardon, and proceeding to Step 8 mean that I will no longer be able to apply the methods of authors who employ a reflective mirror? And, in addition, should this result be encouraged? <<
In the context of a commitment to the work of IIH, I think (and mind you, this is pure conjecture on my part) that it would be possible to employ these other evocation-like methods as part of your own exploration of your psyche, but only if you fully understand that that is what you intend to use them for. But even with this proviso, it is very risky and I'd advise against it. Evocation proper really is a waste prior to your having developed the requisite abilities. It is not the best tool for exploration of your own psyche (self-analysis is far, far superior) and is best reserved for the later exploration of the higher planes.
I realize that evocation sounds glamorous and exciting but the "path of the true adept" requires that the magician seek more than just what glitters. Therein lies the true treasure everlasting.
>> Are Bardon's methods superior, or rather more desirous - albeit a little harder to implement? <<
I'd argue with the idea that they're "harder" to implement. Especially if you compare quality and consistency of result and place Bardon's evocation in it's proper context of "advanced" work. When you've "advanced" to the completion of Step Eight, PME is not difficult. At that point in your development, it will make absolute perfect sense and you will be well equipped to practice the Art of evocation.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
01 Jun 2002