Copyright (C) 1998 by William Mistele. All rights reserved. 

This is part of an essay from evoking the salamander Itumo. At this point
I began discussing some of the typical problems associated with akasha.

From the Salamander Itumo:

Akashic Plane:  I say to Itumo, "Meditate with me on the akashic plane." 
Without even blinking his eyes, Itumo focuses his consciousness on a
spiritual level from which all aspects of electricity can be studied.  Let
me briefly review what this state of
 mind is which supposedly is the source of the elements and forces of
nature.  After all, Itumo does not belong to the Red Cross or Amnesty
International.  He is not a therapist, a social worker, or a guidance
counselor.  The only reason Itumo responds to
 me is that he knows he has something to learn from me. 
    In traditional lore, we often encounter the charming if quaint image
of a wizard with a pointed cap standing in the center of a magical circle. 
With wand raised, he commands the four elemental beings and opens and
closes the gates to their realms by his words of power.  He attempts to do
this because he believes he has an authority derived from his mind being
united with God and centered within akasha.
     If we were to take this imagery and translate it into the terminology
of transpersonal psychology or actually speak with such a psychologist, we
might be told:  "There is center within us from which all the opposing and
diverse forces which motivate and drive us are harmonized.  When we
discover this point of integration in our consciousness, we are able to
accept and be reconciled with all that happens to us.  Then we find
meaning in all our experience and taste the satisfaction underlying all
passi on and desire.  The four elements you speak of are the different
qualities within us--water is feeling, air is intellect, fire is will, and
earth is our actions in the world.  When we are centered, we can bring
these four into balance." 
    Transpersonal psychology tries to honor the sacred within religion
without taking a position on beliefs and doctrines.  Our humanistic
psychologist might go on, "See, the sacred within all religions has
significance because it reveals the depths withi n us.  By entering and
celebrating a sacred space--by drawing near to something which inspires
awe, wonder, and beauty--we join with powers greater than ourselves.  When
such power touches us and we honor its presence, then we feel most alive
and fulfille d." 
     But what about our wizard of lore with his wand, talismans, sigils,
and magic mirror or crystal ball?  It seems we have now reduced him to a
figment of imagination belonging to fairy tales and stories in esoteric
archives.  At best, the writings of
 a mage such as Albertus Magnus or Hermes Trismegistus are reinterpreted
as a symbolic expression of a search for completion or an inner quest we
may undertake within our souls. 
       If an ancient magician was given the opportunity to respond to our
modern transpersonal psychologist, his answer might go like this: "Yes,
yes, harmony, integration, and reconciliation have a minor role to play in
what I do.  And the four elements do in fact have the qualities you
mention which characterize personality and human interaction.  But do not
imagine I am attempting to become a more integrated individual in my
society or to enhance personal qualities when I spend a lifetime dedicated
to my work. 
    "If you want achievement and personal satisfaction, it is sufficient
to be a moral person who is devote and righteous. With this attitude, you
can succeed in life without having to cross an abyss of doubt and
insecurity.  If you want a life full of me aning and happiness, then stay
within the boundaries set by your religion and culture.  Your society will
tell you all you need to know to be an honorable and accomplished
individual.  The problem is that too much self-understanding is dangerous
and, in t he long run, counterproductive.  Looking deeply into yourself
can only undermine your ties to society and your connections to your
friends and lovers. 
     "I do not touch the sacred in order to feel more alive.  When the
sacred comes into your life, it destroys your identity and takes from you
the life you thought you knew so well.  There is a dark gulf separating
the person you know yourself to be and
 the spiritual being waiting to be born within you.  In every wisdom
tradition this realization is the first step you must take in order to
celebrate the mysteries. 
     "The great mystics in every religion know this experience can not be
reshaped, reduced, or reinterpreted.  They have tried and failed and that
is why we consider them somewhat different from everyone else--they trade
their peer group and support netw ork for an inner vision they have found
within themselves.  As a matter of fact, when the sacred enters your life,
it does not fulfill but runs counter to the dreams, the needs, and the
psychological paradigms of your culture." 
       We seem to have, then, two opposing points of view.  Mind you, a
good mediator does not need to take a position on one side or the other in
a discussion between the modern and the ancient world.  In a conflict, it
is sufficient to listen carefully
 to each perspective and then explore the possibilities and the options
which no one has yet considered.  Instead, we might ask what these
perspectives share in common.  The "center of the magical circle," for
example, is identified with the akasha and it seems to be similar to the
"center of the self."  Let us consider akasha a little further to see to
what extent the magical and the psychological have an inner connection and
share common values. 
     The modern magician, Franz Bardon, went through a phase where he used
a wand, magic circle, and sigils though I do not recall him mentioning a
pointed hat.  Later on, he put aside such ritual utensils because his
consciousness no longer required that
 kind of external support.  We could ask Bardon, "What is this awareness
called akasha which magicians have explored for ages but which is so alien
to the modern mind?" 
     In an honest attempt to reconstruct his reply, I imagine Bardon
saying, "Akasha is the ineffable and incomprehensible presence of the
Divine within us.  And equally, it is the source, the wisdom, and the
power unfolding universe.  If I were speaking with a scholar who wanted
definitions and concepts to satisfy his curiosity, I would say this: 
     "Immanuel Kant was wrong.  Space and time are not categories which
define every experience which appears within our consciousness.  If you
train your mind, consciousness can become free to penetrate through space
and time.  Consciousness can also re main integrated and intact without
attaching itself to any form or identity.  It can be fully within and
totally engaged in any situation and, in the same moment, completely
transcendent.  We all possess this intuitive ability.  We are all able to
be this
 sharp and alert. 
    "For example, we can learn to project a part of our mind into any
being or thing that exists to study it from within.  This is not an
imaginative act.  This is an actual transference of consciousness.  We can
sense its molecular vibration and its phys ical body.  We can perceive its
soul and astral substance.  We can sense every aspect of what animates it
and imbues it with life.  We can sense the structure of its mind and every
influence which determines its existence.  And we can chart all the source
s of inspiration which grant it purpose and shape its actions. 
    "On the most basic level, akasha is conscience which tells us to do
what is right so there is balance, justice, purpose, and love within our
lives.  But there is much more.  In the 90th psalm it says, `Oh Lord, thou
hast been our dwelling place throug h all generations.  Before the
mountains were brought forth or ever thou didst form the earth and the
sky, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.' The author was
able to say this not because he was inspired but because he saw this and
knew it
 to be true.  He experienced it from within an akashic state of awareness. 
When it says, `Be still and know that I am God,' this is an invitation for
us to enter akasha.  When the prophets saw through the ages and the veils
of time were lifted, this happ ened because their eyes were opened to read
the future from within akasha. 
   "But I do not mean to define akasha in terms of religion though it is
the source of all genuine religious experience.  It is simply part of who
we are as well as being the source and guiding force behind the universe. 
Some of you, however, are interes ted in more than academic discussions or
fantastic fables belonging to lore and creative imagination.  Some of you
want to taste the experience rather than view it from a distance.  You are
more empirical than scholars.  You want field research so your id eas are
concrete and able to change yourself and the world.  Let us therefore
explore this intuitive level of our minds. 
    "Consider your physical environment, where you are, and the building
around you.  Also be aware of your body--your breathing, posture, and
health Visualize this environment and also yourself within it. 
    "Now enter akasha.  Do this by visualizing yourself within an endless
space of dark, ultraviolet light.  The color is not so important.  Rather,
the nature of this light in and around you is that it penetrates
everywhere through space and time.  Dista nce, then, is suspended.  Your
awareness is able to be anywhere you choose.  Time vanishes--you are free
to place your awareness anywhere in time.  If you consider a friend a
thousands of miles away, it is as if the other person is now right in
front of y ou.  If you consider an event which occurred a thousand years
ago, it is as if you are present and watching as it unfolds. 
    "This state of mind has no definition, image, or limitation.  And yet
from it are derived all spiritual ideals and qualities.  For example, as
you enter akasha, begin to sense the oneness of all things and the power
and love which imbues them with pu rpose and life.  Begin to sense the
origin of all things, the forces which move them, and the final ends they
seek to attain.  Sense how, in this space, the deepest cravings and the
highest ideals are harmonized and joined.  There is no path of life or wi
sdom which escapes your comprehension.  There is no thought you can not
understand or feeling you can not experience within yourself.  Akasha is
the purest of all thoughts and the source of the highest inspiration. 
     "In life, we often feel separate or distant from others, but within
akasha all things are near.  In life, we are subject to frustrated desires
and dreams we may be unable to fulfill.  But within akasha, there is no
separation between the need and its
 satisfaction, between the dream and its realization. 
    "To enter akasha is to think, to feel, to imagine, and to dream as a
pure spiritual being who is, nonetheless, fully aware of the limitations
and restrictions which shape the physical world, history, and human
experience.  In akasha, you see your nee ds, the needs of others, and the
world and also the best way to meet them.  Akasha is the power of
conviction and the vision which makes this happen. 
    "You will know when you are beginning to taste this experience. You
will feel total freedom and detachment and also profound compassion,
caring, and commitment.  You will feel you have all the power you need to
accomplish whatever purpose you choose a nd also an immense gratitude for
the love that flows through you to enrich others' lives.  You will feel as
if you have finally come home and yet also that each moment is new as if
your nervous system has never felt these sensations running through it.
     "But in regard to elemental and other spiritual beings, akasha grants
you a power of concentration greater than their own.  Though their powers
are superhuman and also divine, the images, intentions, and desires within
them are illuminated by the lig ht within your mind.  By identifying with
akasha, you become the source of their inspiration and the reflection of
their highest ideal. 
    "And when you speak, you become the voice which commands their inner
being.  This is not an autocratic and arbitrary exercise of will.  Rather,
in joining with akasha, you become an agent of Divine Providence--out of
inner union with the Divine and be ing in harmony with the laws of the
universe, you guide and inspire with wisdom.  And in all that you do you
fulfill, you heal, and you bring beauty to the world.  But the bottom line
in all this discussion is that you acquire the sensation of light emana
ting from your body joining you in this moment to everything that ever
was, is, and ever will be.  This grants you the feeling of what it is to
dwell within and to be a member of the spiritual world." 
     There seem to be some significant advantages to Bardon's approach to
akasha.  If we use the imagination so it has no limitations, then we can
construct a spiritual identity which magnifies to the highest degree
everything good within human nature.  I n part, this is certainly what he
is after.  Through practice perhaps we can gain a clear sense of existing
as a spiritual being within a spiritual realm.  This would be similar to
the center of the self and an invaluable resource for maintaining clarity
and concentration in times of confusion or conflict.
    I can imagine spending some time each day engaged in such
contemplation.  For a brief period, I can feel total freedom,
independence, and autonomy.  Circumstances do not constrain or influence
me in any way.  And in the same moment I can also feel t he compassion
which wishes the highest and the best for others.  This involves an
empathy so generous it can celebrates and act to enhance the life of all
    Akasha, in this aspect, is not so difficult to grasp.  It is just a
matter of taking the wisdom and love we have already seen in life and then
imagining it in its purest form.  In fact, it is kind of nice someone
insists we make this particular contem plation a life long practice. 
      But there are several problems.  First, in the modern world we have
psychics and seers running around but no prophetic schools.  The idea of
penetrating through time and time with a pure, formless consciousness is
not very common.  How would Bardon
 explain this ability? 
      He might say this, "First of all, the human brain has the
neurological capacity to recreate any experience you have ever had as if
it is happening right now.  Working with akasha is simply a way of tapping
onto this capacity.  But you can proceed mu ch further. 
      "This is done by focusing your mind in a vast space.  This space is
filled with light emanating from your body and which penetrates through
space and time. With no thoughts to disturb you and with a mind clear like
the sky, you can amplify to an imm ense degree the faint impressions you
       "Do you think it strange when a forensic criminologist takes a
microscopic sample of DNA and tells you with certainty who was and who was
not at a crime scene?  Do you think it is odd when a paleontologist can
pick up a small piece of jaw bone and tell you without a doubt that
seventy million years ago a particular dinosaur died right there?  And is
it inconceivable when someone emails you from the other side of the world
a few moments before you receive it?  An individual you have never met
asks you for a personal favor or offers you the solution to a problem no
one else has been able to solve for you. 
     "Electronically or with careful scrutiny, we bridge the gulfs of
space and time on a daily basis.  What I am suggesting is that we can
penetrate through space and time with our consciousness because our minds
have that sensitivity and spiritual abili ty.  Developing this is just a
matter of practice. 
     "As compared to psychology, a magician does not take society but the
spiritual universe as his point of reference and governing principle.  A
magician does not go on a quest passing beyond familiar boundaries to
explore the unknown so that later he c an return to enrich society with
new insights and inspiration.  At the beginning, the magician finds akasha
at the core of his being.  He identifies with it and all that he does
arises from this level of perception and freedom.  He does not require
exter nal recognition to mark his success and accomplishments.  He does
his work on behalf of Divine Providence and he honors this presence within
him above all else." 
    For Bardon, then, a spiritual identity is an ideal to be pursued and
doing so heightens our powers of perception.  His tradition of hermeticism
proceeds from the assumption that the five senses are able to perceive not
only the physical world but the
 astral and mental worlds as well.  As is the case with wisdom, magic is
found by following a spiritual path and its existence verified through
personal experience.  But the second problem with Bardon's approach to
akasha is more difficult to resolve.  Ak asha is not just a spiritual
ideal.  Identifying with it empowers an individual to act with absolute
    As Bardon sees it, working with akasha enables a magician to alter his
personal karma and change the direction of his life in amazing ways. 
According to the degree of his mastery, akasha enables him also to
intercede on behalf of the future of mankin d.  And, in regard to the four
elements of nature, he can interact with the hurricane, the tsunami, the
volcano, and the earthquake so their destructive effects are minimized. 
Putting aside the question of whether this is real or not, how can Bardon
envi sion a human being as wielding such power and authority?  It would
seem that the idea itself invites tragedy through encouraging
self-deception, grandiose illusions, and manipulation of others' lives. 
    Bardon would probably say something like this, "In 1945, physicists
unlocked the power within uranium 235 and plutonium.  For fifty years
politicians have used this power to create a balance of terror between two
great countries in order to defend th eir national boundaries and to
prevent war. During this time, politicians and generals have possessed
absolute power--in this case, the ability to destroy all life on earth. 
   "What I am suggesting is that some individuals commit themselves to
mastering wisdom and joining with the Divine with the sole intent that
their actions be of benefit others.  This is not just a matter of good
intentions or believing in an ideal or see king personal fulfillment. 
This is a matter of understanding that we have the power to create our own
future and it is dangerous to deny this ability.  To do so would, by
default, leave such power in the hands of those whose hearts are cold or
whose pur poses are domination and destruction. 
     "Science has unlocked the keys to nature so we have powers without
precedent or parallel in history.  Wisdom, however, is always the equal of
every danger and the Divine is able to illuminate every crisis and fulfill
every need.  But this ability to respond with a caring which is invested
with absolute power is something you must find within your own heart and
conscience.  To identify with akasha is to experience the Divine in all
its aspects--power, love, wisdom, and sacred work.  A magician can ne
ither afford the luxury nor indulge himself by closing his eyes to the
light which is the source of the four elements and all that exists." 
    Bardon's answers reflect his tradition.  Though he has made
extraordinary efforts to communicate to the modern world the secret
practices of esoteric magic, there is still something odd about his
replies.  This is reflected in one of Bardon's books w here he says it
takes a superhuman patience to master his system. 
   As I read Bardon, it seems to me that he expects an individual to
attain a high degree of self-mastery.  He wants a person to have the
equivalent of two degrees in psychology, the clarity of a Zen master, the
imagination of Steven Spielberg, and the co ntrol of his health like a Tai
Chi Chuan master or a fifth don in aikido.  And this is just for the
beginning practices.  Let us put this discussion of the hermetic tradition
off to the side and consider a more friendly method for entering akasha.

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