Transcendence, Part II, 11/29/99.  

Copyright (C) 1999 by William Mistele. All rights reserved. 

In my last article on transcendence, I mentioned how I thought it
might be advantageous for students of Bardon to imagine and work
with the divine qualities of each of the four elements right at the
beginning of their training.
   I sometimes am asked by individuals if they can become my
student.  I usually reply that I myself am a student.  I can share my
experiences but I am not in a position to take responsibility for
guiding another's spiritual life.  I have never met anyone in fact who
I consider capable of guiding another individual's spiritual life
though I see lots of people trying to do so.  I imagine we are all
responsible for our own spiritual lives.  
    Nonetheless, speaking for myself, if an individual asked me if he
or she was ready to study the Bardon system, my response would be
to ask in return if they have experienced any transcendence.    

Briefly, can you detach yourself from life and see it as from a great
distance the way the young girl learns to do in Wilder's play, Our
Town?  Having died, she is permitted to return and relive one day of
her life.  Obviously, there is no room for complaining, for jealousy,
envy, or worrying about trivial things when you realize how
precious, wonderful, and fragile life is.  Detachment belongs to the
air element and to some extent so does wonder.  There are of course
many other aspects of the air element which lead to transcendence. 
In my essays on the cosmic letter A and the sylph Cargoste I
indicate a few.

Do you have any faith or conviction?  Faith in one sense is a feeling
you discover within yourself that you are united to omnipotent
power, to the Creator of the universe.  Conviction is a sense of
certainty about your ability to accomplish what you intend to do.  I
know individuals who have been using ceremonial wands for
decades who lack conviction and faith.  What good is it to practice
in a magical tradition for years and to rise through the grades if you
can not find at the core of your being that you are united to the
Creator of life and the universe?  Who are you trying to kid?  To
such an individual I would have to state my opinion, "You are not
ready to enter the Mysteries."  
    You find things by seeking them.  If you don't look, you won't
even see what is right in front of you.  Faith, conviction, and the
omnipotence belong to the fire element.  Fire is in every breath,
every heartbeat, in lightning, in candles, in the sun and stars, and the
entire center of the earth is in effect on fire. Who can live in the
presence of so much power and not feel it or find it within oneself? 
I have discussed some basic exercises with the fire element in my
article on the salamander's Tapheth, Aphtiph, and Pyrhum.  See also
my forthcoming article on the cosmic letter K which pursues
specifically issues and problems of faith and omnipotence. 
    So do not come to me and tell me you have been practicing
magick for years and that you have doubts about your faith.  I will
tell you to go back and start over at the beginning.  Find the sources
of power which exists within you.  To learn magick, you have to
have some magick to begin with and I tell you magick is in every
breath, every heartbeat, every thought, every feeling, and every

On some level, can you love others, even those you hate?  A basic
question put to those who would undergo initiation is, "Can you
accept all the suffering in life as well as all the love?"  This is an
especially challenging question.  It goes to the core of our being, to
what it is to feel alive, to what it is to dream, to hope, and seek
healing in ourselves and to offer healing to others.  
    The religions of the world are most clever.  They take selfish
individuals wrapped up in hatred and greed and dazzle them with
truly magnificent ideals of enlightenment, love, wisdom, and divine
missions to fulfill.  But in any individual, examining each on a case
by case basis, you can still find and touch the energy which is
hatred, greed, selfishness, jealously, fear, insecurity, and rage.  
     So the question remains, inspite of all the religious stuff, the
ceremonies, rituals, and service, all the devotion, dedication, and
sacrifice--Can you get yourself into a space of mind or heart in
which you can embrace all that life is, the suffering and the love?  If
you can not, the mystery of the water element is hidden from you. 
The gate is closed, it is sealed, it is locked.  All the magical training
and the wisdom in the world will not transform you.  You may find
great power and achieve great things but you yourself will remain
locked in heart that is impoverished.  
     What good is it to call yourself a magician and an initiate if you
can not feel the serenity in moonlight so it shines in every cell of
your being, the joy which surges through the sea of the stars, or the
bliss in the seas of the earth which have nourished and given birth to
all life on earth?
    To the water element is the transcendence called omnipresence. 
It is being able to feel others' feelings, to sense the joys and
sufferings of their lives as if they are your own.  In the Bardon
tradition, the practice of omnipresence involves learning to transfer
your consciousness into every aspect of nature and every kind of
human being and spirit.  This practice is at the center of his training. 
You want wisdom?  You want power?  You want purposes and
work which endure through all ages of the world?  Then love with
all of your heart.

The earth element, of course, is practical, realistic, solid, and "down
to earth."  When I study the auras of the various planets in our solar
system, I am struck by how much the aura of our planet has to do
with building things and making things which endure.   If you are
serious about life, you seek to leave behind when you are gone
something of enduring value, something which enriches life for
others.  This can be spiritual like contemplation. It can be physical
like the Empire State Building. It can be a principle you seek to
manifest such as justice and equality as seen in the words of the
Constitution of the United States.  But whatever the activity,
something of value remains and continues on.
    This principle of contributing something of enduring value can be
very difficult to come to terms with.  If anything is true about
human civilizations, they rise and fall, they pass away, they fade like
grass as the Psalmist says in Psalms 90.  The years of our lives are
like a dream and then we are no more. 
    It is a wonderful thing to have a job and work. It plugs you into
the economy of your nation and the world.  It is one way to
participate in this great endeavor called human life.  But the psalmist
points out as does the Buddha that everything fades away and
everything changes. The mystery of the earth element is not
wisdom, power, or love.  It is inner silence.  It is the stillness in the
command, "Be still and know that I am God."  
    One of things we do in life as we grow up and also as we develop
civilizations is to take a hostile world and make a home within it. 
We take danger and we make peace.  We take ignorance and we
make wisdom.  We take hatred and we make love.  There is no end
to this process.  It is part of what we call life. 
     The mystery of silence is to understand that everything is
transitory and yet to be as responsible as you can for what you
control, to contribute whatever you can that is of value.  We make a
home in the world and yet as the Psalmist says our dwelling place is
God.  The earth element unites the other three--fire, air, and water--
will, wisdom, and love.  As we do this, we transform the world with
our lives.  The world is a better place for our having passed through
   The question relating to the transcendence in the earth element is
most basic--What actions, what substance of value do you intend to
contribute to life?  To put it another way, I think each person has to
answer in his or her heart, "Am I giving all I have to give?  Am I
giving the best of what I have to give?"
      I can not put this question to you nor can I hear your answer as
if I am your Zen master listening to see if you have answered my
koan.  You answer this question in the presence of God and before
the mystery of the universe which exists within your heart.  Without
embracing this silence, the seed can not sleep in the earth in winter
to later give birth to new life in spring.  And you will not be able to
endure the winter of your soul, to find and dream your deepest
dreams, to being them into being, and to become the person you are
meant to be.  This may sound inspirational but as I say it is most
basic and practical. It is about getting up in the morning and getting
done what you need to do.

These four aspects of transcendence--faith and omnipotence, love
and omnipresence,  wisdom and enlightenment, and silence from
which arises our greatest work--these can be restated as wonder,
awe, and gratitude for being alive.  If you wish to study the
mysteries, find and nourish these things within yourself at the
beginning.  They are at the core of your self and you will return to
them again and again and they in turn will provide you with limitless

Three years ago, a wonderful friendship came to end which caused
me a great deal of grief.  Shortly after this, I was meditating with a
spirit of the sphere of Mercury named Aziel and it is he who put to
me my life koan, "What is the source within you which heals the
wounds of your heart?"
    I wrote a poem in reply which I will share with you again in this
place.  The reason I am writing this essay is that last week another
friendship came to an end.  It was the kind of friendship which is
meant to last for a life time. Sometimes between human hearts the
flow of empathy and understanding is very deep.  But even the very
best things in life come to an end as the spirit who is the Chief
Judge of the sphere of Saturn likes to remind me.   These endings
are sacred as are new beginnings.  
    One reason to pursue transcendence through all of your training
is because it is not just what inspires you to live life fully and to
embrace all that life holds.  It is your experiences in life which will
challenge and test you to see just how deep and rich your
transcendence is.  The process and flow move in both directions. 
And so, as I say, there are times when we must return to the core of
our being to discover what is sacred to us and what illuminates us
from within. 
    Today I sat within akasha, the akasha of the sphere of Saturn and
the cosmic letter E.  The color of dark violet in this case represents
for me the oneness of the universe and of all creatures--we all share
in one life, in one being, and in one ultimate destiny.  The sound of
"D" in this case symbolizes for me the truth of the physical and the
spiritual universe.  Nothing is hidden.  There is nothing which can
not be found out.  There is nothing which shall not be revealed. 
The penetrating sensation, penetrating through space and time,
brings everything near so that the life which flows through every
being and heart I am united to as well.  I am within that openness
and that willingness to embrace and to understand. 
    And with this Saturnian meditation I could feel the pain and loss
within me fade away.  I did not take two months as it did five years
before.  It took a few days and the right spirit within me.  Which is
another way to say and to feel at the bottom of my heart that I
accept all that is within life, all the suffering and also all of the
From akasha, from within this place of spirit which is what akasha
is, proceed the four elements which make up the world. 
    And with the air element, in this moment, I can feel joined to the
entire atmosphere of the earth.  The light of the sky, its freedom,
wisdom, and delight shine within my mind.  With the water element,
I can feel the oceans of the earth, the ice caps, entire seasons
without light, the darkness of the ocean trench, the flow of the
rivers, the calm serenity of mountain lakes, the nurturing rain, the
flowing fog and rising mist--they fills my dreams with acceptance,
love, and peace. 
    The mountains, the plains, the minerals, the rocks--silence
embraces all their changes as I embrace the silence with which this
planet moves through space.   This silence which is behind the
changes of nature and within the purposes of God, this silence is my
    And to fire, I sense that the power in the stars is the same power
within my heart and there is no limit to it.  Within it is the first light
of creation and the ability to dream new dreams and to bring them
into being.  The work that has been given to me I shall accomplish
for all of my heart, my love, my soul and my faith are within it.

The way I said all of this five years ago is in this poem in answer to
the koan of my life--What is the source within you which heals the
wounds of your heart?  This is one way to describe the part of
myself or the spirit within me which is transcendent.  This is its

My mind is the sky--
Pure, clear, and open
Its air flows through my chest 
Its winds are my breath

My body is the Earth--
In me, Her Silence and endurance reach consciousness
Like Her, I shelter and I protect
I am one of Her fruits 
I am the strength and nourishment upon which others thrive 

The oceans are my magnetism and love
Rivers my bloodstream
Rain my moist fluids 
Lightning my heartbeat
Thunder my voice
I am life sustaining and giving birth to life

The volcano and magma at the center of the earth
Are my will and power unfolding 
I burn, I consume, I destroy 
Yet I heal the broken heart
And bring joy and excitement to life

The turning of the seasons 
The circle of the stars dancing 
I am Eternity uniting with time 
I am the nobility of the sun
Its inner union and fusion of opposites 
And through its light
My Song streams forth to the ends of the universe

I am the serenity of the moon 
Fluid, malleable, and changing
I am harsh, cold, and empty
I choose the place of your birth
I am warm, sweet, and nurturing
I reunite what is lost
All dreams arise from my light 
I am tenderness overflowing from the heart

I am within and I awaken 
The seeds of spirit hidden within all things 
I am the Celebration of Life
I am the deepest peace within the soul
I only exist to reveal the gifts
Which otherwise remain unknown
And there is no where I will not go
To bless or join with those who love.

To put it simply, the beauty of the universe, of creation, and nature
are a source of inspiration which heals and nourishes me when I
experience pain and loss.  Each of us no doubt will have our own
sources of inspiration which heal us and renew us again and again.