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Through Hermetic Meditation and Beyond with Crystalf Maibach

Falcon Books is presenting a series of interviews with seasoned Hermetic practitioners and those who follow a spiritual discipline. The aim being to share the wisdom, knowledge and understanding of these practitioners with those just beginning the path and as an inspiration to us all. The focus of these discussions are guided towards the spiritual seeker.

Copyright of Falcon Books Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved (2017). Republished 2023.

Presenting today an interview with Crystalf Maibach who is a long term Franz Bardon practitioner He began the work of conscious Self-Transformation 25 years ago, and is active in Bardon’s Opus and other hermetic and magical traditions and has been now for nearly 15 years. Beside the Bardon Work of Self-Transformation, his main focus lies in laboratory alchemy. He holds a master’s degree in History and has written several articles concerning mainly Alchemy and Theurgy in different magazines. Crystalf also has a successful Blog named Hermetic Science which offers information ranging of subjects on Franz Bardon, Alchemy, Astrology, Magic and Quabbalah.

A cordial welcome Crystalf. Thank you for sharing with us your time and wisdom along this journey.

1.    Falcon Books: I wonder if you could share with us a bit of your background and how you came to practice Franz Bardon’s work?

Crystalf:  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share some of my experiences, gained by walking my path.

For me, it is always an interesting question, how I came to practice Bardon’s work. There are so many inspirations that depending on my mood and time, different ones come primarily to my mind. So let´s think about, which one I want to focus on. I remember some of them more dominant like (clearly) Bardon’s book itself, others more reluctant. But all of them are part of my individual desire to grow beyond my mundane capabilities. Maybe the earliest memory I can remember of, that has something to do with personal growth is … Luke Skywalker! Honestly, some of my earliest memories about the desire to grow in self-improvement is, when I was around 7 years old and watched Star Wars the first time. I was deeply impressed with Luke trying to become a Jedi Knight, to grow from a mere farmer boy toward a “wise warrior” like Obi-Wan. As probably every little boy I loved warriors, but since then I couldn´t get along with the pure muscle types; there had to be more, the wisdom to know why and when to fight for what, just like “Old Ben”. This memory was probably part of my subconscious desires when I started my own quest – I think this triggered something; there was a spark that got alighted. Well, around three years later I started training martial arts: Shaolin Kung Fu. Maybe to fight better: but what I learned was not to fight, but to control myself – my body and mind. This was the first conscious step toward transformation.

Of course I got in contact with the so-called “youth occultism” in the mid of the 90ies too, but it did not impress me in the slightest; in fact, I was more repelled by its egomaniac self-centeredness. And honestly: even as a fourteen-years-old I could not grasp why making a wand should give me magical powers. The magic had to come from me, not the wand. So I concentrated on school…

My first real act of magic I did with around 21: I had a bad argument with a person very dear to me – and I won the argument. Sure, I won, but I hurt her by my words, my anger…and when I came home, it became crystal-clear to me that this wasn´t the kind of person I want to be. So I decided to change myself, to develop into a person I feel comfortable with looking into the mirror. And this conscious decision – without books, Bardon, rituals, etc. was the most magical act I had done so far.

A year later I stumbled upon IIH and found it immediately the perfect tool to reach this goal. IIH appeared from the very first moment as a systematic system of self-development, including magic – all the myths inherent still in my (the human) consciousness, but without the tam-tam found in many modern systems of occultism. It appeared to me nearly scientific in its systematic approach, but nonetheless all about the individual. And it had no dogma! After I began the work I did in fact gain experiences in a lot of other occult systems and initiations, but after a while, I realized that none of them really gave me a lasting feeling of maturity. Sometimes even quite the opposite. So after a few years I quit with the other stuff and concentrated on IIH, restarting in the process and since then I walk the Hermetic path.

And I am still on that journey to transform myself. Still struggling from time to time, but walking on step by step. In my experience, it is not important to be perfect, but never to stop walking. Then the goal will be reached in time…

2.    Falcon Books:  Many people get ‘stuck’ for a long time on Step 1. First, what do you think are the main reasons for this and do you have any advice to enable people to get through Step 1?

Crystalf:  That is a tough and long-winded question if every argument for getting “stuck” I have heard so far should be considered. But I think the main reason is, that most people don’t really *want* to walk the Path. In truth they want other things: fame, love, respect, power in some way or another; these are the main reasons I deducted. And to transform their body, spirit and mind appear for them more mandatory, then an act worth of itself. So they more or less “torment” themselves with IIH and the exercises of Step 1 – and torment is no fun. Sometimes they even realize somewhere in themselves, that there is a treasure to be found in IIH, but still, they care more about other things – like sleeping an hour more in the morning. And to wake up earlier is no fun for them. But IIH should be FUN, it should be fun to change yourself for the better. And every Step is worth its own fun. Too often I talk to people who long to be in Step 5 or 6 because they expect some cool stuff there. But honestly guys – when you arrive there, all the stuff you do and experience appears as nothing special anymore, i.e. to project elements, just the natural outcome of your maturity. And as long as the student finds no fun in Step 1, he won´t progress. Still, my favorite exercise in the whole of the three books is thought-observation! I simply love it!!! It is the foundation for everything else and teaches me every day more about me, my behavior, my being. It is THE exercise that makes “know thyself!” possible…

And all the other reasons why people don´t progress are logical consequences of this subconscious unwillingness: i.e. having no time is “not making time”. If the student really wants to do the exercises they will be able to find the time. These arguments are following several other excuses.

Another main reason is a prejudiced approach to the exercises. Many students think they already know what Bardon is talking about and thus they don´t really do *his* exercises, but the exercises they think they should do: Especially with VOM many, many, many people confuse it with Dharana or even Samadhi. That is wrong! It is not VOM, and Bardon’s descriptions are very accurate. It is not “not-thinking”. It is a form of concentration, the logical consequence of the other three exercises the student did before in Step 1. Thus it is concentration, like in the exercise before; the student simply concentrates on an empty “space” in their mind. They ignore the upcoming thoughts and doesn´t get attached to them. However, the thoughts will come up as a natural process of the mind, but that is not what the student stays focused on. They stay focused on the empty space; they reject to get attached to the upcoming thought fragments. By time, the other thoughts simply disappear from the consciousness, et voilà… VOM.

The best thing for aspiring magicians is to forget what they have learned so far and read and practice IIH with an open mind.

3.   Falcon Books: Again on the subject of Step 1 and VOM, we know this is important but what does it bring to IIH, why is it important?

Crystalf: VOM is essential to becoming capable of concentrating properly, to be open to impressions outside of ourselves. We human beings tend to perceive, what we expect to perceive. VOM helps the mind to be not attached to our expectations, thus being able to i.e. visualize the perceived form in Step 2 correctly and not only the form how we think it is. Later on the Path, we need it for depth-point meditation, then for clairvoyance as the “seen” impressions come up in our mind, and as long we are busy with our own thoughts we would simply miss the messages from beyond. It is the same thing with Evocation. Human beings have no “magical powers” because mostly we are too self-centered, even too arrogant to realize there is more then we think it is in this universe. VOM helps with that immense. Also without VOM, there is no Mental Wandering, as we get lost in the world of our thoughts and many more things.

4.    Falcon Books:  Please could share with us the importance of focusing on self-development along with working on the through the steps in IIH.

Crystalf: Why “along”. All the steps of IIH *are* self-development! That is what it is all about. IIH is not about learning powers, but to become more yourself. To become what you *should* be. What you should be in your life. What you should be in society. Maybe even as divine as we should be. I quote Virgil from his excellent new book: magic is the act to live a blessed life and to be a blessing to society. Nonetheless, there are “magical powers, of course, but… and this “but” is a BIG “but”….The funny thing is: the student will get magical powers along the way, but when the time comes when they get them, these “powers” will be of no more special significance to them. It is more like a baby learning to walk: first, it feels great, but what special significance walking has walking for even a four-year-old or even a grown-up? It simply becomes part of your being…

5.    Falcon Books: What other strategies did you employ other than working on the soul mirrors to assist in further growth?

Crystalf: Awareness! Always being aware of what is happening in yourself. Radical Self-Honesty, thus developing the ability to say ”Sorry!”. Everybody does make mistakes. And as long as the student is not capable of avoiding mistakes, they should at least be able to overcome their pride and say “Sorry!”. But on the other hand, they shouldn´t give too much on the opinion of others. The other human beings surrounding the student are also too attached with their own expectations, but this is not relevant for the student. It is their own expectations, ethics and maturity that matters. So forming an ideal of myself helped me a lot in my growth – like the Jedi-idea I formulated at the beginning. Make yourself a picture, a symbol of what you want to be: a good teacher, a good parent or maybe a kind wizard or a wise Jedi. This picture is your private symbol; it might be a fantasy, but it can help to visualize a something, to give a clear picture of what the student wants. “Self-development” or “personal growth” tend to be too abstract to be appealing over the long years of the training, especially when your life becomes a mess…

Also, it helped to do some complex sports like martial arts to get in control of your body. It is not important to get a black belt, but to grow in the possibilities your body gives you.

6.    Falcon Books: “As Above So Below” is so often quoted in Hermetics I wonder if you could elaborate on your understanding of this and its significance within IIH training?

Crystalf: “Hmm, my wife told me to keep it short and simple. I´ll try: Everything in hermetics is about “As Above, so below”! This is very easy to see in laboratory Alchemy. Franz Bardon’s IIH represents a form of “spiritual alchemy”. As above so below refers to the relationship between microcosmos and macrocosmos, in our special case the human being and the surrounding energies. I.e. the elements within the student and the elements surrounding the student. This is the reason why Bardon warns of hasting and skipping steps: condensing an element i.e. is not about playing with some random energy as some new-age philosophies implicate. It is not Reiki, some all surrounding divine energy. It is working with *yourself* in a relationship with nature itself. Thus it is like gen-technology. On the other hand, the existence of the elements is not “the Truth”™. The student constructs them by impregnating their surroundings with let’s say: red colour, warmth and fire. But they can only construct in their surroundings what is already present in them. Thus if in the student “below” has a lot of anger and greed in him, the fire element they construct “above” won´t be constructive and warming, but full of hate, anger and destructiveness. Neither the microcosmos nor the macrocosmos is pre-existent or has more worth than the other. In fact, the two are interdependent. And this is the case with every Element, Chakra, Sephiroth, etc.

Thus, if you want to be a blessing for your beloved, first become a blessing for yourself. If you desire the power to change reality, first learn to change your life, your attitude, your priorities. Bardon writes it in Step 8 and my own experiences go along the same lines: nothing is impossible.

7.    Falcon Books:  How can we know we are truly achieving the goal of a step? For example with the Vital Force, how can we know we are not fooling ourselves?

Crystalf: By working through the first exercise of Step 1 thoroughly. By observing your thoughts, you become used to observe yourself. By knowing exactly what is going on in your mind, you´ll simply be sure, if you are falling yourself or if you truly achieved something. The practice of Step 1 develops a radical self-honesty, you can use for further steps. It is a matter of the famous “intuition”. Your example with the Vital Force (VF) is a good one: when the student starts with inhaling it, they first will only imagining the VF and the feeling it creates in them. After a time, the imagination will develop into a perception of truly inhaling VF. The student will be able to let go their imagination and nonetheless be 100% sure they are inhaling VF. Then they ARE inhaling the VF. As the student knows exactly how it feels like imagining the VF they will recognize the difference, the real prickling upon their skin, the energization of their body, the Force they feel. It is more “real” than imagination. Thus we are again with the theme “As above, so Below” from the last question.

The magician has to develop this radical self-honesty with themselves. Not only for the soul mirrors, but also for everything that follows after Step 2. Thus we have another reason to be thorough with the basic exercises: without them, the student simply lacks the abilities needed for further initiation. It is as if he would try to drive a car with closed eyes…

8.   Falcon Books: Franz Bardon talks about the depth point in Step 5, this I see as a transition in the training as we touching on something we have had no experience of before. Can you tell us more about this point and its importance in the training?

Crystalf: Well, I see the depth point exercises as the central point in initiation. By reaching this stage of initiation the magician has achieved radical self-honesty, a certain control on mind, soul and body and first experiences with the nature of things outside of their own body by working with the elements. After Step 3 they could call themselves rightfully magicians. The student is “attuned” to nature. The depth point gives the magician the first access to a higher sphere of being, to his own “divine” nature. All following exercises are based on access to the depth point, the “Trance”, as Bardon calls it. I don´t like the name as it implies a certain form of “half-sleeping” state. To me it is the exact opposite: To be in the depth-point means to be Awake – “I am absolutely awake, in what I am. Aware of my nature that is more than just working, eating…” The depth point leads the magician to a state where they are aware of their body, their organs, their passions, their thoughts – all at once. It is a state of BEING. That makes it magical. God defines themselves as “I am, who I am!”. As BEING. Thus we first feel what it could mean to become divine and capable of creating. Sadly, for those who at this point imagine themselves throwing fireballs, we also realize that creation, in general, is good like it is, so no need to change creation.

9.    Falcon Books:  Can you share anything about the transition from step 8 to PME and KTQ. How does life change at this point?

Crystalf: I am still going to work, meeting with friends, nurturing my kids… no news here. Sorry! The question maybe leads toward misunderstanding. “Life” doesn´t change at all. But the perception of “my life” and my place in this world and time, that changed. With great power comes great responsibility could articulate it properly, but I like more Barton’s statement (translation is very loose): “Everything that happens, happens at the right time and place. We just have to realize how to make the best from it for our development.” Starting to work with cosmic letters showed me my humility before creation again. This is a really complex thing and made me grasp even more, why everything that happens should not be judged in the first place, but considered an opportunity for us to take action!

10.  Falcon Books: As one develops a greater sensitivity within the mental, astral and physical aspects, how did you deal with and integrate these in daily life?

Crystalf: Again I have to refer to Step 1: stay focused on what you are doing at the moment. When in my mundane life I am working with clients, I am working with clients; I am not trying to deduce their biggest elementals. Bardon goes deeper into this at Step 8 – The Great NOW. Being a magician does not mean to be a magician in a perceivable way all the time: doing clairvoyance on everybody you meet, being blatantly wise or wearing special clothes. That is a reason I don´t like “Frabato” very much: it simply gives a totally wrong picture of what it means to be a magician, of the inner life of a magician. It clearly is written from the standpoint of a quite immature student, not from someone who has experienced, what was written. If you ask me, it was meant to flatter Bardon, but the picture painted is utterly wrong.

To be a magician is a state of being, of acting in accordance with self-knowledge, the flows of nature and your intuition. You don´t have to integrate it in your life, as it is nothing alien. It is life. The “greater sensitivity” comes as natural as learning to walk comes to a baby child. If it has to be integrated, something in your development has been left out.

11.  Falcon Books: Over the years how have you managed to balance work, family and Hermetics and to integrate them? I think this can be the most challenging for students when they begin this path. What advice would you offer?

Crystalf: Finish Step 8 before getting kids!!!!

Honestly: keep your priorities straight! To get kids is no easy decision and gives great responsibility, but great joy too. And that is true for everything we doing this life. In the second question I wrote that many people don’t really want to do initiation, they want other things. In fact, they lie to themselves. This question aims in that direction. Of course: work, family, friends, hobbies, even computer games are all important and fun and take time and…and… and… but no matter what is going on: if you are sure, that you want to transform yourself into a blessing for yourself and your beloved one – thus into a magician, you´ll find the time to do the exercises. On the other hand, don´t forget what responsibility you have taken upon yourself. That is why I wrote: keep your priorities straight! Really be honest with yourself, what you want from life, from your situation, from your time.

12.  Falcon Books: How did you make the transition between the realms and integrate them here?

Crystalf: This is all about focus. When working in magical realms, it becomes all too easy to getting caught up in the transcendental side of reality. I met quite a few persons who were living so much in the magical realms they seemed to nearly forget about the life here. Sadly, I think that many of these “spiritual types” even draw a lot of ego out of this behavior. That is NOT what Bardon’s books are about! Remember what he writes in Step 7 about clairvoyance: the magician must be able to turn on and turn off his clairvoyant sight at his whim and will. There is a reason why we have bodies: this is the realm where we can gain maturity. Magic is not a mean to escape your problems you produced in life. Quite the opposite: a magician meets up to challenges because he has realized that they are means to grow…

13.  Falcon Books:  Is there is anything else you would like to add?

Crystalf:  Be a kind person. A looooot of people visualizing themselves as magicians in a tower, but while this is a really cool picture, these guys are mostly not the beloved ones. Look at some of the wizard types from movies and books so popular at the moment: honestly, I love towers too, but look at Saruman or Palpatine or Voldemort or other guys from the popular imagination from the last centuries: these persons are not the heroes. A Bardonian magician is, in fact, a Hero. If being a magician means to be a blessing to society, then a magician is a hero. So act like one! But also remember you´re human. Becoming a magician is in many ways becoming more human, and as long as you´re human you will suffer from all human weaknesses. Of course: obtaining a magical equilibrium will set you at peace with yourself, but still, other people are around and sometimes you will make mistakes while treating them. They won´t understand you, or you won´t understand them. That is life. So for me one of the main qualities a magician should have is: the ability to say “Sorry!” and being sorry. It is ok not to be perfect, but to have the insight to apologize for your mistakes is crucial in the way of self-knowledge. And even when you think, you’re perfectly right capable of saying sorry, when you hurt your opponent. Also be capable of accepting a “Sorry!” by another person. See, I had a lot of discussions lately about the nature of Good and Evil, and a lot of people claim, there is no such thing as good and as evil, that these ideas are simply subjective. I disagree! Good people know limits in their actions, and they do not try to achieve a goal by any means. They stop when their actions inflict pain on other beings. They know compassion. Bad people only care for themselves. Don´t be a bad person. Be kind!

Visit Crystalfs website:

You read this interview and many more in The Franz Bardon Tradition by Franz Bardon Practitioners.

Available in digital and paperback here. A fantastic book with lots of tips and unique and valuable information you won’t find anywhere else.

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Frater IAC
Frater IAC
10 months ago

Interesting. I am reading Unlocking the Keys to Magic, and am just now on the first interview with Andre Consciencia. He says many of the same things. All of these interviews are quite helpful, and truly by the time you get to the point where life is magic and you are magic, you realize it isn’t about occult powers at all – it is about helping others, making the world a better place. Thank you for these thoughts!

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