Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to someone whose magical work - as well as hermetic worldview - is very dear to me. Through my conversations with him as well as through experiencing his magical amulets firsthand, he offered me a completely fresh perspective on what it truly means to walk the hermetic path and to master magic. Even if few of us will ever be able to follow him in his footsteps, it is all of us who we can ensure it's genuine adepts like him who leave a deep mark on our Western Mystery Tradition.
Walter Ogris is a master-craftsman of magical amulets, the spiritual heir of Emil Stejnar and the host of the Hermetic Texts Archive. The following interview was conducted via email in German during August 2015 and then translated for this blog.
A quick note on language before we get started: The Hermetic tradition as laid out by Emil Stejnar leverages a very particular German vocabulary that expresses unique hermetic ideas. Many of these are centred on the state of being consciously wide-awake, a particular idea of spirit-body-cells as well as a certain hierarchy of spirits mediating between the macro- and microcosm by use of these cells. Where these ideas are referenced by Mr.Ogris in the interview I did my best to translate them without need for further explanations. However, for any English-speakers who’d like to learn more about these ideas, I recommend to read up on my previous book reviews of Mr. Stejnar’s works (link1, link2). For any German speakers Mr.Ogris’ Hermetic Texts Archive as well as the actual books of Mr.Stejnar offer many gates to a magical life-long journey…
Finally, in a follow up post to this interview I’ll be sharing some further reflections on this conversation, the importance of the 360 Genii of the Earthbeltzone for modern magic as well as a bit on my own story with Mr.Ogris’ amulets.
For anybody interested to learn more about Mr.Ogris amulets or the tradition he is working in links are provided throughout the body of the interview. To inquire about a personal amulet, you can find further information in this PDF, 'Aid on the Path'.
Frater Acher (FA): Hello Mr. Ogris, thank you for this interview. Today we want to talk a bit about magic and your related work. Before we do that, would you mind introducing yourself?
Water Ogris (WO): Dear Frater Acher, thank you for this interview and for publishing it on your informative and profound website. Of course in magic or hermeticism one isn’t striving to speak at length about oneself. The personal and short-lived isn’t of great importance. And one shouldn’t talk too much about one’s own magical or hermetic development either - according to the Hermetic theorem ‘Knowing, Daring, Wanting, Silence’.
So let me keep it short: Since my earliest youth I am following the PATH that Franz Bardon laid out during the 1950s in his three textbooks (Initiation into Hermetics, The Practice of Magical Evocation and The Key to the True Kabbalah). When I first held his book ‘Initiation into Hermetics’ in my hands it was like a rediscovery. I knew immediately: This is it! One couldn’t describe in better, simpler and more practical terms the balanced development of body, mind and spirit for the Western people. At that time I also realised that it actually does not require any other esoteric books! Nevertheless, the relevant spirits arranged that the rarest kinds of writings and books crossed my way. Thus over the decades my now comprehensive research library as well as the Hermetic Texts Archive have been growing continuously.
So for me Franz Bardon was the beginning of everything!
A little later then I became aware of Emil Stejnar. He had published an advertisement in the largest German esoteric magazine at the time, ‘Esotera’. This ad contained a brief information about his guardian angel book which back then he only published and distributed privately. The ad was signed as: ‘Emil Stejnar Bardon-Student’. That was the actual reason why I got in contact with him. In such newspapers there are always tons of ads; had it not said ‘Bardon-student’ I would have certainly not written to him. Since then and for decades now Emil is my friend and hermetic companion.
FA: Most readers of this English website will have little knowledge of the German-magical tradition which, inter alia, was formed by the works of Bardon, Stejnar or Meyrink. For readers without such background, how would you describe the tradition according to which you are working?
WO: Of course also in the German speaking countries there have been other remarkable persons and groups within the currents of magic and mysticism. Especially in the home country of Franz Bardon (the former Czechoslovakia, today's Czech Republic) existed several very skilled and above all practically working hermetics, magicians and mystics.
Gustav Meyrink (*19.1.1868 - † 4.12.1932, his first novel 'The Golem' was a real bestseller) was someone who was truly determined to practically walk the PATH and to shine an unconditional light upon it. Ironically his PATH began the moment he tried to shoot himself as in that very instance someone pushed a spiritistic brochure through under his door - which sparked his life-long interest in magic and mysticism.
Different to Franz Bardon, Meyrink captured his personal insights as well as his many experiences with adepts, lodges and yogis (until his end he meditated and exercised for several hours a day, was in contact with many well known occultists and occult groups and continued to be a highly inspired author) in the form of novels, i.e. in the shape of metaphors and images painted with words rather than in pragmatic theorems.
One of the formative axioms of Meyrink was 'To be awake is everything!' - an important realisation on the PATH and it is here that we find a significant parallel between Meyrink and Stejnar to whom this equally is a special concern. (As an aside: Gustav Meyrink takes an important role in Stejnar's most recent book 'An der Pforte zur letzten Laterne'!)
So in essence these three authors (Meyrink, Stejnar, Bardon) are all dealing with the same matter: with a form of mastery of or defence from spiritual slavery through various subtle entities such as: ideas of God, ideals and idols, larvaes, schemes, phantoms, elementals, elementaries ('Gods will only give you stones instead of bread.' = Meyrink, 'Humans are the dairy cows of the Gods.' = Stejnar). Ultimately, they deal with a PATH towards SELF-DEIFICATION in a gnostic and hermetic sense of realisation.
FA: So far the concepts of the 'Earthbeltzone' (Erdürtelzone), of the 360 Genii and the Thebaic Calendar haven't spread widely beyond the boundaries of the German speaking countries. Why do you think is it, that traditional grimoires these days spark so much interest and yet pioneering insights such as the former continue to 'sleep'?
WO: Such books contain mysterious seals, names and descriptions and thus arouse the interest of susceptible individuals. Also it is the old age of these books that creates the impression of being able to gain access to secret knowledge and becoming capable of truly evoking spirits.
In addition to this, in the English speaking countries the Golden Dawn also is responsible for this. Its founding fathers immersed themselves deeply into medieval grimoires, celebrated exotic rituals and gave rise to a formative, eccentric and multi-faceted person - Aleister Crowley. Crowley's ideas as well as his works spread very quickly and until today continue to infected many people.
Despite his erudition John Dee succumbed to rather spiritualistic influences that raised the impression to be capable of enabling contact to higher spirits as well as angels.
Interestingly, the most pioneering insights in relation to the Genii also stem from an ancient grimoire and thus are of considerable age. However, the importance of the book of the True Practice was only realised by very few. It was this book that broke with several long-standing and yet completely misleading traditions, that transferred fresh concepts as well as the first hint to the existence of a category of extremely effective etheric beings. It was these beings that Wilhelm Quintscher (*3rd October 1883 Nossen; † 8th May 1945) and Franz Bardon much later assigned to the Earthbeltzone (Erdgürtelzone), i.e. the etheric ecliptic.
One can find the first hints in the German edition: Abraham ben Simon bar Juda ben Simon, Das Buch der wahren Praktik von der alten Magia. Anno 1608. Wolfenbüttel, Codex Guelfibus 47.13 Aug. 4°
Even though earlier authors had already dealt with this work - Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, Eliphas Levi or Aleister Crowley - or maybe because of the many warnings of its main ritual (A.Crowley even broke off the Abramelin ritual under intense anxiety attacks), no further more far-reaching insights emerged on this subject in the English speaking countries.
For a long time also it was only the names of the Genii that were known, yet not their sigils. It was the German Wilhelm Quintscher who established contact to these spirits again; it was him who described the correspondence of their names and already remarked in a letter - dated the 21st of July 1930 - to Josef Schuster (aka Br. Silias) that he was planning to publish a work that would contain up to 600 sigils. He published the tides or time-windows that allowed contact to the specific genii in a so-called 'Thebaic Calendar' which later on turned into the foundation for further research and the book by Emil Stejnar 'The Thebaic Calendar'.
In the year 1940 - and thus a long time before Franz Bardon's publication - these special sigils were first printed, including the sigils of their counter-genii, in a very small edition by the Czech Frantisek Kabelak in Prague. It remains unknown whether how he had come into possession of the sigils and whether he had been a member of Wilhelm Quintscher's Adonistic Society (Adonistenbund).
It is likely that the knowledge of the significance of the Genii of the Earthbeltzone would havebeen spread much further by Franz Bardon himself, had he not died early in 1958. After his death, however, for a long time there was no one who would have competently pointed towards or researched further on this hierarchy of Genii that matters so much to our works.
It was only Emil Stejnar who successfully completed the Abramelin-Ritual again (the book indicates a duration of several months to complete the rite) and as part of which was revealed the correct names of the Sun- and Moon-Genii that were given in secret writing only in Bardon's original book.
It seems as if it takes a living person each time - and not only the knowledge of books and manuscripts - to validate such insights and to push the research a little further again.
The reason why - even in the communication age - such insights have not penetrated deeper into the English speaking countries is also connected to the high financial costs of a professional translation. Amongst other things, it is this situation that further complicatesa sufficient spread of new insights across language boundaries - and the books of Emil Stejnar are a prime example for this.
FA: On your webpage you are offering comprehensive and very rare material on the German speaking currents of magic and hermeticism. When and how did you yourself get in touch with these topics?
WO: The major part of the material on my webpage stems from a Pansophic lodge based out of Vienna. The members of this lodge were very diligent and manually translated many Latin, French and English works that never before had been translated into German and kept them in their secret archive.
University professor Adolf Hemberger PHD - a hermetic practitioner himself and true Dr.Fausuts of the 20th century - researched deeply and wrote a lot on the subject of esoteric groups in the German speaking countries. Without his efforts, never would have surfaced so much material previously unknown and so it found its way into the Archive as well. Originally it was Emil Stejnar who founded the Archive for Hermetic Texts and who opened it up for the hermetic circle. In 2006 I took over the Archive, revised it and made it accessible on the internet.
FA: You are looking back upon many years of close collaboration with Emil Stejnar. Do you mind sharing how you got to know each other?
WO: As mentioned earlier, this happened due to an ad that Emil had published in an esoteric magazine. However, it was complete 'coincidence' that I happened to flip through this particular edition of the magazine as I didn't think much of it otherwise. From this emerged a decade-long friendship and hermetic companionship. Emil has now withdrawn completely from the public, yet we are still chatting on the phone at least once per week.
FA: The reviews of Emil Stejnar's books received quite some echo. His work truly is unique and pathbreaking. Considering the person Stejnar - which aspects of his characters do you believe to be most prominent?
WO: Absolute honesty, reliability, perseverance, strength of will and not rarely a mischievous and ironic trait. Overall he dedicated more than sixty years to esoteric research, has been a goldsmith, astrologer, life-coach, author (he has published eleven books as well as many articles on magic and mysticism in the third millennia) and has created countless highly effective amulets himself.
FA: You are leveraging hermeticism and astrology to offer specific forms of self-help. How did this work emerge and which services are you offering to clients today?
WO: At the moment I am offering mainly highly effective magical amulets that can be customised to aid a broad array of life problems and challenges; in addition I am offering online courses (e.g. dietary magic) and online consultations.
Over many years I have practiced outside of the public and conducted my research in secret. I have always had the special gift (and guidance) of meeting with people who maintained a genuine and very deep interest in the sciences of astrology and hermeticism. Beside from personal development, I received many subtle initiations (abishekas) as well as magical objects for exerting my activities. Later on Emil Stejnar - once he had withdrawn from public - handed on the Hermetic Archive to me in order to continue it which in return was another reason for me to begin working more in public.
FA: According to my personal experience with your amulets you are a true master of your craft - and your techniques of creation essentially powerful and precise. Where did you learn such techniques - it seems very little of it has yet appeared in public books?
WO: Everything has been published already! You can find all instructions in the works of Franz Bardon. Of course, reading them once isn't of much help; instead it takes years of dedication and training! That's why the amulets I am creating are so powerful and effective - as well as because everything in my operations is guided by the personal requirements of the client and I am only leveraging manual processes throughout the entire process of creation. Each amuelt is a magical rarity, engraved by hand and subsequently charged and consecrated.
Everyone who decides to purchase such an amulet will realise quite quickly what they are holding in their hands once they receive it. Equally, everyone who receives one of the amulets I created turns into a mediator of the good in this world - as all Genii who partook in its consecration, are working towards the good, the wellbeing and development of humankind.
FA: At the beginning of your practice and study of these techniques - which challenges and setbacks did you encounter? What was hardest to master on this path?
WO: What is the 'hardest' most certainly is the continuous balance of the elements that one has to maintain within one's body, soul and mind. Ideally hermetic practice is something that takes a lifetime, it requires continuous alertness, perseverance and concentration. Maintain the required energy level for magical operations is something that is - depending on life circumstances and fate - often much easier during one's youth than old age.
It is equally important to make the state of BEING AWAKE a personal commitment and to care for it daily. BEING AWAKE doesn't mean one isn't asleep of course; but to everything one does in the wide-awake state of a conscious SELF (spirit)!
That may sound quite simple, yet unfortunately most people are stuck with some sort of elementals or elementaries and in that sense they are sleepers. What's going on in this world is an example for this - and unfortunately many people lose their most precious good - their mind and waking consciousness - and are being suck up by religious, political, economical or other ideologies.
If one follows Bardon's PATH consequently though, in principle they will not find a lot of unpleasant surprises. Everything happens logically and consequently and often even in an almost playful manner. Everybody therefore should take sufficient time for their mental training and eduction and practice scrupulously.
In many cases though people just jump right into practice! Instead before one takes up their practice, one should meditate sufficiently about every single sentence and every remark Bardon is making in his works. By these means alone after a certain time of study one will acquire a certain state - not necessarily perfectly clairvoyant - but of increased, much more precise intuition, a kind of clairvoyant knowledge that continuously supports oneself in identifying the next step on one's PATH.
Furthermore, one also has to be okay to put one's own practice at rest from time to time - and to withdraw the energy from the larvae and schemes that have been built up and fed by the continuous devotion to one's practice. This energy requires redirection from time to time. Many practitioners get all 'edgy' once they are not allowed to practice daily and regularly - and that in itself is a clear indicator of addiction.
FA: What is the work your clients have to do in order to activate your amulets and keep them positively charged?
WO: These are very simple rituals and formulas that aid deepening and enhancing the contact to the Genii. Over the desired characteristics will grow roots int one's mental- and soul-body; at that point one can place the amulet on a consecrated place or a specifically dedicated altar and one doesn't need to continue to carry it around, but can reactivate it immediately in case of need.
On the whole, a personalised amulet created by a capable craftsman is the strongest magical tool I know of to ward off obnoxious influences and attract the desired. With an amulet even the ordinary person is working three-poled - including mind, soul and body or sign, word and grip - and therefore in the proper magical way. Furthermore they are receiving the help of the Genii! If this was more widely known, people could save so much money and time spent in questionable seminars or therapies.
FA: How do you yourself assess the quality of your work? When do you know something turned out 'well'?
WO: Many people who contact me tell me about the positive changes in their lives when I only begin to pick up work on their amulet. That alone goes to show that even before (or at least during) the process of creation contact is made and magical aid is initiated. Through the large amount of amulets I created so already, I also learned that never has come anything negative from them, but only good. Of course one always has toconsider astrological influences as well as possible influencing factors of fate; they also effect the ultimate mode of action of each amulet.
FA: With hindsight to the many clients you have helped - can you call out any specific highlights? What were moments you'll remember?
WO: Due to the fact that I am supporting my clients as an outsider and that I don't hold any personal relationships to them or their problems, I often forget quite quickly which amulet I created for whom and for what purpose. In most cases I am only reminded of it through the positive feedback of clients.
A highlight certainly has been the birth of Lucas. His parents had tried at least four times already to conceive a child; they had followed all medical advice and procedure to the letter (which had been quite complex and wearing for the women in particular). Still, every time a natural abortion happened relatively early in the process. The husband had been reading Emil Stejnar's book on guardian angels and he had heard that help had been experienced before even in such circumstances as their own. So he asked me to create an amulet that would help them conceive. Naturally his spouse was very sceptical and didn't believe in any subtle help; yet in the end she gave birth to the little Lucas - who of course now is both of their entire pride. This is another example that can proof that even in such delicate and difficult circumstances there are Genii ruling over the subject and they are welcome to offer their help.
FA: You are offering to purchase amulets, yet so far you have decided against offering the actual techniques through books, seminars, workshops or one-to-one training. Do you mind explaining the background to this decision?
WO: There is a nice alchemical aphorism. An old adept said: 'And when a wrong man uses the right means, so the right means will still come out wrong.' (Wenn aber ein verkehrter Mensch die rechten Mittel gebraucht, so wirkt das rechte Mittel verkehrt.) For this transmission to make sense it has to be trained to a person that is ready for it and who has been specifically trained. Visiting a workshop certainly doesn't suffice!
Moreover, everything that can be mentioned on the subject technically has already been described by Franz Bardon and Emil Stejnar - everybody has to find access to this knowledge themselves.
Currently I can only support people by crafting and consecrating the possibly best amulets for them by leveraging all the years of my own experience - as well as to point to the positive effect of these forces by collecting each testimonial as true evidence. But who knows what fate holds in store for the future.
(Note Frater Acher: in this PDF 'Aid on the Path' you can find a detailed
description of the amulets and magical tools currently offered by Walter Ogris.)
FA: In light of your long-standing experience as a Hermetic practitioner as well as the revolutionary technological and global changes of the 21st century - how do you expect the learning and transmission of the Hermetic tradition to evolve in the future?
WO: The problem will be the mental development and freedom of mankind. Increasingly I am under the impression that the transmission of hermetic and astrologic insights is made more challenging as the general intellectual standard to grasp these as well as the ability to concentrate one's mind both continue to decline. The majority of people prefer light entertainment these days; they have stopped to think for themselves in large parts of their daily lives and join hands with a culture that believes everything could be had for free on the internet - readily available on Google or as an instant download.While the populations level of secondary eduction has generally increased, yet the development of our other faculties has decreased at the same time: the development of our emotions, of our will, of our consciousness and the I-AM, they are all being neglected!
Equally, caused by the widespread availability and continuous consumption of the new media (TV, internet, smartphones) our skills of imagination decreased and our willpower slackened. The muscles of the mind and the soul are becoming stunted! Furthermore, people are being tied so tightly into the economic system that they are lacking the energy to leverage their little remaining spare time to practice hermetic exercises.
Well, maybe these circumstances will ultimately lead to a higher collective appreciation of the works of Franz Bardon. Already in 1958 he developed a training method that even for the most busy person allows to achieve progress with the least amount of time investment.
FA: For people outside of the German speaking countries who want to learn and practice the Hermetic Tradition, which advise would you give to them?
WO: For anybody who holds a true interest in their own development there is nothing more gratifying than to deeply immerse oneself into the works of Franz Bardon and Emil Stejnar. Unfortunately these days the small publishing houses (Rüggeberg Verlag, Ibera Verlag, Merkur Publishing) struggle to afford thorough translations of their books and to publish them - whether eBooks or physical ones - in good quality in foreign countries. Often times within Europe the shipping costs for a book alone amount to a quarter or even half of the actual book price! Equally, the unfortunate habit - even of esoteric practitioners - to publish books and materials for free on the internet doesn't help but makes things only worse.
Looking at the works of Emil Stejnar I believe this is a particular shame. Many people in the English speaking countries could significantly benefit by his explanations and insights if there only were adequate translations. I still hope that this might change in the not too distant future.
FA: For people who can only afford 10 minutes of magical training each day, which exercise would you recommend to them?
WO: As often as possible during your day make yourself aware that you are a spirit within a body. Pause whatever you are doing, knock on your chest with your first and say: 'I am a spirit - and this is my body!'
Consciously interrupt your activities several times a day and ask yourself: 'Am I asleep, or am I awake?' Look around yourself and become aware whether this could actually be a dream or whether it is indeed your waking-reality?
Leverage your everyday life for the training and development of the balance of the subtle elements that constitute your body and mind. For example - strengthen the earth element by creating order in the space around (in your flat or office), in the time you inhabit (being on time), in your finances (avoiding debt), etc. Take an active stance for more truth, justice and empathy.
FA: Finally, in addition to the works of Stejnar or Bardon - which other books would you recommend to every interested student of the Hermetic PATH as an addition?
WO: Here is a rather colourful selection - of which unfortunately I am not sure whether all of these works are available in English?
- Gustav Meyrink - The Green Face, The Angel of the West Window, as well as his many essays
- Julius Evola - Magie als Wissenschaft vom Ich (German only)
- Prentice Mulford - Der Unfug des Lebens und des Sterbens (included in collected works)
- Thomas Ring - Astrologische Menschenkunde Band 3 (German only)
- Ioan P. Couliano - Out of this World: Otherworldly Journeys from Gilgamesh to Albert Einstein
- Z`ev ben Shimon Halevi - Lebendige Kabbalah
- Swami Sivananda - Tantra Yoga, Nada Yoga and Kriya Yoga
- Swami Sivananda - Concentration and Meditation
- Swami Satyananda Saraswati - Yoga and Kriya: A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques
FA: And in case I overlooked any important point - do you have any closing thoughts for us?
WO: Let me sincerely thank you for this interview. Should you ever have any further interesting questions for me please let me know. With the best of thoughts and wishes for you and your PATH as well as for all of your readers, let me say goodbye with the words of Franz Bardon:
8th of August 2015