Franz (František) Bardon (1909-1958) was an occultist and teacher of Hermeticism. He was born in Opava (Austrian Silesia, now the Czech Republic), the first of 13 brothers and sisters. His father, Viktor, was a devoted Christian mystic; there is no biographical information about his mother, Hedvika Herodkova. He had two children, Lumir and Marie.
His story is a mixture of truth and legend, and in fact, we know very little about his personal
life. According to one of these legends, at the age of 16, the spirit of an initiate, the master Arion, came to inhabit his body in response to his father’s prayers who sought personal guidance.
In his early years, Bardon worked as an appreciated theatrical under the name of “Frabato”. Due to his interest in occult practices, he was imprisoned for three and a half years in a Nazi concentration camp in his thirties. We scarcely know about his experiences at that time, aside from the horror of the situation itself; some argue the real reason for the imprisonment was his refusal to reveal his occult methods to the Führer.
After that experience, he became known as a healer and teacher of Hermeticism. It was around that time that he wrote the three books which he is known for: Initiation into Hermetics (IIH), The Practice of Magical Evocation (PME) and The Key to the True Qabbalah (KTQ).
His healing methods and activity as a popularizer of occult practices sparked the ire of the Czechoslovakian Communist government that arose after the war, and in the late 1950s, Bardon was again imprisoned, where he apparently died of pancreatitis. Even in these final stages, the news becomes contradictory. The family could not see his body; the police destroyed his laboratory, and his papers were burned or confiscated.
According to his direct students, Bardon was a man of great humanity and humility who sought not greatness or power but a teaching system of Hermetic Magic accessible to all men and women of goodwill. Much speculation has been made about who Bardon’s human teachers were; there are, of course, many parallels with other systems of practice, both Eastern and Western, but ultimately whether a system is coherent whatever its origin is not a matter of concern.