We have chosen to provide the preface to The Golden Book of Wisdom, written by the editor of the Czech Hermetics Series, Lukáš Loužecký, as we feel that this preface contains a great deal of important information about the research that went into compiling the material for this book. We’ve decided to share this preface in its entirety, with the larger public, in order to share our amazing discoveries along the way, which led to the publishing of this book.
Finding Lost Wisdom
I am writing the preface to The Golden Book of Wisdom with the conviction that it will be difficult to explain its true meaning and history to readers. However, I feel obligated to at least try because this is the only way in which I’ll be able to uncover and eliminate a number of misconceptions that have been and that are still associated with it. Yet, at the beginning, everything was simple.
Franz Bardon divided his final work, called The Golden Book of Wisdom, into an introductory, theoretical section and into a practical, explanatory section. From the introductory, theoretical section, only the content of ten chapters and the text of the three introductory chapters have been found so far. However, as with Initiation Into Hermetics, this theoretical initiation was to be followed by a practical initiation. Its content was meant to clarify the meaning of the entire initiatory system, as it turned out that some students misunderstood the meaning of the three previously published initiatory books and, therefore, faced unnecessary problems during the exercises.
Franz Bardon was clearly aware of this unpleasant situation from a number of foreign students whom he could not be in direct contact with due to the censorship of the 1950s. He wrote about it to his Swiss colleague, Hermann Joseph Metzger: “Of course, I am aware that various commentaries will be needed on various problems, as I’ve learned from earlier questions from my students and friends. Therefore, I will later publish a book called The Book of Wisdom, which will be in the form of questions and answers that will illuminate a lot that will remain unclear. And it will, again, be an initiatory book of the highest order!” (Letter from April 14th, 1955.)
Because Franz Bardon was busy preparing the books, Initiation Into Hermetics, The Practice of Magical Evocation, and The Key to the True Kabbalah for the publisher, the practical section of The Golden Book of Wisdom was created with the help of his students, in the form of gradually written answers, from their teacher, to their individual questions
As the material gradually grew, Franz Bardon entrusted it to his student from Prague, Irena Nováková, in order to edit the current collection of answers. Her edits of the text, called “Questions from Hermetics,” is dated between 1953–1957.1 The text of this first edition was not intended for publishing; it was only meant to serve Franz Bardon as a basic foundation for the final version of the book. Mrs. Nováková copied all of the notes on a typewriter and handed one of the copies over to her teacher.
Between the years 1956–1957, he then significantly reworked the entire text of the manuscript into a second, authorized version. However, this version didn’t reach most of Bardon’s students because it still lacked an introductory, theoretical section that was yet to be written. Thus, only two students from Opava were acquainted with the final version of the practical initiation, whose task was to write the final version of the text for their teacher. And, because the manuscript didn’t have a name, they began calling it Questions and Answers, according to its form.
Before the remaining work on the introductory, theoretical section of The Golden Book of Wisdom was completed, Franz Bardon was arrested by the police, who confiscated the unfinished work on March 26th, 1958.2 Thus, most of the introductory, theoretical section was lost as well as the original, final manuscript of the practical section, which, however, was fortunately preserved in the form of a copy that was made by the two previously mentioned students from Opava. For the public, however, The Golden Book of Wisdom was lost.
Most of Bardon’s students also thought that the book was lost. Mrs. Irena Nováková to whom Franz Bardon didn’t manage to hand over the authorized, final version of the book, before his arrest, apparently never learned that this text was a part of The Golden Book of Wisdom. In addition, she thought that the version that she had copied was considered to be definitive. That’s why she passed it on, in good faith, to a German man who was interested in the works of Franz Bardon (he was Jonny Schwarzt, who used the pseudonym Seila Orienta), who arranged the translation into German as well as publishing the manuscript in Germany. And so, by coincidence and special circumstances, the book was published without a title, without the correct classification, and, above all, without significant corrections by its author. And, because the book must have had a title, it saw the light of day under the artificial name of Fragen an Meister Arion. However, its complicated fate did not end here.
After the Velvet Revolution took place in then Czechoslovakia, in 1989, all of Franz Bardon’s well-known books were gradually published in Czech versions and, for the most part, from translations. Thus, in 2008, a text called Questions to Master Arion (Franz Bardon), which is a reverse translation of a German translation into Czech, entered the Czech book market. The original Czech text, by Irena Nováková, was never published, although it did survive to this day. And all of this was crowned by the assumption that The Golden Book of Wisdom was lost, except for a few pages of the theoretical section.
If I wanted to believe in fate, I would attribute the turning point in my search for The Golden Book of Wisdom to the influence of Jupiter, which is very well-placed in my native astrology chart, because Franz Bardon and his students attributed this Wisdom to Jupiter… I am attracted to Wisdom…
The first suspicion that The Golden Book of Wisdom was not lost came to me in November 2017, during the editing of The Magical Diaries of Bardon’s Student by Josef Drábek, which describes a dream on January 7th, 1961:
“Dream. I went to Prague, with The Book of Wisdom, to see Arion and, on the same day, I returned back with a book without inner content, but, at the end of it, a poem was written containing a special verse, which together with the being of Arion showed me the rising sun, in the glow of which I found myself.
Interpretation. I went to Prague with universal treasures, which I left there (wasted), but I returned in time, on the same day (that is, in this incarnation), to my intact foundation, where I resume my work in the Universal Light, in Knowledge.”3
I noticed that there’s no mention, in the interpretation of his dream, that The Book of Wisdom is an unrealistic or inaccessible object for the dream’s author. I realized that he had it available, even after the author’s death.
So, I began to search in the available archives of Franz Bardon’s school, in hopes that, perhaps, I would find the text that belonged to The Golden Book of Wisdom that was incorrectly titled or directly misplaced. Before I could properly study all the present manuscripts, I received a previously unknown letter from my friends, written by Franz Bardon, and addressed to H.J. Metzger. This letter specified that the text I was looking for was called Questions and Answers! An untitled text that I obtained a few years ago and that I was preparing for publication in the meantime! A text whose title I searched for in vain.
So, history has a sense of humor. Will we, therefore, have a sense of Wisdom? I hope so…
In Neuměřice, on Walpurgis Night, April 30th, 2018
1 It is for this reason that we date the creation of The Golden Book of Wisdom, on the title page, on 1953. (Editor’s note.)
2 We attached the police report about the confiscated materials in Attachment 2. (Editor’s note.)
3 Josef Drábek: The Magical Diaries of Bardon’s Student. Vodnář, Prague 2018, pg. 150. (Editor’s note.)