Few things are more rarely discussed than the many downsides of the planetary, or spheric as Bardon sometimes calls them, energies.
For the record, Golden Dawn practice divides the two categories, spheric and planetary, into two closely related, yet different, practices. Bardon does not.
In Bardon’s system, a practitioner uses mental wandering to project into the planetary spheres of influence. Once there, the practitioner exposes themselves to the energy of the planet. They then breathe the associated energy into their astral body and it bleeds down into the physical, with the noted exception of Saturn (Note: Never breathe Saturn’s energy into your astral body. It can kill you). The process gradually builds a resistance to their effects. As this progresses various mental, and emotional, issues resolve and stabilize.
Once this is done, a practitioner begins to work with evocation to further strengthen their ability with a given planetary energy. In the process, this significantly strengthens their ability to physically manifest the power of the Kabbalistic letters.
A basic immunity is developed after ten hours with a given planet and mastery occurs around the 100 hour point. More, or less, may be required depending upon the development of the skills laid out in the first book of Bardon’s work.
All of this is well and good. Now let’s talk about the downside to this work…
First, the energies of the planets are harsh. Practically alien in comparison to the fundamental energies in the first book and Kabbalistic energies in the third. It almost feels like the planetary energies are something that humans can work with…we’re just not designed to work with.
Working with these involves exposing yourself to them and letting them burn their way into your mental, astral and physical bodies. Then you take a break. Purge the energy completely and rest. Your bodies grow more resistant. Then you go back and do it all over again.
If you wait too long and they burn through, you end up having a psychotic episode and this hurts a lot. Allow me to reiterate, it hurts A LOT.
On a practical basis the sensation is one of scarring yourself and I’m not sure this is a healthy behavior physically speaking.
The energies through the Sun/Solar sphere become increasingly harsh. Do not skip ahead. If you decide to do this, complete your work with one sphere before moving onto the next. And do them in order for a minimum of ten hours each and doing the full one hundred is probably not a bad idea.
The inherent traps are numerous to each planet. The Cliffs notes are:
1. The Moon/Luna: You become moonstruck. And by this I mean the classical definition. You can look it up.
2. Mercury: Knowledge is not wisdom and garbage in equals garbage out. The ability to enhance your personal delusions is magnified many fold. Also keep in mind that Mercury was known as a trickster god. The reputation of intellectuals engaging in self delusion is earned via this planet.
3. Venus: Succumbing to sensual delights has been a major hazard for magicians throughout the ages and stops your progression, as well as enlightenment, cold.
4. The Sun/Sol: Here is where mistakes become physically dangerous. Even when you finish working with the energy proper and clean yourself it still burns through you. If you engage in extremely negative behavior before having mastered this planet, you may manifest a negative sun sphere entity. Heart attack is the normal cause of death in this case.
5. Mars: Essentially the same as the Sun sphere.
6. Jupiter: I can’t say as I haven’t worked with this sphere sufficiently yet.
7. Saturn: “Oh the horror,” is the best way to describe this. And you don’t breathe this one into your astral body. Direct contact with a Saturn spirit and your astral body is usually fatal. You also never evoke a Saturn spirit into the physical world. Other people generally die in the rare event you are successful. And you might too.
8. Neptune, Uranus and beyond: I personally haven’t been there. But in talking with those that have, a certain darkness dwells in these places. And my suspicion is that it marks you.
Once you begin working with evocation and the planetary energies, you become a physical gateway for those planes to express themselves in the here and now. It is possible for entities, both good and bad, to manifest through you in an uncontrolled manner. Particularly in the early days when you haven’t yet mastered a particular energy. See again the comments under the Sun and Mars sphere. This can by physically hazardous.
Frequent use of evocation leads to the movement of energy between the planes into the physical in the space where this is conducted. It most often manifests as a discharge of kinetic energy in the local area. Things most prone to entropy are the first effected. Weak wiring burning out and pictures falling off of the wall are common examples. At least one serious practitioner mentioned coming home and finding their mattress thrown across the room on a couple of occasions. And they lived alone.
That said, once the planetary energies are mastered and a few of the spirits of the realm have been contacted no long term practice is really needed unless you are looking for information…
And that brings us to the final reason to conduct evocation.
The information provided by the Kabbalistic letters is incredible in volume and largely what can be described as top down. It describes fundamental functions within the universe and how these fit together. Useful for say weather control, but not so much if you need to know what herbs to use to cure a sick patient.
The information provided by the spirit figures associated with the planets can be construed as bottom up and, to a degree, can represent the build up of knowledge in the physical world regarding a certain topic. So, if you want to know how to make a new allow of metal it is pretty useful to go the planetary route.
But also keep in mind, that the more you work with a given entity, the more you become their doorway for expression into the physical world and the more you are influenced by them.
So, the best points of conducting the planetary meditations involve immunity to their influence at large, stabilization of your astral/emotional body and an enhanced ability to work with the Kabbalistic letters physically.
You need to decide if the negatives are worth it. That said, the Western traditions, both Golden Dawn and Bardon, have what is probably the most comprehensive approach to working with these forces.