Some people can astral project naturally. Others are afraid to remove their consciousness from the physical body and never learn to astral project.
Astral projection (or astral travel) is an out-of-body experience achieved either awake or via lucid dreaming or deep meditation. People who say they experience astral projection often say that their spirit or astral body has left their physical body and moves in another dimension known as the spirit world or astral plane. The concept of astral projection has been around and practiced for thousands of years, dating back to ancient China. It is currently often associated with the New Age movement.
Psychics often say that the subconscious (or dreaming) mind contains the spirit or astral body, resulting in falling dreams or waking up with a falling sensation or sudden jerk. Most dreams are not remembered by the conscious mind, making the experience of astral projection a subject of subjectivity. Believers in astral projection point out, though, that most ghost sightings often define the ghost as a lucid or transparent apparition walking the earth.
It is unclear whether every physical object has an ‘astral’ counterpart, or if a spirit literally uses incarnation into a physical body and this is what results in astral projections, or if the phenomena is something else entirely. Astral projection also touches on life itself and what happens after physical death.
There are two general schools of thought on the nature of astral projection. These can broadly be defined as the mystical model and the phasing model.
The Phasing Model, which was defined by Robert Monroe, holds the belief that it is impossible to actually leave your body in the truest sense of the word, and that the astral planes and the physical world are merely points on the long spectrum of consciousness. When a person projects, they actually “phase” into another area of consciousness and the locales it contains. This can be likened to tuning a radio to another station. One of the initial signposts representing a phase shift away from physical reality has been labeled the state of focus 10 (mind awake/body asleep). This viewpoint can be seen as a logical progression of the philosophy that external reality is actually an internally created state
The Mystical Model includes a large variety of belief systems and astral maps, but they are tied together by their belief that astral projection takes place outside of the actual physical body. In this model, a more subtle energy body is believed to carry the consciousness outside of the physical body. In their book Projection of the Astral Body, Carrington and Muldoon detail how consciousness is transferred into a secondary “energy” body (the etheric body) to allow travel into the astral planes. This idea is also described by other authors such as Robert Peterson in his book Out of Body Experiences: How to have them and what to expect (chapters 5, 17, 22), and Robert Bruce in his book Astral Dynamics (pages 31-33, 404-410, 538). Bruce expanded on this idea in his book Astral Dynamics, stating that higher planes of existence are reached through the progressive projection of subtler energy bodies from previous projected bodies (pages 33-42). The subtle body is attached to the physical body by means of an energetic connection which usually takes the appearance of a silver cord ‘plugging’ into the chakra system like an umbilical cord. Robert Peterson describes this in chapter 13 of his book Out of Body Experiences, Robert Bruce in his book Astral Dynamics (pages 27, 52-53, 84, 397-403,544) and by Carrington and Muldoon in their book Projection of the Astral Body.
Types of Projection
The traveler finds him- or herself in an apparently real domain, analogous to the “other worlds” experienced by traditional peoples, which have no parallel to any physical setting or to consensus reality, described by New Agers and occultists as the astral plane or “the astral”. Environments here may range from populated to unpopulated, artificial to natural to completely abstract environments and from beautific to horrific. Here, normal physical laws often do not apply and humans can often, for example, float or fly. Quality of physical detail ranges from crude, non-detailed and depressing to bright, vivid and fascinating as detailed, among other writers, by Robert Bruce in his Astral Dynamics.
Travelers may travel from one realm to the other. Projectors may find access to visions of the past or future and to the Akashic Records accessible from here. It has been said that space and time do not exist on the astral plane nor the higher planes, but no explanation is given as to how forms and entire environments can exist without spatial dimensions, nor why there can be a sequence of events and yet no such thing as time. Many travelers have theorized that people having dreams actually travel to the astral realms, unaware, and, again as reported in Astral Dynamics, travelers have reported seeing dreamers enact dream scenarios on the astral plane, unaware of the more extensive and varied non-physical environment surrounding them. Some also claim common movements in dreams, such as falling or feeling like you are walking through quicksand, is the astral body in action.
In contrast to “astral” projection, the traditional understanding of out-of-body experiences involves the projector (or traveler) moving about in usually invisible or ghost-like form in a mundane physical realityÑthe etheric body. This world may, however, have minor differences between the physical reality world we know if strict mind control is not maintained. Proponents of the writings of Robert Bruce sometimes refer to this practice as “Real Time Projection” (RTP) and the mundane world as the “Real Time Zone” (RTZ). From the Real Time Zone, travelers can access “the astral” or remain in the RTZ and witness real time happenings.
In Western theosophy, each subtle body is functionally distinct. Since the etheric body and astral body are not the same, according to several sources (noted below), they can not possibly represent the same kind of psychic activity.
Alice Bailey, in Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle (Lucis Trust), stated that the etheric and astral bodies should not be confused. She indicated that “HPB” (Helena P. Blavatsky) had erroneously merged the two concepts, in order to cover a “mass of information anent the etheric [and] astral” (pages 140-141).
The Rosicrucian Fellowship has released several publications on the “etheric region” and the etheric body, as well as their integral relationship with the physical state of being (see Max Heindel, et al). The Theosophical Society, having several branches around the world, also has published literature on both the etheric and astral states. To them, the etheric body is actually the same as the physical; however, it “rests” at a slightly different frequency than regular matter.
Lawrence Bendit and Phoebe Bendit wrote a book called The Etheric Body of Man (Theosophical Publishing), in which the analysis of a psychiatrist meets the psychic visions of an alleged clairvoyant. Therein, the authors explain how the etheric body is a functionally separate body from the physical, and yet they share a mutual relationship, all of which seem to be consistent with how ether and etheric projection is believed to operate, as depicted in other literature.
The term was coined at least as far back as the 1940s, by Dion Fortune in her book Psychic Self Defense (Red Wheel/Weiser). She details how an etheric body (during etheric projection), once projected, is “sufficiently physical enough” to be mutually observed by on-lookers (pages 20-22).
James H. Brennan, in The Astral Projection Workbook (Sterling Pubishing), devotes an entire section of his book to etheric projection and its constituents (pages 17-28).
Annie Besant, in The Seven Principles of Man (Theosophical Publishing House) actually explained that the “etheric double” can be separated from the physical body: This etheric double is the exact double or counterpart of the [physical] body to which it belongs, and is separable [from it]… When separated from the [physical] body it is visible to the clairvoyant as an exact replica thereof, united to it by a slender thread… (pages 8-9).
Stuart Wilde in The Sixth Sense (Hay House) wrote that the etheric body (not astral) is the “true” individual, and that its function is to allow psychic abilities to actually surface. He stated that astral projection is not at all part of the etheric body’s actions, and that it is more a “mental state [of reverie]” (page 102). Further, he said that the etheric body is actually the vehicle used in an OBE, and that calling it astral projection is misleading (pages 102-103).
Mental projection is projection of the astral body to the mental plane via utilisation of mental energy while within the astral or etheric to phase into the Mental, or a different process used to project directly into the Mental Plane. The active subtle body of the mental plane is the mental body, which constitutes the intellectual consciousness of the projector in general. The environment is generally highly colorful and kaleidoscopic in nature, like the astral, and shifting consciously. The difference is that even mathematical functions and thoughts will manifest seemingly physically. The buffer zone between the astral and mental planes is known as the Akashic Records, and appears as a library of knowledge of past, present, and future possibility. There are many theories as to why the perceptions of these records and the mental plane in general differ from projector to projector, but the general consensus is that the Akashic records will appear differently, like a computer or library to different people at different times, and that the future is always sketchy and can often change mid-viewing to the projector.
Roman Catholic View
Astral Projection is a forbidden practice for Roman Catholics because the soul; containing all reason, thought, memories, emotion, attitudes, and beliefs; leaves the physical body during a wake state, and this can cause bizarre belief systems to develop, based on improperly interpreted sensations from the reality elevated from, and parallel to three dimensional reality.
The soul in an agnostic state; that is indifferent toward The Holy Trinity, or Triune God – God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit; is left without protection, roaming the atmosphere, and perhaps some distance beyond this in a spiritual ghetto that surrounds the earth: The Third Heaven. The Third Heaven is ruled by spiritual hosts of wickedness in the high places, which will send demons to deceive those who will not keep to the domain of the world.
A human soul, when detached from the physical body, during a waking state, without the protection of The Roman Catholic God, Jesus Christ, is very vulnerable to molestation by demons.
Roman Catholics refer to escorted travel in the spiritual dimension, an anointing. Jesus Christ is The Anointed of God, Who, while in human form was constantly aware of All Truth, regardless of the shortcomings of the human sensory channels. He was, therefore, constantly in a state of Astral Projection, or anointing. The anointed of God will prophesy Truth directly from God, perform miraculous healings, order the atmosphere to obey them, stop rain from falling in a certain area, pass through solid objects, and/or become invisible when threatened.
Robert Monroe – Monroe Technique
Robert Monroe in his series of books makes several references to a “second body”, which he says must be “shed” in order to be completely free. Because many of his fantastical adventures are alleged to happen after this shedding, he was most likely referring to the etheric body and etheric projection.
Robert Allan Monroe (1915 – 1995) was a psychic researcher and author of <Journeys Out of the Body, a 1971 book that popularized the expression “out-of-body experience” (also called astral projection). Monroe was a conservative Virginia businessman who had his first out-of-body experiences in 1958. After much experimentation, he founded The Monroe Institute, a “nonprofit education and research organization devoted to the exploration of human consciousness” and developed a method he called Hemi-Sync (hemispherical synchronization) to induce mental states that are favorable for inducing out-of-body experiences. Hemi-Sync is a system which aims to balance the brain waves of both of the brain’s hemispheres or lobes through cooperative processing of auditory stimulus. The stimulus, together with meditative instruction, is provided via headphones. The method is based on a concept known as binaural beats.
Monroe gives a detailed description of the “second body”. It has weight, is visible under certain conditions, produces a sensation of touch just like the physical touch, and yet it is very plastic and may adopt any form required of it. Possibly, suggests Monroe, the second body is a reversal of the physical. He even relates this to his ideas that it may consist of antimatter, although what he means is obscure. As for a cord, he tried feeling it on some of his excursions, but it was not an important part of his experience. Finally he suggests that the second body is related in some important way to electricity and magnetism. In experiments in a Faraday cage he found that he could not pass through the walls when a current was passed through them, but when it was turned off he could (though sufficient details are not given to assess the explanation fairly). He suggests a “third force” to add to electricity and magnetism which is used by the second body and fundamental to thought.
What can we make of Monroe’s descriptions? As always it is hard to disentangle what he has discovered about locations others might visit, from the product of his own bias or preoccupations. Some of his descriptions sound familiar, but many seem only odd.
Many people confuse this phenomenon with astral travel; however, etheric travel is mainly related to that which can and does exist, physically. During this type of experience, there are no fantastical worlds, or self-absorbed encounters; the majority of the experience can be validated. Dr. Charles Tart has done many experiments and tentatively concluded that the person may not have invented the experience – unlike astral travel, where the experience is conceptual. For example, in a 1967 study, a subject was unable to discover a five digit number written down and placed face up in an adjoining room, but did provide some details of the activities of the technician monitoring the experiment. Tart summarizes, “Thus, there is some indication that ESP may have been involved with respect to the technician’s activities, but it is not at all conclusive.”
According to Arthur Powell and Max Heindel, the etheric “double” serves as a medium between the astral and physical realms. Ether, also called prana, is the “vital force” that empowers the Physical forms in order for change to take place. This means that when one views the physical during an OBE, they are not technically “in” the astral realm at all.
The Monroe Technique
Relax the body. According to Monroe, “the ability to relax is the first prerequisite, perhaps even the first step itself” to having an OBE. (out of body experience). This includes both physical and mental relaxation. Monroe does not suggest a method of attaining this relaxation, although progressive muscle relaxation, coupled with deep breathing exercises (inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3… until about 50 or 100) are known to work well.
Enter the state bordering sleep. This is known as the hypnogogic state. Once again, Monroe doesn’t recommend any method of doing this. One way is to hold your forearm up, while keeping your upper arm on the bed, or ground. As you start to fall asleep, your arm will fall, and you will awaken again. With practice you can learn to control the hypnogogic state without using your arm. Another method is to concentrate on an object. When other images start to enter your thoughts, you have entered the hypnogogic state. Passively watch these images. This will also help you maintain this state of near-sleep. Monroe calls this Condition A.
Deepen this state. Begin to clear your mind. Observe your field of vision through your closed eyelids at the blackness in front of your. After a while you may start to notice light patterns. These are simply neural discharges. They have no specific effect. Ignore them. When they cease, one has entered what Monroe calls Condition B. From here, one must enter an even deeper state of relaxation which Monroe calls Condition C– a state of such relaxation that you lose all awareness of the body and sensory stimulation. You are almost in a void in which your only source of stimulation will be your own thoughts.
The ideal state for leaving your body is Condition D. This is Condition C when it is voluntarily induced from a rested and refreshed condition and is not the effect of normal fatigue. To achieve Condition D, Monroe suggests that you practice entering it in the morning just as you are getting up, or after a short nap.
Enter a state of Vibration. This is the most important part of the technique, and also the most vague. Many projectors have noted these vibrations at the onset of projection. They can be experienced as a mild tingling, or as if electricity is being shot through the body. Their cause is a mystery. It may actually be the astral body trying to leave the physical body.
For entering into the vibrational state, he offers the following directions:
1. Remove all jewelry or other items that might be touching your skin.
2. Darken the room so that no light can be seen through your eyelids, but do not shut out all light.
3. Lie down with your body along a north-south axis, with your head pointed toward magnetic north.
4. Loosen all clothing, but keep covered so that you are slightly warmer than what might normally be comfortable.
5. Be sure you are in a location where, and at a time when, there will be absolutely no noise to disturb you.
6. Enter a state of relaxation.
7. Give yourself the mental suggestion that you will remember all that occurs during the upcoming session that will be beneficial to your well being. Repeat this five times.
8. As your breathe, concentrate on the void in front of you.
9. Select a point a foot away from your forehead, then change your point of mental reference to six feet.
10. Turn the point 90 degrees upward by drawing an imaginary line parallel to your body axis up above you head. Focus there and reach out for the vibrations at that point and bring them back into your body.
Even if you don’t know what these vibrations are, you will know when you have achieved contact with them.
Learn to control the vibrational state. Practice controlling them by mentally pushing them into your head, down to your toes, making them surge throughout your entire body, and producing vibrational waves from head to foot. To produce this wave effect, concentrate on the vibrations and mentally push a wave out of your head and guide it down your body. Practice this until you can induce these waves on command. Once you have control of the vibrational state, you are ready to leave the body.
Begin with a partial separation. The key here is thought control. Keep your mind firmly focused on the idea of leaving the body. Do not let it wander. Stray thoughts might cause you to lose control of the state.
Now having entered the vibrational state, begin exploring the OBE by releasing a hand or a foot of the “second body”. Monroe suggests that you extend a limb until it comes in contact with a familiar object, such as a wall near your bed. Then push it through the object. Return the limb by placing it back in to coincidence with the physical one, decrease the vibrational rate, and then terminate the experiment. Lie quietly until you have fully returned to normal. This exercise will prepare you for full separation.
Dissociate yourself from the body. Monroe suggests two methods for this. One method is to lift out of the body. To do this, think about getting lighter and lighter after entering the vibrational state. Think about how nice it would be to float upward. Keep this thought in mind at all costs and let no extraneous thoughts interrupt it. An OBE will occur naturally at this point.
Another method is the “Rotation Method” or “roll-out” technique. When you have achieved the vibrational state, try to roll over as if you were turning over in bed. Do not attempt to roll over physically. Try to twist your body from the top and virtually roll over into your second body right out of your physical self. At this point, you will be out of the body, but next to it. Think of floating upward, and you should find yourself floating above the body.
According to its proponents, the Silva Method (Silva Mind Control, Remote viewing) is a self-empowerment system to shape beliefs, augment personal success and view distant objects or locations and connect with a higher intelligence for guidance. Jose Silva developed pseudoscientific explanations of brain function and its relationship with a higher consciousness in the 1960s.
According to its proponents, the technique aims to reach and sustain a higher state of mental functioning, called alpha state, where brainwave frequency is eight to thirteen Hz. The method also uses visualizations and affirmations. Advocates attest to healing, better attainment of goals, ESP and cure from addictions.
Jose Silva, founder of the Silva Method, claimed to have developed a program that trained people to enter certain brain states of enhanced awareness. He also claimed to have developed several systematic mental processes to use while in these states allowing a person to mentally project with a specific intent. According to Silva, once the mind is projected, a person can allegedly view distant objects or locations and connect with higher intelligence for guidance. The information received by the projected mind is then said to be perceived as thoughts, images, feelings, smells, taste and sound by the mind. The information obtained in this manner can be acted upon to solve problems.
J. B. Rhine, long-time parapsychology researcher at Duke University, coined the term, Extra-sensory perception (ESP). He thought that the psychic senses were an extra sense that only a few very special people had. Silva modified the phrase “Extra-sensory Perception” to “Effective Sensory Projection”. Silva kept the same initials, ESP, but the revised meaning suggests that it is a more dynamic activity. In 1953, Silva believed he had trained his daughter to be psychic, and he introduced his training methods to Rhine with his daughter as proof. Rhine’s response was that Silva’s daughter was a natural psychic and he just hadn’t noticed it before. Subsequently, Silva began working with another subject. This time, he tested his subject first to be sure he was not functioning as a psychic. Over the next ten years, Silva claimed to have trained thirty-nine more subjects to be psychics.
Another discovery claimed as successful is remote viewing. Rather than passively waiting for impressions to be perceived, a person projects him- or herself mentally and remotely views what is going on in a process similar to lucid dreaming.
Alleged successes with his methods convinced Silva that everyone has such abilities and can be taught to develop them, and that it is not an extra sense at all, but an unneeded – therefore undeveloped – sense. Everything happens first in the mind, he reasoned, then happens in the body. A person mentally decides to pick up a glass of water and drink it, then does it physically. Your life is the manipulation of the set rules of this universe, the trick is learning how to manipulate the rules right.
The Silva Method is now a multi-million dollar business with thousands of Silva Method instructors teaching the system over several days to groups of students in numerous countries worldwide.
The system has also spawned many books, some of them authored or co-authored by Jose Silva, with many others based on the basic principles of the method but spreading into other areas of awareness and application whilst in the alpha state.
The Silva Method is one of a number of therapeutic techniques sometimes grouped under the name Human potential movement.
Quiet your mind. Clear your thoughts. In your mind think …
“I’m going to count down from 3 to 1, visualizing each number on a white orb suspended in the air above my head. When I reach the third and final “1” my body will be deeply relaxed. I will have no awareness of physical sensations. I will not perceive any physical discomfort. My consciousness will be focused on my astral body.”
Now visualize a white orb suspended in the air above your head. Mentally focus on the orb I visualize a number “3” on the face of the orb. The numbers can be any color. They may vary with each experience. Visualize the 3 – three times: three number “3’s” on the orb. Your body is completely relaxed. You are losing awareness of your physical body. (3 references 3D or the physical mind)
Repeat the visualization with three number “2’s.” You are into greater relaxation. Now visualize the “1’s.” You are losing awareness of physical sensations. Your consciousness will be in your astral body.
Repeat this using the number “1’s” three times. Your consciousness is now in my astral body. This could involve training of several sessions. You may also find audio tapes that take you down into these altered states as well. You getting better and faster as you go along each time. There is no set agenda for how often you practice astral projection or any other out-of-body technique. It soon becomes fun. It is like a deep meditation. The key is to remain conscious while my body is asleep. Different thoughts may pull you from your focus as the mind loves to chatter. Just push these thoughts away.