Astral projection or astral travel is an interpretation of out of body experience or known OBE that assumes the existence of an astral body separate from the physical body and capable of traveling outside it. Astral projection or travel denotes the astral body leaving the physical body to travel in the astral plane.
Altered States of consciousness are generally a well discoursed and thought out broach of investigation. There has been much debate and theory. It is believed by many that the soul, the part of our living bodies which takes in the sight, sounds and senses has a link or connection to the wider aspect of the world. Theorists in the hundreds have argued, philosophised and even opened up Colleges to study this ideology. Emanual Swedenborg, Robert Monroe and other notable figures believed that visually thinking of flying or levitating before sleep aided the projection of the soul and was an elevator in real dreaming. In seeing the pattern of wallpaper or parts of a room, many versions of this dreaming stated that people were looking down on an aspect of the room and depicting patterns or decoration from a ceiling view. Robert Bruce, Albert Taylor and William Buhlman all studied OBE. Waldo Vieira who was a physician dentist OBE talked about his first experience of this state of dreaming at age 9. He studied the phenomenan and went on to open International Academy of Consciousness.
The idea of astral travel is rooted in common worldwide religious accounts of the afterlife in which the consciousness’ or a soul’s journey or ascent is described in such terms as an.. out of body experience, this can be as the spiritual traveler leaves the physical body and travels in his and her subtle body or dream body or the astral body into higher realms. It is therefore associated with near death experiences and is also frequently reported as spontaneously and involentarily experienced in association with sleep and dreams, illness, surgical operations, sleep paralysis and forms of meditation or deep trance.
It is sometimes attempted out of curiosity, or tried so that the person can sense or may be believed to be necessary to, or the result of, some forms of spiritual practice. It may involve travel to higher realms called astral planes or spirit level but is commonly used to describe any sensation of being out of the body in the everyday world, even seeing one’s body from outside or above.
A lot of people from an early age feel that their dreams are more vivid than memories or imagined scenes. The tangible almost breath taking visions capturing ordinary visitation to new places or escapes to countries which have never been seen in life by the person.
It may be reported in the form of an apparitional experience, a supposed encounter with an identical someone, some living person also seen somewhere simultaneously.
Through the 1960s and 1970s, surveys reported ranging from 8 percent to as many as 50 percent in certain respondents who stated they had such an experience. The subjective nature of the experience permits explanations that do not rely on the existence of an astral body but had more basis in everyday location and incident.
The theme is treated in anthropological or ethnographic literature on certain elements of witchcraft and shamanism, in classical philosophy and in various myths and scriptures particular to faith.
Islamic mysticism interpret Muhammad’s night ascent- the Isra and Mi’raj to be an out of body experience through nonphysical environments, unlike the Sunni Muslims or mainstream Islam. In view of the Isra reference from the Qur’an and Hadith, the Sunni Muslims reject this saying but the idea is, the night journey – mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith was physical yet spiritual. The mystics claim Muhammad was transported to Jerusalem and onward to the seven wondrous levels, even though the apostle’s body remained where it was.
Islamic spiritual system called Sufism also have some similar practices. There are stories about the sufis that they were seen on multiple and various places at the same time. There are hundreds of such stories. It is believed that the sufis make their soul pure and light by surrendering themselves to an energy called Alla or the one who gave these special powers.
Similar concepts of “soul” travel appear in various other religious traditions, for example ancient Egyptian teachings present the soul as having the ability to hover or exist outside the physical body in the Ka or special body.
Taoist lchemical practice involves creation of an energy body by breathing meditations, drawing energy into a pearl that is circulated. Xiangzi with a drum fell fast asleep on a pillow snoring like thunder. His primordial spirit walked though and on entering a separate room spoke and lived amonst the gathered officials as one who was awake. As the person went back to check he saw that yes the Daoist had fallen asleep but how could it be that another exactly as he with the same body and look was in another part of the chamber at the same strike of the clock. It was decided he was one who could divide his body and be two of the soul and flesh to be in two different parts of the hall at once. At that moment, the Daoist in the side room came walking out, and the Daoist sleeping on the ground woke up. The two merged into one.
The Inuit have a lot of spiritual practical demonstrations. Inuit people with special capabilities are said to travel to mythological remote places, and report their experiences and things important to their fellows or the entire community. It is a good method in protection and how to stop bad luck in hunting, cure a sick person etc.,things unavailable to people with normal capabilities.
It is the yaskomo of the Waiwai that is believed to be able to perform a soul flight that can serve several functions such as healing, flying to the sky to consult cosmological entities as the moon or the brother of the moon to get a name for a new-born baby, flying to the cave of peccaries’ mountains to ask the father of peccaries for abundance of game or flying deep down in a river to get the help of other beings and source.
Astral and etheric
The expression astral projection came to be used in two different ways. For the Golden Dawn and some Theosophists a spiritual sort of religion it retained the classical and medieval philosophers’ meaning of journeying to other worlds, heavens, hells, the astrological spheres and other imaginable landscapes, and outside these circles the term was increasingly applied to non physical travel which was attended around the physical world.
The multiple and link to all is that it is essentially a way of moving the spiritual or soul being from one enviroment to another whilst the physical body remains still.
Though this usage continues to be widespread, the term, etheric travel, used by some later Theosophists, offers a useful distinction. Some experiments say they visit different times and or places, then, is used to represent the sense of being out of the body in the physical world, whereas astral may connote some alteration in time perception. Robert Monroe describes the former type of projection as the Here Now or Locale I, involving people and places that actually exist and Robert Bruce calls it the Real Time Zone RTZ and describes it as the non physical dimension level closest to the physical life. This etheric body is usually, though not always, invisible but is often perceived by the experiment as connected to the physical body during separation by a silver cord and is known by spiritualists to bethe same cord which is born with a person. Some link falling dreams with projection.
Other experiments may describe a domain that has no parallel to any known physical setting. Environments may be populated or unpopulated, natural, artificial, or abstract, and the experience may be awesome, horrific or neutral. A common Theosophical belief is that one may access a compendium of mystical knowledge called the Akashic records talked of by the majority as the library of spirit knowledge on a blueprint about individuals and the past, present and future. In many accounts the experiencer correlates the astral world with the world of dreams. Some even report seeing other dreamers enacting dream scenarios unaware of their wider environment.
The astral environment may also be divided into levels or sub-planes by theorists, but there are many different views in various traditions concerning the overall structure of the astral planes they may include heavens and hells and other after death spheres of residing, transcendent environments or other less-easily characterized states.
ideas such as the Lin’ga S’ari-ra are found in ancient Hindu scriptures such as the YogaVashishta-Maharamayana of Valmiki. Modern Indians who have vouched for astral projection include Paramahansa Yogananda who witnessed a Swami Pranabananda doing a portraying miracle through a possible astral projection and Osho Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh who practiced it himself and allowed his own findings to be made clear to others.
The Indian spiritual teacher Meher Baba described one’s use of astral projection.
In the advancing stages leading to the beginning of the path, the aspirant becomes spiritually prepared for being entrusted with free use of the liberation of the inner world of the astral bodies. He may then undertake astral journeys in his astral body, leaving the physical body in sleep or wakefulness. The astral journeys that are taken unconsciously are much less important than those undertaken with full consciousness and as a result of deliberate volition. This implies conscious use of the astral body. Conscious separation of the astral body from the outer vehicle of the gross body has its own value in making the soul feel its distinction from the gross body and in arriving at fuller control of the body. One can, at will, put on and take off the external gross body as if it were a cloak, and use the astral body for experiencing the inner world of the astral and for undertaking journeys through it, if and when necessary….The ability to undertake astral journeys therefore involves considerable expansion of one’s scope for experience and may if one is not practicing it but seeing it for the first time be a little scary. It brings opportunities for promoting one’s own spiritual advancement, which begins with the involution of consciousness but it should be something that is understood. Many who undergo such a dream where the soul leaves the body report not being able to use their legs or arms and panic for the few or brief lapse before the mind kicks in and realises that it is not dying but simply has to adjust while the soul re enters and the dreamscape fades.
The Yogic tradition is an elaborate system of meditation and astral projection and most other Chino-Tibetan systems are derived there from through Buddhist channels. Astral projection is one of the Siddhis considered or thought to be achievable by yoga practitioners through self-disciplined practice.
In Japanese mythology, an ikiryō 生霊 also read shōryō, seirei, or ikisudama is a manifestation of the soul of a living person separately from their body. It is Traditionally, if someone holds a sufficient grudge against another person, it is believed that a part or the whole of their soul can temporarily leave their body and appear before the target of their hate in order to curse or otherwise harm them. Souls are also believed to leave a living body when the body is extremely sick or comatose; such ikiryō are not malevolent.
Astral projecting is not too far removed from much of the dream anaylsis which is commonly known of in the world. Everybody has stories of dreams that seem to take them to distant places but bring about a sense of actually being there which shakes them. The dreams that leave us walking through cities, virtual waking moments which are all too real. It is not difficult to think about the times we are asleep as a kind of disconnection from the physical body and during this period it is not uncommon for the soul to take a little wonder from the binds of the biology which ties us to this life. Spirit regularly say that when we are totally resting or in that lull before we become unconscious that is the time when they can come closest to our being and it therefore will be whilst people are partaking in this activity that their soul will be the most free to visit, explore and experience things we might in a wakeful duration not have the fortunte to do.
Picture is taken from online encycolpedia.