Non-European readers of this blog may only be slightly aware that this past week Britain has been gripped by a miniature ice-age. This has forced your humble blogmaster to take most of the week off work. On the plus side however, it has given me more time to devote myself to magical endeavours – which I have been doing astrally from a horizontal position. This has inspired me to write a post about Astral Projection and Out of the Body Experiences.
My first experience of Astral Projection – as distinct from Lucid Dreaming – came as a direct result of reading The Art and Practice of Astral Projection by Ophiel. In fact, my very first OOBE happened round about the same time that I was still learning how to dream lucidly – so it is questionable whether Ophiel or my lucid dream practice influenced me more. In time, however, I eventually learnt to have OOBEs with each of the four methods which he describes, although Lucid Dreaming remains my prime method of accessing the astral plane.
In my experience, OOBEs and Lucid Dreams are so similar in the way they feel and behave that I find it hard to distinguish them – save in the fact that in an OOBE I actually feel that I have gone “out of my body.” Other than that, the similarities are more remarkable than the differences. Both seem to require me going into an altered state of consciousness which is deeper than relaxation, and lighter than sleep per se. I have always supposed that the real difference between astral projection and lucid dreaming is how one achieves this altered state of consciousness. In lucid dreaming one ascends into it after having fallen asleep first (i.e. it is hypnopompic) whereas in other methods of astral projection one descends into it without necessarily falling completely asleep (i.e. hynogoguic).
Hence, for example, when I have practised Ophiel’s “Little Method,” what usually happens is that I repeat the prescribed visualisations over and over and over … until I fall into a sort of trance, whereupon I find I am astrally projecting. However, my best efforts at using this method have occurred when I am lying in bed of a lazy morning: hence the practical difference between this being a method of either astral projection or lucid dreaming were further blurred.
I have had similar experiences with the “Body of Light” method. Curiously though when I have tried this it has had a different “feel” to it – it felt more like Clairvoyance than an actual OOBE per se (I don’t know if this is common). The “Body of Light” strikes me as a method of causing astral projection by creating an artificial elemental – i.e. the light-body itself – and then transferring ones consciousness into it. Seen in this way, it is possible to greatly increase the potential of astral projection by using the techniques one can use on artificial elementals generally on the light-body – e.g. by deliberately enduing it with positive characteristics and magical powers when creating it. One can be very creative in this way – one is only limited by ones imagination.
I have attempted other methods of astral projection with success, e.g. I tried out one method from a book called Astral Odyssey: Exploring Out-of-body Experiences by Caroline Eby and it worked straightaway, although by that point I had grown so use to astral projection and lucid dreaming that I wonder if my prior experience did not make it easier for me.
On a few rare occasions I have become aware of a sort of Bilocation, in which I was both awake and aware of my physical body, and astrally projecting at the same time. I wasn’t actually doing anything in particular with my physical body at the time: except maintaining unbroken concentration on my astral vehicle. I have tried going for a long walk whilst doing a simple astral ritual, but I doubt that I could do anything more complicated than that. However it does suggest to me that given the right circumstances, achieving the right state of consciousness and so forth, it is possible to work on the astral plane and achieve palpable results without having a full-blown OOBE.