Astral projection is the act of separating your astral body or your consciousness, from your physical self. It is a (usually) voluntary out of body experience that allows the practitioner to perform any number of tasks as pure consciousness that would be otherwise impossible, or at least more difficult, due to the limitations of the physical body.
The astral or etheric body is usually separated from the physical during a deep state of meditation or even during sleep. For some, dream walking and lucid dreaming are also astral projection, while others insist that dreaming is just dreaming. Hindu tradition accepts astral projection during sleep, but feels that conscious astral travel is much more significant. Indeed, its Yogic tradition places great emphasis on self control and concentration which are extremely useful skills for those wishing to experience astral projection.
The astral or etheric body is invisible, though it may be seen by very sensitive individuals and many report that it is connected to the physical body by a silver cord. This cord cannot be broken and will always lead you back to your body, no matter how far you travel or what happens on your journey.
Things To Do on the Astral Plane
Once projected, the astral body is able to travel through the astral plane, an energetic plane of existence that overlaps our own. On this plane, the traveler may wish to explore the physical world or visit other worlds.
Go on a Journey
The traveler or journeyer can travel through the astral plane to different physical locations in our world. For example, a practitioner who is unable to physically attend a gathering of his or her fellow practitioners because it is too far away in the physical world, may choose to travel through the astral plane to the physical location of the event. Some of his fellow practitioners may even be sensitive enough to see him. Some say that this sort of travel does not actually take place on the astral plane, but on the physical plane, simply in astral form.
Time does not exist on the astral plane as it does on the physical plane. Many people have reported long, extensive journeys on the astral plane only to return to discover that only a few minutes had past. Travelers have also reported that they joined in an event on the astral plane and were able to identify other participants and details of the event, only to discover that they had the date wrong and they astrally traveled to an event that took place the following weekend, or the weekend before.
Many astral travelers choose to explore additional worlds to our own while in the astral state. How many of these worlds there are is a matter of great debate that differs widely between traditions but it seems clear that there is at least a plane that overlaps the physical world consisting of the energetic or subtle bodies of all that exists in this world, and then there is an "underworld" which may or may not consist of many sub-planes where certain chthonic spirits reside and perhaps also the spirits of the dead. Finally, there is an "overworld" or plane of light, which again may consist of many areas and is inhabited by "The Shining Ones", Gods, angels, and other etheric beings. These worlds or planes of existence have different names in different traditions.
I personally find it helpful to symbolize these worlds with the Triquetra and call them Earth, Sky and Sea (Earthly plane, Plane of Light, Underworld) and I feel like the Astral plane itself is a sort of central hub. If you look at the Triquetra, you see three loops that overlap, Sky above, Earth and Sea side by side with the loop in the middle, that's the Astral Plane, like a central hub where you can access anything or just stay there and tend your astral temple. But please don't take this little tidbit as gospel, it is merely a bit of unverified personal gnosis
It is said by some (Theosophy) that the Akashic records can be accessed through astral projection. Many paths consider astral projection a step toward enlightenment or part of The Great Work. This can be achieved through conversations with beings contacted on the astral plane and through insights gained through observations and experiments performed on the astral plane that would be difficult or impossible on the physical plane.
Build an Astral Temple
If you spend a lot of time on the astral plane, you may wish to create a place of your own to relax, worship your Gods, cast spells, perform divination and entertain guests or simply to serve as a home base. This "place" is your astral temple or astral garden. An astral temple doesn't need to look like a "temple" per se. It can look and function however you like.
Perform Magick on the Astral Plane
There are many advantages to performing magick on the astral plane versus the physical plane because the astral plane lacks certain limits the physical plane imposes on the practitioner.
When performing healing magick on the astral plane, one can travel to the patient even if they are very far away and visit them. As an astral body, you will see your patient's astral body and be able to more easily identify the sources of disease and address them directly.
In an astral state, it is also easy to see connections between people, places and objects and strengthen, weaken or sever these connections as necessary for the well being of the patient. Sometimes harmful energies from past relationships linger and severing these connections can bring great relief.
In an astral state it is also possible to enter another's dreams for a visit or to put an idea into their head. Entering another's dreams without permission is not a recommended practice and morally problematic. Visiting in dream space, however, is a fun way to keep in touch over long distances.
Of course you may choose to perform spells and ceremonial magick on the astral plane as well. Many people make use of their astral temple this way. If you keep your astral temple well tended, it is always sacred space and therefore always ready for a ceremony. All the tools you need can be conjured up at a thought.
Astral Allies and Correspondences
Many people have spirit companions who assist them with astral projection. These may be a Spirit Guide, a Spirit Guardian, an Animal Spirit or a God with whom they are close who is willing to assist with their endeavors. Usually these Gods fall into the category of Psychopomp or guide of souls.
Herbs and Crystals
Some herbs believed to help with Astral Projection include: mugwort, dream herb and damiana. If you are going to try these, I suggest using them as an incense rather than smoking or ingesting them for your own safety. Burn it as you prepare for your journey, not while you're journeying unless you have someone to make sure the house doesn't burn down while you're out. Be sure to use a deep and secure incense bowl placed well away from anything flammable in case you do doze off while it's burning.
Some people like to get drunk or high before attempting astral projection but this is actually detrimental to the process. The use of hallucinogens is definitely counter-indicated here as well as these will increase the likelihood of an unpleasant astral projection experience.
Safety During Astral Projection
Astral projection is generally considered safe. There is no inherent danger that doesn't exist during sleeping or meditation, which is to say, provided you're in a safe place, you're safe. There is no danger that you will get lost and be unable to return to your body and there is no danger that someone else will enter your body while you are out. It is your consciousness that is leaving. Your soul will remain safely tucked inside your body.
Many people refer to a silver cord that connects your consciousness to your body during astral projection that always leads your consciousness back home. Your consciousness cannot escape or get lost. All you have to do to return to your body is open your eyes. If you are "snapped" back by an interruption, you will likely be out of sorts, but you will suffer no more harm than you did the last time your sleep was interrupted by the neighbor's thumping bass.
You do want to choose a safe place for your astral projection experiments. Don't lie down on the railroad tracks or on a park bench or an alley in a bad neighborhood. Many people like to cast a magick circle of protection around themselves before beginning their astral projection and this may provide you a layer of protection and comfort, so go for it if it feels right.
You may encounter some unpleasant individuals on the astral plane. That world is like this world. There are good people and bad people and everything in between. But on the Astral plane you have more power than you do in the physical plane because anything you need, you can conjure up. If you feel threatened, conjure yourself up a shield of light, a bubble of energy, a sword, a shield, a machine gun if you like, or ninja skills. Or you can cast a magic circle that they can't cross into. If you are in your astral temple, you are very safe. It is yours and only yours, built of and aligned to your energy.
see also How to Achieve Astral Projection
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