According to ancient traditions the world over, the soul or spirit has the ability to leave the physical body at certain times and to travel to other spaces and realms. In modern times, this concept has come to be known as astral projection, or astral travel. Astral projection is associated with near death experiences, sleep and dreams, illness, entheogenic experiences, and certain forms of meditation. While many individuals who experience astral projection were not necessarily looking to do so, many others actively seek to practice astral projection through spiritual practice in order to access higher realms of consciousness. Of course, since the experience of astral projection is so internal and subjective, there is little concrete evidence to explain these experiences. However, the concept of astral projection is so stunningly universal that there is little doubt in the minds of many individuals that there is something very meaningful within this type of experience
The concept of astral projection can be found in cultures all over the world, from Japan to the Amazon. There are even examples of astral travel to be found in The Bible. The term is used to refer both to spirit travel in to unearthly realms, and to non-physical travel in the physical world. In many cultures, astral projection is associated either with severe physical or emotional illness, or with shamanic practices which often involve the induction of trance states through the use of physical movements, repetitive music, use of entheogens, and so forth. However, in recent years it has become more and more popular to attempt to work with astral projection within the dream state. In my opinion, this is probably the simplest and most straight-forward way to begin doing astral projection work, and is also much less taxing on the body than having a near-death experience or attempting to put oneself in to a trance state.
The more I come to understand my dream state through lucid dreaming work, the more convinced I become that astral projection and dreaming are located in very similar, if not the same part of the brain. The difference between having a normal dream, having a lucid dream, and astral projection is the level of control and awareness that the individual has in the dream state. A normal dream is controlled almost entirely by the subconscious mind. Therefore, one does not have any level of actual control of the dream, or even any awareness that what one is experiencing is a dream at all.
The subconscious mind seems to be primarily concerned with processing life events and emotional and spiritual issues. It will confront you with people, places and events from your life experience in a way that is often fantastical or nonsensical. When one is having a lucid dream, however, everything becomes clear and the individual, who knows that he or she is dreaming, will have the ability to bend the fabric of the dream to his or her will. This is also the case when it comes to astral projection. Through the use of various meditative techniques it is entirely possible for anyone to enter an astral projection state. However, if you lose focus for even a moment, lucidity will be lost, the subconscious mind will take over and you will enter the dream state very quickly. In a way, we astral project every night when we go to sleep, but without conscious control of this state it is not possible to use that projection to learn anything of value.
Learning astral projection is very similar to learning to lucid dream. The most important first step is to build up interest in astral projection and a strong desire to learn how it can be done. Read books and articles about astral projection so that the concept is continuously being played through your neural pathways. Then, every night before going to sleep, set an intention for yourself, saying “tonight I am going to astral project.” It is also important to learn some basic meditation and relaxation techniques. The most essential point when learning to astral project through the dream state is to be able to allow the body to fall in to sleep while ensuring that the mind remains completely awake. If you can maintain perfect concentration while still going deeper and deeper in to the sleep state, you will find that your astral body will naturally begin to separate from your physical body. I generally find that it is easiest to maintain this type of concentration after waking up early in the morning and returning to bed for another few hours of sleep.
Once you feel that your body is completely asleep, but your conscious mind is still in control, you can try moving your hands, legs and so forth. Some individuals report experiencing intense vibration in their astral body when they are ready to enter this state. Practice moving your astral hands and feet, and then either roll out of your body or, if it seems possible, simply rise up out of your body and move. Once you are able to move away from your body, you will slowly learn to move further and further away and will be able to bend the laws of the physical world more and more easily.
Of course, all of this takes a great deal of practice. I have been able to separate from my body on several occasions and have managed to move away from myself to some extent, but even that took a great deal of practice, and I am still working to develop my astral projection in to something useful and meaningful. This brings me to what is perhaps the most important aspect of learning astral projection, and that is patience. Just as with lucid dreaming, most individuals will not be able to learn to astral project in just a few nights, or even in a few months. There are also certain herbs for astral projection, such as Calea zacatechichi, which may assist you in this type of work, but you’ll still have to do the mind training part all on your own for these astral projection herbs to be effective. It takes most people years of practice and determination to really get this sort of work down. However, if you consider the potential spiritual and psychological benefits of being able to control your astral body outside of the physical body, you will quickly be able to understand why people all over the world have been fascinated by this phenomenon for centuries!