Since the 2011 release of the horror film Insidious, there has been a newfound fascination nationwide of astral projection. In the film, a young boy uses astral projection to explore the astral plane in his sleep, a place that the film calls “The Further.”
He wanders too far, and becomes lost and trapped, opening his body up to be inhabited by demons. While Insidious was a fun film, it misrepresents astral projection at its core, and might dissuade some from attempting to tap into the powerful and non-harmful practice, which can provide users with knowledge and insight available from no other source.
Astral projection can be understood as two different but related practices. The more popular Western understanding of astral projection is a sort of out-of-body experience brought on willfully by the user.
This is also known as etheric projection. Sometimes astral projection is associated with sleep, sometimes with meditation, and sometimes with trances or hypnosis. Etheric projection allows the user to travel the physical, waking world in a dreamlike state, separate from reality but, usually, able to interact with it. The main use of astral projection in this form is exploration, self-reflection, and imposing your will.
It is said that while astral projecting, the user is able to influence the thoughts of others, and interact with other individuals also projecting at that time. This form of astral projection is both easier to bring on and also easier to get better at. If you have ever experienced being out-of-body, this is an extension of that, and draws on many of the same sensations.
While this form of astral projection is useful and allows the user to gain much otherwise-unavailable knowledge, the limits of etheric projection are extremely evident. Those limits, however, are nonexistent in astral projection’s other form.
The other meaning of astral projection is more classical, originating from medieval philosophy; in this form, astral projection takes the user to distant realms and mystic planes. This is the form of astral projection depicted in Insidious, as the user is able to leave Earth and the realm of their physical body and visit the places of spirits, ghosts and, some claim, gods and demons.
Astral projectionists’ souls physically abandon their body and travel through manifested corridors which warp time and space around them. The user is not physically traveling out into space always, although this is easily possible and in fact is one of the most simple actions of astral projection, as it does not require leaving the physical realm. While both forms of astral projection have been associated with sleep and dreaming, this form is particularly dream-like, while etheric projection is more lucid and grounded in reality.
Astral projectionists have claimed visits to Heaven, Hell, the Nether Plane, Hades, Nirvana, the Astral Plane, other planets, distant stars, ancient kingdoms, and their own births, to name a few. The ability to travel through time and space is not always controllable, and many projectionists claim to be whisked away seemingly at the will of a random universe, winding up in unfamiliar places and gleaning unimaginable knowledge and understanding.
Like all forms of psychic ability, the true and final purpose of astral projection, after the excitement and magic, after the travel and adventure, is to gain knowledge. Astral projection allows communion with forces beyond the understandable who can share incredible knowledge with the projectionist. In addition, events of great significance and with much mystery around them, or events entirely unknown to humans can be witnessed, and understood.
hrough astral projection not only can a projectionist visit a time and place but they can incite events, plant thought and knowledge, and alter their own history through actions during their projection. Depending on the school of thought you prescribe to, the possibilities of astral projection are staggering.
Many ancient civilizations have described astral projection in their text. The most extensive and obvious is in Western culture, as they have a quite thought-out semi-scientific explanation for astral projection and how it is possible. Ancient Egyptians believed the soul, or ba, could hover outside of the body as a “subtle body” called a ka; Taoists in China believed that the primordial soul could inhabit an energy body formed through “pearls” of energy generated in breathing meditation; in India, Hindus believed yoga could be used to reach a state of astral projection; and in Japan, a soul that was angry enough could leave a body as an ikiryo and curse or harm the target of the hatred through mystical means.
Obviously, astral projection has a long historical precedent and much has been written and said about it. At the end of the day the only way to truly understand astral projection is to attempt it yourself. Through honing your psychic abilities and using proper meditative techniques, perhaps you can find yourself traveling the astral plane.