Thursday, February 6, 2014

Astral Projection

The term astral projection, also known as etheric projection or out-of-the body traveling, refers to the ability to travel outside the physical body. The astral body is said to be an exact replica of the physical body but more subtle. An astral body is able to detach itself from the physical body at will (or under special circumstances) and is inhabited after death. The astral body remains attached to the physical body via a stream of energy commonly called the silver cord. The astral body is able to spontaneously leave the physical body during sleep, trance, or coma, under the influence of anesthetics or drugs, or as the result of accidents.
The astral body of a dying person is often projected into the presence of loved ones a few moments before the physical body dies, and this phenomenon is said to arise from the strong desire of the dying person to see and be seen. There are many reports of this phenomenon, and it has been found possible to project the astral body at will during subjective experiments, though the existence of such a body has not been proven to the satisfaction of mainstream science. The astral body is said to be composed of subtle elements, ethereal in nature, which correspond to what the Yogis consider the vital centers of the physical body, more connected with the life force than with matter. The concept of bilocation is associated with the concept of astral projection. Bilocation is the ability to be in two places at the same time, but since a person cannot be in both places at once, one can postulate that the physical body could be in one place, while the astral body could be in another.

Many experiences of astral projection have been reported. Among the researchers who have studied this phenomenon is the British scientist Robert Crookall, who compared hundreds of cases in which people claimed to have left the physical body and reentered it after traveling, unseen, in the astral
body. Sylvan Muldoon and Hereward Carrington, in their famous books The Phenomena of Astral Projection and The Projection of the Astral Body, maintain that there are three kinds of projection: conscious projection, in which the subject is awake; partially conscious projection; and unconscious projection. Unconscious projection has two distinct forms, the first of which is immotive astral projection—unconscious astral catalepsy (a state of suspended anima-tion in which there can be no voluntary motion) in a perpendicular or standing position. The second type of unconscious projection is motive astral projection, in which the subject is lying down. Besides describing the phenomenon, Muldoon and Carrington also report some techniques for experiencing the astral projection at will. These methods are based on a simple, strong desire to project one’s own astral body.

In contemporary Witchcraft, conscious astral projection is practiced in association with certain kinds of magical workings. For example, contemporary Witches sometimes utilize astral projection to communicate with spirit entities, to examine the future, and for distant healing.

Further Reading
Muldoon, Sylvan J., and Hereward Carrington. The Phenomena of Astral Projection.
London: Rider and Company, 1969.
———. The Projection of the Astral Body. York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1970.
Shepard, Leslie A., ed. Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Detroit: Gale
Research Inc., 1991.