This is the first three articles from the Compuserve set by Don DeGracia explaining what astral projection is.
Before saying anything else I would like to thank and congratulate everyone who is taking this class. Whether you know it or not, by taking an interest in achieving the types of experience we will discuss here, you are opening yourself up to a greatly expanded view of yourself and the life and world around you. Hopefully, by the end of this class you will have a deep appreciation of what I mean in saying this. I wish everyone the best of luck!
1. What Is Astral Projection?
Just what exactly is astral projection? Well, we can get very academic and erudite about this, and we will do this to some extent below.
But for now, for starters, what we want to do is lay out a definition of astral projection that is *practical*. There are numerous ways we can view and define astral projection, but the most central point is that it is an *experience*, a special type of experience. No matter how you look at it, astral projection is an *altered state of consciousness*.
So, what is an altered state of consciousness? Well, it is a state of consciousness that is NOT our normal waking state of consciousness. There is one altered state with which we are all very, very familiar and that is the dreams we experience when we sleep at night. Dreaming itself is an altered state of consciousness. And, as we will see as we progress, dreaming and astral projection are very closely related states of consciousness.
Now, astral projection goes under a variety of names. Some other names for the astral projection experience are the following: 1. lucid dreaming, and 2. out-of-body experiences (OOBEs). Some people will debate that astral projections, lucid dreams and OOBEs are different things. We will discuss these distinctions below. However, I want to stress that such
distinctions amount to splitting hairs, and are not that important. For our purposes, I will use these 3 terms interchangeably. That is, whether I say “astral projection”, “lucid dream” or “OOBE”, I am refering to the same
thing. Actually, I will probably use OOBE a lot since it is the easist to type. What is really important is not what we call the experience, but LEARNING FOR YOURSELF HOW TO ACHIEVE THIS EXPERIENCE. And everything I will stress here is geared to this all important end.
So, for the sake of gearing all this to helping you actually have an OOBE, there are two main things we will focus on: theory and practice. You need to understand both. Either alone is useless. Theory by itself is just empty talk. Practice without theory just leads to confusion, and in the case of OOBEs, it can lead to real psychological danger as well. By themselves, OOBEs are NOT dangerous. However, if you don’t know what you are doing, they can be. So, you need the theory
to understand what is going on, and you need the practice to put the theory into action. So, in this course, we will cover both: theory and practice.
However, as you will see, I personally lean much more towards the practical, and this is what I will stress throughout. We will pay lip service to theory, but again, theory is useless without putting action behind the ideas.
Finally, I want to say this: I will attempt in these lessons to make the information I provide as self-contained as I can. That is, I want to really try to provide a comprehensive overview of OOBEs and really give you your money’s worth. However, there is just a tremendous amount of information related to OOBEs. For example, some related topics are the following: human psychology, dreams, occultism, religion, mysticism and science. I hope, that after reading these notes, you will get some idea that all of these topics are related to OOBEs. I am providing an annotated bibliography of books that I feel provide useful study. And I really encourage everyone to look through this bibliography and to actually read some of the books listed there. The more you know about OOBEs, the better. That’s all there is to it!
2. Different views of astral projections.
So, having said my introductory remarks, let’s look at the various ways people define astral projections/OOBEs/lucid dreams. Basically, we can divide up the various viewpoints as follows: 1. occult views, and 2. scientific views. Within each of these broad views are a number of sub-viewpoints, and we will mention each of these at least briefly.
A. Occult views
Within the camp of occult views, we can divide this into Western and Eastern occult views. However, what is nice here is that Eastern and Western occultism are very similar. One may find differences in small details, but the general viewpoints are very similar.
Now, the term “astral projection” comes from occult views of this expereince. This term implies that what the experience is is the projection of one’s self to the astral *plane*. Occultists teach that the universe is a series of planes of matter and that the physical world we perceive with our senses is but one of a series of, usually seven, planes. This is one assumption of the occult view of the world. Here is a list of the important ideas in the occult world-view that will allow us to understand what the term “astral projection” means:
1. Occultists teach that our consciousness transcends our physical body.
2. Occultists teach that each of us is an immortal soul who has temporarily incarnated into the physical world.
3. Occultists teach that the universe is a series of planes. Each plane is a world unto itself.
4. Occultists teach that each of us has facilities for interacting with at least 4 of these planes. These facilities are called “vehicles” or “bodies” and we have four of them: a physical body for interacting with the physical world (or plane), an astral body for interacting with the astral world/plane, a mental body for interacting with the mental world/plane and a buddhic body for interacting with the buddhic world/plane.
Before we go into these ideas in more detail, let me say this. To an occultist, the act of astral projecting entails transferring ones consciousness to the astral body and exploring the astral plane. And also let me say that, as far as theory goes, this is the theory I ascribe to. Generally speaking, the occult ideas are the most practical ideas you can use to understand what is happening to you when you have an OOBE. So, let’s go into these ideas a little deeper and spell out their implications. For further reading on these topics, see the books by Charles Leadbeater and Annie Besant in the bibliography.
First thing that needs to be said: the occult ideas fly in the face of everything we’ve been taught about what it is to be a human being here in America in the late 20th century. According to our *common* social beliefs, we are either atheists/materialists who do not think there is any such thing as a “soul”, or we were raised with simple-minded ideas about God, Heaven and Hell. Occult ideas challenge both of these viewpoints, and the beauty of learning to astral project is that you put yourself in a position to determine who is right and wrong on these issues. So, if the following ideas are unfamiliar to you, please be prepared to have your concepts about reality greatly expanded!
The basis of occult teachings is this: the senses of our physical body; our ears, eyes, taste, feeling, senses of heat and balance, smell, these senses define for us the physical world. That is to say, our physical senses, *by definition*, only allow us to perceive the physical world. However, according to occult teachings, THERE ARE ENERGIES THAT EXIST THAT WE CANNOT PERCEIVE WITH OUR PHYSICAL SENSES. In a nutshell, this idea underlies all of occultism, including whatever particular school of thought you like best (i.e. Theosophy, Hermitics, Paganism, Alchemy,etc., etc.).
Now, the idea that energies exist that we cannot perceive is no big news. Everyone knows about x-rays, about radioactivity, about ultra-violet radiation. These energies we can detect with machines, but not with our physical senses. However, where the occultist “goes over the edge”, so to speak, is with the claim that WE HUMANS CAN PERCEIVE THESE ENERGIES WITHOUT THE AID OF MACHINES. However, to understand this we need to go into the ideas of the vehicles/bodies, ideas that fall under the heading of “occult anatomy”.
Occult anatomy is the idea stated above, that we humans have more bodies than we can directly perceive: that we have, not only a physical body, but an astral body, a mental body and a buddhic body, as well. Each of these bodies exists on its respective plane. So, before we can go off about the bodies, we must discuss the idea of the planes.
The occult planes of nature can be thought of as occult physics. For the idea of the planes posits that there are whole worlds of energies beyond the ken of our perception, energies of which modern scientists are completely ignorant.
Again, we are flying in the face of common knowledge. Sure, scientists grant that there are x-rays, radioactivity, ultraviolet radiation, and even infinitely minute worlds of subatomic particles and neutrinos. But to say that there are whole worlds, full of life and activity and strange creatures, that exist beyond the ken of our physical senses is a complete absurdity to the modern scientist. However, this is exactly what the planes are. Each plane is a world, a giant world full of all kinds of strange and exotic places and creatures with sights and sounds that dwarf anything we know of here in the physical world.
I should point out too that there are other names you might hear of that refer to the planes. Such terms are: “dimensions”, “aethyrs”,”lokas”. “realms”. Each of these terms essentially means “plane” or “world”.
Now, again, and to keep your interest at this point, let me remind you that once you learn to astral project for yourself, then you can determine whether or not this is all so much fantasy and bs. Keeping this in mind, let’s define these planes a little better.
In the most commonly accepted schemes of the planes, it is taught that there are seven planes and that we humans can access the 4 lowest planes.
The common names of the seven planes are:
1. Physical Plane (which includes the Etheric Plane)
2. Astral Plane
3. Mental Plane
4. Buddhic Plane
5. Atmic Plane
6. Anupadaka Plane
7. Adi Plane
Now, let’s define each of these planes.
1. Physical Plane. This is the world you are sitting in right now. The physical plane is the familiar world of our everyday life. In the occult scheme, there are aspects of the physical worl that are invisible to our senses, and these invisible aspects of the physical plane are called the “etheric plane”. Above I mentioned x-rays, radioactivity, ultra-violet radiation and subatomic particles. In the occult world-view, these energies are “etheric” energies, and again, this simply means these are energies of the physical plane that we cannot perceive with the senses of our physical body. As we will discuss below, and is actually quite important to the endeavor of astral projecting, occultists claim we have a body made of etheric energies and they call this our “etheric body”. It is very likely that many of you will actually have experiences in your etheric body once you start attempting to project.
Again, this will all be explained in due course.
2. The Astral Plane. The astral plane is described of as a world of emotion and desire. On this plane our emotions and desires are actually *living creatures*. Also, according to occultists, the astral plane is where people go immediately after they die. “Dead people” (actually,”discarnate” people) do not stay forever on the astral plane, it is only a temporary stop after death. In this regard, the idea of “purgatory” is related to the idea of the astral plane.
Also on the astral plane are a whole host of creatures and inhabitants that are native to that plane, such as faires, devas, and other such things.
Believe it or not, according to occultists, the astral plane is also where we go at night when we dream. When you are in a dream, you are quite literally in the astral plane. This is a very important idea, and later on, when we begin discussing techniques for astral projecting, you will see how important this idea is.
3. The Mental Plane. The mental plane is the world of all thoughts and ideas.On the mental plane, thoughts are *REAL OBJECTS*, and these objects are called “THOUGHT-FORMS”. “Thoughts are things” is a common idea in occultism, and this idea refers to the fact that thought-forms exist as real live things on the mental plane. The mental plane is a dynamically brilliant world of ever-shifting abstract landscapes of color, sound and sights that would probably make the ordinary person go stark raving mad if they could actually see the mental plane for what it is.
The mental plane overlaps substantially with the astral plane, and there is every good chance you will see numerous thought-forms as you learn to astral project. However, chances are very good that you will NOT ever perceive the mental plane as distinct from the astral plane, so chances are good you will never see the stuff that could make you lose your mind. The reason this is so is because it takes a lot of talent to get to the mental plane. I personally have never been there and am only describing to you what I have read about it. Again, we will say more about this throughout these notes.
4. The Buddhic Plane. According to occult ideas, this is the highest plane that we can access as humans, within the context of what we understand as a “human being”. In effect, the buddhic plane is the realm of our soul. The energies of the buddhic plane that we use in our daily life are the following: inspiration, great creativity, compassion, wisdom, will-power. It is by these types of behaviors that the buddhic plane “leaks” into our regular physical lives.
In and of itself, the buddhic plane is supremely abstract and extremely powerful. Just like the mental plane, it is very unlikely that you will ever go to the buddhic plane in a projection. It takes even more talent to focus your consciousness exclusively on the buddhic plane than it does for the mental plane.
However, learning to access the energies of the buddhic plane will be critical for your continued success astral projecting. In a nutshell, the buddhic plane represents everything that makes human life good. The more of this you have in your aura (we will discuss aura below), the “lighter” you will be in your consciousness, and therefore, you will be able to travle through a broader range of the planes than otherwise. On the other hand, the less buddhic energy you have in your aura, the harder it will be for you to astral project, and as well, you will project into ugly regions of the planes, and in general, probably hurt yourself in the attempt to project. Maybe not hurt yourself physically, but emotionally and mentally.
Before going on about the “highest” three planes, I want to digress on what will be an important theme throughout these notes, and this is the place to do it; in the context of the buddhic plane. In effect, the buddhic plane is related to morals, wisdom and creativity. These are very important qualities no matter what activity you want to undertake. In this regard, astral projection is no exception.
Now, above, I said astral projection is only dangerous if you are ignorant about what is going on. Now it is time to explain what this means. You have to realize straight up that astral projection takes you into realms where the subjective becomes *ABSOLUTELY REAL*. All your ideas, fears, fantasies, become real things outside of you when you project. See, when you project, you will be somewhere, and in this somewhere (whether we call it a “plane” or whatever) all the things you think are subjective will become *objective*! What this means in practical terms is that, when you astral project, you will confront yourself, your own personality, in ways that are totally different than how you relate to yourself when awake here in the physical plane. For example, if you have phobias in your personality, these may become monsters that try to attack you in your astral projection. Such an experience will more likely than not scare the **** out of you, and, if you don’t understand what’s going on, such an experience may completely scare you away from astral projecting ever again. So, its EXTREMELY important that you understand that, in a sense, during a projection, your personality is “outside” of you, and not “inside” of you as it appears to be here in the physical world. In a very strong sense, astral projecting is a form of therapy, of self-therapy.
When you intitially begin to project, the first things you will encounter will be things of your own creation. Some authors refer to this as meeting the “dweller on the threshold”. Again, this “Dweller” is all the petty, all the bad, all the fear that you have in you. I’m not lying about this either – it has happened to me. It’s a stage you very likely will encounter. In a sense, all these negative elements of your personality are like a wall or room in the astral plane, that you will go to when you first begin to project. It is imperative that you realize that this is YOU. There is nothing to be afraid of because it IS you. You have complete control over these elements. YOU CAN BANISH THEM SIMPLY BY UNDERSTANDING THEM FOR WHAT THEY ARE. Your consciousness of your self is like a healing fire that can burn away these negative elements by understanding them. Once you confront these negative aspects of your self, they will disappear and you will have grown with new self-insight.
This growing is called “maturing”, and occurs because of buddhic plane energies. It takes will-power to confront these things in yourself, and it takes wisdom and compassion to see them for what they are and to accept them.
So, one way or another, anyone aspiring to astral project will very likely be confronted with this “dweller on the threshold”. By dealing with it, you get past it, and you grow. And then, after this first stage is passed, your experiences on the planes will not be as contaminated by personal factors. As the personal factors become less a part of your astral projection experiences, then your experiences there will reflect more clearly these planes as they objectively exist, uncontaminated by your subconscious influences. This process is like cleaning off a window. The cleaner the window is, the better you can see through it.
Likewise, when you project, the cleaner your personality is, the better you will be able to see through it into the planes.
Which leads me to state an important idea I have not stated yet, and that is that the planes are extremely plastic. They are moulded by your slightest emotion, desire or thought. The second you think something, a little piece of the mental plane is shaped exactly into your thought pattern, making a thought-form. This is exactly why your initial experiences projecting will be so extremly colored by your personality.
So, that’s it for an introduction to the moral side of astral projecting.Unlike almost any other activity we humans know of, you CANNOT be a moral retard and succeed at projecting. You can be a moral retard (i.e. have no moral values whatsoever) in art, science, buisness (where you actually have an advantage!) or other activities of life, but you cannot if you want to succeed astral projecting. If you DO try to project and at the same time stay morally poverty stricken, well, it is then that astral projection *can* be dangerous. It is just built like this.
Though morals seem like subjective gobbly goop in our physical life, they are, in reality, the laws upon which our entire human existence is based. Just as we need to know the laws of gravity to build a spaceship, we likewise need to know the laws of moral behavior to succeed at ANY occult task. The only time occultism is dangerous is if you use it in an amoral fashion.
And don’t worry, you don’t need to follow a particular creed or dogma or anything like that. The beauty of astral projecting is that you will find out EXACTLY what YOU need to grow. You are unique, your needs are unique and so will be your projections. The messages they will contain will be EXACTLY what YOU need at whatever stage you are at in your life. Simply trust the process, go with it, and it will work fine. All you have to do is be honest with yourself.
So, that said, let’s get back to describing the planes:
5. Atmic plane. On this plane, what we think of as “human” no longer makes any sense. There are no indivdual personalities on this plane. Seth, from the Seth material by Jane Roberts, reflects what the atmic plane is like. Here, consciousness exists as the simultaneous experience of a number of incarnations. Sure, we can say the concept easy enough, and even understand intellectually the idea. However, the actual direct experience of this state of consciousness is totally outside of our scope.
Over our head! If you can get your consciousness to focus on this level, then “you” will no longer exist! Good Luck!
6. Anupadaka Plane. Even more abstact than the atmic plane. Here everything bleeds into everything else. Extraordinarily abstract! Again, we might conceptualize the idea of everything being a part of everything else, but on this plane, that’s the way it *is*! No dualisms either – all the contradictions are inside of each other! Mind Candy! Overload!!!!!
Again, good luck out here!
7. Adi plane. God is here. If atmic and anupadaka were weird, well, this is the weirdest of ’em all. Completely beyond anything we humans can say, do, feel, think, etc. Yet, adi is the very essence of everything.
Look for the billboards with all the great mystic’s names on them! I can say this though, the more buddhic energy you have in your aura, the better a feel you get for adi.
So, that’s a rough run down of the 7 major planes of our universe according to occult doctrine. Again, if you’ve not heard these ideas before, then its quite a mindful to swallow all at once – and what’s worse, I’m not done with the occult ideas yet! For those of you familiar with these ideas, forgive me if I’ve left out a detail or two from your favorite schemata. It was not my intention to be all encompassing here, but simply to provide enough background for later discussions. And I’d like to quickly say that I’ve included attempts at defining the atmic, anupadaka and adi planes simply because I’m sick of seeing lists of the planes that state simply “we cannot understand these last 3 planes” or “beyond human comprehension”. Sure, in terms of our direct experience, these statements about the 3 highest planes are true. However, as my experience with occult matters has progressed, I have developed the above intuitions about the nature of these planes, and, you can take them for what they are worth to you.
So, according to occult ideas, there are these 7 planes. We can’t see them, but they are there nonetheless. And, to repeat, occultists use these ideas to explain the nature of both death and dreams, as well as astral projection and all other psychic powers, including clairvoyance, psychometry and whatever other favorite psychic powers you want to add to the list.
A. Occult Views
i. Occult Anatomy
So, we have defined the planes. Now let us define the vehicles or “bodies” we possess for interacting with the planes.
According to occult theory, we have 5 bodies. These are:
1. The Physical Body
2. The Etheric Body
3. The Astral Body
4. The Mental Body
5. The Buddhic Body
Now, when we define these bodies, we must define them from two perspectives at the same time. The first perspective is how these different bodies manifest in our normal waking life, and the second perspective is to define these bodies in terms of focusing your consciousness exclusively in that body and using it as a vehicle for perceiving its respective plane.
Also, it’s important to say at the start that, in all reality, these five bodies are one body. These bodies operate simultaneously and are highly integrated. While we are awake here in the physical plane, we haven’t the slightest clue that we have these five bodies because they each work so smoothly together that all we recognize is our unified perception and experience. In actuality, these 5 bodies represent the major FUNCTIONS we have as human beings. From the standpoint of our normal waking life, it is almost arbitrary to define the human being in terms of these 5 bodies.
However, it is in their utility for explaining altered states of consciousness that the definitions of these bodies will be found to be very useful. Thus, once we get more into the specifics of astral projecting, we will see how useful this scheme of 5 bodies is.
And what we will see too is that defining human nature in terms of these 5 bodies will put us in an excellent position to understand very clearly our normal life here in the physical world.
So, having said this, let’s discuss each body in turn.
1. The Physical Body. This is the body that we know. This is the body with eyes and ears, hands and feet, internal organs, a brain and nervous system. This is our organic body made of molecules and electricity, pulsating with the living energies of the Earth and Sun.
The best way to think of your physical body is that it is like a TV set. As a TV set allows you to tune into specific channels, likewise your physical body allows you (i.e your consciousness) to tune into the physical world. As a matter of fact, this is how you should think of all 5 bodies. Each body is a “tuner” that allows us to tune into the plane corresponding to that body. So, your physical body perceives the physical world of 3-D space and 1 dimensional time.
I said above that we need to view each body from two perspectives:
1. in terms of normal waking experience, and 2. in terms of altered states of consciousness. For the physical body, it is the only body we directly perceive while awake in the physical world. And when we are in an altered state of consciousness (such as dreams), we no longer perceive the physical body. There are exceptions to this last statement, but in general, it is true. Once we get into techniques for inducing astral projections, you will see that one way to “leave” your body entails losing consciousness of your physical body while at the same time gaining consciousness of your astral or etheric body.
2. The Etheric Body. As was stated above, occultists consider the etheric plane to be the invisible aspects of the physical plane. So then, it follows that our etheric body is then the invisible parts of our physical body. To give you an idea of what our etheric body may look like consider this. Hopefully you have seen how grains of iron will line up around a magnet, aligning with the magnetic field lines. Well, both our hearts and our brains are very electrical organs which are constantly emitting electrical fields. These fields emitted by the heart and brain are invisible to our senses, but are easily measured by machines (which is what the EKGs and EEGs used by doctors are). If you could literally perceive these electrical fields that come from your brain and heart, you would be seeing part of your etheric body.
Also, there is electricity constantly pulsing along the nerves throughout our entire body. Again, we cannot directly perceive these flowing nerve energies, but they are there nonetheless. And again, these nerve energies are a part of our etheric body. As a matter of fact, though some may debate this, the acupuncture charts of Tantra traditions are charts of the flowing of energies through the etheric body.
Some occult teachings describe the etheric body as being made of a blue glowing substance.
Now, from our the point of view of our waking experience, the etheric body is the basis of all sensation and perception. When you feel something with your hand, smell something, see something or whatever, these sensations are registering in your etheric body. This is why you do not perceive things happening in the physical plane when you are asleep or unconscious.
See, it is a mistake to think that your physical/organic body perceives things. Your organic body is like a lens that *focuses* sensations. These focused sensations then register in your etheric body, which means they are brought into your awareness. The physical/organic body is a machine that *conveys* sensation. The etheric body is the body that *registers and interprets* sensation.
Those of you who are expert enough in physiology to argue with me about these ideas can feel free to do so.
Now, from the point of view of altered states of consciousness, it is possible to move about in the etheric body independently from your physical/organic body. This is very difficult to do though. You can always tell that you are in your etheric body because you feel very heavy and it is very hard to move. Also, it is likely that if you are in your etheric body, then you will be in a dark, and sometimes, scary subplane. (More on this point below). Robert Monroe describes moving in his etheric body, but does not call it such.
Also, it is likely that you have experienced having your consciousness focused in your etheric body, but did not know it. This usually happens right when you are waking up or falling asleep. Have you ever had the experience of waking up in bed and trying to move, or trying to talk but not being able to do so? If so, you might have even felt scared. If this has ever happened to you, what is actually going on here is that you are actually *not* awake. Instead, you have “woken up” on the etheric plane in your etheric body by accident. For those of you that have had such experiences, be happy, because these were actually etheric projections!
We will learn below how to cultivate the ability to do this, and also what to do when you find yourself in this position.
3. The Astral Body. From the point of view of being awake here in the physical world, your astral body is the emotions and desires you feel.
You know how sometimes you get real distinct “vibes” from people? Maybe someone makes you feel creepy, or another person uplifts you and makes you feel good, and yet other people seem to drain you of your energy?
Well these “vibes” are in actuality you sensing that person’s astral body.
When you get angry, or sad, happy or feel any emotion, you are feeling your own astral body. When you sense these emotions in another person (which is called “empathy”) you are feeling that person’s astral body. Now, again, some people will argue with this, saying that emotions are a part of the brain, contained in the nerves of the limbic system.
However, I again will say that these brain regions that relate to emotion are gateways between the physical body and the astral body. Feeling emotion is not dependent upon having a physical/organic body. After you die you will continue to feel emotions because emotions originate in your astral body.
Now, in terms of altered states of consciousness, when we start getting into the meat of astral projection, the vast majority of your OOBEs will occur in your astral body. This is the body you use at night when you are dreaming and your physical body is asleep. Thus, the world you will be in when you astral project will be extremely similar to the world you are in when you dream at night. We will have much more to say about the astral body and its properties as we proceed.
4. The Mental Body. During normal waking life, you perceive your mental body as your mind. You think thoughts, see images in your imagination (your “mind’s eye”), can hear songs and voices “in your head”. All of these phenomena are occuring in your mental body. Again, you can argue and say that all of these things occur in your brain, and that, if you did not have a brain, then you would not think thoughts, see things in your “mind’s eye” or hear things in your head. And again, I will counter and say that the brain is a CHANNEL, a “machine” that allows these mental events to manifest on the physical plane. If you have no brain, you cannot express your mental behavior on the physical plane. However, having no physical brain does not prevent you from expressing your thoughts and ideas on the astral and mental planes.
And to repeat again, once you learn to project for yourself, you can decide who is right in these kinds of debates. Below we will discuss these types of debates a little more, but for now, all I’m trying to do is convey occult ideas about human anatomy.
From the point of view of altered states of consciousness, shifting the focus of your consciousness to your mental body will allow you to directly perceive the mental plane. I’ve already stated that this is very difficult, and that I have never done it. In the bibliography I reference books by people who describe what the mental plane looks like. It is supposedly extremely beautiful, but I suppose this depends on what level of the mental plane you perceive.
5. The Buddhic Body. We’ve discussed the buddhic body already in the statements I made about morals and astral projecting. To repeat here:
In our normal waking life, buddhic energy manifests as: creativity, novelty, spontaneity, wisdom, compassion, will power, sudden insight, great genius, great leadership abilities, deep spirituality. Other times, buddhic energy may manifest as death, disease and decay (this is the Hindu image of Shiva the Destroyer). Whatever your situation demands for growth, this is what the buddhic energy will manifest as.
Ideas such as “God”, “Tao”, etc. refer to buddhic energy. However, religion is not buddhic energy, though it may be a channel for it. One very powerful source of buddhic energy is the Grateful Dead.
Buddhic energy is the underlying essence of LIFE. It is everywhere and permeates everything we know. As far as being human goes, there is nothing more powerful than buddhic energy. We can think of buddhic energy however we please. It does not matter what we call it or what we think of it. Buddhic energy is the energy that moves our very minds.
Mystics speak of the ineffable essence that underlies and unifies all reality. This ineffable essence is buddhic plane energy.
In terms of altered states of consciousness, it is extremely unlikely that anyone reading this will learn to focus their consciousness onto the buddhic plane. It is simply too subtle to do so. It IS possible to take LSD and feel the buddhic energy while you are awake here in the physical world. However, though this is not as difficult as focusing directly onto the buddhic plane, it takes great mastery over the LSD experience to be able to use it to perceive the buddhic energy that fills every nook and cranny of all life.
Now, ironically, though it seems the buddhic energy is the hardest to attain, it turns out to be the energy you should most desire to attain. Frankly, astral projecting is nothing compared to attaining buddi, or learning how to have buddhic energies play through your being.
Earlier I mentioned that there were Eastern and Western views of occultism, and till now have made no attempt to distinguish between them. However, when it comes to opening yourself up to buddhic energy, Eastern occultism has always been crystal clear about this, whereas Western occultism is not always so clear. Eastern occultism is yoga, and the purpose of yoga is to become enlightened. Becoming enlightened is exactly the same as opening up to the buddhic energies. This process goes under many names: enlightenment, samasamadi, mysticism, cosmic consciousness, satori. All these words refer to the same thing.
However, it is not my purpose in these notes to digress on mysticism. For the interested reader, see the reference by van der Leeuww in the bibliography.
To conclude this brief overview of occult anatomy, I would like to define the word “aura”, which I used above and will have occasion to use throughout these notes. The word “aura” is a generic term and can refer to any one of the nonphysical bodies by itself or in combination with the other nonphysical bodies. I use the term to refer to all the non-physical bodies at once. Some people use the term to refer specifically to the astral body. “Aura” is a vague term. I prefer, when speaking, to call a specific body by its proper name. And again, if I want to refer to the four nonphysical bodies (i.e. etheric, astral, mental and buddhic) simultaneously, I will use the word “aura”.
So, we have gone over occult physics and occult anatomy. All of this to give some idea of the occult interpretation of the astral projection/OOBE experience! What I have done above it to lay out in a barebones outline the elements of the occult *worldview*. And a barebones outline it is.
Again, readers that want more detail should consult the bibliography.
What I have covered above, though, is sufficient for our purposes here.
To summarize, occultists teach that there are 7 planes and that we have bodies for perceiving 4 of these planes. By this view, altered states of consciousness are explained by the fact that we shift our conscious awareness from the physical plane/body to one of our other, nonphysical bodies and perceive events occuring on the respective plane. This is indeed one of the valid theoretical approaches to explaining astral projection. And, as I’ve already said, we will find this is the most useful view to take. Below I will go into other theories of what astral projection is, but, when we start attempting to be practical and put the various theories to the test of practice, we will find our-selves returning to the occult theory again and again to explain what happens to us when we are “out of body”.
B. Scientific Views
Other ideas exist about astral projection besides the occult ideas expressed above. I classify these other views under the heading “scientific” because these views mainly stem from the attempts of scientists of various persuasions to understand the OOBE experience. The persuasions of scientists of interest here are psychologists and parapsychologists. These are the folks, other than occultists, who have given us ideas about the astral projection experience. What I will do is explain some of these nonoccult ideas, then afterward make some attempt to compare the occult and nonoccult views of the projection experience. After that I will then try to tie everything together and provide the theoretical framework we will use throughout the rest of these notes.
i. Parapsychology – OOBEs
At begining I said I would use the terms “astral projection” and “OOBE” (which stands for “out-of-body experience”) interchangeably. Hopefully, you now understand what the term “astral projection” means and where it comes from. Now we are going to look at the term “OOBE”.
The term “OOBE” is a word coined by parapsychologists. Parapsychology, as a science, began with the work of a man named J.B. Rhine who did statistical experiments on psychic powers at Duke University in the 1930s. Rhine’s application of statistics to psychic phenomena gave rise to the tradition of parapsychology, a “science” which has had a questionable and spotted reputation from its inception. Generally speaking, parapsychologists have been interested in displaying the existence of so-called psychic abilities, or “psi” as they term it, using statistics and other props such as dice, or the relatively famous ESP cards that you may have seen. What can be said about parapsychology? Not very much actually.
Frankly, other fields of science don’t take parapsychologists very seriously. And because parapsychologists have been so preoccupied with proving that psychic powers exist by statistical tests, they have done little to offer real explanations of psychic phenomena.
We saw above that occultists explain psychic powers with the
theory of the planes and nonphysical bodies, and that psychic powers are the result of shifting the focus
of our consciousness from the physical plane to one of the other planes. Basically, parapsychologists
have not been able to provide a competing explanation of psychic powers.
And what’s even worse, parapsychologists, on the whole, have completely ignored the ideas of
occultists. What parapsychologists have done over the 60 or so years that they’ve been around is to
coin a bunch of new words like “psi”, “ESP”, “OOBE”, “remote viewing” and many other jargons,
without having any really clear meaning of these words. The result of this is that parapsychologists have
created more confusion than clarity. Many of the terms they have coined (such as “ESP” or “OOBE”)
are now common in our language, yet these terms have no precise meaning. Earlier, I said that theory
without practice is just empty talk. Unfortunately, this is what parapsychology is: a lot of talk and very
For example, the term OOBE was coined in the 1960s. Apparently, the older term “astral projection”, and its occult implications, was to be ignored. What does the term OOBE mean? Well, “out of body experience” seems to mean that you leave your body. But the questions immediately come up: What leaves? and Where does it go?
I guess it’s nice, at least, that parapsychologists recognize that the OOBE phenomena exists. Unfortunately, the work by parapsychologists on the OOBE have produced results that parapsychologists did not expect.
The type of experiments parapsychologists have done on OOBEs are things such as putting a person in a room to project, and in an adjacent, locked room, putting a piece of paper with something written on it, and then expecting the projector to “leave his body”, go into the locked room, and read
what’s on the paper. These types of experiments have produced very mixed results which are by no means easy to interpret. Mostly they have been unsuccessful because the person projecting could not project, or, if the person did project, then they did not accurately read the message in the locked room,
or never even made it into the locked room!
What are we to make of the results of these parapsychology experiments?
Well, first, let’s look under the hood, so to speak, at the implications inherent in the designs of these parapsychology experiments. Unlike occultists, who very clearly state their premises, parapsychologists never clearly lay out their intentions. Thus we are forced to second guess them to some extent. So, let’s do this.
So, we asked: what leaves the body and where does it go? Well, the experimental design above does not directly address the question of what leaves the body. Yet, the fact that the parapsychologist expects the projector to bring back information implies that at least the parapsychologist knows that it is the person’s awareness that is “leaving the body”.
Of much more importance though is the question: where does this disembodied awareness go?
Well, the answer to this question is very obvious from the experimental design above. The parapsychologist obviously expects the projecting person to go into the adjacent room. What this means is that the parapsychologist assumes that whatever is leaving the body stays in the physical world.
This is a key point for understanding the meaning of the term OOBE. That is to say, the term “OOBE”, as used by parapsychologists, implies that there is only a physical world, and that there are not any planes as occultists describe. Obviously, when I use the term OOBE in these notes, I do not mean this.
Now, the lack of success that parapsychologists have encountered in the type of experiments described above has forced some parapsychologists to rethink their ideas. In the past few years, certain parapsychologists have begun to recognize the possibility that the OOBE subject does NOT project into the physical world, and that there must be some nonphysical world in which the OOBE occurs. In particular, these ideas have been stated by both D. Scott Rogo and Lawrence LeShan, who are both noted parapsychologists. However, only D. Scott Rogo has gone so far as to suggest that occult ideas might be the correct explanation of the OOBE experience. Rogo himself learned how to have OOBEs, and came to this conclusion based on his own first hand experience. Again, if all goes well, then you too can be like Rogo and go and see for yourself. To read about Rogo’s experiences, look for his book listed in the bibliography. Rogo’s book, which is called “Leaving The Body”, is actually an important reference and all of you are highly encouraged to read this book.
However, Rogo’s view is not widely held by the few parapsychologists who are around today, and generally speaking, parapsychologists still cling to the notion that psychic powers (or “psi” as they call it), including OOBEs, are purely physical phenomena.
So, this is what the term OOBE really means: it implies a purely physical view of the projection experience. As I said, I don’t use the term OOBE in this fashion, but parapsychologists do.
This is all I will say about the parapsychological view at this point. We will return to it below when we compare occult and non occult views later in the discussion.
b) Psychology – Lucid Dreaming
The next non occult view we shall discuss is the view that comes to us from the science of psychology. Now, anyone familiar with academic psychology knows that there are many schools of thought in psychology including: Freudian views, the views of Carl Jung, the psychology of Abraham Maslow, behaviorist psychology, cognitive psychology, psychiatry, physiological
psychology and neurology – just to name a few! I do not plan on discussing all of these different schools of thought here. If the reader has enough interest in these topics, you can go read up on them for yourself. What I want to do here is outline the broad features of the ideas in psychology relevant to the astral projection experience, and outline these in enough detail so that 1. you at
least know that such ideas exist, and 2. you are able to compare these ideas to the occult and parapsychological ideas of the projection experience.
In general, psychologists are not stupid. They have observed many altered states of consciousness and come up with a number of theories to account for these altered states of consciousness. Psychologists recognize astral projection under a variety of names: lucid dreams, dissociative experiences, near death experiences, hypnogogia (of which we will have much to say
about later). From what I’ve seen in the psychological literature, no one has really tied all these experiences together under one unified theory. Each of these phenomena is thought of in different terms. Even the fact of dreaming has not been clearly tied into the fact of astral projection by any psychologists as far as I know.
Now, in the last few years, there have been a number of books published by psychologists involving lucid dreams (one such book is called “Have a Lucid Dream in 30 Days” – but I do not remember the author). These books are “how to do it” books for having lucid dreams, and are quite effective as it goes. However, where they lack is in having a good understanding of what the lucid dream experience is. One such book that I read said something to the effect “No one knows what a lucid dreams is…” and I thought to myself, “YOU don’t know what a lucid dream is!”.
So, for those of you that read these types of books, what I’m saying here is that these books may show you how to actually have a lucid dream, but the theory they teach you about the nature of lucid dreaming is not very good, and, as I’ve already stated, the theory is important for helping you understand what is happening to you once you start projecting. The more powerful
the theory, the more effective will be your projection experiences. The flimsy theories of psychologists will aid you only so far, and there are many things you will experience when you project that these theories cannot explain.
Lucid dreams ARE astral projections. When we get into techniques below, we will use this idea in one of our techniques. The idea of a lucid dream is that it is a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming. As I said earlier, occultists teach that the place where we go dream is the astral plane. However, this idea is not accepted in modern psychology. The psychologists
have a much “softer” view of the projection experience, calling it a lucid dream. Interestingly,
psychologists have no explanation of what dreams are! Some work under the idea that dreams
are a vivid hallucination created in your brain while you sleep. Others have more nebulous ideas
about collective unconsciousness and similar stuff. Freudians look upon dreams as a symbolic realm where repressions are stored up. To some extent each of these views is correct – correct that is, but highly incomplete. Taken together, the ideas in psychology about dreams and lucid dreams, at best, paint a somewhat confusing mosaic of sometimes conflicting ideas about the
nature of dream and lucid dream experiences. At their worst, the ideas in psychology about dreams and lucid dreaming can lead you into an intellectual maze of jargon and speculation that will only confuse you and not help you one iota in your quest to actually project! If this happens,
you are wasting your time and energy.
So basically, we have seen that “astral projection” is an occult term. “OOBE” is a term from parapsychology. The term “lucid dreaming” is a term from psychology. A lucid dream is a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming. However, psychologists offer no really convincing and complete idea of how dreams work or exactly what their nature is. And again, I am fully open to debate the ideas I present here. If any of you do not like what I have to say, or if you think I am wrong in the ideas I am presenting, please feel free to
challenge me on any point you wish.
D. Tying It All Together
So, we have discussed the three main terms used to describe the experience I hope to teach you, and the origins of these terms. What is important to realize is that EACH OF THESE TERMS STEMS FROM A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE WORLD. Many beginners in astral projection ask “what is the difference between an astral projection and an OOBE?” or “what is the difference between an OOBE and a lucid dream?” Well, the answer to this is that each of these words stems from a group of people with different views about Nature and Humankind. That is the difference between these words. In terms of the phenomena to which they refer, they all refer to the exact same thing. Each of these words represents a DIFFERENT INTERPRETATION of this phenomena, which is the experience of projecting. Debating about the meaning of these 3 terms is useless unless the debating is based on experience. What is important is learning HOW TO PROJECT, and that is what we shall focus on here. However, all of this introductory material is provided so that you students have some understanding of the different interpretations that exist.
You are, of course, completely free to pick the interpretation you like best. However, I think it is more important to be open minded than to be of strong opinions.
We are now going to compare these three terms. To summarize:
Term Associated World View
Astral Projection Occultism
Out-of-body Experience Parapsychology
Lucid Dream Psychology
What we want to do at this point is come up with some way to understand how these three views of the astral projection experience are related to each other. First off, as I said, it is my opinion, based on my experiences with altered states of consciousness, that these three terms refer to the exact same phenomena. Lucid dreams, OOBEs, and astral projections are all
identical experiences. Again, it is my opinion that to attempt to define these three terms as referring to 3 different phenomena is like splitting hairs – in other words, a waste of time.
Perhaps the most important distinction one can make amongst the viewpoints represented by these three terms is the following. Basically, the difference in these 3 terms gets down to different ways to view the nature of our consciousness and our definitions of what it is to be a human being. And, after having thought about this for a long time, it is now clear to me that
there are essentially two, mutually exclusive ways to view the nature of human consciousness.
These two views can be stated thus:
1. Human consciousness is solely and completely a product of the brain.
Which is to say, our existence is purely physical. All of the underlying causes of our consciousness are grounded in the laws of chemistry, physics and biology. In other words, physical causes underlie human consciousness, period. For simplicity’s sake, we will call this the “materialistic view” of human consciousness.
2. Human consciousness in NOT physical. Human consciousness, in its fundamental essence is NONPHYSICAL. Our physical body is not the cause of our consciousness, but is instead a vehicle by which to express our consciousness in the physical world. This view we will call the “occult view”, because it is the view that occultists teach. It does not matter what particular brand of occultism we subscribe to. All branches of occult thought share this underlying axiom, as do most religious teachings.
So, this is the vital dichotomy we are faced with: either our physical organic body is the cause of our consciousness, or our physical-organic body is a vehicle for allowing our consciousness to access the physical world.
That’s it. It boils down to these two simple alternatives. Now, with regard to the 3 terms listed above, and their corresponding world views, we
can say that, in general, parapsychologists and psychologists share the materialistic view and that occultists possess the occult view of the nature of human consciousness.
Now, these generalizations must be qualified by the following statements. First, all psychologists and parapsychologists may not be materialists as I have defined this term above.
Each person, of course, will have their individual beliefs that may or may not see human consciousness in some framework other than in purely physical terms. I am not trying to say that all people who are psychologists and parapsychologists believe that consciousness is purely
physical. What I am saying however is the traditions of both psychology and parapsychology – in their official (or pseudo-official in the case of parapsychology) stances as academic institutions of learning and science, have traditionally NOT accepted the occult ideas that consciousness is nonphysical. And further, both psychology and parapsychology have at times been blatant materialists (as is behaviorist psychology or the typical statistical parapsychology).
And most importantly, the idea that the physical body CAUSES consciousness is indeed the official platform of higher learning in our Universities today. This is the basis by which modern medical science operates, it is the basis of all academic forms of science from anthropology to sociology to physics to evolutionary biology. Nothing could be more foreign in the context of modern university learning than the occult ideas of human consciousness.
So, that’s it. Two different views of consciousness, three different terms to describe the experience of projecting. All that I’ve said above, taken together, forms the basic outline of the theory behind astral projection. My main intention here is simply to expose you to these ideas. I do not really care to debate about the relative merit of these ideas any further than in terms of their utility at helping us astral project. There are a lot of open questions that surround astral projecting.
Anyone that tries to sell you on one particular interpretation of the astral projection experience is
pulling your leg. None of the three terms above does any more than capture facets of the
experience. If you are so inclined, feel free to pick your favorite views and go with them.
Personally, it is my opinion that the best you can do is be aware of the variety of viewpoints that exist (whether it’s about astral projecting or anything else), and eclectically draw upon these different views as circumstances demand. Being open to things is much more important than anything else, especially in this business of altered states of consciousness.
E. Radio Station Theory of Consciousness – The Subplanes
Well, we’re almost done with the theory stuff! What I’m going to do now is to present the theory I personally use to explain my own projections. In doing so, we will also start to make the transition between me talking about other people’s ideas and me talking about my actual experiences. The “radio station theory of consciousness” has come from my need to have a unified way to think about all the things that have happened to me in my projections. Basically, this “radio station view of consciousness” is a take-off on the occult ideas I outlined above.
It posits that there are nonphysical places we can take our consciousness; in other words, planes. The reason I believe this is because, in a number of my projections, I have been in places that looked like places I know on the physical plane (my own bedroom and house mostly).
However, when I explore these environments in my projections, and then wake-up back here on the physical plane and go and study the exact same place, I always observe numerous differences.
So, my conclusion is that, where ever I’m at during my projection, it is definitely NOT the physical world I am in when I am awake.
Another thing I have consistently experienced in my projections is the fact that sometimes when I project I am somewhere but other times I am nowhere. In the journal I keep of my experiences, I call the “somewhere” “episodes”, and I call the “nowhere” I go the “void”.
When I am in an episode I can be anywhere – for there are a lot of places to be in the planes! It may be a sunny meadow, a strange abstract colored landscape, a dark scary place full of zombies, a mall, house, suburb (yes, all these things exist on the astral plane!). Any time I am anywhere in a projection, I call it an “episode”.
The void is altogether different. Imagine being in a completely dark, completely silent place with nothing in it. This is what the void is. I go to the void almost as frequently as I’m in an episode during my projections. Often, as soon as I “leave” my body, I am in the void. Or, I may be in an episode and I will “fade-out” and disappear from wherever I am at, and I will appear in
the void. As well, I’ve discovered ways to get out of the void into an episode, and I will share these techniques with you below, just in case you find yourself in the void. Now, there is nothing wrong with being in the void. It is actually very peaceful there – extremely quiet. However, chances are you will be like me and be much more interested in exploring the things going on the
planes, in which case you’d rather be somewhere than nowhere!
About episodes: Like I said, I can be anywhere – and I’ve seen some strange stuff! For example, once I stood on a cloud and played guitar with a friendly spirit. Another time, a talking rhino gave me a ride through a forest. On another occasion I kissed a beautiful girl in a lovely soft
world of pastel reds and yellows. Once I saw a ghost with a Jack-O-Lantern head in an underground passage. Once I was in a strange house, and the floor of the kitchen was made of little, rainbow colored squirming human bodies! Another time, I saw an abstractly colored field of dancing shifting colors. On many occasions, I’ve found myself in these absolutely creepy places
populated by rotting bodies and other grotesque creatures. Sometimes I am in places I recognize, like my house or my neighborhood, or my old college. Other times I’m in places I’ve never seen before. Buildings are very strange on the planes – they seem to go on forever! One hall leads to another leads to another leads to another seemingly forever. I will go into some of my experiences in much more detail below. Right now all I’m trying to do is give you an idea of the incredibly rich variety of places to explore and discover in the planes.
There is an occult idea I want to mention at this point that I did not mention above and
that is the idea that each plane is subdivided into subplanes. In Theosophy, it is taught that each
plane consists of 7 subplanes. Just like there are different grades or types of matter on the
physical plane – solids, liquids, gases, fire, heat and light – well, occultists teach that the planes
have similar gradations of the matter of which each plane is composed, and these gradations in the
matter of any plane are called subplanes. That is one way to look at the idea at least. And there is
merit to this idea too. Imagine the spectrum colors of a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue,
indigo, and violet (which you can easily remember by the acronym ROY G BIV). Red is the
lowest of the spectrum and violet is the highest. You can use the idea of a rainbow’s colors as a
rough MAP of the subplanes. For each plane there are lower subplanes (I will also use the word
“region” to mean subplane at times) that bleed into intermediate subplanes that bleed into higher
subplanes. So, lower subplanes of a plane are like red in the rainbow, intermediate subplanes like
green, and higher subplanes like violet, and of course, with all the intervening shades between
In terms of the astral plane, the “rainbow” of subplanes forms a spectrum of emotion. At
the “red” end of the spectrum are the lowest and worst of human emotions: hate, anger, greed,
lust, envy. Up at the higher end of the spectrum (the violet end) are the best of human emotions:
kindness, happiness, warmth, caring and so on. And again, there is every combination possible
between these two ends of the spectrum.
Why is this idea important? Like I said, it helps provide a map that will give you some idea
of where you are at during a projection. This is because, no matter where you find yourself, there
will always be a “vibe” present, some distinct feeling you get from the place where you are at.
Some places may scare you, others may make you feel very light and happy, others may make
you horny, and some may feel quite normal to you (in terms of whatever “normal” is to you).
These vibes that you get, these feelings, give you an indication of what subplane you are on.
Having the ability to “map” out where you are at during a projection is actually a practical
thing, and this is not simply just an intellectual exercise. For example, there would be times that I
would project and appear in a place that gave me a bad vibe. I would then realize I was on a
lower subplane and then leave it. Of course, if you want, you can stay and explore the lower
subplanes, which is a useful exercise.
How do you leave a lower subplane? More on this in a later lesson!
So, that is one useful view of the subplanes. There is a second view of the subplanes we
need to discuss too. This is the view presented by Robert Monroe who is a very excellent
projector. His three books are listed in the bibliography, and Monroe is essential reading for any
student of astral projection. Monroe speaks of the “rings” and by this he means basically a
subplane. But the connotations are not the same as the theosophical idea. Monroe, in his second
book “Far Journeys” actually has a map of the rings and what you can expect to find on the
different levels. THE RINGS CORRESPOND TO STATES OF MIND. And the
correspondence is like that which I stated above with the rainbow metaphor. The scummiest
states of mind are on the lowest rings. Average people, people not especially bad, but not
especially good, are on the rings a little farther out. Beyond these are rings that correspond to
people who are strongly devoted to upholding ideals -be these religious, political or intellectual.
And farther out are rings that correspond to states of mind of the highest nobility and intellect and
spirituality. And beyond these rings are quiet rings where you won’t find human states of mind.
It should be apparent that Monroe’s rings sound an awful lot like the planes described by
occultists. As a matter of fact, they are. Don’t let the fact that Monroe uses different words fool you – he is describing basically the exact same thing that occultists have described. However, what is important is that Monroe’s descriptions of the rings are BASED ON HIS OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES. Monroe does not claim to be an occultist, so, he made up his own words to
describe his experiences. This only makes sense. Again, the point of this digression is that there is an order to where you will go and what
you will experience in your OOBEs. Whether you use the theosophical idea of the subplanes, or Monroe’s idea of rings, the bottom line is the same: “lower” corresponds to that which we humans consider bad and “higher” corresponds to that which we humans consider good. And this spectrum from bad places to good places is the map, the organization you will encounter in the places you will find yourself during your projections.
You’re probably wondering: so what does all this have to do with Don’s “radio station theory of consciousness”? Well, basically, this “radio station theory of consciousness” is my description of the organization of the subplanes, or rings, based on my actual experiences projecting. The reason I use an analogy with a radio is because I experience episodes (which is being on a subplane or ring) and I also experience being in the void. The idea of my radio station metaphor is this: we all know that on the radio there are radio stations you can tune into up and down the dial. And what is in between these radio stations? Nothing is, and when you tune into a place on the dial where there is no radio station you get STATIC. The way I figure it, when I’m in
an episode, this is just like tuning into a radio station, and when I’m in the void, this is just like tuning into the static between radio stations where nothing exists.
Note that we are adopting the occult viewpoint that explains altered states of
consciousness as a shift of focus of ones consciousness away from the physical world and
towards the planes. Shifting the focus of your consciousness into the nonphysical planes is the
same as tuning into that plane. So, that’s it, that’s the model I use to describe my projection
experiences. And I should add that this “radio dial” of consciousness does indeed follow the order
described above for subplanes/rings. That is, there really does appear to be a gradation in these
“radio stations” of consciousness from the most horrible and ugly to the most incredibly beautiful
Now, there is one last remark I have to make about this radio station idea that relates to
my actual experiences when I project. Up above I made the comment of “fading out” of an
episode and appearing in the void. What I am referring to here is actually a very important aspect
of my projection experiences that I call the “lock-mold”. To understand what I mean by lock-
mold, again imagine a radio. Now, we have all had the experience that sometimes when we try to
tune into a station on the radio we don’t get very good reception and there is a lot of static mixed
in with the broadcast of the station. We might fiddle with the dial to try to get a better reception of
the radio station. Well, this is exactly what happens to me when I am in an episode. I am
extremely literal about this. When I am in an episode, I am actually TUNED INTO the subplane I
am on to some degree from worse to good. I have characterized every single projection I have
ever had in terms of how good my lockmold is. When my lockmold is good that means that I feel
very stable and I am perceiving wherever I am at very well. When my lockmold is bad, which is
analogous to getting a lot of static over the radio station, I feel very unstable and my perception of
the subplane I am on is very poor. When I have a bad lockmold during a projection, usually what
happens is that my vision, hearing and sense of touch on that subplane “blink” on and off. Usually,
I lose the sense of sight first, touch second, and hearing is the last to go. In other words, when I
have a bad lockmold my vision will blink on and off – I will literally be able to see for a moment
and then lose it and be blind. I have, over the course of my experiences found a number of tricks
to stabilize my lockmold, and these I will discuss ahead.
Now, I bring this idea of lockmold up because – and I really want to stress this – it has
been a central feature of my projection experiences. Like I said, in every single projection I have
had I am aware of how good or bad my lockmold is. I very strongly suspect that once you start
projecting, you will also encounter this lockmold feeling, so I am telling you about lockmolds, and
will tell you the things I’ve learned to control my lockmold, so you will then know what to do when
you project and start to lose your lockmold.
Really, I am very serious about this. Again, your lockmold is a feeling you will have of
how well you are tuned into wherever you happen to be in your projection. Let me go off on some
of my personal experiences a bit just to drive this idea of lockmold home to you. Below are listed
some excerpts from my personal astral projection journal which highlight this lockmold
“…The doorway led into a castle and I was very surprised by this. I remember
thinking to myself that rooms have all these hidden directions in them in the astral plane.
It was a huge and elegantly decorated place and the decor looked fairly modern. I
wandered about and eventually came to a room that had a window that was
overlooking a long shingled roof. I climbed through the window and there was a girl
outside on the roof. It was sunny outside and I felt very good. Me and the girl talked,
but I do not remember what we talked about. I could see around me outside, what
looked like a fairly typical, though completely unfamiliar, neighborhood and I was
curious to explore it. I went to fly off the roof but my lockmold began to weaken and I
“…Somehow, I was back in my bedroom, half conscious of the physical [my
eyes were closed but I could hear sounds outside]. I could then see my room as if I
was awake (even though my eyes were closed) and there was this thing floating in front
of me. I stared at it and it seemed to be staring at me. It very much reminded me of an
insect, but it was a foot and a half high. It had a spherical base with what looked like
thin legs protruding out in all directions. From the base rose a long slender neck, and at
the top of the neck was a head. The face on the head reminded me of a praying mantis,
or a nun in a habit. It was very curious how it seemed to be studying me. At first I
didn’t know what to think; was it some astral demon? Some kind of astral plane
creature? Then I felt myself losing grip of the lockmold, and the scene of my room and
the floating creature faded out slowly. I laid there feeling my body on the bed thinking
“damn, too much physical.” Could hear noises outside, etc. ”
Note: Number 3 here is a very good example:
“…Was back on my bed, conscious, and I wanted to project again. Went up
and out of my body, flew through the ceiling, and then through another ceiling, but was
back in my body. Jumped out again, and was standing in my room, but my lockmold
was very shaky. There seemed to be another window in my room, one that didn’t exist
on the physical plane. I jumped through this window and seemed to be in a restaurant.
At least that is what it sounded like. My lockmold was very shaky and I could not see
at all, I could only hear. My vision blinked on long enough for me to see that there was
another window in front of me, and I could sense that outside this window was
immense, as if the room I was presently in was way up in the sky, and if I were to look
out the window, I would only see the vastness of the sky all around me. I thought that I
was where dead people are, and for some reason, the association was made between
“heaven” and the “sky”. My vision was gone again, but I jumped out the window
anyway. I got the impression, from the sounds around me, that I was in an outdoor mall
or bazaar. I heard all kinds of things going on, people selling stuff, conversations, etc.. I
thought, “I’m in a mall in the sky”. This whole time I had been clinging to the window
ledge being afraid of the height. For a moment my vision locked on and I saw stalls
with goods floating everywhere and no ground at all around me. I remembered that I
could fly, so I let go of the ledge and jumped forward. I fell down about 30 feet and
just floated there. My vision was gone again, but I heard people who seemed to be
able to see me, and they were laughing at me as if I was behaving in an unusual way. I
stumbled to pull myself back to the wall I had just jumped from. I found the ledge and
sat there blind, but I distinctly heard a radio playing and I listened to a commercial on
the radio. Then I lost my lockmold and was back in my body….”
So, these above three examples give you some idea of what a lockmold is. You will see
this idea of the lockmold feeling expressed in every personal account of my projections I describe
for you. So, by no means have you heard the last about lockmolds!
At this point however, that about wraps up my presentation of this radio station theory of consciousness I use to think of my own projections. To summarize, the important points about this idea are:
1. Like tuning into a radio station, the subplanes are “stations” that you can tune into with your consciousness.
2. The void is like the static that exists between radio stations, and when you tune into the void, you perceive nothing at all outside of you.
3. Your lockmold is the feeling you get of how well you are tuned into wherever you are at in your projection.
F. Mystical View of Consciousness
Finally, I want to end the introductory theory section of these notes with what I believe are ideas to tie all the stuff I said above together.
As you see, we can take any number of views of the projection experience. You can debate the relative merit of any of these views till you are blue in the face. It should be apparent that I discourage such semantic arguing, but at the same time I strongly advocate that you be as familiar with as many viewpoints as you can, again, not only about astral projecting, but about
everything in life.
Now, I’ve already stated that, even though astral projecting is an extremely dramatic experience within the context of our society’s accepted ideas about reality, compared to learning how to be in touch with the buddhic plane, astral projection is nothing. In other words, astral projecting is not the end all be all of life. Bringing buddhic plane energies into your life IS the end
all be all of life. There is another member of the New Age forum who is an excellent astral projector, and that is Jeff Wiley, the section leader of section 13 (DREAMS) and Jeff has a philosophy that he and I both share, which kind of sets a bottom line to what all this astral projection stuff means.
Most people make the distinction that, in some sense, their physical life is real, but their dream life is not real. Learning to astral project blows this idea right out the door. But even more importantly, once you start to project, you realize that, in some sense, your dream/projection life is equal to
your waking physical life. Then, a new insight kind of hits you. And that is, all of our conscious experience is more like dreaming than not. Our physical life is actually a strange kind of dream, that, like all dreams, is destined to end one day. What becomes apparent when you’ve expanded the horizons of your personal experience enough is that THERE IS JUST CONSCIOUSNESS.
It really doesn’t matter what form the consciousness takes, or what plane the consciousness manifests on. Such things are merely relative. The absolute in life is CONSCIOUSNESS: mine, yours, a tree’s, a dog’s, a planet’s, a god’s – all just consciousness.
It kind of comes down to the old cliché “life’s a dream”. What you are really looking for here is experiences that can catalyze in you a transformation – a transformation of attitudes, of your outlook, of your perceptions of yourself and life; a transformation that will bring you to the conscious knowledge of your place in the scheme of things. I call this “opening up to the buddhic
plane”, Jeff calls this “realizing the Big Dream”. In either case it’s the same thing. And it is definitely where you should set your sights.