Since the beginning of human history, there has been documentation of the experience of Astral Projection. The concept that all of Existence consists of two coexisting states of the non-physical and the physical is a common concept in almost every religion and culture. Often the two states are defined as the “worldly” or aterial world and “the heavens” or the “spiritual world.” The use of the term “Astral” describes the timeless planes of existence in which the energetic forms of life exists in eternity. The ability for a person to transcend the borders of their physical body to travel within the Astral Plane has been the source for many mystical and religious texts. This “projection” or Out-of-Body experience (OBE) has allowed people to gain wisdom and experience as well as to travel and witness events that they would otherwise not be able to see.
In modern times, Astral Projection is seen as more of a spiritual experience than associated with a specific religion. Many people seek to learn how to have an Out-of-Body experience because they are curious, seeking wisdom and enlightenment, or – because of media emphasis on Near Death Experiences, in search of what lies beyond death.
History of Astral Projection
The earliest known evidence of the phenomenon of Astral Projection is from Egypt and dated some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. The Egyptian priests referred to the astral body as “Ka.” Hieroglyphs and images showed Ka as something intangible but seen, abandoning the physical body. The Egyptians developed rituals to develop the skill of consciously allowing the Ka to leave the physical body and to manifest its presence before witnesses.
In 79 AD, Plutarch wrote of the case of Arisdeu. This is one of the earliest and most respected anecdotal documents of an Out-of-Body experience. Arisdeu fell and struck his head against a rock, leaving him in a coma for several days. During this time, Arisdeu felt as if he was outside his body. He met his spiritual guide, and talked to her.
He also saw another dimension, which was inhabited by Astral Beings and stayed to examine them. Then, he felt a force pulling him to the material world and his physical body. Arisdeu woke up just in time to stop them from burying him alive. After this experience, Arisdeu, who had been of rather poor character and reputation, changed; transforming himself into a valued member of his community.
In almost all of the ancient records of an Out-of-Body experience there is reference to a silver cord or string that connects the Astral Body to the Physical Body. The Japanese drawing on the cover of this module is an example of how this cord was depicted. It was thought that this cord is necessary for the Soul to be able to return and that to sever it would damn the Soul to wander for all eternity and the physical body to die an early death. Many cultures, fearing this kind of evil act, developed methods of hiding their soul outside of their body. Their connection to it remained, but the silver cord could not be deliberately damaged. It is because of these beliefs that a series of common ethical boundaries arose in the tradition of teaching Astral Projection. These ethics are covered later on in this lesson.
The Bible also contains several versus that are interpreted to reference Astral Projection. The final chapter of Ecclesiastes contains the phrase “before the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be shattered at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern (Ecc 12:6-8)” and in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (12:2) he speaks of Astral Planes when he says, “”I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago, (whether in the body I know not, or out of the body I know not, God knows) such a one caught up to the third heaven…”
During the Middle Ages, conscious projection fell from grace and was studied and practiced in secret. The Inquisition made the practice of projection cause for being proclaimed a heretic or witch with deadly consequences. Unfortunately, the result of this repression is that the majority of knowledge about Astral Projection, Bodies and Planes remained closely guarded by a variety of secret societies. Even after the Inquisition ended, the practice remained secret. There was no movement to return the knowledge about projection to the communities and for the first time in history, projection was separated from religious traditions. As a result, several false beliefs about Astral Projection were created in the untrained public. Beliefs such as projection was dangerous, it was witchcraft, magic or just plain did not exist.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Swedish philosopher Emmanuel Swedenborg; the French writer and novelist Honore de Balzac, with his story “Louis Lambert”; and the Frenchman Allan Kardec, creator of spiritism helped to popularize Astral Travel.
In contemporary times, Astral Projection is a divisive topic. Despite growing anecdotal proof of Out-of-Body Experiences, the projection is often rejected as being “made up” or a product of “wishful thinking.” Slowly, these attitudes are beginning to change. With the increased acceptance of energy based complimentary therapies in the mainstream community there is a growing openness to the truth that we are more than our material selves and that there is more to existence than what is defined by the physical.