Astral projection is something that I have talked about before, but come to realize that I haven't explained very well. It's one of those things I just seemed to slide into; something I've always done, but can't really remember how I learned or when. It's all well and good to say that, though, but when trying to help other people it's very frustrating.
People seem to have the most problems with the meditation/vibratory state, that warm, waking-dreamy-sleepy type feeling you get in deep trance. So I'm going to attempt to give some advice here, based on my experience and point of view - whether or not it will actually be helpful will remain to be seen. There are other methods of astral projection, and lots of books out there, so if you don't find mine works for you, then try someone else's! I'll provide links at the end of this page.
The trick to Astral Projection is getting there. Meditation is the vehicle for removing your Self from your body. It WILL take several attempts to learn the vibrational state or method that works best for you, and it may take even longer to actually leave the body. Many people do project themselves Astrally while they are asleep, and may not even realize it. This leads to some confusion about lucid dreaming being the same as astral projection being the same as dreamwalking. Once you have experienced a deliberate projection, though, you should be able to tell whether you are projected, or whether you are dreaming.
*IF* you are a beginner, I recommend doing this with another person, hopefully more experienced than you. At least have someone you trust there to watch you, to help pull you back to your body if you need help. Trust me - if you feel like you're in over your head or in danger and call to someone for help, someone WILL hear you. Never be afraid to call for help.
1. Be Comfortable!
Sitting in some wierd lotus position or someplace where you're not 100% at ease is not very condusive to producing a deep meditative state. Neither is loud music, heavy background noise, ringing phones, and the television.
For me, the perfect place for meditation will always be my room, right by my altar - my little personal hallowed space. You may not have an altar, but I'm certain you have your own private space. I like to keep the lights, if I can, off totally and use only candlelight, but at least keep them down low. I keep the shade drawn to prevent outside distractions, but if you live somewhere where there are few or none, or have a good view of a natural landscape, you may want to leave it open. I also like to light some good, cleansing, incense - something that will help me ground and center well.
Outside spaces can be just as good as indoors, but if you live in an urban environment, it may be too "busy" for your needs - traffic noises, loud or nosy neighbours, loud animals are all "busy" things. I used to have a favorite tree when I lived in the country, and to sit cradled in its roots was an excellent place to meditate. The key to outdoor meditation is to let your consciousness become part of the landscape - you are a natural thing, after all, so let yourself and your mind join with the surroundings, not stand out as something different.
2. Center and Ground
This is an *extremely* important skill to have, even if you never plan on leaving your body. It's one of the first things I recommend anyone learn to do when learning about magick - it's the very first step in controlling and managing your own energies, which comes WAY before playing with any other energies. I have a whole other page about grounding and centering - if you're unfamiliar with what I'm talking about, please access it here. If you're already "in the know" about centering and grounding, the reason we do this before projecting is two-fold: 1. The grounding helps firmly connect your silver cord to your body. 2. The grounding will give you a source of energy big enough to channel through yourself so that you can reach the correct vibrational state and actually leave the body.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it is. And...it isn't. Meditation can be done to clear the mind and spirit, to speak with other spirits or Deity, or simply to relax. The level of meditation required for astral projection goes beyond all of these. What you are actually doing when you meditate to reach astral projection is changing the vibratory frequency of your Self.
On the physical plane, we operate at a much lower frequency than the spiritual plane. It's for this reason we don't always percieve the spiritual world - we're just not on the same wavelength. Sometimes when we see the spiritual world overlap with ours, it's because they've lowered their frequency to percieve the physical. Other times it's because either through natural ability, meditation, or sheer chance, we've increased ours to percieve theirs. With astral projection we deliberately increase the rate at which we "vibrate" or generate our frequency so that our Self, our spirit or soul, is no longer "stuck" at our bodies' frequency, but able to move into the Astral Plane's. This takes time and practice, and it's certainly not easy.
Many people find that when they finally reach a very deep state of meditation, they fall asleep. This often happens when the intent and the depth are there, but the focus is not. When the focus of leaving the body is lost, it becomes merely an exercise in deep meditation, and the vibration rate naturally lowers itself. Instead of being on the right frequency to leave the body, you're so relaxed you fall asleep. If this happens while you are meditating, you need to do some exercises in focus - performing a task without losing interest, having your mind wander, or simply becoming bored.
Others find that they reach the state where they feel as if they're floating, vibrationally the same as the Astral, but then they can't figure out how to leave the body. Still others will find that they will reach the proper vibrational state, begin to "come loose", and instantly become so afraid of the sensation that their mind clamps down and begins to lower the frequency of the vibrations so the panic subsides. Fear is something that must also be overcome to astrally project - and is probably one of the hardest obstacles to overcome, for many. You must make your Self totally relaxed and at ease with the sensations of the proper vibrational state, while not losing focus. Practicing reaching the threshold of astral projection, that waking-sleep sensation and then retreating, multiple times is a good way to assert to yourself that you are in control and nothing can harm you. It's also a great way to develop control.
4. Leaving the Body
It's one of those things I find often gets overlooked, in many cases, but is SO important. Hard to go anywhere if you can't leave the driveway...
Once you've reached your vibrational state, you're ready to exit the body. There are many schools of thought on this, but mine's simple - you have a natural doorway ready for you - your crown chakra. The crown chakra may appear purple, gold or white. It may appear to blossom like a flower, or may simply be a spinning vortex of light. For those of you not familar with the chakra system, go here, or here, or here.
To prepare to leave your body, once again focus and center yourself. Your Center should be where your concsiousness is resting now - that's why you feel as if you are floating, because you kindof are. Feel your Center expand to take your Self inside itself entirely - you are your Center, a tightly focused orb of spirit. You are no longer truly anchored in your body, but rather tethered there by a silver cord.
This cord is your spirit's connection to your body - it is a visual manifestation of the energy that ties body and spirit together. Deeply centered, you should now become aware of that cord, and begin to uncoil it from within yourself - you should be able to feel it growing longer, and looser. It will follow you as far as you choose to go, and won't be visible on the Astral Plane unless you will it to be. If you focus on the cord, you will be able to feel the connection there, and if you focus on the cord's source, you can move as fast as you choose back to your body.
Now that you are aware of the cord being loose and ready to move with you, focus and will yourself towards the center of your crown chakra, "pushing" yourself out of the body - feel yourself pass through the center of the chakra, passing through a brilliant purple-white-gold gateway. This may take a few tries, but I recommend you practice going in and out of your body several times before moving too far away from it. When you "push" yourself free, you will be outside the body, but not away from it. To actually enter the Astral Plane you must visualize a place you wish to be, and focus your will and energy. You will instantly go to that place. If you are beginning and don't know the landscape, I recommend you visualize a very safe place to you, and you will go there.
4. I'm Out of My Body. Now What?
Well, what you do at this point is entirely up to you. It's a big Plane out there - feel free to explore and get better aquainted with it. Get used to your Astral body. Learn how it reacts to things, and how you can best use it. I should just mention one thing...
Remember that silver cord? DO NOT SEVER IT. It is the only thing that keeps your soul and your body together. It will stretch and grow along with you for however far you decide to go, but if you sever it your body will be left without a soul, and a body without a soul eventually dies unless hooked up to all sorts of hideous machinery. It lacks a purpose and a will to live, and you'll be left wandering the Earth without the means to the Underworlds, save by the good grace of your God(s)(ess)(es).
That's a very important thing to remember.
5. Moma, I'm Comin' Home...
So you've had fun and games in the Astral, but you're feelin' tired now and ready to come home. It's all good - just remember that getting back into your body is the reverse of getting out of it.
Focus on the end of your silver cord, your connection to your body at its anchor point. Will yourself to return there. You will instantly disappear from the Astral Plane, fading out over a matter of seconds, and appear by your body, but still outside of it. Focus yourself back into your Center - feel it expand to take you all into itself and then focus tightly down into that orb of spirit.
"Push" your Self down through the center of your crown chakra - feel yourself pass through the center of it, passing through a brilliant purple-white-gold gateway, moving back into the space of your body. Once back inside, feel the silver cord tighten, coiling back up inside your Center. Let your focus relax, so that your spirit flows back into your whole body, back into the extremities and everywhere. Let the focus go, and let the vibrations slow and relax. Eventually you will become aware with your body's senses again, and will be fully back into your body.
You may feel dizzy, confused - "spacy", as I commonly call it. Get up and move around, and have something to eat or drink to pull you back into phase with physical reality.