Astral projection (or astral travel) is an out-of-body experience achieved either awake or via lucid dreaming or deep meditation. People who say they experience astral projection often say that their spirit or astral body has left their physical body and moves in another dimension known as the spirit world or astral plane. The concept of astral projection has been around and practiced for thousands of years, dating back to ancient China. It is currently often associated with the New Age movement.
Psychics often say that the subconscious (or dreaming) mind contains the spirit or astral body, resulting in falling dreams or waking up with a falling sensation or sudden jerk. Most dreams are not remembered by the conscious mind, making the experience of astral projection a subject of subjectivity. Believers in astral projection point out, though, that most ghost sightings often define the ghost as a lucid or transparent apparition walking the earth.
It is unclear whether every physical object has an ‘astral’ counterpart, or if a spirit literally uses incarnation into a physical body and this is what results in astral projections, or if the phenomena is something else entirely. Astral projection also touches on life itself and what happens after physical death.
There are three types of projection. One is Astral, the other is Etheric and the final being Mental Projection. Understanding the difference is the key to helping you decide which one you have experienced, or would like to experience.
Astral Projection – The traveler finds themselves in an apparently real domain, analogous to the “other worlds” experienced by traditional peoples, which have no parallel to any physical setting or to consensus reality, described by New Agers and occultists as the astral plane or “the astral”. Environments here may range from populated to unpopulated, artificial to natural to completely abstract environments and from beautiful to horrific. Here, normal physical laws often do not apply and humans can often, float or fly. Quality of physical detail ranges from crude, non-detailed and depressing to bright, vivid and fascinating as detailed, among other writers, by Robert Bruce in his Astral Dynamics.
Travelers may travel from one realm to the other. Projectors may find access to visions of the past or future and to the Akashic Records accessible from here. It has been said that space and time do not exist on the astral plane nor the higher planes, but no explanation is given as to how forms and entire environments can exist without spatial dimensions, nor why there can be a sequence of events and yet no such thing as time. Many travelers have theorized that people having dreams actually travel to the astral realms, unaware, and, again as reported in Astral Dynamics, travelers have reported seeing dreamers enact dream scenarios on the astral plane, unaware of the more extensive and varied non-physical environment surrounding them. Some also claim common movements in dreams, such as falling or feeling like you are walking through quicksand, is the astral body in action.
Etheric Projection – In contrast to “astral” projection, the traditional understanding of out-of-body experiences involves the projector (or traveler) moving about in usually invisible or ghost-like form in a mundane physical reality which is the etheric body. This world may, however, have minor differences between the physical reality world we know if strict mind control is not maintained. Proponents of the writings of Robert Bruce sometimes refer to this practice as “Real Time Projection” (RTP) and the mundane world as the “Real Time Zone” (RTZ). From the Real Time Zone, travelers can access “the astral” or remain in the RTZ and witness real time happenings.
Mental projection is projection of the astral body to the mental plane via utilisation of mental energy while within the astral or etheric to phase into the Mental, or a different process used to project directly into the Mental Plane. The active subtle body of the mental plane is the mental body, which constitutes the intellectual consciousness of the projector in general. The environment is generally highly colorful and kaleidoscopic in nature, like the astral, and shifting consciously. The difference is that even mathematical functions and thoughts will manifest seemingly physically. The buffer zone between the astral and mental planes is known as the Akashic Records, and appears as a library of knowledge of past, present, and future possibility. There are many theories as to why the perceptions of these records and the mental plane in general differ from projector to projector, but the general consensus is that the Akashic records will appear differently, like a computer or library to different people at different times, and that the future is always sketchy and can often change mid-viewing to the projector.