The Art and Science of Astral Projection

Simone de La Tour

Astral projection, also known as out-of-body-experience or soul travel, is a phenomenon that has been reported by many people since the dawn of humanity in all cultures and religions, regardless of the individual's gender, nationality or socio-economic status. Due to the patterns perceived in their reports, experiences outside of the body have been considered and investigated by many civilizations throughout history.

In ancient Egypt (5004-3064 B.C.) people actively worshipped the dead. This involved considering the existence of another (non-physical) body called the Kha. The ancient Greeks used to seek illumination through sacred rituals performed at the Temple of Eleusis where the practice of OBE was highly considered. The works of Gautama Buddha (563-483 B.C.), Plato (427-347 B.C.), the Bible and other sources make references to manifestations of the consciousness (spirit, soul) beyond the human body.

The out-of-body experience is not a fantasy, hallucination or pathological state of mind, but a simple fact. Through spontaneous physiological processes we leave the physical body to replenish our energetic system every night during sleep. While in the non-physical dimension the great majority remain unaware, without lucidity. Whereas some are able to control their own experiences, others, still in the minority, relate having projective experiences that are as intense and clear as those in the ordinary waking state. There are many cases of individuals who report having encountered personalities who have lost their physical body through biological death. These entities are reported to have even made observations regarding the present, past or future.

The capacity to access other dimensions and expand natural capacities is inherent in all individuals and should not be considered a miracle or an otherworldly wonder. The interested individual can learn to provoke and control out-of-body experiences, and it is unnecessary to depend on equipment, objects or other persons to transcend physical reality. Thus, one can maturely confront conditions which he or she will encounter sooner or later upon biological deactivation. The issues of death and the unknown need not be obstacles to personal growth, but can be effectively confronted and dealt with by the motivated individual.

There are several researchers and organizations that work with OBE. The Monroe Institute of Applied sciences, for example, located in Virginia, offers their Explorer program. Rick Stack, William Buhlman and Joe Slate, Ph.D. are just some of the independent researchers who have developed programs for enhancing projective capacities. The International Institute of Projectiology and Conscientiology (IIPC), founded by Waldo Vieira, M.D., has noted that a great percentage of the participants of its Consciousness Development Program have had some kind of experience, ranging from general sensations to full out-of-body experiences (OBEs). Many individuals realize significant benefits in the areas of health, life success, spiritual development and being able to resolve personal issues related to their current life as well as past lives through the use of OBEs.

Whereas some individuals have already had OBEs but are incapable of repeating the experience, others have never had an OBE and want to learn to provoke and control the phenomenon. Many persons are misunderstood by society because they sense "things" that others do not. They may, for example, experience their body being completely rigid, being unable to move or speak -- a phenomenon known as the cataleptic state. This condition is considered to not always signal an organic dysfunction. Apparently, many times this and other sensations could indicate that one is outside the physical body. Following are some examples of experiences related by different individuals.

One person mentioned that she was afraid of going to sleep because she commonly felt unusual sensations whenever she went to bed. Not understanding her situation, she sought the help of various health practitioners and finally could only bear the thought of sleep while under the influence of the strong medication she was constantly taking. She now recognizes that she had been experiencing sensations typical of the separation of the physical and non-physical body.

Another person underwent several types of therapy over many years but was unsuccessful in resolving a painful muscular spasm in his back. He reported that during his participation in an OBE workshop, he experienced sensations like fingers probing this problem area. He reports that he no longer feels back pain and is able to move his body in ways that were never possible before.

A third individual reported that he was excited to find out that the experiences that had set him apart from others all of his life were due to his enhanced sensitivity and paranormal capacities. He also shared that he had never completed grieving over the loss of his twin sister and was able to complete this relationship when he met her face to face during an OBE.

What do individuals experience when they begin to develop their projectability? Statistics from a survey conducted with the participants who took IIPC workshops over a 1-year period showed that 31% were able to achieve a full projection at some point during the series of workshops, while 73% experienced partial projections of the astral body. This shows that the interested individual can indeed promote a marked improvement in their natural but typically undeveloped projective capacities, and often in a relatively brief amount of time. For this to occur, though, an open mind and perseverance are necessary.

There are a number of sensations that are felt by individuals when they engage in the projective process. The following is a listing of a few that occur during the "take off" and "landing" of the astral body. The accompanying figures indicate the percentage of individuals surveyed at IIPC who experienced that sensation:

Energy movement - 100% Numbness - 96% Serenity - 96% Expansion of energies - 88% Floating - 81% Internal electricity - 77% Temporary benign paralysis - 77% Change in illumination - 69% Traveling through a tunnel (tunnel effect) - 27%

Experiencing these and many other very natural projective sensations without understanding them can understandably provoke anxiety. On the other hand, those who are informed regarding the characteristics of the projective process will be encouraged upon having these sensations which indicate that one is coming closer to projecting outside of the body.

Non-physical reality is being sampled by more and more individuals and increasingly investigated by science. There are institutions throughout the world that are researching paranormal phenomena which have, until fairly recently, remained the domain of religion.

It is time to consider the human being as more than a sophisticated machine. It is necessary to replace the mechanistic, Newtonian paradigm with a new expanded paradigm that considers the existence of an intelligent agent that organizes physical matter and yet is more than the physical body, indeed something even beyond energy.

Simone de La Tour is the director of IIPC's New York office and a faculty member of the International Institute of Projectiology and Conscientiology.