‘Astral projection (or astral travel) is an interpretation of an out-of-body experience (OBE) that assumes the existence of an “astral body” separate from the physical body and capable of travelling outside it. Astral projection or travel denotes the astral body leaving the physical body to travel in an astral plane.’
Bilocation is another term that is sometimes used to describe an out-of-body experience wherein a subject undergoes a temporary projection or externalisation, either voluntary or involuntary, from the corporeal body during physical life. It would appear from the abundant literature on the subject that we humans are comprised of both a physical and “subtle body“, the latter being connected to the former by a “silver cord” which is said to be capable of infinite extension.
Detailed accounts of this phenomenon appear in many diverse cultures throughout the world. The Bible itself makes mention of the separation of the cord from the physical body, when it says in Ecclesiastes 12: 6-7:
“Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
In the New International Version are written the words:
“Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
From the above we have learnt this is far from being a “New Age” concept. It is a belief system that spans aeons of time, as the following historicity demonstrates.
Similar concepts of soul travel appear in ancient Egyptian teachings and present the soul as having the ability to hover outside the physical body in the ka, or subtle body.
In Japanese mythology, there is the ikiryō which is believed to be a manifestation of the soul of a living person separated from its physical body. The ikiryo is but a part of the whole soul that can temporarily leave its host body. Depending on the practitioner’s purpose, it can be malevolent or benevolent. Such souls are also believed to leave a living body during periods of extreme sickness or when comatose; such ikiryō are not malevolent.
H. P. Blavatsky‘s theosophical teaching represented the convergence of 19th century Western occultism, Eastern philosophy, religion, science, and mysticism. The Secret Doctrine, and The Key to Theosophy combined the Vedantic concept of five koshas with Western esoteric traditions (particularly Neoplatonism). She refers to three subtle bodies, but for the purpose of this article we need only consider the first, it being the Linga Sharira – the Double or Astral body
The Linga Sharira is the invisible double of the human body, elsewhere referred to as the etheric body, doppelgänger or bioplasmic body and serves as a matrix of the physical body, which conforms to the shape, appearance and condition of the “double”. The linga sharira can be separated or projected a limited distance from the body. This distinguishes it from other concepts in which astral planes can be accessed. When separated from the body it can be wounded by sharp objects. When it returns to the physical frame, the wound will be reflected in the physical counterpart, a phenomenon called “repercussion.” At death, it is discarded together with the physical body and eventually disintegrates or decomposes.
As the term suggests, involuntary projection (IP) occurs spontaneously. Occurrences of IP are rare and are occasionally reported by those who have undergone near death experiences (NDEs). Below are 10 examples of NDEs.
From the foregoing video you may have noted the differences between NDEs and astral projection, which may suggest they are not one and the same thing. There appears to be a distinction between the two. Astral travel, when practiced by an adept can be controlled at will, unlike NDEs wherein the experiencer has no control whatsoever. The prime common denominator appears to be the externalisation of the astral spirit itself.
Is Astral Projection Akin to Lucid Dreaming?
Here’s what Jarel Zeilel, writer, lucid dreamer, story teller and filmmaker, has to say on the subject: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-lucid-dreaming-and-astral-projection.
Notable Adepts of Astral Projection:
The Ecsomatic Experience and Science.
Arthur W. Wiggins, writing in Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction: Where Real Science Ends…and Pseudoscience Begins, said that purported evidence of the ability to astral travel great distances and give descriptions of places visited is predominantly anecdotal. In 1978, Ingo Swann provided a test of his alleged ability to astral travel to Jupiter and observe details of the planet. Actual findings and information were later compared to Swann’s claimed observations; according to an evaluation by James Randi, Swann’s accuracy was “unconvincing and unimpressive” with an overall score of 37 percent. Wiggins considers astral travel an illusion, and looks to neuroanatomy, human belief, imagination and prior knowledge to provide prosaic explanations for those claiming to experience it. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki).
Robert Todd Carroll writes that the main evidence to support claims of astral travel is anecdotal and comes “in the form of testimonials of those who claim to have experienced being out of their bodies when they may have been out of their minds.” Subjects in parapsychological experiments have attempted to project their astral bodies to distant rooms and see what was happening. However, such experiments have produced negative results.
According to Bob Bruce of the Queensland Sceptics Association, astral projection is “just imagining”, or “a dream state”. Although parallel universes are mathematically possible, Bruce writes that the existence of an astral plane is contrary to the limits of science. “We know how many possibilities there are for dimensions and we know what the dimensions do. None of it correlates with things like astral projection.” Bruce attributes astral experiences such as “meetings” alleged by practitioners to confirmation bias and coincidences. (http://www.skeptiko.com/out-of-body-experience-expert-robert-on-our-daemon-haunted-world/).
It would seem from the above that the scientific community have had the last say on this subject …or have they? You decide.
© David Calvert 2016
Please note that at the bottom of each blog page there is a “Comments” box and a “Like” button, should you feel inclined to use them. Thank you.
I think most folk don’t realise they can leave a comment, that’s why I have been letting them know at the end of a blog. Thanks again for an interesting article Dave.
Will probably have to do the same Mak
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A big thank you to my keen-eyed friend and part time proof-reader, Kris Ayscue, who noted several typo errors in this article, which I have subsequently corrected.
This is very interesting. I once saw a science program featuring Mr. Swann and some Earth-bound experiments. He was able to draw a picture of a place for which he was given coordinates. Of course, it could have also been a made for TV scenario for which he was given more off-camera details.
Thanks for researching this topic.
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