ASTRAL TRAVEL- WHAT IS IT?

Astral Travel is when the soul leaves your physical body to go and explore other worlds.

Have you ever imagined leaving your own body to go on a journey?

Your spirit will go to other places, where you can also discover a wonderful world, in which the concepts of time and space are different. Astral travel refers to the separation between body and mind allowing the person who is able to enter this state of exploration to see the normal world around him with different eyes. In these circumstances, the person has the sensation of seeing his physical body from outside of his own body.

Astral travel is thus distinguished from autoscopy, which is defined as the process of perceiving the surrounding environment from a different perspective, from a position outside of one’s own body.

These out of body experiences can happen at specific times such as the approach of death, during spiritual practices such as meditation, during deep sleep, under the influence of hallucinogenic drug, or during psychotherapeutic sessions as rebirthing, primal therapy and so on.

THE ASTRAL VOYAGE IN THE COURSE OF HISTORY

The ability to leave one's body of one's own free will is, in Eastern religions, mostly attributed to shamans or witches. This allows them, for example, to communicate with the dead.

We find astral travel in the early writings of India in which the eight siddhis are mentioned, that is to say, the powers that man can acquire through meditation. In this case, it is in the sixth Siddhi where a trip in the sky is mentioned

In ancient Egypt, it was believed that you could enter the astral plane via ten gates and seven gates. The astral body itself was represented in the form of a bird, a symbol of that which can escape the laws of gravity.

Similarly, in the Bible, Paul speaks of a man who was swept away in Paradise and lived outside of his body.

In the Middle Ages in the Christian West, there was no question of bilocation. Bi-location is a form of astral travel in which an individual can be simultaneously seen in different places.  There is a difference between the phenomenon of bi-location and the out of body state is that in bi-location, there is a relationship and interaction with the person, with an ability for touch and verbal exchange, while in the out of body state, there is usually no such communication. 

It is not until 1965 that the first scientific findings on the subject emerge. The first research was conducted by a researcher at the University of California Dr. Charles Tart. He passed a series of tests on a young woman who claimed to leave her physical body every night. In his lab, she managed to correctly state the target of five figures numbers placed out of sight. But he realized that the answers could be given through a phenomenon of reflection on a surface present in the room.

Following this, Robert Monroe served as a test subject for Charles Tart. Robert Monroe claimed to have had this kind of experience during the two sessions in which he had participated. Although he was not to read the numbers on the target, he remembered one of his out of body experiences. In 1967, the results of the experiment were written by Charles Tart who indicated that much of our sleep cycle took place in hypnagogic state. Charles Tart has always remained cautious on the results achieved during his experiments. 

Another emblematic figure is Jeanne Guesne writer, philosopher and French mystic. She had hundreds of out of body experiences and in a completely lucid state, for over 40 years. She reached a higher level of consciousness, with the feeling of being free to enter into a broader experience of the 'Universe. For her, this higher "state of being" can be achieved only if there is a vibratory type of synchronization between the physical body and the conscious energy outside of it.

Three different approaches share the explanations of the phenomenon of the "out of the body " sensations: The esoteric approach, parapsychological approach and the scientific approach. It is esoteric approach that interests us here.

PRINCIPLES OF THE ESOTERIC APPROACH

According to Taoism, Buddhism, Theosophy, Egypt, or Plato, people have multiple bodies, the best known are the etheric body and the astral body, which can become detached from the physical body. The etheric and astral bodies are part of the subtle bodies, each with its own characteristic:

  • The etheric body is appointed to the absorption of subtle energy,
  • The astral body is the seat of the emotions,
  • The mental body is the seat of intelligence,
  • The causal body is the seat of the will and of the memory.

THE ENERGETIC/ETHERIC BODY

This bio-energetic body is constantly connected and in dependence with the physical body. The organs of the energetic body are known in the yogic tradition as  the "chakra". The etheric body enters a state of trance or sleep during the relaxation, in order to expand and re-energize. Normally they would remain contracted. Their expansion seems to be necessary for an out of body experience to occur, which explains the use of trance and relaxation techniques to accomplish this.

THE ASTRAL BODY

The occultists mean by this term, the non-physical planes of consciousness, but these are also the subtle bodies of mankind. Movements like theosophy separate the astral plane into seven levels, while some Buddhists believe that there are 31. Most authors distinguish numerous planes and sub- planes, such as the lower astral, middle astral and high astral planes.

During experiments, the subjects would encounter various entities of a very diverse nature. According to Wicca, for example, there is an "astral wildlife," composed of many organisms in various forms who feed off energy. This was also suggested by Carlos Castadena. There would also be "negs" more or less intelligent negative entities that try to feed on the energy of the soul.

According to some beliefs, the danger would be greater once the astral body detaches from the physical body. It is said that one can meet other entities from other worlds who resemble us, and sometimes more advanced or protective entities as recounted in many near- death experiences.

Note that for most scientists these phenomena simply correspond to hallucinatory and dreamlike phenomena.