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Interplanar Projection

by Bill Aicher, 1996

Imagine if you could go anywhere you wanted to for free. Think what it would be like to travel wherever you want, whenever you want. You are at total peace with yourself and your surroundings. You can meet people and beings you would otherwise never meet. Enter the Astral Plane, a place where one’s consciousness can exist directly within the physical world. Astral projection is a highly popular area of the occult. Many followers believe they can will their consciousness to depart their physical body. However, there are also many skeptics out there who doubt the validity of the believers’ claims. Although there are many people who believe that one can will his or her subconscious to travel away from their body, physical proof is lacking to prove or disprove its truth.

The believers in astral projection accept this failure to prove its truth. I received several E-Mail correspondences in reply to a message I posted in alt.out-of-body (an Internet Usenet group). Matt Holmes stated that although there is no physical proof as of now, more research in quantum physics may help in proving its existence (E-mail, Holmes, 1996, p.1). Another person said there is no way to measure a nonphysical attribute, such as astral projection, that is known as of now. The only research that has been done has focused on measuring brainwaves during the projection (E-mail, Fellows, 1996, p. 1).

The major cause of skepticism toward metaphysical occurrences or abilities is the lack of proof. Several studies have been conducted. However, most of them prove inconclusive. In an experiment conducted by Dr. Russel Targ and James Randi of Stanford Institute, Ingo Shwann and Harold Sherman claimed to have traveled in space. They claimed they traveled to planets in the solar system before any spacecraft had traveled that far. Their claims were compared to the findings of Mariner 10 and Pioneer 10. According to the results (calculated by Isaac Asimov), forty percent of the claims were false. Only one in sixty-five of the claims were facts that could not be found in research books. This data could be interpreted either as for or against the validity of the claims, since thought can affect the astral plane. These imperfections are a large contribution to skepticism towards astral projection (Skeptic, Carrol, 1996). Even though some people feel since this does not help prove astral projection is possible, it does not hurt either. This data could be inerpreted by some as evidence of its existence.

Psychologists and scientists who are nonbelievers feel the out-of-body experience is merely a lucid dream. A lucid dream is an imagination of the mind, and according to Matt Holmes, they are very different from astral projection. People who claim to possess this unique power say that there is a difference between astral projection and lucid dreams, as they have experience both. (E-mail, Holmes, 1996)

The Lucid Dreaming FAQ defines lucid dreams as "dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming." When one has a lucid dream he or she is fully aware of the dream state. The person then uses this knowledge to control the dream. A higher lucidity (mental clarity) is reached by controlling the dream more. "With low-level lucidity, you may be aware to a certain extent that you are dreaming, perhaps enough to fly, or alter what you are doing, but not enough to realize that the people are dream representations, or that you suffer no physical damage, or that you are actually in bed." ("Lucid FAQ", 1994) The reality and ability to control dreams in this way is what causes skeptics to believe the out-of-body experience is a dream.

Astral projection is more popularly known as the Out-of-Body Experience (OOBE or OBE). “The Skeptic’s Dictionary” defines astral projection as “The separation of a person’s consciousness from his or her body, allowing the person to travel short or vast distances without taking the body along.” (Skeptic, Carrol, 1995)

When one astrally projects, he or she travels on the astral plane. According to Matt Holmes, “the subject’s thoughts create the reality of the experience. For instance, if you think negative thoughts, your subconscious mind will create ‘thought-forms’ of ugly or mean beings.” There are also theories that when someone has negative feelings, negative entities are attracted. In the astral plane, there are beings that do not exist on the physical plane. Some people say that a traveler has no chance of being harmed. Others claim that projection can be dangerous. The people with more knowledge on the subject believe it to be as safe as dreaming (Holmes, 1995). The experts try to clear up misconceptions.

Contrary to some people’s beliefs, when astrally projecting, one cannot interact with physical objects. This is accomplished through Etheric Projection. The Etheric plane is an extension of the physical plane. However, when in one’s Etheric body, he or she is not ruled by the laws of physical reality (E-Mail, Holmes, 1996).

The astral plane is the plane just above the Etheric plane. When one is on the border of the two planes, various aspects of both planes are present. "Many times an Etheric Projection and an Astral Projection melt together, so you may experience qualities of both at the same time. This means that one can be subjected to ‘thought-forms’ on the upper portions of the Etheric Plane (where it is closer to the Astral Plane)." (E-Mail, Holmes, 1996)

The astral plane is composed of astral matter and contains thought forms. These thought forms are the impressions left by things of the physical world. Some items leave a larger impression and the thought form can exist long after the physical item is gone. In the astral plane, one cannot interact directly with physical objects. This is done on either the physical or Etheric plane. Another major difference between the physical plane is "Astral Vision." In the astral plane, a traveler can see more than 360 degrees simultaneously. The traveler is only an energy form that can travel at will. There is no need for a mode of transportation, since thoughts control this plane. (Bruce, 1994)

The believers in self-willed astral projection all have their own ways of achieving an OOBE. However, they are all based on the same ideas. The room should be dark, but not totally black. No restrictive clothing should be worn. The best position is lying down. The projector begins by entering a relaxed mental and physical state, usually by meditation. The next step is to enduce a vibrating feeling throughout the body. Once the sensation is felt throughout the body, the person attempts to leave the physical body. Everyone has different methods for what works best. There are many theories on little things that will aid in the ease of projection as well. Eating should not be done for a few hours prior to projecting. (Monroe)

People believe in astral projection for various reasons. Some people merely want there to be more than what people know. The idea of other planes excites them as well as the chance that they can be visited. Others have personal experience with leaving the body. The mother of one of my friends claims to have had out-of-body experiences as a child. She said that she would leave her body so she could handle the physical abuse inflicted upon her. Others know people that have experience near-death experiences, which are also a kind of projection. In an interview with Sheryl Aicher, I learned she believes out-of-body experiences are possible. This is because one of her relatives claimed to have an out-of-body experience after being in an automobile accident. He viewed himself from above while his physical body was on the operating table (Aicher, 1996). Traumatic or violent experiences have commonly been the cause of the out-of-body experience. However, these experiences happen very frequently. Believers feel that dreaming is a form of astral projection. They also feel that they can visit this astral plane whenever they wish. There they are not governed by the rules of physical reality. Astral projection could be merely an emotional escape from the physical world, like a lucid dream. Or else maybe there is more than most people think. Maybe we really can will our consciousness onto another plane and interact with other beings there (Bruce, 1994).

There is no proof that can prove or disprove whether one can project his or her conciousness into another plane. For now people will believe what they want to believe. The believers are true believers. The skeptics have various opinions. That being said, what we are left with are personal reports, which can be most intriguing. I will always remember one my friend told me. (Veronica was formerly with ScotlandYard and not given to nonsense.) It seems her son who lived on his own, got out of his body and came to visit her one evening in her aparment. She was sleeping at the time. Her son called in the morning to say he had seen her husband (his father) sitting by the bed, holding Veronica’s hand. She was wearing a nightgown he had never seen before but which he described. Veronica had purchased that nightgown during the day so she knew the son had not seen it. Interesting twist, the father was deceased, but Veronica had been DREAMING that he was sitting beside the bed holding her hand. (Usenet, Fellows, 1996)