by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
You are more than a physical body with a marvelous physical brain!
Some people believe that’s all there is—just a physical body—while many more believe, at the least, in something they call a “soul.” Some think of the soul as a kind of balloon-like attachment to the physical body, while others think of the body as a kind of “vehicle” for the soul.
Neither mainstream religion nor physical sciences offer any really satisfactory answers. Religion may speak of the soul as a “matter of faith,” but after the physical body dies some say the soul is judged and sent to heaven or hell, forever. Science says of the soul: if you can’t see it, weigh it, or measure it, then it doesn’t exist; that the body dies and decays, and that’s it!
Is That All There Is?
Religions may also speak of “spirit” (and of “spirits”) as something different than the soul, but without defining either one. Is spirit the same as soul, or is the soul somehow made of spirit? We also have the phenomena of “ghosts,” often also referred to as “spirits of the departed.”
We also speak of “Body, Mind, and Spirit,” again without much definition of how spirit differs from mind, and without answering the question of whether mind is just a function of a computer-like physical brain—or something else that functions through the brain.
It’s all rather vague, and becomes even more so when we ask about “consciousness.” Is consciousness the same as mind, or is mind a part of consciousness? The deeper you go, the more questions you find. What about dreams that occur when the body sleeps? Where does inspiration come from? What about “remote viewing?” What of “out of body experiences,” of clairvoyance and other psychic powers, of reports of “spirit communications” and mystics who report having union with levels of existence higher than most of us know?
Vehicles of Consciousness
To live life more fully and find greater meaning and purpose, we should better understand “consciousness” itself. We want to function as “conscious beings,” rather than mere automatons.
Traditional metaphysical knowledge establishes a more complicated picture than just “body and soul” or “body, mind, and spirit,” with dimensions beyond the physical and levels of consciousness greater than the physical brain and conscious mind. Is it a “greater consciousness” that manifests as a living person?
YOU are a complex being expressing consciousness far beyond any function of the physical brain. Your physical body is just one of several “vehicles” used by the incarnating soul in a long cycle of growth through experience. These “vehicles” function both together and separately to express and experience the different levels and kinds of consciousness of your soul-being.
We speak of a physical body combined with its “etheric double,” transforming and transferring higher levels of energy to give life and form to the physical body; we speak of an “astral body“* as the vehicle for most psychic experience and also for emotional expression; we have a mental body that functions as the vehicle for mind; and a higher vehicle known as the “causal body,” which itself serves as the “operations center” for the soul (which originates at a higher level yet).
(*Note: Some writers prefer the term “envelope” rather than “body” as a better description of their function. “Body” is the most familiar term, while “vehicle” is more expressive of the activity of each level of consciousness.)
It is this complex of vehicles that compose what we think of as our Personality or Self. Each vehicle has a separate degree of function but is nevertheless a part of the whole. Everything we do physically involves the etheric, astral, mental, and causal vehicles, but in varying degrees. And the same is true of the other vehicles, but most particularly of the astral and mental. It is the active focus of conscious awareness within one or more vehicles that is expressed in different activities.
Dr. Joe Slate and I have just released our new and very complete book on the Astral vehicle and the roles it plays in our psychic life (in particular the dynamic role the Astral vehicle plays in our psychic empowerment and spiritual growth in this critical time of human history calling for higher levels of perception and understanding and the greater exercise of self-responsibility).
The “burden” is on each of us to act with the extended awareness and wisdom only possible through growth and empowerment. We cannot “pass the buck” on to some higher authority because each of us is now the “designated driver,” and it is you who must learn the “rules of the road” ahead of us.
More Than Just the “Out-of-Body Experience”
Most the earlier writings on the subject of astral projection focused on what I refer to as “window peeping,” where the person projecting the astral body often found himself (and these early writers were mostly male) in the presence of a person with whom he was emotionally involved. He would note various details about the room (usually a bedroom, for most experiences were at night), what the beloved was wearing and doing if not already asleep, and then other details of the physical world.
Among the most noteworthy details was the experience of being able to pass through closed doors and solid walls, flying over house roofs, discovering and enjoying physically transcending experiences. One detail is of particular interest: any sudden emotion would result in an immediate return to the physical body.
Beyond the Physical!
The Western view of our world was that of a purely physical “clock-work” universe with no real role for anything beyond a material concept. As noted earlier, science had no place for spirit or soul, and even religion basically confined soul to something after death.
But, in the middle of the nineteenth century, a “new reality” burst on the scenes in upper New York State when three young sisters started communicating with a spirit through a series of raps and other paranormal phenomena. Suddenly, the modern news media took note and reporters from the newspapers and magazines camped out to note every happening at the Fox family home. From this otherworldly encounter, the new religion of Spiritualism took root and séance phenomena spread across America to Britain and Western Europe.
Spiritualist churches were formed, séances became the new mode in social entertainment, and psychical research societies were formed by distinguished scientific investigators. Particular “mediums” became popular and were seen to levitate and produce various phenomena on demand for enthralled audiences.
The Eastern Heritage
A second development occurred at the Fox family home in Hydesville New York when two important journalists, Madame H. P. Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, wrote about the spiritual developments, and then in 1875 founded the Theosophical Society that—more than any other factor—was responsible for bringing the esoteric knowledge of India and Tibet to the West.
Blavatsky’s writings were both broad and deep, and, to many readers, rather obscure. But the fascination with Eastern occultism ignited a veritable firestorm: new writing; translations of classics; new organizations, including other Theosophical groups; Rosicrucian societies; esoteric research foundations; new psychical research and studies at universities (some sponsored by the military during and after the two world wars); and the arrival of a vast wave of “missionaries” from the east, bringing yoga, tantra, the martial arts, meditation practices, and non-Christian spirituality free of any religious dogma.
The Western Heritage
In the process, the West awakened its own spiritual heritage with esoteric practices involving the Kabbalah; the Tarot; Ceremonial Magick; Astrology; Witchcraft; and a broad appreciation of neo-Paganism, Shamanism, and Native American practices. There was a sudden realization that all this vast information could be studied and applied individually, free from addicting bondage to organized religion, swamis, gurus, masters, and other imposing authorities.
People suddenly discovered BOOKS, and found classes and other external sources for the once-secret knowledge necessary for the inner spiritual journey, psychic development, and genuine self-empowerment marking the transition into a real New Age freeing humanity from the Piscean past.
The Age of Aquarius
The “New Age” is real; it is not “fluffy,” nor is the true Aquarian a “spaced-out druggie.” The study of the paranormal combines modern research methodology with comprehensive knowledge from east and west (and north and south, for that matter) into a global matrix of universally recognized Tools & Techniques for Psychic Development and Spiritual Growth & Transformation.
All growth is individual and transformative; that is, based on personal practice and experience. Everything is Consciousness in manifold manifestations running from physical to spiritual. It is through the many forms of psychic and psychological practice that we attain the Personal Experience of Higher Dimensions of Consciousness. It is then that we have the Clear Vision necessary for Responsible Personal Action to individually meet the challenges of these changing times. It is a real Call to Action rather than a retreat to an obscure refuge.
The Gift of Psychic Empowerment
Astral Projection is one of the most important and dynamic psychic powers you can master for the simple reason that it is a vital step into higher consciousness. But, astral projection and the out-of-body experience is not an occasional practice but a continuing change of perspective from which you will benefit in your daily life. It brings “growth” that will empower all your intentional activities, work, and even what others may think of as “play” (but which you will see with the benefit of four-dimensional vision so that you can act with greater awareness of the energies behind manifestation).
Astral Projection for Psychic Empowerment approaches the learning process inclusively, starting with seeing the aura, exploring the nature of the astral plane, spontaneous out-of-body experiences revealing multiple layers of consciousness, laboratory studies and case work, psychokinesis and healing, sleep-induced OBE and transitional travel, interaction with spirit guides and guardians, astral resources, step-by-step projection procedures, changing “reality” through magick and divination, astral therapies, astral love and sex magick, magical sex and couple’s therapy, the Magickal Childe, training programs for astral powers, growth through astral illumination, accessing cosmic archives, the New Person as a Being of Consciousness, egregores as autonomous thought forms, the astral form as a container of power, after-death survival, sources of knowledge, advanced powers and their applications, the sub-atomic world and Quantum Physics, Astral Doorways, the Tattvas, the Tarot, Runes, the I Ching, Kabbalistic Path-working, the triangle of causation, your role in research, and much more.
The book also includes a Seven-Day Developmental Program to unleash new growth potentials, a self-test, a reader survey, and with a very detailed Glossary.
The Subtle Bodies
It is with the realization that you are a greater being than you previously thought and that through this complex of vehicles beyond the limitations of the purely physical that you have enormous and unrealized potentials. The Astral is your bridge to the Unconscious and then to the Superconscious. The Mental than becomes a further stepping stone to the Causal Body and the command center of will power and the ability to control your destiny.
We may speak of these as different bodies, vehicles, or envelopes, but that is just a convenience that aids our understanding of them as “levels” of consciousness in the Whole Person that we each are. The reality is that for most of us our consciousness is primarily focused at the physical level, and we are mostly unfocused and merely reactive at the astral and mental levels.
Psychic Development is Empowering
The astral is the core level of our emotional life and our psychic functions. As we develop the ability to function consciously at the astral level we cease being only unfocused and reactive and gain control over both our emotional nature and our psychic powers.
With the conscious and deliberate development of our psychic abilities—in particular astral projection and clairvoyance—we are furthering our growth and integration at all levels, and learning to apply these powers as trained skills in all areas of our life and being. We become “empowered” at these higher levels. And, more importantly, we learn that the Higher always controls the Lower (meaning that astral development gives us greater power over our physical body and nature).
Astral Projection is a magnificent adventure, and the journey leads to true self-development and self-empowerment as we fulfill the matrix of potential to become the Whole Person intended from the “Beginning.”
Bon Voyage—Have a Great Life
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012. All rights reserved.