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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?

Psychic Empowerment and the Subtle Bodies

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.

Astral Projection for Psychic Empowerment, by Slate & Weschcke

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.



by Brian Mercer

(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)

During my first conscious out-of-body experience, I encountered the woman I would one day marry.

It was the Saturday night before my final semester in college, and I was enjoying some personal reading time before being inundated by next week’s wave of classes and homework. The book I was perusing was Dreams and the Projection of Consciousness by Jane Roberts, which explores altered states of consciousness, including out-of-body experiences (a phenomenon sometimes abbreviated as “OBE“).

As it grew late, I began to get drowsy, then to doze on my back, a posture I would later learn is ideal for remembering your out-of-body projections. The next thing I remember, I was flying back and forth in front of my house, just above street level. It was a bit disorienting, but only for a moment, when I realized I was having an OBE.

I’d read before that, in order to preserve the clarity of your projections, it’s best to be a certain distance from your physical body. I wanted to get the most out of my experience, but panicked. Instead of gradually gliding over the neighborhood, I launched myself at a forty-five degree angle into the night sky; a proven technique, I would later learn, for getting into the astral planes.

My next memory was gliding through what seemed to be outer space. Strangely, I was moving through a tube made of stars—circles of six equidistant points of light through which I flew, one after the next. The trouble was, I didn’t seem to be moving particularly fast, nor did I seem to be getting anywhere. I called out to the universe, “Show me my soulmate!” by which I meant I wanted to see my future wife.

An instant later something resembling pea soup splattered and ran down my field of vision. As it cleared, I found myself hovering in a bedroom looking down on a young woman. I examined her carefully—her hair, the way she was lying in the bed, the furniture in the room and its relationship to the window, hoping to remember it later. Not long thereafter, I returned to my body, having glimpsed a hint of my future.

I had, in fact, been trying to produce an OBE since high school, before this without any remembered success. I had always been interested in paranormal subjects, ghost encounters, and near-death experiences in particular, because they seemed to me the most tangible evidence of the survival of the soul beyond death. When I learned that we all have OBEs nightly, but usually just don’t remember them (or don’t recognize them for what they are), I grew intrigued by the idea that I could make it happen on purpose.

As my research into OBE continued, I compiled a list of the advantages of learning to project: One could enjoy the power of flight and travel without limits, tap into higher forms of guidance and healing, and confront and transcend personal fears. Further, there was the possibility of visiting loved ones who had passed into the afterlife, answering personal questions about one’s past, present, and future (as I had in my first OBE), and exploring the physical world and beyond.

By far the best reason I’d come across for learning OBE was written by Rick Stack, author of Out-of-body Adventures:

“It was only when I understood that the ballgame is going to go into extra innings that I was able to look death in the face, so to speak, and really listen to its teaching. Since I am no longer afraid of or uncomfortable about death, I am more inclined to focus on the reality of life’s temporariness and use it for inspiration. This focus makes me want to maximize my life in every way. It helps me understand that the moments I spend with the people I love are completely unique, and even if I will know them in other times or other universes, things will never again be quite the same. It helps me cut through all the nonsense and pettiness that is so easy to think is important. It helps me savor and use my energy instead of squandering it. It helps me give up worry and enjoy my day.”1

The biggest difficulty I found with learning to have conscious OBEs was this: It usually isn’t easy. It takes skill, some hint of natural ability, and a whole lot of practice and know-how. I started with informational books about out-of-body experiences, which usually devoted a chapter to “how to” techniques. These usually didn’t give much guidance and I quickly grew discouraged. I tried at least three books that promised an out-of-body experience in thirty days, but these, too, fell short of a regimen I could follow. For example, an exercise from one of these books called for examining yourself naked in a mirror for twenty minutes. On another day, the same book recommends having a friend blindfold you and take you to a park where you could experience reality without your sense of sight. While there might be a profound spiritual reason for doing these things, I failed to connect how it would help me achieve an out-of-body experience.

I thought the most promising method for learning OBE came in the form of hypnosis and various forms of altered state sound tapes and CDs. I had some success with the latter at getting into altered states, but I found that both these methods didn’t provide the key information one needs just prior to making a conscious exit out-of-body experience. For instance, none of them explicitly explained that you have to be utterly relaxed to project, that you can’t tense up even a little bit, or that you have to remain perfectly still. More importantly, the sessions either provided too much voice direction or not enough.

My first big success came after I bought Robert Bruce’s landmark book on OBE, Astral Dynamics: A NEW Approach to Out-of-body Experiences. I was only halfway through it when I read one of the more advanced OBE exit techniques. When I returned home that day, I immediately tried the technique without any preparation or even getting properly relaxed. I immediately felt my being turn to liquid as huge waves of energy ran from my head to my feet and past the borders of my physical body. For the first time after all these years I had just been casually playing around and had nearly projected. If this is what can happen casually, I thought, just think what could happen if I made a serious effort at it?

A week later I was making the first of what would be many revisions to my ninety-day OBE program based on Robert’s extensive advice in Astral Dynamics. I emailed it to Robert and the end result was our collaborated book, Mastering Astral Projection: 90-day Guide to Out-of-body Experience, a program that has helped people all over the world enjoy the profound, life-changing experience of OBE.

The book comes with a CD-ROM that allows you to listen to altered state sounds to help induce the ideal state for OBE. After the book’s release, there was a lot of interest in creating a new audio tool that was more robust, one that could be used by more people without needing to be tied to a computer: Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion, a six-CD album for learning how to have an out-of-body experience, is the result. The CD provides just enough voice direction to help listeners get into the proper state for the OBE exit, then quiets to allow them to proceed through the final steps at their own pace. The fifty-page illustrated instruction booklet provides all the critical information on what to do and what not to do, so everything you need is there in one package.

The key to designing the album was to allow readers of the ninety-day Mastering Astral Projection guide to use it to supplement and enhance their experience, while simultaneously being a stand-alone program that would allow new comers a chance to stretch their astral wings. Since it’s progressive, users of the CDs have time to become comfortable and accomplished with each step in the process, paving the way for a pleasant first out-of-body experience.

What ultimately makes the album so effective is the efficient use of night-time sleep practice. This takes advantage of optimal periods in the sleep cycle—for consistent practice time, something that’s all-important when learning to consciously exit and remember your out-of-body experiences.

Together, the book and the album make a powerful combination for learning OBE. The potential for personal spiritual exploration thereafter is almost limitless.

1Stack, Rick Out-of-body Adventures: 30 Days to the Most Exciting Experience of Your Life; McGraw-Hill, 1988. P. 22.

Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2007. All rights reserved.



by Donald Michael Kraig

(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)

Many books that give a general introduction to magick have a section on astral projection. They focus on its difficulty, how important it is, how it is a major part of magickal work, and so on. But after reading these books, I’m left with a feeling like the late Clara Peller (who played a senior citizen in a now-iconic commercial from the mid-1980s) when she found nothing of substance in her sandwich, shouting, “Where’s the beef?” Similarly, some books, after discussing the value of astral projection (without saying why it’s valuable), give instructions on such things as journeying to a friend’s home to determine which page of a book they are reading or visiting a girlfriend or boyfriend “on the astral.” While these may be interesting and fun, where’s the beef? Why do the books say astral projection is so important and valuable if all they talk about is whizzing around the world to have a tête á tête with a paramour?

Understanding why astral projection is important requires a knowledge of the way magick works, and to understand that requires a brief look at the nature of you and the universe. You have probably heard that you have an astral body, a match to your physical body that is so ethereal it is normally not seen. Most people think that we have an astral body because we have a physical body. Actually, it is the other way around. You had an astral body—you were spiritually formed—before having a physical body. The formation of the astral body necessitated the manifestation of a body to “house” it on the physical plane. (Actually, this is a bit of a simplification that sounds somewhat dualist, as in the expression, “You are a spirit in a body.” In actuality, the physical and astral totally interpenetrate and are unitary.)

The idea of an astral body extends beyond the concept that living beings have an astral double. Everything in the physical universe has an astral body. And as with your body, the astral duplicate of everything on the physical plane pre-existed its physical manifestation.

The astral plane is not some far-away place. Rather, it is simply more ethereal than the physical plane. It interweaves with the physical plane. It is right here, if you can see it. To do so requires either a native talent or the development of astral vision. We have other astral senses, too. People who can see on the astral plane will be able to see such things as people’s auras. Cats seem to see easily onto the astral plane. Perhaps you’ve seen a cat follow some invisible thing flying through the air and even bat at it with a paw. They’re playing with something on the astral plane.

The key to the importance of the astral plane is this: it is a cosmic law, as sure as gravity, that anything created on the astral plane must eventually manifest on the physical plane. In short, the ability to create on the astral plane is a key to magick.

One pathway to the astral plane is through our minds. When you perform a simple spell, perhaps something using herbs and a brief rhyme, you are setting into motion events on the astral plane—even if you are not aware of it—that lead to a resulting manifesting on the physical plane. Similarly, when you do an involved ritual you are again creating events on the astral plane that result in manifestation on the physical plane.

In either situation, your physical actions—whether reciting a spell or performing complex rituals—create activity on the astral plane. However, the transfer from plane to plane to plane (physical plane actions create on the astral plane resulting in creation on the physical) is like translating from language to language. And as we all know, sometimes translations aren’t as accurate as we would like.

If we could bypass one of those translations, it follows that our magick would be more accurate and more powerful. And that, dear reader, is the real reason that learning to astral project and function on the astral plane has been considered so important in magickal training.

Projection Per Se
The art of working directly in the astral plane has two aspects that are similar to going to a theme park. First, you have to get there. Then, once you’re there, you have to know where to go, how to get around, and what to do to have the best time. In relation to doing astral magick, the first part is astral projection, per se, and the second part is the astral work itself.

One of the challenges with magick of all sorts is the number of variables that can affect the results. Weather, the phase of the moon, and even your emotions can affect the outcome of a magickal rite. That’s why the books listed below describe different ways of being able to project onto the astral plane. A technique that works for one person might not work for you.

Initial failure at attempting to astral project can be discouraging. I can’t predict which technique will or will not work for you, but I am positive that if you want to be able to astral project at will, your attitude is of vital importance. When you are trying to project, you must want to leave your body more than anything else in the world. It must be your only focus and you must be single-minded about it. You must want it with every bit of passion in your heart, soul, and being. With that attitude, combined with a method that appeals to you, you will succeed.

I have discovered that the main fear that prevents people from projecting is “what if I get lost or can’t get back?” Frankly, that’s like thinking, “If I learn to drive and get a high-powered Dodge Viper and drive it on a mountain road during a rain and it crashes through a rail and gets damaged, will I be able to pay for the repairs?” Learn to drive first. By the time you learn to control a speedy car you’ll be able to drive safely. But there’s an advantage with astral projection over a fast car. The natural home for the astral body is with the physical body. Getting them to temporarily separate takes determination and knowledge—getting them back together is the easy part. Unlike a car, the astral body—like a powerful magnet—is literally pulled back to the physical body.

Astral Work
Once you get out of your body, you will find yourself in another world that interpenetrates ours. The difference is that your interplay in the astral plane is controlled by your mind. Will it and it will happen. Many people create an idealized “astral temple,” a model of the perfect magical area to perform a ritual. Perform a ritual for a healing or for assistance on the astral plane and you may get results faster than if you performed it physically.

Do you see the great advantage? You can do magick without any physical tools at all! Simply project to the astral plane and create the desired effect by willing it. That is yet another reason why astral projection is so valued in magickal traditions. There’s obviously much more to it than I can describe here, but if you’re involved with magick on any level and in any system, you should investigate astral projection.

Astral Projection for Beginners by Edain McCoy is a great place to start. It gives wonderful information on how to get out of your body and how to use this ability. Fully explained are healing of others and a method of astral creative visualization to do magick.

Astral Travel for Beginners by Richard Webster is another great introductory book. It includes twelve different techniques you can experiment with until you find one or more that will allow you to project. And it’s written in that inimitable Webster style.

Sometimes, learning astral projection is easier with someone to assist you. The closest thing to a personal teacher is The Astral Projection Kit by Denning and Phillips. It includes a book with step-by-step instructions for astral projection and information on what you can do on the astral plane. It also includes a special, large card to focus upon while listening to the included ninety-minute cassette tape. An additional instruction booklet explains how to use the card and tape. This may be the best system for learning astral projection that is available.

Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2005. All rights reserved.