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Astral Projection Project

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Egil Asprem

on 12 February 2014

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Transcript of Astral Projection Project

Astral Projection Project

What is astral projection?
What Wikipedia thinks it is

"Astral projection (or astral travel) is
an interpretation of out-of-body experience (OBE)
that assumes the existence of an "astral body" separate from the physical body and capable of traveling outside it."

Reverse-Engineering "Astral Projection"
Building-block approach applied to a specific experiential category.

Prospective hypotheses and predictions
Wikipedia´s view:

stable core experience
in terms of astral projection/travel.
But things are more
complicated than that...
Historical trajectories
Occultist Ritual Magic
Eliphas Levi (1850s; magic and mesmerism)
Fictional sources (Hardinge Britten, Bulwer-Lytton)
Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Offshoots (e.g. Crowley)
Theosophical currents
Original Theosophical Society
Second generation TS (Besant& Leadbeater)
Anthroposophy (Steiner & akashic records)
Clairvoyance literature
Psychical Research / Parapsychology
SPR interest (first instance of "astral projection" in JSPR, 1890)
Popular writers early 20th c.: Hereward Carrington, Sylvan Muldoon, Oliver Fox, etc.
Leads to the OBE literature (Robert Monroe et al.)
Ethnographic opportunities
Experimental challenges
All historical types still exist, providing possibilities for ethnographic work and comparative research.
OBE groups:
Mention examples (Kinsella has the overview here)
Occultist groups:
Golden Dawn magicians, Wiccans and thelemites (followers of A. Crowley) all practice astral projection
Order A.´.A.´. (in Thelemic tradition) a great test case due to protocols of testing AP achievement.
Cross-cultural comparisons?
If we can develop meaningful building-block level typologies we can compare with ethnographic and historical data from e.g. Indian contexts (Vikas, White).
How to tease apart the "varieties of astral experience"?

Focus on training practices a clue?
Work on visualization, memory, mental imagery vs. physiological manipulations?
If we bring in subjects from different groups, what would we want to test? What sort of differences would we expect to see, and how would we uncover them?
Astral projection/travel first emerges as an experiential category in 19th century occultism and psychical research. When established, it draws on a broad range of historical resources.
Common features of AP:
Training and techniques focusing on imagination, visualization and integration of intricate symbolic systems.
Travel is controlled.
Travel in this world and other worlds, but focus on other worlds
Travel as means to explore hidden dimensions, gain higher knowledge, communicate with spiritual beings (angels, demons, elemental spirits, etc.)
Experiential reports often saturated with arcane symbolism drawn from kabbalah, astrology, correspondences in color, number, geometric shapes, letters, and even scents.
Much of practice based on taking down notes of visions and interpreting them through the learned framework.
Common features of AP:
Travel is controlled, willed, conscious.
Travel mostly in this world, but to the distant in place or time.
Uncover secrets of unreachable places (distant planets, secret regions of the world)
Uncover secrets of history (Atlantis, Lemuria, life on Venus and the Sun, previous incarnations)
Descriptions typically common-sense, "realistic" (although scenarios may not be...)
Common features of AP:
Content often similar to Theosophical current (this world; past and distant; other worlds, but realistic)
Focus in literature on the experiential quality, bodily states, and philosophical implications (i.e. proving body-soul dualism)
Often spontaneous, uncontrolled, but possibly induced through physiological manipulations.
Start from agent-level uses of the term
Identify common and diverging themes in descriptive and prescriptive material (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd person texts)
Work downwards to identify building-blocks on psychological and cognitve levels
Work upwards to theorize the variant uses of "astral projection"
Set up comparisons and experiments.
Historical research --> ethnographic, experimental, comparative work.
Basic how-to list:
Astral Projection
Other attribution
Experience D
Experience C
Experience B
Experience A
Astral Projection
attribution processes
attribution processes
Soul traveling outside body
Shamanic flight
Dream phenomenon
Autoscopic/heautoscopic hallucination
The Wikipedia model
(core experience + attribution)
Building block model
Full transcript