The term Astral Projection refers to a process in which the spirit leaves the body for a period of time. When the spirit returns to the body, you awaken and can recall your out-of-body sojourn. There are three common types of astral projection:
Many believe the astral plane can be visited consciously through deep meditation.This kind of OBE is consciously induced. You choose the time and place to put your body into a relaxed state of being and allow your spirit to travel the astral plane.
Sometimes a person isn't consciously attempting to leave their body. It just happens. Some have experience what's known as spontaneous astral projection or Out of Body Experience (OBE). They find themselves standing outside their body or watching from above. A spontaneous OBE is often short-lived because the person panics and is instantly pulled back into the physical body.
Since ancient times, those who practice astral projection have believed that the spirit journeys out of the body during sleep.
"In the daylight hours are our feet on the ground and we have no wings with which to fly. But our spirits are not tied to the earth and with the coming of night we overcome our attachment to the earth and join with that which is eternal."
From the ancient Essene manuscript: Teachings of the Elect
While astral projection is a natural state of being during sleep, if you want to make a conscious attempt at astral projection during the day, you will need to train your body to do this through regular meditation.
Today, the words "soul" and "spirit" are often used interchangibly. However, in the ancient texts there was a clear distintion between these two words. The soul was described as the life-force of the body and could not leave without causing death, while the spirit was described as being able to come and go at will. Since most astral projection articles refer to the "soul" leaving the body, this causes some to be fearful of the practice. It is important to understand it is your spirit that makes these sojurns and your life-force (or soul) never actually leaves your body.
Astral projection has been around since ancient times and has been commonly accepted and used within the Craft for countless centuries. The old wives tale and superstition of Witches Flying on a Broom is actually a reference to a practitioner of the Craft using Astral Projection instead of actually flying. In the past, it was quite common for a Witch to use a Flying Ointment to assist them in achieving this state of altered consciousness and awareness. Most of these preparations used herbs or plants which are quite dangerous to the untrained and can be fatal.
If you find any supposed flying ointment which lists ingredients such as Hemlock, Belladonna, Aconite, or Cowbane posted somewhere on the net I strongly suggest that you DO NOT use them. These plants are extremely toxic and you stand a very good chance of killing yourself. I will list a couple of alternate nontoxic ointments later in this text for those of you who wish to use them.
While working on developing your Astral skills, it is important to choose a place and time where you will not be disturbed. Normally if you are interrupted during a flight, your spirit self will automatically and immediately return to your physical body. It is somewhat of a shock to the system to get snapped back to consciousness in the middle of a journey, so pick a place and time where you can be undisturbed. If you choose to Project while others are in the house, it is a good idea to let them know what you are doing, so if they encounter you in this state, they will not become too concerned. In answer to the many questions I receive on the topic of returning to your body, the answer is quite simple. All you must do is will yourself to return and it happens.
While it is not necessary to use an ointment to achieve an OBE (Out of Body Experience) they can be helpful. Realizing that some of you will now embark on finding these ointments, we have published a couple of flying ointment recipes which pose few if any health risks but will still aid in your experiences. The first uses herbs and the second utilizes essential oils.
See Making Herbal Preparations for directions on making a base for ointments. You can find many of the herbs needed for these ointments in our online Wicca Store.
Below you'll find a gazing technique sent in by a regular visitor to the Celtic Connection which does not utilize herbal assistants. You may wish to experiment with her technique before using the herbal formulations.
The Gazing Technique
There is only one technique that works for me. Maybe it can work for you too.
This is to be done when going to bed. You need something to focus on; if it is in view the moon, the stars, a crystal, a favorite doll will work well. Use whatever you like. Do not use a candle or anything that burns.
Place the object within your view and lie down in your bed. Just stare at the object as you doze off. The first few times may be frustrating. You may just fall asleep and that's it. But after a few tries, this worked for me.
Keep staring at the object. As your eyelids become heavy, keep staring. Eventually your eyes will close, but you will still be able to see the object. You will still be staring at the object. Sit up or stand up, and don't be surprised to see your physical body sleeping peacefully in your bed.
This works fairly well for me. When you are out of your body, do whatever you wish. I am still getting used to the out of body feeling (I achieved my first one only a month ago ), so I have not travelled any farther than the roof of our apartment building yet.
This time is yours. Just tell people that you are attempting this and don't wish to be disturbed.