Articles about Spirituality
Modern ideas about astral travel owe a great deal to Sylvan Muldoon and Hereward Carrington's 1929 book, "The Projection of the Astral Body," which described the spirit as leaving the physical body to wander throughout the material world attached to the body by an infinitely expandable silver cord. The theory was that cutting that silver cord would sever the spirit's link to the physical body and cause death.
Many people today who cultivate out-of-body experiences see astral travel as the continuation of a long line of spiritual exploration, stretching through prehistoric shamans, mystical visions of saints induced by prayer and fasting, European witches flights induced by hallucinogenic plants and even the CIA Stargate experiments in "remote viewing" that continued until 1995.
Fear of Severing Spirit from Body
Experienced astral travelers, such as noted Spiritist Allan Kardec, maintain that the spirit never leaves the body in a physical sense, so there is no way it can actually be stranded outside of the body. Even those who accept the theory of a silver cord tethering the soul to the body agree that the spirit cannot be severed from the body during an out-of-body experience. If any real danger arises, the astral traveler will immediately return to a normal waking state no worse for wear.
Precautions Against Possession During Astral Travel
Movies and horror tales have created a fear that the body can be "taken over" or possessed by spirits during astral projection. Modern experts such as Donald Tyson point out that known occurrences of possession do not involve astral travel, and they also require an invitation on the part of the person being possessed. In order to ensure safety Tyson provides instructions for creating a protective circle around the area where the astral traveler will sit or lie.
A traditional method of creating a safe space is to sprinkle salt water in a circle around the bed or chair where the astral travel will take place, or to place a small amount of salt on each of the four compass points of the room as a protective precaution.
Coping with Evil Astral Entities
Neither an astral travelers physical nor astral body can be damaged by anything that might be encountered on the astral plane, although astral travelers have encountered sinister or terrifying forms, usually thought to dwell in the lowest astral regions. Robert A. Reese wrote in Fate Magazine, "It seemed that something hideous was trying to overpower me." Reese fought off the form by returning to his body. "No sooner had this unseen force lifted me a few feet than it suddenly hurled me back into myself and I came to." He was unharmed.
As in Reese's case, an astral traveler who has any sort of negative experience needs simply to wish to return to the physical body and it will happen instantly. However, a would-be astral traveler who has a heart condition or respiratory problems that would make it dangerous to be stressed should take sensible precautions such as strengthening the mind with positive meditation experience before attempting astral projection.
Injuries in the Astral Realm
Very rarely, an astral traveler may sustain what is called a repercussion, an injury in the astral realm that shows up on the physical body. Expert astral traveler Donald Tyson suggests that the belief of the astral traveler can cause these injuries to manifest, and serious preparation before astral travel will minimize any danger.
Anxious astral travelers should consider adopting a ritual structure for astral travel, as shamans have done for thousands of years. Learning a ritual meditation or prayer creates a positive mindset and sets up a safety zone to lessen any fears that could stir up a negative expectation. The structure of a ritual gives the astral traveler tools to cope with any experience that might arise. The ritual also becomes a habit, which makes it easier for astral traveler to automatically return to ordinary consciousness as the final steps of the familiar ritual are completed.