Spell casting, divination, telekinesis, clairvoyance and maybe even riding brooms in pointy hats; I could find a position behind nearly any of those.
Alright, well maybe not all of them -telekinesis is a little far fetched if you ask me- but of the countless variations, afflictions and gifts in the psychic realm of possibilities, astral projection is the one so-called ability I have to draw the line on.
Let’s all gather ‘round the glowing computer screen and learn a little something about this fraud of the absentee kind.
Specifically defined, Astral Projection is out-of-body travel in unfolding environments other than the physical world, hence the “astral” part of the term, and is also commonly known as an Out-of-Body Experience.
Most commonly, this phenomena (and I use that word lightly, since I’m hardly convinced it isn’t an imaginary figment) is experienced during or as a result of near death experiences. This in and of itself should be an automatic flag on the play; the chemical processes, or lack thereof, going on inside the body and more specifically inside the brain during a near death experience can be seriously disruptive, damaging and in the very least are a-typical of normal brain function. Some would use this fact as ammunition for the other side of this argument, but unfortunately for them, that round is a blank!
The very fact that most out-of-body experiences are so closely related to periods of neural stress, indicates less of a likelihood for actual ethereal projection beyond the confines of the body and lends a great deal of weight to the correcthypothesis…hallucination.
And here’s where the slope gets slippery.
New age metaphysical trends support, not only the possibility of astral projection, but also advise on intentional methods for inducing out-of-body experiences. I have a problem with this for one simple reason; it is entirely unquantifiable. No matter how profound and convincing the experience is for the one involved, the only evidence that can be presented for the case is anecdotal at best.
Meditation, guided visualization and, in some extreme cases, narcotic assistance are used to achieve this so-called astral projection intentionally, but what is more likely happening, is an intense dream state brought on by almost overuse of the subconscious imagination.
Coincidence, subliminal observation and deductive reasoning can easily account for the claims of knowledge of things that occurred during the persons “away time”, and in the face of passionate rebuttal, no such reasoning will be accepted by the astral projector.
I realise that my view is more on the sceptical side of things, and that by voicing this opinion I elicit the criticism of those who practice and or experience astral projects, and to those persons, I further invite accounts of your experience to prove that this phenomena is real, though I warn you, I will examine your evidence critically and without clemency.
As is the trend in much of my other commentary, I will not be offering you a how-to guide for astral projection; as such a guide coming from me would likely resemble the following:
Step 1) Lay head on pillow
Step 2) Close eyes
Step 3) Fall asleep
Step 4) Dream
Instead, feel free to browse the information posted at About.com, I’m certain they will be more accommodating than I on this subject.