Out of Body Experiences (OBE)
An Out of Body Experience is a conscious experience of reality outside of the normal waking consciousness using and with(in) the physical body. Note a dream is also an OBE as it is an astral experience outside of the physical and etheric bodies, but it is not experienced with the same degree of consciousness.
This provides an overview of various types of Out of Body Experiences (also coined OBE or OOBE):
- the first two below are more commonly known to the general public, and have become popular because they can 'relatively easily' be induced (certainly compared to exercises and capability development during the process of initiation), and for some people may even appear spontaneous. For both, see 'Further reading' section below for extensive literature.
-  - lucid dreaming (sometimes also called 'oneironautics')
-  - astral projection
- true astral and mental travel however are advanced capabilities part of the path of Initiation. Bardon only covers them in steps 8 and 9 of IIH. Daskalos uses the term 'exomatosis' and calls  and  the first and second exomatosis.
-  - mental wandering, as per IIH step 8
-  - astral wandering, as per IIH step 9. In the future spontaneous astral travel will increase, in the sixth epoch it will be a faculty of humanity to use the astral body separately.
- besides these are two additional special cases:
-  - expansion, an even more advanced capability that only adepts are able to do: expanding one's consciousness over a large physical area. This is not a pure OBE strictu-sensu, the adept is and remains in the physical body but at the same time (through a higher state of superconsciousness) spreads out his consciousness (to receive impressions from a larger physical area), and brings everything within himself. This way the adapt can receive impressions from several places and feel and experience them all, at the same, without any confusion, hence the term superconsciousness (as used by Daskalos, see further description in the MOS/HTS books). Rudolf Steiner was known to use this during lectures as a way to connect with his audience.
-  - furthermore in a special category also because of the conditions of occurence, are Near Death Experiences (NDE)
Focus here is on  and  and on what happens 'technically' in spiritual scientific language, as well as positioning versus , , and 
- importance of elemental balance
- in case of mental travel, the astral body shrinks and becomes like an astral 'atom' that enters into the mental body and is taken along, intact and complete (Daskalos, HTS Ch.6)
- connection between Man's bodily principles
- 'silver cord' (also: astral matrix) connects the physical body with the astra-mental body,
- 'violet cord' connects the mental body to the astra-physical body
- Rudolf Steiner in 1903-12-29-GA088 uses the term 'kundalini fire' for this, Daskalos describes it more technically as the chemical ether (Words of Truth, Chapter 19)
- phenomena before and during the OBE: fear, sound
- spontaneous OBEs as a sign of the times, and relation with loosening of the etheric body
-  expansion: Daskalos describes several case illustrations of this in MOS (eg Ch 13) and HTS,
Lecture coverage and references
Records in the Bible
Non exhaustive, just as illustrations.
- Epistles of Paul of Tarsus (2 Corinthians 12:1–4).
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
- Ezequiel, 3:14
The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the Lord being strong upon me.
Early modern pioneers: Callaway and Muldoon
- Hugh George Callaway (1885-1949), known under pseudonym Oliver Fox, first published his OBE experiences in The Occult Review (1920, 1923). These formed the basis of his book 'A Record of Out-of-the-Body Experiences', published in 1939.
- Sylvan Muldoon (1903-1969) claimed to have had his first OBE in 1915 at age 12. By 1927, aged 24, he was working with author-investigator Hereward Carrington to produce three books on the subject in the period 1929 to 1951.
Rudolf Steiner describes OBE already in 1903
quote A extract - only a few sentences are added below
Now the question arises: what does the connection between the astral body and physical body consist of?
There exists a kind of band, a connection that is an in-between-matter between astral and physical matter. This is called kundalini fire. If you observe a sleeping person, you can always follows the astral body in astral space. Theer is a luminuous band leading to where the astral body is. When the astral body separated, then to the same extent the kundalini fire becomes thinner and thinner.
.. in more highly evolved human beings, in whom the chakras are moving, a different process occurs. They are able to withdraw the kundalini fire voluntarily from the organism.
With this achievement, human beings have complete ability to control their astral body. Now I ask you to consider that this condition will enter more and more into human evolution. Today it is those who are more evolved who have such an astral body, but humanity itself is quickly moving to such a condition. It will have the the ability to use the astral body in the sixth epoch.
complete quote A
When we are in an ordinary condition of sleep, usually the astral body is outside the physical body. The more highly a human being is evolved, the further the astral body can distance itself. A perfect psychic development consists of this: we leave behind our body and freely walk around in the astral world. There are even higher stages.
During sleep the astral body can make the strangest journeys, but we do not remember these nightly wanderings. You can have consciousness during the night, yet not bring it along into the day. The highest stage occurs when you are conscious of the astral world not only in sleep, but also in your physical body. During the night you can seek out people whom you know, but you will not have experiences of a kind similar to those in a physical body. For example, you will not experience what a person in Asia is doing; that you will not be able to find out. However, if you want to learn something from that person, you will be able to do it if you can bring it over completely into your day-consciousness. A chela cannot know if a master in Asia is writing or not; or if the master is eating or what he or she is eating. But the chela can be instructed in astral space and then carry that over into full day-consciousness.
When you observe such an astral body, at one place you see a physical body with its nerve center, which appears to physical eyes just as it appears by daylight, and you have the astral body somewhere or other with its sense organs, so that you can see: the optic nerve belongs to this center (of the astral body) and to that center belongs the auditory nerve.
Now, the question arises: what does the connection between the astral body and the physical body consist of? What chains the astral ear to the physical ear? And why does the astral body, which was separated from the physical body during sleep, return?
what connects the astral body with the physical body and its organs, and what leads them back together again?
There exists a kind of band, a connection that is an in-between-matter between astral and physical matter. This is called kundalini fire.
If you observe a sleeping person, then you can always follow the astral body in astral space. There is a luminous band leading to where the astral body is. The location can always be found. When the astral body separates, then to the same extent the kundalini fire becomes thinner and thinner. It becomes an increasingly thin track; it becomes more and more a thin mist. Now when you look carefully at this kundalini fire you will see that it does not always have the same form. In some places it is brighter and thicker; those are the places that lead the astral back again to the physical body. The optic nerve is therefore connected to an astral nerve through a thicker kundalini fire.
... The astral body with its kundalini fire cannot be completely lifted out of the physical body. Should it happen that someone actually decides not to return, the kundalini fire would continually draw him back to the body. It is as if he still belonged to the physical body. Such a person would follow the track of the kundalini fire. When the life forces are not yet exhausted, it is very difficult to lift the astral body out of the physical body. It is very difficult when someone is attached to a physical body that he can no longer make use of. In this sense the destiny of a suicide and that of an accident victim are not that very different from one another.
Now among more highly evolved human beings, in whom the chakras are moving, a different process occurs. They are able to withdraw the kundalini fire voluntarily from the organism; at the same time there are opposing streams from within, working outward; what earlier streamed into the human being only from outside can now be regulated from within by the human being. The entire process can now be voluntarily brought into motion.
With this achievement, human beings have complete ability to control their astral body. Now I ask you to consider that this condition will enter more and more into human evolution.
- Today it is those who are psychically evolved who have such an astral body, but humanity itself is quickly moving to such a condition.
- It will have the ability to use the astral body in the sixth race. We human beings will have a physical body within what is an astral body, which we can use in this way.
- In the next round, however, human beings will not have any physical body, but only an astral body that they will then be able to use freely just as they use the physical body today. The physical body will no longer exist; our lowest body will be the astral body.
[Mental body and sense]
We find something similar to the astral body in the mental body. The astral body has individual sense-centers; there is an astral nerve corresponding to the optic nerve; so too the auditory nerve, the olfactory nerve, and so forth. The mental body no longer has such individual senses. It has but one single sense; it is permeated by the mental capacity of understanding, so that it can perceive mentally with that one single sense. For this reason, it is able to relate all things to each other and to everything as a whole.
The shadow of the mental sense is the understanding. When you hear a bell sounding, you turn yourself around in order to perceive also with your face. The astral senses are also connected to the mental senses with a kind of kundalini fire. Kundalini fire is a kind of in-between-matter, which unites the individual conditions with each other.
about Christ, from MOS Ch 4
Christ used to take his students into the olive groves and give them exercises and experiences in OBE.
MOS Ch 7
These lessons were given by the Most Beloved One to his disciples under the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane. He taught them OBE, materialization, dematerialization, and many other secrets.
on the chemical ether and double, from MOS Ch 12 and HTS Ch 2
The chemical ether [imprinting property of the ether] enables us to construct mental images: it makes possible thought itself as well as phenomena such as telepathy, telekinesis and OBE.
Techniques; from HTS Ch 6 (and SWCC)
... water is the dominant element in the various astral planes and sub-planes. It is for this reason that a humid atmosphere is helpful during OBE. The 'atomic emanations of water' help one get out of his body much more smoothly.
OBE can be attained after a long training that involves special concentration and meditation exercises on the chakras. An initiate is taught these practices only after reaching a certain state of spiritual development and only after long training in more basic meditation exercises. Even after years of training there is no guarantee that one will be able to leave one's body.
OBE is a state of trance which implies leaving the body. Once we are out of our body, we can go anywhere on the planet and be fully conscious as if we were there with our gross material body. When the initiate finds himself in the astral worlds, he is still the same person, full and complete as a present self-conscious personality.
One who is more advanced can also carry out a second type of OBE and abandon his astral body and exist only with the mental, again full, complete and self-conscious.
We must distinguish an individual as self-consciousness from his garments, the physical, astral and mental bodies. When a person takes off one of his garments, the most external, he is still the same person. When he takes off a second and a third garment, he is still the same person. Likewise, when we abandon our bodies we are still the same self-consciousness, full and complete.
An OBE can take place both within the etheric counterpart of the material planet or within a plane of the astral-mental world?
However, when we are within the physical environment, we are invisible to the people who live consciously in that environment. Unless of course we know the way to lower the vibrations of our astra-mental body, which means to gather etheric matter, and make ourselves visible to ordinary eyes. This is not a phenomenon of full materialization and it cannot last long. The moment we shift our thought, the materialization disappears.
In such a state of materialization, it feels as if you are in a very hot climate and then you take a cool shower. It is a very pleasant experience. At that moment materialization begins. When materialization starts you hardly feel anything. You just find yourself back where you started, in this case on the astral plane.
When you remain within a astral plane while in OBE, beings who reside within the astral planes can see you. Suppose now you wish to have greater freedom of movement or become invisible to humans living within the astral planes. In such a case, you must not only come out of the physical, but also out of the astral body. This is what we call the second OBE, namely living only with the mental body. It is much more difficult than the first OBE.
When we exist only with the mental body and we decide to materialize within the astral world, we must lower the vibrations of the mental body and absorb the etheric energy of the astral world. When this type of materialization takes place, you feel as if you are covered with a cool aura (not a cool shower, in this case).
What happens to the astral body during mental travel has been a puzzle for many mystics throughout the centuries. It does not return to the physical body. It gathers itself within the permanent atom which the present Personality and Individuality take with them. The astral body enters inside the mental body like a microfilm. The entire astral body shrinks and becomes an astral atom within the self-conscious Individuality.
It is the Individuality that looks after the astral body now. Therefore, when the vibrations of the mental body are lowered, the astral body is right there, intact and complete. Nothing has been added to it and nothing has been taken away.
So when we abandon our physical body in an OBE, we leave behind intact the physical body at the place where we left it and it is under the surveillance of the Holy Spirit.
During the second OBE our astral body, irrespective of what degree of perfection it reaches or as to what astral subplane it vibrates, automatically gathers itself, and its image is transformed into a astral atom inside the mental body. We take with us in the spirit world our atomized astral body and when we lower our vibrations it re-acquires its form and its life energy. During such second OBE the Holy Spirit has no other task to perform beyond preparing the astral and mental substances. The task of caring for the astral body is now in the hands of the self-conscious soul.
There are dangers with OBE, as we have seen, both to the physical body and also to the personality [soul]. During OBE the vibrations are much more powerful and if the individual could pull out from the permanent atom experience of past incarnations, he might awaken inside himself conditions that must remain dormant until they are transcended. In conscious OBE one has to be extra cautious because the dangers are many.
from FIH Ch 11
There is another way of developing the astra-mental body, but it is a much more difficult road to follow.
For this second method, one will need more intense effort and exercises on the imprinting property of etheric vitality [editor: the chemical either] as well as on the warmth and light ethers .
Mystics have known about this method throughout the centuries. They would construct through the imprinting property of etheric vitality an elemental of themselves standing outside their body. Then they would transfer their consciousness into that elemental and use it as a new vehicle of self-expression. Then from that new vantage point they would look upon their gross material body as something external to themselves and consider and feel as their real body the one they had constructed.
With such method one uses etheric energy to construct an elemental of ourselves.
However, when we project our consciousness into that elemental we also carry along our astra-mental body.
When we concentrate inside that elemental of ourselves in a similar way, as we concentrate inside our material body in reality we work toward the shaping of our astra-mental body.
For one to be able to do that one must be quite advanced in meditation practice and concentration. It takes time, patience, and peaceful concentration.
Peaceful means to not be in a hurry, don't be impatient, don't push yourself in an obsessive way. To be impatient is self-defeating. You generate vibrations that dilute the elemental of yourself that you are trying to construct. What one really needs is steadfastness and habitual practice of meditation exercises without stubborness that tends to generate fatigue and disappointment.
Words of Truth, Chapter 19 (lesson) explains OBEs in technical terms of the different bodily principles and the etheric doubles
on mental travel - IIH step 8
comments not only in the A Bardon Companion commentary (see IIH and Franz Bardon and initiation), but also discusses Q&A on mental and astral travel, and also on the astral projection such as the Robert Bruce method
We each are familiar with a simple form of mental wandering which we know as daydreaming. In a daydream we can project our imagination any where and any when. But there are many differences between a daydream and what Bardon describes here as mental projection, travel or wandering. The main difference is that in a daydream our projection is entirely imaginary and has little direct connection to actual events, whereas in mental wandering, we learn to observe actual events and places. In a daydream, we explore only our own inner mental landscape of desires, but through mental wandering we are able to explore the external universe.
Contrary to what the passive reader might assume, the magician does not simply exteriorize their mental body and right off the bat begin receiving accurate perceptions of their surroundings. It actually takes long and arduous practice to make the transition from the daydream-like imagination in which everything perceived is one's own creation, to the actual perception of what is real. There is no trick to making this transition other than repeated practice. For some, the training of previous Steps, combined with a native ability, may make this transition an easy matter, but for many students, this will take a great amount of effort and time.
I have said in the past that there is a way to tell the difference between a mental journey and an astral journey. The main difference is in the nature of the sensations that the wanderer can perceive while separated. When one wanders with the astra-mental form (astral wandering), the sensations will be very similar in quality and quantity to those experienced by the physical body. But when wandering in the mental body alone, the perception of sensations will be of a lesser quality. But I must warn you that the mental body is capable, through the plastic imagination, to amplify the lesser mental sensations to such a degree as to be almost like those of astral wandering. Nonetheless, there is a distinct difference. The true astral sensations invoke a near physical feeling of ecstasy.
Mental wandering is the magician's most amenable tool when it comes to exploration of the external universe. With the mental body, the initiate is capable of travelling to any 'where', any 'when' and any 'why'. This is not the case with astral wandering where the magician is limited to exploration of the astral and physical realms -- the astral body is simply not fine enough to penetrate the mental realm itself. The advantage of astral wandering is that the magician can cause magical effects from the astral realm immediately, whereas with mental wandering it takes greater effort to cause an effect to manifest upon the astral and physical levels. At times, it is advantageous to be able to manifest an astral density in order to communicate directly with astral beings, etc. But for most purposes, mental wandering will suffice and with extended practice, mental wandering can net the magician the same effectiveness as astral wandering.
The main point of mental wandering is to familiarize yourself with the universe. This is especially important as a preparation for still higher work, specifically that of merging with deity (which by its nature is omnipresent). A part of the preparation for the actual experience of omnipresence involves getting the feel of the infinite nature of the universe through a thorough exploration. Furthermore, without the ability to wander mentally, the art of evocation is an impossibility for the student.
on astral travel - IIH step 9
With the ninth step astral exercises, the student begins the work of true astral separation, commonly known as astral journeys or out-of-body-experiences.
Bardon's explanations are very explicit and should, of course, be followed to the letter. But considering the large number of books written upon the subject since IIH was first published, I feel it necessary to add a few words of caution and clarification for the passive reader.
To begin with, I'd like to discuss Bardon's technique. He recommends that the student first separate their mental body and then draw forth their astral body. This is wise considering the course that Bardon has established, but it is not altogether necessary. It is just as easy to rise out of the physical body with the astral and mental bodies conjoined. This eliminates the step of merging the exteriorized astral and mental bodies, but may, at the same time, present difficulties at first.
The second thing to note are Bardon's concerns about the cessation of breath and heart beat that occur with his method. Part of what he says about the dangers this presents in terms of being touched by another person (or animal) during separation, are phrased for the purpose of dissuading the uninitiated from pursuing astral separation. But, and here's an important point, it is possible for the well trained magician to maintain the physical breath and heartbeat if desired and thus minimize the danger.
The rationale behind this is that during an astral separation, the silver cord (astral matrix) which connects the astra-mental body with the physical shell, remains intact. The well trained magician is able to keep this connection active enough to sustain the physical breath and heartbeat. All that is transferred to the astra-mental body is the responsibility for the impulse to breathe, not the physical breath and heartbeat itself. To accomplish this, the magician must split their conscious awareness to a certain degree and leave part of it behind to maintain the normal physical functions. When done properly, this does not diminish the depth of the astral experience. One key to this is the joint separation of the astral and mental bodies.
Other than that, the only thing I can add to Bardon's instructions is that it is necessary to afford some degree of protection to the vacant physical shell once you have separated your astra-mental body from it. Please think back to the Step Five exercises concerning passive communication. Therein, the task was to vacate a hand which placed it within the Akasha, so to speak, and made it available to the possession of other entities. The same holds true for the entire body when you vacate it. This means that it becomes susceptible to occupation by another, non-corporeal entity and this should be guarded against. The simplest way to do this is to erect an energetic shield around your physical body that is impressed with the ideation that it will prevent any other being from taking control.
general notes on OBE
It is important that the passive reader understand the dangers of astral separation, especially in light of what has been written by others upon this subject. Many writers assert that astral journeying is a simple matter and can be accomplished by anyone who makes the sincere effort. The initiate however, will be well aware that this is not the case.
Much of what is labeled as astral journeying is nothing more than a type mental journeying. I have spoken already about the differences between a mental journey and an astral journey so I will not repeat myself here.
The greatest danger is the fact that a true astral separation is, as Bardon states, an ecstatic experience. It is stimulating at a near-physical level and this can be a very addictive undertaking since it so extremely pleasurable. But this is a merely physical sensation, not a spiritual ecstasy. The well trained magician is capable of handling physically pleasing sensations in such a manner as to not allow them to distract from their ultimate goal. This however, is not the case with an untrained practitioner and the danger of distraction is very potent. Many have fallen into this pit of pleasure and belayed their progress. Now I do not mean to belittle physical pleasure as I consider this one of the advantages of a corporeal existence, but it is not the goal of the magician. It requires of the magician a very strong will to avoid this pitfall.
The ability to control one's reactions to any given situation is of prime importance to the magician, especially when it comes to interaction with the astral realm. Astral beings can easily manipulate the emotions and perceptions of the magician who does not possess a high degree of self-control. It is very easy to become self-deluded while within the astral realm, so it is imperative that the traveller be able to distinguish between their own desires and expectations and the objective reality. This is one reason why astral wandering is placed so late in IIH.
The astral traveler who has not previously developed their astral senses to a high degree of reliability will find themselves deaf, dumb and blind once they separate from their physical form.
Astral travel serves a limited function when compared to mental travel. In the solitary mental body, the magician can reach into nearly every realm, but with the astra-mental body, only the astral and physical realms can be reached and explored. The one advantage is that while in the astra-mental form, the magician can interact directly with astral entities. When in the solitary mental body however, some astral entities will not be able to perceive the mental body of the traveler. Also, the magician can more readily cause effects upon the astral realm directly from within the astra-mental body. It is also easier for the magician to condense their astra-mental form to such a degree that it becomes physically apparent to other physical beings, than it is to do the same with the solitary mental body.
As a final note, it should be said that there is a big difference between astral wandering and lucid dreaming. Many maintain that lucid dreaming is a form of astral wandering but this is not the case. Granted, lucid dreaming involves the astral body, but the difference is that in lucid dreaming all one can explore is one's own inner psyche - there is no journeying beyond this realm into the broader astral realm itself. The dream state is a specific state that is very personal in its focus. It can lead to genuine astral wandering, but when it does, one is no longer in the dream state itself.
2002-09-13 on astral travel vs astral projection
On IIH step 9 genuine astral travel  vs astral projection  (Robert Bruce's technique)
A word of warning: Robert Bruce's 'astral projection' is not the same thing as Bardon's step 9 astral wandering. If you attempt Bardon's techniques for real, under the assumption that they are the same techniques, you will risk damage to yourself. If you want to perform Robert's technique then definitely use Robert's excellent book, 'Astral Dynamics'. However, if you want to pursue Bardon's technique without hurting yourself, you will need to do the work of steps 1 through 8 first.
As I understand Robert's technique, one creates and projects an energy body and then follows it with their mental body.
In Bardon's astral wandering however, the solitary mental body is separated first and then the true astral body (not a created energy body) is drawn out of the physical body and inhabited by the mental body. This means that when following Bardon's method as it's laid out, the physical body is left empty of the causal agents that keep it a living thing (i.e., the astra-mental corpus). This is where the danger arises. To be able to perform the Bardonian technique you MUST be able to transfer the *will* and the *intention* that the physical body keep breathing and pumping blood, into the astra-mental body, and be able to *maintain* the splitting of focus that requires. If these responsibilities are not properly transferred and maintained, then any significant interruption (such as being physically touched) will break the connection of will and intent sufficiently to damage, if not kill, the empty physical shell.
- Bardon's technique stretches the 'violet cord' that connects the mental body to the astra-physical body and then does the same to the 'silver cord' that connects the astra-mental body to the physical body.
- Robert's technique stretches only the violet cord of the solitary mental body.
- This violet cord is véry flexible and fairly difficult to injure.
- The silver cord however, is delicate and can be injured easily by repeatedly 'snapping' back into the physical body. It requires the Elemental Equilibrium and a good deal of careful practice before Bardon's astral wandering can be practiced without risking damage to this cord.
2002-10-26 to 28 various Q&A
questions (in italics) answered by Rawn Clark, here reorganized and SWCC
quote A - On astral projection, Robert Bruce's technique, and NDEs
1/ The type of astral projection or OBE that is mentioned here, is essentially very similar to lucid dreams, except it occurs outside of the REM sleep cycle. Some people argue that lucid dreams and OBEs are essentially the same thing, but induced differently.
In terms of the bodies one occupies, a lucid dream is actually more akin to Bardon's astral wandering than to Robert's OBE. The reason I say this is because in a lucid dream and in Bardon's astral wandering, one occupies their own natural astral body, as opposed to Robert's OBE in which one artificially creates a non-native astral "body".
However, in regard to the realm explored, Robert's OBE and a lucid dream share in the fact that primarily the astral substance adhering to the person's own psyche is explored.
2/ When projecting using Robert Bruce's technique, the most striking feature of these OBEs was the lack of sustained objective perception.
When I confirmed that for you, I did not understand Robert's technique as fully as I do presently and as a consequence I have to slightly modify what I told you regarding the sensations you relayed.
The sensations you described were in line with an astral experience but they were not the experience of your own natural astral body. Robert's technique does not employ the person's own natural astral body and instead, involves the process of creating a non-native astral form.
Your mental body does not connect with this foreign astral form to the same degree and in the same ways that it naturally does to your own natural astral body. This factor, in combination with the absence of those eight previous steps of prerequisite training, account for the lack of objectivity and reliability experienced with Robert's technique.
3/ I believe that the western concept of Out-of-Body Experiences - as in astral projection - is, for the most part, more closely related to mental wandering, and not astral, as many people seem to think.
The reason is that astral wandering seems more powerful than a layperson could achieve, and given that any people in close proximity to you while astral wandering could result in death, from my personal experience, I never astral wandered (and the reason I make this assumption was that I've occasionally astral projected while my pet cat lay on my chest :))
I might go a little further and suggest that true astral wandering, is what Westerners would attribute to the experience of an NDE or Near-Death Experience. Supposedly NDEs occur when the energetic body is ejected from the physical, leaving it an empty shell (as opposed to the assumption that OBEs occur when a 'copy' of the original soul, energetic body - whatever terminology you use, is projected). I must stress though, that it would have to be called a "controlled NDE"
For the most part, I agree with your conclusions here.
Robert's technique is different than travel with the solitary mental body since one is occupying an astral form, albeit an artificial one. This changes one's relationship with the astral realm of exploration in comparison to true mental wandering. With solitary mental wandering, the astral realm is perceived with the mental eyes alone. With Robert's method however, the astral realm is seen through mental eyes wrapped in a gauze of plain astral matter. This adds a subjectifying layer to perception that, due to its artificiality, is inherently foreign to the mental sensoria. This layer obeys the general 'rules' of the astral materia instead of the will of the mental body (as it would if it were the natural astral body instead of an artificially created one). It's like the difference between perceiving a bitter chill air wearing a warm coat and perceiving it completely naked. With the solitary mental body, you directly perceive the full meaning of the "chill air", but with this shroud of foreign astral matter, you perceive a muffled, distorted and filtered version of it.
Your comparison of Bardon's astral wandering with NDE is very apt.
One thing that puzzled me about Robert's technique was that no one seemed to be experiencing the sense of fear that naturally accompanies the conscious separation of the astra-mental body. True separation mimics the death process and, by nature, incites a primitive fear of death within the physical body (self-preservation instinct) which the initiate must overcome.
[This is one reason why Bardon couches his technique in warnings about possible death. By placing it in that context, he forces the initiate into this confrontation with the physical body's reaction. Until that fear is surmounted (i.e., until the *mental body* is in perfect control), the technique he presents IS dangerous since it's the *mental body* that keeps it from becoming a DE instead of an NDE.]
The reason that this fear is not experienced by those following Robert's technique is due to the fact that the person's own, natural astral body is NOT being separated from the physical body. Instead, an artificial astral form is created and the mental body is projected into that artificial vehicle. Therefore, this does not mimic the death process to the physical body and no natural self-preservation response arises.
4/ I am assuming you know what you're talking of, but the fact is you're learning of Robert's terminology etc using second-hand sources, ie, his readers. Perhaps we're unintentionally misleading you.
I recognize that possibility. However, I hear the same thing from everyone who describes and pursues Robert's techniques. The proof is in the pudding when it comes to a written teaching and ultimately, what folks take from it has more practical importance than what the author intends. Even if this understanding is skewed, it is the prevalent understanding and this tells me what folks are getting out of Robert's writings. More than that, it is the experience of those I've spoken with and I'm basing my analysis upon my understanding of those experiences, not upon their understanding of those experiences (nor for that matter, upon Robert's understanding of them). In other words, I'm addressing the result of these practices, not their theoretical basis. My analysis of those experiences is based upon my own experience within the context of IIH.
5/ From your experience, is creating an artificial astral copy feasible, especially for those with practically no experience of manipulating elements, for example?
Yes, because it has nothing to do with the conscious manipulation of the elements.
In my understanding, what's happening is that you are condensing the astral materia itself, through a projection of your will and your emotional desire. This is something that we all do unconsciously every moment of our existence. The difference is that here, it is done intentionally. This is the same essential mechanism by which astral larvae are created.
The astral condensation created in such a manner carries the imprint of your will and your desire but it is NOT a 'copy' of your true astra-mental body. It carries only a small imprint of one part of your self; whereas your natural astra-mental body, is saturated through and through with all of your own characteristics (it IS you).
quote B - mental wandering vs astral wandering vs lucid dreaming
1/ Bardon stated quite clearly that a) practice was necessary to stabilise mental wanderings, and that b) he experience was rather 'dull' (in the sense of perception being filtered) compared to true astral wandering (perhaps a more pure, unfiltered perception relative to mental wandering?)
Sensation is an aspect or phase of perception. During true astral wandering, perception occurs through the organs of the astral and mental bodies; whereas, with mental wandering, perception occurs solely through the mental body.
- Perception through the astral sensoria feels very much like it does through the physical sensoria, but with a sense of heightened awareness. The astral sensations are brighter, more powerful and relay more information than physical sensations.
- Perception through the solitary mental body however, carries with it no physical-like sensation.
The seat of perception is the mental body but the seat of sensation is the astral body. Sensation is a subjective experience and therefore a filtering of the direct mental perception.
When you are wandering with the solitary mental body, perception is direct, objective and without the familiar astra-physical sensations and filtration. This does NOT mean that mental wandering is itself dull, it only means that there is an absence of the familiar subjectifying sensation associated with the physical and astral bodies.
However, when you are wandering with the conjoined astra-mental body, perception is filtered through the astral body and is highly sensorial in a physical-like way. The astral wandering 'feels' more 'normal' due to the presence of physical-like sensation and therefore, in comparison, the mental wandering 'feels' 'dull'.
One deep point of wisdom in Bardon's system of placing mental wandering before astral wandering is that his astral wandering then becomes 'mental-wandering-with-the-astral-body', or as I like to say 'astra-mental' wandering. This roots the astral wandering in direct mental 'perception' instead of just in subjective astral 'sensation'.
This is significantly different than most forms of astral projection that are rooted in 'sensation' instead of in 'perception'. I think one reason why Robert's techniques are so popular is because most folks are sensation junkies. It is common to mistake 'wonderful sensations' with 'spiritual significance', and 'emotional high' with 'spiritual growth'.
2/ When you lucid dream, are you using the same astra-mental form as an astral wandering, but merely confined to the realm of the psyche?
Yes. It is possible to wander further, but one then leaves the realm of a drea state
quote C - mental travel and essential meaning
1/ Is mental wandering similar to the experience of perceiving objects in a non-visual manner? For example, if I were to close my eyes, I would perceive almost every object in the room I would be familiar with know their general spatial position, and perceive the size of the room and feel the restriction of the four walls. Is mental wandering an enhanced version of this (from what I can see as) non-visual, non-sensory perception?
There are many forms of mental journeying in addition to the type that Bardon describes in Step Eight. Step Eight mental wandering produces the purest and highest form of mental journey that I'm aware of. It releases the solitary mental body and its practice leads one to the eternal mental body, which the only body capable of crossing back and forth across the Abyss.
The lower forms of mental journeying all retain the link between the mental body and the astra-physical processing of the mental perception. The closed eye, mental probing of your surroundings that you described above, is still centered in your brain bound consciousness and is completely dependant upon your prior knowledge of the room, and also upon how you feel about the objects within the room. The Step Eight mental wandering however, severs this link. This is why it still takes so much effort in spite of having mastered the previous seven Steps.
A true mental wandering of your room would be a direct perception of the objective reality of your surroundings. This would not look anything like it does with either your physical or your astral eyes. Instead of form, the mental eyes perceive 'essential meaning'.
During that Step Eight phase of proving, the student wanders with their solitary mental body and strives to perceive the essential meaning of their *mental* surroundings. [Every physical thing exists in the astral and mental realms as well. The solitary mental body's eyes, can perceive the "real-time" mental-plane level of the physical realm, in the same way that the astral body's eyes can see the "real-time" astral-plane level of the physical realm. And just like the astral body, the solitary mental body can also venture beyond the "real-time" zone.]
Then, after returning to their physical body, they look at the same physical surroundings with their mental eyes, from within their physical body. If the perception of the mental surroundings by the solitary mental body, matches what one sees of their physical surroundings with their mental eyes while in their physical body, then the experiment is a success. If they do not match in essential meaning, then it means that during the mental wander, the link to the astra-physical processing of the mental perception was not sufficiently severed and has distorted the original mental perception.
In other words, the Step Eight form is not like stepping out of your body and looking around with your physical eyes.
2/ When (if) I ever learn to mental wander, will the essential meaning of those objects be similar to how I described my non-sensory perceiving of them? For example personal experience of the 'essential meaning' of the objects in my room. Or is it necessary to experience their 'essential meaning' without the physical senses present to be able to fully grasp the 'essential meaning' alone?
Only the mental eyes can perceive the raw essential meaning itself. However, we are always using our mental eyes when we use our astra-physical eyes. In other words, we perceive essential meaning all the time but are focused upon the astra-physical layers of our perception of it and therefore seldom perceive the essential meaning 'directly'. We usually perceive it through the astra-physical filter. So, in order to achieve direct perception of essential meaning, one must dissemble the normal mechanisms of perception and separate and purify the astral and mental sensoria. The first time you directly perceive essential meaning with the solitary mental eyes, there's a sort of Aha! experience in which you realize that you've been perceiving this layer of reality all along without recognizing what it was.
You wrote: "A true mental wandering of your room would be a direct perception of the objective reality of your surroundings. This would not look anything like it does with either your physical or your astral eyes. Instead of form, the mental eyes perceive *essential meaning*."
When you described your closed eye probing of your surroundings, you described the personal significance of the objects in your room. Personal significance is an aspect of the subjectifying astra-physical filter. With your solitary mental eyes, this filter is not present and instead of their personal significance, you perceive their universal significance (i.e., their 'essential meaning'). In other words, you perceive the essential thing that stirs your astra-physical filter to action and generates personal significance.
quote D - the silver cord
I think you mentioned before, that interruption from sleep/dreams causes very slight damage to the silver or purple cord?
Yes, the uncontrolled 'snapping back into' the physical body harms the silver cord that connects the astra-mental body to the physical body.
The usual outer symptoms of a damaged cord are edginess, fatigue, spaceyness, foul mood, emotional volatility, etc., . Internally, it's felt as a sluggishness in the process of integrating emotional states (hence emotional volatility as you react to external events). To my astral eyes, a healthy cord appears like freshly polished silver, but a damaged cord looks like tarnished silver with fundamental blemishes.
Physical and emotional nourishment and deep relaxation are the best cures to repair it, since they support your own natural healing mechanisms.
It's very rare that a cord will be so abused as to actually be the *direct* cause of death. It was designed by Nature to survive quite a bit of abuse and still function sufficiently to support physical life. Nonetheless, its vitality is a part of one's overall healthiness.
Kikis L. Christofides
(Kostas in MOS Ch 9) describing how he personally feels in OBE (SWCC)
Intense concentration is necessary before you can leave your body. Your material brain must stop vibrating completely. You must first learn how to shut the doors of your subconscious so that thoughts do not interfere with your concentration. Then, through a special meditation technique that you will learn after you advance in your research, you will find yourself outside your body.
At the first step of my OBE I'm in a state of hypertension and feel both inside my physical body and outside of it. It's a factor that sometimes does not permit me to leave my body. When you're outside your body and your consciousness is near it, there is a great temptation to think of and look at it. The moment you do that you are back inside.
When we are outside of our bodies we absorb etheric energy from the universe and through this energy we can carry out healing.
.. when returning to my body .. I am fully alert and incredibly energized. I feel full of life. In OBE you absorb so much etheric energy that it revitalizes you. Every particle of your body is charged with vitality.
Theophanis in HTS Ch 5
Sometimes when in OBE , you perceive things symbolically and sometimes you experience them directly. In my case I usually perceive things symbolically.
Iavacos in HTS
When the astra-mental body returns to the physical body, the nervous system is in a state of hypertension. The trembling is the result of the contact of the two bodies. With experience I managed to control my trembling.'
A silver cord connects the material body with the astra-mental body. One way of distinguishing whether a human being that one encounters within the astra-mental planes has also a physical existence is to see whether the person has a silver cord. If not, it means that the person is dead and lives only with the astra-mental body. One's silver cord can expand as much as seven times the periphery of the Earth.
You cannot travel with your astra-mental body further than the distance equal to seven times around the Earth. If you do, the silver cord will be cut and the physical body will die. There are other ways of traveling into distant space but only the most advanced masters can do it.
Note  - Historical records to be checked
- Ancient Egypt: Egyptian priests knew of the existence of the astral body. They called it the Kha and they left inscriptions and drawings on the rock walls of many temples and buildings, representing it as something subtle and light abandoning the physical body.
- Ancient Greece: references in the Temple of Eleusis, in the writings of the philosophers Plato, Hermotimus of Clazomene, Herodotus, Plutarch.
Note  - Evolutionary context
Tentative suggestion - to be discussed.
Maybe a far stretch, but for contemplation. Given the role of the chemical ether in connecting the physical and etheric, and astral and mental or spiritual bodies. Man's senses were imbued with inner life on Old Moon, and that this work (of the hierarchies in the light ether) resulted in the faculty of vision in the current Earth stage of evolution (see The eye is formed by the light for the light#1910-08-23-GA122)
Now read the underlined sentences in the extract below. Try to hold Old Moon evolution next to Earth evolution, specifically the stage when the Sun was separated off (as it currently is for Earth). That is actually what the extract below does.
1910-08-23-GA122 - see The eye is formed by the light for the light#1910-08-23-GA122
The Sun separated off for the first time during the Old Moon evolution. It was then that the light was for the first time active from without, but not then as light.
I have just pointed out that the sentence in Genesis which reads And God saw the light ... could not have been spoken in respect of the Old Moon evolution. There one would have had to say that the Elohim speeded through space with the light, were in the light, but saw it not. Just as today one swims in water and moves forward in it without actually seeing it, so one did not see the light, but light was a bearer of the work in cosmic space. It was with the coming of Earth evolution that light began to appear, to be reflected by objects.
It was natural that this, which held good for light on Old Moon, should itself reach a higher stage of development during Earth evolution. It is therefore to be expected that what applied to light on Old Moon should during Earth evolution apply to the chemical [or sound] ether.
This would involve that what we call spiritual sound was not perceived by the Elohim as reverberating back to them in the manner of the reflected light. Thus, if Genesis wished to convey that evolution was advancing from the activity of the light ether to that of chemical ether, it would have to say something like this:
“And the Elohim saw the light in the developing Earth, and saw that it was beautiful.”
But it could not go on in the same way to say:
“And the Elohim during this phase perceived the sound-ether”; it would have to say “they lived and wove in it.”
References and further reading
- Sylvan Muldoon
- The Projection of the Astral Body (1929, with Hereward Carrington)
- The Case for Astral Projection: Hallucination or Reality! (1936)
- The Phenomena of Astral Projection (1951, with Hereward Carrington)
- Oliver Fox (pseudonym for Hugh George Callaway)
- 'Astral Projection: A Record of Out-of-the-Body Experiences' (1939, republished 1962)
- PDF version
- also in 'The Occult Review' (1920)
- The Pineal Doorway: A Record of Research (p 190-198)
- Beyond the Pineal Door: A Record of Research (p251-261)
- Ophiel (Edward C. Peach, 1904-1988): The art and practice of astral projection (1961 and 1974)
- Gavin and Yvonne Frost: 'Astral Travel: Your Guide to the Secrets of Out-Of-The-Body Experiences' (1986)
- Albert Taylor: 'Soul Traveler: A Guide to Out-of-Body Experiences and the Wonders Beyond' (1996, also 2000 edition)
- Robert Bruce
- Astral Dynamics: The Complete Book of Out-of-Body Experience (1999)
- Mastering Astral Projection: 90-day Guide to Out-of-Body Experience (with Brian Mercer) (2004)
- Robert Peterson
- Lessons Out of the Body: A Journal of Spiritual Growth and Out-of-Body Travel (2002)
- Out-of-Body Experiences: How to Have Them and What to Expect (2013)
- Emil Stejnar: 'Außerkörperliche Erfahrungen' (2008)
- William Buhlman
- Adventures Beyond the Body: How to Experience Out-of-Body Travel: Proving Your Immortality Through Out-of-Body Travel (2009)
- The Secret of the Soul: Using Out-of-Body Experiences to Understand Our True Nature (2011)
- Robert A. Monroe: 'Journeys Out of the Body: The Classic Work on Out-of-Body Experience' (2014)
- for Lucid dreaming, see: Process of waking and sleeping#Lucid dreaming