The astral world, or astral plane as its sometimes called, is an important place for Witches to become acquainted with. It is conceptualized as an invisible otherworld that parallels and interpenetrates our own, but remains unseen in our normal states of consciousness. On this plane all thoughts, deities, and magick live, waiting to be called into manifestation. All types of magick and ritual can be done in the astral with great efficiaency, since this is where your energies must go before manifesting. While there you can find a likely place to cast a circle or work a spell, or you can also travel to other places to work astral magick, such as appearing in your astral body at the bedside of a sick friend who has requested your help in healing.

Astral projection is best defined as the art of sending consciousness out at will to a location away from the physical body. While this projection ultimately remains in the mind, it is no less a real place populated by real beings and containing very real phenomena. This is the world where all our thoughts and dreams must first take shape before we can bring them into the physical plane through magick. It is also the home of the elemental powers and their inhabitant sirits.

Astral magick is usually considered an advanced skill, though merely projecting into the astral plane is not. More than any other skill you will learn, astral projection takes repeated effort to be fully controlled by you. Some can master the art within a few months, others can take several years. We all experience psychic phenomena in different ways, and therefore there is no frame of reference for astral projection, and no definitive experience. So there is nothing wrong with you, no matter how long it takes you to learn.

Astral magick is defined as the changes you cause to happen, both in the astral and in the physical, as a result of your workings in the astral world. Think of it as magick without tools. You can bring absolutely anything into being in the atral, work spells and rituals, and create any sort of astral tool or environment you want in which to work. In the astral your thoughts take immediate form, and once you learn to shape and control these forms, you have a potent magickal skill at your disposal. It takes a great deal of mental discipline to shape astral magick at all, especially without unwanted side effects.

Astral travel naturally occurs during sleep. It is an aspect of our consciousness extending itself out of our physical body for experiences on other realms. Few of us recall this after we awaken.

Since everyone astral travels, why not make productive use of these journeys? To do this, you must accept that you astral travel. Then you need to ask spiritual help in remebering these travels or "dreams". It is important to become close friends with your spirit guide(s) through meditation.

In order to have a productive experience during your nightly astral travels, you need to have definite goals. Perhaps the following list can help you:

Meeting with an appropriate teacher-guide for help in solving current problems.
Studying spiritual knowledge in "astral classes".
Visiting with physically deceased loved ones and friends.
Taking a look at a past life. Use this to check on the causes of present problems and illnesses.
Looking into your own future. This is useful in checking for upcoming problems or obstacles.
Asking to receive prophecies connected with future events, such as the safety of a plane for travel, the possibility of an earthquake in a certain area, etc.
Working healing or magick on the astral for yourself or others.
Visiting a present area of the world you always wanted to see but can't afford to visit.
Meeting with another particular astral traveller, usually for the purpose of influencing the person in one way or another.

If you would like to start astral traveling lucidly, there are many different exercises that will help you do so. You can begin experimenting by using one of the following methods:

Focused meditation
Guided meditation
Symbolic Gateways
The Chakras

In focused meditation, the idea is to bore your mind with so much inactivity, it goes elsewhere in pure self-defense. This can take up to thirty minutes to do, but the results can be startling. To bore your mind into projecting, place yourself in an altered state of consciousness. This doesn't mean daydreaming about mundane matters, it just means thinking about nothing specific.

Guided meditation is a user-friendly entry point into the astral world, one that often works before you realize it is happening to you. It is defined as an escorted mental journey into the unconscious for the purpose of gaining knowledge and effecting a lasting change in both the conscious and subconscious mind. It involves the use of a prewritten path or guided story which one follows along during the meditation. These meditations can be read to you by someone else who is not embarking on the inner-world journey, or they can be prerecorded and played back. An example of one is as follows:

Make a tape of the folowing passage, so you will not hinder the astral process by trying to remember what to do.

Place yourself in a comfortable position, either lying down or reclining in a comfortable chair that supports your body. make sure that there will be no distractions for 20-30 min. Make sure there isn't too much light in the room.

Loosen any tight clothing or jewlery, and just relax. Dismiss the perceived ideas you may have about astral travel...tell yourself that it is something you already know how to do. Tell yourself that however it happens to you is your way of experiencing it, and you will not question or analyze what is happening, you will just allow it to be real.

Close your eyes and begin to breathe in deeply and exhale slowly... IN to the count of four...OUT to the count of four...IN to the count of four... OUT to the count of four...

With every breath you take in, let yourself be aware that you're bringing into your body calming, soothing, relaxing oxygen...and with every breath that you exhale, you're releasing tension, pressure, and stress.

Now as you inhale, just imagine a wave of relaxation and positive energy flowing from your toes and the balls of your feet, up the front of your body and over the top of your head...and as you exhale this relaxation and positive energy is flowing down the back of your body and out of the soles and heels of your feet...just be aware that as this energy flows out of your feet, all the tensions...all the pressures...all the stress of the day is flowing out of your body, and out of your mind.

With every breath in...with every breath're relaxing deeper... and deeper...and deeper...and you are becoming more and more receptive to all the levels of your self.

Now become aware of the center of your breathing, become aware of your connection to your higher self. Let yourself energize that connection; send your love energy to your higher self. Feel the return of love energy from your higher self. invite your higher self tro join you in this journey.

Now imagine that you are hovering above your body, actually looking down and imagining or visualizing your body in its relaxed position.

Now imagine and visualize that you are looking down at your body from the ceiling across the room...

Now imagine or visualize that you're moving out of your room and out of the building...and that you are looking down at this building and the area around it from ten feet above it.

Now observe the building and the surrounding area from 20 feet above...

As soon as you have an awareness of your higher consciousness, ask your high self to help you begin your trip.

Let yourself enjoy this journey, knowing that you are protected with your higher self.

In your astral journey, you may visit a particular planet, or you may travel to many different parts of the Earth. There is no right or wrong way to travel. There is simply your own personal experience. Allow it to flow like a daydream. If you have questions about anything that happens during your trip, consult your higher self for an explanation.

When you visit a particular planet, ask someone acquainted with it to communicate with you and give you a tour of it. They will be pleased to do so.

You will know when it is time to end your visit. Follow your intuitive sensing or feeling. Thank your hosts and ask your higher self to request that your hosts escort you back to Earth and your starting place.

As soon as you get back to your body, you will automatically "slip into it", just as you do every night during your sleep state.

When you are aware that you're "back into your body", thank everyone for their assistance, and focus on your breathng for a few moments. Breathe deeply, and always IN to the count of four...OUT to the count of four...just relaxing and allowing yourself to comfortably prepare to move back into your natural state of alertness and awareness.

Suggest to yourself that at the count of three, you will open your eyes and be wide awake, feeling rested, relaxed, and good all over...And that each time you practice your astral travel, it will be easier and easier and you will feel more confident and more secure with your natural ability to project an aspect of your consciousness into other realms.

And now, counting slowly...ONE...TWO...THREE! Your eyes opening and wide awake... feeling good all over. --end of meditation

You may want to write down your astral trip while it is still fresh in your mind. Any questions you have should be taken to your higher self. Remember, it is there to help you and guide you in whatever you do.

With regular practice, you may realize that you are no longer listening to the meditation being read to you. You will be able to venture off the prewritten paths and explore the world you have entered all on your own. By doing this, you should have no doubt that you are traveling consciously in the astral plane.

Symbolic gateways are another method of astral travel. Like guided meditation, the area of the astral world you enter and the beings you meet there will be colored by the symbolic gateway you choose. Good symbols to start with are the alchemical symbols, tarot cards, and rune stones. You can use a different one every time you enter the astral and land in a new place every time. The basic technique for making these work is to gaze at them until a halo appears around the outside of the symbol, close your eyes, and let the image on the back of your eyelids engulf you. With practice this can provide instant access to the astral. The strong archetypes in symbols involuntarily activate and involve the subconscious, and they have the ability to instantly create unique and interesting astral places to visit.

The Chakras: Probably the most popular method of astral travel is exiting through one of the chakras. Some people believe exiting through the lower chakras propels you into the lower astral level, where nasty entities you don't want to meet live. Some recommend the naval chakra to women because of its association with the feminine creative power center (the womb). You will have to decide which chakra point makes the best exit for you. Logically, you should choose the chakra you feel is your strongest, the one through which you can most easily send out magickal energy, or that is linked to an element with which you have an affinity. To exit from a chakra, mentally focus your consciousness to that point. Visualize your inner self at that doorway waiting for it to open. Allow all physical sensations to cease as you concentrate your whole being on that exit point. When you feel the time is right, mentally move yourself out of the chakra, think about where it is you want to be, and you should appear there instantly.

The Astral "Security System"

You can set up psychic security for the protection of personal documents, belongings, your home, pets, family, yourself, or your business. Build a wall of energy around the people and places you want protected. Then surround this wall with an area of deliberate confusion. Usually this is enough to deter any astral entity or traveller from breaking in or causing any problems. As an added precaution, place warning thoughtform guards in this confusion layer; they should be programmed to notify you of any intruders. If properly done, this method is better than other security systems or burglar alarms--and less expensive.

Setting up Watchers will only be effective if you also have built an astral dome of protection. If you keep your intuitive senses alert, you will be able to pick up their warnings any time a negative astral entity or thoughtform invades, or attempts to invade, your environment.

You can also create a personalized Watcher, a thoughtform that stays right with you and is set to give you an alarm any time you are physically in danger. These are especially valuable with the crime rate soaring as it is.

Flying Without a Broom by D.J. Conway
Making Magick: What It is and How It Works by Edain McCoy

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