19.5.13

Astral Projection (Part 1)

Both last year and this year, a seminar lasting one day was held in the town I live in (Split, Croatia) on the topic of astral projection. The lecturer came here from Serbia in order to hold it and usually travels all over the world to share his knowledge with people eager to achieve astral projection and, in doing so, find out new things about themselves. We got on pretty well and when we were having a coffee together one day, I asked him if I could write a post summarizing his technique of achieving astral projection and I was lucky enough to receive his blessings. 

Therefore, what I will be writing here is simply what he taught me. :)

In a previous post entitled "Can Science Confirm Occult Beliefs?", I mentioned astral projection a few times and also talked about the possibility of alternative realities. In this post, I will try to pay a bit more attention to precisely this.

What Is Astral Projection?

Many people will compare astral projection to lucid dreaming, but there are a few main differences. Lucid dreams usually happen in between 3 and 5 a.m. and we usually enter them unintentionally. We can only control them for a short while during which we are aware that we are dreaming but, after this period passes, we continue to be unaware that we are dreaming. Either this, or we wake up. Astral projection is, in contrast, intentional i.e. we enter it willingly (and always using a settled method), but it does achieve a similar effect to lucid dreaming.

The reason why many people doubt the ability to achieve astral projection is because it would be proof of a reality outside of the physical one we know, and this is incomprehensible to a lot of people. But I don't expect you to just take my word for this, so I would like to tell you a bit about the whole chemical side of this process.

What Happens in Our Brain While We Are Asleep?

Graphs of sympathetic nerve activity while we are awake and asleep
Two hormones are important in this whole story: serotonin (the "hormone of happiness" which we excrete while we are awake) and melatonin (which we excrete when we are sleepy/asleep and which enables visions and astral projection). I will say a bit more about them soon enough, but I would first like to say something about the way in which our nerves function while we sleep. Take notice of our brain activity on the attached graphs. When we are awake, our brain is in the beta (β) frequency. As we slowly start to fall asleep (stages 2, 3 and 4), our brain is less and less active. We would expect our brain activity to be at its lowest in the REM phase of sleep (Rapid Eye Movement phase, the deepest phase of sleep), but the exact opposite happens! Our brain then goes into the alpha (α) frequency and our brain activity goes sky high and the frequencies grow stronger with it.

Brain activity during normal sleep (left)
and during the REM phase (right)
But why is our brain activity higher during the REM phase? It is because we excrete the most melatonin during this period and, as I have said, melatonin is the "sleeping hormone".



More on the REM Phase



Most people think that we go through only one REM phase every night, but there are actually several of them. That is to say, when we fall asleep, we don't dream at all during the first hour and a half because our body is still busy excreting melatonin which will, in larger quantities, later enable us to enter these REM phases. 
If you have a look at the two graphs above (and I am sorry about the bad quality of the second graph), you will notice the distance between these REM phases during one night's sleep, which normally lasts about eight hours. I recommend you look at the first graph while I explain this, although the second can serve as a good comparison at the end. So, in the first graph, you can see that the REM phase is actually the closest to the "awake" phase and that stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 indicate sleep. Our first REM phase (of four) happens after we have been asleep for about an hour and a half and lasts only for about 5-7 minutes. Each REM phase after this one lasts a bit longer because of the rise of melatonin. The second REM phase will thus last twice as long as the first one, the third slightly longer than this and the fourth (and usually the last) will last for about 30 minutes (and often longer). This is why this last REM phase should be used to achieve astral projection. Remember that it usually happens after about 6-7 hours of sleep.

In order for there to be a larger chance of the astral projection succeeding, it is recommended that the period of this last REM phase coincides with the sunrise because sunlight (or basically any light) causes the production of serotonin which causes us to wake up. Now this is where the actual chemistry happens. That is, the melatonin, which your brain is full of by the last REM phase, causes you to be sleepy, but the serotonin is contradicting it and trying to wake you up (serotonin starts being excreted as soon as light falls on your eyelids). If we wake up during this period, we are usually drunk with sleep, distraught, confused etc. By using the right combination of these two neurotransmitters in the right time, we can enable ourselves to realize when we are dreaming i.e. achieve that "awake while sleeping" stage.

I hope that I succeeded in explaining how all this functions, and now, I would like to give you a few suggestions which you could take into consideration before going to sleep.

Before You Go to Sleep...

  1. Be tired! (when you go to sleep tired, you usually fall asleep faster and everything follows the timetable shown in above graphs, but if you go to sleep rested then it may take you up to an hour to fall asleep and then the whole plan goes to waste because you wake up when you aren't supposed to)
  2. Make sure the room is dark or put on a sleeping mask (remember that light causes the production of serotonin which wakes you up, and you don't want that to happen in the wrong time)
  3. Don't eat or drink about an hour before you go to bed (physical needs such as needing to empty your bladder are stronger than sleep and they will wake you up, and your goal is to have an uninterrupted sleep so the REM phases will go as planned)
  4. Don't do any work before going to sleep (by "work", I mean rituals, meditations and such. The best you can do is go to sleep naturally and relaxed and not think about astral projection. Oh, and don't try any conscious methods of entering the astral plane because all of this uses up your energy and concentration)
  5. Set your alarm at 6 hours and 15-20 minutes after you go to bed (6 fours for the actual sleeping and the 15-20 minutes for the time it will take you to fall asleep...or however much time it takes you to fall asleep usually)

Methods of Achieving Astral Projection

Astral Projection can be achieved directly (which I will be talking about here) or indirectly (as in the example of lucid dreams which are achieved by mixing up dreams and reality by, for example, asking ourselves "Is this a dream?" throughout the whole day in order to make ourselves ask that same question when we are asleep). But this isn't important now. My topic will be two direct techniques of achieving astral projection.

The First Method


Let us say that you go to bed at midnight. You have to sleep up to about 6-7 o'clock in the morning (I usually set my alarm closer to six so that I am back in bed by 7) depending on how long it takes you to fall asleep. You should set your alarm to 6.15 a.m. (so if you fell asleep at midnight, that would be 6 hours of sleep and the 15 minutes it took you to fall asleep). Once your alarm goes off, you should get out of bed quickly (you don't have to jump out of bed, but don't continue to lay there dozing). Start by doing everything you would normally do when you get up; wash your face, go on your computer...do anything as long as it keeps you entertained and awakens you. The only thing you shouldn't do is eat or drink and I recommend you empty your bladder so that doesn't interrupt you later. Be awake like that for about 15-30 minutes (you can experiment with this in time since some people need more and some less time to wake up completely, but the best think to do is go to sleep once you feel that sweet need to curl back up under the sheets). This is the time when your brain is resetting itself (it reacts as if a new day is beginning and starts to excrete serotonin). What you have to do after this is fool your brain and go back to bed. When you do this, the serotonin, which has just begun to be produced, will have to fight against the melatonin which there is still plenty of since you woke up when its quantity was at its highest (basically, in stead of being in your last REM phase, you are awake). This imbalance of neurotransmitters confuses the brain and it doesn't know which "reality" to turn on anymore (the "awake" reality, or the "sleep" reality). But, when you go back to bed after those 15-30 minutes of being awake, you are actually continuing right where you left off (on the last REM phase). Therefore, you will go straight to dream mode in stead of waiting those 90 minutes for the first REM phase to occur.

You will now fall asleep again and when you wake up naturally (i.e. without any alarms), you have to stay as still as possible; don't open your eyes or move your limbs etc. not depending on what position you woke up in. By doing this, you will fool your brain into thinking that you are still asleep since, after all, you aren't moving. Stay still like this for a while and you will feel like a light shudder is going through you, or you will feel a slight feeling of pins and needles or even like a bass is in your ears. You must not give up now because this is the time when your brain will try to check if you really are asleep or awake; something will suddenly start to itch and will irritate you (do not scratch yourself!), you will hear strange sounds or someone calling your name (don't move of open your eyes...this is just your brain trying to make you react to something and thus confirm that you are awake). You will often hear about the shadow phenomenon (shadowy figures appearing and causing paranoia). I repeat, these are all tricks of your brain which is fighting against your astral body going out. Your brain wants to keep your astral body inside you by all means and wake you up in order to achieve this since it is scared and finds this to be a strange and new experience. This period is called the vibration period (marked by a blue arrow in the diagram above). This is the time when your astral body struggles to get out of your physical body and you brain is in between frequencies (this will help you to reach astral projection).

This vibration period doesn't mean that you have entered the astral plain, though, but you are very close. The only thing left to do is separate the astral body from the physical body and there you have it! This is done by visualizing (imagining) spinning backwards, and the stronger the better. Basically any sort of spinning should do the trick, but turning backwards has proven the best method for most people. This spinning will enhance the vibrations you are going through. But the vibrations have to become practically unbearable! And even when they become unbearable, hang on a bit longer!!! If you're having trouble increasing the vibrations, you can try imagining your hands (or rather your forearms) vibrating up and down (in the beginning, imagine lifting them only slightly from your bed and slowly, but start going faster and faster and imagine lifting them higher and higher in time). This will strengthen the vibrations and, when you are ready, imagine yourself suddenly rolling onto your side! This turn mustn't be the usual turn you do when getting out of bed; in stead, try to "escape" to your side. By doing this so suddenly, you will already be in the astral plane before your brain has had the chance to get what has just happened. :)

You will feel as if you have fallen to the ground, the vibrations will suddenly stop and you (or rather your astral body) will be in the astral plane!

You can try this method in the afternoon at about 2-4 o'clock after you have just woken up from your afternoon nap. Again, wake up naturally, don't open your eyes or move and just wait for the vibrations to start. But, if you plan to do this in the afternoon, it's best if you wake up an hour earlier that morning so you can be as tired as possible by the afternoon. This way, you will fall directly into a REM phase (i.e. the astral plane) when you go to sleep.

The Second Method


This method is very similar to the first one. You will also have to sleep for about 6 hours, be awake for 15-30 minutes but in stead of going back to bed at this point, you will just go lay down in your bed. Stay still but do not fall asleep! You can lie down in any pose in which you normally can't fall asleep or make it harder for yourself to fall asleep by staying in a less natural pose (e.g. by putting your hand above your head). Stay focused on not falling asleep because this can be quite hard to achieve. You will reach the vibration stage soon enough and, when it does, just follow the steps explained in the first method (imagine spinning backwards, vibrating your hands to achieve stronger vibrations and to achieve astral projection, imagine yourself suddenly turning onto your side).

This method is a bit harder to succeed in, but nobody can stop you from trying it out.

NOTES:

  • If you don't enter the vibration phase after 20 minutes of trying, you probably won't enter them that time.
  • If you don't achieve astral projection after 5 minutes of being in the vibration stage then you probably won't achieve it that night.
  • It is necessary to experiment with the time spans that work with you best, but once you find out what they are, then stick to them. If you are among those who sleep less (i.e. less than 8 hours a night), the ideal time to wake up (the time not including the time it takes you to fall asleep) would be earlier than what is stated in these methods. For example, I sleep 6-7 hours per night so I turn my alarm on at 5 a.m.
  • Never try to achieve astral projection two nights in a row (it is necessary to rest in between).
  • When imagining spinning backwards, do not give up! Spin energetically, decisefully, aggressively and suddenly and you should be able to achieve astral projection with no difficulty at all.

In my next post, I will write about what to do once you are in the astral plane. :) Lately, many practitioners and lecturers have been mentioning similar techniques, but the real importance of astral projection is what you do in the astral plane and how to move about it. Actually, this technique was developed by people from various countries who didn't even know each other and then discovered that they all have the same methods regardless of each other. This gave them the self-confidence they needed and proved that this wasn't just a personal phenomenon as they may have believed up to that point. It was a universal phenomenon which has a lot to do with the human brain, or possibly much more than just that.

I will talk more about this later since there is just too much material to stuff into one post. I hope that two more posts will be enough to explain everything. :) 

Until then, I wish you all the best of luck with your attempts! :D Yours,
Witch's Cat

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