Almost everything I know about Astral Plane
This article covers:
● Putting into action
● Tips and tricks
Astral Plane, interchangeably called the Spiritual Plane, World of Dreams, Tuat/Amentet, among others, are names given to a plane of consciousness that seem to function parallel to or in the background of wakefulness.
Different schools of thought might say that there is a big difference between what one nomenclature or another indicates. That for example, “Mental Screen” is a phenomenon that involves visualization and creativity, while “Spiritual Plane” refers to an objective dimension in which disembodied spirits reside. As for these statements, I have never met anyone who could endorse them other than through the bias of their personal beliefs or those of their group.
What I can say — and that anyone can verify for themselves if they wish — is that it is possible to tune the mind in order to access a world of ideas and objects that arise spontaneously without the conscious mind choosing or formulating them. The most trivial example is the dream: During the dream, with exceptions, you don’t choose the scenarios, the characters, much less the script. They are all expressions of a process beyond conscious decision.
This matter is of particular interest in Astrum Argentum from the Neophyte grade onwards, of which One Star in Sight asserts that “Has to acquire perfect control of the Astral Plane” and in Colegii Sancti in item 4 of his task that “(…) He will further be examined in his power of Journeying in the Spirit Vision.”
This world of ideas beyond normal consciousness, the advantages of exploring it and some methods for doing so is what I intend to expose in this article.
Imagine that you dream of an old acquaintance. In the dream you had lost money on a bet for her, and she asks you to pay off the debt because she wants the money to get a tattoo of a snake that goes from her thigh to her right breast. When you wake up you reflect on: Who communicated with you in the dream?
If your friend has already passed away, depending on your beliefs, you can consider that at death, when the body no longer sustains life, a part of the individual detaches itself from it and starts to inhabit other planes. In these terms that could indeed be your friend bringing you a message from the beyond. If still alive, we could posit that a part of who she is left her body without her being aware of it and took shape in her dreams.
As fanciful as the above hypotheses may seem, consider the following: Every person you meet leaves an impression on you. Everything you know about them, your memories with them, the emotions you have for them, what you instinctively feel about them, etc. leave their impressions on your conscious and unconscious.
The longer you live with this person, the wider and deeper becomes the repertoire of what they are for you. In this sense, although she is not objectively that individual in the dream, she is an emulation of that individual, and although a shadow or a reflection of the original, she has pieces of that original. One might argue that these pieces are not the individual, but your perception of him. The same can be said about those you talk to face to face.
You might say, “Okay, but this set of perceptions about the person doesn’t have free will, they didn’t choose to speak out, nor did they choose the narrative they would interpret.” I agree. It seems to me that you did it yourself. A part of yourself over which you have no control has chosen that friend of yours within your symbolic set, and created a narrative in which you and she interact. Why these choices? What is this part of yourself trying to say? Does it have a message for you? Is it the expression of some fantasy or outlet for something repressed?
Very interesting points of view for understanding the phenomenon and interpreting them are given in our Liber Aleph in chapters 8 to 15.
Liber O is the main instruction given for the Neophyte to develop on the Astral Plane, and in it we read of these speculations:
2. In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist.It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.3. The advantages to be gained from them are chiefly these:
(a) A widening of the horizon of the mind.
(b) An improvement of the control of the mind.
We can consider the Astral Plane an interface, that is, the element that provides a link between two systems or parts of a system that could not be directly connected. For example, when using your computer you use a keyboard and mouse to enter information transferred from you to the computer, and the screen and speakers to bring information from the computer to you.
In the same way, we can say that the Astral Plane allows, through the appropriate methods, that you enter information and commands as well as extract information from that plane of abstract ideas that transcend your conscious mind. More so, in the words of Liber Aleph:
Whereas the Direction of such Journeys is consciously willed, and determined by Reason, and also unconsciously willed, by the true Self, since without It no Invocation were possible, we have here a Cooperation of Alliance between the Inner and the Outer Self, and thus an Accomplishment, at least partial, of the Great Work.
Practice will give you the ability to do this as easily as you can input and extract information from the internet using your smartphone.
In our culture, from an early age we underwent an intellectual and social training that tends to distance us from this interface. We are taught to keep our feet on the ground, not to daydream, to give importance only to concrete things. Little by little we lose touch with our imagination, intuition and even our emotions.
Some beginners — the further away from this type of experience, the worse — may feel that at first their results are too tenuous and will think they are not capable of greater results. To these, I recommend that they persist as someone who has lost the movement of the body after an accident persists in physical therapy, and just as that one rejoices even when he moves a finger again, you rejoice even in the smallest results.
On the other hand, there are those who, due to an unusual development of their neurological structure, find it extremely easy to access this plane. When they do not have control of the phenomenon and the plans are mixed to the point that the individual cannot distinguish one from the other, we have cases of oneirism and hallucination. When this impairs the individual’s ability to enjoy a full and productive life, the ideal is to seek treatment from neurologists, psychiatrists and/or therapists. Someone who has been so diagnosed by a qualified professional or has noticed in himself the difficulty of separating the plans must have redoubled care with what Liber O says in item 4 of its first section (bolds on my account):
The student, if he attains any success in the following practices, will find himself confronted by things (ideas or beings) too glorious or too dreadful to be described. It is essential that he remain the master of all that he beholds, hears or conceives; otherwise he will be the slave of illusion, and the prey of madness.
Through the Astral Plane we can:
- Explore parts of ourselves and the universe that are inaccessible to normal consciousness;
- Insert commands and instructions for forces outside normal consciousness to cause changes in accordance with what the individual wants;
- Regulate physical body functions, stimulate or sedate them;
- Give vent to fantasies in true psychodramas of a single actor;
- Living or reliving simulations of experiences inconvenient to live on the material plane;
- Perform other multitasking practices while the physical body is at rest or busy with something automatic;
- To promote knowledge and integration of the parts of your own being;
- Etc., etc. Conceive others of your own ingenuity.
Leaving aside all metaphysical claims about one technique or another, what you notice is a variation in how much you are at the extreme of wakefulness or the extreme of unconsciousness.
If totally unconscious there will be no memory at all. A little more conscious and you will be the passive observer or character of the symbols coming from the unconscious, you will be dreaming. Here is where the unconscious has more freedom to express itself, but at the same time where you consciousness will have less control to interfere. Despite being in a passive observer position, there is much to learn about yourself through dream recording and interpretation.
One step further into consciousness, and you are in a lucid dream. In it you realize you are dreaming, and depending on your experience, you can travel through the dream and manipulate its construct. Now an active dreamer, you can manipulate the symbols in order to direct the journey, or insert instructions or messages there beyond the conscious, which in turn can direct these insertions beyond yourself in ways that your conscious mind does not have access.
Usually the “firewall” of your being whose purpose is to protect your conscious mind from accessing or doing something that could harm it — the ego protecting itself — will go into action to “censor” your access. It does this by “disconnecting” you from the dream and causing you to wake up, or else by numbing you so that you return to the passive dreamer position.
Induction of altered states of consciousness
We can fit in here the altered states of consciousness caused by deep meditation, hypnotic trance, strong emotional loads and stress, the effect of psychoactive substances, sensory deprivation, etc. In these you will be more or less conscious according to the potency of the method used to insert you in this state. Someone who has inhaled a few milligrams of DMT vapors will obviously be more conscious than someone sedated with Ketamine for a surgical procedure. The more potent the technique of meditation, hypnosis, drug, etc. least the “dream inspector” will have the power to disconnect you. However, the easier it will be for you to lose consciousness and become a passive dreamer.
One more step towards wakefulness and we have the individual awake, but relaxed and in a slight alteration of consciousness in which he projects on his “mental screen” the symbols he prefers, or places himself in a passive observation of this mental screen in which the Astral Plane will manifest in image and sound, while the individual remains fully aware of their physical body and the environment around them.
He can open his spirit vision to a plane parallel to his physical vision, or superimpose his spirit vision on top of his physical vision, mixing them together. It is the technique where you have the most conscious control, but where the experience tends to seem less vivid compared to others. A beginner practicing the The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram or assuming a God-Form is a perfect example of this.
There are certainly other variations and techniques. The constant is that if you want more control and maintain rational functions, choose and regulate practices to be more awake. If you want immersiveness and passive observation, look for practices where you are less awake. Fine control of this comes through practice and maturity.
Putting into action
As stated before, Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae is the main instruction given to the Neophyte of the A.’.A.’., and contains exercises that if practiced with discipline will lead to results regardless of whether or not the person has previous experience or ease with the A.’.A.’. practices.
Right at the introduction, it informs that “before entering upon any of these practices, the student should be in good health, and have attained a fair mastery of Asana, Pranayama, and Dharana”, and I have seen this almost always neglected in spite of item 9 of the Neophyte’s Oath/Task. I recommend that you do not neglect this indication as these practices whose basic instructions are given in Liber E vel Exercitiorum are as useful to astral travel as sharpening a knife is to the butcher.
- Asana will turn the body that is almost always an opponent of this practice into an ally. From restless and thirsty for stimulation, little by little it will become calm and helpful.
- Pranayama will teach you how to cultivate and control the energy flow that fuels magick as well as familiarize you with nuances of your autonomic nervous system. In addition, Pranayama can regulate your immune system and reduce inflammatory action as it has already been shown in scientific studies published in a class A2 scientific journal.
- Dharana — whose improvement is facilitated by previous practices — teaches you to direct and keep the mind focused, a very useful skill for any astral interaction and in the practice of magick.
In its section II, Liber O deals with the memorization of certain symbolic correlations. As well as memorizing holy books, one of the uses of this is to provide common symbols to your interface that can act as a “dictionary”. By the very nature of the Astral Plane, direct and rational communication is not always possible, and becoming familiar with the proper symbols will make it easier to enter or extract information from there.
From section III onwards practices and rituals are given. In addition to the punctual function and effect expected of them, and the subtle benefits they bring to the Initiation of the individual, they are all astral exercises. Just as the body is strengthened with adequate and regular physical activity, the practices given in Liber O strengthen the practitioner’s astral apparatus.
Induction of altered states of consciousness
One consciousness-altering experiment that is often harmless to most individuals is stimulus suppression. The idea is that the sense organs receive as little stimulation as possible, or they receive constant, monotonous stimulation. For this, look for an environment whose temperature is as close to body temperature as possible, use sound dampers or play white noise, eyes closed with a warm light source (yellow or amber light) on them, or else using a blindfold. Wear comfortable clothes or naked.
Get into an Asana that requires minimal physical effort and causes minimal physical sensations, but at the same time does not allow you to sleep, and remains still for a set period of time — use a timer. If the timer rings without you having any noticeable results, end the experiment with the proper recording of it, and try again another time setting the timer for a longer period.
A variation of the above experiment is to sit motionless in your Asana in front of a mirror, with the environment completely silent and in the dark except for a candle (or other dim light source) lit behind your back, so that when looking in the mirror you see the dim environment, but not the light source. As in the previous experiment, use a timer while standing still and silently facing the mirror.
Self-Hypnosis or Hypnosis under the guidance of a competent and trusted person can induce trance that allows you to explore the Astral Plane. To that end, I offer these guided meditation sessions of my own (to be translated), which are offered without any guarantees. Whoever chooses to use them does so at their own risk.
It is known that different substances cause changes in the individual’s neurochemistry, and consequently in his consciousness. From something from everyday like caffeine — which has a stimulant effect by inhibiting adenosine, an endogenous tranquilizer naturally produced by the body — to substances used in medicine or recreational use, the effects that each and every dosage causes on consciousness and the organism are the most varied.
I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone make use of anything, and if anyone decides to break into this world — which he will do at his own risk — I suggest that he only do so when in perfect physical and mental health, and seek every possible basis, both mystical and for the best that science and medicine has to offer in its time, and never with a very big jump between dosages and frequency. Pay particular attention to a dynamic in which life seems unpleasant without the substance, and tolerable only under its influence, as this path leads to dependence and addiction.
There are numerous methods to induce lucid dreaming. They seem to fall into basically two categories: Initiating the dream already conscious or becoming conscious during the dream.
Starting the dream consciously requires a fine adjustment of “awake but not too much” and “sleepy but not too much” that will only be acquired with practice. Always going to bed at the same time will help you find the “perfect time” to practice. Wake up an hour earlier than usual to try. In the next experiment, ten minutes earlier than in the previous one, and so on until some success is achieved.
Vary your practice in postures that increase or decrease your comfort as you want to be more or less alert. Use background sounds that induce or disturb relaxation. Holding an object in one hand or tying a ribbon to the finger as a tactile anchor helps to retain something of wakefulness as you enter sleep.
When you are successful, you will find yourself dropping out of wakefulness, which for some people manifests as a “vibration” of the skull and/or spine. Others perceive themselves in two places at the same time, as if they were feeling their body in bed, but also in another position. When this sensation arises, “roll” as if out of your body, and you will project. As successes accumulate, finding the right moment becomes progressively easier.
To gain awareness during dreaming, my favorite method is to link reality tests to recurring everyday situations. Reality tests are easy things to do while awake and almost impossible to do in a dream: remember when you woke up and look back over the day until that moment, count your fingers, perform simple math operations, etc. Get into the habit of doing reality checks during the day whenever situations that tend to repeat themselves happen, such as when you see a person for the first time in the day, when you walk through a door, when you pick up your smartphone, go to the bathroom, etc. When in the dream you do that everyday act, by conditioning you will take the reality test, and when you fail it, you will know that you are dreaming.
Tips and Tricks
Record the entire experiment as soon you finish the experiment. Symbols, messages and events experienced in the Astral Plane tend to produce memories that are much more ephemeral than those of everyday life. Keep paper and pen or a audio recorder nearby. Let registration be the priority after regaining normal consciousness.
The more you record your dreams, the more you will remember them. I’m not sure what the mechanism behind this is, but even if you barely remember any dreams, if you record what little you remember, you’ll begin to remember more and more details. It seems to me that it is as if by recording you communicate to the memory mechanism that those events are important and must be remembered.
The stronger your Dharana, the more stable your presence in the Astral Plane will be. Whether to avoid waking up or to stick to your goal even with cognition affected by withdrawal from wakefulness, Dharana is essential.
Practice in adverse conditions. For many years I practiced my daily rituals (which were routines lasting from 20 minutes to half an hour) in astral form, standing in crowded public transport while commuting. This strengthened my mastery of the Astral Plane substantially, making it very easy to perform similar operations in comfortable situations.
In lucid dreaming, stabilize the dream. When you gain awareness, soon you will be pulled by some distraction that will make you lose control, or you will be forced to wake up. If you find yourself being carried away, try counting your fingers, doing math, and expressing gestures or words of symbolic power to regain control. If you find yourself waking up, relax as if you wanted to float on water, feel your surroundings, or start talking to someone in your dream. Over time you will develop your own tricks.
Have a plan and stick to it. On the Astral Plane — and the less we are awake, the more this is true — our rationality tends to become dull, slow, in the background. Be clear about where you want to go or what you want to do, and once you enter the Astral, stick to the plan. Good “quests” for the beginner are:
- Trace some symbol and explore what emerges;
- Look yourself in a mirror;
- Practice some short ritual;
- Assumption of god-forms;
- Other simple tasks.
Tarot Contemplation is an ancient technique used in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in which you observe a Tarot card for a while, and perform astral projection into the card, occupying the position of a character on the card, or being yourself inside. You can observe and interact with the elements of the card, explore what is visible on it, and also extend your vision to the elements of that plane that are outside the frame of the card.
Words of power, divine names, Enochian calls, mantras, etc. they can each lead your journey to different plans and narratives. Experiencing the effects of each according to your familiarity with them, verifying their effects, and keeping a record of them will be of great help.
Anchoring is when you link a mental state or an idea to a gesture, sound, smell, etc. You know when you smell a smell that brings you a childhood memory? That smell and that memory are anchored. You can link mudras (hand positions), gestures, sounds, scents, etc. with the exploration of the Astral so that whenever it is exposed to the anchors it will be easier to access the corresponding mental state.
To do this, apply the anchor at the apex of the mental state you want to “record”. The more times this is repeated, the better. In time, just as Pavlov’s Dog salivates when he hears the bell, your whole being will instantly respond to the anchor.
Within the astral you can use the same strategy to “mark” a place you want to return to more often or an entity with which you intend to interact again. Asking them for a symbol — a seal, sigil, signature — or word of power is also useful for invoking the energies related to it within or outside the Astral.
Mastering the Astral is an essential tool not only in our Holy Order, but also for any other Magician. It opens the door to a whole dimension rarely explored, and is a tool for Initiation, Clairvoyance and for causing changes in accordance to the Will. Many people will know this dimension just from hearing about it because they don’t have enough discipline to perform the exercises.
Faith is not required, and a skeptical stance is not harmful, quite the opposite. Just like starting any new activity — like music, sports, painting, writing, etc. — you will not see great results and may feel clumsy and incompetent. The time will come when you will be able to do these things as easily as a musician extracts the notes of his favorite musical instrument. I close by quoting Liber Aleph, Chapter 15:
Concerning thy Travellings in thy Body of Light, or Astral journeys and Visions so-called, do thou lay this Wisdom to thy Heart, o my Son, that in this Practice, whether Things Seen and Heard be Truth and Reality, or whether they be Phantoms in the Mind, abideth this Supreme Magickal Value, namely: Whereas the Direction of such Journeys is consciously willed, and determined by Reason, and also unconsciously willed, by the true Self, since without It no Invocation were possible, we have here a Cooperation of Alliance between the Inner and the Outer Self, and thus an Accomplishment, at least partial, of the Great Work.
Question from “João G.”
Q. How to stop a cycle of repetitive dreams?
A. Although there is a method, it is not recommended. A repetitive dream is very likely to represent the expression of something unbalanced or repressed in the composition of your being. The ideal is that you seek to understand where the center of which these dreams are expression is, seek to understand it and give a means of expression to it in a balanced way. I recommend reading Liber Aleph, chapters 8 to 15.
Question from “Bruno CL”
Q.1. Is the exercise of staring at the flame of a candle valid for developing astral projection in your opinion?
A. 1.Just staring at the flame, by itself, should not produce the result, but it will certainly be a kind of Dharana training, and may be a variation on the method of suppressing stimuli, putting consciousness in an altered state through boredom.
Q. 2. Does the perception of symbols and entry into the astral plane take place through “normal” vision when closing the eyes in meditation on the black “mental screen”, sometimes scorched by luminosities etc, or does it take place exclusively in “thought”?
A. 2. It doesn’t seem to me that the Astral has anything to do with what forms in the retina, like the effects you described. These can help (or hinder) as they distract or focus attention, but the phenomenon appears to be alien in nature to what the physical eyes and perhaps even the optic nerve capture/transmit.
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