Magick 101: Astral Projection and Out of Body Experiences: An FAQ

March 27, 2010

General Terms

What is Astral Projection?

Astral projection is the act of leaving your physical body and moving about in an astral or energy body. When you first begin astral projecting, it seems as if a part of you, your soul for lack of a better term, is leaving your body and moving about. In actuality though you simultaneously exist in multiple bodies, in two different bodies for our purposes here, your physical and astral body. Most of the time, while you’re awake, your consciousness is shifted to your physical body. When you astral project what you are actually doing is shifting your consciousness from your physical body to your astral body. You never actually leave your physical body. Your astral body is not something that exists within your physical body, although with most people the astral body typically follows around and occupies the same space as the physical body. This isn’t important information to know in order to project, although it does answer some other questions further down.

What is the difference between Astral Projection and Out of Body Experiences (OBE or OOBE)?

There is no difference. An Out of Body Experience is exactly the same as an astral projection. Astral projection and OBE are two terms for the same thing which developed among different groups. Astral projection is a more common terminology among Ceremonial Magicians and Neopagans, where as OBE is more common in the New Age and New Thought movements. The two terms are starting to become interchangeable among all groups.

What is a Near Death Experience (NDE)?

A near death experience refers to an out of body experience that is brought about by almost dying, or even achieving clinical death and then being resuscitated. The astral body can survive the physical body, and when your two bodies are tricked into believing you are dead, your astral body may just take off. Once you’re resuscitated you’re pulled back into your physical body.

Is a NDE a prerequisite for Astral Projection?

No. Astral projection can be achieved through nothing more than training and persistence. However some people who have experienced a NDE do report being able to astrally project afterwards, or find that astral projection comes very easily to them. Some believe that a NDE loosens the astral body from the physical body making projection easier. However the more likely reason is that having experienced astral projection once (via the NDE), subsequent experiences are easier to initiate.

What is a spontaneous projection?

Spontaneous projection is when you just astrally project without any effort or even wanting to astrally project. Spontaneous projections almost always occur while trying to go to sleep, while sleeping, during meditation, or as part of a NDE. Some people naturally experience spontaneous projections their entire life. The more you astrally project, the more likely it is that you’ll experience spontaneous projections.

What is lucid dreaming and how is it related to astral projection?

Lucid dreaming is when you are dreaming, and you know you are dreaming. Typically this gives you a great deal of control over the dream and your actions in it. You can actually train yourself in various ways to make lucid dreaming more common. A lot of the information dealing with astral projection deals with lucid dreaming. Both the confused mental state and recall difficulties that occur while dreaming occur in a similar way while astrally projecting. Also astrally projecting from a lucid dream is very easy to do.

What is dreamwalking?

Dreamwalking is the act of moving into another’s dream. There are methods to dreamwalk from both an astral projection and from a lucid dream state.


How do I astrally project?

Some people can very easily shift their consciousness and astrally project. We see a phenomena especially in certain children where astral projection is performed so seamlessly while awake that the child is unaware of any transition from a physical to a spiritual form.

Most people however need a technique, at least in order to get started astrally projecting. Every technique out there is based on the idea that our consciousness experiences a shift when we fall asleep and begin to dream, and this shift gives us a very short window in which we can astrally project. Most methods fall into one of two broad categories, projecting while awake and projecting while asleep. There is a third category, projecting from a meditative or trance state, although this is typically, at least initially, a spontaneous projection.

How do I astrally project while awake?

In order to astrally project while awake we need to get to the point right before falling sleep, and then push ourselves out of our body. Usually what is happening is that we are mentally awake and we forcefully calm our body down and force it to go to sleep (you will experience sleep paralysis while doing this, but you probably won’t notice it). Although our physical body goes to sleep, our astral body stays awake, which triggers the shift in consciousness, and we can very easily walk right out of our body.

In fact, you may already have astrally projected a little. Have you ever woken up and tried to go back to sleep, and as you’re laying there you get an itch on some part of your body, like your leg. You move your hand down and scratch the itch, but it doesn’t go away. You scratch and scratch and scratch, and still the itch persists. Finally you wake up, and realize that you were asleep and dreaming you were laying in your bed as you are now, eyes closed, scratching an itch, and that’s why the itch wouldn’t go away? If so, what happened is that you were astrally projecting your hand out of your body and using it to attempt to scratch the itch. If you would’ve rolled over just then, you would have had your first astral projection!

Remember that this is all a very technical explanation of what happens during an astral projection.

How do I astrally project while asleep and dreaming?

The second method of astral projection is to do it while dreaming. If you try to astrally project while dreaming, it will most likely succeed. If you practice your astral projection methods daily, even if you’re not successful, you will probably eventually dream that you’re doing your astral projection exercises, and they’ll work. People who exclusively use this method, however, are usually very good at initiating and controlling lucid dreams. If you are lucid dreaming, you can astrally project just by wanting to astrally project. If you can’t think of a way to do it, just mimic the methods you attempt while awake.

What is the difference between projecting while awake and projecting while dreaming?

There isn’t that much of a difference since both methods bring you to the same place. However if you project while awake you’ll generally have less confusion while astrally projecting and have better recall when you come back into your physical body. However people who frequently project while dreaming are also very good at lucid dreaming and dream recall, which in turn actually makes them more capable of remaining lucid and recalling their projection.

What method should I use to astrally project?

The best answer is whatever method works best for you. Do look around and explore various methods, but eventually you need to find a method or system you like and stick to it. If don’t see any success after several months move on to a different system, but at the same time practice your exercises daily and stick with the system for a while before giving up on it. More than anything astral projecting is just a matter of persistence and daily practice. A lot of the systems that are out there work so well because they provide structure and daily exercises which help keep you on track.

How does meditation relate to astral projection?

The meditative state is very conductive to astral projection. In the same way people can easily fall asleep during a deep meditation if they’re not careful, they can astrally project. Very few of the systems out there use meditation as a means to astrally project, although many steal techniques from meditation in order to relax the body while strengthening the mind. Most of the people who prefer to achieve projection through meditation first experienced a spontaneous projection and then worked to forcefully recreate the event.


What are the mental planes/heavenly realms?

These refer to higher planes where matter and energy cease to exist and everything exists as thought and emotion. These planes are known for being full of information and also being very happy places that are wonderful to be in. The colors here tend to be very bright and varied, and colors exist that are beyond the normal physical spectrum. If you do make it to these realms, you are no longer astrally projecting. Your astral body can not access these realms. You need to shift consciousness into a third body you simultaneously inhabit, your mental body (or your holy guardian angel in some systems).

What is the ethereal plane?

The ethereal plane is an idea that has popped up in some systems of astral projection and it refers to an astral projection that is very close to the physical plane of existence. During this type of projection your astral body is very nearly physical, it is in sync with physical time, and it can peer into the physical realm and notice events that are happening, possibly even physically move things if you’re really good. However the term ethereal plane is not used in every system, and it’s not even a very common term, and so a lot of people may not understand what you’re talking about when you use it.

What is the difference between the ethereal planes and the astral planes?

People who use the term ethereal plane tend to use it to refer to any near physical projection, and they use the term astral plane to refer to projections where either you’re close enough to the physical plane to see the same or a similar geography, although you don’t notice events that are happening and you may or may not be in sync with physical time, or to refer to projections that are so far removed from the physical plane that the geography bears no resemblance to actual geography. Technically though all of the projections listed above are astral projections and occur on the astral planes. Furthermore very few people use the term ethereal plane and most would refer to everything as being an astral projection.

What are the lower realms?

The lower realms typically refer to the realms that exist below the astral realms, although it is sometimes used to refer to realms that exist below even higher realms, such as the mental plane. In the first case the lower realms consists of several different areas (including the land of the dead and the shadowlands), and these areas are generally marked by bland and dark colors and depending on where you go they can be unpleasant to visit.

If your dreams are generally bright and/or full of color you are connected into the astral realms or higher while you’re dreaming. If, however, your dreams are dark, typically filled with black, lighter shades of black, and shades of gray, then you’re probably connected into the lower realms while you dream.

General Questions

How long will it take me to learn to astrally project?

It depends on how well you take to it. There are lots of variables that can make it easier or more difficult to learn how to project. A lot of systems claim they can teach you how to project in 30, 60, or 90 days. That is a bit of a gimmick. Even if they do make good on a money back guarantee, what those systems really mean is that most people will be able to project within that time frame, enough for the system to be successful. However there is a minority of people who will need much longer to project. These types of systems can actually be detrimental to these people, because when they don’t achieve success in the time they should they feel discouraged and may give up or lose faith in astral projection.

The important thing is to remain persistence and work at astral projection every day until you get it. If you suffer from insomnia, if you smoke, if your diet is heavy in caffeine, if you have high blood pressure, if you are a hyper person, if you have lots of sex or masturbate frequently, all of these things can make it more difficult to project. However even if you have all of these problems, you can still astrally project.

What does an Astral Projection feel like?

Awesome! The first thing you’ll notice when you astrally project is that you seem to revert back to a truer version of yourself. A lot of the environmental problems that plague us go away, as does a lot of the stress and anxiety we deal with in our day to day life. Gone too are a lot of the biological factors such as clinical depression and hormonal problems (post pubescent¬† horniness). You’ll feel more like your true self than you ever have.

Secondly you’ll notice that it may be somewhat similar to a dream state. There is a bit of confusion to start. What you want and what you want to do while in your physical body may not be the same as what you want and what you want to do in your astral body. This goes back to what I talked about before, becoming more like your true self. For instance, in my physical body I may want to seek out some key piece of spiritual information or I may want to find something that can tell me what the lotto numbers are going to be tomorrow. But in my astral body I find I’m more than amused hanging out in my bedroom doing back flips, because the fact that I can astrally back flip is fucking cool!

Also expect there to be some issues with recall. The transition from one state of consciousness to another makes it difficult to carry information. Generally you’ll have a much better recall of astral projections than what you do from dreaming, but still expect to have problems remembering things. When you start going higher than the astral planes you’re actually shifting through multiple bodies. For instance to get to the mental planes you need to shift into your astral body and then shift into your mental body, and you need to go through the same process to get back. Each shift comes with recall problems, ending with a lot of holes in your memory once you get back into your physical body.

More than likely an astral projection will feel different and distinct. It really is not quite like anything else. Sometimes they are close enough to dreams that a person can get them confused. Most of the time though you’ll know that you are most definitely projecting right now because of the way you feel and the way it feels.

What should I expect from my first astral experience?

Expect it to be short. Most people don’t project for very long their first time. If it lasts more than a few minutes, consider yourself very lucky. Also expect to remain in your bedroom or where ever it is your body is resting. It takes some time for most people to get to the point where they will leave their room, and longer still to get to the point where they will leave their house. Also expect your first time out to be very, well, physical. Its possible to astrally project very calmly and gently to where you don’t even feel a transition. Most people don’t experience this their first few times. What they do experience is violent shaking and shooting out at high speeds, very much like an amusement park ride, or even getting stuck halfway in and out and struggling to free themselves.

Can something else possess my body while I’m away from it?

No. Well, at least not unless you give it permission to, the same way you’d have to give it permission to possess you while you aren’t astrally projecting. This fear that something may take over your body goes back to the belief discussed earlier that your astral body is leaving your physical body behind. This isn’t the case. You are still inside your physical body when you astrally project. All that happens is you shift your consciousness and awareness over to your astral body.

What if I get lost and can’t find my body?

This will never happen. You are more connected to your physical body than just about anything else in the universe. You will always be able to find it and travel to it just by thinking about it. Furthermore when the projection ends you will be pulled back into your physical body wherever you are.

Will I always be able to get back into my body?

No. You can get stuck outside your body for short periods of time. Sometimes you may be able to forcefully end an astral projection, but this won’t always be the case. Sometimes you just have to wait for an astral projection to end. Don’t worry about it though. They never last all that long.

What is a silver cord and do I have one?

The silver cord was a metaphorical idea created by some people as a way to explain the fact that your astral and physical bodies are always connected, and so you’ll never get lost or have something else take over your physical body. However some people have taken this metaphor to be a literal silver cord that connects the two bodies, and because on the astral planes thoughts tend to manifest, when they look for this cord while projecting they find it. It is just a metaphor however, based on the erroneous idea that the astral body leaves the physical body no less, and there is no actual cord, unless you imagine it there in which case it appears.

Can I be hurt while astrally projecting?

Yes. Things can hurt you. You can feel pain. What’s more, some people have reported being injured while astrally projecting and then noticing these same injuries on their physical body. Remember the two bodies are always connected. With most people though, the injuries tend to manifest at the point where they shift back into their physical body. Which means if you magically heal yourself before the projection ends, you won’t be injured when you awake. Also usually the injuries you sustain to your astral body will not injure your physical body as badly. For instance being stabbed in the stomach may translate physically into a minor cut which barely breaks the skin and a little bit of pain there for the first few hours after the projection.

Can I die while astrally projecting?

Yes. Your astral body can be killed. If this happens, your astral body will cease to exist, there will be no connection between your mental and physical bodies, and your physical body will die.

Why do so many people say you can’t be hurt or killed?

Some probably believe this. For several reasons though, it’s probably better that you think you can’t be hurt or killed when you first start projecting. A lot of what happens on the astral plane is dependent upon thought and belief. It’s much more difficult to hurt or kill you if you think that these things can’t happen (although it is not impossible). Also when you try to astral project you need to not be afraid or scared. Fear will get your heart pumping and wake you up, a state that isn’t conductive to projection. If you manage to project while full of fear, you’re probably either going to draw yourself down into the lower planes or attract something to yourself that wants to hurt you, neither of which are good things to experience when you’re first starting out.

What if I meet a spirit while astrally projecting?

You may come across something while astrally projecting. This may be a ghost, an ascended spirit, or something that is normally non-incarnate (like a fae spirit for instance). Unless you do a lot of magical work where you sleep or you’re very good at meditating or you have strong innate psychic abilities, or someone sleeping in your home does or projects frequently, you probably will not come across any spirits in your first few astral projections. It’s something that you probably don’t have to worry about.

If you do come across a spirit, it’s probably not going to be a bad thing. More than 90% of the time, regardless if the spirit is malicious or not, the spirit probably will not even care about you and will leave you alone if you don’t bother it. Most things will be friendly if you approach them. If something does attack you, fight back. You can punch it or throw fireballs or a hundred other things when you’re astrally projecting.

If you’re just starting to astrally project, the amount of power you have magically is going to be relatively weak. The things you need to be afraid of aren’t going to bother with you because you aren’t strong enough for them to care yet. The things that will attack you tend to be weaker things which are easy enough to deal with. As you progress down your magical path and become stronger then maybe the big things will come out to fight you, but by then you’ll hopefully be strong enough to deal with them.

What if I meet another projector while astrally projecting?

Unless someone who lives with you is astrally projecting or trying to astral project, the odds of this happening are super slim. The one exception is if you’re doing a lot of magical work and have a lot of energy in your home it may act as a beacon and draw someone there.

Granted once you get better at astrally projecting you may be able to find your friends and loved ones while you both are projecting.

Is astral projection a substitute for sleep?

Yes and no. A lot of systems recommend against astrally projecting when you’re supposed to be sleeping. Most people however astral project instead of sleeping. Your physical body is going to get some rest while you’re astrally projecting. However you will not get as much rest as you would from actually sleeping and dreaming. If you normally spend eight hours sleeping, you’re probably not going to spend the entire eight hours astrally projecting.

Look at it this way, sometimes you don’t get as much sleep as you would like to. Maybe you decided to stay up late to watch a movie or because you got a new video game you wanted to play. Now instead of eight hours of sleep you only got five. You’re still going to be able to go to work and function. You’ll get through your day. But you may be a bit more tired. Most of us do this sort of stuff all the time, and we get by. For most people astral projection is just another thing that keeps them from a full night’s sleep.

Can I have sex while astrally projecting?

Yes. There are a lot of sexual things you can do, including everything you can do in your physical body and quite a few things you can’t.

How does magic work while astrally projecting?

Very well. While astrally projecting you’ll notice that things tend to manifest by thinking about them or concentrating on them. Rules concerning space, distance, and matter are fuzzy on the astral planes, and how these things operate has a lot to do with how we believe they operate. You can fly or teleport across the world just by thinking you can. You can also move energy much easier, and you can shoot fireballs from your hand without much practice. If you actually perform a magical ritual there, you’ll notice it will tend to be much more successful and you’ll see results much more quickly, probably instantaneously. Mostly though you’ll probably find yourself using psionic magic, where you think something and it manifests. All of these things are going to come much more naturally to you, and you’ll better understand how to do them, once you get out in your astral body.

Will my astral body look like me?

Most likely it will look something like you. Your astral body doesn’t have a set form. It can actually look like whatever you want it to look like. Most people, when they astrally project, look more or less like their physical selves. We can’t really see our own faces or most of our body though, outside of looking in a mirror, so we may not get everything right. We may also imagine ourselves a bit younger than we really are, or if we’ve recently lost or put on some weight it may not be reflected in our astral body. Those of us with positive body images may actually look a little bit more attractive in our astral form (those wrinkles will go away, those muscles will be more defined), where as those of us with negative body images may look less attractive (we may be as fat as we feel, or as old as we feel). Sometimes people may get mismatched. It’s not all that uncommon to see someone astrally projecting with the body they had at eighteen, and the face they had at fifty. Also little details, like the lines on your palm and the small gap between your front teeth may not translate well onto the astral. A very detailed astral body usually points to a person that is very self-aware and very strong magically.

As you astral project you will learn how to change your astral body into other forms. For a handful of people this comes naturally. It’s not too uncommon to have someone very adept at turning into a spirit animal or changing their astral body to that of a past life. In fact a handful of people will astrally project out like this the first time they astrally project. But this is very uncommon.

Will my astral body be naked when I astrally project?

It might be.

A lot of people don’t even take a second to see if they are wearing clothes when they astrally project. Most people, when they do look, find that they are wearing clothes (you can however take these clothes off, and then you would be naked). Most of us are used to wearing clothes most of the time, and so when we project, naturally our astral bodies are dressed.

If you happen to be very comfortable in your own skin, and if you actually spend a lot of time doing things naked, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll astrally project naked. If you’re naked when you astrally project it might increase your chances of projecting out naked a little bit, but there’s still a very good chance you’ll project out clothed.

If you’re really that uncomfortable about being naked that you’re afraid you’ll project out naked and someone or something else out there might see you, the odds are very much in favor of you not projecting out naked. If you do, I wouldn’t be that concerned about it. What you meet out there probably won’t care if you’re naked or not (it might not even understand the concept of clothes), and you’ll probably never meet it again anyways.

Can I move my physical body while astrally projecting?

Yes you actually can. It’s a very difficult trick, but remember that you simultaneously exist in both bodies at once, you don’t actually leave your body, so you still have the ability to physically control your muscles. Concentrate on moving muscles while astrally projecting and you should be able to do it. It will feel a lot like trying to move your muscles while in a state of sleep paralysis.

I would actually recommend practicing moving your physical body while projecting every once in a while. It’s a trick that seems useless most of the time, but I swear that if you know how to do this, at some point in your life (especially if you practice magick) you’ll be in a situation where this trick saves your ass.

So like, if astral projection is real, why isn’t it being used by government intelligence agencies / corporate spies / ect.?

Who says it isn’t.

Actually it’s very difficult to use astral projection for intelligence gathering. Remember when you astrally project, you tend to suffer from some confusion and your personality changes. It’s very hard to get your astral body to go and do what your physical body wants it to. If you do get past that hurdle, you then have a problem with recall. When you get that vital piece of intelligence, there’s no guarantee that you’ll remember it when the projection ends. Finally there’s no guarantee that you’re seeing an actual event. You can astrally project and see an event as it is happening. You can also astrally project to an entirely imaginary world that looks just like our own and see an event that happens there. You can astrally project to a parallel world very close to our own and see an event that happens there that doesn’t happen in our world. You can even create an event on the astral plane because you expect it to happen or believe it should happen, and then confuse that with the event physically occurring.

Of course all of these problems can be dealt with. You can train yourself so that there is less of a difference between what your physical body and astral body want. You can train yourself so you have real good recall. You can train yourself so you have a heightened awareness and, at least most of the time, you know where you are astrally and exactly what you’re looking at. People who reach that state are adepts and spiritual masters. Usually when people achieve that level of spiritual attainment, the politics of nations and corporate espionage are petty things that they aren’t all that concerned with anymore.

What is Remote Viewing and how is it related to astral projection?

Remote viewing is when you see a place or event that is happening presently and is happening somewhere other than where you are.

Remember how we said that we simultaneously exist in our astral and physical bodies and when we astrally project we are just shifting consciousness from one body to another and not actually leaving our body? Remember how we also said that when we astrally project we can still move our physical body, albeit with some difficulty, because we still inhabit that body? Remote viewing is just a further extension of this theory.

With most people their astral body follows them around and exists in the same place as their physical body. It doesn’t have to though. It could be on the other side of the world, and it wouldn’t make a difference. In much the same way that we can make our physical body move while astrally projecting, we can make our astral body do things while we’re physically awake. With remote viewing what we want our astral body to do is see something. It’s actually possible for us to look through the eyes of our astral body while completely awake.

Just because we can do these things though doesn’t mean they’re easy things to do. Making your astral body appear in a specific location or having it track down a specific person or item while you’re in a physical state of consciousness is hard. Looking through your astral eyes in that state is also hard. To some people it may come naturally. For most people though it will take a lot of practice and training to achieve just a little bit of success, and that little bit of success may be exhausting to come by. Of course over time, and with enough practice, it will get easier.

Side Effects

Why can’t I remember my projection all that well?

As was discussed earlier, it’s hard to take memories when shifting from one body to another. It is usually easier to remember your projections than it is to remember your dreams. However the same techniques that people use to train themselves to have better dream recall can be used to have better projection recall, and people that are good at remembering their dreams tend to be good at remembering their projections.

Help! I’ve been hurt while astrally projecting!

Once again, as was discussed earlier, it happens. Once you shift back into your physical body there isn’t much you can do about it besides taking an aspirin and dealing with the pain. When you do get hurt astrally projecting however, try to heal yourself magically. Focus and concentrate on healing yourself and like anything else on the astral it should work. If it doesn’t fully heal you, healing yourself prior to returning to your physical body should at least mitigate some of the damage.

What is sleep paralysis and how do I deal with it?

Sleep paralysis is a medically recognized state in which your mind is fully awake yet your body remains in a state of near paralysis as if you were still asleep. While in this state you may be able to move some muscles, although with great difficulty. There are a lot of factors that can cause sleep paralysis, one being astral projection.

If you try to astrally project either from a waking state or from meditation your body will go into a state of sleep paralysis just prior to the projection, although you probably won’t even notice it. If you do find yourself in a state of sleep paralysis, you may be able to easily astrally project out. When coming back from an astral projection you may find yourself in a state of sleep paralysis and this is when it’s going to become a problem. Some astral projectors may never experience sleep paralysis. It would be very rare to experience it every time you astrally projected. However most astral projectors will come back into a state of sleep paralysis at some point in their life.

For most people, when they find themselves in a state of sleep paralysis, their first reaction is to try to fully wake themselves up. This is a very stressful and difficult process, and the fact that they don’t immediately succeed can cause them to panic. If you’ve experienced sleep paralysis in the past, finding yourself in that state can cause a lot of anxiety and make you panic even more. Doing this you’ll eventually get yourself awake, but this is a very stressful and unnecessary process.

When you find yourself in a state of sleep paralysis don’t panic and don’t get anxious. You want to come out of your sleep paralysis slowly and calmly like you’re coming out of a state of deep meditation. Don’t try to wake yourself up and don’t try to move your muscles. Instead relax. You’ll notice that you are breathing. You can’t control your breathing yet, but you will be aware that it’s happening. Focus on your breathing. Pay attention to it. Notice the tempo. Notice how deep or shallow your breaths are. Just focus on it and pay attention to it. You’ll notice after a time that you start to gain some control over your breathing. You can make it shorter or longer. Deep breaths and shallow breaths. Calmly play with your breathing a bit. After a time slowly and calmly try to move some muscles. If you doing well moving your muscles, start moving some more. Open your eyes and sit up, you’re now awake.

I spent a lot of time explaining it, but in reality the whole process will take maybe one or two minutes. You’ll also come to very calmly and peacefully. There won’t be any difficulty or stress. And there won’t be any anxiety the next time you find yourself in a state of sleep paralysis.

What is the doppleganger phenomena?

A very small percentage of people who astrally project claim to have experienced the doppleganger phenomena. More than likely it will never happen to you. The doppleganger phenomena happens pretty much exclusively to people astrally project very frequently. It typically occurs when they are sleeping or astrally projecting, although in a very few cases it has happened while they were completely awake. What happens is that they appear to people in a place that they are not. This appearance usually occurs in a place they frequent and would normally be at, such as at their home or at work. They are almost always seen performing a common task they frequently perform, such as vacuuming the floor or fixing a sandwich. The doppleganger can be engaged in conversation, and when they are they tend to answer and act just like the person would, and have full knowledge of their memories and feelings. Like I said, the actual person is in a completely different place, has no knowledge of the event occurring, has no memory of any astral projection or dream of the occurrence, and usually only finds out about it after the person or people who saw them bring up the event to them later.

As far as I know, no one has yet figured out what the doppleganger phenomena is. It is an extremely rare occurrence though, so most people never have an opportunity to explore a first hand account. I’ve never heard of the doppleganger phenomena having a negative impact on a person (other than people thinking you’re crazy because you claim not to have been where you clearly were). The doppleganger never does or says anything the actual person wouldn’t, and they never seem to take life altering actions. On the contrary they tend to do typical, repetitive tasks and engage in casual conversation. This event doesn’t seem to be a prelude to any sort of attack or attempt to take over their life. And it almost always seems to happen in singular instances. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I’ve yet to hear of an account where a person had this happen to them twice in their lifetime.

Koans in Practical Usage

March 23, 2010

Koans are specific to Zen Buddhism, although they can be incorporated and used in the spiritual practices of most practitioners. A Koan has two specific uses. The first use is as a spiritual exercise for the practitioner. The second use is as a test to gage the enlightenment and spiritual attainment of the practitioner.

When Koans have entered into Western practices, they have unfortunately been misrepresented in what they are meant to be and how they are meant to be used. A Koan will usually come in the form of a question. Sometimes it will also have an answer to the question. Often times this question and answer will be phrased into a very short story. A koan will, at a glance, appear to be nonsense or have no meaning. However it will actually have a very deep meaning. This meaning can only be determined through spiritual attainment, and often times koans are meditated on in order for the meaning to be derived.

The first misrepresentation is that a koan is a meditative tool. It is a thing without meaning that you’re supposed to meditate on to bring your mind to a state of nothingness and clarity. However meditating on nonsense to bring yourself to a mental void doesn’t really work that well in practice. Doing that isn’t going to bring about the kind of success a person usually wants. It’s also a tactic that would be tried by someone that isn’t very comfortable and experienced with meditation. That’s not something most would expect to find in the toolbox of a zen master. Also koans do have a meaning. They only appear as nonsense.

The second misrepresentation is that a koan is a sort of riddle. It’s not a riddle, although it is like a riddle in some ways, which may be how the confusion starts. Unlike a riddle, you will not be able to solve a koan with your mental prowess. It isn’t a matter of paying close attention to the wording and the meaning can’t be deduced and there isn’t a logical explanation. However it is like a riddle in a few ways. A riddle is a test of your mental prowess. It also practices your mental abilities and solving a riddle makes you more intelligent. In the same way a koan is a test of your spiritual prowess, and solving a koan increases your spiritual attainment. The difference between spiritual and mental prowess I’ll get more into when I start talking about what a koan is.

Finally the third misrepresentation is that a koan is a thing that can be understood if you understand the history and concepts of Zen Buddhism, or Buddhism in general, or Chinese language and culture.¬† Now most of the most famous koans come out of Zen Buddhism and were written in China. If you have a good grasp of these things, you will have a better understanding of the koans, at least in regards as to what is written on the page. You’ll also have a better understanding of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Journey to the West, or any other piece of Chinese literature. However you don’t need an understanding of these things in order to understand most koans (and some printed editions come with cliff notes for each koan to help you with these things). What I’m saying is that koans do not have blinds. This is an aspect of Western occultism, where there is information that is meant for the enlightened only, and the information won’t make sense unless you have a firm grasp of the basic concepts of the system. Understanding Zen Buddhism will not give you the tools you need to understand a koan.

So how does a koan work. A koan is filled with deep spiritual meaning if you can understand it, and your goal is to find that meaning. And there is more than one right answer. Koans can have multiple meanings. Koans can also have many different layers, with the meaning changing and evolving the deeper you get. Also each person is a vessel and medium through which the koan’s meaning is expressed, and so this expression will differ with each person.

Koans are generally solved through meditation. Being able to focus on the koan, to concentrate on it, and to look inside yourself and pull answers out of yourself is at the very beginning of solving the koan. You need to be able to do several other things though. For one you should be able to pull the energy off the koan. This will help you get an idea of what it feels like, what its creator was feeling and thinking, what it connects to, and it will help you read the very hidden subtext of it. You also need to be able to channel outward. Not just being able to speak to other things to get their opinion on it, but also being able to channel in the sense that you can access the storehouses of information that are out there. And if you can do that correctly, you should be able to find the connections, which can’t be derived logically, that you need to understand the meaning of the piece. And then you actually do need to have both the mental capacity and an understanding of life, the universe, and everything to the point where you can actually understand all of this information and what it means. Then you also need to be capable enough to express this meaning, at least to yourself if not to others.

There are several different collections of koans that have been put together. Two of the most famous classic collections are the Blue Cliff Record and the Gateless Gate. An English translation of these two works exists together in a book called “Two Zen Classics”. In addition to the koans, it also has a translation of the commentary that comes with it. My only problem lies with the notes. Sometimes they’re great, giving information on history, culture, and Buddhism that pertain to the koan. I do think that it’s lacking in regards to information on the actual translation choices chosen. But at other times the notes try to interpret the koan or the commentary, essentially providing a modern commentary on the koans. I think it’s unnecessary to do this, and I find this particular commentary to be from someone who does not fully understand the meaning of the koans. I also have to comment on the print quality of the book, which is not up to par considering the price of the book. On most pages the print is just fine, but in my copy there are definite printing errors where ink is smeared across the entire page.

16 Common Incenses and Their Uses

March 22, 2010

Incense is one of the more common magical tools. Many practitioners use incense for nearly every magical act, from simple meditations to elaborate rituals. It’s not that its a very powerful or versatile tool, but it is a fairly useful one. Incense utilizes our sense of smell to help align both the practitioner and the area in which it is burned with a desired mood and energy. Some common uses for incense include:

-In spellwork and ritual incense is often burned to help raise energy, adjust the energy of the area, and/or aid the practitioner in achieving trance.

-In meditation incense is burned to help the practitioner achieve states of clarity, focus, and/or calm.

-Incense is often used as an aid to achieve astral projection and lucid dreaming.

-In cleansings and exorcisms incense is burned to purify or sanctify an area.

-Preferable incense can be burned to attract certain types of entities to an area, where as deplorable incense can be burned to repel certain types of entities from an area.

-When contacting a deity, incense which is associated with the deity is often burned both as an offering and show of respect for the deity and also to help the practitioner make a connection with the deity.

-Since incense is burned, a fire elemental can be summoned into it and held for spellwork.

-Incense can also help us connect into the ideas and energies it is associated with.

There are literally thousands of types of incense out there. Even discounting the weird blends they sell, there are still hundreds of different types of incense that can be bought, some of which are only slight variations of each other, if you’re lucky enough to have a good store nearby. If not, for instance if you’re buying your incense at the grocery store, you’ll have a much more limited selection. I’ve put together attributions for sixteen scents which are fairly common and I’ve seen most of these in stick form at the grocery store. Most everyone should be able to find at least ten of these, if not all sixteen. These sixteen are also some of the more useful types you’ll find too.

16 Common Incenses

Amber – Represents both knowledge and history. Amber is good for meditations in which you’re seeking to discover information. It’s also very good for past life regressions and divinations into the past. Air associative.

Cedarwood –
Cedar, like all wood incenses, is fire associative. It’s also generally seen as an incense denoting strength or power. It’s proper to burn this incense in a fort or castle, within an army prior to battle, or in a newly built or dedicated temple to announce ones strength and to push this strength outward into the world. It’s also a good incense for spells meant to increase virility in men.

Cinnamon –
Cinnamon is by far the most useful incense and also one of the easiest to find. To start, cinnamon is fire associative, which makes it a good choice when dealing with fire elementals and also useful for communing with fire associative deities (like Mars). It’s also associated with passion, lust, and sexual desire, which makes it good for lust spells, aphrodisiac spells, and a good choice to burn during sex. But the thing that really sets it apart is cinnamon is really good at raising energy. If you’re trying to raise energy, cinnamon is the incense you want to burn. If you want to do a very powerful spell or ritual, it’s good to burn cinnamon to help get the energy you’ll need to pull it off. Because more energy isn’t going to hurt a spell, cinnamon is a good standard incense for any spellwork or ritual. About the only time you wouldn’t want to use cinnamon is when either the fire attribute or the lust attribute would be undesirable in a given spell (such as when evoking a water elemental or when casting certain types of love spells).

Frankincense – Frankincense promotes calm and peace. It’s commonly used to relieve stress and anxiety. However it is also useful in ending conflicts and arguments, reestablishing a friendship that has ended due to conflicts (as opposed to neglect), bringing peace and resolution to enemies, and bringing peace and resolution to warring factions. It also alleviates the tension of a tense situation. In all instances, the purpose of frankincense is to end any conflict or tension and bring about a state of peace and calm. Because of its nature frankincense is often used as both a general incense for religious rituals and as an aid for meditation. Frankincense is also believed to have many healing properties, and these are related to relieving conflicts and stresses within ones body which lead to illness.

Ginger – Ginger is fire associative. It’s good for spells which incite desire or lust.

Jasmine – Jasmine is both night and love associative. Although Jasmine is associated with love, it is not associated with sex or sex appeal, although it is associated with beauty. This is where Jasmine starts to differentiate itself from Rose. In love spells, where Rose tends to utilize the entire spectrum of romance, Jasmine is more concerned with the mental and emotional connections, and although Jasmine can bring forth someone who is beautiful, this beauty is often an inner-beauty, a beauty of character, in other words someone who you would find beautiful. This also makes Jasmine a very good incense for spells which are meant to promote friendship.

Lavender –
Lavender promotes beauty. It’s a good incense for glamours and lures, and also a good incense for magick intended to actually make one more attractive. It also works well for love spells, spells meant to attract a mate, and it is a good incense to burn during romantic situations. Water associative.

Lotus – Generally associated with mental clarity, increased focus, and heightened intelligence. Because of these properties Lotus is often seen as ideal for meditation. Air associative.

Musk – Musk is Earth associative. It’s a good incense for restoring balance and order, realigning ones energies, sealing portals, creating barriers and protections, and removing the influences of negative magick. It’s also a good incense to burn to Saturn. Musk is also associated with chthonic deities and the underworld. It’s more concerned with underworld energies and accessing the underworld than bringing forth the dead. It’s a good incense to burn for certain underworld entities.

Myrrh – More than anything Myrrh is sun associative. It is often also seen as having a heavenly attribute or being of the gods. It was traditionally used as a funerary incense, but this is derived from its use to elevate one to the heavens or to curry favor with the gods, or to promote a renewal into ones next life as the sun renews itself each day, not because of a chthonic association. Because of its divine attribution, myrrh is often seen as an incense of purification and exorcism, although this has been embellished quite a bit by its prominence in Christian ritual. More than anything Myrrh acts as an amplifier for whatever spell is being performed because of its sun association. It should be noted that due to its divine association, Myrrh is a poor choice for amplifying magic which is done against the will of the gods. Myrrh is a good incense to burn to sun associative gods such as Helios, Apollo, or Ra.

Nag Champa – Nag Champa is a sacred incense (it’s a blend which consists partly of Sandalwood). Nag Champa can be burned for many of the same reasons as Sandalwood. It can be used to sanctify or purify an area. It’s also a good general purpose incense for spiritual matters. This includes acts like meditation and seeking spiritual enlightenment or evolution.

Opium – Opium is dream associative. Opium is a good incense to burn for any spell involving dreaming or sleep in any way, including spells meant to induce lucid dreaming or prophetic dreams. It’s also a good incense to burn to dream and sleep associative deities such as Morpheus.

Patchouli –
The strong smell of patchouli makes it ideal for masking the smell of pot, which is its primary usage. It’s considered happy or joy associative, and it tends to attract fae creatures.

Rose –
Rose is associative with love, sex, and desire. It’s a good incense to burn to deities that are associated with love, like Venus and Aphrodite. It’s also a good incense for love spells, spells concerned with inciting desire like lures and glamours, and spells that are meant to bring forth your desires.

Sandalwood – Sandalwood is fire and water associative along with being seen as the divine wood. Because of this Sandalwood is a good incense to burn for any deity, and it’s also a good incense to use to purify or sanctify an area.

Vanilla – Vanilla is air associative, and it’s a good general incense to burn to represent the element of air. Specifically vanilla associates with mental thought, intelligence, and all abilities conferred by these things. The incense is a good choice to burn for deities that are typically looked upon as being concerned with intelligence, like Hermes or Thoth.

Incenses and their Elemental attributions

Amber –> Air
Cedarwood –> Fire
Cinnamon –> Fire
Frankincense –> Water
Ginger –> Fire
Jasmine –> Water, to a lesser extent earth.
Lavender –> Water
Lotus –> Air
Musk –> Earth
Myrrh –> Spirit (Akasha)
Nag Champa –> All Five Elements*
Opium –> Air
Patchouli –> Fire & Earth, probably water too.
Rose –> Water, To a lesser extent fire**
Sandalwood –> Fire & Water***
Vanilla –> Air

*Is spirit associative, in the sense that it encompasses all of the four other elements.
**This refers to general or red rose incense. White rose differs in attribution.
***Also seen as spirit associative, in the sense that it is equally water and fire.