Astral travel exercises are a way to have out-of-body experiences. Mystics have practiced them for thousands of years to consciously leave the body.
In an out-of-body experience a person is conscious and aware of being outside their body. There are many ancient and modern accounts of this phenomenon. In them, people can receive direct spiritual guidance and insight in another dimension of life. Descriptions of visions, divine visitations, and metaphysical journeys and encounters in ancient teachings and legends are often references to out-of-body experiences. It’s possible to have mystical experiences like this today as a means to seek spiritual knowledge.1
While out-of-body experiences can happen spontaneously, astral exercises are used to cause them intentionally. In the Religion of the Sun, astral travel is used to aid in one’s spiritual journey. It can be practiced to:
- Find out if, and how, one exists beyond the body
- Meet and commune with spiritual beings
- Receive personal spiritual guidance
- Learn about the process of life and death
- Gain insight into one’s inner level and personal obstacles to spiritual development
The headings below give more information on the process and practice of astral travel as well as references to it in spiritual texts (click to expand and read). Beneath them is a list of posts on various exercises, practices, and techniques for astral travel that can be tried, sourced from ancient sacred texts related to the Religion of the Sun.
The process of leaving the body is very natural. Every person’s psychology (their consciousness and subconscious) separates from the body every time they sleep and enters another dimension of life called the astral plane, where they are free from physical constraints, and where dreams happen. Everyone returns to their physical body when they wake up.2
However, people usually enter the astral plane in a dream-state without clarity or self-awareness. This happens due to being absorbed in thoughts and emotions while going to sleep, which causes people to become immersed in hazy dream imagery produced by the mind and subconscious. In this state someone perceives very little of what’s really there objectively. Whatever is seen is often unclear or jumbled due to subconscious influences, and often not much is remembered on waking for the same reason.3
In an out-of-body experience, however, a person is conscious and aware of being outside their body, and can act and move about willfully with the same level of awareness they have in daily life, except without physical limitations (they can float, fly, pass through walls etc). When a person experiences astral travel, they are in the same place they normally go when they sleep, just with a greater level of conscious awareness. Things can look as clear and vivid as they do in everyday life, sometimes more so, and a person can remember everything that happens just as they normally would in daily life.4
The Multidimensional Nature of Life
Astral travel is possible because creation is multidimensional – various ancient spiritual and esoteric traditions have held that other planes of reality exist above and below the material world,5 and scientists today also theorize the existence of other dimensions.6 Because life is multidimensional, people are too.7 The many accounts of out-of-body experiences, both ancient and contemporary, show that human beings have an existence beyond the material world, a reality many religious teachings have also described.8
The astral plane is said to exist in the fifth dimension, above the dimensions of space and time, where a person’s psychology is based and thoughts and emotions originate. An out-of-body experience in the astral plane is called astral travel. However, it’s also possible, although generally much more difficult, to have an out-of-body experience in other dimensions of life, both higher and lower.9
Practicing astral exercises allows someone to enter sleep in a different way, that is, consciously. A practitioner simply focuses their attention while falling asleep in order to maintain self-awareness while their body transitions into sleep – this means they’re in a lucid frame of mind and consciously aware when they naturally leave the body with sleep. This allows someone to enter the astral plane with self-awareness and explore and experience it consciously – which is known as astral travel.
This is done by deeply relaxing the body and focusing one’s attention on an astral exercise while going to sleep until the natural separation occurs. All astral exercises work by relaxing, remaining still, and calmly focusing one’s attention on a specific thing, and sustaining that focus while falling asleep. What is focused on varies according to the exercise: it could be one’s own heart, a mantra repeated in the mind or a visualization of the stars or the place one wishes to travel to. (Some specific exercises extracted from ancient texts linked to the Religion of the Sun are listed below this article.)
In each attempt, a practitioner keeps to using just one exercise/point of focus, so their attention is not divided. Success requires learning to remain still, calm, relaxed and focused throughout the exercise, because tension, movement and an agitated mind can prevent sleep and the separation from happening, while a wandering mind can cause a person to doze off unconsciously. Patience is also vital, as it can take several attempts and consistent practice to get right, just like any new skill.
In ancient sacred texts astral travel is often described in a symbolic or coded way.10 For example, a passage in the Gospel of Peace explains that if “in the moments before… sleep” the mind and thoughts are focused “as the bow of the skillful archer” one can “send the arrow where he wills.” If the “thoughts before sleep” are focused on “the bright and glorious stars” one can “Enter the Holy Stream of Light… breaking free from the bonds of Earth.”11 Similarly, an extract from the hermetic text The Vision of Hermes, tells of using meditation to free one’s “higher consciousness from the bondage of… bodily senses” to reveal “the mysteries of the transcendental spheres.”12
A passage in the Mahabharata, an ancient Hindu text, describes how a spiritual practitioner “remains always awake” (i.e. in a state of awareness) even in sleep and dreams, and in this way enters sleep in a “dreamless slumber… and becomes transformed into a wakeful witness with certainty of apprehension.”13 Another passage describes attaining a “state of peace and purification of heart… by practising concentration of mind in the evening and small hours of the night.”14
However, ancient sacred texts more often describe spiritual visions that take place in out-of-body experiences, rather than the means to have them. Astral travel practices were often taught secretly to those who were initiated. This is implied in the Vision of Hermes cited above, where the vision occurred after he “freed his higher consciousness from the bondage of his bodily senses” by “Following the secret instructions of the Temple”, which are not specified in the text.
Perhaps the most famous literary description of a vision in an out-of-body experience is found in The Book of Revelation, in which Jesus’ disciple John describes a divine being visiting him while he was “in the spirit” who showed him a profound vision.15 This is likely a reference to an out-of-body experience, as these can take place in higher, more spiritual, dimensions of life where one is free from bodily constraints (hence being “in the spirit”) and where it’s possible to see and commune with spiritual beings directly.
Listed here are texts related to the Religion of the Sun where references to astral travel can be found (note this is a work in progress and will be expanded as further research is conducted):
- Poimandres, in the Corpus Hermeticum
- The Essene Gospel of Peace, Book 4, The Holy Streams
- The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Markandeya-Samasya Parva: Section CCXII (Translation by K.M. Ganguli)
- The Mahabharata, Book 6: Bhishma Parva: Bhagavat-Gita Parva: Section XXXII (Translation by K.M. Ganguli)
- The Mahabharata, Book 12: Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva: Section CCXVI, (Translation by K.M. Ganguli)
- Lines 326-350, Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave
- The Astral Codex by Belsebuub
- The Awakening of Perception by Belsebuub
- Concentration and Visualization for Astral Projection and Meditation by Belsebuub
- Gazing into the Eternal by Belsebuub
Photo at top of page © Julian Kingman (used with permission)
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex: Using Dreams and Out-Of-Body Experiences on a Spiritual Journey, (Mystical Life Publications, 5th edition March 2016) p. 11-21.
- Ibid, p. 43-44, 82.
- Ibid, p. 17, 81-82 (The chapter “The Influence of the Psyche” p. 107-125, provides an in-depth explanation of subconscious influences on dreams and astral experiences).
- Ibid, p. 15-19, 46-48, 61-70.
- “Plane (esotericism),” Wikipedia.org. Accessed 14 August 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plane_(esotericism).
- Strange behavior of quantum particles may indicate the existence of other parallel universes.” Phys.org – News and Articles on Science and Technology. Accessed August 14, 2017. https://phys.org/news/2015-06-strange-behavior-quantum-particles-parallel.html.
- Belsebuub, The Astral Codex, p. 107-125.
- Ibid, p. 15-23.
- Ibid. p. 22-23.
- Ibid. p. 1-2.
- Edmond Bordeaux Szekely (translator and editor), The Essene Gospel of Peace, http://www.essene.com/GospelOfPeace/TheHolyStreams.htm.
- “The Vision of Hermes.” Translation from The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall (1928), http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta08.htm.
- Kisari Mohan Ganguli (translator), The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Book 12: Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva: Section CCXVI, (published between 1883 and 1896), http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/maha/.
- Ibid. Book 3: Vana Parva: Markandeya-Samasya Parva: Section CCXII.
- Revelation 1:10-11 (ASV).