Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The "Almost Move" Technique

The "Almost Move" Technique

by Bob Peterson

Different people require different techniques in order to induce OBEs. What works for one person often doesn't work for another. So I'm always researching new OBE techniques, not only by reading OBE books, but also experimenting with new techniques.

Here is a simple OBE technique I've used a few times lately, with a fair amount of success. I won't claim to have invented it, but I don't recall many other authors talking about it.

Step 1 - Preparation.

As usual, make your attempts in the morning when you're fresh and not sleepy. Choose a quiet and distraction-free location. Lie down on your back, face up, hands comfortably resting on your hips. Take a few deep breaths.

Step 2 - Close your Eyes and Relax Completely.

Close your eyes and relax your body as much as possible. If possible, relax your body until you can't even feel your body anymore.

Step 3 - Imagine Your Body Is Paralyzed.

When your body is totally relaxed, imagine that your body is paralyzed. It doesn't need to be paralyzed; you just need to imagine that it is.

Step 4 - Pick a Part of your Body to Move.

This will probably work with any body part, but for now, I recommend one of three methods of movement. Either:
  1. Pick both shoulders to be moved simultaneously up and down (not shrugging, but similar to throwing the shoulders forward).
  2. Pick to move the left shoulder, then the right shoulder (almost like pivoting), alternating.
  3. Pick to move both arms, pivoting at the elbows.

I've had success with all three, but I prefer #2.

Step 5 - Drift down into a light trance.

Once you've picked a type of movement, just let your mind relax and let go, drifting off into a light trance where you're staring off into space.

Step 6 - Imagine Moving Those Body Parts An Infinitesimal Amount.

Here's where things get tricky and hard to explain. You want to come as close as you can to moving the body parts you've chosen in step 4, without actually moving them. You want to try to physically move your physical body, but only the tiniest amount you can possibly imagine. How tiny? You don't want to move a hundredth of an inch (or centimeter); that's too much. You don't want to move your body a thousandth of an inch (or centimeter); that's too much. Even a millionth of an inch (or centimeter) is too much. In fact, the amount you want to move is exactly zero inches (zero centimeters).

Every time you move your shoulders (or arms) like this, use your intent: Intend that your astral body moves rather than the physical, and imagine that it's physically moving.

Repeat this over and over: moving your shoulders (or pivoting your arms at the elbows) zero inches, with the intent of your astral body moving.

Alternative method: If you have a hard time imagining that your body is moving forward and backward, instead, pretend that someone (like a helper or guardian angel) is hovering above you, and they repeatedly push your left shoulder down, then your right shoulder down, then repeat that motion so that it seems like they are almost rocking you to sleep by pressing on your shoulders.

If you can imagine this vividly enough, this method can move your astral body out of alignment from your physical body. Either that or it can also induce the vibrations. From there, you can follow my advice on What To Do When The Vibrations Hit.

29 March 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Review: Wake Up Church!

Review: Wake Up Church!

by Marilyn Schrock

Today I'm reviewing Wake Up Church! The Enemy Is Within Your Gates: Astral Projection and the Church by Marilyn Schrock.

A Facebook friend told me about this book; I was previously unaware of its existence. Naturally, I had to buy it for my collection. It's a small book in physical size,and only 70 pages long.

Make no mistake: This book teaches that Astral Projection is evil, evil, evil. But since I always try to keep an open mind, I'm willing to examine the evidence. If astral projection is evil, I want to know exactly why, and I want substance to back it up. I've had many conversations with many Christians over the years and none have managed to convince me.

Nearly two years ago, in April, 2014, I wrote an article on my blog titled Are OBEs Against Christianity? In one word: No. I ended the article with these words:
"...don't tell me OBE is evil or against the Bible unless you have specific biblical passages to back it up....If you do, send them to me, because I'd love to know: bob@robertpeterson.org"

So when I heard about this book, I thought, "Okay, Marilyn Schrock, you say Astral Projection is evil, so bring it on. Convince me. Let's see what evidence you use to support your claims."

Does Schrock have any biblical passages to back up her claims? No. Not one. Sure, she presents plenty of biblical passages from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, but none of them talk about astral projection. Not even close. With a genuine desire to learn, every time I read a reference from the Bible, I brought out my handy dandy KJV Bible and looked it up (I always carry several versions of the Bible with me at all times: It's an app on my phone). Every single Bible passage she referenced: not one shred of evidence points to OBEs being evil. So let's get into the thick of it, shall we?

In chapter 1, What Is Astral Projection, Schrock writes:
"The astral projector goes illegally into the spirit world." (pg. 3)
And yet she does not cite which law is being broken, nor any Biblical passage to back up her claim. She writes:
"Some astral projectors claim they only do "white" or good projection while other astral projectors do "black" or evil projection." (pg. 5)
I've read almost 200 books on astral projection, and I've not seen that claim once, nor have I heard such a thing in any of the 36 years of conversations I've had on the topic with people, including many famous astral projectors like William Buhlman, Albert Taylor, and Kurt Leland. She claims:
"Astral projection is a very real and serious enemy of the church. Isaiah 59:19 promises us, 'When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.'" (pg. 7)
But she doesn't say what makes it a threat, and again, no passages from the Bible to support her claim. While Isaiah 59:19 is cited, the actual passage has nothing to do with astral projection. She claims:
"Those with unholy soul ties, pawns of projectors and astral projectors have their real voices overridden and shut down by the demonic. Their "yea" is not a yea and their "nay" is not a nay (James 5:12, KJV). James also tells us a double-minded man will receive nothing from the Lord (James 1:7-8)" (pg. 17)
But Neither James 5:12 nor James 1:7-8 says anything about astral projection. She claims:
"Astral projection is a high form of witchcraft. It is strictly forbidden by Scripture and is rebellion and lawlessness (1 Sam 15:23)." (pg. 21)
But that passage at 1 Samuel 15:23 says:
 "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hast also rejected thee from being king." (1 Sam 15:23)
I also read several passages before and after this quote, and it says absolutely nothing about astral projection or out-of-body experiences. Her claims about astral projection being a high form of witchcraft are completely unfounded and unsubstantiated. I've never practiced witchcraft a day in my life, and the Bible never calls it out as witchcraft. She claims:
"The Harry Potter book and movie series are primers on witchcraft. These books and movies have astral projection throughout them. Yet, these books are touted as good children's literature--to deceive even the elect (Matt. 24:24.) One intercessor and leader said, "With Harry Potter, now astral projection is out of the closet." (pg. 27)
Really? I haven't read all the Harry Potter books, but I have seen all the movies and I don't recall astral projection in a single one of them. Even if there was, it's fiction: it proves nothing. She says:
"In reality, it costs a high price. You can lose your soul and hell awaits." (pg. 27)
Again, there's no passage in the Bible to back up this ridiculous claim. She claims:
"All astral projection is a form of witchcraft. Witchcraft is from the pit of hell and the devil. There is no gray area." (pg. 31)
Again, she gives no passage in the Bible to back up this claim.

In chapter 10, ("Astral Projection Provides the Cover to Commit The 'Perfect Crime') she talks about a Jamaican pastor who supposedly gave her a lot of "information" about astral projection. He taught her:
"The astral projector has to pay money to their demons to keep their powers. The demon requires a specific amount and it must be paid on time! The astral projector has to lay the cash in a specific place in their home for the demon to come and pick it up at a set time. This is essential or the demon attacks the astral projector. This is why astral projectors always say they are broke no matter how much money they earn. They can't keep it." (pg. 38)
Wow. That's quite a claim. Again, in almost 200 books and countless conversations, I've never heard of such a payment. I've certainly never laid out cash for a demon, and I've never been attacked as she describes. I've certainly never been broke either; I've always had a good job in the computer industry and never had money problems since college. I've never once said I was broke. Maybe they run things differently in Jamaica? Her claims get even more absurd. The same Jamaican pastor taught that:
"The astral projector must kill a family member with astral projection to gain power. (There is a similar requirement to becoming a witch doctor in Ghana, West Africa...)" (pg. 38)

She also claims:
"Pastor told us that astral projectors can turn themselves into animals, frogs, lizards, etc., to gain access and open doorways into others' life and property." (pg. 39)
Although there are occasional reports of astral shape-shifting, it's not a matter of gaining access to anything, since in the out-of-body state, you could just stroll right into people's private lives regardless. Unless she means physically, right? If so, I've never heard such a ridiculous claim.

In chapter 11 ("Come Out From Among Them") she tries to claim that astral projectors have relationship problems, and that it even leads to abuse. She says, for example:
"Anyone who has been married to an astral projector knows that to leave will bring on reprisal and retaliation. There is a fierce battle that goes on and they have great fear." (pg. 41)
Again, this is a ridiculous claim. I've never come across a single correlation between astral projection and abuse. I've certainly never abused my wife, nor she me, but more about my marriage later.

In chapter 13 ("How to Overcome Astral Projector Attackers") she claims:
"Astral projection qualifies as a work of the devil! It is evil!" (pg. 53)
Again, no Bible passages are given to substantiate her outrageous claims. In nearby passages, she quotes Luke 10:17-19 but those passages say absolutely nothing about astral projection.

In chapter 14 ("How to Set Captives Free From Astral Projection") she writes:
"Astral projectors are deceived because astral-projecting demons have held captive, kidnapped, bound up, and tied together the projector's soul and spirit into one unit and project out both together." (pg. 59)
Like her other claims, this is given as a statement of fact with nothing behind it. As a matter of fact, most astral projectors claim a separation between the astral body, etheric body, and other bodies. Nothing "bound up" about it! She claims:
"Astral projection is the UTMOST rebellion against the Lord and against His creation because it is against the image of God in man. Astral projectors deceive others, but they are the ones who are most deceived. They came into agreement with astral projection, but they did not bargain for their soul and spirit to be kidnapped and held captive." (pg. 60).
Again, this blanket statement is completely unsubstantiated, without a single citation from the Bible. On the next page, she states:
"Although astral projectors can use Christian gifts because the gifts and callings are without repentance (Rom. 11:29, KJV), they walk as divided people and are split into more than one personality." (pg. 61)
I don't know of a single study that suggests any correlation between astral projection and DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) also known as MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). If such a correlation existed, it would surely have been cited in the excellent book With The Eyes of the Mind by professional psychiatrists Glenn Gabbard and Stuart Twemlow, which is pretty much dedicated to scientifically comparing out-of-body experiences to personality disorders (none of which have a correlation, by the way).

On page 61, Schrock also makes this ridiculous claim:
"A bound, held-captive projector cannot share their soul or spirit with their spouse or family. Their relationships are shallow and unfulfilling due to a lack of intimacy because of their soul and spirit have been kidnapped by demons." (pg. 61)
False. My wife Kathy and I have happily been married since 1992. In May, 2016, it will be 24 years, and we're still best friends. We never fight and we cuddle every day. For ten years we commuted to the same job (a computer programming department of two), shared the same office, and pretty much spent 23 hours a day together (the 24th hour was a half-hour for each of us to shower). Does this photo from 2009 look like an abusive or unhappy marriage to you?
How about this one from February, 2016?
Well-known OBE author Jurgen Ziewe has been happily married longer than I have. I'm pretty sure William Buhlman's marriage has been a long one too.

The bottom line is: If there was anything in the Bible condemning astral projection or out-of-body experience--or even casting it in a negative light--Schrock would have cited it. Since she didn't, I can only assume that either she doesn't know the Bible very well, or there's nothing in there to reflect negatively on it. I've certainly never found anything, and I've studied the Bible a lot.

With lack of substantial evidence, she's forced to use the only weapon she has: Unsubstantiated claims, which she makes plenty of.

Where did she get the disinformation she's spreading? Certainly not through direct experience, which is where I get most of my information on OBEs. Certainly not from the Bible, or she would have cited it. As far as I can tell, it comes from other similarly brainwashed Christians. She cites a few other authors like Rebecca Brown's book "Prepare for War" and personal conversations with other pastors and "intercessors" as she likes to call them.

As far as I can tell, the sole purpose of this book is to spread FUD, an acronym we use in the computer industry that stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, which is how some companies try to discredit their competition with negativity. Don't fall for it. In the New Testament of the Bible it says:
"15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" (Matthew 7:15-16)
Now ask yourself: What are the fruits of astral projectors? I've never met one person who tried to use it for harm. Most of us use it to explore the afterlife, to become closer to God, to seek the truth, or to deepen their spiritual understanding. Those are the "fruits" of astral projection.

Make no mistake: the only reason radical Christians view OBEs as evil is because it poses a threat: they want a monopoly on spirituality. They know that if you learn how to see the afterlife for yourself--to get your own truth--you won't need them or their ministries. So they put up a wall of fear and disinformation.

The difference between us is this: I will never tell you what to believe; I'll tell you to find the truth for yourself, and try to provide the tools with which you can do so. They'll tell you what to believe.

By the way, not all Christians believe OBEs are evil. There are some very Christian-oriented OBE organizations. One that comes to mind is the Out of Body Travel Foundation founded by Marilynn Hughes, author of many OBE books.

Some people (myself included) have claimed to have used OBEs to contact Jesus Christ himself. For more information, read this article: http://obeoutlook.blogspot.com/2015/12/meeting-jesus-christ-face-to-face.html

This book gets a HUGE thumbs down for disinformation, unsubstantiated claims, and spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). It's hard to imagine sane people can even think that way. And again, I reiterate: If you think OBEs or astral projection are somehow evil or against Christianity, and you have solid evidence to back up that claim, by all means let me know. Until then, I will view OBEs are the very best tool we have for spiritual growth.

Bob Peterson
22 March 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Review: Between the Gates by Mark Stavish

Review: Between the Gates

by Mark Stavish

Today I'm reviewing Between the Gates: Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection, and the Body of Light in Western Esotericism by Mark Stavish. It's a big book, so it's a long book review (sorry!).

There are many approaches to out-of-body experiences, but very few come from the perspective of Western Esotericism in the truest sense. I can only think of one other offhand: Francis King's Techniques of High Magic. That's not counting some better-known "little-explanation" occultists like Ophiel (Marcel Louis Forhan).

In a different book review I mentioned that Jill Lowy's Yoga and the Art of Astral Projection tries to bridge the gap between modern OBE literature and Western Esotericism. Mark Stavish's book is no bridge: it's way deeper into it than Lowy was. What is Esotericism? As Stavish explains it:
"...the study of the cosmos and humanity's place in it, and occultism is the practical application of esoteric philosophy." (pg. 16)

Many people are afraid of anything labeled "occult" or think it's associated with evil, the Devil, or dark magic. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There is nothing Satanic or dark about this book. It's just an OBE recipe book based on age-old traditions from a grab-bag of esoteric sources.

Most "new age" approaches to the OBE are based on Eastern mysticism: Yoga-based meditation, energizing chakras, breath-work (Pranayama), Energy/Chi/Qi circulation, visualizations, and so forth. This book is based more on Western mysticism: Kabballah, and Christian mysticism, and with it, more ritual-based meditation. There is some overlap, but also some surprising differences.

Stavish won my heart right away with stellar quotes. This quote is long, but it's so good I want to share the whole thing:
"Once someone has genuinely encountered the spiritual dimensions of life, the physical one takes on greater vibrancy and, at the same time, less importance. A balance is struck between the importance of experience and the ultimate experience of Being."
"This balance can only be achieved on a personal level. Spirituality is a personal journey of Becoming, and requires commitment and dedication--and a good dose of courage. The methods described in this book have survived under the heels of repressive religious and political institutions for well over a thousand years. In this century alone, National Socialism and communism (Soviet as well as Maoist style) have done more to endanger the spiritual health of the world than Roman Catholic inquisitors or Protestant witch hunters ever did. Even now we are faced with the ultimate fruit of religious teachings that strip the individual of the responsibility of creating a meaningful personal, progressive, interior experience for themselves. Fundamentalism in various forms seeks to turn back the clock in nations around the world. Some of them want a return to the sixth century, and advance their goal through ruthless violence, others through more subtle tact of school boards and soup-kitchen proselytizing. Lesser cults confine themselves to simply buying entire towns in the northwest United States or building bunkers for the end of days. In the end it will not be politics or force of arms that wins the day, but the individual who is unafraid of death, not because of unquestioned teachings, but from direct experience." (pg. xiii)

Here's another quote I really liked, which reminded me of Tom Campbell's "My Big Toe" (which is still on my "must read" pile):
"We could say, simplistically, that Creation is a giant hologram over which we have far more influence than is generally understood or believed. Through proper training, each human being has the potential to be an active creator within this holographic structure (even to the degree that their very thoughts can materialize), thereby increasing their physical, emotional, and mental wholeness." (pg. 44)

I admittedly got into this book with unrealistic expectations. I expected to find deep dark "occult" rituals that were not well explained and had no basis in reality. I expected pentagrams, secret signs, and obscure rituals that had been passed down for hundreds of years from the Rosicrucians, the Golden Dawn and various secret societies, without any basis in modern critical thinking. I was wrong. I expected the obscure and hard-to-understand, but Stavish brings a difficult subject down to Earth beautifully.

Stavish does an amazing job of providing modern explanations of occult principles for people who never studied Western Esotericism. For example, on page 10, he explains the "Guardian of the Threshold" as:
"...the collective energies of our subconscious, the summation of our past experiences in this life and all others, in a single form. This form is our creation and is our personal "devil." It is our judge and jury and also the means by which we understand the purpose of our life. It is this internal, emotional incongruity that is the source of all failure in occult practices and in material circumstances."
"Confidence or an overwhelming positive certitude is required for occult practice to succeed. If we are mentally positive, but emotionally conflicted, then we will fail. Emotions win over ideas every time." (pg. 11)

He explains that there are three main branches of Western Esotericism: Alchemy, Qabala (another way to spell Kabballah), and Astrology, although astrology isn't used for OBEs.

He also explains that there are three types of practioners: the Mystic (or Shaman), the Sage (Priest, Priestess, or Prophet), and the Magus (Magician or Occultist).

He refers to three levels of self: a "Higher Self," a "Middle Self" and a "Lower Self". The Middle Self is the ego we're most familiar with. The Higher Self is the divine self, the God-connected self, or what some call the Holy Guardian Angel. The Lower Self is the animal self that deals with fulfilling worldly needs: breathing, material instincts, and hereditary issues.

He explains the basics of the Kabbalah (ancient Jewish mysticism) and its "tree of life," a diagram used as a kind of map to traverse the non-physical worlds. With this model, according to Stavish, there are:
"...four worlds and ten levels of consciousness, for a total of forty potential specific areas of consciousness, in which to experience a greater degree of complexity and unity of life." (pg. 29)

He explains the various traditions of Western esotericism and how many of them go back to the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus; also known as Hermeticism. He talks a lot about organizations like the Golden Dawn and the Rosicrucians, and even Theosophy. He explains how all this relates to OBEs. But you've got to be into the esoteric to really appreciate it.

He spends a fair amount of time teaching you the Kabbalistic names for the different worlds, the names of God in the Jewish tradition, and the importance of words and names: How they act as a lever for the subconscious.

Many readers are trying to achieve astral projection, and different people need different methods. Some people can achieve focus through meditation or self-hypnosis, while others require rigorous training of the subconscious. That's where "ritual" comes in. Rituals are the mainstay of the occultist. Performing a ritual tells your subconscious "Now I mean business" and demands its attention and cooperation. (That's also why religions are big into rituals.) In my opinion, most of the rituals are geared toward personal empowerment: convincing yourself (more importantly, your subconscious) that you have the power and fortitude to achieve OBE, and that you should accomplish it; that it's your God-given right.
These rituals are not to be undertaken lightly. Stavish explains that you need to be careful about it, to approach it with reverence (again, aimed at the subconscious), and lots of time and dedication. You can't do a ritual once or twice and expect to leave your body. This isn't a 30-day or 90-day program. This is a long dawn-out process that may take years. To give you an idea: In just one of the exercises, he writes:
"It is desirable to spend at least seven cycles (nights) with each planetary symbol, or between six and seven weeks total, working with them as you fall asleep. Added to the previous four or five weeks working with the Elements, this makes nearly three months of nightly work." (pg. 68)
Stavish gives a lot of rituals (one or more for every chapter), but he doesn't just throw them out there like some books. He explains the theory behind the rituals in modern terms. Every ritual is carefully organized into sections:  Preparation, Explanation, Type of Practice, Method, and Incorporation into Daily Practice.

I'd estimate that about a third of the book is devoted to rituals. The rituals aren't all designed to induce OBEs, but he does include several for that purpose. Many of them are just "groundwork," or the basics. His OBE-specific rituals are:
  1. Exteriorization Within the Aura
  2. Using a Pentagram, Aleph, or Shin
  3. Using a Tarot Card
  4. The "Rising on the Planes" technique, of which he states:
"Rising on the Planes constitutes, in many ways, the single most important technique there is in operative magic." (pg. 114)
Many of these rituals involve a concept of the "Body of Light". This is sort of unique to this path and isn't found in many other OBE books. A lot of the rituals are dedicated to "building" or "constructing" a Body of Light to be used as a vehicle for consciousness. Also known as a "simulacrum," this Body of Light can be influenced by outside forces, and can even start to take on a personality of its own. Stavish cautions the reader to keep firm control over the simulacrum, making sure to absorb it back into your body at the end of every ritual. But it is not the same as the astral body. He quotes a book by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki:
"...Some think that it is the same as the astral body, but it is in fact quite different. The astral is an etheric form common to everyone, a Magical Personality is acquired through practice and concentration. The Body of Light is deliberately built for a purpose, another term for it is "cowan." It is not easily formed, some people never manage it, or at least not fully, and once it is formed it can be troublesome, and requires firm handling." (pg. 139)

He goes on to say:
"Ashcroft-Nowicki further states that the Body of Light can acquire a kind of self-consciousness after a period of development." (pg. 139)
There's also a notion that the Body of Light should be built and prepared as a vehicle of consciousness for the next life, the life after death. He states:
"Once freed from the material body, the consciousness of the Middle Self (Ruash) is destabilized as it enters a new environment, unless there has been significant training in meditation, lucid dreaming, astral projection, creating the Body of Light, or practices around death and dying prior to one's death." (pg. 191)
He actually has a fair amount of material devoted to the subject of death, how to prepare for it, and how to help others with their transition. I personally don't agree with much of this discussion; I believe that some form of consciousness and personality survives death, even if you don't spend time building a Body of Light. That's just based on the fact that I've had countless OBEs despite having never performed the rituals, nor tried to consciously build a Body of Light.

Stavish also spends a fair amount of time talking about the infamous occult figure Aleister Crowley (who called himself the Beast of the apocalypse from Revelations), and his views on astral projection, which I found fascinating. He made Crowley sound almost like an ordinary guy who was just trying to share "secret" occult methods with the world; kind of the Edward Snowden of occultism.

Unfortunately, Stavish does not give any OBE narratives or personal experiences, so all this discussion and all these rituals became--for me--just theories and conjecture.

Although this was a fascinating and educational look into the world of Western Esotericism and how it relates to OBEs, I tend to think it's a bit too complex for the typical OBE reader who just wants a taste.

This is a good sized book: The pages are large, the print and margins are comfortable, and it's 243 pages, so it takes a while to read. Due to the subject matter, it takes a while longer to digest. It is professionally and expertly written. There were almost no mistakes, typos or grammar problems. It's also expertly organized. Every chapter also includes a summation of "Key Points" which are very helpful.

I give this book a thumbs up, but only for a limited target audience. If you're into rituals, the occult, and Western Esotericism, this book is for you. If you're not into regimented rituals, look elsewhere. If you're a dabbler, just curious, or just want some basic information on OBEs, this is the wrong book for you.

Bob Peterson
08 March 2016