Monday, September 4, 2023

Review: The Study and Practice of Astral Projection

The Study and Practice of Astral Projection

by Robert Crookall

Today I’m reviewing The Study and Practice of Astral Projection: The Definitive Survey on out-of-the-body experiences by Robert Crookall.

The book is copyright 1960, which makes it older than even Robert Monroe’s books. This was one of the first books I read on the subject in the 1980s.

If I had to sum up this book in a few words, I’d say two things: first, that it’s mostly out-of-body narratives (people’s personal experiences) and second, that it was one of the earliest attempts at a “definitive” survey on OBEs, surpassed only by William Buhlman’s outstanding book from 2001, The Secret of the Soul.

If you've been following my blog, you know how much I love OBE narratives. In fact, reading them before bed often helps people induce their own OBEs. This book has got them.

Crookall divides this book into two sections: Natural OBEs and Enforced OBEs. The "natural" OBEs are divided into 4 groups: cases in which the people nearly died (NDEs), were very ill, were exhausted, and were in good health. The "enforced" OBEs are those induced by anesthetics, suffocation, falling, hypnosis, etc. There are also several appendixes. In fact, the appendixes make up about a third of the book:

  1. History of the subject (which is only rivaled by Anthony Peake's excellent book, The Out of Body Experience).
  2. Additional details.
  3. Incomplete natural experiences.
  4. Certain "dreams" that may be OBEs.
  5. Statements of the "dead" regarding their experiences (from spirit mediums).
  6. Statements of the "dead" regarding sleep (from spirit mediums).
  7. Arnold Bennett's resume of Theosophical Teachings.
  8. "Thought Forms".
  9. Evidence, Direct and Indirect.

The first time I read this book, I was fascinated by the OBE narratives and the science behind the analysis, but in retrospect, I could never have fully appreciated the book because I didn't have the history or context I do today. Today I can fully appreciate the book. Unbeknownst to me when I read it in the 1980s, Crookall gives astral projection narratives (and summaries) from some of the biggest names in the genre: Sylvan Muldoon, Oliver Fox, Yram, Horace Leaf, Frederick Sculthorp, Vincent Turvey, Alexandra David-Neel, etc.

Crookall doesn't give many techniques to induce the OBE state. I only found one, on page 74:

"My method is to imagine the astral body vibrating faster and faster--to imagine it so hard that I can actually feel it." (pg. 74)

He does, however, give a few hints here and there, such as:

"Prolonged illness and fasting are among the factors that favour the production of these experiences." (pg. 21)

"It is just as if the astral body were a train seeking an opportunity to slip away without its passenger--which does seem to be the case, for I find that if I let my attention wander for only a moment, all is lost, and I am asleep." (pg. 75)

In chapter 24 of my first book, when I described my preferred technique, I stressed the need to make your mind completely blank, devoid of thoughts and emotions. (You can read it at this link.) Not many AP/OBE books talk about that. So I was pleasantly surprised to find this in the narrative for Case 78:

"She said, 'When entirely quiescent, one seems to move out of the Physical Body.'" (pg. 82)

With so many narratives, the book also contains some interesting cases of OBEs in which verifiable evidence was obtained. For example,

"...He said that he woke just before 7 a.m. feeling as if he were fully dressed and that he suddenly saw my room, with me in bed. The only unusual thing he noticed was that the white cot, which was generally in the nursery, was at the foot of our bed with the child in it. He whistled to me, and leaned over the cot. The child sat up and spoke and he was turning to come over to me when he heard a tap at the door and the whole thing vanished...The times were identical and he could not possibly have known that the child's cot was in my room unless he had seen it. I had not told him that the child was ailing." (pg. 108)

Here's another:

"While unconscious, she felt herself leave her body and immediately found herself in her husband's bedroom, at home, many miles distant from the hotel. A man, a friend and neighbour, was asleep in the same room as her husband. Leaning against the head of the bed was a stout cudgel which had some bark still attached. The room itself was in great disorder. She stroked her husband's face and tried to awaken his friend. But she remained unobserved by them...[After returning to her body]...
The doctor told her that she had been given up as dead. She described her experience. The doctor checked up with the story and every detail was verified. It turned out that her husband's friend had come to spend the evening at the house. During his visit a rat ran across the floor. They hunted it with a club which had part of the bark on. They upset furniture in doing so. The friend stayed the night, the club being left handy in case the rat returned during the night." (pgs. 131-132) 

The book is 234 pages long with small font and big margins. There's plenty of material there to satisfy.

The writing and editing are professional, but the material is outdated. I only found a few minor typos. I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
05 September 2023

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews



Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Astral Projection Podcasts 2023

Astral Projection Podcasts 2023

by Bob Peterson

When it comes to astral projection/out-of-body experiences there's a lot of information in books and other written forms, but many people don't want to spend the time to read. They'd rather watch videos or listen to podcasts.

In this article I'm going to focus on videos and podcasts about astral projection. These are not presented in any particular order. This is by no means an exhaustive list of AP/OBE podcasts, but at least it's a good place to start.

Astral Projection Techniques

Brainchild of the "Astral Projection - Techniques" group on Facebook, this podcast is hosted by group moderator Jose Martinez. It often features well-known OBE authors, group moderators, and other contributors, and often provides OBE tips and techniques. 
 
Start here: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/astraltraveler 

Expanding on Consciousness

The Monroe Institute (TMI), pioneers of consciousness research, offer a podcast called "Expanding on Consciousness." Many of these are hosted by TMI instructors like Mark Certo.

Start here: https://www.monroeinstitute.org/search?q=podcast

Evidence of the Afterlife

Veteran astral projector Maverick Vard√łger, author of The Vibrational State, hosts this podcast, which often includes discussions about astral projection and out-of-body experiences.

Start here: https://open.spotify.com/show/4sbBKeN05atUKF0qF8CFtF

Chasing Consciousness

The Chasing Consciouness podcast has more of a scientific bent, interviewing authors and experts like Dean Radin, author of many books including my personal favorite, "Entangled Minds."
 

Everything Imaginable

The Everything Imaginable podcast, hosted by Gary Cocciolillo, has a variety of shows covering astral projection, lucid dreaming, and altered states of consciousness.
 

My Big Toe

Monroe Institute veteran Tom Campbell, author of My Big Toe ("Theory of Everything") has quality material on his podcast.
 

Surf the Astral

Hosted by Andrew Fritz, this podcast seems to be defunct, but there's still some good episodes out there:
 

The Light Gate

Hosted by Preston Dennett, author of Out-of-Body Exploring and Dolly Safran, this podcast has good material.
 

Astral Club

This is a youtube podcast channel.
 

Astral Doorway

This is another youtube podcast channel. 

The Out-of-Body Travel Foundation Podcast

Marilynn Hughes, author of many OBE books like Odysseys of Light and Crystal River Flowing, presents this podcast. It's geared more for Christian travelers.
 

The Astral Insider

The Shadow Nation

This is a well-known podcast spanning a range of paranormal topics. They've even had me on as a guest.

Bigfoot and the Bunny

Bigfoot and the Bunny is a couple's journey into the mysterious, the unknown and the paranormal. Hosted by Chris and Kristen of Dark Horse Paranormal.

Start here: https://www.youtube.com/@darkhorseparanormal

Conclusions

Many of these podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Youtube, iHeart, TuneIn, and other podcast providers. So if you can't find one of these podcasts in one place, try another.

I'm sure there are more podcasts and youtube channels out there. You can send me links in the comments section or email (below) and I'll try to either expand the list for next time or do a follow-on article later.

Bob Peterson,
22 August 2023

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Tips for Remembering OBEs

Tips for Remembering OBEs

by Bob Peterson

A while back someone in one of the Facebook astral projection groups asked how he could better remember his astral projections / out-of-body experiences (OBEs). That's the topic of this article.

According to scientists (e.g. Irwin, Gabbard and Twemlow, Crookall, etc.) OBEs are normally much more memorable than ordinary dreams. Most people who have had OBEs have had only one, and it was so remarkable they never forget it. However, people who learn to self-induce OBEs (have multiples) sometimes have trouble remembering them.

There are a few reasons. First, as they learn to prolong the state, they're left with longer periods of time to remember. A forty-five minute OBE can be filled with hundreds of little "this happened, then this happened, then this happened." The struggle it real!

Second, after a while, OBEs can become less remarkable and unique, so they don't stand out as much in your mind. ("I flew over the city for the hundredth time. Yawn.")

Third, OBEs can become more like waking life, so they're more subject to your "subconscious wastebasket" which I talk about below.

Very few astral projection authors address the subject of retaining OBE memories. One of them is Robert Bruce, author of Astral Dynamics. Bruce put a lot of emphasis on memory, insisting that we often have lots of astral projections, but we forget most of them. He wrote that we have "shadow memories" during astral projections that need to be "downloaded" to the physical body when we return to it. He blames most memory problems on a "mind split" during OBEs in which our awareness is split between physical and astral (with even more splits possible), each of which records its own set of memories. The physical body memories can overwrite the astral memories and vise versa. Unfortunately he isn't very clear on how exactly to overcome that. He does, however, give some hints. He says:

"...But projection memories are generally easier to recapture from a tranced or semitranced state than if the physical/etheric minds are allowed to enter the deep sleep state." (pg. 71)

He seems to imply you'll remember your OBE better if you force yourself back to full body consciousness after the OBE rather than if you fall back asleep.

I don't agree with his "shadow memory" theory, but it's an interesting discussion and there's some overlap between his suggestions and mine.

Here are some more tips to help you remember your OBEs:

1. Keep a Dream Journal

I talked about this in a blog article from 2015 called "Why Keeping A Dream Journal Helps OBEs" that talks about why, when we walk into a room, we sometimes forget why. In a nutshell, when you move from one room to another, your subconscious compartmentalizes some memories as no longer relevant to your situation. Your plans were made in a different room, so they pertain to that room, and not the one you're in.

The same thing occurs when you go from waking to sleeping. Without discipline your subconscious may discard those memories on the same principle.

One way to combat the "subconscious wastebasket" is to keep a dream journal. The journal isn't as important as the fact that it forces you to exercise carrying your memories across the border between waking and sleeping. That includes dreams, lucid dreams, and OBEs.

Here's an excerpt from that article:

You've got to make it [journaling your experiences] a habit. Here are some things to jump-start the process:

  1. Take vitamin B-6 before bed. Don't take more than 100mg per day. Don't take it every day. Take it for a few days, then stop for a few days. For some reason, this seems to help with dream recall.
  2. Before you go to sleep, tell yourself, "Tomorrow morning, I'm going to remember my dreams."
  3. After that, imagine yourself in the morning. You wake up. You sit up in bed and recall the dreams you just had.
  4. Tell yourself, "Yes, that's exactly what I'm going to do."
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 a few times. Then go to sleep.
  6. In the morning, sit up, close your eyes and try to remember anything you can about the dreams you just had. Focus on any little fragment that comes in. "It had something to do with a man" Then follow it where it takes you. "The man was trying to take me somewhere..." And so forth.
  7. Once you're up, write down your dream. If you're too busy, just write down some keywords that will trigger your memory later.
  8. Perform these steps every day so that keeping a dream journal becomes a habit.

2. Write down OBEs immediately

People have short-term and long-term memories, and they're usually based on the importance of the event and whether your subconscious thinks you're going to need to recall them "soon." Short-term memories can fade very quickly if not written down immediately. It may be very tempting to wake up in the middle of the night and tell yourself, "That dream (or OBE) was so unusual I'll never forget it. I'll remember it for sure," and roll over, back to sleep. But guess what? There's a good chance you'll forget it. So do yourself a favor and write dreams and OBEs down right away.

3. Use memory jogs when you wake

Writing a dream journal or an OBE journal can get tedious, especially if they happen in the middle of the night. It takes time, and in the morning we're often focused on our morning routine, getting ready for work, and whatever else needs to get done.

Instead, write down short memory fragments to jog your memory later. Write down just a few keywords to help you remember, and flesh it out later in your dream journal. For example, last night I wrote down this dream jog: "Unruly iguana spinning its tail" and another: "Asking Eric about his level in Candy Crush."

The simple act of re-reading those short memory jogs helps you recall the dreams later. The value is that you've trained your subconscious to keep those memories more accessible to your conscious mind.

4. Affirmations before and during your AP

The "memory dump" is controlled by your subconscious mind, and your subconscious can be programmed by tools like affirmations. So think to yourself, "It's important that I remember my experience." The simple act of repeating this to yourself can make a big impression on your subconscious.

5. Try Galantamine

About ten years ago, researchers realized that the drug Galantamine, which is used in the treatment of Alzheimer's, often helps people induce lucid dreams and out-of-body experiences. But Galantamine is a memory booster. (Well, technically, it's an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEl), which means it blocks the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a molecule that supports memory). 

At any rate, it's possible that the drug may help bridge the connection between nonphysical experiences and memory retention of those experiences.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but in the United States, it's readily available without a prescription as a supplement from vitamin shops, especially online shops like "vitacost.com"

6. Use smells / scents

Scientists have known for a long time that memories are linked to the olfactory sense (sense of smell) in the brain. Certain smells often bring back powerful memories. For example, perfumes can bring back powerful memories of a woman you used to know. That's nothing new.

What is new is that the sense of smell is more generally and widely connected to memory. I recently (August 2023) read an article from the University of California (click here) where neuroscientists were able to boost cognitive function and memory in older adults by 226 percent just by exposing them to certain smells with a diffuser while they slept. That's major. I've always kind of poo-pooed the idea of essential oil mixtures designed for astral projection, but it warrants further investigation. With that in mind, you may be able to enhance your memory by:

  • Burning incense
  • Burning a scented candle
  • Use scented essential oils
  • Use a diffuser to add smells to your bedroom
  • Or even just opening a window

7. Use associations to condense the OBE

Memory experts often use little tricks like associations to jog their memories. This applies to life in the physical world as well as OBEs. One trick is to condense an important concept into something that's easier to remember.

For example, when people learn music, they're often taught "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor" to remember the musical scale (EGBDF). Kids are taught the colors of the rainbow: "Roy G. Biv" (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). Mechanics are taught "Righty-Tighty, Lefty Loosy."

Another example: my wife Kathy remembers one of our neighbors (whom we hardly ever see) is "Elaine" because she's like her mom's friend "Eileen" even though it's spelled differently. I know it sounds weird, but sometimes I exercise my memory by trying to remember license plates of other cars while I'm driving. I might see a license plate "VFW 731" and I think "very fine work..." It's weird, but it kind of works.

So during the experience, try to find associations like this or even just a keyword you can latch onto in the future.

8. Maximize the impact of your OBEs

Almost everyone over the age of 30 remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001. Older folks remember where they were and what they were doing when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, or when US President Richard Nixon resigned, or when Princess Diana died. That's because these events made a huge lasting impression. They impacted our psyche.

So you can remember your OBEs better if they make a strong impact.

At the beginning of the article I talked about how OBEs can lose their impact if they become too ordinary. So when you have an OBE, try to enforce the memory in your subconscious by going over it (and over it, and over it) several times in your memory and think to yourself, "Holy crap! I was just out of my body!" or something even if it only lasted a few seconds. Make an impression on your subconscious.

Conclusions

I believe the biggest factor is just training your subconscious not to discard (or file away) your memories of nonphysical events. That comes with discipline and practice.

Bob Peterson,
08 August 2023

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Review: Astral Odyssey by Carol Eby

Review: Astral Odyssey

by Carol Eby

Today I'm reviewing Astral Odyssey: Exploring Out-of-Body Experiences by Carol Eby. The book is copyrighted 1996.

I love this book, and I love the author, Carol Eby. Partway through the book, I actually found myself fantasizing about "what might have been" if I had met her before I met my wife of 32 years, Kathy, in 1988. It might have been a match made in, well, yes, Heaven. Or at least the astral plane. From her writing, she just seems like a kindred spirit. Why am I so enthralled? I suppose it's because she seems a lot like me, and her journeys seem to parallel my own. She shares my same scientific bent, my insatiable curiosity, and my same objectivity.

The book has many OBE narratives, which won my heart, none of which were over-the-top or ostentatious. They're just ordinary OBEs, chronicles of her experiments with the non-physical, and her personal observations. Like Robert Monroe or William Buhlman. From the start she tells us who she is (a chemist by profession) and how she got involved with OBEs.

Toward the beginning of the book, Eby lives alone in a cabin in the secluded forests of the Black Hills of South Dakota, not far from Mount Rushmore. I currently live in a forest in rural Minnesota and many of my early OBEs happened in my mom's cabin in a somewhat secluded forest of Minnesota.

Her first OBE was on May 5, 1978, just a year and a half prior to my own first OBE on November 2, 1979.

The first two thirds of the book are an introduction to the subject of out-of-body experiences, and like a good scientist, she cites references for important statements. Lots of references. And her references aren't for the timid: she presents findings from authors like H.J.Irwin, Herbert Greenhouse, D.Scott Rogo, Susan Blackmore, Sylvan Muldoon and others, and not just books, but scientific articles as well: Eby's really done her homework.

Eby spends a lot of time analyzing the various states of consciousness, both from a scientific point of view, and from her own personal experience. She spends a lot of time describing and analyzing the phases of sleep, especially the hypnagogic and hypnopompic states; a lot more than other OBE books. She discusses the various sleep states and the transitions from one to the other. For example:

"Sometimes when I go from an OBE into a dream, it is similar to going from a normal waking state into a dream..." (pg. 18)

"Passing from a dream to an OBE is similar to passing from a dream to physical wakefulness, only instead of awakening in my physical body, I awaken in my astral body, which can be in the same room as my physical body, in another part of the house, or farther away." (pg. 18)

I loved this passage:

"The first time I voluntarily left my physical body and entered the astral plane fully alert, I was astonished that my consciousness actually could exist outside my physical form. As is typical of others who have had even brief OBEs, I no longer believed I had a 'soul,' I knew it. I was amazed at how absolutely solid and real the astral plane appeared--as convincing as physical waking reality..." (pp. 125-126)

I know for sure Carol Eby speaks from experience because she describes things in the OBE state that many books don't, and things I've personally experienced. For example:

"I have also heard ordinary sounds distorted with a strange, eerie, off-key resonance; my voice and my piano have sounded tinny and out of tune." (pg. 130)

That's spot on, and it's something I've personally experienced, and is very rarely talked about.

She also talks about how, in an OBE, you kind of lose your sense of orientation. The walls or ceilings can seem like floors, and she describes that quite well too:

"The strange thing was that every position felt right side up, which made viewpoint and perspective confusing. I was amazed that I could become so disoriented in my own cabin, where I had been living for most of the previous five years." (pp. 165-166)

She's also one of very few people who, during an OBE, saw a figure who looked like depictions of Jesus Christ, which she never expected. (Pg. 134 and pp 204-205)

One thing I found interesting is that she describes a precognitive dream that was bathed in a strange blue light, which is much like Graham Nicholls's precognitive OBEs.

Another thing I found fascinating is how she made a distinction between visualization and hypnagogic imagery:

"It is important to distinguish between two types of mental imagery; one type, caused by the imagination, seems to originate and take place inside the brain, behind and above the eyes, and the other type, hypnagogic imagery, seems to manifest through the inside of the eyelids. Mental pictures caused by the imagination are more deliberate than hypnagogic imagery, which seems to appear by its own volition from outside the mind." (pg. 80)

Eby spends a lot of time explaining the hypnagogic (pre-sleep) and hypnopompic (post-sleep) states of sleep, and most of her OBEs seemed to be from the hypnopompic state.

"Even without a lucid dream, the hypnopompic state is conducive to an OBE. It is necessary to simultaneously prolong the waking process and prevent falling back to sleep." (pg. 99)

There's also a very personal touch. Many of her OBE narratives chronicle her many attempts to contact her friends, primarily "Judi," which often ended prematurely, ended in ADD distractions, or outright failure, which closely echo my own frustrated attempts to contact my friend "LD" (Lisa) in my first book.

Eby presents one OBE with veridical evidence from her friend, Sue. Sue was worried about her friend Bob, and apparently visited him in an out-of-body experience. Bob was working at a pharmacy at the time, and Sue saw him dressed in his white blazer:

"Bob said he knew she had been worried and apologized for the way he had dropped the previous phone conversation. Then he mentioned that while he had been at work, he had said out loud, "I'll call you between 5:00 and 5:30." The other pharmacist, a female, who had been working with him asked, "Why?" Bob, unaware that he had spoken out loud, asked, "Why what?" Puzzled, the female pharmacist asked, "Why are you going to call me between 5:00 and 5:30?" "What!?" Bob replied.
"When Sue heard this, she realized that she had actually been to the pharmacy--in astral form." (pg. 100)

In spite of this, most of Eby's OBEs had elements that did not match up with physical reality, and in a way that makes them more interesting. For example, she would lie down in bed snug under her blankets, but after leaving her body, she saw her blankets crumpled up in a ball on the floor. At the time, she knew full well that what she saw did not match physical reality. And that leads to some interesting discussion about the nature of out-of-body perception: Is it subjective or objective? Is it an echo of the physical world or just mind-stuff? I loved this passage:

"Susan Blackmore, who has written extensively about OBEs, contends that they are internal and that the mental constructions are based upon memory. According to Blackmore, the distortions, omissions, and additions to the astral world reported by so many projectors result from faulty memory, with gaps filled by imagination.

From my experience, I believe that during my OBEs, when aberrations appear in the astral world, my memory is working about as well as in physical waking. When I saw the framed print of the old woman on my fireplace mantel, I knew, from memory, that it was not there physically." (pg. 236)

In chapter 6, "Between Worlds," Eby describes exit symptoms and gives five procedures (techniques) to induce OBEs. In a nut shell, her techniques are:

  1. From a state of deep relaxation, she uses autosuggestion, visualization of a black screen, and imagination of vibration. If hypnagogic images appear, she "thinks" them away "so that my mental screen remains black." (pg. 153)

    That's an interesting idea; I always assume control of them and use them as an anchor to the "other side."
  2. From the hypnopompic state, sink back and imagine you're rocking back and forth or side-to-side. (This is also one of my go-to techniques.)
  3. Count back from 10 or 20 to 1, using progressive relaxation and autosuggestion toward having a lucid dream, then dispel the dream.
  4. From full waking, drift into the hypnagogic state. She says that she either falls asleep or gets up, thinking she's in the physical world, but she discovers she's really in the astral.
  5. From the hypnagogic or hypnopompic state, visualize any place you want to go. (AKA the Target Technique).

As always, my short descriptions don't match the actual text that goes much more in depth, so by all means: read the book for yourself.

After reading a lot of mediocre-to-bad books on astral projection/out-of-body experiences, it's wonderfully refreshing to encounter a really good book like this.

The book is 244 pages with smallish margins and font (although I didn't need reading glasses), which means there's a lot of good content. The writing was engaging and professional. The grammar and spelling were flawless. There is nothing negative about this book to complain about.

I give this book 4 and 1/2 stars out of 5. I would have given it 5 if the techniques section was a bit bigger.

Bob Peterson
18 July 2023

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews



Monday, June 19, 2023

Lessons From the Chess Board

Lessons from the Chess Board

 

by Bob Peterson

One of my earliest life-lessons was when I learned to play chess when I was in elementary (primary) school. My older brother, Joe, taught me how to play, and he coached me and gave advice. I was hooked and couldn't get enough. Every day after school, we played game after game, as much as he would tolerate.

In spite of all his help, Joe had no mercy. He ruthlessly defeated me, beating me game after game after game. He kicked my ass bloody. But he also explained what I had done wrong. I'm not sure what he got out of it, but I know what it did for me: it made me a better chess player. My focus and determination grew and my chess skills slowly improved. After what seemed like years, I matched Joe's skills and won about half the time.

One day after school, at a friend's request, I visited a chess club that was holding a tournament for middle-school ("junior high") players. I played a few games of chess against their best players and I won every game. These kids were years older than me, and I went home undefeated, with a super-inflated ego. One of them said, "Next year, when you graduate to middle-school, you should join our chess club."

In middle-school I soon learned that if you only play against the same player, you may learn to defeat him/her very well, but you still may be no match for other players with different strategies.

Years later, when I got to high school, my interests changed from chess to computers. I started visiting the University of Minnesota for free "continuing education" computer classes. That's when I heard about an upcoming chess tournament at the University. A little scared and anxious, I scraped together the money and entered the tournament. 

On the day of the chess tournament I was very nervous, but defeated my first two opponents in close victories. My third opponent kicked my ass. He just took me apart, handed my ass to me, and I went home defeated, with a broken and defeated ego. It's a good thing I was good at computers!

Nowadays I play chess on my phone, and my phone usually kicks my ass. It's still fun.

What does all this have to do with astral projection or out-of-body experiences? It's all in the lessons.

My lessons from the chess board were:

  • You can't get better at chess or anything in life by playing weaker opponents.
  • You learn best by playing superior opponents and overcoming obstacles.
  • It's good to broaden your skills by playing different players, not just the same opponent over and over.
  • You only "lose" if you give up and stop working toward your goals.
  • Don't take defeats to heart: see them as lessons, or baby steps, and move on.
  • Don't take victories to heart either: there's always someone better than you.
  • If you hitch your value/worth to your ego, you will always be let down.
  • Never get discouraged: There is always time for another try.
  • We are never done learning. There's always something else to learn.

As it is with chess, so it is with astral projection, except you're only playing against yourself. Astral projection is a skill, much like any sport.

  • Don't be afraid of obstacles. Face them and overcome them.
  • Never stop practicing and never stop improving your skills.
  • You've only failed if you've given up, so never give up.
  • Learn from multiple people who have experiences, not people with book-knowledge, and not just one person.
  • Most importantly, try different strategies: many may fail but some of them might lead to success.
  • Don't judge yourself by your success or failure. Just work toward your goals.
  • The amount of effort you put into it will determine how much you get out of it.

And as it is with astral projection, so it is with life, too. Every one of the bullets above apply equally to anything in life.

It's all a journey and a game. We all learn and we all teach. We're just walking each other home.

Bob Peterson,
20 June 2023

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Review: Astral Projection by Marius K. Green

Astral Projection

by Marius K. Green

Today I'm reviewing the book Astral Projection (Extended Edition) by Marius K. Green. The subtitle is: The Supreme Guide to Travel in Unknown Worlds and Contact Your Missing Loved Ones. That's a mouthful!

It's been a long time since I read an astral projection book and did a book review. Sorry! I guess I've had other priorities in life. Part of the problem is that the book was tedious--hard, even painful--to read, at least at first.

In fact, if you had asked me to rate this book while I was reading the first half of the book, I would have said that this is the worst astral projection book I have ever read. But then it got better. The second half is better than the first.

As usual, I'll start out with the negative and list the problems so I can end on a good note.

Some of the bad points:

  • The pages have no page numbers, so I can't even tell you where to find quotes! The best I can do is tell you what chapter it's in. Unprofessional. Did I mention that this is "The Extended Edition" which means nobody caught the omission on the earlier edition?
  • There are incomplete sentences that just end unexpectedly.
  • He makes some dubious claims like "the astral body can be released and set off on a long journey, moving at the speed that is less than only the speed of light waves". (chapter 2)
  • He uses strange and unfamiliar terms compared to other books in the literature. For example, he refers to the astral body as "the ghost." He refers to sleep paralysis as "astral catalepsy" like some of the very oldest books on the subject.
  • He doesn't reference any contemporary books on the subject. He only quotes very old sources like Hereward Carrington, Oliver Lodge, Charles Lancelin, Sylvan Muldoon, and such.
  • His sources are not listed in any detail, so the reader is left wondering if he/she should take the author's word for it, try to find the actual reference, or just write it off. And I'm not a man who takes authors at their word.
  • He talks about two astral projections he had a very looooong time ago. One, he says, took place in the "summer of 1924". That's 99 years ago! His photo in the back of the book is in color and makes him look about 30 years old. The other took place "in the summer of 1916" which is 107 years ago! So something definitely doesn't add up. Maybe he was quoting from one of those old books, but didn't say so? Or did I miss-read it?

A big part of the problem was just the author's wording. I felt like I was reading a computer-generated translation from a book that was originally written in French. Why French? Well, the author's name is Marius and as an ignorant American, the only other time I've encountered that name was from Les Miserables (Have a listen to "A Heart Full of Love"), a play about the French Revolution. Plus he references the French author Charles Lancelin. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions.

At least in the beginning the book uses all kinds of weird phrases, even wrong words. For example:

"That what you met, following the laws of art that will be stated, may not coincide in some respects with what I tell, and about which art is acquired by practice." (Chapter 2)

Huh? Here's another example:

"This is always the way that the ghost moves when exteriorization occurs, and the body is in a horizontal position. The whole process could happen stray or slow." (Chapter 4)

Another example:

"When this happens, the physical body always experiences a concussion, sometimes accompanied by pain, or as I called it, "splitting in two." This is also called "bestowal" (repercussion.)" (Chapter 4)

I don't think he really meant concussion (head injury); he meant repercussion. In the heading that precedes this, he refers to it as "Rapercursion" which is just...bad.

Another example:

"Whenever I saw a dream, I was attracted by some terrible ghostly object, similar to the Buddha." (Chapter 5)

I can't even imagine a sentence in which "Buddha" can be described as both terrible and ghostly.

In chapter 6 he even describes sleep paralysis (a normal function of the sleeping physical body) as "epilepsy" (an electrical storm inside the brain). Yikes!

He calls flying dreams "flying sleep." He calls falling dreams "dreams of the fall." and his pronouns are often mixed up, sometimes using "it" to refer to a person, or "he" or "she" to refer to a thing. (This trait is common to European languages.)

Green says a few things that differ from my personal experience. For example, he writes:

"In the dreams of the fall [falling dreams], we always wake up before we reach the earth." (Chapter five).

I hate to break it to you, but that's not true at all. I've had dreams in which I not only hit the Earth, but was violently smashed several feet into the ground, and died from the fall! And the current book I'm reading [to be named later] contains another fine example dream.

Green references the work of a few other authors, but he doesn't cite references, so I have no idea how to do further research, and he often misspells the authors' names. For example, several times he references the work of:

  • Dr. Lindler regarding the composition of the astral body.
  • Hereward Carrington, but he calls him "X. Carrington."
  • He references experiments done by "Dr. Van Letem" but cites no references, so how can I give it any weight?
  • He references "Dr. Van Idey" and "Dr. Van Eden" but maybe he meant Dr. Frederik van Eeden? Possibly the same person as the previous bullet?
  • He references the famous spirit medium Eusapia Paladino as "Evzapia Paladino."
  • He references "Mr. Gurney," as one of the authors of "Ghosts of the Living." Um. That's "Phantasms of the Living" by Gurney, Myers and Podmore.

He also uses very dubious "pseudo-science." For example:

"Radiated in this way, their strength can be measured by means of specially designed instruments - a biometer, tonometer, and so on. Some devices of this kind were invented by French experimenters. These devices show that repulsive force is emitted from one side of the body, and gravity from the other." (Chapter 7)

He also talks about "ether" as being a fundamental particle of science, which is like 100-year-old pseudo-science. He also talks about the "weight of the soul," which, as far as I know, was debunked fifty or more years ago.

He also makes very dubious medical claims. For example:

"The body has four large nerve, or psychic centers--four brains, as they are sometimes called (brain, cerebellum, medulla oblongata and solar plexus.)" (Chapter 8)

This is not science; this is nonsense. Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt and suppose he's talking about chakras, it still contradicts conventional thinking.

Now for some of the good points:

The book is based on the author's personal experience, which many authors cannot claim. In fact, he says "...the author is well acquainted with this phenomenon, having made hundreds of projections of a period of 12 years..." (chapter 1).

To back that up, he has several OBE narratives, and they sound pretty convincing to me. You know how much I love OBE narratives.

Green has some interesting points about astral projection. For example, bucking conventional wisdom, he says:

"So, if you think that for astral projection, it is necessary that the mind remains calm, then you are mistaken." (Chapter 10)

(I, for one, do need to remain calm). And yet later he stresses the need for complete "passivity"--Something which I've insisted on since my very first book.

"Everything that stimulates you - alcohol, drugs, or food, is negative factor because it prevents the achievement of a passive state." (Chapter 10)

Calm and passive is what works for me. But, to get nit-picky, alcohol is a depressant, not a stimulant.

Interestingly Green also recommends using as light blanket as possible, stating that "excessive weight on the body creates a special physiological effect." Although I remember another author insisted just the opposite, citing that heavy blankets are preferred because they make you slightly uncomfortable and hot. I've always preferred sleeping atop the blankets if I can.

Green insists that his astral projections correlate to a slow heart rate. In fact, he recommends trying to slow down your heart rate to induce OBEs. He said he has a naturally slow heart rate, so slow that his doctors put him on a medicine that increased his heart rate, and his out-of-body experiences completely went away for weeks. As soon as he stopped taking the medicine, he started having OBEs again. (Chapter 10). He estimates his ideal heart rate is 42 beats per minute.

He also ties many of his astral projections to fear: he had more OBEs when he was afraid of them, and as he became more comfortable, they slowed down. He was able to overcome that factor by using extreme desire, which brought them back. (Chapter 11).

He discusses some of his experiments. For example, several times he tried Sylvan Muldoon's "Thirst" technique and was successful. He's the only author I know of, besides Muldoon himself, to have actually used it successfully, and several times.

In another series of experiments, he projected several miles away to his girlfriend's bedroom to try to make his presence known to her. He got there several times, but she never saw him. Then, when he stopped trying, he dreamed that he visited her, and this time she actually saw his ghostly form. I had to laugh because this exactly mirrors some of my own experiments!

Green tried several times to affect the physical world, like trying to knock things off a shelf, but he was never successful. He became extremely frustrated by this fact, maybe even a little sorrowful, and described how joyful it was to rejoin his physical body and regain its ability to affect physical things.

There aren't really any astral projection techniques in the book, but there are hints. He talks about how he had the most astral projections when he slept for 6 hours, stayed awake for 15 minutes, then went back to bed, setting a strong intention. This is, of course, the now famous "WBTB" (Wake Back To Bed) technique, but he seems to have stumbled on it by accident. He made no references to WBTB.

He also talks a lot about developing "passive will" and influencing the "crypto-conscious mind" which apparently is halfway between the conscious and subconscious mind. It's an interesting discussion, and he spends some time on it. In fact, he states:

"I say without hesitation that the role of the passive will in the projection of the astral body is one of the great secrets. You can call it the method of simple imagination, but this is not entirely accurate. Rather, it is imagination plus a will, fulfilling the desires of the imagination. In this case, the passive will can never be used by force because it will turn into an active will. You just have to have a strong desire to project." (Chapter 11)

Yes, I agree with that.

Oh, and he makes a clear distinction between lucid dreams and astral projection.

So what are we to make of this book? There's definitely a cultural gap here, with Green talking about drinking water from a stream and visiting "nearby villages," but he also writes about power lines. There's a time gap, with references to experiences that happened a hundred years ago, and books from a hundred years ago, with absolutely no modern references. It made me wonder: Was most of the material written by his grandfather? His descriptions of the non-physical sure seemed genuine enough. He even honestly admits he never went to "higher planes" and was always stuck in the "lower astral" or the echo of the physical world. 

I didn't count the number of pages, but I'm guessing about 120, with decent (but slightly large) font and margins, so you're not cheated on the amount of content.

In my opinion, there's nothing "supreme" about this book, nor does the author explain how to contact dead loved ones, as advertised in the book's title. One thing's for sure: Things don't quite add up. And because of that, I'll only give the book 2 stars out of 5. I've read worse books, but you can find better.

Bob Peterson
06 June 2023

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If you want me to review a book about out-of-body experiences or astral projection, send me an email: bob@robertpeterson.org, but please check the index first to see if I've already reviewed it. Also, I've got a huge pile of books I'm planning to review, so don't expect a quick turnaround.

If you like my work, visit my website, robertpeterson.org, where you'll find lots of other free OBE advice and links.

Return to the index of my OBE Book reviews


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Problem 10: I keep getting sucked back in

Problem 10: I keep getting sucked back in

 

by Bob Peterson

In this article I continue my series to help you solve out-of-body experience problems. The previous articles in the series are:

  1. Problem 1: Nothing Happens
  2. Problem 2: I Just Fall Asleep
  3. Problem 3: The Vibrations Just Fade
  4. Problem 4: I Get Scared and Chicken Out
  5. Problem 5: I Can't Get The Vibrations
  6. Problem 6: Stuck in Sleep Paralysis 
  7. Problem 7: My OBEs are Too Short
  8. Problem 8: I Get Out and I'm Blind
  9. Problem 9: I Can't Go Anywhere  
This time I'll help you solve another common OBE problem: You successfully leave your body but you can't make any progress because your body keeps dragging you back inside.

This has happened to me for as long as I remember: I induce the proper conditions, fly, float or walk away from my physical body and after a few seconds, POOF, I'm snapped back inside my body. It usually doesn't bring me back to full-body awareness; it's just an instant relocation. In the past I've described this as like "Paddle Ball". You know, a paddle with a ball attached by an elastic string, and your goal is to hit the ball with the paddle and the ball invariably snaps back to the paddle. Yeah, pretty lame.

So how do you solve it?

Persistence is the key

Like all things astral, the key is persistence. It's normal and natural for your focus to temporarily snap back to the body, but if you persist in your efforts and try again you will make progress toward your goal. I've had many out-of-body experiences in which I make an exit but get snapped back inside within three feet (1 meter). I refocus, exit again, and get snapped back inside again, but this time I get maybe six feet (two meters). If you keep doing this you can make slow but steady progress. Eventually you'll get beyond the "cord activity range" where you'll have more freedom of movement and will be less likely to get sucked back inside.

Using this technique, I've had three-hour OBEs that were broken into lots of smaller five-to-fifteen minute segments. The down side, of course, is that it's really hard to remember what transpired during those segments. But that's another topic for another day.

The Solution

So if you get sucked back inside your body after a few seconds, my best advice is: 

  • Ignore it and immediately exit again.
  • When you get back to your body, do NOT move your physical body. 
  • Instead, focus on the space in front of you and, if you can, develop a sense of motion and momentum to push back out of your body again.
  • Do NOT think about your body at all. Casual thoughts like "I wonder if my body is alright" or "I wonder if I've been away from the body too long" can instantly send you careening back to the body again.
  • Just forget about your physical body and focus on the non-physical task at hand. Stay in the present moment.
  • Be persistent. If you get sucked back inside your body 37 times, exit 38 times.
  • If you "reintegrate" with your body and can't easily exit again, don't move your physical body, but focus on inducing the vibrations again.

Out-of-body experiences can seem like a game of cat and mouse. You constantly chase it and it constantly gets away. But just like physical life, you need to be tenacious and never give up on your goals.

The Universe (with a capital U) often throws up roadblocks to our goals, but overcoming those roadblocks makes you stronger and helps you develop your skills.

Bob Peterson,
23 May 2023