Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: Astral Projection Made Easy

Review: Astral Projection Made Easy

by E.J. Gold

This time I'm reviewing "Astral Projection Made Easy" by E.J. Gold.

Who can resist a book with that name? You can, and should.

The book is 195 pages, which seems big compared to some of the recent books I've reviewed, but it's still a quick read. Every page really only has a paragraph or three, and the rest of it is taken by a photo from the author's workshops. The photos have strange captions, like "Etheric Body workout with E.J." which shows a classroom full of people, apparently giving their physical body a workout. Or people gathered around slot machines gambling in Reno, Nevada. There's literally a photo like this on every page, none of which seem relevant to out-of-body experiences except to tout the author's workshops.

First Gold sounds serious, talking about how there are seven bodies, and how we need to learn to leave one before the next. The first body is the "organic (physical) body," followed by the "Etheric body," followed by the "Astral body." This is not unlike some occult traditions, like Theosophy, but Gold insists we need to learn to inhabit the Etheric body, and gain mastery of that first, before learning to travel in the astral body.

Next, he openly admits that he didn't invent his technique; he learned it from other people.

Then he goes off on a wild tangent about having created a special "Astral Projection headband" you can buy in several pricing levels, the most expensive being $225.00, which he calls the "High-Quality Astral Projection Headband with five Highest Quality Beta-Blocker devices". The cheapest model, "Profound Poverty Model," is only $35.00. They have no moving parts or electronics, but he says, "The Headband works First Time Every Time without fail." I wasn't sure if he was joking or serious. He was serious.

After that, he describes a classic and popular OBE technique, "The Target Technique," in decent detail. This is actually a pretty good, thorough description of this technique. Unfortunately, that's the only technique described in the book, and the book's only redeeming value.

Of course, you can make it easier by buying his headband. And you can buy his specially made target cards that are supposedly easier to find in the out-of-body state.

He talks about why we're stuck in an organic body to begin with. According to him, it's because we've encountered something scary, and this physical world is the only place to hide from the fear. We're here to resolve fears. Yeah. Right. (Darn. I always thought it was to learn love.)

Next, he goes back to talking about his headbands and how they're made personally by him, and how difficult they are to make, and that's why they're expensive. There are supposedly electronic components, but no power source. There are essential oils and fumigation, but they're covered up by laminate, so you'll never smell them. He "charges them up," although he doesn't say how, or with what.

Next, he talks about how he's available for personal coaching--for a price. You can buy his personalized training for the price of a weekend workshop, only $275-$350.

Then he addresses the problem of when you aren't sure if you've actually moved your etheric body.
"That you didn't happen to notice whether or not you were out-of-body doesn't mean you weren't out-of-body." (pg. 151)
Oh really? I can be out-of-body and not even notice it? After you do the target technique walk-through, physically:
"And then you do the same thing with your Etheric Body, but perhaps you don't know that you actually did it. You're unsure of your experience. What's going on there?" (pg. 156)

I'm sorry, but in my experience, if you're in your etheric body, you'll know it. Your physical body will be just another inanimate object in the room. OBEs are a LOT more than flights of imagination; I guarantee that, but Gold seems to think that you might not even realize you're having one!

Now granted, a nonphysical component can be coaxed away from your body while you're conscious awareness is still inside your body. Author Robert Bruce talks about that. But if your consciousness is still in the physical, that's not an OBE.

Much of the book is spent describing Gold's various workshops he conducts every year. In page after page he describes the different events, often going into casinos and gambling. And walking. And talking. And eating. And partying. And...and...where are the actual OBE techniques? Do they do that?

He conducts a lot of workshops every year, for a price. Pages 164 through 172 are entirely dedicated to describing his art class called "Draw what you saw." Dressed in a thin disguise of wanting to draw your astral adventures, he'll show you how to draw portraits, landscapes, flowers, trees, houses, and anything else you see on the astral plane. Of course, you can also buy his books about sketching.

He's also got other courses for sale: location by coordinates, precognitive functions, shapeshifter training, fear workshop, decisions workshop, enrobement and symbology, wearable targeting, and last but not least, afterlife adventures. But wait! There's more! Now for a limited time:
"You can take the Trainer's Course at the same time and then when you're a certified trainer, you can teach Astral Projection in your home-town, or go on the road with a training tour." (pg. 163).
What was that? Now he's promising--for a price--to make you a master and certified trainer of astral projection. You've got to be kidding me.

Aside from the Target Technique, he never does tell you how to astral project. He gives some theories about Etheric projection (which I already said I largely disagree with), but aside from that, there's nothing. Just nothing.

This book does nothing but sell, sell, sell, sell, sell you things: headbands, bracelets, books, workshops, personal training, or whatever. There's really no practical information about out-of-body experiences or astral projection. You're suckered in with promises of "Astral Projection Made Easy" when the author seems to just try for "Money Made Easy."

I'm sorry for being so negative and cynical. For me, it's never been about the money. This guy is just over-the-top flimflam like I've never seen before in the genre. There's nothing to see here...move along. Thumbs way down.

Bob Peterson
24 February 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My "Otherwhere" Story

My "Otherwhere" Story

By Bob Peterson

Way back in fall of 1996, months before my first book had been published, Kathy and I had planned a mini-vacation to the East coast. We were sitting in the Minneapolis International airport, waiting to board a flight to Boston, when a man approached me. He looked at the T-shirt I was wearing and said, "That logo on your shirt: It's from the Monroe Institute, isn't it?"

"Yes it is," I remarked. I was surprised; the Monroe Institute didn't have that much name recognition in 1996, and the shirt didn't have any writing; just the TMI logo. I asked, "Are you familiar with them?"

He said, "Yes. They do out-of-body experiences, right?"

So like age-old friends who had just met, we started talking about OBEs, life and spirituality. I introduced myself and told him I had written a book about my OBEs and I was waiting for it to be published. It had been more than a year and I was getting very impatient.

He introduced himself as Kurt Leland, and he said he had had many OBEs himself. I asked him to tell me about some of his OBEs, which he proceeded to do. They were fascinating and I was enthralled. I said, "Those are really awesome OBEs, man. You should write a book about them."

He asked, "Really? You think so? They're not too boring?" He seemed really hesitant about the idea of writing a book about his OBEs, even though he was already an author and had written a book called Menus for Impulsive Living.

I said, "Absolutely. When I get back home, I'll send you the contact info for my publisher, Hampton Roads Publishing. They're slow as molasses, but they're really good."

Leland thanked me, then invited us to visit his apartment in Jamaica Plain, a suburb of Boston. He told me he channeled an entity named "Charles" for a small group of friends, and asked if we wanted to come.

That night, we followed Kurt's instructions and took the train system out to his apartment. It was a long ride. I seem to recall we had to ride the train to the last stop, then walk two or three blocks further to his cozy apartment on Spaulding Street. The evening with Charles was wonderful; Kathy had never seen a live channeler in person before.

At the end of the evening, I told Kurt again that he needed to write a book about his OBEs, and that I'd send him my publisher's contact info. The following February, 1997, I sent him all the info, along with another encouraging letter.

A year or so later, Kurt mailed me an early proof of his book, Otherwhere with a letter of thanks. It was published by Hampton Roads. I feltvery proud and had a wide smile on my face. It was finally published in 2001.

Many years later, a woman came up to me at some event and asked, "Have you ever heard of an OBE author named Kurt Leland? His book Otherwhere is just awesome. It's my favorite OBE book. You really need to read it."

I laughed and told her the story. "I'm the one who told Kurt to write it! If it wasn't for me and my encouragement, that book might not have been written. I still have an original proof of the book."

Two other times, I've had people come up and tell me the same thing; this happened again just a few weeks ago, in January, 2015.

It's been many years since I read Otherwhere, but I still have fond memories of it. I may need to re-read it again to give it a proper book review.

10 February 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: Astral Projection by Richard Craze

Review: Astral Projection

by Richard Craze

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection: A Beginner's Guide by Richard Craze.

Don't be fooled by this book's size. It's only 92 pages long, but it's got small margins and a very small font, so it makes very good use of that space. There's a lot of information packed into this small package. The information is good, too. It's a nice mixture of (a) practical OBE information, (b) OBE narratives (although not his own), and (c) techniques.

The practical information is a good solid introduction to the subject, which is just what the subtitle promised: A beginner's guide.

The narratives are pretty typical for OBEs, but some are quite amusing. I especially loved the narrative from "Beth" who found herself standing next to her husband, who was peacefully sleeping in bed. Then she saw another woman lying next to him. In a fit of jealousy, she:
"...didn't stop to think about who she was or what she was doing there. It never occurred to me that I'd been in bed with him and that there couldn't be anyone else there with him. I flew round the bed in a dreadful rage and I mean 'flew'. It still didn't dawn on me that something bizarre was going on."
"I got to the woman's side of the bed and tried to attack her. It's obvious now that it was no use. I couldn't hit her or pull her out of bed. Somehow my hands didn't work. They didn't go through her or anything like you see in films. They just didn't work properly. It was then that I realized that I was trying to attack myself. It was such a shock that I screamed. Then I woke up and I was myself again." (pg. 32)
Craze gives a full 22 different OBE techniques, which is quite a lot for the genre. Kudos for that. Some of them are borrowed from other books and sources, but some seem unique, and he does a good job of describing them concisely. Some of them have different variants. In other words, they're really more than 22 techniques. For example, he gives five different OBE meditations, all under one "technique."

Looking on Amazon, it seems that Craze is the author of many books, but unlike some authors, he's done his homework. He's not writing from experience, but he's done enough research to know what he's talking about. I don't agree 100% with everything he says (I rarely do). For example on page 43, he says that:
"...there seem to be no reports of anyone seeing anything frightening or 'hellish' or nasty." (pg. 43)
Although reports of hellish environments are very rare in the genre, they do exist. The book was written in 1996, so it's a bit outdated by more recent information. Still, the basics haven't changed much.

Another thing I liked is that there's no ego, no snotty "I'm the master" attitude you find in some books. It's just good solid information.

The book is laid out in bite-sized sections with headings so you can pick it up and put it down at your convenience. It flows nicely. It's well organized. There aren't any spelling of grammatical errors, although the author is British, so you will find an occasional British colloquialism.

I'm giving this book a thumbs up. It's listed as $0.01 on amazon.com, plus $3.99 shipping. It's a very good deal for four dollars.

Bob Peterson
03 Feb 2015