Review: Astral Projection and Psychic Empowerment
Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection and Psychic Empowerment by Joe H. Slate, Ph.D. The subtitle is Techniques for Mastering the Out-of-Body Experience. The copyright is 1998.
Like all books about astral projection, this one has both good and bad. Like the previous book I reviewed (Astral Projection by Michael Marr), this book is heavy on techniques, but the author doesn't really say where or how he obtained his knowledge. It's another knowledge dump. However, Slate is a Ph.D. and shows higher intelligence than a lot of them. It also means the book is more clinical, sterile, even a bit tedious at times. But it's still good material.
I liked this quote from the introduction:
"Although OBEs have at times been over-dramatized, romanticized, and even trivialized, they have never been more relevant to our personal growth and empowerment than today." (pg. xii)
Absolutely. I also liked this quote:
"In developing our out-of-body skills, there can be no substitute for practice. Even experienced out-of-body travelers find that practice is essential in fine-tuning their old strategies and mastering new ones. Only through practicing various approaches can we discover those techniques that meet our personal needs and work best for us individually." (pg. 21)
Like me, Slate favors techniques that involve an imagined sense of motion. For example:
"Preparatory OBEs exercises often include practice in creative imagery, particularly emphasizing motion. Slow moving clouds, a leaf in the breeze, a sail at sea, or even a magic carpet ride are good examples." (pg. 23)
His preliminary exercises are basic but solid:
The good news is that this book is heavy on techniques. Slate gives several, listing them, in part, as:
"The induced disengagement of the astral from the biological is typically initiated by first allowing the physical body to become deeply relaxed and then, with the eyes closed, clearing the mind of active thought." (pg. 23)
"Among the most highly effective of these strategies are OBEs Levitation, Astral Walk, Mirror Image, and Astral Surfing. Interestingly, gender differences in the effectiveness of these procedures have been noted, with women typically more responsive to Mirror Image and men typically more responsive to Astral Walk." (pg. 26)
Slate then goes on to give more details about each of these techniques. Unfortunately, I still found his techniques a bit lacking. Slate is a professional hypnotist, so his techniques are a bit repetitive. They mostly sounded like this to me:
- Relax your body, slow your breathing, and focus your mind.
- Steps 2 or 3 are something like "Envision that you're out-of-body."
- Step 3 or 4 are usually "do something" after you're out-of-body.
- Return to your body.
He makes it sound easy like you can snap your fingers and be there. And maybe it is that easy for some people, especially people are easily hypnotized. But it's never been that easy for me.
Step 1 is basic: You need to be completely and totally relaxed and focused. He gives several different variations of step 2, such as this quote from "OBEs Levitation":
"2. Focus your full attention on your physical body and imagine it becoming lighter and lighter, until finally, it seems to become weightless. 3. As the sense of weightlessness continues, imagine your physical body, as light as a feather, beginning to rise slowly. Next, envision your physical body momentarily suspended in space, then slowly returning to its original position, but leaving your consciousness behind in astral form, still suspended over your physical body." (pg. 27)
That's it. While he makes it sound easy, I want more details. Perhaps it's my own shortcomings. I am, after all, an analytical computer guy who wants his head in the bits and bytes. Slate actually goes into a fair amount of detail on a lot of his techniques. I just found them...somehow lacking. Here's a good example from one of Slate's techniques:
"To induce the out-of-body state, slow your breathing and clear your mind of all active thought by focusing on the white screen. After a few minutes of focusing, close your eyes and envision your physical body at rest. Continue to envision your body resting peacefully until you sense yourself becoming separate from it. Stay with that sense of separateness, letting yourself gently float away from your body..." (pg. 48)
See what I mean? Sounds like you're supposed to just sit there and envision your physical body at rest until--poof--you're there. For me, it's never been that simple.
Here's another example:
"Out-of-Body Induction. With your body now fully relaxed, envision yourself so liberated from the pressures of life that you begin to drift gently upward like a white vapor, away from your physical body, leaving all your cares behind. Notice the sense of freedom and wondrous release from your body, which is now at rest below you." (pg. 70-71)
I feel like he's missing a step. I mean, yeah, sometimes that's all it takes. But I've spent countless hours quiescing my mind and "just waiting" for it to happen and it usually gets me nowhere. It reminds me of this well-known comic:
I shouldn't be so hard on Slate. At times, he tries very hard to go into more details. For example, this excerpt from one of his exercises is much more helpful:
"Out-of-body induction for this procedure begins by generating a focused mental state through imagery of a surrounding space filled with light, but devoid of color, shapes, or movement. A strategy called astral polarization is then used to induce the out-of-body state. Polarization is initiated by a physical and mental clearing exercise that sets the stage for this out-of-body state. Imagery of the physical body as a sponge soaking in relaxation is recommended for physical clearing, while envisioning the astral body as a tranquil energy form, filled with light, is recommended for mental clearing.
As relaxation and tranquility deepen, the physical body becomes progressively heavy with relaxation, while the astral body becomes increasingly buoyant with tranquility. The result is the polarization of the astral and biological bodies, and a slow separation of the two." (pg. 106)
Now that is the kind of information I want.
To his credit, Slate gives a wide variety of astral projection techniques, including how to use self-hypnosis to achieve it. If you're susceptible to hypnosis, many of his techniques might work well. Unfortunately, only 10 to 15 percent of people are easily hypnotized.
Slate does make some dubious claims, such as:
"In its highest and most elegant form, out-of-body PK could either repair a damaged organ or literally recreate a new one. Conceivably, this is one of the most important yet most neglected, health and fitness resources of our time." (pg. 10)
Here's another claim that sounds a bit dubious, even for me:
"Central to ATS (Astral Telepathy System) is the Astral Blue Beltway, a fluid stream of psychic energy used to convey telepathic messages." (pg. 41)
Sorry. I shouldn't poo-poo this. After all, many reasonable scientists conclude, after 100 years of experiments, that telepathy is a fact. And many have suggested the information transfer relies upon principles of quantum physics such as quantum entanglement or some kind of quantum field. Calling it a "blue beltway" may sound hokey, but it may not be too far off the mark.
Slate also suggests that sexual partners can temporarily swap bodies, which is an extremely rare and dubious claim in OBE literature:
"At this critical point in the procedure, each partner first envisions, then astrally engages, the biological body of the other partner. In the male-female dyad, the astral male assumes a female biology while the astral female assumes a male biology, resulting in a gender reversal state which we could call out-of-one's-own-body-but-in-the-body-of-the-other." (pg. 79)
Bear in mind this was written long before the Netflix show Behind Her Eyes. Maybe the show got some of its ideas from Slate?
On the positive side, Slate talks about using astral projection for many different things:
- "Extrasensory expression" (I assume he means ESP or clairvoyance.)
- Healing yourself.
- Meeting with astral guides and angels.
- Meeting with friends, relatives, and pets who have passed away.
- Exploring past lives. Curiously, he treats past lives as chronological. In other words, you cannot visit future lives because they haven't occurred yet. Many other books claim OBEs are beyond time, and our lives from other reincarnations coexist simultaneously, past, present and future.
Slate also goes into great depth about different colored (or "coloured") astral planes, one for each color of the rainbow, that serve different functions: for example, one is more geared toward healing, etc.). He says to get to any particular one, just focus on it and imagine yourself there (once you're out-of-body). To take advantage of a colored-plane's special property is something he calls "Astral Outsourcing" and he gives instructions for each one. Again, I'm skeptical about this. I've never seen a "blue" or "orange" astral plane, and why should they be limited to the colors seen by human eyes when we're not using our physical eyes and the electromagnetic spectrum is infinite? Why isn't there an infrared astral plane? Or an ultraviolet one? Not to mention a gamma ray plane, x-ray plane, microwave place, etc. You get the idea.
Chapter 10, "OBEs in the Laboratory" is an absolute gem. Slate gives a number of interesting lab experiments he's supposedly conducted, mostly using volunteer college students. For example, he talks about using Kirlian photography to study the effects on the biological energy field during OBEs. He gives several example photos, and most show a uniform (even) energy pattern surrounding the fingertips before an OBE, but during the OBE, the energy has a "broken corona" effect where the energy appears broken into two separated sections around the finger. This broken corona effect lasted for the full duration of the OBE. (Pg. 136-138).
Slate did an experiment in which students used out-of-body travel to identify a remote target, in this case, a model train. A couple of the travelers supposedly correctly reported the train's manufacturer, which was printed in white letters on the side of the engine. (pg. 144)
He supposedly also found, through lab experiments, that ESP was greatly enhanced during OBEs. In one experiment, technicians traveled out-of-body to a different room in which they took 10 open pint containers, 9 of which contained water, and one that contained ethyl alcohol. The students were guided to leave their body and report which container was the alcohol. The students correctly identified the container with alcohol with remarkable accuracy. (pg. 139)
In another experiment regarding using OBEs for precognition, the OBErs reported a 81 percent accuracy in their predictions. (pg. 155)The book also gives several statistics regarding the OBE, much like William Buhlman's book The Secret of the Soul. This was pretty good, but Buhlman's study had more detail.
11 is "A Seven-Day Developmental Plan for OBEs." This is a well-rounded
set of instructions for each day, similar to those given earlier in the book. It was solid, but perhaps a bit repetitive.
The book is 187 pages with small print, good format and decent margins. That means there's plenty of content to satisfy.
The book is heavy on techniques, but light on narrative. I wish he'd have talked about his own personal experiments, if any, or whether he's just a facilitator. I assume the latter.
I'll give the book 4 stars out of 5.
02 November 2021
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