Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Review: Astral Projection Plain & Simple

Astral Projection Plain & Simple

by Osborne Phillips

Today I'm reviewing Astral Projection Plain & Simple: The Out-of-Body Experience by Osborne Phillips. The copyright is from 2003.

This book falls into the category of modern esoteric, which means it claims from the onset that there are several (in this case four) different planes of existence: physical, astral, mental, and spiritual. Humans, then, have four corresponding bodies that may be used to experience these planes.

Like many occult-oriented books on the subject, its techniques center around creating a simulacrum, an artificially created astral body built from the non-physical energy of the upper abdominal region (the solar plexus). The simulacrum is then used to experience the astral plane. Like some other occultist writers, Phillips suggests you first send it out on its own (without your conscious awareness) to explore the astral and bring back its impressions to you. He gives a technique called "Creating and Sending the Watcher" that ends with:

"You should know allow the Watcher to go about its business while you go about yours." (pg. 51)

Later, you learn to integrate the two (another ritual called "Recalling and Reading the Watcher") and basically download the simulacrum's otherworldly experiences in real time to create the out-of-body experience. He calls this "Reading the Active Watcher." (pg. 53)

I don't know about you, but all this seems counterintuitive, cumbersome, and unnecessary to me. In my OBEs, I'm both the actor and experiencer.

Also, like many occult books, its astral projection techniques are centered around rituals, but they're not too excessive. His four astral projection techniques start with the same two rituals: "Setting Apart of the Place" and "The Foundation Technique."

Setting Apart of the Place (page 19)

In this technique, you:

  • Stand in the center of your room, facing east.
  • Contemplate "The Source of Light and Life"
  • Reaching upward and outward, imagine yourself growing and expanding until you are immeasurably vast.
  • Maintaining the sense of immensity, formulate imaginatively a globe of brilliant white light just above, but not touching, your head.
  • Visualize its luminosity increasing to an intense radiance that falls upon you and through you, permeates your whole being and surrounds you as an aura of white brilliance.
  • Imagine a wall of white light slowing revolving counterclockwise about your room.
  • Mentally say to yourself, "By the power of the divine light of my higher self, be this place free from all hindrances and from every shadow of doubt and illusion.
  • Visualize a second wall of pale blue light just within the first wall, revolving clockwise.
  • Mentally say to yourself, "By the power of the divine light of my higher self, be this place filled with peace and with the blessings of love and goodness."
  • Allow the visualizations to fade from your awareness.

(See the book for more details.)

Foundation Technique (pg 27)

In this technique, you basically do this:

  1. Assume a well-balanced standing posture in which your feet are together and your arms are held loosely at your side.
  2. Maintaining this posture, visualize the sphere of brilliant white light--your crown center--just above your head.
  3. On an in-breath, imagine a beam of white light being drawn down from the crown center to your breast, where it forms your heart center as a brilliant white globe.
  4. On an out-breath, imagine a beam of white light descending from your heart center to your feet, where it forms another center in white light, radiant but less brilliant than the crown.
  5. On an in-breath, see a flash of golden light rise from your feet center and pass upward into your heart center.
  6. On an out-breath, the movement of the light rests, and you mentally affirm the three centers and their connecting shaft of white light.
  7. Now repeat several times steps 3, 4, 5, and 6 above.
  8. Finally, you see your heart center emitting a powerful radiance, to encompass you in an aura of golden light.

The Techniques

The problem I have with Phillips astral projection techniques is that the critical steps are vague. For example, he gives "Method 1: The Stepping Forth" (which, as always) starts with the "Setting apart of the place" and "Foundation Technique" followed by an affirmation, a visualization, and then:

"5. Transfer your awareness into the astral simulacrum of yourself that you have thus formed, so that your awareness of your physical body is lessened and your consciousness of the silver-gray figure and the golden aura is heightened." (pg 56)

But how exactly is that accomplished? He writes as if you already know how to transfer your consciousness out of your body. If you knew that, why would you need all the rituals and such?

Likewise with "Method 2: Change of Perspective". He writes:

"6. Now, transfer your awareness to a point outside your body, say about eight feet above you and facing toward yourself." (pg. 58)

For "Astral projection method 3: The going forth" he gives a little bit more detail:

"8. Now make a mental resolution to transfer your consciousness into the astral figure above you.
"9. Immediately after making this resolution, imagine yourself--gathered as it were at your point of consciousness--gliding swiftly upwards to the astral figure and entering it at the corresponding point of consciousness." (pg. 58-59)

Astral projection method 4 is "The revolving formula." Similarly:

"6. Transfer your awareness into the simulacrum of yourself that you have thus formed, so that your awareness of your physical body is lessened and your consciousness of the astral figure and the surrounding aura is heightened." (pg. 59)
I'm sorry, but don't just tell the reader to "Transfer your awareness into your astral body." If they knew how to do that already, they wouldn't need your book.

The Guardian of the Threshold

Phillips addresses a subject covered by very few other authors, and that is the Guardian of the Threshold, which he calls "The Lurker on the Threshold," and how it tries to frighten you to keep you from going out-of-body. He talks about how some of this is caused simply by fear instilled by other authors who are inexperienced in the subject. His advice on getting rid of it?

"You'll need a great combination of sympathy, encouragement, and firm determination to help fight it." (pg. 33)

Well, yeah, I guess I can't argue with that. The most important thing is not to let it stop you or even slow you down.

The book has some excellent advice concerning breathing: Instead of trying to breathe in a particular forced way, counting seconds or heartbeats, it suggests a common sense approach:

"What is needed is breathing from the diaphragm. Standing, seated or lying, in the posture of a person who is wide awake, alert, but relaxed, one should imitate the breathing, deep and unhurried, of one who is soundly sleeping." (pg. 18)

I disagreed with Phillips' view of the unconscious mind. He writes:

"Your unconscious, remember, is rather like a child: it will take delight in shared endeavors and will aim to please you, but it needs to know the rules." (pg.50)

In my experience, the subconscious is very sophisticated and intelligent; not childlike at all. As a matter of fact, I often feel like a child that my subconscious just barely tolerates and it would rather get on with non-physical life without my bothering it.

Phillips talks a bit more in-depth about astral sex. He makes an interesting observation that was posed to him as part of a question from one of his readers:

"Although I've kept all my other astral activities entirely secret, everything I do that's concerned with astral sex gets back into my twin's dreams. Naturally this is causing a lot of curiosity and joking." (pg. 108)

He also gives details on how to pull someone else out of their body, once you've become advanced enough. This is the only book I can remember that gives instructions on how to do that, although again, it's steeped in ritual, and involves convincing them to go with you. What's the critical step here? No surprise:

"5. The subject then transfers awareness into the astral simulacrum of the self thus formed, so that awareness of the physical body is lessened and consciousness of the silver-grey figure and the golden aura is heightened." (pg. 136)

Ahem. Not helpful. Interestingly, he also claims that it's not possible to pull an animal out-of-body like you can a human, although pets can astral travel.

Oh, and my pet peeve: the book doesn't give any clues as to where Phillips got his knowledge or his level of experience. In fact, there are no astral projection narratives in the book.

Don't get me wrong. The book has its good points. I expected to hate this book, but it was actually much better than I expected. 

The book is 151 pages with good font and margins, which means there's a good amount of content. On the good side, it's very technique oriented and informative, despite the shortcomings mentioned above. On the bad side, the writing is a bit cumbersome and hard to follow. I'll give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

Bob Peterson
22 February 2022


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