The Techniques of Astral Projection
by Robert Crookall
Today I'm reviewing The Techniques of Astral Projection by Robert Crookall. The copyright is 1964. It's very old and hard to find. (I was born in 1961. I guess that makes me old and hard to find too!)
Robert Crookall was a British geologist who loved to scientifically study astral projection (out-of-body experiences) long ago. He wrote several books about it when very little was known about the subject. His groundbreaking book The Study and Practice of Astral Projection, which was the subject of my previous book review, radically increased our understanding of OBEs. Since his books predate Robert Monroe's and most other Astral Projection books, I was curious what Crookall had to say about OBE induction techniques.
Unfortunately, this book didn't live up to my expectations. In fact, it didn't say much at all about astral projection techniques at all.
Crookall tried to track down the source of some of the earliest techniques used to induce astral projection. He investigated the books and articles of Sylvan Muldoon, but Muldoon credited technique articles written by
Prescott Hall. Upon further investigation, Crookall discovered that Hall got the techniques from a spirit medium by the name of Mrs. Minnie Keeler who credited her spirit "communicators" for the information.
So to describe this book succinctly: this book is a detailed comparison of "astral projection best practices and exit techniques" excerpted from the "communications" of Mrs. Keeler, against early astral projection experts: Dr. Charles Lancelin, Sylvan Muldoon, Yram, Oliver Fox, Frederick Sculthorpe, and others. And to sum it up: they match pretty closely. In other words, Keeler's "spirit communicators" generally recommend the same things as the early experts.The remarkable thing is that Keeler's "spirit communications" seem to actually predate most of those astral projection experts' books and articles. This makes me wonder: Since Keeler was not an astral projector herself, how did she acquire so much detailed knowledge about it? Maybe it really was firsthand information from spirits of the dead? Nobody knows.
If the name Minnie Keeler sounds familiar, it may be because I referenced her in my 2018 blog article, Dietary Considerations, which I included as chapter 71 of my book, Hacking the Out of Body Experience.
But you don't need an entire 111 page book to describe their recommendations. A simple article will do. In fact, I can summarize them all right now:
These suggestions (translated to English) are from Dr. Charles Lancelin's [French] book Methodes de Dedoublement Personnel (I own a copy, but I can't read French, so don't expect a book review!):
- Arouse and "super-charge" the subconscious mind by giving yourself
affirmations and verbal suggestions, preferably right before sleep: "I
have the will!," "I have energy!," "I have the power!," etc. [Muldoon also said that motivating the subconscious is of paramount importance].
- Imagine that the astral body loosens from, and eventually leaves the physical body.
- On the day of the attempt, little food should be eaten.
Yeah, I know it's pretty lame as instructions go. And Muldoon even berated Lacelin for being so vague. Most of the suggestions from Mrs. Keeler's "spirits" are visualizations, excerpted here from pages 27 - 29:
- The withdrawal of the attention from the physical world. The would-be projector is recommended to create mental images of lights, e.g., to concentrate on imaginary ripples or flashes of light.
- The loosening of the Astral Body from the physical body. "Image oneself as a point in space floating, or as a piece of cloud or as steam."
- The initiation of movement in the Astral Body. (1) The image of oneself as flying, (2) The image of a twirling star suspended in space, (3) The attempt to visit the Himalayas in imagination, (4) The image of ploughing [I.e. plowing a field by hand before tractors and machines were used], (5) The image of rocking or of swinging [which is my favorite technique].
- Frequent use is made of the image of a circle, or a series of circles, of smoke rings, etc.
- The image of a cone is used: contracting to a point or expanding from a point, passing through a water-spout, or hourglass-shaped space. [In more modern terms: think worm-hole.]
- Imagine being caught in a whirlpool.
- Imagine being carried along a wave.
- The image of "paying out a coil of rope," or being drawn up by means of a rope.
- The image of oneself whirling [spinning, like the Dervishes] or of whirling objects.
- The image of a tank gradually filling with water, on the top of which one floats as a point of light...the object is to find a small hole in one side of the tank through which one passes out.
- The image of water...drawing water from a well, considering the physical body as a pool of water, or dwelling on the image of a pool of water. [Note that I often start out my technique by imagining my consciousness is a liquid sloshing back and forth inside my physical body.]
- The image of a mirror, or the manipulation of one's own image in a mirror.
- Concentrate upon the image of the calyx of a lily.
- Imagine yourself "steaming" out of your body as if from a limp hot cloth.
It surprised me how many of these techniques are suggested by more modern astral projection authors. Many of the spinning/moving techniques were suggested by D. Scott Rogo.
Here are some more exit techniques, excerpted from pages 70 - 71:
- Concentrate a yard or two in front of my body and to "try and get towards that place."
- Concentrate on a spot above your head, instead of in front, and to try and rise from your body.
- Concentrate one foot seven inches above your head.
- Imagine breathing through your ears and to tell about, from time to time, what you see.
- Sit erect, not touching the chair back, and to concentrate on a horizontal bar above the line of sight; to hold breath when there is a feeling of rising; but in general to be more passive and to let the spirits do the work.
- Brace hands and feet and contract muscles of stomach in order to force the Astral Body out; and to imagine the physical body falling.
- Imagine ascending a flight of steps which tip toward you, then to take hold of a silk rope and jump off, kicking the steps away, and filling the lungs at the same time.
- Try moving forward horizontally in a straight line.
- Imagine revolving rapidly on tiptoe, finally springing up.
- Imagine a disc three inches in diameter revolving rapidly seven inches in front of your eyes.
- Imagine sitting in a swing with long ropes, swinging back and forth and sending impulses in the same direction as the swing at the end of each swing.
- Imagine flying slowly and steadily in any direction.
- Imagine being a soap bubble, blown in any direction.
- Imagine going to the Himalayas through the air.
- Imagine a point two feet in front of your throat, and to see it coming towards you until you merge with it and become a point.
Like the previous list, many of these techniques are given by more modern astral projection authors. In my first book I stressed the need to be completely passive (as per #5). Many authors suggest imagining climbing a rope (as per #7, although Robert Bruce added the twist of using only tactile, not visual, imagination). The spinning disc technique (#10) was mentioned by Graham Nicholls. The swinging technique (#11) is very similar to one in my first book.
In short, Mrs. Keeler's "spirit communicators" suggested most of the modern astral projection techniques long before they were found in any astral projection books. That's not to say any of these authors plagiarized the works of Mrs. Keeler or of Prescott Hall. I stumbled upon many of my own techniques through personal experimentation.
The book is fascinating from a historical point of view, but not very useful from a practical point of view. It's 111 pages with small font and slim margins.
I'll give the book just 2 stars out of 5. The book is well written, the grammar is perfect, and I only spotted one typo. But there are a lot better technique books out there now.
12 December 2023
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