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Astral-body Traveling








There is much confusion existing in the minds of the average students of
occultism concerning the distinction between astral visioning by means of
the astral senses in clairvoyance, and the visioning of the astral senses
during the travels of the astral body away from the physical body. There
is such a close connection between the two several phases of occult
phenomena that it is easy to mistake one for the other; in fact, there is
often such a blending of the two that it is quite difficult to distinguish
between them. However, in this lesson I shall endeavor to bring out the
characteristics of astral body visioning, that the student may learn to
distinguish them from those of the ordinary clairvoyant astral visioning,
and recognize them when he experiences them.

The main points of distinction are these: When visioning clairvoyantly by
means of the astral senses, as described in the preceding chapters of this
book, the clairvoyant usually perceives the scene, person or event as a
picture on a flat surface. It is true that there is generally a perfect
perspective, similar to that of a good stereoscopic view, or that of a
high-grade moving picture photograph--the figures "stand out," and do not
appear "flat" as in the case of an ordinary photograph; but still at the
best it is like looking at a moving picture, inasmuch as the whole scene
is all in front of you. Visioning in the astral body, on the contrary,
gives you an "all around" view of the scene. That is to say, in such case
you see the thing just as you would were you there in your physical
body--you see in front of you; on the sides of you, out of the corner of
your eye; if you turn your head, you may see in any direction; and you may
turn around and see what is happening behind you. In the first case you
are merely gazing at an astral picture in front of you; while in the
second place you are ACTUALLY THERE IN PERSON.

There are some limitations to this "seeing all around" when in the astral
body, however, which I should note in passing. For instance, if when in
the astral body you examine the akashic records of the past, or else peer
into the scenes of the future, you will see these things merely as a
picture, and will not be conscious of being present personally in the
scene. (An apparent exception is to be noted here, also, viz., if your
past-time visioning includes the perception of yourself in a former
incarnation, you may be conscious of living and acting in your former
personality; again, if you are psychometrizing from fossil remains, or
anything concerned with a living creature of the past, you may "take on"
the mental or emotional conditions of that creature, and seem to sense
things from the inside, rather than from the outside. This, of course, is
also a characteristic of the ordinary clairvoyant vision of the past.) But
when, in the astral body, you perceive a present-time scene in space, you
are, to all intents and purposes, an actual participant--you are actually
present at the place and time. The sense of "being actually present in
the body" is the leading characteristic of the astral body visioning, and
distinguishes it from the "picture seeing" sensing of ordinary
clairvoyance. This is stating the matter is as plain and simple form as is
possible, ignoring many technical details and particulars.

You, being a student of occultism, of course know that the astral body is
a fine counterpart of the physical body, composed of a far more subtle
form of substance than is the latter, that under certain conditions you
may travel in your astral body, detached from your physical body (except
being connected with it with a slender astral cord, bearing a close
resemblance to the umbilical cord which connects the newborn babe with the
placenta in the womb of its mother), and explore the realms of the astral
plane. This projection of the astral body, as a rule, occurs only when the
physical body is stilled in sleep, or in trance condition. In fact, the
astral body frequently is projected by us during the course of our
ordinary sleep, but we fail to remember what we have seen in our astral
journeys, except, occasionally, dim flashes of partial recollection upon
awakening. In some cases, however, our astral visioning is so distinct and
vivid, that we awaken with a sense of having had a peculiar experience,
and as having actually been out of the physical body at the time.

In some cases, the person traveling in the astral is able to actually take
part in the distant scene, and may, under certain circumstances actually
materialize himself so as to be seen by persons in their physical bodies.
I am speaking now, of course, of the untrained person. The trained and
developed occultist, of course, is able to do these things deliberately
and consciously, instead of unconsciously and without intention as in the
case of the ordinary person. I shall quote here from another writer on the
subject, whose point of view, in connection with my own, may serve to
bring about a clear understanding in the mind of the student--it is always
well to view any subject from as many angles as possible. This writer
says:

"We enter here upon an entirely new variety of clairvoyance, in which the
consciousness of the seer no longer remains in or closely connected with
his physical body, but is definitely transferred to the scene which he is
examining. Though it has no doubt greater dangers for the untrained seer
than either of the other methods, it is yet quite the most satisfactory
form of clairvoyance open to him. In this case, the man's body is either
asleep or in a trance, and its organs are consequently not available for
use while the vision is going on, so that all description of what is seen,
and all questioning as to further particulars, must be postponed until the
wanderer returns to this plane. On the other hand, the sight is much
fuller and more perfect; the man hears as well as sees everything which
passes before him, and can move about freely at will within the very wide
limits of the astral plane. He has also the immense advantage of being
able to take part, as it were, in the scenes which come before his
eyes--of conversing at will with various entities on the astral plane, and
from whom so much information that is curious and interesting may be
obtained. If in addition he can learn how to materialize himself (a matter
of no great difficulty for him when once the knack is acquired), he will
be able to take part in physical events or conversations at a distance,
and to show himself to an absent friend at will.

"Again, he will have the additional power of being able to hunt about for
what he wants. By means of the other varieties of clairvoyance, for all
practical purposes he may find a person or place only when he is already
acquainted with it; or, when he is put en rapport with it by touching
something physically connected with it, as in psychometry. By the use of
the astral body, however, a man can move about quite freely and rapidly in
any direction, and can (for example) find without difficulty any place
pointed out upon a map, without either any previous knowledge of the spot
or any object to establish a connection with it. He can also readily rise
high into the air so as to gain a bird's eye view of the country which he
is examining, so as to observe its extent, the contour of its coastline,
or its general character. Indeed, in every way his power and freedom are
far greater when he uses this method than they are in any of the lesser
forms of clairvoyance."

In many well authenticated cases, we may see that the soul of a dying
person, one whose physical end is approaching, visits friends and
relatives in the astral body, and in many cases materializes and even
speaks to them. In such cases the dying person accomplishes the feat of
astral manifestation without any special occult knowledge; the weakened
links between the physical and the higher phases of the soul render the
temporary passing-out comparatively easy, and the strong desire of the
dying person furnishes the motive power necessary. Such visits, however,
are often found to be merely the strongly charged thought of the dying
person, along the lines of telepathy, as I have previously explained to
you. But in many cases there can be no doubt that the phenomenon is a
clear case of astral visitation and materialization.

The records of the Society for Psychical Research contain many instances
of this kind; and similar instances are to be found in other records of
psychical research. I shall quote a few of these cases for you, that you
may get a clear idea of the characteristics thereof. Andrew Lang, an
eminent student and investigator along the lines of the psychic and
occult, gives us the following case, of which he says, "Not many stories
have such good evidence in their favor." The story as related by Mr. Lang
in one of his books is as follows:

"Mary, the wife of John Goffe of Rochester, being afflicted with a long
illness, removed to her father's house at West Mailing, about nine miles
from her own. The day before her death she grew very impatiently desirous
to see her two children, whom she had left at home to the care of a
nurse. She was too ill to be moved, and between one and two o'clock in the
morning she fell into a trance. One widow, Turner, who watched with her
that night, says that her eyes were open and fixed, and her jaw fallen.
Mrs. Turner put her hand to her mouth, but could perceive no breath. She
thought her to be in a fit, and doubted whether she were dead or alive.
The next morning the dying woman told her mother that she had been at home
with her children, saying, 'I was with them last night when I was asleep.'

"The nurse at Rochester, widow Alexander by name, affirms that a little
before two o'clock that morning she saw the likeness of the said Mary
Goffe come out of the next chamber (where the elder child lay in a bed by
itself), the door being left open, and stood by her bedside for about a
quarter of an hour; the younger child was there lying by her. Her eyes
moved and her mouth went, but she said nothing. The nurse, moreover says
that she was perfectly awake; it was then daylight, being one of the
longest days of the year. She sat up in bed and looked steadfastly on the
apparition. In that time she heard the bridge clock strike two, and a
while after said: 'In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, what art
thou?' Thereupon the apparition removed and went away; she slipped out of
her clothes and followed, but what became on't she cannot tell."

In the case just mentioned, Mr. Lang states that the nurse was so
frightened that she was afraid to return to bed. As soon as the neighbors
were up and about she told them of what she had seen; but they told her
that she had been dreaming. It was only when, later on, news came of what
had happened at the other end of the line--the bedside of the dying woman,
that they realized just what had happened.

In a work by Rev. F.G. Lee, there are several other cases of this kind
quoted, all of which are stated by Mr. Lee to be thoroughly well
authenticated. In one of the cases a mother, when dying in Egypt, appears
to her children in Torquay, and is clearly seen in broad daylight by all
five children and also by the nursemaid. In another, a Quaker lady dying
at Cockermouth is clearly seen and recognized in daylight by her three
children at Seattle, the remainder of the story being almost identical
with that of the Goffe case just quoted.

In the records of the Society for Psychical Research, the following case
appears, the person reporting it being said to be of good character and
reputation for truthfulness and reliability. The story is as follows: "One
morning in December, 1836, A. had the following dream, or he would prefer
to call it, revelation. He found himself suddenly at the gate of Major
N.M.'s avenue, many miles from his home. Close to him was a group of
persons, one of whom was a woman with a basket on her arm, the rest were
men, four of whom were tenants of his own, while the others were unknown
to him. Some of the strangers seemed to be assaulting H.W., one of his
tenants, and he interfered. A. says, 'I struck violently at the man on my
left, and then with greater violence at the man's face on my right.
Finding, to my surprise, that I had not knocked down either, I struck
again and again with all the violence of a man frenzied at the sight of my
poor friend's murder. To my great amazement I saw my arms, although
visible to my eye, were without substance, and the bodies of the men I
struck at and my own came close together after each blow, through the
shadowy arms I struck with. My blows were delivered with more extreme
violence than I ever think I exerted, but I became painfully convinced of
my incompetency. I have no consciousness of what happened after this
feeling of unsubstantiality came upon me.'

"Next morning, A. experienced the stiffness and soreness of violent bodily
exercise, and was informed by his wife that in the course of the night he
had much alarmed her by striking out again and again in a terrific manner,
'as if fighting for his life.' He, in turn, informed her of his dream, and
begged her to remember the names of those actors in it who were known to
him. On the morning of the following day (Wednesday) A. received a letter
from his agent, who resided in the town close to the scene of the dream,
informing him that his tenant had been found on Tuesday morning at Major
N.M.'s gate, speechless and apparently dying from a fracture of the
skull, and that there was no trace of the murderers.

"That night A. started for the town, and arrived there on Thursday
morning. On his way to a meeting of magistrates, he met the senior
magistrate of that part of the country, and requested him to give orders
for the arrest of the three men whom, besides H.W., he had recognized in
his dream, and to have them examined separately. This was at once done.
The three men gave identical accounts of the occurrence, and all named the
woman who was with them. She was then arrested and gave precisely similar
testimony. They said that between eleven and twelve on the Monday night
they had been walking homewards altogether along the road, when they were
overtaken by three strangers, two of whom savagely assaulted H.W., while
the other prevented his friends from interfering. H.W. did not die, but
was never the same man afterwards; he subsequently emigrated."

Stead, the English editor and psychical researcher, relates the following
case, which he accepts as truthful and correct, after careful
investigation of the circumstances and of the character and reputation of
the person relating it. The story proceeds as follows:

"St. Eglos is situated about ten miles from the Atlantic, and not quite so
far from the old market town of Trebodwina. Hart and George Northey were
brothers, and from childhood their lives had been marked by the strongest
brotherly affection. Hart and George Northey had never been separated
from their birth until George became a sailor, Hart meantime joining his
father in business. On the 8th of February, 1840, while George Northey's
ship was lying in port at St. Helena, he had the following strange dream:

"Last night I dreamt that my brother was at Trebodwina Market, and that I
was with him, quite close by his side, during the whole of the market
transactions. Although I could see and hear which passed around me, I felt
sure that it was not my bodily presence which thus accompanied him, but my
shadow or rather my spiritual presence, for he seemed quite unconscious
that I was near him. I felt that my being thus present in this strange way
betokened some hidden danger which he was destined to meet, and which I
know my presence could not avert, for I could not speak to warn him of his
peril."

The story then proceeds to relate how Hart collected considerable money at
Trebodwina Market, and then started to ride homeward. George tells what
happened to his brother on the way, as follows:

"My terror gradually increased as Hart approached the hamlet of Polkerrow,
until I was in a perfect frenzy, frantically desirous, yet unable to warn
my brother in some way and prevent him from going further. I suddenly
became aware of two dark shadows thrown across the road. I felt that my
brother's hour had come, and I was powerless to aid him! Two men appeared,
whom I instantly recognized as notorious poachers who lived in a lonely
wood near St. Eglos. They wished him 'Good night, mister!' civilly
enough. He replied, and entered into conversation with them about some
work he had promised them. After a few minutes they asked him for some
money. The elder of the two brothers, who was standing near the horse's
head, said: 'Mr. Northey, we know you have just come from Trebodwina
Market with plenty of money in your pockets; we are desperate men, and you
bean't going to leave this place until we've got that money; so hand
over!' My brother made no reply except to slash at him with the whip, and
spur the horse at him.

"The younger of the ruffians instantly drew a pistol, and fired. Hart
dropped lifeless from the saddle, and one of the villains held him by the
throat with a grip of iron for some minutes, as thought to make assurance
doubly sure, and crush out any particle of life my poor brother might have
left. The murderers secured the horse to a tree in the orchard, and,
having rifled the corpse, they dragged it up the stream, concealing it
under the overhanging banks of the water-course. Then they carefully
covered over all marks of blood on the road, and hid the pistol in the
thatch of a disused hut close to the roadside; then, setting the horse
free to gallop home alone, they decamped across the country to their own
cottage."

The story then relates how George Northey's vessel left St. Helena the
next day after the dream, and reached Plymouth in due time. George carried
with him a very vivid recollection of his vision on the return voyage,
and never doubted for an instant that his brother had been actually
murdered in the manner and by the persons named, as seen in the vision. He
carried with him the determination to bring the villains to justice and
was filled with the conviction that through his efforts retribution would
fall upon the murderers.

In England, justice was at work--but the missing link was needed. The
crime aroused universal horror and indignation, and the authorities left
nothing undone in the direction of discovering the murderers and bringing
them to justice. Two brothers named Hightwood were suspected, and in their
cottage were found blood-stained garments. But no pistol was found,
although the younger brother admitted having owned but lost one. They were
arrested and brought before the magistrates. The evidence against them was
purely circumstantial, and not any too strong at that; but their actions
were those of guilty men. They were committed for trial. Each confessed,
in hopes of saving his life and obtaining imprisonment instead. But both
were convicted and sentenced to be hanged. There was doubt in the minds of
some, however, about the pistol. The story continues:

"Before the execution, George Northey arrived from St. Helena, and
declared that the pistol was in the thatch of the old cottage close by the
place where they had murdered Hart Northey, and where they had hid it.
'How do you know?' he was asked. George replied: 'I saw the foul deed
committed in a dream I had the night of the murder, when at St. Helena.'
The pistol was found, as George Northey had predicted, in the thatch of
the ruined cottage." Investigation revealed that the details of the crime
were identical with those seen in the vision.

It is a fact known to all occultists that many persons frequently travel
in the astral body during sleep; and in many cases retain a faint
recollection of some of the things they have seen and heard during their
travels in the astral. Nearly everyone knows the experience of waking up
in the morning feeling physically tired and "used up;" in some cases a dim
recollection of walking or working during the dream being had. Who among
us has not had the experience of "walking on the air," or in the air,
without the feet touching the ground, being propelled simply by the effort
of the will? And who of us has had not experienced that dreadful--"falling
through space" sensation, in dreams, with the sudden awakening just before
we actually struck earth? And who has not had the mortifying dream
experience of walking along the street, or in some public place, and being
suddenly overcome by the consciousness that we were in our night-clothes,
or perhaps without any clothing at all? All of these things are more or
less distorted recollection of astral journeyings.

But while these dream excursions in the astral are harmless, the conscious
"going out in the astral" is not so. There are many planes of the astral
into which it is dangerous and unpleasant for the uninstructed person to
travel; unless accompanied by a capable occultist as guide. Therefore, I
caution all students against trying to force development in that
direction. Nature surrounds you with safeguards, and interposes obstacles
for your own protection and good. Do not try to break through these
obstacles without knowledge of what you are doing. "Fools rush in where
angels fear to tread," remember; and "a little learning is a dangerous
thing." When you have reached the stage of development in which it will be
safe for you to undertake conscious astral explorations, then will your
guide be at hand, and the instruction furnished you by those capable of
giving it to you. Do not try to break into the astral without due
preparation, and full knowledge, lest you find yourself in the state of
the fish who leaped out of the water onto the banks of the stream. Your
dream trips are safe; they will increase in variety and clearness, and you
will remember more about them--all this before you may begin to try to
consciously "go out into the astral" as do the occultists. Be content to
crawl before you may walk. Learn to add, multiply, subtract and divide,
before you undertake the higher mathematics, algebra, geometry, etc., of
occultism.





Next: Strange Astral Phenomena

Previous: Second-sight Prevision Etc



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