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


"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


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


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


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