Consciousness exploration (astral projection, out of body experiences, lucid dreams) is something I am just beginning to understand. Like most people, I came to it spontaneously, and the vivid experiences have stuck with me ever since.
I’ve been interested in astral projection or out of body experiences since I was a preteen. It started with a fascination of alternate realities and metaphysics, but at the time it was nothing more than a novelty for me. I attempted some techniques I had heard rumors about, but did so halfheartedly and my interest in AP took a back shelf for about ten years. During this time, I was having plenty of interesting dreams and false awakenings, but as I had no database for these experiences I just passed them off as ordinary dreams.
Then, one morning, I found my consciousness transported somewhere else. I found myself in a new location, staring at very specific objects in a very specific space. I hadn’t been trying to AP, nor had I been meditating or anything else. But there I was, and I was more present in this place sensually than I feel even in my waking state. I was fully engrossed in the details of the place I was in. During this incident, I was aware that this must be what is meant by astral projection, and this was amazing. Thus, I began to explore the concept of consciousness in earnest.
I resonate most strongly with the idea that our consciousness phases or switches focus between the interconnected planes of reality when we are awake, dreaming, or doing what we call astral projecting.
Although I do not agree with all of his conclusions in regards to this phenomenon and what it implies, I’ll be using Frank Kepple’s model of consciousness exploration to talk about my experiences. Out of all the astral theories I’ve read, his simplifies the way we talk and think about these occurrences. My understanding of his model is essentially:
- Focus 1–Full waking consciousness (physical consciousness).
- RTZ— Real Time Zone. (This is not a term from Kepple’s model but earlier models before his, but I include it here because it is one I use.) This is the densest state next to the physical and mirrors the physical in many ways. When we are viewing our known, physical realm out of body, this is where we are.
- Focus 2–The dream state, also known as the lower astral. Focus 2 is described as being the realm of the subconscious, meaning that what you encounter here are the constructs of your own imagination accessed by your subconscious. It is the realm of dreams, and the difference (if any) between projecting to the “lower astral” and simply dreaming is your level of conscious awareness and participation. Experiences here can be vivid, but they tend to be more vague, indistinct, distorted, murky, or muddled.
- Focus 3–The higher astral. This realm or collection of areas behaves, like the physical, as a consensus reality (or realities). Also like the physical, objects have permanence and experiences are shared between many, many consciousnesses. Here is where the “afterlife” is experienced in all of its many varieties. Also, the Akashic records and other areas are accessed here.
- Focus 4–The merging of higher consciousness, beyond space and time. Kepple’s model stops here, but I believe this is the threshold a living, physical being can pursue while still being physically alive. What comes after is beyond comprehension.
There is no way I could adequately summarize his entire model, so I definitely recommend checking the article out.
Some divide reality up into a number of planes, with this one being the physical. The planes include the Astral, Mental, Causal, Etheric, and so on. I don’t really use this method of describing reality and consciousness because I’ve found it makes more sense to describe it using Kepple’s model, which is based on Monroe’s model. In any case, however we talk about it will necessarily fail to describe its depth, as, at our level, it is truly indescribable. However, my goal is to simply talk about my experiences rather than construct a theory of reality, so I am content to simply have a model within which I can express my experiences.
Kepple suggests that “out of body experiences” is a misnomer because our perception never truly leaves a body it was never in. I don’t have a position on this either way. I believe that the phrase “OBE” is, if anything, a description of an experience that is difficult to truly understand. At times, it really does feel as though one has left the physical body. The language, however accurate or inaccurate in a literal sense, seems apt.
That means that I may use the terms “out of body experience,” “astral projection,” and “Focus 1/2/3/4” interchangeably.
I agree with the idea that non lucid, “ordinary” dreams are astral experiences that lack our conscious participation. So I may use the terms “dream” and “Focus 2” interchangeably for this purpose. (Lucidity in this case refers to one’s conscious participation in Focus 2.)
I often hold a crystal in my hand when I know I am going to be dozing (if I intend to fully sleep I will have it either under my pillow or affixed to my body). It definitely helps to center my focus and offer protection. The crystals associated with consciousness exploration tend to be third eye/crown or higher communication stones (amethyst, moldavite, tektite, phenacite, kyanite, celestite, etc.), but I have found that determining which crystals I resonate the most with for this kind of work is more personal than anything. Sitting with yourself and your crystals would be the best way to determine what to work with if you want to use crystals to aid you in this exploration.
That said, there is so much to learn and I am learning everyday!
At the time of this writing, I am beginning a conscious exploration of the greater reality around me. I am by no means an expert, but sharing my experiences is both important to me and to those who may be exploring as well. I’ve intended this journal to be very search-friendly in regards to certain astral topics to greater facilitate others who are looking for information about these experiences.
As always, if you have any questions about the way I describe my experiences, please ask! It is my hope that we can learn from each other and that my experiences here are useful to you as well!
(Special note: Aelestrid.net launched for the first time in October 2010, but the date the earlier entries are posted reflect the time they happened. This makes it easier to post everything that has happened up until the time of this writing on WordPress.)