A young man’s discovery of astral projection.
by Marc Sessler
As a young boy living in England, I had a recurring dream. I lived in a large room, on the top floor of my family’s house. At the end of the day, with the sun setting over the London suburbs, I would sit at my windowsill and watch the orange light spill onto the rooftops, shining through car windows and blanketing the damp streets. And in the night, I would examine the skies above, rich with stars and planets, worlds beyond our world. At last, filled with visions of other places beyond this earth, I would wind into a deep sleep.
Then it would begin, often three or four times a week: A recurring dream—if I can call it a dream—too real to be fantasy, too fantastic to be real. But I was conscious of my surroundings. I rose from my bed and floated to the ceiling. Below me, my physical body remained motionless beneath the covers. I could direct my movement, but in an unusual, dreamlike fashion. I would coast from my quarters, down a wide spiral staircase, past darkened rooms where my parents and baby brother slept. I was alone, and aware of something happening. The journey would continue, down to the ground floor, into the shadows of the living room. I gravitated to the windows, looking outside upon the streets, the hidden night. This would last but a minute. Suddenly, I would make my way up again, floating—almost pulled—past the second floor, into my bedroom, above the sleepy scene and back into my body, shot back into physical form. I would always wake the following morning remembering these travels, scared and frightened but mystified and interested. These experiences ceased—at least the memories of traveling—when I moved to Connecticut in 1980, at age six. With no way to explain what had happened to me, I forgot the thing and went on with my life. But I can still remember that house, and those visions in the night.
I am compelled to share this story because of similar experiences this past winter. Essentially, I stumbled upon a spark plug, a powerful reconnection to those childhood mysteries—generated by strange, but familiar, new travels. After much research and discussion, I believe these “dreams” to be astral projection. My own descriptions, what I’ve felt and seen, match others’ findings too closely to be ignored. The time has come for people to pass beyond stubborn roadblocks of the mind. The time has come to acknowledge we are more than just physical matter. We are of many forms, and the search for those alternate forms, other houses of the soul, is a beautiful and critical mission. Armed with this knowledge, I’ve begun to examine this chain of unusual “dreams” that have been with me from the start.
I spent last autumn and winter working at a YMCA outdoor center in Connecticut. I entered this small community at the end of August, remained through the autumn and into the winter months. We were given housing, meals, and work on the weekend. Our incomes were modest, but the free time during the week provided opportunity for study, writing, and growing friendship. We lived and ate together, drove through mountain towns, and camped in the hills. At night, with fires burning in the hilltops, our small group of friends gathered in circles, discussing the paths of our lives and the challenges of the future. I point out these details because such comfortable and serene schedules left us without the money worries, waking-day calamities, and pointless squabbles that infest young people trying to make their way in the cities and towns of America. I found myself going to sleep at night filled with comfort, with the ability to concentrate on the fantastic dreams I was having nightly, recording those dreams and finding that they were becoming vivid and alarming.
I was friends with a young man named Bill, who turned me on to a variety of interesting texts. We read about the influence of diet and fasting on the body, lucid dreaming and, most importantly, the travels of the astral body. I had heard of astral projection, but it seemed an ancient and strange subject, not relevant to my experiences. Now I believe that astral projection is possible for everybody, not just metaphysical scientists or New Age zealots.
I discovered a brilliant book on the subject, The Projection of the Astral Body, written by Sylvan Muldoon and Hereward Carrington, way back in 1929. It states the following:
“The Astral Body may be defined as the Double, or the ethereal counterpart of the physical body, which it resembles and with which it normally coincides. It is thought to be composed of some semifluidic or subtle form of matter, invisible to the physical eye.… The broad, general teaching is that every human being ‘has’ an astral body just as he has a heart, a brain and a liver. In fact, the astral body is more truly the Real Man than the physical body is, for the latter is merely a machine adapted to functioning upon the physical plane. But it must not be thought that the astral body is held to be the Soul of man either. That is a mistake often made. It is said to be the vehicle of the Soul—just as truly as the physical body is a vehicle—and constitutes one of the essential connecting-links between mind and matter.”
That is an academic description, but for anybody who has experienced the powerful and wonderful mystery of the astral plane, no written explanation will do. Nonetheless, here is my story.
It was mid-January, and a heavy snow was falling on the grounds. I spent the evening quietly, working on my novel, eating supper and talking with Bill down the hall. With no work planned for the next day, my mind was free. I decided to go to bed early.
I entered dreamland listening to the wind off the mountains. It was cozy and warm beneath my sheets, and I slept soundly through the night, waking only once to the sound of girls in the hallway, anxiously discussing the whereabouts of some leftover pasta dish. Too tired to tell them it had already been eaten by a rowdy band from a neighboring cabin, I fell back to sleep, traveling into a peaceful, dreamless snooze.
I awoke at daybreak—or so I thought. It was not quite an awakening. I was conscious, but outside my physical body. It was the strangest sensation; I felt as though I hovered just beyond my body, unable to move my arms or stretch my legs. But I could clearly see the objects and arrangements of my room. A soft, winter glow poured in through the window, covering the floor with sunlight, illuminating the white walls and ceiling.
I examined the ceiling with curiosity. It was caving in on me, or so I thought. I felt a surge of energy and I was suddenly rising, climbing upward, almost into the ceiling. I steadily assumed a vertical position, rotating into this stance above my bed, weightless, astonished, and lacking command over these movements.
This was strangely unpleasant and eerie. I was frightened and unable to move about normally. It happened quickly, almost instantly. It was not, as it might sound, a slow rise and rotation. It was a darting, a flush movement upward and then upright, suddenly above the floor and floating, through the wall above my doorway and into the hallway. The hallway was quiet and empty, but I noticed a phone book outside my door, up against the wall, which was unusual. I recall a bright light from the windows that faced east. More golden sunlight—but almost a silver and wild moonlight, something brilliant—filling my path.
I was spinning and moving down the hallway, to the room where Bill and his roommate, Jim, took their rest. Then, immediately—having made no conscious choice—I was inside their room. I first noticed Jim, asleep in his bed along the far wall. Their room was unusually cluttered with books about the floor. Music played on the radio at this strange morning hour, but neither of the two stirred. I saw Bill asleep in his bed. They were motionless as I hovered above them. I tried to speak to them but they would not wake, and there was no indication that my voice—which I could hear—was audible to them.
I felt alone and far from safety—even here in this room, where my good friends had often invited me in for card games, drinks, and conversation. They were trusted companions, but this time I was alone and flustered. As I attempted to contact them and wake them to my presence, a sudden shrill sound rocketed about me. It was a jackhammer. No, it was a bell. A bell ringing, then another, and suddenly I was pulled—instantly—back to my room down the hall. I slammed into my physical body, terrified and suddenly awake, staring at my hands, unable to move them, frozen but alert. Once again, most oddly, the buzzing ring of the telephone down the hallway. Finally somebody answered the obnoxious device. I heard voices in the hallway, friends planning a drive to the diner across the valley. And then I rose, in physical form, out of my bed. I walked into the hallway. My first observation was the blinding, white sunlight: the fresh winter morning. My second observation rattled me thoroughly: A phone book across from my doorway! I went two doors down and burst into Bill and Jim’s room. Bill was sitting up in bed. “What time is it?” he asked. “Are we late for breakfast?”
I looked about the room. “No. It’s early, you’re fine, but look at this room,” I exclaimed. “It’s an absolute mess, and you’re sleeping through this music. There’s music on!”
“It just got turned on, what’s the big deal?” Bill asked.
Jim was now awake, telling us that he’d knocked over his bookshelf by accident, promising Bill he would clear up the mess. I stood with my two friends, sure of my experience, confused but excited. The intense fear from before—was it caused by a sudden and unexpected journey into some strange place? That fear had vanished.
My first reaction was one of disbelief. “I am not versed in the spirit world,” I thought to myself. “I do not travel the night in such bizarre fashion. There are experts for this, who write all those books, how could this be?” But I am convinced this was nothing less than a legitimate out-of-body experience. For it was too real, too insanely vivid, and almost natural…a trip back to somewhere familiar. I had felt a quake of trepidation, but also the sense of new frontiers, exploration, a fantastic leap into another place. And the desperate urge to return. I wanted to share this with other people.
“You guys, listen up. I think I just had an astral-body experience. You won’t believe how this happened. I saw everything in this room, just like it is now, and the two of you…then the phone rang.” I went on to explain the event in rich detail, exactly as I have stated it here. The light through the windows. The books on the floor. The music on the radio. We had read so much about this and wondered about how we might accomplish such a feat. Now it had happened, and we were excited. That morning I thought about those dreams I had in England. Could this be the same thing? Why now, as an adult, was I full of hesitation and fear, when as a child, these were marvelous experiences? Why now, so many years later, was this happening again?
Certainly this peaceful, forest setting had put me at ease, allowing me to focus on these experiences. It was a brilliant period in my life. Contentment, I am convinced, is conducive to astral projection. When we feel free in our waking-day lives, we are unbounded in the night. Maybe it is then when the astral body is compelled to ascend from the physical body and move about—closer to something true.
As my chores became a strain, the winter months grew long and I grew tired with my situation at the camp. I missed the bustle of the cities, the nights and all the places to see. I grew more attached to the world once again, and all astral travel ceased. It was time for change.
I eventually left the camp, but kept in good contact with Bill, Jim, and all the friends I had made.
Bill and I still write, and continue to experiment with astral projection. Our plan is to meet on the campgrounds, in the night, on the astral plane. It hasn’t happened yet, but I know some night it will. I will rise and soar above the buildings, over roadways and picket fences, and into the hilly regions—to our campgrounds, the quiet land. What sort of companions would be there? What a grand time it would be, visiting this dreamland, our golden kingdom in the night. I believe, in time, these experiences will be ours.
I have continued to experience fantastic dreams, only increasing my curiosity, allowing me to view the unnecessary stresses and toils of the waking day as exactly that—unnecessary. Our lives can be wonderful, if we allow them to be. And our sleep can be an adventure.
Must one have read every text on the subject to be an adequate candidate for the astral plane? I think not. That makes little sense, for we are built of fantastic material, with powers hidden deep within: a secret knowledge. Below the surface, we are not pushed on by academic titles or bookwork, but a will of the spirit, the yearning to move about, soar and course across the world of the night.
I have come to accept my experiences, to embrace such events and remain open for future travels. What happened to me will not match everyone’s account, because these trips are as personal and varied as fingerprints. I am prodded by my individual dreams, my personal movements in the night, and I look forward to further developments, meetings, and expeditions. In the strange subnight I meet my friends, and they are true. This is the astral plane.