Saturday, 16 February 2013

safety first!

'Safety is an issue whenever one is attempting 
anything that does not come naturally.' 

Whilst thumbing through 'A Witch's Book of Answers' by Eileen Holland and Cererlia this evening, I came across this sentence regarding astral projection and the question of whether or not it poses any threats to personal well-being. In considering the theme of spiritual and physical safety whilst on an astral joyride, my personal ethos is simply: Know thyself. From this simple core principle, all else which is necessary will follow. Psychological safety is indeed an issue when first attempts at shaking hands with the astral are under way, but the important thing to remember is that you can take this kind of exploration at your own pace. Just as you wouldn't step into the ring with a prizefighter before learning the intricacies of boxing, you wouldn't catapult yourself full pelt into the astral realm without first working on the skills you'll need to survive it, enjoy it and succeed in it. Knowing yourself requires being comfortable with the knowledge that, as the lovely lady from InspiritChannel put it, the astral realm is your inner landscape. Once you've mastered this understanding, you'll be able to reason that every being, location and emotion you experience whilst projecting is a part of your consciousness and therein under your control. This is my 'bottom line' and it's not something I'd ask anyone else to swallow - just something I'm putting out there.

I follow the psychological model in magic, ritual and circle work of any kind. For many, this simply means that I believe it's all part of our imagination and isn't 'real'. This is an unfortunate misconception and an over-simplification of a complex theory. Essentially, I believe that all truths we can explore and know are part of consciousness. Beyond our human perception, we cannot say what the universe would look like or even if it would exist. Sound and colour are perceptions honed by human consciousness. For example, sound is only sound because we have evolved with the equipment to process wave patterns in the air. These wave patterns then become sound through our human experience. Without that human experience, who can say? Sound is only sound because 'sound' is a word we use to describe something we actively experience. We do not know what exists outside of it. So, to come full circle, if I experience the astral realm, I consider it to be part of my consciousness and I don't see why that standpoint can't be used to understand that if I come across a negative being or location whilst travelling, that being or place is part of me and is for me to tame and explore and take ultimate responsibility for.

What kind of danger could people be exposing themselves to whilst involved in astral projection? Well, for one, you're not really present in your accepted, physical reality. So, whilst astral projecting, sure, someone could sneak up behind you and slit your throat while you were 'gone fishing', having left your body much the same way we leave a house through the front door. This is why so many people 'lock the door' of their physical body through forming a protective energetic barrier around their physical vessel before going on their adventure. But the probability of being placed into any more of a physical danger through astral projection than you would be anyway is negligible if you're in the privacy of your own secured home. The second kind of danger you're in is the danger of psychological damage through being traumatised or made to feel extreme anxiety as the result of what you see or feel in the astral. This is where Know Thyself is of such vital importance. Firstly, you must know that you're equipped with the inner balance and the sense of perspective necessary to travel without taking your experiences to heart in any damaging way. This sense of balance, in itself, often comes as the result of a vast spiritual journey - not one that's quite as glitzy and appealing as the journey you'll take to the astral plain, but one which is based more on the unglamorous, silent depth of acquired self-knowledge. You must know that you're ready for it. Secondly, you need to know that what you experience in the astral comes from you. Although you may not believe that, it's worth keeping in mind as a tool to help you deal with anything dodgy which comes out of the astral woodwork. Thinking of the astral as a product of the various levels of your unconscious in a delicious and dangerous mish-mash will help you to keep in mind that you're playing the computer game and you have a hold of the controls.

Another kind of danger which is talked about when referring to astral travel is the potential snapping of 'the silver cord'. The silver cord is a popular method employed by travellers to keep themselves attached to their physical being whilst 'out for lunch'. This cord is a visualisation which enables travellers to maintain some small but essential feeling of connection to the physical. It is also sometimes said to be important for travellers who 'lose their way' and feel that they cannot get themselves back into the body. (Basically, they can't get off the carousel and, without the cord, it's even more difficult to try and make the jump!) I think of the silver cord as being rather like the thread which Ariadne uses in the Minotaur myth to help Theseus navigate his way out of the labyrinth. Keeping the silver cord strong matters to some people. It doesn't matter so much to others. Some people feel that the idea of being unable to locate the body is absurd, rather like forgetting where you live just because you've been away on holiday - you don't forget that stuff. But my argument there would be that people have certainly been known to forget where they live whilst under the influence of mind-bending drugs. And the astral is nothing if not trippy! But, either way, the point is that your belief in the amount of danger you're in whilst travelling will probably dictate how much danger you really are in. It's all in the mind.
Keep on trucking!