What Is Astral Projection?

Throughout history, people have always desired to experience life beyond the physical. This yearning has given rise to tons of spiritual practices across different cultures. One such practice is astral projection.

Astral projection is the act of intentionally having an out-of-body experience (OBE). You may think it’s a New Age phenomenon but this practice has existed for ages. Over recent years, there have been more conversations on the internet surrounding astral projection, with related TikTok videos getting millions of views.

But is astral projection real or more like a wild dream? Has it been scientifically proven? In this article, we take a closer look at this idea: its historical significance, its place in today's world, and what science has to say about it.

What Is Astral Projection?

Astral projection occurs when the astral body, consciousness, or soul separates from the physical body. This consciousness then wanders through the astral world which is believed to be the spirit world, where spirits exist before birth and go back to after death.

Usually, an involuntary OBE can occur as a result of things like near-death experiences, traumatic brain injuries, and sleep disorders. In an OBE, the person exists or sees the world from a perspective that’s outside of their physical body.

It’s also possible to trigger an out-of-body experience through electrical stimulation, drugs, or some mental activities.

One such mental activity is the Mind Awake, Body Asleep technique famously associated with Thomas Edison. It’s almost similar to the WILD lucid dreaming technique.

History of Astral Projection

Multiple ancient civilizations believed in the concept of a spirit or subtle body being able to exist outside the body–the Japanese, Hindu, and Egyptian, among others.

According to many of these beliefs, a part of or the whole soul can leave the body to interact with spiritual beings, perform miraculous acts like healing, or perform curses on enemies.

People still practice astral projection across the world today. There was a significant rise in popularity in the late 19th century and early 20th century, partly due to theosophy. The philosophy borrows a lot from older religions, including variations of Buddhism. Theosophy emphasizes a higher spiritual reality that goes beyond regular human consciousness.

You can also see astral projection in pop culture today. For instance, one of the magical powers of Doctor Strange, a Marvel character, is the ability to astral project.  

There are many conversations on TikTok, Reddit, and other platforms. People are sharing their astral projection stories and some are even teaching others to astral travel.

But what does science say about astral journeys?

Science and Astral Projection

So far, there’s no known scientific evidence to show that it is possible to astral project. Many academics and scientists consider astral projection to be a hallucination or illusion. Other than self-reported claims of people who say they have experienced it, there’s still no reliable information.

Susan Blackmore, a British writer and lecturer, published an article about near-death experiences (NDEs) and what happens towards the end. She says that out-of-body experiences seem to be quite a common occurrence, and not just in NDEs.

She maintains that while the astral projection theory has its place in science, it has failed all the tests that have been performed so far, and astral bodies are probably not real. Even though she herself has had an OBE in the past, she doesn’t seem convinced about astral travel. The writer considers herself a skeptic.

One neuroscientist, Dr Henrik Ehrsson, has come up with a method to induce an out-of-body experience. While he refers to the concept of OBE as an “illusion”, he believes that his invention could help answer some questions about it.

How to Practice Astral Projection

Although science has yet to prove astral traveling, people who have experienced it swear it is real. You can try it and judge for yourself.

  • First, you’ll want to be deeply relaxed. Find a quiet place in your house, away from all distractions. Lie down on your back and close your eyes.
  • You can take a few deep breaths here to fully relax your mind and body.
  • Let yourself drift into a dreamy state, but not fully asleep–somewhere between being asleep and being awake.
  • Focus on a specific body part and try to move it with your mind without physically moving it. Try to flex your foot or clench your fist. You might start to feel like you’re actually moving and possibly some vibration too.
  • Move on to other body parts, repeating the same thing, and then move yourself out of your body. Observe your body, move around a little, then return to your body. With time and practice, you can astral travel to more locations and go farther each time.

Benefits of Astral Projection

People who practice astral projection believe that it can help with self-discovery. One Indian spiritual leader, Meher Baba, believed that the ability to go on astral journeys requires you to expand your scope of experience. As such, it can facilitate spiritual growth.

Others argue that astral projecting can inspire creativity and problem-solving. Some famous people like Thomas Edison and Salvador Dalí are said to have induced OBEs to spark ideas.

There are also claims that astral projection can help you deal with the fear of death. You can confront feelings of excessive fear and sadness that accompany the “death-like” sensations you get while trying to astral project.

However, because there’s limited scientific knowledge, none of these claims can be substantiated.  

Safety Considerations When Astral Traveling

There’s very little information about the potential dangers of astral travel.

As with any other mental activity like lucid dreaming and reality shifting, it’s important to proceed with caution. Protect your mental health every step of the way and be careful not to lose your sense of control or sense of connection with others.

Astral Projection FAQs

Is Astral Projection Real?

People who have managed to astral travel claim that it’s real, but there’s no scientific evidence to prove the existence of the phenomenon.

What Is It Called When You Leave Your Body When You Sleep?

The concept of feeling like you’re separated from your body is known as an out-of-body experience. An OBE can be voluntary or involuntary. A voluntary OBE is called astral projection.


Astral projection or astral traveling is when your consciousness, spirit, or astral body separates from your physical body and wanders through the astral plane. Unfortunately, there’s very little research on the subject and no hard evidence to show that it’s possible.

Although tests to prove astral projecting haven’t been successful, the concept has existed for ages across many different cultures.

We favor lucid dreaming as a practice. It is substantiated by science and there are long traditions of integrating a lucid dreaming discipline with a healthy lifestyle.

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