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ASTRAL PROJECTION DEFINITIONS
Astral projection is among the most difficult skills to master in magick. Among the considerable questions beginning and intermediate students have is: "How do I know if I did it right?" The short answer is: you don't, not for certain. However, there are certain things that can help you to determine if your trip was genuine or simply a fantasy. The first goal in understanding how to Astrally Project, is to understand the terms and the differences between them. The terms that most people identify with Astral Projection are: Astral Projection, Out of Body Experiences and Lucid Dreaming.
The Astral Projection
Astral Projection is the process by which your astral body is projected into the astral plane from our physical plane. Time distortions and shifts from our present time period are common. For example, time travel or finding yourself in a different time and geographic location would not be uncharacteristic for astral projection. Further, you can also find that a few minutes in the physical plane (our tangible reality) can stretch to hours, days or longer in the astral plane. The reverse is also true though coma patients would likely be the only group capable of experiencing this type of distortion. You can find yourself in strange lands with different physical laws or no boundries at all. In this plane, anything goes. Reality and unreality blend into one. This is the least common of the three skills discussed here.
The Out of Body Experience
An Out of Body Experience is more likely to take place without time distortions or other changes in geographic location (though change in location, while rare, does happen sometimes). The two most likely causes of an out of body experience (or OOBE) are near death experience and as the result of complicated meditational activities. OOBE's take place when a person is on the border between worlds or dimensions. You are not technically in the astral plane during an OOBE. You would be on the border between our world and the astral world. Such close proximity to the physical realm results in a continued awareness of time and space. Information you give after a genuine OOBE is often reliable as though you were consciously hearing or seeing even when your physical body is either incapable of receiving information (i.e. clinically dead) or when your physical body is too far away (i.e. another room close to your body) to receive pertinent information about the situation. OOBE's are common and there have been literally thousands of reports of people experiencing what is defined as an out of body experience. It is neither uncommon nor explainable by science.
Full awareness of your dreams is often termed as Lucid Dreaming. Even scientists have admitted that this remarkable phenomenon is both real and valuable to psychological growth. Especially valuable is the capability to control your dreams as you experience this. Allowing your dreams to come to you slowly upon waking can facilitate this ability. Most experts suggest laying motionless while you casually go over the details of your dreams, even trying to step back and move through them again. This "going over" your dreams will increase your awareness of dream states and help you get beyond the illusion that you are not an active participant in your dreams, but a passive observer.