Astral Projection. Every occultist, new-ager and daytime TV viewer is familiar with the phenomenon. Or at least the IDEA. You lay down on your bed (or sit in rigid Lotus Position, if you’re really impressive). Then, your Astral Body, which looks like a glowing ghost-form of the physical, moves up and out. What happens next? You spy on your neighbors, distant view for the Government or travel into realms which make Dungeons and Dragons look like a walk through Wal-Mart.
Books on the topic can be found piled up in every used bookstore across the Country. It would seem that half the populace must be floating around with more security clearance than the NSA.
When it comes down to it, however, my conversations with others on the topic end up revealing mild interest dwindling on the end of frustration. Most accounts of such voyaging related to me seem to be fantasy headtrips, the significance of which easily crumbles before the most mundane of crisis. It would seem to me that if one had really experienced a reality outside of the physical body, the problems of physical life would be somewhat countered in the spirit of Blake’s description of death: “Going out of one room into another.” It may be frustrating when I die for the umpteenth time playing QUAKE but that’s the GAME, right? I chose to play it and I KNEW I’d be in for a repeated ass-whooping. As long as my eyelids are still open, I restart and go back in, bringing my experience and skill level with me. I don’t call it quits and slash my wrists in the bathtub.
But in this “real life,” we can get those points of despair, where our pain is all we can see. It eclipses everything else (do I need to mention our exciting daydrea…I mean “Astral Travels?”). Seems we might not be so convinced that we really touched onto anything as “real” as this mortal life with its titillations and torments.
I know occultists who feel they can only do “magic” when they are in thus and such an emotional place. Usually, this means when all ducks are in a row and one is relaxed enough to indulge in the entertainment of novelty. It’s a bit ironic. We can cast a “money spell” when there is food on the table but have a hard go of it when we are being served an eviction notice.
Now, I do not mean to come across as harsh. It’s pretty damn hard to summon up (let alone FOCUS) personal power when being threatened with homelessness or any other such dire situation. But this is where the Magician meets the Warrior. And what drives the Warrior to fight unto Valhalla when the odds are in favor of a House about to crash down on one’s head?
Sometimes we are bound to LOSE. We can rage or writhe-or we can lose in STYLE.
Once again, I am going back to the video games. Have you ever been in a situation where you know it’s “Game Over.” Seconds to go. How do you go DOWN?
With a “meep”…or a flying leap?
Here comes the issue of Teamwork in online games. My demise may yet benefit the “cause” of my Team. I could make that final jump for the sake of my fellows. To take this approach is to have a vested interest in the bigger picture.
But HOW can I have this interest if I cannot see it?
When William Blake died, he clapped his hands and began singing as the Gates of Paradise opened. How many of us would like to have this Visionary Connection in which our death is met without fear? Our ride arrives and we get in, blowing a kiss and wink to those we love.
Granted, it’s much easier to buy into someone else’s description of the Afterlife than to get there ourselves and have some degree of familiarity. Especially if we’ve been through the paperbacks on OBE’s and gave it up as failed venture.
If you want more than this, read on.
I am an Oneironaut. I’m not saying I’m a great one. But I’ve survived up to this point and I think that says something. You see, the Dream World is not a place without risk. We’re all familiar with the comforting words: “That was just a bad dream.”
Unless it WASN’T.
Along the same lines as Astral Projection is the Goal of “Lucid Dreaming.” We get to “wake up” in the Dream and then do all kinds of fun stuff, like fly and make otherworldly friends and pretty much anything we want. If you’ve seen the film “Waking Life,” you’ll get a taste of this.
In my own explorations, I have not only “woken up” in the Dream, I’ve been trapped there. First I am dreaming, then I become aware of the dream, then awareness vivifies. A threatening element enters the scene and I decide it’s time to hightail it back to the bed.
And then I can’t.
Stuck in the Dream as much as you might feel stuck in your bodily life while reading these words.
This experience doesn’t imply some great occult ability. It was awful. Bad shit is about to go down and I’m aware that I’ve got a body somewhere I could retreat to…but I can’t.
The key word here is PANIC.
I’ve had to swim out from dreams buried in dreams. I’ve experienced the condensing of time in dreamspaces. I’ve experienced the stress of knowing that we are dreaming even as we are “awake” without reprieve. The sleeplessness of non-stop dreaming. I’ve observed the mechanics of the mind compartmentalize experience so we can stay sane and functional as seemingly 3-Dimensional Beings.
All of this awareness counts for naught when we are in the throes of what The American Book of the Dead calls “the Shocking Ambushes of the Bardos.” We can retreat to the “Sleep-State” of the Organic Automaton to catch a breath-but this will only throw us back, a well-greased baseball, into the catcher’s glove.
Sick of being batted into the outfield and thrown back, we want out of the game.
We require the Power of Volitional Mobility. Beyond this, we need a destination on this Road Trip. But, first things first. Before I can drive out of this crummy little town, I need to figure out how to operate the vehicle, yeah?
Enter E.J. Gold’s latest video game: “Astral Trainer.”
Prior to this release, Mr. Gold made use of the Second Life engine as an Astral Training Tool. In the Second Life Prosperity Virtual Ashram, one would locate two “targets” on the roof of a Temple. Using the SL cameral controls, one would “travel” from Target A to Target B and back again. This was a preliminary exercise to more elaborate Target Travel.
The Second Life engine was a precursor to the training tool developed in the G.O.D.D. engine, which is far superior.
The “game” may be described simply. You will throw a grappling hook from Target to Target and be pulled from “A” to “B” accordingly. Chances are, you will fall into the deadly lava below the first time around and start again before completing a full round. And chances are, you will complete a round and get that feeling that you’ve “beat the game.”
But there IS no “beating the game.”
The key to “Astral Trainer” is repetition. A LOT of repetition. This is like learning how to ride a bike or swim. In the past, skills of visualization needed to be mastered before one could begin working with specific visualizations. “Astral Trainer” visualizes FOR you. But it can’t Astral Project for you.
Before each grapple, you need to diffuse your vision and relax into the onscreen figure (your Avatar). You relax all through the grapple from one block to another. You inwardly acknowledge that the Avatar is actually your Astral Body. There is no intellectual debate over this. You are experiencing your Astral Body via this Tool, a “Pixel-Person” on a computer monitor. You can dispute the veracity of this when you are done but when you are playing the game, you relax into this acknowledgment. This is part of how the tool works, you learn to “know” and, through knowing, “vibe.” It is helpful to take a breath before throwing the grapple and slowly exhaling after the throw.
There is a reason each target is a cube or block. This is a “base form.” When you are Astral Traveling in other environments, the specific Targets can be imposed upon the base form (or you can target the base form behind or within them). This will be extremely helpful when operating in the highly mutable environment of the Astral Plane.
It is ideal to run “Astral Trainer” prior to sleep. This leaves the immediate impact of the visual experience in the mind as brainwaves shift into Hypngogy. The Hypnogogic experience is built into this game, especially as one makes progress from cube to cube. Hypnogogy marks a stage of exit into Astral Experience. However, increased immersion in Hypnogogy is accompanied by shut down of the conscious mind which, deeply connected to the body, is typically the only volitional tool immediately available to the human body-mind construct which is immersed in the Organic. On the deeper levels, habit prevails and thus we are battered to and fro on the Sea of Dreams.
The “Astral Trainer” grapple passes through the increasing stages of Hypnogogy and keeps volition moving from Target to Target, Base Form to Base Form.
Eventually one will be able to locate Targets while awake. The projection will be as easy as an outbreath and forward movement. You will move across a living room from one wall to another. And then you move through the walls to targets in an adjoining room. But the visit to a “distant desk” will simply be a metaphysical variant on getting up off the couch and walking to the bedroom. A novelty. No different from the remote which changes the channel on the TV which us “older folk” had to do by hand back in “the day.”
That is until the Target becomes something outside the Referential World of the Organic.
We addressed the “Astral Headtrip” above. One can actually get into the Astral and wind up anywhere. The club could be jumpin’ and still be as worthless a diversion as a night out on the town before one’s life implodes, magnetizing the Soul into a Karmic Whirlpool spinning out into Rebirth.
The “Astral Trainer” has these concerns built into its space. Prior to the Cube-Jaunt, one should travel to the lower level, activate the items and return to the chambers on the second floor which will include a full Karma Burn. This will allow the Astral Training to tend toward what we might call “Personal Destiny.”
The Astral Plane is just one level or degree of experience. To those overly polarized toward the physical experience, the Astral will seem novel and, thus, overly significant. In reality, we are always living on this plane-and several others. We are just unconscious of this fact.
Warnings of Astral Seduction will, however, be meaningless to those who have no cognizance of the Plane. Most humans exist in a state of Organic Seduction. For those who are coming into a state of sobriety, the first stage of Astral Work will be Volitional Movement, just as we came into this physical world and had to learn to crawl, stand and balance on our two legs.
This Shamanic Work is no longer the hidden work of the Sorcerer. It is a function available to any human who is thereunto drawn.
I checked in on World News this morning. CNN’s headline was Monica Lewinski’s “Tell-All.” This is our online world. We spend hours every day on input which is crafted to keep us in a stupor between external impress and internal reaction. From the moment we wake until we dissolve in exhaustion, we are victims of stimuli. And we give hour upon hour to this.
In the end, it is not significant. We die and go through a process of recycling. But don’t take my word for it. This isn’t about religious belief or worldview.
I recently spoke with someone who gave that tired old opinion: “If what you believe makes you happy, that’s great. Good for you!”
Sorry, but I take no comfort in such a view. It’s as stupid as Pascal’s “Wager” where EVERYONE loses in a world beyond two imagined options.
Why not give a shot at being more than we are?
“Astral Trainer” is a wonderful Tool for this. I know of at least two other games which open the Gates to our Dilemma and Potential here. And this is quite funny-because we are playing Games within a Game we elected to Play, Games which remind us of the GAME.
A dear friend of mine, who died over a decade ago, wrote me a letter in which he said: “Life is just a Game…but it’s a Serious Game.”
If you disagree, then WHAT is your Life?
If you can entertain the idea, climb aboard. The good ship, Bardo Bark, always needs shipmates ready to unfurl the sails and assault the waves.
The work ahead of us is fun. Yes, we are rolling over the waves of agony and ecstasy-but our Game is worth the playing. It’s interesting, cool and it extends a bridge between Souls. The contact is wonderful. And when it seems like it’s all burning down, that is part of the challenge we elected to leap into. We are, in essence, “Player Characters,” which means we have a “Control” outside of the Game. However, we are also that same “Control” within the Game by virtue of playing it. “Control” had to sacrifice a certain cognizance to enter the game space (just as we might be willing to sacrifice the ability to fly or teleport by choosing to play a game where these options are not built into the system). What happens is that the Player-Character begins to wake up and grow into a type of self-awareness, a self-remembering. This doesn’t imply getting out of the crisis zone. It just moves us to the next level. And it may just be in that level that further options and resources open to us.
Regardless of a sweeping worldview in which we can state our Origins, trace a Path of Return and imagine the Summom Bonum, we are where we are and have a next step to take. “Astral Trainer” presents an environment in which we may safely work to develop those latent abilities of perception and, most importantly, volition on the Inner Plane. We might regard each run of this Orb as time spent in the “Spiritual Gym.” Like the gym, it takes more than idle curiosity to go the long-haul. It’s easy to grow restless, distracted and go on to the “next shiny thing.” Easy to dump those popular paperbacks off at the used bookstore. But if you’ve got the urge, the deep need to operate beyond the body even as you’re in it, this is a remarkable tool to reconfigure thought-patterns and habit-tendencies on levels deeper than the Beta-brain with its routine reactivity. We have, in this run, an environment designed as a virtual meditation, a type of prayer-wheel and a means to stay awake and stretch our muscles so we can get to the next level.
You can find Astral Trainer and over 100 other Spiritual Gaming Platforms at http://www.urthgame.com.