Astral Projection: What is This Out-of-Body Experience?

5 min read

Last Modified 10 August 2023 First Added 30 January 2023

By Letara Buckley

What is astral projection?

Simply put, astral projection is a term that describes the soul or ‘astral body’ intentionally leaving the physical body while asleep or meditating and travelling to wherever it likes. It’s sometimes referred to as an ‘out-of-body experience (OBE)’ too – a state in which consciousness can operate independently from the physical body and traverse the astral plane.

There are various techniques and beliefs surrounding astral projection; it has been a topic of interest in many spiritual and esoteric traditions throughout history. Some believe that astral projection or OBEs provide an opportunity for personal growth, spiritual insight, and expanded consciousness. On the other hand, scientists view OBEs as experiences stemming from mental states similar to dreams or altered states of consciousness. Psychologists and neuroscientists suggest OBEs are related to pathological activity patterns.

While all this may sound supernatural and only something you see in films, there are many documented cases of it dating back centuries. Let’s explore it in more detail…

Astral projection vs. OBE

Although both terms are used interchangeably, Healthline states there are distinct differences between the two:

An astral projection usually involves an intentional effort to send your consciousness from your body. It usually refers to your consciousness travelling out of your body toward a spiritual plane or dimension.

An OBE, on the other hand, is usually unplanned. And rather than travelling, your consciousness is said to simply float or hover above your physical body.

OBEs – or at least the sensations of them – are largely recognised within the medical community and have been the subject of many studies. Astral projection, however, is considered to be a spiritual practise.

A white open doorway that leads from a wooden floor to a moonlit lake.

Is astral projection safe?

The notion of astral projection is ancient. Many people, from New Agers to Shamans worldwide, practise it as a form of self-care and spiritual healing. An article on Elite Daily features an interview with Dr Deganit Nuur of Nuurvana Clairvoyant Healing. She is a world-renowned spiritual teacher, clairvoyant, and doctor of acupuncture. Nuur says that astral projection should be practised carefully and intentionally. This is because when a traumatising event confronts humans, they can end up astrally projecting and losing a sense of control. Nuur explains:

We can do it unconsciously, when we’re not feeling safe… the spirit leaves the body, and projects elsewhere… When not practised responsibly, you can lose a sense of authority and seniority over your own body, it can be really disempowering.

Astral travel and science

While astral projection may be a philosophical experience, there’s currently no way to scientifically measure whether or not a person’s spirit can leave and enter the body during sleep or meditation. The simplest explanation for out-of-body experiences is that the person fantasises or dreams. Live Science also sums it up like this:

‘Though astral projection practitioners insist their experiences are real, their evidence is all anecdotal — just as someone taking peyote or LSD may be truly convinced that they interacted with God, dead people, or angels while in their altered state. Astral projection is an entertaining and harmless pastime that can seem profound and, in some cases, even life-changing. But there’s no evidence that out-of-body experiences happen outside the body instead of inside the brain.’


A woman sleeping on a pillow while floating in a field of flowers and grass.

How to astral project

Dr Deganit Nuur also explains how to intentionally and safely practise astral projection. She describes the astral cord as a light-filled tube extending from the third chakra (solar plexus, located in the upper abdomen) of the physical body to the third chakra of the ‘light-body,’ or soul – similar to the way a mother and baby are connected through the umbilical cord.

  1. Once relaxed, you must picture the astral cord extending out of the third chakra into the astral plane (aka astral realm/world where all consciousness resides).
  2. Once you reach this other world, you’re likely to experience a feeling of weightlessness and relief – this is why it’s used to help release tension and heal unresolved traumas.

However, before diving into astral projection with no previous experience, we recommend researching thoroughly and finding an expert in that field to help guide you in the right direction to practise it safely and intentionally.

For example, Gaia is an online subscription resource that promises “consciousness-expanding videos” plus “informative and enlightening films that you won’t find anywhere else.” Gaia’s website claims to host the world’s largest library of exclusive and original conscious media designed to guide people on personal paths of transformation.

Astral travel on Netflix

A popular Netflix series, Behind Her Eyes, recently brought astral projection into mainstream view. It follows a single mum working in a psychiatrist’s office. After beginning an affair with her manager, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with his wife, who suffers from night terrors. The wife teaches her how to ‘astral project’ – send her consciousness to somewhere else. Without spoiling the ending, the pair start to try to control one another by entering each other’s bodies while asleep – spooky stuff.

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