Before I start going on about techniques that are useful to me, I should maybe open with a statement of what I believe astral projection is, how I came about practicing and why I still love this part of my life. I began practing when I was 12, due to a rather simple and closed article on the net. It was on a site about magic that now seems more about selling expensive and useless products like spellbooks and cauldrons, and it gave a very specific view of astral projection and the astral planes, and very direct guidelines on how to do it. It sparked my excitement and inspired me to get involved in the practice, but also held me back as I began to practice by adhering strictly to those guidelines. Quite the mistake. But something I had to learn for myself.
The technique it taught was a common one. You lay on your back, relax your whole body with you eyes closed and picture your spirit/soul rising from you towards the ceiling, and then turning over in the air and looking down at you. Then try to "see" through it's eyes. I tried this countless times, day and night, to no avail. To this day I don't know anybody that has achieved astral projection via this technique, so it really limited things for me. But, I persisted, I refused to give up.
Then, in the early hours of the morning (about 5am), and on my 13th birthday no less, I had an astral experience for the first time. I was having a strange dream about monks in a monastry, and all of a sudden I realised I was dreaming. I rarely had lucid dreams as a child, and when I did they were mostly limited to repeated false awakenings. But when I realised I was dreaming, I saw it as a great opportunity, and instinctively I "willed" my consciousness (spirit, soul, whatever you view it as) away from my body.
I can tell you, it's the most bizarre experience you could imagine. I expected it to feel like a dream. It didn't. It also didn't feel like waking reality (although was much closer to that than imagination or day dreaming), it sort of felt like being underwater. Like when you dive under at the swimming baths with goggles, stay under for 10 seconds, once you come back out it feels really different. It's hard to describe. My surroundings were even stranger.
I read that the first time you astral project you'll probably have very little control over where you go, like when a kid rides a bike for the first time and just goes all over the place. The room I was in was a dark, castle-like room with great, red stained glass windows with light shining through. My eyesight level was hovering somewhere above the floor, as though I didn't possess a body or form, I just had an....existence. In front of the windows was a silhoutted figure, it looked as though he was hooded in some way. I got the impression this figure was confused or suprised to see me, and it took a small step forward. By this point I was overwhelmed with excitement and fear that I decided it was enough and I wanted to return to my body. I knew (from an article) that's this is a very easy process, as simple as willing yourself back to your body and as soon as I even began to think about it I was lay in my bed, on my side, staring at the wall. I was also paralysed, which would have been terrifying had I not read in an article that this is perfectly normal after a successful astral journey and only lasts about ten seconds.
I still don't know what this room was or who this character was. Did I just project to a random place in all of existence? Was this some kind of "astral home"? Did I create this place? Did something else take me there? Was I taken here based off the dream of the monastry? I have no idea. But I was so excited! It was about 5:20am and I immediately jumped over to my brother in the next bunk and woke him up to tell him. I was off school that day because my dad was taking me to manchester for my birthday, and I bought a little book about astral projection from a little occult store that no longer exists.
This was my first little humble experience, and it changed my life radically. But there was more to come. My belief system and world view was shaped overtime, and in my next article I'm going to talk about a worldview that will help you massively with astral projection and the like should it be something you feel you agree with or relate to. Stay tuned, and let me know what you think about this. If you have a first astral experience you'd like to tell me about please let me know!