A motivational allegory by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke
Most of us already understand that we are multi-dimensional beings: both a spiritual self/soul inhabiting a physical body and an ethereal body (or astral body, a mental body, a causal body, and maybe a few others). Different esoteric systems give them different names; some list more and some fewer, and those names different languages (such as Sanskrit, Hebrew, Egyptian, Chinese, etc.) do not always easily translate one to the other or to English. Essentially, all agree that between the Big Self (or true spiritual individuality) and the little self (or personality), there is what is most commonly called "the astral body."
YOU are not the physical body, nor the astral body, nor any of the others mentioned. You are NOT the personality you most commonly identify as your "self."
That gets pretty confusing. If not this, and not that—who, or what, are you?
The answers can get very complex, depending on the source of reference. To keep it simple, the basic concept is that there is a something we most commonly think of as "soul." The first difficultly is to realize that you do not have a soul: a soul has you! However, just as important is to realize that "you" are not (yet) the soul! It is this soul that we will say is the big YOU, but that still leaves a little self that is where you are right now.
You are a little you that is the person or personality that we most commonly identify with. At some far distant time, you will be able to identify with and fully express the big YOU, the soul. In the mean time, it is your job to grow and evolve to become worthy and eventually able to become one with your soul. And, even that scenario fails, because it is not the personality that is permanent—only the soul is. But the soul grows and evolves through the experience of the personalities. By seeking out opportunities to expand your awareness and to gain experiences, you are fulfilling the responsibility assigned to you.
Imagine, for the moment, a deep-sea diver all suited up in an insulated rubber pressure suit with a steel helmet connected to a surface boat with an air hose and a communications cable. You are the person in the diving suit and your vision is limited to what you can see out of a small window in your helmet. You are dependent on that air hose connecting you with an air pump on the surface boat operated by a crew of various professionals who occasionally communicate with you, asking questions and giving instructions.
Somewhere on the boat there is a captain in charge of the operation. In addition, rarely seen by even the captain, there is an admiral who is the real YOU, the big Self. The admiral has a lot to think about, and only occasionally does that include you down in the diving suit—and yet, you are extremely important to him. You are as the Son is to the Father, and someday you will learn everything there is to learn so that you can replace him as admiral while he moves on to an even more important position.
Your job is to learn everything you can, and once in a while you may communicate with your father—and sometimes he will hear you. As you learn more, he hears you more often and sometimes he will give you guidance in your work and research. But, basically you have to ask, and only sometimes will you get an answer.
Now, once in a while, you can come to the surface and get out of your heavy diving suit and wander around the boat in a comfortable shirt and jeans. You are free of that heavy suit that is your physical body and now you are using your astral body. It is not the real you either, but the world of the surface ship that gives you more freedom and a different perspective than you had at the bottom of the sea. Trouble is, you will wake up and find yourself back in the diving suit at the bottom of the ocean and hardly remember your trip to the surface.
Let's give you a control mechanism that will allow you to come to the surface more often, perhaps every night if you wish. Now, unless you remember how nice it is on the surface, you may rarely use the control. But, when you do start remembering, you want to travel to the surface more often and as you remember more from both locations you will expand your horizons and knowledge now of two worlds. As you experience more, the admiral may find more reasons to communicate with you and to answer questions you have.
Think of it: At one time, you knew only the world seen through a little window in your steel helmet, and you were confined by a heavy rubber pressure suit and limited in your movements by the tether of your air hose and communications cable. Later, on the surface, you are more and more free to roam the entire boat, to see the stars overhead, and sometimes even encounter other ships.
Why wouldn't you want to spend more time on the boat?
That's one reason you want to astral project. In doing so, you expand your awareness, learn so much more, and are able to communicate more often with the admiral. And now you also know that you are more than a heavy rubber body. And you are no longer limited to the tether of an air hose. With the understanding given to you by this experience you begin to perceive that there are still other dimensions and other bodies. You may move on to a luxury cruise ship where there is a large library and various seminars given. And you may soon be given an opportunity to fly, moving from a ship to an airplane.
If this is astral projection, why wouldn't you want to experience it?
In doing so, you now have a glimmer that you are more than that heavy body, and the more often you communicate with the admiral the more you realize that one day you will move on to greater opportunities and responsibilities. And, when you see that old rubber suit discarded as no longer usable, you will welcome the freedom of the higher world.
One final note: Now that you understand this greater universe and the role that you can fulfill, you feel the responsibility calling for you to explore these new worlds and to grow to fill your father's shoes.
That's why you want to experience astral projection.
Here are some important resources:
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke (Minnesota) was the owner and chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide, the world's oldest and largest metaphysical publisher. He played a seminal role in the rise of Wicca and Neo-Paganism in the 1960s and ...