The astral body, then, coincides with the physical body during the hours of full, waking consciousness; but in sleep the astral body withdraws to a greater or lesser degree, usually hovering. just above it, neither conscious nor controlled. In trance, syncope; while fainting, when under the influence of an anaesthetic, etc., the astral body similarly withdraws from the physical. Such cases of withdrawal constitute instances of automatic or involuntary projection. As opposed to such cases we place those of conscious or voluntary projection, in which the subject “wills “to leave his physical body, and actually does so. He is then fully alert and conscious in his astral body; he can look upon his own physical mechanism, and travel about at will, perhaps viewing scenes and visiting places he has never seen before. Subsequently, he can verify the truth of these experiences by visiting the scenes or places in question. While fully conscious in the astral body, he seems to be possessed of extra-ordinary, supernormal powers. He can at will return to his physical body, or may be drawn into it again automatically by reason of some shock, fright or vivid emotion. The astral and the physical bodies are invariably connected by means of a sort of cord, or cable, along which vital currents pass. Should this cord be severed, death instantly results. The only difference between astral projection and death is that the cord is intact in the former case, and severed in the latter. This cord – the “Silver Cord” spoken of in Ecclesiastes – is elastic, and capable of great extension. It constitutes the essential link between the two bodies.
The above is a general, and very brief, summary of the doctrine and teachings regarding the astral body and its projection. Now, although the literature regarding this subject is fairly voluminous, I have been unable to find anywhere in it much material of scientific value; above all, next to nothing of a practical nature – how to project the astral body. If such a body actually exists, and can be projected voluntarily – as many individuals assert it can – why has so little practical advice and information ever been published regarding it?
It is all very well to dwell upon the possible “dangers” connected with such a procedure; every sensible person realizes that they may very well exist, but would be willing to try the experiment just the same. Nevertheless, it is next to impossible to obtain any practical and precise information from those individuals who assert they can “project” at will; and in this I feel sure psychic students everywhere will agree with me. Why should this be so? I quite agree with Mr. Muldoon in thinking that the reason for all this secrecy is not on account of the theoretical “dangers” involved, but simply because these self-styled “teachers” do not know. They know that astral projection occurs; they may have experienced it themselves; but the actual details of the process – how it is accomplished – this they do not know, and consequently cannot tell others. The great value of the present book consists in the fact that this information is given to the world for the first time; and I cannot but believe that we have here a document of the utmost value – information for which psychic students have waited for years, and which might never have been given out had not a combination of fortuitous circumstances rendered its publication possible. It may therefore be of interest to the reader to know how the following book came to be written, and something of the author himself.