This experience occurred after I had moved to Dallas at the age of twenty-two. My personal development had advanced greatly and I decided to practice astral projection using the techniques described by Denning and Phillips. I had been practicing daily for about two weeks. The sessions were very frustrating. I was able to leave my body and look around fine, but my mind was split between the two bodies. I couldn’t seem to get it to “snap out” like what I had experienced before.
Like the times before, I was asleep when I felt a strange sensation and then I suddenly landed in a waking state. The experience of projection was easier to remember this time. I assume this was a result of the practice. It took no time for me to realize exactly what was happening.
I found myself in a hallway. I was also in a doorway, but I didn’t look in the room beyond. Instead I was facing on the hallway ahead. I was preoccupied with discovering and remembering the attributes, characteristics, and abilities of the astral body. I started by looking at my hands. This is the first time I had ever looked at my body of light. My hands were shaped normally but they were somewhat translucent and seemed to glow a little. The glow was a soft white. Next question: Can I touch things? Are they solid to me? Yes, indeed they are! I touched the door and wall and was able to feel them just like I would have in my normal body.
I then turned and felt an urge to explore at the other end of the hall. I walked at normal pace to the end of the hall and looked into a doorway on my left. It was a small bedroom with a large window over what appeared to be a queen-sized bed. There was a dresser opposite the bed on the wall nearest to me. The room was mostly unremarkable except the fact that I distinctly saw my grandmother laying on the bed!
This was immediately troubling because I knew that this wasn’t what my grandmother’s apartment looked like. My head started spinning about possible reasons why I wouldn’t be experiencing reality as I thought I should. After a few moments, I decided to press on. At this point, things got emotional. I walked to the side of my grandmother’s bed and immediately felt that something was horribly wrong and that I was going to have to quit my new job and go back to Louisiana to be with her. I don’t recall actually crying, but I was quite distressed.
Another interesting point is that while this was going on, I distinctly felt the presence of a particular friend of mine in the hallway. I also knew this friend was quite accomplished at the art of astral projection. I never saw her, but I knew she was there. Additionally, there was the somewhat fainter impression of other people being present as if they were observers of some sort. The impression was of some entities, perhaps 3 or 4, were in a control room viewing the proceedings from behind a one-way mirror. [Later, research and conversation with other magicians confirmed that these were Secret Chiefs.]
Next, I had the idea of testing my ability to make sounds. I began by saying, “Hello, hello. Can you hear me?” I repeated this a couple of times and I noticed my grandmother start to move and grunt. I subsequently realized that I may be somewhat visible and if she awoke and saw me I would probably scare her to death. So I said, “Shh, go back to sleep.” Not the smartest of ideas; but nonetheless, she didn’t wake.
Finally, I wanted to know if I could move through physical objects if I wished. So I rather confidently and authoritatively walked through the window behind the bed. I passed through the wall as if it didn’t exist. [Later, I learned that most people find that passing through objects is difficult and requires practice. I hold that it’s entirely a matter of belief.]
I found myself in a courtyard. The courtyard was surrounded on three sides by apartment buildings and I was on the ground floor. There was a tree immediately to the left of the window and another farther away on the right. It was dark, but I could see a couple of people across the courtyard talking. I started walking in their direction when my feet lifted off the ground and I began to levitate. It was at this instant that I awoke in a fit of coughing.
Since the previous summer I had been developing a rather severe case of asthma. It was only going to get worse in future years. I find it ironic that many prestigious figures in occultism had asthma (Aleister Crowley, S.L. McGregor Mathers, et al.) and I first developed it in parallel with beginning serious magickal workings. [Edit: It turned out that my ‘asthma’ was due to acid reflux. It responded well to traditional drug therapy. However, there remains the possibility that astral projection can cause a state which relaxes the pyloric sphincter and permits acid into the esophagus.]
Everything I have just described happened on a Thursday night. That Saturday, I attended a meeting of OTO members where the aforementioned friend was in attendance. I didn’t even think to mention anything to her about it. She promptly came up to me and said that she had a dream about me Thursday night. We traded off details and she recounted the entire experience to me with a few minor deviations. In her experience of the situation, I was crying beside my grandmother’s bed and I exclaimed to her “It’s not fair!” Additionally, she confirmed that other, unidentifiable entities were in attendance.
With that, one significant problem remained: Why wasn’t the apartment the same as my grandmother’s? To answer that one, I decided to call my grandmother and recount the entire story to her. I knew she was open-minded and not likely to be too freaked out by such a tale. To my surprise, she responded, “Thursday night? yeah, I was in New Orleans visiting with your uncle’s girlfriend while he was recovering from surgery.” She was able to verify the floor plan, the layout of the room, and all the features of the courtyard.