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Podcast Transcript

Astral Travel

Welcome to Virgo season, everyone! Happy birthday, Virgos, and congratulations to all of us for making it this far. Virgo season is a really great time for us to just get our shit together a little bit, especially before Mercury goes retrograde for the third time this year beginning September 9th, but we will talk about that more, probably in a couple weeks. We don’t need to fret about that just yet, but do be aware that Mercury is already in its shadow now, so we are going to start feeling the squeeze, the sense of being stymied, even before Merc is properly retrograde.

But Virgo is all about self improvement and paying attention to the details and taking care of ourselves in a very real-world, physical way. So let’s maybe make it a point to let this Virgo energy motivate us to do those things we’ve been putting off that we know we should be doing. This is excellent back-to-school energy, this is good energy for making practical improvements in our lives, like revisiting that budget that we’ve been stretching too far lately, or getting our teeth cleaned, or having our tires rotated, making a schedule and sticking to it. Virgo season invites us to get grounded, get our heads out of the clouds and out of our asses and reestablish good habits that can and most definitely will help us in significant ways.

And, we have the New Moon to look forward to this Saturday, the 27th, so that might be a good intention to set, to invite a new, healthier routine. And I don’t just mean healthy in a diet and exercise kind of way, unless that’s something you’ve been meaning to start. But any kind of realignment with your overall goals is going to be well-supported by this energy. If you’ve been neglecting your boundaries, if you’ve been overindulging in anything that you know doesn’t serve you, be it alcohol, gossip, toxic relationships, whatever the case may be, we can lay all those things on our altars this weekend and invite a fresh new sense of discipline.

Summer is winding down, Leo season is over, and all that decadence and debauchery were awesome and I loved every minute of it. But it’s time to check in with ourselves now and make sure that we’re not sliding too far from our own emotional and spiritual centers. And Virgo season is here to help. So let’s get back on track. I got an email this past week that I wanted to read, it’s short, but there was actually a lot to it.

Hi Eli, Is there anything I can do to help my son & his girlfriend? They are having a rough time & I want to do something to help them reconcile their feelings, I know it’s still there between them.

Well this is a tricky one. Usually when someone is trying to work a reconciliation spell it’s because they’re one of the people involved in the relationship. We don’t really have that here. This is a situation where an outside observer is watching two people they love, and who they know love each other, go through a tough time. So suggested before any spell work is performed at all, that she first do a reading of some kind to get to the heart of this situation. People on the outside don’t always know everything that goes on inside a relationship. So I said to maybe do a tarot spread to reveal anything that maybe she’s not aware of that is influencing this.

When we are butting into other people’s relationships, we need to know if there is a good reason these two should part ways, or if this is just a run-of-the-mill rough patch. We have to be very careful not to let our own feelings about these two cloud our judgment. Sometimes, relationships run their course and it’s no one’s fault and there’s nothing to be done about it. But if you do a reading and feel like you get a green light to do some work to help these two get back on the same page, then I suggest getting two candles, pink if you can get them. Carve one of their names into each candle and dress them both with reconciliation oil, which is literally just bergamot, lavender and myrrh essential oils and sprinkle it with some ginger and ground cloves to reignite the warmth and the romance between them. If you have personal concerns of theirs like hair, press that into the wax of their respective candles. You may need to warm the wax a bit to help it stick.

Tie these candles together with a bit of cotton twine or yarn so that they are right next to one another and put them on a fire-safe dish. You can use tealights for this work if that’s what you have on hand or if you’re fancy and have access to male/female figure candles, you can use those too. Then you’ll charge them with energy, energy for reconciliation, for understanding, for rekindling the respect and the love they have for one another. If you want to write a petition paper for this and place it under the candles, that’s not a bad idea. If you’re using tapers or chime candles, make sure you melt the bottom of the candles so they’ll stand up while they’re burning without falling over. Light the candles with the same match and let them burn down safely.

Just as a caveat, if one or both of them are not interested in reconciliation, if they’ve already begun to move on, if this relationship isn’t meant to last, then your work isn’t going to change that. It may delay it for a while, but it won’t undo it. However, if this really is just a little bit of ego getting in the way of a healthy relationship, being a little lazy in an otherwise healthy partnership, outside stressors like work or finances putting pressure on them and making them less patient with one another, then this work will help them get their heads back in the game.

Now I had a bit more interaction with this witch, we discussed the reasons for this rough patch, a few substitutions that she could use in place of the elements I suggested, and we also talked about the ethical ramifications for this kind of magickal meddling. And I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. We meddle non-magickally in other people’s lives without their knowledge all the goddamn time. If I call the cops on my neighbors because they’re having wild parties every weekend, I’ve meddled. If I do spell work to help them find a better place to live somewhere else, I’ve meddled. Is one way more ethical than the other, or am I still meddling in other people’s lives?

We routinely interfere with each other and I don’t think it’s extra wrong if we do it magickally. Only the witch can decide if the work that she is doing is ethically and morally right. And I leave it up to the individual. So while there is work I sometimes will decline to assist a witch with, depending on my own moral compass, for the most part, I believe that we are all adults with our own agency, and it isn’t my place to lecture anyone on what their principles should or shouldn’t be. That’s just my two cents on the subject.

And then one more message I wanted to read. This is from Desmond, which is such a cool name. Desmond has this to say:

“In the name of Jesus Christ I want to tell you what the holy Bible says about witches. Leviticus 19:31 warns turn ye not unto them that have familiar spirits nor unto the wizards. Seek them not out to be defiled by them. Leviticus 20:27 a man or woman who is a medium or necromancer shall surely be put to death. According to the Word of God all those who practice magic arts shall be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death thus saith the Lord. You are a false prophet. I am called by my lord Jeusus Christ to call you to repentance. How do you feel knowing that you will burn in the lake of fire while I am singing in heaven with the choir of angels?”

Well I don’t give a shit. Teach that to the choir of angels. Not a solitary lukewarm shit. Um, I don’t get too many messages like this, but I do get some. I don’t really care, although it is strange to me to spend one’s energy this way. It doesn’t seem like an effective missionary technique, which makes me think that Desmond doesn’t actually care whether I repent or not, Desmond just wants to make sure god is aware that he’s out here letting the witches know what the old testament has to say about us. Ok, Desmond, you’ve told us. Run along now and rest easy in the knowledge that you haven’t made a difference.

And lastly before we get started, I want to just say that there is so much cool discussion going on in the forums at middleagedwitch.com. Witches are sharing their practices and trading information and advice and it’s so cool. I’m loving talking to people in real time and finding new ways to think about the craft. So I just want to invite people to join the discussion. And now let’s get into it.

Today’s topic is one that I’ve been meaning to get to for like, maybe six months. I mentioned back when I did the Meditation episode that I would eventually do an episode on Astral Travel but every time I thought about finally tackling it, I just got so overwhelmed by the very thought of it. Because this isn’t something that can be explained and put into practice in a single episode. This is a practice that takes a lot of, well, practice. It can be daunting and frustrating and there will be a lot of times when you just aren’t seeing results at all. But, then you finally get it one morning, and it blows your mind.

And then you can’t manage it again for another two weeks. At least this was my experience with it. Another issue that one may run into, and this was another big reason that I have had such reluctance, is that astral travel isn’t for the faint of heart. When we travel into the astral plane, we must remember that we aren’t the only ones there. And sometimes, we see the others. This can be really, there’s no other word for it, frightening. There can be, for some, a real concern that if our spirit leaves its body unattended, it might be inhabited by some nasty little beastie or another in our absence.

I will be very honest here and say that I don’t know whether this is a good way to become possessed by a demon or not; I sincerely doubt that most victims of possession were avid astral travelers. On the other hand, some people have been actively engaging in astral travel for years and even decades and have never been possessed. So that is not a question I can personally answer. But I will say that when I do intentional astral travel, I cast a protective circle the night before. Just in case. Fear can attract negative entities, so definitely do not approach it from a place of fear. Hold a protective stone in your hand, cast a circle, whatever gives you peace of mind.

Again, I do not believe this is a significant concern, but this is just something I feel like I have the responsibility to forewarn folks about. I don’t want to scare anyone away from astral travel as a practice, because it’s really rewarding and it’s about as close to actually flying as a witch can come. I just want to make sure the cards are all out on the table.

But what is astral travel? What does that mean? Well, there are a couple kinds of astral travel, in my admittedly limited experience. As always, I do not claim to be an expert. But the first kind of astral travel is when our spirit travels without our body here in this physical reality, and this is sometimes referred to as etheric travel. Because you’re not really in the astral realm, you’re simply traveling etherically here in this realm. Astral travel in the truest sense of the term is when the spirit travels to the astral plane. And it is generally accepted that there are many astral realms, and we may travel to any one of them.

Astral travel, or astral projection is an out of body experience. And sometimes this coincides with a near-death experience, or after a serious injury or illness, and even unintentionally, simply by accident, but the astral projection we are going to focus on is the kind you do intentionally. There are of course lots of books and videos you can use to learn more about this practice, and I recommend that. My favorite book is Hacking the Out of Body Experience by Robert Peterson. It’s very practical and it doesn’t so much give a lot of spiritual advice or reasoning on the subject, but if you’re just looking for kind of a step-by-step instruction manual for learning the how-to’s, it’s a good primer.

Folks who do a lot of astral travel tend to advise newbies to do their first several attempts at astral travel first thing in the morning, and that’s because your mind stays in its Alpha level for like a half hour or so before it fully wakes up and then it transitions to Beta level. But Alpha level is where the magic happens. There’s another cool book called the Silva Mind Control Method by José Silva that talks about using Alpha level to train the mind to do all kinds of things from breaking bad habits to literal ESP. Maybe we’ll talk about that more someday, but the reason I bring it up is because it starts in the same way. First thing in the morning, when your mind is still in Alpha level. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it and it comes easier, you can start working on reaching Alpha level at different times of day.

But folks who are new to the practice are going to benefit from starting in the morning. So one way to accomplish this is to set two alarms in the morning: your regular alarm that’s set for when you actually need to get out of bed and get ready for your day, and another alarm 15 minutes before that one. The night before, put your protective stone on the nightstand if you like, or cast your circle or do whatever protective prep work you want so that you do not have to think about it at all in the morning. When the first alarm goes off, turn it off, get comfortable again, but don’t go back to sleep and don’t try to become more alert. Find that balance between sleep and wakefulness and just ride that line. Notice how your body feels like jello in your bed. This practice alone can take a week. Let it take a week. There’s no rushing this, and in fact the harder you try, the longer it’ll take.

Once you can wake without waking in the morning and just maintain that balancing act on the edge of wakefulness and sleep, start feeling yourself inside your body, separately from your body. Feel your spirit sort of swimming around, sloshing around, inside your skin suit. With your eyes still closed, raise your hand in front of your face, not your physical hand, your astral hand, and really look at it. Again not with your physical eyes, but with your third eye. Notice how it looks similar to your physical hand, but also notice what’s different about it. Do this with your other hand as well. Raise both astral hands in front of you and check them out, look at your arms. Look around the room. Check things out around you, while your physical eyes are still closed. This may take another week.

Once you feel like you’re making progress with this, stand up with your astral body and walk around the room. Once you’ve got that mostly down, travel down the hall, travel around your house. Then start venturing further and further away. You’ll never lose yourself, so I don’t want that to become a concern. Your astral body is always connected to your physical body; it can always find its way back. This is really all there is to learning this. I know it seems oversimplified, but the only reason it seems that way is because, while this is simple, it takes a long time to get the hang of it, to learn to use those muscles. And it is just like training for a marathon.

I have run a few marathons, and it isn’t hard to learn how to do it, but it is something that takes a lot of repetition. You just run a little bit farther every week. That’s really all there is to the actual training. Astral travel is so similar in that respect. And yes, there will be times when you just can’t get there, for whatever reason. You’ll have three or four days of great progress, and then there will be a day or two where you can’t even stay in Alpha level. This isn’t a reason to become frustrated. This is to be expected. There will be times when you’re in Alpha and you’re doing really well, and some outside force will snap you out. Maybe the cat jumps on the bed or your phone rings or whatever.

Again, don’t let this frustrate you. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Nobody is gonna win any prizes for doing it first, that’s not the point. The point is to have these experiences. And there are lots of reasons for that. We can really get some perspective on the limitations that we place on our own consciousness by doing this, because it removes some of those limitations. By recognizing and seeing for ourselves how far we can venture outside our bodies, we see how limitless our potential is. And when we do manage that shift into the astral realm, where we can see and be seen by our guides, our ancestors, our deities, we can have face-to-face conversations and learn lessons from these eternal beings.

And on the other side of that coin is the perspective and appreciation that we gain for this physical world. Once we realize how truly separate our spirit is from our physical body, the more we can appreciate our place in this world. And ironically, the more we realize this separation, the more we can appreciate our physical bodies for being the vessel that holds our spirit safely in this physical space while we navigate this earthly existence. So, write all these experiences down. Make notes every time you do this practice about your results, your progress, your setbacks. Make notes about what you see and sense. And after you’ve been at this for a few months, go back and read it.

The best way to appreciate the very slow progress you’re going to make is to be able to read your own accounts of those first couple weeks, those first couple days. As you become more practiced and more adept, you’re going to be able to determine where you want to go with it and how far you want to explore. But for now, just getting into a disciplined routine is going to be the best and most reliable way to have these experiences. I know this is a little outside the more practical kind of witchcraft that we usually discuss, but I think it’s really beneficial for us to get that perspective and it helps us to see how far our magick can extend.

So, happy travels, we’ll talk again next week, next month, in fact. Please write to me anytime about anything, on social media at @middelagedwitch, or via email at eli@middleagedwitch.com. My name is Eli, and this has been the Middle-Aged Witch podcast.

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