For centuries there has been the idea that the soul can exist independently of the body, and many practices and philosophies have sprouted up around the notion that we can intentionally cause this to happen. The basic concept behind what is called “astral projection,” is that with enough training and focus one can cultivate the ability to willfully eject their soul from their physical bodies and observe the physical world or other more spiritual realms free from the tethers of their earthly body. It essentially like dying and having one’s soul released, only without the death part and the option to return back into one’s physical body when the journey is complete. When disengaged from the body it is claimed that the disembodied soul can travel vast distances, allowing us to see faraway places as if we are really there. Considering this, would it be possible for someone to astrally project to space, or even other worlds and beyond? According to some very weird accounts, yes.
A basic idea among those who subscribe to the idea that astral projection is real is that there is no reason why one should not be able to bventure out beyond our own planet. Apparently it is totally possible, as an article on The N.I.T.E. Post explains:
Outer space is technically still on the physical realm, and as such subject to exploration via astral projection. But because outer space is vast beyond imagining, the distance travelled by astral projectors will vary depending on their focus and skill. Leading astral projection figures, Robert Bruce and Robert Monroe, both claimed to have astral projected deep into space, seeing the celestial bodies that are part of our solar system. Of course, it is very difficult to concretely confirm whether or not what they are able to see is actually in the physical realm, or simply a manifestation in the astral realm, because scientific instruments are not yet that advanced to accurately visually observe what astral projections see in detail.
Ok, then. Are you with us so far? Amazingly, there are reports of people projecting themselves to other worlds going way back. One of the earliest and weirdest of such reports is the case of the Swedish philosopher, inventor, scientist, and mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg, who claimed that in 1774 he had a potent spiritual awakening. During this time, he said he gained the power to open his mind to speak with angels or demons, and to make psychic journeys, an ability which he used to travel across Heaven, Hell, and to other parts of the solar system, not through the power of any technology, but through the power of God.
Swedenborg spectacularly claimed that he had been guided along on this journey by God and angels, and that he saw many wondrous things in other parts of our universe. Among his many detailed accounts, some of the more interesting are what he claimed to have seen in our solar system. He said that he had visited Mars, the Moon, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus, and that each of these places had their own unique civilizations. The Martians were described as being totally without body hair and wearing tree bark for clothing. They apparently lived in a peaceful Utopian society where there was no crime or war. On Venus there were claimed to be two races of people, a benevolent, peaceful tribe, and another dedicated to violence, war, and thievery. Saturn had its humble people who lived simple lives and buried their dead by covering the bodies with leaves. The people of Mercury were said to wear tight-fitting clothing and to be stern and serious deep thinkers and philosophers, while the population of Jupiter were jovial jokesters and liked to walk about on their hands. The Moon was supposedly populated by a race of stout dwarves with booming voices, of which Swedenborg would write:
The inhabitants of the Moon are small, like children of six or seven years old; at the same time they have the strength of men like ourselves. Their voices roll like thunder, and the sound proceeds from the belly, because the moon is in quite a different atmosphere from the other planets.
In 1884 there is an account of a medium referred to as Hélène Smith, in France, and whose story was written of by the hypnotist and occultist Theodore Flourney. It was claimed that Ms. Smith could go into a trance and project her consciousness to the planet Mars, where she would tell Flourney of the wondrous sights she was seeing there in real time. Flourney wrote of one such mind-boggling session as follows:
From the beginning … Mlle. Smith perceived, in the distance and at a great height, a bright light. Then she felt a tremor which almost caused her heart to cease beating, after which it seemed to her as though her head were empty and as if she were no longer in the body. She found herself in a dense fog, which changed successively from blue to a vivid rose color, to gray, and then to black. She is floating, she says, and the table, supporting itself on one leg, seemed to express a very curious floating movement. Then she sees a star growing larger, always larger, and becomes finally 'as large as our house.' Hélène feels that she is ascending; then the table gives, by raps: 'Lemaitre, that which you have so long desired!' Mlle. Smith, who had been ill at ease, finds herself feeling better, she distinguishes three enormous globes, one of them very beautiful. 'On what am I walking?' she asks. And the table replies: 'On a world—Mars.'
Hélène then began a description of all strange things which presented themselves to her view, and caused her as much surprise as amusement. Carriages without horses or wheels, emitting sparks as they glided by; houses with fountains on the roof; a cradle having for curtains an angel made of iron with outstretched wings, etc. What seemed less strange were people exactly like the inhabitants of our earth, save that both sexes wore the same costume, formed of trousers, very ample, and a long blouse, drawn tight about the waist and decorated with various designs. The child in the cradle was exactly like our children, according to the sketch which Hélène made from memory after the séance….
We are struck by two points, the complete identity of the Martian world, taken in its chief points, with the world in which we live, and its puerile originality in a host of minor details…. One would say that it was the work of a young scholar to whom had been given the task of trying to invent a world as different as possible from ours, but real and who had conscientiously applied himself to it loosening the reins of his childish fancy in regard to a multitude of minor points in the limits of what appeared admissible according to his short and narrow experience. All the traits that I discover in the author of the Martian romance can be summed up in a single phrase, its profoundly infantile character.
It is all very strange indeed, and she would make meticulous notes and sketches of what she saw during these enigmatic excursions. Indeed, so detailed were her accounts that she was even supposedly able to translate the Martian language into French, and that the language has “an acoustic quality altogether its own due to the predominance of certain sounds, and has a peculiar intonation difficult to describe. Flourney was obviously not impressed, though, taking it all to be quite delusional.
In 1898, two Victorian occultists, a stockbroker and second-generation spiritualist by the name of Frederick Leigh Gardner and a theater manager named Annie Horniman, both of whom were involved in the occult movement called the Golden Dawn, and both of whom thought they had what it took to project astrally to other worlds, got together to do just that. They would claim that over the course of many sessions they were able to travel all over the solar system, encountering a winged and armored man on Saturn, “a greyness of dust and cobwebs and a strong atmosphere of illusion” on Jupiter, and various other wonders on Venus, Mars, and Mercury, the only limit being that they seemed unable to travel to the sun.
Such fanciful claims continue into the 1900s, and one of these was organized by another member of the Golden Dawn named Dorothea Hunter, this time their destination the planet Mars. In December of 1900 they gathered at a flat and began the ceremony, which involved hexagrams, incantations, and visualization exercises, and Hunter would write of this ritual in part:
We sat in a semi-circle at the north side of the Altar, facing the South, when Mars was in Virgo at the time. Deo Date then made the Invoking Hexagrams of Mars round the room […] We then mentally formulated the Hexagram of Mars in red light at that point of the compass. The upper triangle appeared flaming, and an armed figure of somewhat earthly type appeared to look through it. […] We did not stop to examine this figure much, but went through the Hex, astrally, and found ourselves in a region of flames [where] a gigantic, mail-clad Angel appeared, with winged helmet, and great flame-coloured wings from his shoulders. There was some diversity of opinion concerning his sword. […] Then we vibrated the Names and rose in what we thought at first was a blade-shaped shaft of White Light. . . We seemed to have been led through the path of Mars on to a solar plane. All the planets are but rays, or differentiations of the Sun, it is true, but some special teaching was evidently to be given us by this abrupt transition from Mars.
Mars was apparently a popular destination for astral projection during the era, it would seem. In the early 1900s there was also the purported 1906 psychic journey of a Sackville G. Leyson, who happened to be the president of the “Society for Psychical Research” at the time. Through astral projection, Leyson said he had managed to travel to Mars, of which he gave a quite detailed description. According to Leyson, the landscape was perpetually shrouded in red clouds and mist, and there was an odd substance like snow that often fell, but which was not cold and made the ground soft.
He said that the planet was populated by two different races of beings with vastly different physical appearances. One was a race of hulking giants covered in hair, who towered over him and had a single eye in the middle of their foreheads, elephant-like ears, the nose of a lion, and who lived in rock huts above-ground. There was also claimed to be a smaller race of dwarves, who only came up to Leyson’s knees. These diminutive creatures supposedly lived in underground lairs, had webbed hands and feet, a fish-like face with no nose, bulbous eyes on the sides of their heads, and the ability to scale sheer walls like an insect. It is widely believed that this report was likely a piece of creative journalism, but it is certainly strange enough to warrant mention.
There are many other such reports from the 20th century, and considering the very outlandish descriptions that we now know to be false, it seems that this all must merely be the wild imaginings of a time before we had the technology to understand our solar system, mixed with the pervasive popularity of the occult and spirit mediumship of the era. Yet such wild tales of astral travel to other worlds have persisted well into the modern day as well. One practitioner of astral projection named Monal Bhoyar gives a typically bonkers account of this, claiming to have travelled to Mars and Jupiter in 1975, 1976, and 1977. Bhoynar claims that his excursion to Jupiter was carried out in August of 1977, and he makes it very clear that these observations were made before the Voyager II passed the planet. Of Jupiter he would say:
There is preponderance of yellow and purple colours in the sky of the Jupiter. No other colour was seen in the sky of Jupiter. There was a greenish shade in the yellow, which was in the sky. The clouds were of the purple colour, they were gathering together rapidly and disappearing rapidly. These clouds were quite thick having greater density as compared to our clouds. They moved just like moss on water. If we throw a stone in the pond, this moss quickly moves away and quickly comes together, similar was the movement of the clouds of the Jupiter. On the Jupiter there was dim light similar to the light present in Maharashtra at about 7.30 pm. in the month of September. I did not see the Sun there.
The sky on the Jupiter was not blue like ours, but it was darkish. I saw three full moons in the sky situated like the sign of "therefore" in mathematics. It appeared like a triangle of the Moons. Then I saw four full moons at a time, as if a square of the Moons ia formed. Later on, I saw many moons about five to six, at a time, - all were half-moons On my right hand was their lighted half portion, while on my left hand was their dark half region. The moons were shining considerably less than our moon, and were smaller in size than our moon, about 3/4th the diameter of our moon. I saw a band of multiple black round bodies in the sky as is shown in the figure, like a scorpion.
In my previous experiment of Mars, I felt that I was standing on the ground of the Mars. But this time, I could not feel that I was standing on the ground of the Jupiter; I felt that I was floating. There was black rock. There was no dust. There was no breeze of the wind. There was no sound of any kind. There was no beauty seen in the sky, as I saw in the sky of the Mars, so I did not feel enthusiastic and happy. On the contrary, I felt depressed and morose. On the Jupiter, there was no water, running or stagnant. There was no human, no beast, no bird, no insect, no plant, and no other life. I could not see any Astral body, too, on the Jupiter.
This particular account was apparently published in various newspapers in India, such as the Indian Express and Tarun Bharat, among others, and the witness even claimed to have sent his amazing results to the Indian Prime Minister on 27th October 1977 and received receipts as proof. Is there any truth to it? Who knows? More recent and perhaps even more bizarre is a poster on Quora who claimed in 2018 thread that for years he had been to various other planets, sometimes far in the past, through astral projection, and says of this:
My journeys to the other planets began years ago when I awoke one night in the soul body to find an olive-complexioned, Asian-looking monk in a tan robe standing in my bedroom. He asked me to come with him and then vanished into a hole in the ceiling. Leaving my physical body behind, I followed and saw him flying up what looked like a fluorescent tube or tunnel. About midway up the tunnel gravity seemed to reverse and we dropped down onto the starlit surface of an alien planet. When I uttered surprise at how bright the stars were, my guide explained that the planet was Mars and that the brightness was due to its very thin atmosphere.
We were standing in a desert landscape with arid plains in the foreground and dark mountain ranges in the distance. The monk pointed across the rock-strewn plain where hooded figures in brown or tan robes were being chased by soldiers in jeep-like vehicles. The robed monks appeared to be heavily outnumbered and outgunned. Many were shot and killed by their pursuers, while only a few made it to safety in the mountains. My guide informed me that the monks were freedom fighters struggling against the tyranny of the ruling class. From my position in orbit, I send out a telepathic call to all my friends – Souls on the surface below who might want to assist me.
Soon I behold many Soul forms ascending rapidly from below and gathering in a great swarm around me. When all who want to come are present, we begin chanting the word HU, which is a powerful mantra to connect us to the Sound Current. With the power of the HU behind and within us, we accelerate out into space to our destination. For my part, I have been to the moon in the soul body on several occasions and have never found any signs of life there. It was just as airless and barren for me as it was for the Apollo astronauts when they physically set foot on it.
What, no moon cities and dwarfs? Adding to the overall weirdness is another recent account from a witness named Ian McLaren, who claims that he can also travel to other worlds through astral projection, even planets that we know nothing of. In this case he claims to have been to the ominous and mysterious planet Nibiru, a theoretical planet which some paranormal enthusiasts argue will at one point collide with Earth to cause a massive, extinction-event cataclysm. Yet according to this witness it seems like an alright place for the most part. He claims:
At one stall I met two humanoid spirit guides who invited me to join them on a short journey to the Sirius Constellation which took about 10 minutes each way (there is no speed limit on astral travel) where we landed on planet Nibiru which was lit by three co-ordinated suns (Sirius A, B and C). When one sun set, the next in sequence rose so the planet was never in darkness. Nibirans are chosen from earth humans who have qualified and shown themselves worthy of immortality. As there is no such thing as death on Nibiru the only option for any spirits who are getting unduly bored with eternal life, is to return to earth for another cycle of reincarnations until they can again “work their passage” and can quality for transfer to to a higher plane. Part of the test for life on Nibiru is to convince the assessment panel that you embrace the Quaker tradition of pacifist lifestyle as on Nibiru there are no Armed Forces. Death is not an option.
There is no Police force as there is no crime. There are no medical facilities, nurses, doctors or hospitals as no one ever gets injured or falls sick. Everyone arrives at Nibiru with a comprehensive education so no schools, colleges or University with their associated stresses. On arrival my two Spirit Guides logged me in to the Visitor’s Book and we started our tour. Clothes are optional as it is a very comfortable climate. We walked forward along a path and into a fresh water lake. Having fully functioning gills/lungs there was no risk of drowning. I stroked a fish of the style of a dolphin and lay on its back while it took me on a tour of the lake. I noticed that aircraft were solar powered with having limitless light. Speedboats derived their power from the water and the use of dis-similar metals. All parachutists landed safely so no broken ankles and they were able to walk away from every landing. All food options were vegetarian. It is my choice of planet if I maintain a good record for the remainder of this incarnation. I’ve had quite enough of the way things are going on this plane even if it is relatively civilised compared to the lower, darker planes.
What in the world? Is any of this remotely even plausible or have we derailed completely off the deep end? All of these accounts seem to go far out beyond the ordinary, and while colorful and certainly interesting one is left ot try and figure out what to make of it all. Is there anything to the idea that one can travel out beyond their physical form to reach space and other planets? Or is this all a bunch of mumbo jumbo that has no basis in reality? These tales seem to offer no proof either way, and remain just entertaining and curious anecdotes, leaving the whole concept quite an outlandish trip into the bizarre that will probably not have any sensible conclusion that we can all relate to any time soon.