Do you know why this sub forum isn’t very active? It’s because most people can’t astral project! If they could, this part of the forum would be extremely active.
I found over about 9 years of attempts that none of the classical methods of “astral projection” worked for me. The only out of body experiences I’ve had have been drug induced, and they were not at all controllable. I’ve tried nightly for months on end to leave my body, following all the typical advice from folk like Robert Bruce. Even EA’s methods do not work for me. I find it kind of funny, because energy work is by far my strongest area, and I’ve had full awareness of my energetic body since I was a child. I can enter a trance state almost instantaneously, and I long ago mastered every other prerequisite these authors suggest, but I simply cannot separate from my physical body.
Now, I am not saying these methods do not work! They do in fact work for many people. I think it may be psychological, but some of us need a wholly different method.
So, here’s a less talked about method of soul travel: it’s actually easy as hell, and you do NOT need to leave your body to experience it. This is method is termed visionary travel. If you are halfway decent at meditating and maintaining focus (bonus points if you can already scry), you can project your consciousness into your own mind and experience anything you would in an out of body experience using your mind as a gateway. It’s not unlike a daydream or imagining a scene in your head, except that the images are not coming from your mind.
The more you practice this the easier it gets. I think anyone could learn it in less than a month (assuming they have basic meditation down). At first things are unclear or hazy, but they solidify with practice. At first you may question the validity of such experiences. How do you know your subconscious isn’t just making it all up? Well, if you seek knowledge and explore these realms, you will eventually see things or be given information that you can validate afterwards - things you previously had no possible way of knowing. Once you’ve done that enough, you’ll begin to know what is placed by your own mind and what exists outside of it. At this point, you can construct an astral temple, or meet the entities you would evoke in their own domain. I rarely do evocation or physical ritual anymore for this reason - the exception is anchoring workings in Malkuth.
I’d like to point out that this has been the primary method of soul travel in most of western magic, until relatively recently. It was termed “traveling in the spirit vision” by the Golden Dawn, and was elaborated on by Dione Fortune, who heavily preferred the method. The practice has been pretty much unknown by most modern occultists, having been replaced by the much more difficult and no more useful practice of OBEs.
If you are interested in learning these methods I’d recommend two guides. One is this article by Aaron Leitch:
I think Aaron’s article alone contains enough info for pretty much anyone to acquire this ability.
For a more in-depth exploration of the topic, Josephine McCarthy’s entire magical paradigm is based on visionary magic, and her methods are detailed extremely well in her books, starting with “Magickal Knowledge I.”
[Edit] in addition, apparently the introductory material from her books is free on her site - http://www.theinnerlibrary.org/magical-beginnings.html
If you’ve continuously failed at soul travel using out of body methods, I urge you to give visionary travel a shot by following one of these two guides, or both. The ability to consciously access and explore other realms is, in my opinion, the single most important magical skill to have. It will amplify all of your workings many times over, and allow you to develop much more powerful and innovative rituals.