A question that often comes through my inbox is how to tell the difference between an astral projection and a really vivid or lucid dream. My short answer is, if you have to ask, you’re not astral. Now let me go into more detail.
There are three conditions that come up. In the first, you dream that you are in an astral state. In the second, you have a lucid dream that you are astral. And in the third condition, you are actually astral. Let’s go over all three in detail so you can see the difference.
Dreaming that you are in an astral state
Because there came a point where I was astral projecting many times per week (back in my teens) I became very used to the sensations involved in astral projection. So, often, I would dream that I was having an astral projection. In this case, I did not wake up in my bed, initiate the astral separation, and go on about my merry astral way. No, instead I was having a dream that I was astral projecting. How do I know it was a dream? Because I was in the dream state, the dream plane, and I never woke to initiate the astral separation which for me involved tingling, a high pitched buzzing sound, and separating out of my body in my bedroom. In the dreaming-you-are-astral state, you are simply having a dream about being out of body. You won’t be that aware of it either, like any regular non-lucid dream. You’ll wake up and say, “Oh what an interesting dream I was having” and that’s about it.
Lucid dreaming about being in an astral state
In this next scenario you become totally conscious during some regular dream and think, “Oh cool, I’m totally lucid, I’m going to go astral” and you go from the dream plane into what you think is your astral vehicle. However, you will find you are still on the dream plane, able to affect dream characters, sure, but still in your own mind. You are not astral when you have a lucid dream that you are astral. You’re just having a cool lucid dream experience and you’re still inside the dream construct. It’s fun, it’s cool, it’s a good place to practice techniques, but you are not astral.
You’re actually astral projecting
In all of my true astral projection experiences, I woke up in bed first. I was completely aware that I was in bed, and if someone said, “Hey, Erin, you awake?” I would know with certainty that I was. It is in this state that the astral separation is initiated. If you’re astral projecting, the first place you will see is your bedroom, or the place where you are sleeping. You won’t be in a dream construct.
Chances are good that if you’re dreaming that you’re astral projecting, you’ve done some astral projecting in real life so you know what to bring into your dream construct. But if you’re having a dream that you’re just flying, that’s not it. When you are actually astral projecting you feel as conscious and aware as you do when you are awake. There are no dream characters or constructs. You can’t just snap your fingers and change the landscape. It’s like being in this plane in between life and death. There’s a strange, unearthly quiet about it (if you’re lucky!) and you feel more like a ghost than anything. But your entire consciousness is in your astral body or vehicle.
Lucid dreaming is an excellent place to practice waking your mind up while keeping your body asleep, so if you’re wanting to learn astral projection then lucid dreaming is a good place to start. As human beings we don’t ever need to experience astral projection to have a good and normal proper life. However, the benefits of having a true astral experience are wonderful. It gives you a sense of certainty that your soul can exist without your body. That means a lot to a lot of people, I know.
So experiment, but learn to discern the difference between your states of consciousness. I’ve had lots of dreams that I was astral only to wake up and realize it was just a dream. Those don’t count.