For quite some time now I have been trying to separate my astral body by using the following method: I lie flat on my back, breath deeply and slowly, and enter a state of deep relaxation, as I learned to do through autogenic training. Then I try to separate my astral body from my physical body until it floats roughly a foot and a half above me. But I still have not had any luck, although I have been practicing several times a day for months. I read that one should shift his or her awareness to the astral body to be able to function in it. But how exactly can that work if I am not even sure whether I am out of my body or not? What should I do? Can you help?
Lots of magicians struggle with the same problem, beginners in particular. That may not offer much consolation, but maybe I have some tips that will help. The technique you described for astral travel is surely the most common. For some people it works in just a short time, but not for everyone. That may be due to insufficient imagination training, but of course that does not help the affected person very much.
Maybe you could try the following exercise instead: Determine a location that you want to visit astrally. Instead of lying down, sit in a comfortable position. (As with any type of astral work, it is important here that you make sure that you will not be disturbed. Because if a dear family member bursts into the room or the dachshund insists on being let outside, this can have a subtle yet long-lasting negative effect on your practice.) Now expand your body roughly half an inch with each breath. This is done only in the imagination, is fairly easy to do, and often produces fast results.
When you have expanded to roughly twice your normal size, continue the process with even greater dimensions. Inches become feet, and feet become miles, and so on. Don’t worry too much about the actual act of leaving your body, since that’s not what it is really about. After all, a person usually wants to travel astrally in order to perform a sort of remote divination—e.g., to determine what a good friend is currently doing for the purpose of remote healing. Therefore, remember that it is not necessarily all about the astral body. Personally, I tend to speculate that this ominous astral body is nothing more than a myth at best, one that makes it easier for us to tap into specific information from often faraway, remote sources.
One variation of this technique consists of proceeding little by little. For example, the first few times you would only move your astral arms out of your physical body, a bit later your whole upper body and head, and so on. But if you really only want to find out how your friend in the Canary Islands is doing, then always keep in mind that obtaining this remote information is your actual goal, regardless of how you get there, and not necessarily the act of buzzing around in an astral body. That should at least prevent any type of tension or grim determination.
Experienced magicians often do without astral travel altogether, since it is comparatively complicated whereas the desired information can often be obtained much faster and easier. However, this does not mean that a person should renounce astral travel altogether. On the contrary, this practice often leads to a greater exposure to what we like to call "intuition," for lack of a better word and without truly understanding its origin.
This concept of having various human bodies, which was borrowed from theosophy, is surely a useful tool that everyone can relate to fairly well. But that’s still no reason to cling to it for eternity. Therefore, formulate your goals specifically. Determine for yourself what it is that you actually want to achieve, and if your practice gets dull, then just try something different for a while, as described here.
From Where Do Demons Live?, by Frater U∴D∴