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A trip through the astral realm by Isabella Greenwood
Illustration by Isabella Greenwood

Astral projection: how to take a trip to the astral realm

Priestess, sorceress and spellcaster Isabella Greenwood shares everything you need to know about adventuring beyond the physical body

“Up she sailed as high as the moon in her hand she carried a broom. Old woman, oh whither so high? To brush the cobwebs of the sky” – DJ Conway

For millennia we have been obsessed with worlds beyond our own, plagued with unanswered questions of where we go when we dream, endlessly riddled with fantasies of worlds beyond the monotony of everyday life. The satiation of all these desires is made possible thanks to the mystical practise of astral projection. But what does that even mean, and how can you learn to do it? Below, we share our step-by-step guide.


The astral realm is a supernatural plane of existence. It has been the focus of mystical practices in Hermeticism, theosophy and ancient forms of magick and witchcraft. Exploring the astral realm requires the cultivation of the ‘astral body’, also known as the energetic body, or as Deleuze and Guattari refer to it: “the body without organs”.

The astral body is the energetic double of our physical bodies. The hermetic rule of “as above, so below” suggests that if there is a physical body of realms below, there must be a duplicate of this body that exists in realms above. Astral travel, also known as astral projection, refers to the flight of the astral body, as it splits from the physical body and journeys across alternative high-frequency planes of reality.

Ideas of being able to astral travel were a prominent feature of the 1600 witch trials, with many reports of witches confessing to flight with the use of flying ointment –  which is typically composed of mildly poisonous plants with psychoactive effects like belladonna and bat’s blood. In 1647, Henry Moore, a Christian student of occult philosophy, wrote that the witches were flying with their astral bodies, and not their physical bodies, and thus began the discourse on this unconventional type of travel. 

So why should we astral travel? Astral realm law states that what is changed on the astral will have equal – and if not, even greater – effect on the physical realms. In the words of 20th-century British occultist Dion Fortune, “the astral body is linked to the physical body, just as a mother is connected through the umbilical cord with her unborn child”. In other words, as the two bodies are deeply interconnected, the cultivation and understanding of the astral body enables a greater understanding of the physical body. What we learn in the astral realm can provide insight into our lives in the physical realm. 

It is also (from my experience) a beautiful place to journey to, full of silver-bodied entities, orbs of ethereal light larger than the sun, and a sense of somehow feeling at home – as though this is somewhere you have been before, and will one day, be again. 

As well as being an opportunity to better understand our own potential beyond physical constraints, the astral realm can also offer a safe refuge to those who seek it. It comes as no surprise, that within a digital age that boasts a plethora of alternative realities, there is a growing interest in a reality that exists beyond any technological escape, beyond algorithms, shadowbans, usernames, and pixellated figures and forms. We seek lands unknown, lands beyond the digitised screens that permeate all aspects of our lives. 



This method requires you to reach a trance-like state also known as the hypnagogic state. Make sure you are relaxed, at the edge of wakefulness and sleep, and begin to flex your hands and feet with your mind, without physically moving them. Try a few more times until you begin to notice a separation between the body you are imagining being flexed, and your physical body. Next move to your bellybutton, and lift yourself out from it, as though the flexing body were tied to it by an invisible umbilical string. When you feel yourself lifting out, cut the string with imagined scissors and enjoy your flight!


This method requires you to imagine yourself on a hammock, woven with threads of iridescent light, positioned between two calming trees of your choosing. The astral realm, in all of its mystery and wonder lies beneath you. Imagine yourself rocking back and forth, slowly reaching a relaxed vibrational state. When you feel completely relaxed, between the rocking, gently roll yourself out of the hammock, where you will land feet first in the astral. 


This technique, formulated by Robert Bruce, is one of the most effective techniques for astral travel. Imagine an invisible, imaginary rope hanging from your ceiling. This rope will be used to exert dynamic pressure at a single point on your astral body to force its separation from the physical. Once you are able to reach the rope, start climbing it, as you pull yourself out of your body. Keep climbing the rope until you are able to see your physical body lying still in front of you. Then, unpeel yourself from your earthly ties and journey!


This method can use any of the above methods, with the additional use of lucid dreaming herbal concoctions. I create a homemade blend of Mexican dream herb, Egyptian Blue Lotus, as well as freshly foraged Mugwort and Passionflower – all herbs which have been used for centuries for divinatory and lucid dreaming purposes and are not dissimilar from the principal ingredients of witch’s flight ointments (though slightly less poisonous!). This blend can either be drunk before sleeping, as a tea, or smoked with tobacco, and will help you to lucidly unwind yourself from the spool of mundane dreams, and into the astral. 


This is a step that is often excluded from astral travel guides – and it is namely the importance of allowing space for spontaneity and coincidence. As a child, one of the first indicators of my psychic-ness was my ability to frequently astral travel. I began in my bedroom above my physical body, and later in all different realms and dimensions, or even at times to my friend’s homes, who would join me in flight. When I grew older and discovered my spontaneous flights had a name, and their own personal doctrines, lore and methodologies, some of the magic was lost and I was unable to travel as freely as I could before.

One night I asked my guides to help me astral travel again. That night, instead of falling into the dizzying familiar warmth of the astral realms, I had a dream where I was climbing the astral ladder, located in an archaic library. As I climbed the ladder, books would full and tumble below me, and with each step closer to the astral, the shelves would completely empty themselves. The next morning I awoke and burned all of my books, notes and re-learnings of the realms I had grown up exploring. I stopped actively trying to astral travel and halted my attempts to learn everything I could know on the topic. A few weeks later, spontaneously, I began being able to astral travel again.  

The message is clear: the more we know, the less able we are to explore realms that we cannot ever fully conceptualise or understand. When all else fails, forget everything you know, burn it in the fire, and the flight will find you sure enough – as it always does, somewhere above your phantom umbilical cord, below ceilingless skies and within a world of boundless magic and wingless flight.

Isabella Greenwood is a Priestess, sorceress and spellcaster. Follow her on Instagram here.

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