[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/DoctorStrange http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fire12_210.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:350:"I'm not in my body right now, but if you'll leave a message..."]]-]

Astral Projection is a magic/mystic practice which allows a character to detach either his soul or his conscious mind ([[SoulAnatomy the distinction is important]]) from his body and let it wander freely, either [[{{Invisibility}} invisibly]] in the material plane or out in the SpiritWorld.

As, essentially, a living [[OurGhostsAreDifferent ghost]], the character can go just about anywhere, see and hear anything, and potentially engage in InvisibleJerkass behaviour, depending on whether he can [[MindOverMatter move objects telekinetically]]. Also like ghosts, characters who are Astral Projecting may use DemonicPossession to take over host bodies, though this doesn't necessarily allow them to [[{{Telepathy}} pry into their mind]]. Most victims usually have no idea what happened afterward.

Unfortunately, the freedom of the soul comes at the expense of the body, which usually lies in a ConvenientComa, utterly helpless and [[RemoteYetVulnerable vulnerable to attack]] or neglect. In many cases the body will ''die'' if the soul is separated from it for too long. Another danger is that, like a ghost, the soul/mind might be unable to find its way back. This is especially risky if the Astral Projector loses the "tether" that connects him back to his body, or if another person moves his body while he is "away." Worst case scenario, another detached soul takes up residence in the body and [[GrandTheftMe takes over the person's life]] while they are stuck outside their own body for good.

Some darker uses of this practice will forcibly evict the Astral Self from its host body. If the spirit doesn't know their body is still alive, they may even [[AnAstralProjectionNotAGhost confuse themselves for an actual ghost]].

It's entirely possible for an Astral Projector to separate from his body by accident. Perhaps he misused an AncientArtifact that forced him into an Astral Projection without [[EnlightenmentSuperpowers telling him how to undo the state]] or return to his body. Or he might accidentally end up in [[Film/FreakyFriday the wrong body]], or someone else might take possession of his. On the upside, being MadeOfAir makes him indestructible to everything (except angry ghosts, [[HollywoodExorcism exorcisms]], irate housewives with vacuum cleaners...)

Many people believe they have had experiences similar to these in RealLife. Astral projection is a serious part of belief systems like Spiritualism and Theosophy. There are several books on technique. Sylvan Muldoon's 1929 classic ''Projection of the Astral Body'' is still recommended for beginners.

Compare AnimalEyeSpy, where the character can see other locations through an animal's eyes.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* Only the most powerful [[PsychicPowers Newtypes]] in the various incarnations ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' have this ability. Examples include series protagonist [[AcePilot Camille Vidan]] and main villains [[DarkMessiah Paptimus Scirocco]] and [[LadyOfWar Haman Kahn]] of [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]], [[LovableRogue Judau Ashita]] in [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ Double Zeta]], and [[TheHero Amuro Rei]] by the time of CharsCounterattack.
* Something like this happens in the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' episode where Ash visits the Pokèmon tower in hopes of catching a ghost type Pokèmon that can help him beat Sabrina. While trying to capture one, he and Pikachu get knocked out by a [[FallingChandelierOfDoom falling chandelier]] and Haunter takes the oppurtunity to pull their spirits out of their bodies. Ash discovers that the ghost Pokèmon just wanted some friends to play with, but tells them that he can't stay with them because he has to continue his quest to become a Pokèmon master. The ghost Pokèmon are disappointed by this, but they allow Ash and Pikachu to return to their bodies.
* Production I.G.'s ''Anime/GhostHound'' features a group of teenage boys who each gained the ability to enter the "[[SpiritWorld Unseen World]]" after a traumatizing experience they went through in their own childhood. For the former half of the series, they use it to investigate their own past trauma.
* Mai Taniyama in ''Manga/GhostHunt'' frequently astral projects in her sleep, giving her what seem to be psychic dreams.
* The bedridden Grove in ''LightNovel/VampireHunterD'' has the power of astral projection, his soul becoming a powerful entity, though doing so drains his life.
* Schierke of ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' uses this to communicate with the elemental spirits that power her magic and occasionally [[BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind to go into Guts' mind to snap him out of the influence of his]] SuperpoweredEvilSide.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', this is one of the abilities that Perona's Devil Fruit grants her. She notably uses this to counter Usopp's immunity to her negative hollows.
** During the two-year TimeSkip in ''Manga/OnePiece'', this ability is developed by [[spoiler: Brook]], apparently as an extension of his [[spoiler:Undead Fruit]] powers. [[PowerPerversionPotential Guess what was the first thing he did with it]]?
* In the ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' manga an old man has this ability and uses it to enter and alter Ranma's dreams to date her.
* In the first movie of ''LightNovel/KaraNoKyoukai'', Kirie Fujou, though bedridden, can project a double of herself on top of the Fujou Buildings, which her family used to own.
* The Silver Tribe of ''Anime/HeroicAge'' frequently does this, and are capable of it across the vastness of the galaxy. Dhienalia, the human princess, is also capable of it, and makes use of it for long-distance communication, or guiding the ship through uncharted space. It's apparently pretty well-known, as no one shows the slightest surprise when someone does it.
* KEYVisualArts ''love'' this trope. Both [[spoiler: Fuko]] in ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'' and [[spoiler: Ayu]] in ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'' are actually comatose for a large part of their respective series.
* In ''Manga/{{Noragami}}'', this happens unintentionally to the main heroine after she was hit by a bus.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Johann Kraus in ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' was a spiritualist whose body was killed while during a seance. His soul had nowhere to return to, so he has to live in a containment suit to avoid completely evaporating.
* Being the world's most powerful telepath, [[Comicbook/{{X-Men}} Charles Xavier]] does this frequently.
** Despite not having any PsychicPowers of his own, Xavier's [[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor sometimes-ally, sometimes-enemy]] {{Magneto}} can do this as well.
** Xavier's ArchEnemy the Shadow King also specializes in astral projection. It was eventually retconned that he's a purely astral being who possesses human hosts (specifically, other mutants with telepathic powers that can amplify his own). When Xavier and the Shadow King (at the time using the body of an Egyptian named Amahl Farouk) first met, to any outside observers they seemed to be just sitting motionless at their tables in a tavern. In reality, the astral forms had left their bodies to duel. Once his astral form was defeated, his body slumped over, seemingly braindead. This encounter was what led Xavier to conclude he needed to create [[Comicbook/{{X-Men}} a team of mutant superheroes]] in order to deal with mutant supervillains like Farouk.
* As the picture indicates, this is one of the many mystic arts Comicbook/DoctorStrange has mastered. He can also pull someone else's astral form out of his/her body, though the other person usually freaks out and needs constant reassurance that everything is okay.
* On the Creator/DCComics side, magic users like DoctorFate, {{Zatanna}}, and ComicBook/{{Raven}} can do this.
* ''WonderWoman'' as written by her creator William Marston often involved astral projection. A villain once forced Wonder Woman out of her body with electricity ("What a queer feeling... like ''falling!''"). Other times, characters learned the art of deliberately leaving the body.
* A form of astral projection called hypnokinesis is used on JohanAndPeewit in ''ComicBook/TheSmurfs'' story "The Smurfs And The Magic Flute". The main difference is that their projected forms have physicality, so it's as if they have actually been transported into the Cursed Land (or to the Smurf forest, in the AnimatedAdaptation [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfsAndTheMagicFlute of the story]]).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The thematic foundation of ''Film/{{Insidious}}''.
* After getting caught by the police, the BigBad of ''NineSevenSixEvilIITheAstralFactor'' uses his OnePhoneCall and receives this power from the title phone number to continue his wrongdoings.
* In the movie ''Film/JustLikeHeaven'' we think one of the characters is a ghost through most of the film, but it turns out the character in question is in a coma and the "ghost" is this trope. The latter part of the movie is trying to prevent the person's life support from being shut off.
* Happens a few times in ''Film/BeverlyHillsNinja''. Haru and Gobei both use astral projection to communicate with their master while on a mission in America.
* In the Film/AceVentura sequel, ''When Nature Calls'', the titular protagonist uses it to go back to Tibet and discuss his frustration with the case he has on hand with his master.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}''
** Prue develops this as a power in the second season although it's treated more like [[SelfDuplication cloning]].
** A demon in Season One displays a more traditional verison of the power; he is invisible to others (meaning he can spy on the girls) and he is able to influence people by whispering into their ear. He uses this to [[spoiler:simultaneously make Prue steal a tiara from the auction house and make her believe she's just locking up like normal, leading to her arrest]].
** The power returns in Season 7 when [[spoiler:the girls are taught the power by Leo (who learnt it from Prue) offscreen and use it to distract Zankou and trick the authorities into believing they'd died in the explosion that killed the Nexus]].
* Weird Al did this once on ''TheWeirdAlShow''. Once he achieved it, all he did was go watch TV for a while before returning to his body.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', "Nightmares". A twelve-year-old boy in a coma manages to do this (thanks to the Hellmouth's all-purpose magic-boost), but drags people's nightmares into the waking world along with him. Buffy has to help him defeat his own nightmare - the guy who put him in the hospital - for him to wake up.
--> '''Buffy:''' Could I be seeing Billy's asteroid body?
--> '''Giles:''' ''Astral'' body.
* "The Walk" from ''Series/TheXFiles'': Rappo, the MonsterOfTheWeek and an EvilCripple, can detach his phantom soul from his body. He uses this power for RevengeByProxy, killing off families of military men.
* In ''ThePowersOfMatthewStar'' Matthew has astral projection as one of his powers. Unlike most astrals, his is solid and can interact with objects & people freely. He just needs to get back to his body within a certain amount of time.
* In one episode of ''{{Supernatural}}'', Sam and Dean are taught how to astral project so they can communicate with the spirits and reapers in a town and find out why no one has been dying.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Caspian Knoll of the ''Literature/AstralDawn'' series is perhaps the most powerful astral projector there's ever been.
** Caspian actually managed to astral project into the astral plane and back again while his body slept in his bedroom over the course of a night.
** The second time Caspian astral projected, he realized he did so with the aid of a special ankh he bought in the city. His body is also left behind during the day instead of night.
** The third time Caspian astral projects is after he is knocked unconscious at a funeral.
** Caspian's son astral projects to the Land of Nod and gets stuck there, prompting Caspian to astral project again after many years.
* In AnneRice's ''Literature/TheVampireChronicles'' and ''Literature/LivesOfTheMayfairWitches'' powerful vampires and some human psychics can do this. David Talbot contends that anyone could do it with the proper training or guidance. In ''The Tale of the Body Thief'' an unscrupulous [[{{Telepathy}} telepath]] guides a catatonic man into doing this so that he can [[BodySurf switch bodies with him]].
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'': Esmeralda Weatherwax can move her consciousness away from her body and share an experience with a target, or several as in ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies'' when she possessed a swarm of bees. In ''Discworld/AHatFullOfSky'', Tiffany Aching learns a similar trick but remains disembodied.
* Is a central theme in JamesHerbert's ''Nobody True.''
* The telepathically-gifted on ''Literature/{{Darkover}}'' do this a lot; there's a [[SpiritWorld psychic plane]] called the Overworld where they do various kinds of work (and occasionally engage in mortal combat...)
* Seems to be ''JohnCarterOfMars'''s primary method of traveling to Barsoom.
* Willie Connolly in the 1972 thriller ''Daughter of Darkness'' is accustomed to sneaking out of her body to skip boring classes. She gets [[PrimalScene more than she bargained for]] when she slips out late one night to see what her parents are up to.
* The ''Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy'' has an involuntary example, when [[BigBad Exar Kun]] forcibly separates Luke Skywalker's spirit from his body.
* In the ''Literature/ZoeMartinique'' series, this is the eponymous character's main ability as well as a central theme of the story.
* DennisWheatley's supernatural thriller ''TheKaOfGiffordHillary'' concerns a man whose spirit is seperated from his body and foced to walk the Astral, invisible to almost all. The ''ka'' is the ancient Egyptian term for the astral body.
* Used as a means of space travel by Michael Ramer in Creator/JRRTolkien's unfinished story ''[[TheHistoryOfMiddleEarth The Notion Club Papers]]''. The story is partly written as a commentary on and criticism of Tolkien's friend CSLewis' ''Literature/TheSpaceTrilogy'' novels, and Tolkien - who disliked the idea of spaceships - was using this to suggest an alternative for how such an adventure could take place.
* ''My Trip To Alpha 1'' by Alfred Slote uses a technological version called Voya-Code, where a person's mind and personality are transmitted through space to appear in a highly-functional android duplicate of the traveler's body so they can travel across the galaxy, while their original bodies remain in sleep storage until they return. (An android duplicate differs from the original body in that a small scar called the Computer Entry Scar appears on the small of the android's back.) The main protagonist of the story, Jack, uses this to visit his Aunt Katherine on Alpha 1, only to discover that the Aunt Katherine he is visiting is actually a Voya-Code android being used by her house servants, the Arbos, to give away all her property to them. The real Aunt Katherine is still in sleep storage on Alpha 1 and assumes that she is now on Earth and feels like she's been traveling forever when Jack finds her and has her awakened.
* In the ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'', [[EnsembleDarkhorse Fitz's]] mum can do this, prompting her to mention the times she's seen Fitz in his room doing something [[CaughtWithYourPantsDown too embarrassing to mention]].
* Entering Shadesmar in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'' seems to involve this trope.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* As the title might suggest, astral projection features prominently in ''The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League,'' a concept album by TheWorldInfernoFriendshipSociety. The narrative (such as it is) follows the rise and fall of a group of teenagers in suburban [[{{Joisey}} New Jersey]] who use astral travel to commit a series of poetic crimes with impunity, until their leader is attacked by their astral guide for his arrogance. And it all really happened. [[UnreliableNarrator Maybe.]]
* This is one of the main themes of the ''Mastodon'' concept album Crack the Skye.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology]]
* OlderThanPrint: Iron Crutch Li, one of the Chinese Eight Immortals, was once a handsome man with the power of astral projection. He told his apprentice to wait seven days before cremating his body, but when the apprentice had to go visit his dying mother he had to cremate his master's body early, leaving his master with no choice but to enter the body of a recently deceased old cripple.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons had spells that allowed Astral Travel, usually with a "silver cord" of infinite length that connected the wandering soul to its body; it made the soul virtually indestructible unless the cord was broken, which only very few beings or objects could do.
* Astral travel exists in TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}, but there's also "decking," when a character with the proper cyber implants sends his consciousness onto the Internet.
* This is pretty common in the ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'', just about every gameline has one version of this.
** It's the whole point of Orpheus.
* RuneQuest allows players to become shamans, whose souls travel in the spirit world to commune with greater spirits and capture lesser spirits for their magic or other powers. Usually an ally spirit called a Fetch guards the shaman's body. At least as of Mongoose's RQII (RQ5?) advanced shamans can carry other characters' spirits along with them, either voluntarily to journey together or forcibly to engage in spirit combat.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* The [[MaskOfPower Mask of Spirit]] allows the wearer this power in ''{{Franchise/BIONICLE}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''WorldOfWarcraft'', when players die, they control their characters' spirits until they're revived.
* In the video game ''{{Prey}}'', Tommy's spirit can be projected from his body. Players can use the ability to pass through forcefields, dangerous obstacles, and attack enemies.
** Also, when the player dies, they can shoot down spirits and regain health in the SpiritWorld to return.
* In ''VideoGame/{{BioShock 2}}'', the Scout plasmid allows Delta to astrally project himself, as well as cast plasmids and, with some upgrades, hack machines. The plasmid automatically cancels if his body is harmed, though.
* One of the psychic toys from ''[[VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice Sam & Max: The Devil's Plahouse]]'' is the "Astral Projector". A reel projector that allows Sam and Max to spiritually enter the bodies of their respective [[IdenticalGrandfather Grandparents]]. [[spoiler:As well as allowing Sam to posses any cloned body.]]
* Naturally, Comicbook/DoctorStrange uses this at the beginning of his Level 3 super in ''[[VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3 Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3]]''.
* In the UsefulNotes/ZXSpectrum games ''Avalon'' and ''Dragontorc'', the protagonist is an astral projection.
* In ''VideoGame/TheNightOfTheRabbit'' the old magician A. Molena uses Astral Projection to help the hero. In this game it is called "active sleep", but it is the same thing.
* In ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'', [[spoiler:those who are struck by the Temsik meteor]] gain the normal ghostly "powers of the dead" but also retain the ability to return to their original bodies.
* VideoGame/SecondSight has this a power, which can be used to remotely operate switches and with a later upgrade, possess people.
* Used in VideoGame/PsiOpsTheMindgateConspiracy to look around, check enemy movement and make the player motion sick.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''WebComic/MagickChicks'': This is just one, [[SuperpowerLottery among many]], of Faith's abilities as an esper. First seen, [[http://www.magickchicks.com/strips-mc/this_kind_of_power when she attempts to helps Melissa]], while the latter was unconscious, due to [[spoiler: the wand's powers being out of control]]. The second instance takes place in chapter 15, when [[spoiler: "fade-out girl" makes an unexpected appearance [[http://www.magickchicks.com/strips-mc/not_a_person in Faith's subconsciousness]]]].
* In ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' going out-of-body allows to see other [[SpiritWorld Etheric]] entities and magic in colour, over grey shapes of the material world, and even communicate "invisibly" -- unless there's another observer in the same state, of course. Strong reactions translate to the body -- Antimony and George during the memory-dump didn't move, but wept. Later when Annie saw Lindsay and Bud kissing and when Red was surprised by Annie's trick this reflected in appropriate grimaces on their bodies. At least [[TheLostWoods Gillitie Wood]] creatures turned humans [[spoiler:can leave their bodies "on autopilot" speed-typing the lesson in the real world]] while they fly around and are distracted by something more interesting ("We's don't need our minds to learn dis junk!") and create illusions from memory if they concentrate a little.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the ''ChakonaSpace'' stories Skunktaurs of House Blackpaw have this ability, as do Chakats sired by them and some other individuals of different species.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The sheep talisman in ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' does this.
** In the third season [[spoiler:when the talismans are destroyed]], the power ends up being given to an actual sheep, who uses it to fly about and enter people's dreams.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Aang can astral project into the spirit world (or accidentally into the material one). It's suggested normal people might have this happen to them on rare occasions.
** Korra does this in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' so she can fight the Dark Avatar.
** Jinora is found to be very talented at this in the third season. This becomes important when the team reaches Ba Sing Se.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' in "Lady Bouvier's Lover" Nelson is shown to do this when Bart receives an animation cel of an arm that he bought for $350. This leaves him twitching on the Kwik-E-Mart floor.
-->Apu: This boy is having an out of body experience. This is very bad for business.
* Doctor Orpheus in ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' can do this, usually for the sake of communicating with Jefferson and/or The Alchemist.
** Unfortunately, he cannot double project, which leads to some difficulty when talking to them both at the same time.
[[/folder]]
----