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Astral Projection

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"I'm not in my body right now, but if you'll leave a message..."

Stephen Strange: What just happened?
The Ancient One: For a moment, you entered the astral dimension.
Strange: The what?
Ancient One: A place where the soul exists apart from the body.
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Astral Projection is a magic/mystic practice which allows a character to detach either his soul or his conscious mind (the distinction is important) from his body and let it wander freely, either invisibly in the material plane or out in the Spirit World.

Now effectively a living ghost, the character can go just about anywhere, see and hear anything, and potentially engage in Invisible Jerkass behavior, depending on whether he can move objects telekinetically. Also like ghosts, characters who are Astral Projecting may use Demonic Possession to take over host bodies, though this doesn't necessarily allow them to 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 Convenient Coma, utterly helpless and 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 (or something even worse) takes up residence in the body and takes over the person's life while they are stuck outside their own body for good.

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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 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 Ancient Artifact that forced him into an Astral Projection without telling him how to undo the state or return to his body. Or he might accidentally end up in the wrong body, or someone else might take possession of his. On the upside, being Made of Air makes him indestructible to everything (except angry ghosts, exorcists, irate housewives with vacuum cleaners...)

Many people believe they have had experiences similar to these in Real Life. 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.

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Compare Animal Eye Spy, where the character can see other locations through an animal's eyes.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk: Schierke uses this to communicate with the elemental spirits that power her magic and occasionally to go into Guts' mind to snap him out of the influence of his Superpowered Evil Side.
  • In Bleach, because proper Shinigami are spirits that live in the afterlife and fight threats which are Invisible to Normals, human protagonist Ichigo can only access his substitute Shinigami powers by expelling his spirit from his physical body. His first two methods of doing this are rather indignant: the first being a glove that Rukia wears to yank his spirit out of his body (more often than not done by punching him), and the second being Kon, a rather crude modsoul contained within a candy that Ichigo swallows so Kon can possess his body (kicking out Ichigo's soul in the process). Later in the series, Ichigo acquires a proper Transformation Trinket in the form of a badge that lets him expel his spirit from his body at will (though he still ends up using Kon a lot because Ichigo's body is effectively dead without a soul inside it).
  • CLANNAD: Fuuko is a spacey girl that protagonist Tomoya tends to run into at school. It turns out that Fuuko was hit by a car on her first day of high school, way before the series started. She is hospitalized and in a coma, and the Fuuko that Tomoya is seeing is a projection detached from her physical body.
  • In Dragon Ball Super, once Future Trunks destroys Fused Zamasu's physical form, his astral form appears and merges with the Future Multiverse in order to become justice and order itself. In doing so, Zamasu destroys all life in the Multiverse, gods and mortals, and fulfills his goal: to create a Multiverse with only Zamasu as its sole inhabitant. Fortunately, Future Zen'O erases him before he could spread to other timelines.
  • In Fairy Tail, this is "Thought Projection" magic in a nutshell. With enough mastery and using sufficient magical energy, a person can even make the projection a corporeal, independent entity alongside their original self.
  • In the first movie of The Garden of Sinners, Kirie Fujou, though bedridden, can project a double of herself on top of the Fujou Buildings, which her family used to own.
  • In Genesis of Aquarion and its Sequel Series Aquarion Evol, the Vector co-pilots in the Aquarion can project their souls into the main pilot's cockpit.
  • Production I.G.'s Ghost Hound features a group of teenage boys who each gained the ability to enter the "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 Ghost Hunt frequently astral projects in her sleep, giving her what seem to be psychic dreams.
  • Only the most powerful Newtypes in the various incarnations Gundam have this ability. Examples include series protagonist Kamille Bidan and main villains Paptimus Scirocco and Haman Kahn of Zeta Gundam, Judau Ashta in ZZ, and Amuro Ray by the time of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack.
  • Heroic Age: The Silver Tribe 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.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind: Being punched by Gold Experience causes one to think so fast the body cannot follow up and the consciousness can see their immobile body if it happens to visualize themselves moving into another position.
  • Kanon: Ayu, the amnesiac love interest of the protagonist, turns out to be a projection, while her physical body has been in a coma for seven years.
  • In Noragami, this happens unintentionally to the main heroine after she was hit by a bus.
  • One Piece: 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.
  • Something like this happens in the Pokémon 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 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.
  • In the Ranma ½ manga an old man has this ability and uses it to enter and alter Ranma's dreams to date her.
  • The bedridden Grove in Vampire Hunter D has the power of astral projection, his soul becoming a powerful entity, though doing so drains his life.

    Comic Books 
  • In The DCU, magic users like Doctor Fate, Zatanna, and Raven can do this.
  • As the picture indicates, this is one of the many mystic arts Doctor Strange 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. Strange bypasses the whole "physical body left helpless" thing; his body simply can't be harmed while he's not in it. On the other hand, he can't be outside his body for more than twenty-four hours or he dies.
  • ElfQuest: Some elves, like Savah and Suntop, have an ability to "go out" of their bodies. In Savah's case this ends up getting her spirit trapped by Winnowill when she detects this.
  • Johann Kraus in 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.
  • A form of astral projection called hypnokinesis is used on Johan and Peewit in the 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 Animated Adaptation of the story).
  • The villain Scarab in Manifest. And possibly the protagonist's mentor, the Spectral Wayfarer.
  • One of the Martian Manhunter foes Bette Noir had this power. It was in fact the only way she could explore the world since her physical form was an immobile blob of flesh. Her astral self looked like a beautiful pale-skinned woman. Unfortunately, she was also a psychic vampire of sorts, feeding off the psychic energies of others to empower herself.
  • Superman did this one time with the help of Wonder Woman's assistant I Ching in the Bronze Age saga Kryptonite Nevermore where a sand-created duplicate of himself was stealing his powers.
  • Wonder Woman as written by her creator William Marston in Sensation Comics and Wonder Woman (1942) 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.
  • X-Men: Being the world's most powerful telepath, Charles Xavier does this frequently.
    • Despite (usually) not having any Psychic Powers of his own, Xavier's sometimes-ally, sometimes-enemy Magneto can do this as well—though hasn't recently.
    • Xavier's Arch-Enemy 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 brain dead. This encounter was what led Xavier to conclude he needed to create a team of mutant superheroes in order to deal with mutant supervillains like Farouk.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Conchy, Oom Paul has been known to meditate so hard that he accidentally detaches his consciousness from his body. Hilarity Ensues when he decides to inhabit a rock or a plant.

    Fan Works 
  • Astral Journey: It's Complicated, both Emma and Melanie obtain this ability thanks to freak accidents at the pitch.
  • Child of the Storm has Doctor Strange do it, as usual, as well as Harry (apparently entirely by accident), and Jean, who manages to, with Cerebro astrally project herself to Asgard at the end of the first book.
    • In chapter 30 of the sequel, Ghosts of the Past, Harry does it again, this time on purpose, through his and Carol's psychic link to fight a powerful Master Vampire. The circumstances of it place a serious strain on him.
  • Half Past Adventure: While many characters have dream-based abilities, including the deuteragonist Robin, Charlie is the only one shown to possess this ability, which she uses to communicate with Robin in zhir dreams while she's in a coma.
  • In The New Adventures of Invader Zim, this is how the Dream Walker spell works.
  • In The Owl House x Cthulhu Mythos fic The Gods Awaken, Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, is able to do this in his initial meeting with Luz and the others.
  • In Queen of Shadows, Jade eventually learns how to do this with tutelage from Sanshobo.
  • In The Resurrection of Rose, Abra does this in order to secretly eavesdrop on Rose and her minions. However, Rose senses her spirit and inflicts pain on it so that Abra's physical body can feel it.
  • With This Ring: A number of magic-users are capable of this, though OL notes that the Atlanteans have it down to a science compared to surface occultists.

    Film — Animation 
  • Phantom Boy: Leo is a young boy who's condition (cancer) somehow allows him to leave his body at will and fly across the city, which he and Lieutenant Tanner use to get a leg up on The Face. However, being outside of his body too long will cause his soul to disintegrate.
  • In Wolfwalkers, the Wolfwalkers' spirits leave their bodies and become physical wolves while they sleep. However, any injuries their wolf bodies sustain are mirrored on their human form, and their human bodies can't wake up until their wolf form returns to their side.
  • Implied in Coraline regarding the main character visiting the other world the first two times and waking up back in her own world. It's highly likely that the Other Mother caused her soul to visit the other world and that's why she couldn't go back to her own world when she tried to go to sleep for the third time in the alternate world.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • After getting caught by the police, the Big Bad of 976-EVIL 2: The Astral Factor uses his One Phone Call and receives this power from the title phone number to continue his wrongdoings.
  • In Ace Ventura: 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.
  • Happens a few times in Beverly Hills Ninja. Haru and Gobei both use astral projection to communicate with their master while on a mission in America.
  • Doctor Mordrid: Wizards are capable of leaving their bodies behind so that their spirit can fight elsewhere. Their projection is immune to harm, though it does leave their bodies vulnerable.
  • Freaky Friday (2003) unsuccessfully invokes this during Tess' and Anna's failed attempt to become "selfless" to undo a "Freaky Friday" Flip.
  • The thematic foundation of Insidious, where a character's spirit can leave his body, which unfortunately also makes it open for possible Demonic Possession.
  • In the movie Just Like Heaven 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 An Astral Projection, Not a Ghost. The latter part of the movie is trying to prevent the person's life support from being shut off.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In The Avengers, Loki projects his consciousness across light-years of space to the distant lair of the Chitauri army while sitting in an underground base on Earth. He is holding the scepter with the Mind Stone, but in a deleted scene he is later communicating with the Other without it. In Thor: Ragnarok, he appears before Thor in the dungeons as an intangible illusion while physically being elsewhere. Loki learned this ability from his mother Frigga.
    • Doctor Strange: This is one of the sorcerers' main skills: being able to project their astral forms out of their bodies. Strange, The Ancient One and even Kaecilius's mook Lucian use it. In fact, most of the fight between Strange and Lucian is between their astral forms.
    • Avengers: Endgame: When Professor Hulk goes back to 2012 and meets the Ancient One to get the Time Stone, the Ancient One forces Hulk's astral form out of his body so she can explain why she can't give away the Stone to him. Notably, Hulk's astral form is that of an untransformed Bruce Banner.
    • Spider-Man: No Way Home: Taking a page from the Ancient One, Doctor Strange forcibly ejects Spider-Man's astral form from his body to prevent Peter from running off with the MacGuffin that will force the multiversal villains back to their respective times. Unfortunately for Strange, Peter's physical body is playing keep-away thanks to his Spider-Sense, allowing his astral form to reconnect with his body and make his escape.
  • Star Wars: In The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker demonstrates the ability to project himself across a substantial chunk of the galaxy, in arguably the most powerful use of the Force seen to date, although the effort to do so claims his life.

    Literature 
  • Caspian Knoll of the Astral Dawn 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.
  • The telepathically-gifted on Darkover do this a lot; there's a psychic plane called the Overworld where they do various kinds of work (and occasionally engage in mortal combat...)
  • In the first book of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Underwood does this and discovers that his apprentice, the book's main character Nathaniel, has been spying on him. Things nearly turn very nasty, until he gets called away.
  • The Belgariad: Garion does this in Queen of Sorcery to tell Pol and Barak where he is so that he'll be rescued by them.
  • In the Cthulhu Mythos story What Brings the Void by Will Murray, a government psychic agent does some remote viewing of the parts of the United States where the Old Ones have taken over. Some areas are simply black, other areas he's forced out of. So his superior orders him to go look in person as he's the only one likely to survive doing so. He doesn't.
  • Willie Connolly in the 1972 thriller Daughter of Darkness is accustomed to sneaking out of her body to skip boring classes. She gets more than she bargained for when she slips out late one night to see what her parents are up to.
  • Discworld: Esmeralda Weatherwax can move her consciousness away from her body and share an experience with a target, or several as in Lords and Ladies when she possessed a swarm of bees. In A Hat Full of Sky, Tiffany Aching learns a similar trick but remains disembodied.
  • In the Eighth Doctor Adventures, Fitz's mum can do this, prompting her to mention the times she's seen Fitz in his room doing something too embarrassing to mention.
  • Grimm Tales: Sarah uses this ability to run down an ogre with a truck without risking her physical body in the crash.
  • In the horror novel Jago, there's a sequence where the heroine is pushed out of her body after losing a psychic battle with the villain and spends some time trying to find her way back in.
  • The Jedi Academy Trilogy has an involuntary example, when Exar Kun forcibly separates Luke Skywalker's spirit from his body.
  • Seems to be John Carter of Mars's primary method of traveling to Barsoom.
  • Dennis Wheatley's supernatural thriller The Ka of Gifford Hillary concerns a man whose spirit is separated from his body and forced to walk the Astral, invisible to almost all. The ka is the ancient Egyptian term for the astral body.
  • Lammas Night: Several of the characters in the novel can do this (called "going on the Second Road").
  • In the Left Behind book The Indwelling, Tsion Ben-Judah experiences something like this (twice) when he finds himself taken up to heaven to witness Revelation chapter 12 taking place — the woman clothed with the sun giving birth to the Manchild that would rule the earth from God's throne, and Satan and his angels being cast down from heaven.
  • 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.
  • Is a central theme in James Herbert's Nobody True.
  • Used as a means of space travel by Michael Ramer in J. R. R. Tolkien's unfinished story The Notion Club Papers. The story is partly written as a commentary on and criticism of Tolkien's friend C. S. Lewis' The Space Trilogy novels, and Tolkien - who disliked the idea of spaceships - was using this to suggest an alternative for how such an adventure could take place.
  • In The Other Side by Jacqueline Wilson, twelve-year-old Alison's mother is hospitalized after a psychiatric breakdown, so Alison has to live with her father and his new family. She is incredibly miserable at having to live with the stepfamily, and discovers that she is able to astrally project during times of stress. Played with in that it's called into question whether she really has such powers, or is imagining them, or they're hallucinations caused by mental illness (although the truth is ultimately left open to the reader to decide.)
  • In the Paradox Trilogy, one of Maat's psychic powers is the ability to astrally project her consciousness anywhere in the vicinity of herself or one of her daughters. Her projection is invisible to most people, and her ability to influence physical objects depends on the proximity to her body.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Entering Shadesmar seems to involve this trope. Since it is the Cognitive Realm, this makes sense. All the Surges touch on the Cognitive Realm to some extent, but Soulcasting and Elsecalling are the ones keyed to it the most. Elsecallers not only have the ability to project their minds through Soulcasting, but also to travel there directly with Elsecalling.
  • Dennis Wheatley used the concept in Strange Conflict which actually has battles on the astral plane, and is considered by some an actual proto cyberpunk novel.
  • Sword of Truth: The Slides can project their souls, plus those of people's whom they capture, into animals to control them or use their eyes and ears.
  • In The Traitor Son Cycle, skilled hermeticists can have their athereal selves leave their bodies and wander off to some distance, though they can't interact with anything material unless it has an athereal component as well.
  • In Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles and Lives of the Mayfair Witches 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 telepath guides a catatonic man into doing this so that he can switch bodies with him.
  • Villains by Necessity: Kaylana uses this for control over a herd of animals, projecting her mind on theirs. Valerie does the same to search for and find her when she's been taken by a dragon.
  • Warhammer 40,000: In various novels, astral projection is a common ability for powerful psykers and sorcerers:
    • Horus Heresy:
      • In A Thousand Sons, Magnus the Red uses an elaborate ritual to project his astral form halfway across the galaxy in order to warn the Emperor about Horus’s impending betrayal. Later on, Ahriman forces Othere Wyrdmake into astral combat by yanking the latter’s astral form out of his body.
      • In Betrayer, the World Eaters Librarians can temporarily merge their astral forms together, forming a gestalt entity called the Communion. In this form, their combined psychic might is so great that they manage to go toe-to-toe with Lorgar in astral combat for a short time.
    • The Path of the Eldar: Thirianna gains the ability to astral project as she progresses along the Path of the Seer. She tests it out by exploring the corridors of the Webway, only to run afoul of daemons when she ventures too far.
    • Ravenor: The titular Ravenor can project his consciousness across interplanetary distances, and can enter the minds of other people to either take control of them or hide himself from other psykers. He also gets into astral combat with hostile psykers on several occasions.
  • In The White Rabbit Chronicles, slayers can force their souls out of their bodies when they exhibit faith. This allows them to kill the zombies in the spirit realm.
  • In the Zoë Martinique series, this is the eponymous character's main ability as well as a central theme of the story.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400: In "Audrey Parker's Come and Gone", the title character, an elderly free spirit, gains the power of astral projection after taking promicin. When she separates her consciousness from her body, she sees herself as the young woman that she was in the 1950s. Audrey uses her ability to travel throughout Seattle and observe the lives of its residents. After she is murdered while outside of her body, Audrey's consciousness survives. She discovers that her presence causes interference in electronic devices and NTAC determines what has happened as a result. Marco compares Audrey's disembodied consciousness to a signal which is disrupting the electrical fields of various machines. Audrey is able to alert NTAC that she was murdered and they are able to track down her killer before her consciousness fades away entirely.
  • Behind Her Eyes: A major twist in the story is that Adele can do this and spy on people. In flashback, she's seen teaching her friend Rob to do it as well.
  • Beyond: What happened to Holden and Charlie due to their comas, and what the machines Arthur and Frost built allow others to do. It also seems to be a separate ability Holden has generated or retained after he woke up from his coma.
  • Buffyverse
    • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "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.
    • And in the Angel spin-off, Angel is trying to get hold of Willow, but she's otherwise engaged.
    "Astral projection? Well, is there any way to get her astral over to L.A.?"
  • Charmed
    • Prue develops this as a power in the second season although it's treated more like cloning.
    • A warlock 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 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 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.
  • Anne-Marie on Constantine is capable of this. Notably, while the projection usually retains her current visual appearance, at one point she projects herself topless to distract a guard she was sneaking by.
  • In the FreakyLinks episode "Subject: Police Siren", spirit of a comatose policewoman goes after her corrupt coworkers who tried to kill her.
  • The Magicians (2016): Penny gets this ability as part of being a Traveler.
  • The Messengers: Vera's ability, referred to by Rose as "spirit walking".
  • In The Powers of Matthew Star 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.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Ring-A-Ding Girl", Bunny Blake is seemingly able to astrally project herself to Howardsville while her physical body is on a plane. She does so in order to save as many townspeople as possible when the plane crashes during the Founders Day's picnic.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • Discussed in "Shatterday". Peter Jay Novins' alter ego claims that he is the real Novins and that the other one is a piece of him that wandered off while he was sleeping because of astral projection.
    • In "Quarantine", Sarah and the other members of the Commune have the ability to astrally project themselves to anywhere in the universe that they choose, including inhospitable planets which ships could have never visited. Irene uses her psychic powers on Matthew Foreman and takes his mind on a trip around The Solar System.
    • In "Song of the Younger World", Amy Hawkline and Tanner Smith use the I Ching to transfer their souls into the bodies of a pair of wolves in a younger world so that they can be free of her abusive father Mordecai forever.
  • WandaVision: In The Stinger of the series finale, Wanda is seen performing an astral projection in order to study the Darkhold. Notably, unlike Doctor Strange, she can project herself while fully awake, as her physical body can be seen getting up to make tea.
  • Weird Al did this once on The Weird Al Show. Once he achieved it, all he did was go watch TV for a while before returning to his body.
  • "The Walk" from The X-Files: Rappo, the Monster of the Week and an Evil Cripple, can detach his phantom soul from his body. He uses this power for Revenge by Proxy, killing off families of military men.

    Music 
  • The song "Kite" by Kate Bush on her debut album The Kick Inside is about this.
  • This is one of the main themes of the Mastodon concept album Crack the Skye.
  • This is how the band maudlin of the Well claimed to write their songs, and most of their lyrics are about it as well.
  • As the title might suggest, astral projection features prominently in The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League, a concept album by The World/Inferno Friendship Society. The narrative (such as it is) follows the rise and fall of a group of teenagers in suburban 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. Maybe.

    Pinball 

    Professsional Wrestling 
  • This is the name of one of Mandy Leon's Finishing Moves. This is just a Conversed Trope. She likes to make herself look supernatural on her posters, but she's only capable of doing wrestling moves otherwise.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • Older Than Print: 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.
  • The berbalang is a vampire-like creature from Filipino mythology that performs astral projection to hunt.
  • In the Epistles, the apostle Paul mentions how he knew a man that went into the "third heaven" (which some interpret as being himself, done through this means).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The astral projection spell, naturally. It's higher-level magic than plane shift, which instantly teleports the caster and any fellow travelers to a given plane, but astral projection works a bit differently. The subjects' bodies go into suspended animation as they send their astral forms, which are identical to their physical bodies save for a a silvery cord of infinite length extending behind them, to the Astral Plane, where they can search for a color pool linking to another plane of existence. Once on that plane, a duplicate body is created for the subject, and should it be "killed" or the caster decide to end the spell prematurely, everyone's souls get retracted along their silver cords back to their real bodies, which are unaffected (save for occasional complaints of a headache). So long as any planar travelers' original bodies are well-protected, astral projection is thus a safe way to explore the cosmos... with the big caveat that should they run into the rare threat capable of severing the silver cord of their astral forms - such as the teeth or claws of an astral dreadnought, or a githyanki's silver sword - the victim's soul is separated from their body, instantly killing them.
    • Some fiends learn the trick of projecting their ethereal forms from their slumbering physical bodies to engage in some Demonic Possession. This comes with the restriction that they can only project themselves onto the Ethereal Plane or the same plane their comatose bodies are on, which means that if someone or something around you is being possessed, there's a hibernating fiend somewhere relatively close.
    • As of 5th Edition, Monks have the "Way of the Astral Self" subclass, which is an unusual variant of this trope that overlaps heavily with Fighting Spirit. These martial artists learn how to manifest their astral selves while remaining conscious and fully in control of their corporeal bodies. The result is that they can punch you in the face with their physical arms and their astral arms in the same flurry of blows, look through the eyes of their astral visage to pierce darkness, or protect their physical body with their astral form. It's also noted that, unlike with the astral projection spell, these Monks' astral selves are not necessarily identical to their corporeal bodies, and instead take forms that reflect each individual's values and conception of their true self.
  • Old World of Darkness: This is pretty common; just about every gameline has one version of this. About half the players in Orpheus are living people who temporarily kick their souls out of their bodies to interact with spirits. The other half are ghosts or cryonically frozen people whose souls are wandering around while their bodies are on ice.
  • Pathfinder: An elder sphinx spends most of its life as a statue, during which time its consciousness casts itself far beyond the material world to explore the mysteries of the Astral and Outer Planes.
  • 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.
  • Rocket Age: Psychic characters can learn to separate their minds from their body, leaving it in a coma while their shimmering astral form goes out into the world. If their body dies while they are separated, a person will either fade away, or be left as a disassociated spirit.
  • Shadowrun: Astral travel is a standard mage ability, and very useful for scouting since astral security is less common than physical or cyber-security. But you still have to watch out for wards, spirits, dual-natured critters that can perceive and interact with the astral, or even a topiary wall as you can't move through any living being's astral self. Also, it's difficult to find your body if it's been moved while you were projecting, Shedim can possess it as if it was a corpse, and anything that manages to kill your astral self kills you.
  • Vampire: The Requiem: Vampires can gain this ability by mastering the Discipline of Auspex, which covers various forms of Super and supernatural senses. When projecting, they're naked, intangible, and unable to interact with the world around them. There's no time limit, but if their body is destroyed, lost, or somehow unable to be returned to, the projecting vampire dies within a few days.

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • AMBER: Journeys Beyond: The titular AMBER device allows the wearer to do this, in this case to project one's mind into that of a ghost's. Prior to the events of the game, however, its inventor, Roxy, used a flawed prototype, leaving her projections stuck among the ghosts. Your objective is to help the ghosts pass on so that her mind can be reintegrated using the various machines in her house.
  • In the ZX Spectrum games Avalon and Dragontorc, the protagonist is an astral projection (originally so that the author could show him hovering in a lotus position, rather than having to animate legs).
  • Bayonetta can do this through her power as an Umbra Witch, which primarily sees use whenever she has to protect Cereza from the angels she fights.
  • In 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.
  • Diablo III: The Witch Doctor's Spirit Walk ability is supposedly this. In practice, it's two seconds of legal invincible wallhacking, and can be modified in five different ways.
  • In Dragon Quest XI, the Player Character and his Cool Old Guy grandpa Rab perform this in order to enter the Spirit World and learn from Rab's late mentor.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, this is one of the many powers possessed by the Psijic Order thanks to their thousands of years in the study of magic. The can project to speak with and be visible to only the individuals they want, even across the continent.
  • In Ghost Trick, 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.
  • What kicks off the plot of Mind Your Manors. The protagonist falls asleep in an abandoned mansion and wakes up to find his spirit separated from his body, and must escape to restore himself.
  • In Night in the Woods, the main protagonist Mae Borowski was originally going to have the power, which would have only been activated when she dreams at night in order to help tell her what's going on in the town that she is living in. However, in the final game, it's ambiguous if she's actually astral projecting or if it's just a combination of the stress of coming back home and her underlying mental disorder.
  • In The Night of the Rabbit 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 the video game Prey (2006), 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 Spirit World to return.
  • Used in Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy to look around, check enemy movement and make the player motion sick.
  • One of the psychic toys from Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse is the "Astral Projector", a reel projector that allows the titular duo to spiritually enter the bodies of their respective Grandparents. As well as allowing Sam to possess any cloned body.
  • Second Sight has this a power, which can be used to remotely operate switches and with a later upgrade, possess people.
  • Spirit of the North: The fox acquires the ability Spirit Form, which allows it to abandon its physical body for short amounts of time to reach otherwise inaccessible places.
  • In Super Street Fighter IV, this is one of Rose's many Psychic Powers. She uses it in T. Hawk's ending, to tell him that his girlfriend Julia is still alive but has become an Empty Shell.
  • Sadhus in Tree of Savior can perform a short-ranged version of this with the Out of Body skill. Punching things with their soul, in fact, is their signature ability.
  • Naturally, Doctor Strange uses this at the beginning of his Level 3 super in Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3.
  • The ghastly looking King of The Wild Hunt you can fight in The Witcher is actually just the astral projection of the real deal, whom you fight in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Doubles with Fighting a Shadow.
  • The Wolf and the Waves: Eating a blue mushroom will give you an out-of-body experience that lets you fly around the island. Just make sure to immediately cancel it if your health starts going down, because that means zombies are attacking your left-behind body.
  • In World of Warcraft, when players die, they control their characters' spirits until they're revived.

    Webcomics 
  • Children of Eldair: How Koe manifests while observing the past. He can walk to different places and watch, but can't interact or communicate with anyone.
  • In Cunning Fire, much of the story takes place on the Astral Plane.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court going out-of-body allows to see other 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 Gillitie Wood creatures turned humans 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.
  • In Housepets! Tarot attends PsyCon via astral projection, and brings Peanut along using an "astral projector".
    That was not "a bit" of tingling!
  • Magick Chicks: This is just one, among many, of Faith's abilities as an esper. First seen, when she attempts to helps Melissa, while the latter was unconscious, due to the wand's powers being out of control. The second instance takes place in chapter 15, when "fade-out girl" makes an unexpected appearance in Faith's subconsciousness.
  • Neo Kosmos: Seven can astral project out of their body, and in fact spends most of their time out of their body with Tye, Z, and Iris, even though none of the three are aware of Seven. They can see and hear perfectly well while projecting, but no one can see or hear them, and they can't communicate with anyone or make them aware of their presence.
  • Once in Poppy O'Possum a monk astrally projected and had to reassure some kids he wasn't a ghost. Then a dragon killed his body and he became a ghost.
  • Jack of Zebra Girl does a lot of "meditation" that is essentially projection across Earth and into various parallel universes. There was also the Magi-net that was essentially mages using astral projection as a chat room before it turned out to be a trap.

    Web Original 
  • In the Chakona Space stories Skunktaurs of House Blackpaw have this ability, as do Chakats sired by them and some other individuals of different species.
  • SCP-438 ("Addictive Straitjacket of Espionage"). SCP-438 appears to be a normal straitjacket. When it is put on, the person wearing it falls into a coma and undergoes an OBE (Out of Body Experience). Their consciousness can travel great distances instantly and effortlessly, with a full range of sensory perception.
  • Whateley Universe: A number of psychics and wizards are capable of different forms of this. The most notable of these is Fubar, who uses a projected image of an adult version of his original body, as well as using Mind over Matter to make himself seem physically present, in order to interact more naturally with others.
    • Generator's main power is arguably a variant of this: Jade is able to project a portion of her own soul into inanimate objects in order to possess them, while she herself remains awake and active. The duplicated/calved versions of herself think and perceive the world independently from her or each other, but eventually they run out of steam, at which point they and their memories merge back with Jade.

    Western Animation 
  • Finn has done this twice on Adventure Time. In "Still", he mentally projects himself to the astral plane to summon an "astral beast" to help free him and Jake from their magic-induced paralysis. And in "Astral Plane" Finn astrally travels throughout Ooo and eventually to Mars because of a comet that's on a collision course with Mars, which Glob diverts to Ooo.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang can astral project into the spirit world (or accidentally into the material one). The Legend of Korra later confirms that non-Avatar people can do this as well.
    • Korra does this so she can fight the Dark Avatar. It also revealed earlier in the series that at the time of his death, Iroh did this, and his spirit became a permanent resident of the Spirit World.
    • Jinora is found to be very talented at this in the third season. This becomes important when the team reaches Ba Sing Se.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman performs this through meditation in "Dawn of the Dead Man!" after being Buried Alive by Gentleman Ghost. With help from Deadman, he's able to possess Speedy in order to get Green Arrow's help before he runs out of air and defeat Gentleman Ghost.
  • In the Defenders of the Earth episode "Bits 'n Chips", Ming uses a projection of Rick's late mother in an attempt to trick the youth into giving him full access to the data contained in Dynak-X, including the codes to Earth's missile systems. Mandrake, sensing what is about to happen, uses astral projection to warn Rick of Ming's trick; his physical form collapses unconscious, possibly explaining why he doesn't use this ability more often.
  • The sheep talisman in Jackie Chan Adventures projects the user's spirit, which is able to enter people's dreams. In the third season 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 The Simpsons 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.
  • Steven Universe: In "Reunited", Steven gets knocked out during a fight with Blue and Yellow Diamond, only to find his mind out of his body. Once Steven figures out what's happening, he isn't too surprised by it because of the other dream-related powers he's used before. While projecting, Steven cannot interact with or even see physical objects, but he can see/sense people and interact with them telepathically.
    Connie: Wha-where are you? How are you...?
    Steven: I'm not sure, but I think it's a classic psychic ghost type situation.
  • In Ugly Americans Leonard uses a “hologram” spell at times. Though in the second season the hologram is shown to be independently intelligent while Leonard is temporarily dead.
  • Doctor Orpheus in The Venture Bros. 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.

    Real Life 
  • At the height of the Cold War, it is thought that both the USA and the USSR extensively tested the veracity of this concept, partly because "remote viewing" offered an intriguing new take on espionage (imagine a spy eavesdropping on Kremlin meetings without once leaving Washington), and mainly out of a paranoid fear that if they didn't at least check out whether there was any truth in it, it might be gifting the other side an advantage. Results were inconclusive.
  • Serious investigations have taken place into the OOB (the "out-of-body experience") reported by people on the point of death and resuscitated, or else by hospital patients during operations or people otherwise suffering severe trauma. While there is interesting anecdotal evidence, again nothing has been conclusively proven and it could be explained away by neurochemical brain changes during the dying process. These people are claimed spot things that are later verified by doctors, such as spotting who did what during the surgery, despite their senses being neurologically shut down. Hallucinations normally don't correlate with reality, so again, it's inconclusive due to the lack of tightly controlled evidence. Consciousness continues to be a hard problem, but some are beginning to think quantum entanglement might have something to do with it.
  • According to the research of Penny Sartori, most OBE experiencers who claimed to witness their own resuscitation were nearly always able to describe the procedure very precisely and in detail, while people who did not have such experience usually had no idea or made mistakes. Similar research had been done before, but used wrong control group (as some patients in it never had a cardiac arrest in first place) and was retrospective, so OBE experiencers might have looked up resuscitation procedures later.
  • Most of the studies had problems with finding an OBE case, as it is very rare. And when it happened, it was usually in a room without hidden markers.
  • The AWARE study, led by Sam Parnia, was able to find one verifiable OBE case out of 2000 cardiac arrest patients (as most of them died or were too sick to be interviewed), but it occured in a room without appropriate markers. The experience and description of procedure, doctors, used equipment etc. was very precise, though, which prompted Parnia to continue in studying this phenomenon (AWARE 2).
  • The pseudoscientific self-help technique of "reality shifting" is based on the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and modern astral projection, specifically the CIA's dead-end research into the topic mentioned above. It posits that through intense meditation and preparation, it's possible to transport one's consciousness into a different universe, either one that has changed according to their own terms or the world of a fictional narrative, while a copy of their consciousness runs around in this world until they get back. However, any astute observer of a "successful" shifting attempt will easily be able to point out that it sounds an awful lot like practicing lucid dreaming as a learned skill (which can induce dissociative effects if it doesn't come naturally); moreover, the many-worlds interpretation does not include worlds where the laws of physics are fundamentally different or can be violated.



 
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