Astral Projection: Scientifically Dubious Cultural Appropriation

I’ve written about the problems with astral projection before. As I was doing reading for a class I’m taking, though, I realized that the problems go beyond simply scientific. Astral Projection is a 19th Century, fascist-created nonsense.

First, a bit on history.

Astral projection became a thing in the UK and US during the late 19th century, continuing to be popular now.

Its origins in the 19th century are detailed here:

The astral body was regularly discussed by occult groups such as the Theosophical Society, which drew upon the concept of the subtle body in Indian yogic traditions…the idea of “exteriorizing” the astral body was later popularized through works such [as] Sylvan Muldoon’s widely read Phenomena of Astral Projection (1951).

The Church of Scientology, Hugh B. Urban (2011).

I feel like most younger neopagans don’t know what Theosophy is, but for anyone confused I’d suggest looking up something along the lines of “Blavatsky White Nationalism”. One such paper notes how Theosophy’s creator, Helena Blavatsky, is at least partially to blame for the racial superiority ideas of Nazis (Santucci). Blavatsky is also a white supremacist who created her own bullshit “religion” by appropriating other cultures.

Essentially, astral projection is a culturally appropriative, completely nonsensical idea cobbled together and repackaged for the West by a Nazi.

Sources:

Urban, Hugh B. The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion: 77. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.
Santucci, James A. “The Notion of Race in Theosophy.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 11, no. 3 (2008): 37-63. doi:10.1525/nr.2008.11.3.37.
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