But while these dream excursions in the astral are harmless, the conscious “going out in the astral” is not so. There are many planes of the astral into which it is dangerous and unpleasant for the uninstructed person to travel; unless accompanied by a capable occultist as guide. Therefore, I caution all students against trying to force development in that direction. Nature surrounds you with safeguards, and interposes obstacles for your own protection and good. Do not try to break through these obstacles without knowledge of what you are doing. “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” remember; and “a little learning is a dangerous thing.” When you have reached the stage of development in which it will be safe for you to undertake conscious astral explorations, then will your guide be at hand, and the instruction furnished you by those capable of giving it to you. Do not try to break into the astral without due preparation, and full knowledge, lest you find yourself in the state of the fish who leaped out of the water onto the banks of the stream. Your dream trips are safe; they will increase in variety and clearness, and you will remember more about them—all this before you may begin to try to consciously “go out into the astral” as do the occultists. Be content to crawl before you may walk. Learn to add, multiply, subtract and divide, before you undertake the higher mathematics, algebra, geometry, etc., of occultism.
Strange astral phenomena.
There are several phases of astral phenomena other than those mentioned in the preceding chapters, which it will be better for the student to become acquainted with in order to round out his general knowledge of the subject, although the manifestations are comparatively rare, and not so generally recognized in works on this subject.
One of the first of these several phases of astral phenomena is that which may be called Thought-Form Projection. This manifestation comes in the place on the psychic scale just between ordinary clairvoyance on the one hand, and astral body projection on the other. It has some of the characteristics of each, and is often mistaken for one or the other of these phases.
To understand this phenomena, the student should know something regarding the fact that thought frequently takes on astral form, and that these manifestations are known as thought-forms. I have spoken of these in some of the preceding lessons. The ordinary thought-form is quite simple, as a rule, and does not bear any particular resemblance to the sender thereof. But in some cases a person may, consciously or unconsciously, strongly and clearly think of himself as present at some other place, and thus actually create a thought-form of himself at that place, which may be discerned by those having clairvoyant vision. Moreover, this thought-form of himself is connected psychically with himself and affords a channel of psychic information for him. As a rule these thought-forms are only projected by those who have trained their minds and will along occult lines; but occasionally under the stress of strong emotion or desire an ordinary person may focus his psychic power to such an extent that the phenomena is manifested.