I looked down at the ground below me. The countryside
flew past. I could see fields, woods, houses and roads with small cars on them.
In some of the fields there were little dots of people. The air felt wonderful
as I flew through it, warm and gentle.
Then I saw what I was looking for, and swooped towards it.
Landing gently by the side of the road, I had come to a stone circle to meet
with my friends.
A lovely dream? Or perhaps an account of an out of body experience?
Throughout history people have recorded accounts of visiting
other places without physically going there, of their experiences outside their
body when close to death, of trips to a shamanic other world to heal or explore,
of astral travel, and of remote viewing.
There is certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence for the out
of body experience. So much so that the CIA have even used it for spying, under
the title of project "Star Gate." More later.
During our earliest time on earth, our species evolved the
practice later to be known as Shamanism. Shamanism is a body of practice and
beliefs used by people within the tribe who had particular talents. Shamanism
has a belief in an other world, often called a spirit world, which influences
events in normal reality. When called upon to heal someone, or find out important
information for his tribe, a shaman will use rhythmic drumming, or the shaking
of a rattle, to enter a trance and visit this world. He will strive to influence
the spirits to bring about the healing, or divulge the information.
Interestingly, when anthropologist Michael Harner returned
for studying modern day shamans in South America, he taught their methods to
modern day Americans. They described a similar experience.
Typically, whilst listening to drumming, they would imagine
themselves finding a cave entrance, or hole in the ground and entering it. Frequently,
a vivid experience then overtook them. They felt like they were travelling down
a long tunnel, and after travelling a long way they emerged into the sky of
the other world. Flying through the sky they could travel where they wished,
and speak to spirits. And this all seemed extremely real to them.
So were they dreaming, imagining, or leaving their bodies
to enter another world of common experience throughout our history?
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