For anyone interested in out-of-body experiences, astral projection, lucid dreaming and altered states of consciousness. There are many approaches to out-of-body experiences, but very few come from the perspective of Western Esotericism in the truest sense. What is Esotericism? As Stavish explains it: " Nothing could be farther from the truth. There is nothing Satanic or dark about this book.
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Next skip Now Enter the Doors of Perception The best practical guide to inner journeying in the realm of Western esotericism. He introduces here a methodology that instructs us in the art of conscious living, and more startlingly, in that of conscious dying. The Body of Light, included here, is an extraordinary concept that will enrich our years while wrapped in skin, while also providing a means of selfdetermination as we transition out of this mortal coil.
Mark Stavish has written what may be the best practical guide to inner journeying in the realm of Western esotericism. All rights reserved. Reviewers may quote brief passages.
Lisiewski, Ph. Melchior, Ph. Nerozzi, Ph. And thanks to all of the students, adepts, and masters of the traditions, who have each added in their own special way to the continual advancement of the Great Work. Granted, leisure time can be in short supply these days, and an industrial society that thrives on the manufacture of artificial desires has no shortage of distractions to throw in the way of the novice in any spiritual path.
And, of course, nearly every one of us spends six or eight hours coursing through the realms of dream every night, only to brush aside the fading m e m o ries of our inner adventures as we stumble from bed to shower to breakfast table to front door. Dreams are simply the most common route into a realm of experience that has been central to spiritual traditions all around the world for thousands of years. W h a t Henri Corbin called the imaginal world, the realm of symbols and similitudes accessed in dreams, visions, and outof-body experience, forms a crucial element in the wider world of human experience recognized by spiritual traditions, and practices that open the door to that world are among the core disciplines of most BETWEEN THE GATES branches of esoteric spirituality.
Western esoteric traditions have their own disciplines for entering the imaginal realm, but factors woven into the structure of contemporary Western society have made those disciplines and their associated practices difficult for many people nowadays to access.
Certain aspects of imaginal work have seen much discussion in recent literature, but the wider context of this aspect of our Western inner way - to say nothing of entire branches of practice such as dreamwork - have remained obscure even to initiates of those traditions, much less to a wider audience. This book may well change that. Mark Stavish, one of the handful of creative teachers and writers w h o have helped bring many less widely known branches of Western esoteric spirituality into the light of day, has penned a practical, comprehensive, and user-friendly guide to the practices of imaginal experience in the Western tradition - the first such guide to see print in centuries.
Between the Gates: Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection, and the Body of Light in Western Esotericism presents the core theories and practices of the arts of inner journeying and puts them in the context of more than two thousand years of Western esoteric teachings about the subtle body and its role in spiritual development.
Since the time of the scientific revolution three centuries ago, people in the Western world have prided themselves on being wide awake to the realities of life. T h e irony in this claim is that for thousands of vi FOREWORD years before our time, the wisest of our species have described the obsession with material reality that haunts us nowadays as a dream, one from which we all awake sooner or later, whether in sleep, in trance, in the heights of spiritual attainment, or in death.
To venture out of the dream of matter and into the imaginal realms, by way of lucid dreaming, astral projection, the discipline of the body of light, or any other means, marks a step into a wider world. In that world, though our physical eyes are closed, it becomes possible not only to awaken ourselves, but also to dream the whole world awake. John Michael Greer Ashland, Oregon vii Introduction Over the last few decades there has been an abundance of books on near-death experiences, prompting the development of an entirely new domain of scientific research and popular publishing.
In fact, research into death, survival, and communication with "the other side" has been the main focus of much parapsychological research since the inception of the various societies and institutes for psychic research.
T h e greatest amount of this kind of research seems to occur during times of intense social and political upheaval, making it no surprise that the period before, during, and after World War I saw the explosive growth of Spiritualism as well as a host of occult and mystical organizations.
M o d e r n Research, A n c i e n t Practices Most recently several prominent members of the Roman Catholic Church have engaged in research on the nature of the afterlife, survival of a sense of self or ego, and its relation to what in Tibet is called the Rainbow Body or the Body of Light. T h e Jewish and Christian scriptures are filled with direct comments or allusions to such a thing but do not present a comprehensive teaching on what it is and how or if it could be developed. According to the author, Steindl-Rast proposed an investigation of the so-called Rainbow Body named such because of the colored light the body emits during its creation , and "a phenomenon in which the corpses of highly INTRODUCTION developed spiritual individuals reputedly vanish within days of death.
Steindl-Rast became interested in the Rainbow Body after hearing stories of Tibetan Buddhists who were able to manifest it through specific practices and a high degree of inner development, resulting in an intense degree of wisdom and compassion for themselves and others.
According to the stories, little was left of these great souls upon their death, except their hair and fingernails, and sometimes nothing at all. This phenomenon caused Steindl-Rast to consider the Gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in a similar light. To assist him in his research, Steindl-Rast contacted Father Francis Tiso, a Roman Catholic priest, whose knowledge of Tibetan language and culture would prove invaluable. Tiso holds the Office of Canon in the Cathedral of St.
Peter, Isernia, Italy, and is a frequent traveler to Tibet. Both men wanted to discover, or possibly rediscover, the nature of this phenomenon and the methods whereby it was achieved. They also wanted to show that the phenomenon was not an anthropological oddity, but should be placed in the context of generalized human development.
News of the Rainbow Body is not limited to Tibetan yogis or Christian saints; even one modern American alchemist is reputed to have left very little in the way of remains after his death in the late s. While reading the initial draft of this book, Christopher Bilardi, a specialist in European folk and Christian magical practices, pointed out that there is a distinct similarity between the process of Assumption of the Godform and mainstream Orthodox teachings.
While there is a distinct doctrinal difference in the how and the why, it is important to note that even in this era, when many are throwing the baby out with the bathwater as far as mainstream religions are concerned, there may still be some hope that mainstream religions can develop a more mystical approach for their adherents.
Just as hermeticism teaches that we can identify with God and in so doing express its essential being, Orthodoxy teaches that through the process of deification, or atheosis, humanity can be uplifted and become its divine nature.
This teaching is similar to how some schools of qabala understand the Tree of Life. While we can experience the spheres of Being, we are incapable of experiencing the Nothingness Ain Soph Aur from which it came. Just as in qabala we come to understand ourselves, creation, and God through the levels of the Tree, in Orthodoxy we can understand God through the energies experienced by the development of a spiritual life.
It is no wonder that a m o n g the three m a i n Christian groupings - Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox - Orthodoxy is considered the most mystical and truly personal of them all. Students of qabala and hermeticism will notice distinct similarities between their doctrines in the following: T h e Greek word for God theos comes from the verb meaning "run," "see," or "burn.
Just as the ancient qabalists described God through what He is not, and therefore derived the Three Negative Veils of Existence, or the Ain Soph Aur, in Orthodoxy God is described in part by what He is not - a created being, and such, incapable of nonbeing. Gregory Palamas in regard to the unknowable nature of the divine essence: "The super-essential nature of God is not a subject for speech or thought or even contemplation, for it is far removed from all that exists and more than unknowable, being founded upon the uncircumscribed might of the celestial spirits - incomprehensible and ineffable to all forever.
These energies are His cosmic sustaining power, His love, compassion, guidance, and transforming presence that give us the ability to become more. Here we encounter the meaning and purpose of h u m a n life: to become more of what one is meant to be by nature through purification Gr.
It should be clear now that the process of deification does not mean that we become "divine" in ourselves.
This is not like the pagan idea of apotheosis, where one becomes a de facto divinity in essence. In Christianity there is only one God, one ultimate source or root to all things. There are no other Gods, if by "God" we mean the ultimate source, meaning, and Truth of all things. Thereby the transcendent Godhead makes a direct link with our creaturehood. This is similar to the qabalistic concept of the Ain Soph Aur retaining some of its unique nature while still emanating the Tree of Life.
We become more God-like through the action of these divine energies. Yet like the Virgin Mary, each of us must give God permission to transform our souls Luke - This is similar to the process of transformation initiates into the Mysteries underwent as they willingly entered into the process of awakening by opening up to celestial unknown. Another analogy is that of the planet Mercury in proximity to the Sun. This is not unlike when one assumes the Godform of a deity in Hermeticism.
They are a lesser-Hermes if you will. She is indeed the very first of Christians. Modern Challenges Despite tremendous gains in proving the existence of extrasensory perception and related abilities - by famed facilities such as the Rhine Center for Psychic Research at D u k e University, or even older mass telepathy experiments in the s hosted by the BBC and Zenith Broadcasting Corporation - established means of education have done little to promote the acceptance and practical application of these ideas in daily life.
While highly educated, spiritual, and well-trained individuals are doing foundation-supported research, mainstream religions and educational institutions as a whole continue to dismiss the existence of extrasensory perception as superstition or condemn it as the works of dark forces. In the end, it is individuals who are making the Herculean effort to read, digest, and distill sufficient information in order to maybe, and just maybe, figure out what it means to be h u m a n and does any part of that humanness extend beyond the end of physical life.
Fortunately, despite the crushing polarities of a repressive spiritual environment for over 1, years, and a powerfully attractive and addictive scientific model as a counterweight to that condition for the last years, the means and methods of personal spiritual research have survived.
Between the pillars of extremes, it is possible to find the keys to personal inner truth if one is just willing to grasp them, insert them into the lock, and turn the handle.
But therein lies the real test. It is easy to be a heretic against church or modernism. Sophist theorizing is the hallmark of overeducation and too little life experience. In the end, this book is about life and experiencing life in its entirety. N o t just physical life, but psychological and genuine spiritual life as well. Once someone has genuinely encountered the spiritual dimensions of life, the physical ones take on greater vibrancy and, at the same time, less importance.
A balance is struck between the importance of experience and the ultimate experience of Being. This balance can only be achieved on a personal level. Spirituality is a personal journey of Becoming, and requires commitment and dedication - and a good dose of courage.
T h e methods described in this book have survived under the heels of repressive religious and political institutions for well over a thousand years. In this century alone, National Socialism and communism Soviet as well as Maoist style have done more to endanger the spiritual health of the world than Roman Catholic inquisitors or Protestant witch hunters ever did. Even now we are faced with the ultimate fruit of religious teachings that strip the individual of the responsibility of creating a meaningful personal, progressive, interior experience for themselves.
Fundamentalism in various forms seeks to turn back the clock in nations around the world. Some of them want a return to the sixth century, and advance their goal through ruthless violence, others through more subtle tact of school boards and soup-kitchen proselytizing. Lesser cults confine themselves to simply buying entire towns in the northwest United States or building bunkers for the end of days.
In the end it will not be politics or force of arms that wins the day, but the individual who is unafraid of death, not because of unquestioned teachings, but from direct experience. To our readers, let me apologize for the necessity of repeating, in chapters one and two of this work, a small amount of material that appears in chapters one and two of my book Kabbalah for Health and Wellness.
It is a small amount of material limited to several pages in these two sections only. Unfortunately this requires that a small amount of material often be repeated to make sure that both new and more experienced readers have the same basic level of knowledge. Kabbalah for Health and Wellness contains a great deal of information on the use of Hebrew for activating energy centers in the astral body as well as detailed information on the etheric body and its function in psychic development.
The Path of Alchemy contains complementary information on the psychic centers, means of activating them, purification of the psychic pathways, and the effects of planetary cycles on psychic experiences.
While the original articles can be read online at www. T h e original articles were written as part of the Occult Research and Applications Project ORA of the Philosophers of Nature and reflect a significant amount of research of many individuals into the nature and function of lucid dreaming, astral projection, and the creation of the Body of Light.
This book contains all you need to have the direct experience of lucid dreaming, astral projection, and the Body of Light, and rather quickly as well.
Focused and dedicated practice will unlock the doors of perception to a series of individual and collective nonmaterial realities within a few months.
F r o m these experiences, confidence will be built and sustained, which, with concentrated effort, can lead to deep and profound revelations through direct experience about the very nature of life, consciousness, matter - reality - itself.
Be aware! W h a t you hold in your hand is a treasure passed down to you through generations, in secret, and now made public in a clear, comprehensive, and easy-to-understand form with instructions anyone can follow. Do not simply read this book and casually put it down. This book is about, and details the methods of, the Great W o r k of h u m a n Becoming as they apply to consciousness.
Study them, apply them, and then one day you will be able to give all your books away, because you will have found an inner teacher that is more wise and powerful than the greatest library ever built.
Between the Gates