Lots of people seem to get mixed up between lucid dreaming and astral projection. The two are very similar but not quite the same. In this article I’ll go into the main differences and what makes each experience unique.
In the red corner: Astral projection
The astral projection experience involves separating your dreaming mind or spiritual mind from your physical body and then exploring the astral realm. It’s thought that this realm is a solid place which multiple people can experience at the same time (and see more or less the same things to some degree).
It’s also said that astral projection is a form of out of body experience or OBE. This means an experience in which your mind or spirit is SEPARATE to your physical body but connected by a silver string. Whether or not lucid dreaming is an OBE is debatable.
In the blue corner: Lucid dreaming
Lucid dreaming on the other hand involves becoming more self aware in your own mind, while still in your physical body. That’s where it differs because you’re still in your own body when you’re lucid, even though it doesn’t feel like it.
The WILD: Astral or lucid?
The line between lucid and astral can be very blurred and it’s often very difficult to know the difference at this stage. For all intensive purposes it’s not really worth being too bothered about the difference as long as you take something positive from the experience.
Because the WILD (wake induced lucid dreaming technique) is VERY similar in method to the astral projection technique it can be hard to tell the difference. the key point is that when you’re lucid you’ve become aware while in the dream world, whereas to astral projection you need to stay awake throughout the ENTIRE process without falling asleep at all.
That’s why astral projection is much harder to do than lucid dreaming and it requires a huge amount of focus, concentration and skill/practice. It’s not for beginners, or at least, not for impatient beginners.
You don’t need to astral project in order to lucid dream, and you don’t need to lucid dream in order to astral project. That being said the two experiences are so similar, and the steps to achieve them are so similar that you might often find it hard to tell WHICH experience you’ve had.
Dreaming about astral projecting
This is where the lines get even more blurred. It’s very possible (and very likely) that you could have a DREAM (either lucid or not) ABOUT astral projecting. If you’ve lucid dreamed before and you’re TRYING to astral project you’ll almost certainly have a dream about astral projection.
The real kicker is that there’s no reliable way of being able to tell whether you’re astral projecting, lucid dreaming, or lucid dreaming ABOUT astral projecting. Confusing, right? Yeah.
How to distinguish between lucid dreams and astral projection
There are a few things you can do to tell the difference, but these things aren’t 100% reliable. The best thing to do is not to worry about it but here are some things you could try:
- Be mindful at the start: Astral projection is an experience that happens from the moment you try to have an OBE until you finish having an OBE. This means to be astral you’ll need to notice that you’re astral from the start. Lucid dreaming on the other hand you can sort of land in the middle of the dream and suddenly realise you’re lucid. If you can’t remember the START of the experience and transition, it was probably a lucid dream!
- Test the world: In lucid dreams, typically what you expect to happen will happen. In the astral realm, it’s not always the case and the world can behave of it’s own accord. Test this by trying to manifest a city or a car. If what you EXPECT to happen always does, you’re probably lucid dreaming
Think about conversation
Much like when you have a conversation, you are either talking or listening, but sometimes the lines become blurred and you’ll be listening at the same time as talking (listening to conversations going on around you for example).
Although the act of listening and talking are very different activities, sometimes the line becomes blurred. That’s the best way I can think to explain the subtle differences between astral projection and lucid dreaming when using the WILD technique.
Don’t worry about the difference
In my honest opinion, the difference doesn’t really matter. They’re both powerful experiences and when viewed properly, they can add to your life and your experience of life. There’s not really much point splitting hairs and as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.