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Cracking Up Your Astral: This abstract design represents mystical stuff.

You Are Getting Sleepy

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THIS VALLEY seems to breed people who stay for the long haul. Biter knows several lifelong residents of San Jose. We also know quite a few individuals who've worked lifetimes trying to get the hell out of San Jose, but somehow never wind up anywhere.

Recently, in what seems to be part of a weird chain of events that started with last week's "aural photography" experience, Biter stumbled on a way of leaving San Jose without ever leaving your armchair. It's not television. It's not the internet. It's, um, astral projection.

Brett Atkinson, of the Mystic Web organization, is teaching a free weekly class on astral projection at San Jose's Camden Community Center. Like Atkinson himself, Mystic Web originated in Australia. The organization runs classes Down Under as well as in Toronto, Canada, but the San Jose class is the first that Mystic Web has taught in the United States.

As far as escape from reality goes, you can't get much more escapist than astral projection. Allow us to elaborate. According to Atkinson, the Astral Plane, one of two planes in the fifth dimension, is a "parallel universe" of sorts that occupies the same space as the physical world, but is totally separate from it and yet interpenetrates it. Everything in the universe vibrates at specific speeds--the higher the speed of vibration, the less dense the object. Inhabitants of the astral plane vibrate at a speed so high they can't be perceived by the physical eye. So we must use nonphysical means (i.e., astral projection) in order to reach the astral world. Astral projection can only be done when the physical body is in an unconscious state, i.e., when you're asleep. You can't do it when you're walking around.

So, one of the first things Atkinson teaches in his eight-week class (which began Oct. 21) is how to consciously know when you're asleep. This is a lot harder than it sounds. After all, most of us go to sleep in order to not know things. So why would anyone want to spend their slumber gallivanting in, around and through this Astral Plane? Why would anyone want to "leap into the void?"

"It's an individual thing," says Atkinson over the phone in a thick Aussie accent. "For myself, it's just to do something different, something sort of magical. It's to find out the mysteries around us, why we're here, who are we, is there life after death, and how does all this work. It's also a tool for spiritual advancement. There are many things you can find in the astral world that you just can't find in the physical."

There are several other reasons: You can go anywhere in the universe at any given time. You can jump from Denmark to Pluto. You can walk through walls. You can intermingle with people whose physical bodies are dead. You have 360 degree spherical vision. You can meet and learn from spiritual beings and even have astral sex. Who the heck wouldn't want to do this?

Of course, the first question everyone asks is: Well, what if you don't come back? Apparently getting lost is not possible, as your astral body is permanently connected to your physical body by what's called the "silver cord," a strange elasticlike force of some sort.

Another appealing thing is that Mystic Web's classes are all absolutely free of charge. You don't need to join any organization or drop a penny for anything. Atkinson has a day job in the computer industry and is not profiting off these classes one bit.

"If I'm teaching people for free, then I'm earning spiritual currency," he enthuses. "So, when I go to the astral, they'll teach me as well. Spiritual progress is the right of every human being. True knowledge is not the sort of commodity that can be bought or sold--it's for everybody. It shouldn't be restricted because someone hasn't got $5 to pass on."

If you do happen to have $5 to pass on, however, Mystic Web happily accepts donations. Classes take place at San Jose's Camden Community Center, 3369 Union Ave., Mondays and Wednesdays 7:30-8:30pm.


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From the November 14-20, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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