As sleep takes me, I don’t dream; I astrally travel, an experience more exhausting than soberly listening to woohooers while plotting a poster campaign against a yuppie hotel.
Astral Travel, by definition, refers to episodes of out-of-body experiences perceived as unfolding in environments other than the physical world, by an astral counterpart of the physical body that separates from it and travels to one or more astral planes. In other words, my “astral body,” which you can’t see, leaves my physical body (the one you can see) and goes to another realm. New Agers often refer to this realm as the “Astral Plane” but I like to call it “Dream City.”
Unlike dreaming, Astral Travel may be practiced deliberately. Though I’ve never been able to do it deliberately, I love it when I do travel because all kinds of weird shit occurs in Dream City, which is much more interesting than my waking experiences. In Dream City I’ve gone bowling with Britney Spears, navigated a room full of newborn kittens with glowing third eyes, been ticketed for using a hairdryer on a bus, landed a plane in a field full of cats without injuring any of them and been able to understand hieroglyphics perfectly. I even have a house in Dream City which is round and made of red brick. In the backyard there is an outdoor library with a shanty-style sign hanging over it that says, “Library of the Mind.” I also have the aforementioned plane, which helps me get around the Dream City though it often breaks down and I have to crash land it, sometimes in a field full of cats. And, I have a cruise ship that I occasionally use in lieu of the plane.
My friends, Courtney and George also frequently travel to the Dream City, which we have all described in much the same way: It looks like a rundown beachside Amusement Park town where the rides appear to be made for giants. There are flea markets there and a beachside bar.
One of the first things I do, after walking JJ and having my morning coffee, is email George and Courtney about whatever experiences I had there the night before because usually they were there and sometimes they remember details I don’t.
Sometimes I then paint what I saw or experienced. I am becoming convinced that I really do know how to do the things I’m capable of doing on the Astral Plane (like land a plane or read hieroglyphics) but that when I wake up, I become much stupider. One of my goals is to try to harness my astral genius here on the boring-ass non-astral plane while in my physical body.
So, my astral body runs from the physical world of July 5th on the LES and is suddenly on the cruise ship I sometimes use to navigate Dream City. My sister is there and so is my friend, Mary Ellen who I worked with at 7-11 years ago. It is a festive atmosphere. My sister is making Irish Coffees in the glasses with little shamrocks on them that my mother still has. I ask, “Who wants one?”
I take one and carry it up a spiral staircase. I didn’t wear my protective amulet to bed and I know that I am going to a part of the Dream City where I might need it, but I want to go there. There is someone I want to see. I feel his presence, his unconditional love. The coffee is for him.
I am going to visit the dead. I want to see my father.
Years ago, before I knew what Astral Travel was, I met a faerie creature in Dream City and she said, “Swallow this pill and you’ll get to see every person you ever loved who died,” and I did and the next thing I knew, I was hanging out with my ancestors. I’ve been back a few times without taking the magic pill.
The stairs seem to go on forever, but I am happy. I want to tell my father that I’m happy for the first time since he died.
I get to the top and I see my father. He’s smiling. I give him the coffee. Then, suddenly, a huge man appears. “Wanna get high?” he says. This, I am told is a “Guardian.”
Terrified, I start to run down the stairs. I don’t look back but I’m pretty sure he’s chasing me. My legs won’t carry me fast enough so I dive to the bottom of the stairs. At the bottom, I realize I’ve got my phone in my hand. On it, there is a message from my father. It says, “It was good to see you.”
My father never learned to text on this side but it appears he’s keeping up with technology on the other side! I beam with happiness, I feel his love and then I wake up, crying.
It’s still the 5th of July and it’s dawn. My AC turned off in the middle of the night and it’s approximately 97 degrees in my room. I look at my phone. There are no texts. I go out into the physical realm and get coffee.