My thoughts on astral travel: Answering a question

This email came to me today, and after I responded to her, I thought it would be good to share it on the blog, so that other people with similar questions can see my opinion on the matter:

Hi I wanted a bit of advice about whats going on around me a while back my 3rd eye opened it was so magical I thought that I could become part of it the lights around my eye was amazing I have a hooded figure around me ive seen it 3 times twice while I was a wake and once while I astro travelled the 3rd time it jumped at me ive seen lots of things and spirits come to me and tells me things some of the spirits ive seen have fightened me im not sure if its spirital warfare if it is how do I deal with it ive had lil people throw liquid at me like I said my 3rd eye opens during the night and its still dark seeing things that I wouldnt nomally see with my normal eyes open I do see things with or without my 3rd eye opened if that makes any sence? I do feel as tho im going crazy and have been to a doctor can u put some lught on this please thank you


My (truncated) response:

I tend to be a skeptic when it comes to spirits and astral travel.  The mind is a powerful thing, and what you experience is very individualized.  If things in your astral travels are scaring you, I would recommend that you stop engaging in those experiences.  If you’re seeing things while fully awake and/or coherent, I would make a visit to your doctor again, and possibly a psychiatrist.
There is a phenomenon which you may want to investigate, called sleep paralysis, and the related “hypnagogia.”  I’ve included the link to Wikipedia, here:
Basically, these are related phenomena where, when you’re coming in/out of sleep, you experience a sense of paralysis, lights, sounds, smells, and even visions.  It happens when your brain isn’t quite fully asleep.  Although we don’t understand much of it, it is harmless.  Anxiety, migraines, and some other illnesses are all comorbid with sleep paralysis (e.g., they occur together).  I, myself, occasionally experience loud noises, visions, and sleep paralysis when I’m moving in and out of sleep.
If you’re using psychoactive drugs, either prescribed or illegally, these may also influence your perception.  I try my best to live a “clean” life and stay away from cigarettes and marijuana, and only drink alcohol occasionally, in moderation.  Remember, treating your body and spirit well are the best way to honor the Universe/gods.