Having attained consciousness in the dream state I had found myself meeting my grandparents who appeared to be still living in their old house. I thought I was having a vivid comforting dream, until I took a close look at one of the doors in the house and saw it was made up of sparkling particles suggesting it was Astral Matter, the material of which the Astral Plane is made of. This suggested that rather than being a dream per se I had used the dream state to project my consciousness into a rather special area of the Astral Plane.
If what I had read about the post death experience was correct then this was a level of the Astral Plane where people, still with their personalities and sense of identity intact, came to after their bodies had died. Because of the malleable nature of the Astral - and the fact that people rarely seem to face their mortality - anecdotes from several mystical paths such as Spiritualism suggest that the newly dead form the Astral matter into the same surroundings as they had in life. Hence Valhalla for warriors, the Happy Hunting Ground of some Native American tribes, and the ‘country club’ world espoused by Spiritualists.
In the case of my Grandparents and my Dad this made perfect sense. When my Dad left the Royal Navy he went on a course to help him back to civilian life, when he joined the Diplomatic Corps he went on a course to learn how things worked in that world, and he also had regular courses to keep up the skills of his particular job. It made sense that when he died he believed that he would go on a “now you are dead this is what happens” course, and so he was doing just that. My Grandparents on the other hand believed that death was the end so that when they died they had created an Astral replica of the house they had lived in on the Earth Plane and appeared to be carrying on as though still alive.
I turned back to my Grandma and was to see that Norman, her husband who I knew as ‘Pops’ had joined her, which was ideal for what I planned next.
“Grandma, Pops, you do realise you’re dead right?” I said cheerfully
“Don’t be silly Ian” Pops replied. Both he and Grandma looked very annoyed. “Of course we’re not dead! Why would you say that?
“Look” I insisted “you’re both dead, this is the Astral Plane and I can prove it. You think this is your house - I made a gesture that took in the room we were in and the house generally - But this would be far better” With that I concentrated hard on a manor house I had visited during a Circle Dance weekend. In a lucid dream this normally would have resulted in an instant transformation to the place I was thinking of, but this time I felt the effort almost as though I was empowering an object or magickal tool.
With a certain sluggishness our surroundings shifted from the familiar comfortable terrace semi-detached house to the 14th Century Manor house with its 21st century luxury. Grandma and Pops looked around at the surroundings filled with futuristic gadgets and then back at me, they didn't seem happy so I tried to explain.
“Look, you can live in any degree of comfort that you like, this is just an example.” I said “In your old house you could…” But before I could say any more the surroundings sprang back to their former shape like memory plastic exposed to heat. Both Grandparents were looking at me sternly, obviously upset by my evidence that they were no longer on the Earth Plane. Looking back at it now I can see that it must have been a shock, like being reminded of an unpleasant memory that they had repressed. For me it was the first time I had attained lucidity in those surroundings, but for all I know I could have visited there before – possibly several times.
“We’d like you to go now Ian” said Pops sternly. I considered arguing, then thought better of it. After all I didn't want to upset them, just get them to realise they were bound by less rules than when they were living in the physical realm. I had the impression that if they hadn't believed their house to be so strongly fixed in one place, as it had been when they were alive, the house would have left me! As it was I decided to go, even if it meant not meeting Dad.
As I stepped into the front garden and shut the front door behind me, I paused for a moment to admire the exact Astral replica of the front garden at its best. It was much as I remembered it but every rose bloom was perfect, there were no signs of weeds, and plants from all different times of year were happily coexisting. Which made the garden look fantastic, but very odd, to someone like myself who associates different plants in bloom with each season. I just had my hand on the gate when my Dad arrived. More accurately he suddenly appeared which told me that his studies were going well. We talked briefly, Dad explained that he was staying with his parents while he learned about how things worked in this area of existence and that he was glad to see me. By the time I came to write down the details of this conversation most of it had been forgotten due to the change of consciousness and the time taken to note down the details of meeting my paternal grandparents.
I remember saying goodbye to Dad just before I woke up.
In the next instalment I will tell you about the second time I visited the Astral in an unplanned lucid dream and found out how my Dad had fared. I will also reveal how independent sources provided evidence that I had travelled to the Astral Plane rather than just having a comforting lucid dream.