With the approaching super-moon starting on November 13th, the largest since 1948, and thus the most significant in my lifetime, what does the moon mean for out-of-body experiences? Does it really cause unusual experiences in the way folklore has claimed for centuries? In this article I'll explore my own research on the topic.
In the late 1990s I attended a lecture by a man who had been exploring an alternative way of approaching astrology. In his version of the process the focus was on the moon, the celestial body that most clearly impacts the ebb and flow of some aspects of life on earth. It seemed interesting as an idea, and I approached him at the end of the lecture and explained my work. He recommend I look back through my diaries (which I'd kept since 1990) and also check the lunar phase.
When I got home I read some papers and articles on the subject and started to go through my diary selecting out-of-body experiences (OBEs) that had lasted longer than a few minutes, and that had included a high degree of clarity. I paid particular attention to veridical (objectively verified) experiences. I then checked the lunar phase at the time of the OBEs.
As I noted in my second book, Navigating the Out of Body Experience: "The result was that some 75 percent of my notable experiences took place within five days before a full moon." While scientifically this would not be enough to convince anyone of the link with psi and OBEs, I found that several parapsychologists had also found a link, notable among them Michael Persinger, Stanley Krippner, and Charles Tart.
While seasonal and circadian rhythms are fairly uncontroversial when it comes to effects on aspects of human behaviour, the idea that the moon could play a role has mixed support and evidence in general. The seeming links between the moon and OBEs could of course simply be the beliefs we hold about the moon playing with our psychology, or a particularly bright night causing shallow sleep states, or some as yet undiscovered explanation.
However, melatonin levels in the brain appear to correlate with the menstrual cycle in women, and the moon has an established effect on menstruation. I have long suspected that melatonin plays a role in OBEs. Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland, a mysterious part of the brain also long associated with psi abilities and 'The Third Eye'. My friend and colleague Anthony Peake believes that the pineal is the likely source of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) a psychoactive substance that has been found to naturally occur in the brain. DMT experiences have also been likened to OBE/NDEs, although I am not convinced of the link.
These substances could play a role in the forming of altered states that lead to OBEs and other numinous experiences. So when we bring together my own research, and the science from parapsychology, and areas like metabolism and physiology, it is highly suggestive of a link with unconscious changes in our state of awareness, that can also be consciously utilised if we choose. The approaching super-moon will be an optimal time to explore the effects of the moon in your own life - especially if you want to learn to have OBEs.