Astral projection is the ability to separate the spiritual essence and conscious mind from the physical form and have it act independently of the body. It is an ability often used by magic users such as witches and warlocks, but may also be used by psychics and other supernatural creatures as well. While an individual is projecting their mental consciousness, or, astral self, their body is rendered inert and is incapable of taking any action until the user's mind returns to it. This leaves the body extremely vulnerable to attack, so those who have mastered the ability are often careful to leave their corporeal form in a location where it will suffer no harm. The free floating astral form may travel tremendous distances away from their origin point, the length and duration of which varies depending upon the internal strength of the projector.
Astral projection is but one of many abilities availed to Doctor Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme and self-styled Master of the Mystic Arts as seen in the Doctor Strange family of comic book titles published by Marvel Comics.
Astral project became one of the powers made available to the Charmed Ones as seen on the WB Network television series Charmed. In the season two episode "Ms. Hellfire", young witch Prue Halliwell develops the ability to astral project and communicates with her sister Piper.
- Involuntary acts of astral projection may sometimes be referred to as out-of-body experiences.