Astral Projection is the supernatural ability to project one's conscience outside of their body to another place.
Astral projection is the result of a particular ritual that allows witches to create an astral double. It's likely that to be able to project the spirit out of the body, the witch has to achieve sexual pleasure. This would explain the shaft used by Tituba on Mary several times, along with a ointment of the alleged psychoactive properties smeared on the forehead, the brige of the nose, the lips of the witch willingly to experience travel without limitations of the physical body. This ritual is not to be taken lightly as it is advisable to have a fair knowledge of the destination, in order to avoid being trapped or in the grip of fear, similarly to the side effects of Dream Walking.
Sending forth the Spectral Projection
|“||Mary, via the witch stick, finds her way into the Marburg and is sent there, but the real Mary is paralyzed unconscious while her spectre is moving out in the world.||”|
— Adam Simon
When a witch reaches pleasure through a ritual of sex magic, her specter is projected out the body taking the features of the same witch, sometimes with different clothes or assuming other appearances according to the witch's desire. Depending on the type of incantation implemented, the astral projected body will be more or less able to be seen or suffer physical harm. The astral double is then free to move in any way being a spiritual entity in a material world, even up to enter the bodies of other people, resulting in a form of mild possession. Since co-creator Adam Simon has described this power as 'sending a spectre out in the world', is safely associate this with the famous spectral attack used by witches to torment their victims, at least in the manner in which the spectre is projected by the witch's will through astral travel.
Side effects and Limitations
The only known limitation of this ability is the fact that the witch's body is caught by an immediate paralysis as soon as consciousness is projected outside the body. This can be risky because it leaves the body unprotected and, therefore, at the mercy of external forces. This can easily be avoided if the ritual is performed together with another witch, who will be tasked to supervise the paralyzed body. However, in case of major threat, even the body keeper could be easily overpowered.
Advanced form of Astral Projection
Main Article: Bilocation
|“||Marburg has had millennia to practice this. She's able to be in more places at the same time. And neither of hers are paralyzed.||”|
— Adam Simon
The advanced form of this sophisticated skills is to be able to project consciousness out of the body without leaving paralyzed and unprotected the physical body, but having available at least two bodies independent from each other, and able to accomplish more tasks at a time. Countess Von Marburg and Anne Hale are two mistresses of this ability, briefly used by Mary after learning how to accomplish it by mimicking the Countess.
- Mary Sibley: With the help of her faithful Tituba and use of shaft and ointment, Mary has projected her consciousness out of her body countless times to achieve her purposes, ranging from discovering or spy on their enemies to get to the secret meeting place of the Sabbath. Twice Mary Sibley has even been able to send an astral double under other appearances without falling into a total paralysis. The first one is when she sent an illusion with the features of Abigail Cook to extract information from Isaac Walton; the second time when she sent a specter to once again subdue Mercy Lewis with a familiar. In both cases Mary Sibley had a waxy expression and staring into an empty space, while both two appearances spoke with her voice. During the deception to the damages of Isaac Walton, she hovered over her bed while her eyes were completely white.However, one of the most important time when she resorted to astral projection has been during her first encounter and clash with Countess Von Marburg, proving to be able to send her specter over long distances and across the sea. Another important moment was the meeting with Widdershins, breaking the oath to never enter the Essex Hive Stronghold. And following this, Mary has proven to be capable of advanced astral projection, leading to a form of bilocation, emulating the power of the Countess Von Marburg.
- Mercy Lewis: assisted by Mary Sibley, she was able to project her spirit at Trask house and kill Mrs. Trask by possessing her body and forcing the woman to cut her throat with a pair of scissors, controlling the movements of Mrs Trask body as if it were her own. Later, she was even able to project only her voice in the woods to threaten Increase Mather and then Mary Sibley.
- Countess Von Marburg has used an advanced form of astral projection to invade The House of the Seven Gables and kill George Sibley, while her other conscious body was on the ship, intent on conversing with Mary Sibley.
- Anne Hale has been shown to master this skill on a large scale, projecting multiple versions of herself both in the same place, and in more than two places at the same time. In doing so, she was simply in a state of trance with completely white eyes. She was able to sent a dozen projections hot on Cotton's trail in the wood, while she was sitting comfortably in her living room. But the most singular episode is when she projected several version of herself all over Salem at the same time, killing those who didn't meet her demands.
- Mary Sibley (to Mercy Lewis): "You must learn to walk wherever you will without your body."
- — Our Own Private America
- Mercy Lewis: "But will it really work? How will I leave my body?"
- Mary Sibley: "Follow your bliss. It will lead you out of your body and out of the window. Stay focused and remember, your job tonight is to terrify Mrs. Trask.
- Mercy Lewis: "I understand. Are you gonna send me now?"
- Mary Sibley: "Close your eyes. Picture where you want to go."
- — Our Own Private America
- Historically it was said that witches were able to fly to the Sabbath on their brooms with help of certain ointment. Some sources, such as The Botany of Desire, have claimed that the ointment is absorbed best through mucous membranes, and that it was possibly applied to a special shaft was used.
- In Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown", Goody Cloyse, after meeting the Devil, says "I was all anointed with the juice of smallage, and cinquefoil, and wolf’s bane" to which the Devil replies "[m]ingled with fine wheat and the fat of a new-born babe".
- A strong shock or interruption of concentration directly send back the consciousness straight into the witch, making her wake up suddenly.
- This power is somehow similar to Dream Walking, Teleportation and Bilocation powers, since all four allow to project themselves in places far away, with the body or the spirit or both.
- Mercy Lewis demonstrated to be able to also project her voice alone, probably without using the ritual, this could mean that a weaker or basic level of this power can be directly used by witches.
- As demonstrated by Mercy Lewis in the first season, this power even allows to project the spirit into another living being, resulting in a form of puppetry.
- Adam Simon in Writer's Wrap: The Wine Dark Sea described this power as projecting the spectre outside the body.