I have been wanting to try Astral Projection for some time, but the more I study, the more cautious I want to be. Several people and several articles have said you need a guide or something could latch onto you before you come back to your body. I was figured I would ask for more information on this from some of the more experienced members on this topic. Anything helps, and thank you in advance.
That was extremely polite of you, first time I see this on this site. :) I wonder if you ever get bored of asking apology for this type of thing though. :P
Thw otherworldy places can be very dangerous yes. Before you try to project, try a meditation I was suggested; imagine a white bubble surrounding you so strong that no negativity can pierce it. You can imagine also the walls of your room white light which is coming from your body.
I find that the ideas of risks related to Astral projection/travel tend to be a little blown out of proportion. Especially when it comes to the perceived safety of one's ody while you are... err... away (for lack of a better term.)
To start off, fears of having some entity, malicious or otherwise, step into your body and take over or posess you while you are astrally travelling is not possible. From the moment you take your first breath the physical and spiritual get hard-wired together and become intrinsically related. Your physical body isn't like a house or car where you could forget to lock the doors and have some stranger walk in while you are out.
As far as other risks like gaining attachments or otherwise attracting the attention of negative entities, that is typically as a result of the areas you travel to. To explain it simply, like in life you get what you go looking for. If you have an intent of reaching a place of high vibration and light, or to connect with a positive or otherwise benign entity, you have nothing to worry about. If you go out looking for trouble, you'll find it so it would be wise to wait until you have more experience and knowledge so you can go prepared.
Also if you ever are in a situation where you are being attacked or otherwise made to feel vulnerable and at risk, at any instant you can determine you are done with your trip and you will quite literally snap back to your body. No matter where you 'are', or what you are doing, even setting aside the idea and image of the astral 'umbilical chord', that same intrinsic physical connection that secures you to your physical body also guides you back to it as if you had never left. The transition can be quite literally instant... however having that happen when frightened or startled can still be a little disorienting and can leave you feeling off-kilter for a while. It's usually recommended to have a glass of water- not juice or pop, water. and do some simple physical activities like a short walk or a few jumping jacks to get yourself grounded again.
That said, having a connection with a personal guide or guardian spirit definitely is helpful, as they can assist in getting you astral, and in 'showing you areound' a bit once you get there. But it is not a requirement as long as you take a couple basic precautions that should be a part of your meditations anyways;
-Take some time to let go of stress and negativity. Make it a part of your meditation to visualize your body and energy letting go of stresses, tension, and any other energies that you might have picked up throughout the day.
-Imagine a source of positive, high vibration energy coming down to you. Use an image that is familiar and represents an idea of protection and light. A common one is to imagine a beam of sunlight shining over you, filling you with light and warmth. Another process is to imagine a silver or gold thread reaching upwards as far as you can conceptualize, like a lightning rod or wire reaching for the highest vibration energy you can reach and then letting that energy flow down into you. Or of course you can ask your guide or guardian for help and imagine them as they normally appear to you, standing over you and laying on hands, assisting in providing you with that positive energy, or otherwise helping you to connect to the highest and most positive energy that can be reached.
-When you feel a sense of bodily warmth and comfort, imagine that built energy radiating out from you a short distance, into your aura where it again becomes an image of protection and safety. use whatever is most familiar and meaningful to you. it could be a simple radiant light, or a shell or barrier, or an image of medieval armor, or even a Star Trek-like forcefield. Whatever image it is, make it simple, and personally significant as reinforcing a sense of protection.
Doing this on a routine basis provides a lot of practice in basic energy working and over time makes this process of protection become second nature. With repetition it can become a very fast process, taking only a few moments before you begin the actual attempt at going astral. As a bonus, it becomes just one more personal tool to use in a variety of other situations and practices as well. Cleansing and shielding are a couple of foundational efforts with broad application.
from what i've experienced, you do need a guide with you. They are more experienced and there are different planes you can go to. Sometimes, one may get confused about what they see or hear. However, to go back to this reality, you simply need to lay down and open your eyes. It's not too hard to get back to the body since you and your astral self is connected. To will what you want in the astral realm, that is the answer to your question. as for protection, you can use stones and sage (incense) to protect your area. Use a simple white light around you imagery or a bubble and you will be protected in the astral realm. When you sense something bad or something unfortunate, you need to leave where you are and move to a different place. sometimes the sensation you feel is your guide protecting you. Hope this helps. ^.^