My first teacher introduced me to Astral Magick and did a great job supporting me understanding the practical uses of it. The ability to effect people, animals and spirits without most people noticing is really neat. Exploring the limits and boundaries of doing so is also neat. There is a epic story-ness of Astral Magick that allows you to experience incredible adventure and have verification in your life of so much of your story.
That is of course also it's biggest problem. Astral Magick allows you to experience truthful story/experiences which are disconnected from consentual reality. It is possible to participate in a series of stories which have Astral truth, but very little connection with reality as most other people experience it. To make this even harder Astral Magick allows for group stories so that people in the group can confirm and verify to the point of having incredible experiences, miracles and more, but some of the more incredible experiences interact with consentual reality mostly through the shared myth...
Introducing unwilling outsiders into the Astral Story can result in the myth being challenged and the truth of the magick and story can be negated/ignored by losing the mythic story.
At a minimum this shows the Astral Story's inability to effect reality around people who actively refuse it. In the worst case the myth failing can cause some or all participants in the story to not only disconnect the Astral story from currently experienced consentual reality, but they may even re-contextualize their past experiences and utterly deny the legit magicks they encountered
As a curious mage I decided I wanted to explore chi work. Over the years I've done training to build chi and unlike astral once it gets to a certain point it's almost impossible to deny something cool is happening. I have a video I like to show people related to what chi can do. Magick so potent it can be recorded (Astral Magick cannot be).
I have had some cool results with it. I'll save the stories for another time, but one side effect I've encountered consistently is that I started being disconnected from my Astral Magick when I would do chi work.
Chi work requires a lot of maintenance (daily/weekly); much more than Astral Magick which you can ignore for weeks or months at a time. Chi has a feeling of solidity and weight that Astral Magick doesn't.
When I am not doing chi work I can tell by feel whether I'm doing effective astral magick, but chi's sense of weight is so strong in comparison that Astral Magick becomes hard to compare against imagining when I do chi work. The irony is that the Astral Magick has that mythic awe that makes magick fun and Chi is generally satisfying yet boring. At a basic level chi can be added to astral work to make it more solid/stable, but so far in my experiences advanced chi work is to astral work what driving a backhoe is to riding a bike.
Additionally if you screw up chi work you can have actual health problems much faster than if you screw up astral magick (Not universally, but a solid truism). I can tie some lower back problems directly into a way that I screwed up my chi-work in the past.
All of this together has resulted in about 18 years of Yo-Yo-ing in my practices between Astral Magick, Chi Magick, Psychic Magick, and Spirit Magick as well as shifting from basically not practicing to spurts of high activity.
A float in a sensory deprivation recently coupled with 3rd Circle+ Men's Group stuff (lots of new stuff to explain) retriggered me accessing my chi in ways I've ignored for many months. A few days later I was doing my regular astral blessing/shielding maintenance spells when I noticed something. I can actually tell imagining vs astral magick by watching how chi responds to it. This is VERY exciting for me. Coupled with learning how to change the way I was hurting my back with Chi Work, this means that hopefully I will be able to maintain a relationship with the mythic wonder of Astral Magick AND the solid potency of Chi at the same time.
More to come hopefully. Gods... I literally have years of stuff to try to catch ya'll up on. This is gonna be a crazy few months of writing/recording.