Out of the temporary subtle bodies that we have been given for our current incarnation, the astral body is perhaps the one that has caused the most controversy amongst occultists. It is a body that needs our daily care and attention, as it is forever changing and unfortunately for most people, not for the better.
It is the body in which we will spend a considerable part of our post- mortem life, yet not many people are particularly interested in taking care of it properly, mainly because they are unaware of its presence but also because they do not know how interpret the signs that this wonderful body gives us on a daily basis.
The Astral Body is the seat of our emotional life and desire impulses, and for this reason is also called “emotional body”. We have developed this body during our evolution in the animal kingdom, as part of the evolutionary goal of our animal brothers is to strive towards individualization from their Group Soul, through the awareness of their individual needs and emotions.
In humans, where this individualization has already been achieved and is prominently marked, the evolutionary goal is to refine these primal needs and impulses to unselfishness and ultimately to nonexistence. This takes several lifetimes of spiritual work upon the Path of Initiation to achieve, but we only need to know a few key points in order to perfect our astral body and make a big difference to the quality of our lives. In truth, the astral plane as it is now (which is where the astral body operates) is man’s own creation.
As Alice Bailey wrote in her book “Esoteric Healing”: The astral plane has no factual existence, but is an illusory creation of the human family. From now on, however (through the defeat of the forces of evil and the disastrous setback suffered by the Black Lodge), the astral plane will slowly become a dying creation, and in the final period of human history (in the seventh root-race), it will become non-existent”.
This is good news, for we can mould and shape our astral body in any way we choose to; the bad news is that the complete disappearance of this plane is a long way off.
So what is it that is stopping us from moving forward in our Evolution as Beings of Light and what can we do to refine our astral body?
Wouldn’t it be so much better to spend time directly in our mental body upon death and interact with Causal Plane entities instead of slowly shedding our astral counterpart from the illusion and coarseness that we have accumulated during our earthly lives?
There are a few things to keep in mind that will greatly speed up our evolution and make this transition process so much easier.
The quality and intensity of our emotions colour the nature of our astral body and determine its rate of vibration. Most people in fact, by letting their emotions run riot in their lives, do great damage to the astral body that they have been given upon birth, and since it is the vehicle that they will find themselves in after physical death, they will end up inhabiting a weak and crippled Astral Body. Consequently, their transition from the Astral to the Causal Plane will be long and toilsome.
This matter is more serious than most people imagine. Emotions of a low vibratory rate such as anger, envy, fear, guilt and greed for example, coarsen our astral body to the extent that, if we do not struggle to overcome these tendencies whilst in incarnation, we will end up inhabiting the lowest regions of the astral plane because we will not be able to sustain the high vibratory rates of light of the Higher Astral, or otherwise called “The Summerland”. (for more info on the astral body see The Master Plan by MB Cooke)
The emotional body of most people is usually in dire need of healing, whether we are willing to admit it or not. There are certain afflictions that are directly connected with an imbalance in the Astral Body and that are given to us as daily reminders or signs that our Astral Body is weak and that it needs more care and attention from us.
These common complaints are forms of indigestion, nervousness, liver and stomach complaints, frequent nightmares (which tell us a great deal about the lower regions of the astral plane that we visit during our sleep and thus about the vibratory rate and attractor fields of our own astral vehicle). In short, anything related to the solar plexus chakra, the chakra of emotions, as it is the point of connection of the emotional body to the physical and it serves as a transmitter of its energies. The healing path to the Astral Body is through the 3rd chakra (the Solar Plexus), and an emphasis should be placed in governing and healing this chakra throughout our lives.
The other main factor that contributes to the deterioration of our astral body whilst in incarnation is the barbaric practice of the consumption of dead flesh. This was thoroughly explained by Hilarion through Maurice B. Cooke (Threshold: a letter for Michelle, Hilarion, M.B.Cooke):
“The body of the slaughtered animal is fraught with a large amount of fear and desperation, which results in the contamination of its astral counterpart, both of the animal and of the person who ingests its flesh. After years of consuming this astral poison, the astral body of the person starts to deteriorate, due to the toxins ingested from the consumption of astral corpses. Soon the physical body will start to
mirror its astral vehicle and the person becomes unwell, as the astral infirmities are filtered down to the physical.
This causes death at an earlier age than was foreseen for that soul. The rampant rise of colon cancer is directly proportional to the fouling of the colon by eating decayed flesh; the stomach, as said earlier, being the first portal to the Astral Body. If man is what he eats, then eating death in the form of meat brings death itself closer.
The Karma that is generated from slaughtering and inflicting pain upon the helpless Animal Kingdom (which was entrusted to our care to further its evolution through love) is also considerable and should not be disregarded. The day that animals will no longer find a grave in a human stomach will be a day of great enlightenment and evolution for mankind”.
The consumption of alcohol and nicotine is also detrimental for the health of the astral body. As Theosophical literature states, if a man was a heavy smoker, at death he will find himself literally paralysed due to the toxic accumulation of the nicotine in his astral body and it will take some time before he can move his astral limbs.
Needless to say, the dangers derived from the ingestion of alcohol have been amply enumerated by Annie Besant in her pamphlet “The Influence of Alcohol”.
Hilarion has added that this substance has the ability to lodge its toxins in the etheric and astral bodies, causing them to become frayed and weakened over the years. The over indulgence of alcohol causes a tear at the back of the Anja or third eye chakra, which can induce the inhabitants of the lower astral planes to prey upon the energy centers of the person who has thus abused this substance.
The astral body however, has great regenerative powers so long as it is not constantly weakened by the ingestion of astral poison caused by the consumption of fear generated by the animal before it is killed, or by the toxins of nicotine and alcohol. If the person abstains from the ingestion of these substances for a period of nine months, Hilarion says that the astral body is able to restore itself to a near perfect state. These changes gradually will filter down to the physical and become manifest and visible at our third dimensional level.
One can clearly see that the degree of health of our astral (and ultimately physical) body is given by the quality of our thoughts and emotions and by what we ingest. Just by paying attention to the quality of our life we can experience a great improvement in the next.