Aspects of the Soul: Astral body
***Astral Body - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The astral body refers to the concept of a subtle body which exists alongside the physical body, as a vehicle of the soul or consciousness. It is usually understood as being of an emotional nature and, as such, it is equated to the desire body or emotional body. 

However, some philosophies conceive that the astral body is a body made of ether (the soul body), built by each individual during the current evolutionary stage (the Philosophers' Stone), which is said to give support to the desire (emotional) body during the astral projection.

***The astral body in Theosophy

Blavatsky used the term "astral" to refer to the double (linga sharira) which was the lowest but one of the seven principles (immediately above the physical). Later however, C.W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant (Adyar School of Theosophy), and following them, Alice Bailey, equated the astral with Blavatsky's Kama (desire) principle (the fourth of the seven principles of man, and called it the Emotional body (a concept not found in earlier Theosophy).

In this way, astral body, desire body, and emotional body became synonymous, and this identification is found in much of New Age and theosophically-inspired thought since. The astral or emotional body here is understood as a sort of psychic body or aura that is made up of emotions, just as the physical body consists of matter. In occult thought, emotions are not just subjective qualia, but have an existence apart from the individual consciousness, and exist on a cosmic plane of existence, in this case, the astral plane.

***The desire body in the Western Wisdom Teachings

According to Max Heindel's Rosicrucian writings, the Desire body [1] is made of desire stuff from which human beings form feelings and emotions and also it impels to seek sense gratification. But while it is referred that the Dense (physical) body and the Vital (etheric) body are well organized, the desire body is said to appear to spiritual sight as an ovoid cloud extending from sixteen to twenty inches beyond the physical body; it is seen above the head and below the feet so that the dense (physical) body sits in the center of this egg-shaped cloud as the yolk is in the center of an egg. This desire body has a number of whirling vortices - since a characteristic of desire-stuff is to be in constant motion - and from the main vortex in the region of the liver, there is a constant outwelling flow which radiates toward the periphery of this egg-shaped body and returns to the center through a number of other vortices. It is said the desire body also exhibits all the colors and shades, which we know and a vast number of others unknown to physical sight, and those colors vary in every person according to his or her characteristics and temperament, and they also vary from moment to moment as passing moods, fancies, or emotions are experienced by the person.

The "Astral body" (Soul body)
His writings, called Western Wisdom Teachings, refer that the term "Astral body" - a vehicle made of ether (from the Vital body), which is lighter than air and therefore capable of levitation - was employed by the mediaeval Alchemists, because of the ability it conferred upon the one who has it to traverse the "starry" regions. The Astral body should not to be confounded with the Desire body: during the soul flights the desire body molds itself readily into this prepared matrix; when the individual returns to the physical body, the effort of will whereby he enters it automatically dissolves the intimate connection between the desire body and the soul body. The Astral body is also known as the 'Soul body', the 'Golden Wedding Garment', the 'Philosopher's Stone', or the 'Living Stone', spoken of in some of the ancient philosophies as the 'Diamond Soul' ("for it is luminous, lustrous, and sparkling--a priceless gem"), and will eventually be evolved by humanity as a whole.

***Barbara Brennan on the Astral Body: The Astral Level (Fourth Layer)

"The astral body is amorphous and is composed of clouds of color more beautiful than those of the emotional body. The astral body tends to have the same set of colors, but they are usually infused with the rose light of love. It extends out about one half to one foot (15 to 30 cm) from the body. The chakra are the same octave of colors as the rainbow of the emotional body, but each is infused with the rose light of love.  The heart chakra of a loving person is full of rose light on the astral level.

When people fall in love, beautiful arcs of rose light can be seen between their hearts, and a beautiful rose color is added to the normal golden pulsations I observe in the pituitary gland. When people form relationships with each other, they grow cords out of the chakras that connect them. These cords exist on many levels of the auric field in addition to the astral.  The longer and deeper the relationship, the more cords and the stronger they are. When relationships end, those cords are torn, sometimes causing a great deal of pain. The period of "getting over" a relationship is usually a period of disconnecting those cords on the lower levels of the field and rerooting them within the self.

A great deal of interaction takes place between people on the astral level. Great blobs of color of various forms whisk across the room between people. Some of it is pleasant and some not so pleasant. You can feel the difference. You may feel uneasy about someone across the room who is apparently not even aware of your presence; however on another level a lot is happening. I have seen people standing next to each other in a group pretending not to notice each other, when on the energy level there is a whole communication taking place with lots of energy forms moving between them. You have no doubt experienced this yourself, especially between men and women. It is not just body language; there is an actual energetic phenomenon that can be perceived.. For example, when a man or woman fantasize about making love with someone, say in a bar or at a party, there is an actual testing in the energy fields to see if the fields are synchronous and if the people are compatible." from Barbara Brennan, Hands of Light pp.50-51

For more information Barbara Brennan and her work see: Barbara Brennan School of Healing. Holistic, spiritual healing through working with the human energy field or 

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