Book: The Astral Plane
Author: Charles Webster Leadbeater

The Astral Plane By Charles Webster Leadbeater

Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 80
Publication Date: 1895

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On this guided tour of one of the "various planes of the universe," you'll meet black magicians, vampires, werewolves, elemental essences, fairies, and angels. You'll encounter phenomena including churchyard ghosts, mysterious bell ringing, clairvoyance, second sight, spirit photographs, slate writing, and levitation. And you'll learn why darkness is absolutely required at a seance.

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Having sketched in, however slightly, the background of our picture, we must now attempt to fill in the figures—to describe the inhabitants of the astral plane. The immense variety of these entities makes it exceedingly difficult to arrange and tabulate them. Perhaps the most convenient method will be to divide them into three great classes, the human, the non-human, and the artificial.


The human denizens of Kâmaloka fall naturally into two groups, the living and the dead, or, to speak more accurately, those who have still a physical body, and those who have not.

1. Living.

The entities which manifest on the astral plane during physical life may be subdivided into four classes:

1. The Adept or Chela in the Mâyâvirûpa. This body is the artificial vehicle used on the four lower or rûpa divisions of the devachanic plane by those capable of functioning there during earth-life, and is formed out of the substance of the mind-body. The pupil is at first unable to construct this for himself, and has therefore to be content with his ordinary astral body composed of the less refined matter of the kâmic aura; but at a certain stage of his progress the Master Himself forms his Mâyâvirûpa for him for the first time, and afterwards instructs and assists him until he can make it for himself easily and expeditiously. When this facility is attained this vehicle is habitually used in place of the grosser astral body, since it permits of instant passage from the astral to the devachanic plane and back again at will, and allows of the use at all times of the higher powers belonging to its own plane. It must be noted, however, that a person travelling in the Mâyâvirûpa is not perceptible to merely astral vision unless he chooses to make himself so by gathering around him particles of astral matter and so creating for himself a temporary body suitable to that plane, though such a temporary creation would resemble the ordinary astral body only as a materialization resembles the physical body; in each case it is a manifestation of a higher entity on a lower plane in order to make himself visible to those whose senses cannot yet transcend that plane. But whether he be in the Mâyâvirûpa or the astral body, the pupil who is introduced to the astral plane under the guidance of a competent teacher has always the fullest possible consciousness there, and is in fact himself, exactly as his friends know him on earth, minus only the four lower principles in the former case and the three lower in the latter, and plus the additional powers and faculties of this higher condition, which enable him to carry on far more easily and far more efficiently on that plane during sleep the Theosophical work which occupies so much of his thought in his waking hours. Whether he will remember fully and accurately on the physical plane what he has done or learnt on the other depends largely, as before stated, upon whether he is able to carry his consciousness without intermission from the one state to the other.

2. The Psychically-developed Person who is not under the guidance of a Master. Such a person may or may not be spiritually developed, for the two forms of advancement do not necessarily go together, and when a man is born with psychic powers it is simply the result of efforts made during a previous incarnation, which may have been of the noblest and most unselfish character, or on the other hand may have been ignorant and ill-directed or even entirely unworthy. Such an one will usually be perfectly conscious when out of the body, but for want of proper training is liable to be greatly deceived as to what he sees. He will often be able to range through the different subdivisions of the astral plane almost as fully as persons belonging to the last class; but sometimes he is especially attracted to some one division and rarely travels beyond its influences. His recollection of what he has seen may vary according to the degree of his development through all the stages from perfect clearness to utter distortion or blank oblivion. He will appear always in the astral body, since by the hypothesis he does not know how to form the Mâyâvirûpa.

3. The Ordinary Person—that is, the person without any psychic development—floating about in his astral body in a more or less unconscious condition. In deep slumber the higher principles in their astral vehicle almost invariably withdraw from the body, and hover in its immediate neighbourhood, practically almost as much asleep as the latter. In some cases, however, this astral vehicle is less lethargic, and floats dreamily about on the various astral currents, occasionally recognizing other people in a similar condition, and meeting with experiences of all sorts, pleasant and unpleasant, the memory of which, hopelessly confused and often travestied into a grotesque caricature of what really happened, will cause the man to think next morning what a remarkable dream he has had. These extruded astral bodies are almost shapeless and very indefinite in outline in the case of the more backward races and individuals, but as the man develops in intellect and spirituality his floating astral becomes better defined and more closely resembles his physical encasement. Since the psychical faculties of mankind are in course of evolution, and individuals are at all stages of their development, this class naturally melts by imperceptible gradations into the former one.

4. The Black Magician or his pupil. This class corresponds closely to the first, except that the development has been for evil instead of good, and the powers acquired are used for purely selfish purposes instead of for the benefit of humanity. Among its lower ranks come members of the negro race who practise the ghastly rites of the Obeah or Voodoo schools, and the medicine-men of many a savage tribe; while higher in intellect, and therefore the more blame-worthy, stand the Tibetan black magicians, who are often, though incorrectly, called by Europeans Dûgpas—a title properly belonging, as is quite correctly explained by Surgeon-Major Waddell in his recent work on The Buddhism of Tibet, only to the Bhotanese subdivision of the great Kargyu sect, which is part of what may be called the semi-reformed school of Tibetan Buddhism.