Historical Reprints Esoteric - Spiritual Astral Plane : Its Scenery, Inhabitants, and Phenomena

Astral Plane : Its Scenery, Inhabitants, and Phenomena

Astral Plane : Its Scenery, Inhabitants, and Phenomena
Catalog # SKU1206
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Charles W. Leadbeater
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The Astral Plane
Its Scenery, Inhabitants,
and Phenomena

Charles Webster Leadbeater

THOUGH for the most part entirely unconscious of it, man passes the whole of his life in the midst of a vast and populous unseen world. During sleep or in trance, when the insistent physical senses are for the time in abeyance, this other world is to some extent open to him, and he will sometimes bring back from those conditions more or less vague memories of what he has seen and heard there.

Excerpt from the Preface:

When, at the change which men call death, he lays aside his physical body altogether, it is into this unseen world that he passes, and in it he lives through the long centuries that intervene between his incarnations into this existence that we know. By far the greater part of these long periods is spent in the heaven-world, to which the sixth of these manuals is devoted; but what we have now to consider is the lower part of this unseen world, the state into which man enters immediately after death-the Hades or under world of the Greeks, the purgatory or intermediate state of Christianity which was called by mediaeval alchemists the astral plane.

The object of this manual is to collect and arrange the information with regard to this interesting region which is scattered through Theosophical literature, and also to supplement it slightly in cases where new facts have come to our knowledge. It must be understood that any such additions are only the result of the investigations of a few explorers, and must not, therefore, be taken as in any way authoritative, but are given simply for what they are worth. On the other hand every precaution in our power has been taken to ensure accuracy, no fact, old or new, being admitted to this manual unless it has been confirmed by the testimony of at least two independent trained investigators among ourselves, and has also been passed as correct by older students whose knowledge on these points is necessarily much greater than ours. It is hoped, therefore, that this account of the astral plane, though it cannot be considered as quite complete, may yet be found reliable as far as it goes.

The first point which it is necessary to make clear in describing this astral plane is its absolute reality. Of course in using that word I am not speaking from that metaphysical standpoint from which all but the One Unmanifested is unreal because impermanent. I am using the word in its plain, every-day sense, and I mean by it that the objects and inhabitants of the astral plane are real in exactly the same way as our own bodies, our furniture, our houses or monuments are real-as real as Charing Cross, to quote an expressive remark from one of the earliest Theosophical works. They will no more endure for ever than will objects on the physical plane, but they are nevertheless realities from our point of view while they last-realities which we cannot afford to ignore merely because the majority of mankind is as yet unconscious, or but vaguely conscious, of their existence.

No one can get a clear conception of the teachings of the Wisdom-Religion until he has at any rate an intellectual grasp of the fact that in our solar system there exist perfectly definite planes, each with its own matter of different degrees of density, and that some of these planes can be visited and observed by persons who have qualified themselves for the work, exactly as a foreign country might be visited and observed; and that, by comparison of the observations of those who are constantly working on these planes, evidence can be obtained of their existence and nature at least as satisfactory as that which most of us have for the existence of Greenland or Spitzbergen. Furthermore, just as any man who has the means and chooses to take the trouble can go and see Greenland or Spitzbergen for himself, so any man who chooses to take the trouble to qualify himself by living the necessary life, can in time come to see these higher planes on his own account.

The names usually given to these planes, taking them in order of materiality, rising from the denser to the finer, are the physical, the astral, the mental or devachanic, the buddhic, and the nirvanic. Higher than this last are two others, but they are so far above our present power of conception that for the moment they may be left out of consideration. It should be understood that the matter of each of these planes differs from that of the one below it in the same way as, though to a much greater degree than, vapour differs from solid matter; in fact, the states of matter which we call solid, liquid, and gaseous are merely the three lowest subdivisions of the matter belonging to this one physical plane.

The astral region which I am to attempt to describe is the second of these great planes of nature-the next above (or within) that physical world with which we are all familiar. It has often been called the realm of illusion-not that it is itself any more illusory than the physical world, but, because of the extreme unreliability of the impressions brought back from it by the untrained seer. This is to be accounted for mainly by two remarkable characteristics of the astral world-first, that many of its inhabitants have a marvellous power of changing their forms with Protean rapidity, and also of casting practically unlimited glamour over those with whom they choose to sport; and secondly, that sight on that plane is a faculty very different from and much more extended than physical vision. An object is seen, as it were, from all sides at once, the inside of a solid being as plainly open to the view as the outside; it is therefore obvious that an inexperienced visitor to this new world may well find considerable difficulty in understanding what he really does see, and still more in translating his vision into the very inadequate language of ordinary speech.

A good example of the sort of mistake that is likely to occur is the frequent reversal of any number which the seer has to read from the astral light, so that he would be liable to render, say, 139 as 931, and so on. In the case of a student of occultism trained by a capable Master such a mistake would be impossible except through great hurry or carelessness, since such a pupil has to go through a long and varied course of instruction in this art of seeing correctly, the Master, or perhaps some more advanced pupil, bringing before him again and again all possible forms of illusion, and asking him "What do you see?" Any errors in his answers are then corrected and their reasons explained, until by degrees the neophyte acquires a certainty and confidence in dealing with the phenomena of the astral plane which far exceeds anything possible in physical life.

180+pages - 8.25 x 5.25 inches SoftCover


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