Difference between revisions of "Astral Light"

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== Online resources ==
 
== Online resources ==
 
===Articles===
 
===Articles===
*[http://theosophy.ph/encyclo/index.php?title=Astral_Light# Astral Light] at Theosopedia
+
*[http://theosophy.ph/encyclo/index.php?title=Astral_Light# Astral Light] at Theosopedia.
 
*[http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/books/wqj-all/j-astral-a.htm# The Astral Light - A Theosophist's View of It] By William Q. Judge
 
*[http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/books/wqj-all/j-astral-a.htm# The Astral Light - A Theosophist's View of It] By William Q. Judge
 
*[http://www.blavatsky.net/theosophy/judge/articles/true-progress.htm# True Progress - Is it Aided by Watching the Astral Light?] By William Q. Judge
 
*[http://www.blavatsky.net/theosophy/judge/articles/true-progress.htm# True Progress - Is it Aided by Watching the Astral Light?] By William Q. Judge

Latest revision as of 20:15, 12 August 2019

Astral Light is a term used by the French occultist Eliphas Levi to refer to the medium of all light, energy and movement, much in accordance with the theory of the luminiferous ether commonly held in the nineteenth century. In his view the astral light was a fluidic life force that fills all space and living beings.

H. P. Blavatsky adopted the term and used it in her writings. The Astral Light is not a universal principle, but belongs to our planet. Being a lower aspect of the universal Ākāśa, it embraces the second, third, and fourth of the Prakritic planes, although sometimes it is characterized as being only the second plane, corresponding with the Liṅga-śarīra in human beings.

The Astral Light receives the "impressions" produced on the Terrestrial plane and retains a record of all that happens. It also mirrors the higher planes. However, due to its nature, the reflections are fragmentary and misleading. The Astral Light responds to the will-power and can therefore be used to produce some occult and psychic phenomena.

General description

The Astral Light is not a universal principle, but belongs to our planet, embracing the three lower non-objective Prakritic planes:

The Astral Light is that which mirrors the three higher planes of consciousness, and is above the lower, or terrestrial plane; therefore it does not extend beyond the fourth plane, where, one may say, the Akâsa begins. There is one great difference between the Astral Light and the Akâsa which must be remembered. The latter is eternal, the former periodic. The Astral Light changes not only with the Maha manvantaras but also with every sub-period and planetary cycle or Round.[1]
The invisible region that surrounds our globe, as it does every other, and corresponding as the second Principle of Kosmos (the third being Life, of which it is the vehicle) to the Linga Sharira or the Astral Double in man. A subtle Essence visible only to a clairvoyant eye, and the lowest but one (viz., the earth), of the Seven Akâsic or Kosmic Principles.[2]
The Astral Light is not a universally diffused stuff, but pertains to our earth and all other bodies of the system on the same plane of matter with it. Our Astral Light is, so to speak, the Linga-Sharîra of our earth; only instead of being its primordial prototype, as in the case of our Chhâyâ, or Double, it is the reverse. While the human and animal bodies grow and develop in the model of their antetypal Doubles, it is the Astral Light that is born from the terrene emanations, grows and develops after its prototypal parent.[3]

The "Great Serpent"

The Astral Light is originally a pure reflection of the higher planes. However, since it also absorbs the emanations (thoughts and emotions) produced on our plane, in the course of human evolution it becomes "polluted". This pollution is reflected on earth and becomes a source of moral and physical suffering to humanity:

As the Esoteric Philosophy teaches us, the Astral Light is simply the dregs of Akâsa or the Universal Ideation in its metaphysical sense. Though invisible, it is yet, so to speak, the phosphorescent radiation of the latter, and is the medium between it and man’s thought-faculties. It is these which pollute the Astral Light, and make it what it is—the storehouse of all human and especially psychic iniquities. In its primordial genesis, the astral light as a radiation is quite pure, though the lower it descends approaching our terrestrial sphere, the more it differentiates, and becomes as a result impure in its very constitution. But man helps considerably in this pollution, and gives it back its essence far worse than when he received it.[4]
Eliphas Levi calls it the great Serpent and the Dragon from which radiates on Humanity every evil influence. This is so; but why not add that the Astral Light gives out nothing but what it has received; that it is the great terrestrial crucible, in which the vile emanations of the earth (moral and physical) upon which the Astral Light is fed, are all converted into their subtlest essence, and radiated back intensified, thus becoming epidemics--moral, psychic and physical.[5]
Read and study what Éliphas Lévi says of the Astral Light, which he calls Satan and the Great Serpent. The Astral Light has been taken too literally to mean some sort of a second blue sky. This imaginary space, however, on which are impressed the countless images of all that ever was, is, and will be, is but a too sad reality. It becomes in, and for, man—if at all psychic—and who is not?—a tempting Demon, his “evil angel,” and the inspirer of all our worst deeds. It acts on the will of even the sleeping man, through visions impressed upon his slumbering brain (which visions must not be confused, with the “dreams”), and these germs bear their fruit when he awakes.[6]

Astral "tablets"

The astral light has the ability to receive and store "impressions", and therefore. Thus, it retains a record of everything that happens. Mme. Blavatsky explained:

The Astral Light . . . reflects on its lower individual plane the life of our Earth, recording it on its "tablets".[7]
According to Occult teaching the Astral light is . . . the recorder of every thought; the universal mirror which reflects every event and thought as every being and thing, animate or inanimate. We call it the great Sea of Illusion, Maya.[8]

The astral light not only records present and past events, but also holds a kind of "sketch" of future ones:

It is on the indestructible tablets of the astral light that is stamped the impression of every thought we think, and every act we perform; and that future events — effects of long-forgotten causes — are already delineated as a vivid picture for the eye of the seer and prophet to follow.[9]

As can be gathered from the previous quote, the Adepts can access the "tablets" of the astral light and use them as a source of information. Mme. Blavatsky stated:

All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, having their record upon the astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe, the initiated adept, by using the vision of his own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.[10]

Another example based on personal experience is the help Mme. Blavatsky had from the Adepts in writing her book Isis Unveiled. She wrote:

It was neither a “spirit” nor “spirits” but living men who can draw before their eyes the picture of any book or manuscript wherever existing, and in case of need even that of any long forgotten and unrecorded event, who helped “Mme. Blavatsky.” The astral light is the store-house and the record book of all things, and deeds have no secrets for such men. And the proof of it may be found in the production of Isis Unveiled.[11]

These records can also be accessed by the uninitiated, if he or she has developed clairvoyance. Mme. Blavatsky described one of the techniques sometimes used for this purpose as follows:

If the Astral Light is collected in a cup or metal vessel by will-power, and the eyes fixed on some point in it with a strong will to see, a waking vision or “dream” is the result, if the person is at all sensitive. The reflections in the Astral Light are seen better with closed eyes, and, in sleep, still more distinctly.[12]

However, due to its nature, the visions seen by the uninitiated are often distorted reflections of the real:

The Astral Light . . . reflects everything reversed in its treacherous wave (both from the upper planes and from its lower solid plane, the earth). Hence the confusion of its colors and sounds in the perception and clairaudience of the sensitive who trusts to its records––be that sensitive a Hatha-Yogi or a medium.[13]
The prototypes or ideas of things exist first on the plane of Divine eternal Consciousness and thence become reflected and reversed in the Astral Light, which also reflects on its lower individual plane the life of our Earth, recording it on its “tablets.” Therefore, is the Astral Light called illusion. It is from this that we, in our turn, get our prototypes. Consequently unless the Clairvoyant or Seer can get beyond this plane of illusion, he can never see the Truth, but will be drowned in an ocean of self-deception and hallucinations.[14]

For this and other reasons, trying to train oneself into seeing in the Astral Light is not recommended:

Seeing in the astral light is not done through Manas, but through the senses, and hence has to do entirely with sense-perception removed to a plane different from this, but more illusionary. The final perceiver or judge of perception is in Manas, in the Self; and therefore the final tribunal is clouded by the astral perception if one is not so far trained or initiated as to know the difference and able to tell the true from the false. Another result is a tendency to dwell on this subtle sense-perception, which at last will cause an atrophy of Manas for the time being. This makes the confusion all the greater, and will delay any possible initiation all the more or forever. Further, such seeing is in the line of phenomena, and adds to the confusion of the Self which is only beginning to understand this life; by attempting the astral [perception] another element of disorder is added by more phenomena due to another plane, thus mixing both sorts up. The Ego must find its basis and not be swept off hither and thither. The constant reversion of images and ideas in the astral light, and the pranks of the elementals there, unknown to us as such and only seen in effects, still again add to the confusion. To sum it up, the real danger from which all others flow or follow is in the confusion of the Ego by introducing strange things to it before the time.[15]

Memory

The Astral Light records what takes place, not only on a global level, but also at the level of personal experience:

Nothing that takes place, no manifestation however rapid or weak, can ever be lost from the Skandhic record of a man’s life. Not the smallest sensation, the most trifling action, impulse, thought, impression, or deed, can fade or go out from, or in the Universe. We may think it unregistered by our memory unperceived by our consciousness, yet it will still be recorded on the tablets of the astral light.[16]

According to Mme. Blavatsky, the faculty of memory is related to the ability of consciousness to read into the person's record of the astral light.

Memory of past lives

Mme. Blavatsky claimed that the recognition of people and places not known before are not necessarily a proof of the "soul's memory" but the ability to read these things on the astral light:

The well-known fact — one corroborated by the personal experience of nine persons out of ten — that we often recognize as familiar to us, scenes, and landscapes, and conversations, which we see or hear for the first time, and sometimes in countries never visited before, is a result of the same causes [as the near-death review]. Believers in reïncarnation [of the same personality] adduce this as an additional proof of our antecedent existence in other bodies. This recognition of men, countries, and things that we have never seen, is attributed by them to flashes of soul-memory of anterior experiences. But the men of old, in common with mediæval philosophers, firmly held to a contrary opinion.[17]

For more information see also Akashic Records.

Magic agent

In Isis Unveiled Blavatsky writes that the Astral light is related to some occult and psychic phenomena:

The same as the sidereal light of Paracelsus and other Hermetic philosophers. Physically, it is the ether of modern science. Metaphysically, and in its spiritual, or occult sense, ether is a great deal more than is often imagined. In occult physics, and alchemy, it is well demonstrated to enclose within its shoreless waves not only Mr. Tyndall’s “promise and potency of every quality of life,” but also the realization of the potency of every quality of spirit. Alchemists and Hermetists believe that their astral, or sidereal ether, besides the above properties of sulphur, and white and red magnesia, or magnes, is the anima mundi, the workshop of Nature and of all the cosmos, spiritually, as well as physically. The “grand magisterium” asserts itself in the phenomenon of mesmerism, in the “levitation” of human and inert objects; and may be called the ether from its spiritual aspect.[18]

Eliphas Lévi called it the “grand Agent Magique” (great Magic agent) although Mme. Blavatsky says this is so "only so far as Black Magic is concerned".[19]

See also

Online resources

Articles

Books

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 360-361.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1918), 35.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 613.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 251.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1918), 35.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 252.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 357.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1918), 35.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 178.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 588.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), 250.
  12. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 257.
  13. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 613.
  14. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 361.
  15. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. IX (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 400-G.
  16. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 130 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 415.
  17. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 179.
  18. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), xxv.
  19. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 254.