The astral body is an etheric double that is the exact duplicate of the physical body. The astral body is the vehicle for consciousness when projected out of the body (Astral Projection). It also is used in sleep for the experience of dreams.
The astral body has been called by different names. Sylvan Muldoon, who developed an expertise in ast ral travel , called the astral body the soul body and said that it is “the condenser of cosmic energy [which is] the breath of life, omnipresent in every living thing. . . .” In The Projection of the Astral Body, Muldoon said:
The Astral Body, belonging to every person, is an exact counterpart of the perfect physical body of the person. It is composed of fi ne ethereal matter, and is usually encased in the physical body. In ordinary cases, the detachment of the astral body from its physical counterpart is accomplished only with great difficulty, but in the case of dreams, great mental stress, and under certain conditions of occult development, the astral body may become detached and sent on long journeys, traveling at a rate of speed only less than that of light-waves.
Robert A. Monroe, who became famous for his journeys out of the body, called the astral body the second body. He said that the second body begins as a duplicate of the physical body, but as the astral travel goes on, it begins to deteriorate in form (probably to its essence as energy) but can be rehabilitated into a physical duplicate by thought. His own second body appeared as a bright, glowing outline duplicating the physical and which recorded the sensation of touch and moved according to his thought.
The astral body stays connected to the physical body by a silver cord that resembles an elastic, silver-gray umbilical cord of infinite length. The astral cord has been described by such terms as “a coil of light,” “a luminous gardenhose,” “a strong ray of light,” “a lighted cord,” and “a tail of light.” When the physical body dies, the cord breaks, and vice versa. The cord possesses its own energy and seems to be alive itself. Australian aborigines liken it to a snake. Muldoon said that severance of the cord results in instant death but that such an occurrence “is almost unheard of ” under ordinary circumstances.
The astral body plays a role in vitalizing the physical body. In his own experiences, Muldoon observed that breath travels from the astral to the physical via the astral cord. “You breathe in the Astral, and your heart beats in the Astral. . . . Your physical heart beats because within it the Astral heart beats,” he said. “Each breath taken in the Astral can be seen pulsing over the ‘cord’ and causes a duplicate breath to be taken by the body.”
Magical work is performed in the astral body, enabling the consciousness of the magician to access the astral plane and other realities.
- Crookall, Robert. Psychic Breathing: Cosmic Vitality from the Air. Wellingborough, England: Aquarian Press, 1979.
- Monroe, Robert A. Journeys Out of the Body. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1971.
- Muldoon, Sylvan, and Hereward Carrington. The Projection of the Astral Body. London: Rider, 1929.