The astral light is an all-permeating subtle fluid that interpenetrates all things and is the magical agent of the Formative World. The concept of the astral light was developed primarily by Eliphas Levi.
Levi described the astral light as:
. . . an agent which is natural and divine, material and spiritual, a universal plastic mediator, a common receptacle of the vibrations of motion and the images of form, a fluid and a force, which may be called in some way the Imagination of Nature. . . . The existence of this force is the great Arcanum of practical Magic.
Israel Regardie said of the astral light:
Vibrating at another rate of motion than does the gross substance of the physical world, and thus existing on a higher plane, the Astral Light contains the builder’s plan or model, so to speak, projected downwards by the Ideation or Imagination of the Father; the plan on which the external world is constructed, and within whose essence lies latent the potentiality of all growth and development.
The astral light has electric, magnetic, and radioactive properties. It is represented in various symbol s, such as the girdle of Isis, the bull-headed serpent , the goat- or dogheaded serpent, the Ouroboros, the emblem of Prudence, the symbol of Saturn, the winged dragon of Medea, the double serpent of the caduceus, the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the brazen serpent of Moses entwined around the tau cross or the generative lingam, the Hyle of Gnosis, the double tail that forms the legs of the Gnostic deity Abraxas, the goat of the witches’ sabbats, and baphomet .
Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, a founder of the Theosophical Society, associated the astral light with the Anima Mundi, or World Soul, in her work Isis Unveiled:
The Astral Light or anima mundi, is dual or bi-sexual. The male part of it is purely divine and spiritual, it is the Wisdom; while the female portion (the spiritus of the Nazarenes) is tainted in one sense, with matter, is indeed matter, and therefore is evil already. It is the life-principle of every living creature, and furnishes the astral soul, the fluidic perispirit to men, animals, fowls of the air, and everything living.
Regardie said that every thought is impressed upon the astral light and that “tradition has it that it coalesces with one of the creatures of that plane and then passes away from our immediate control into this pulsating ocean of vitality and feeling to influence other minds for good or for ill.”
Regardie drew correspondences between the concepts of ether and the collective unconscious and the astral light. The astral light also corresponds to the Akashic Records, the records of all things, for all acts, thoughts and emotions of all forms, become impressed upon it for eternity. Levi said that life can be destroyed by the sudden congestion or withdrawal of the astral light.
- Blavatsky, H. P. Isis Unveiled. Pasadena, Calif.: Theosophical University Press, 1976.
- Levi, Eliphas. The History of Magic. 1860. Reprint, York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 2001.
- Regardie, Israel. The Tree of Life: A Study in Magic. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1969.