The "double" of the human body, usually regarded byoccultists as its animating force, providing the body with "consciousness".
The astral body has a luminous, shining appearance, and is capable of passing through physical matter.
The act of willed separation of the astral body from the physical is known as astral travel. Occultists believe that at death the astral body leaves its physical counterpart and finds a new existence on the astral plane, Some parapsychologists believe that ghostly apparritions are astral communications between persons who have just died and those who are dear to them.
The astral body is often depicted as being joined to the physical body by a silver cord -- etheric umbilical cord -- and some subjects who experience out-of-body sissociation report seeing this cord.
Occult concept of a plane of existence and perception paralleling the physical dimension, but one phase removed from it, and also containing imagery from the unconscious mind.
Occultists believe it is the plane reached during astral projection and also the first of the spheres that the astral body reaches after death.
The personality in its phase of disintegration following the death of the physical body.
Sometimes known as the out-of-body experience. Astral travel is the conscious seperation of the astral body from the physical body resulting in an altered state of consciousness, and sometimes different qualities of perception.
Astral travel is achieved by a variety of active imagination techniques or trance-inducing methods. Many people who experience astral travel, like Robert Monroe, author of 'Journeys Out of The Body', report conscious perception from a different vantage point (e.g., high up in the sky, enabling one to look down over a street or into rooms of another house at a distance).
Professor Charles Tart, of the University of Californai at Davis, conducted a laboratory experiment in which a subject ("Miss Z") was asked to project her consciousness out of her body while it was monitored by electroencephalograph equipment. After four attempts Miss Z successfully read a five-digit random number located on a high shelf outside her normal range of vision and facing towards the ceiling. Tart believes it is his subject's ability to astral travel, rather than a facility for telepathy or claivoyance, that enabled her to identify the number.
Astral travel has been reported by some subjects who experience the near-death-experience (i.e., those who, as a result of an accident or operation, are declared clinically dead, but subsequently revive).
Typically, near-death subjects may witness details of their operation or resuscitation, as if from a location several feet above their body. They may report details of conversations among hospital staff and other activities that are subsequently verified.
Sometimes astral travel also report heaven and hell imagery during an out-of-body experience.
However, this is less common, and may indicate that subjects are engaged in a dissociative encounter with positive and negative archetypal imagery from the unconscious mind.