FAQ about the human experience after physical death.

astral-projectionThe answers given here on 25 often raised questions about the after-life may sound strange and to many ears unbelievable. The information given is based on many decades of research and composed to the best knowledge of the writers. it’s not meant to cover the full spectrum of the conditions we meet after discarding the physical body, which is far more complex. Purpose is to give the reader some general ‘read me first’ information, much like a brochure or book one reads before visiting a country. After all one day we will all face this situation. Elsewhere in this website many articles will go into more depth on the many aspects of the life conditions after we die.

Introduction

Every day about a quarter of a million of people die world wide. Dying is very normal and very inevitable. We all know that, but often we wonder, is there any life after this one, and if so how is that possible.
For long the core business of every religion was to prepare their followers for this after life, but ever so often its not very accurate and used for malicious purposes to control people. Lets see what we found out about this ‘life after death’.
When a human being dies, the physical body is permanently disconnected from the soul. Its not the soul who leaves the body as is often portrayed, but simply disconnected, much like taking off an overcoat. Interesting to note how ‘taking off an overcoat’ is such a terrifying prospect for most of us.

Apart from the physical body, every human being is born with an astral body (and a few other bodies). This astral body is the source and instrument for our emotions. Often it has been tried to localize the source of our emotions in the brain, with very little success. At death these two bodies, the physical and the astral bodies are disconnected. By disconnecting the physical body, the brain can no longer function and the consciousness of the person withdraws itself automatically into this astral body.

Briefly, the astral body of man is a vehicle, to clairvoyant sight not unlike the physical body, surrounded by an aura of flashing colours, composed of matter of an order of fineness higher than that of physical matter, in which feelings, passions, desires and emotions are expressed and which acts as a bridge or medium of transmission between the physical brain and the mind, the latter operating in the still higher vehicle — the mind or mental body.

The astral body is part of a much bigger realm called the astral plane or astral world. This astral plane is a world like the physical, although much bigger than the physical world with its own typical set of laws and inhabitants. Because every human being has an astral body we can function in this world, in fact we do so all our life.
Human emotions and much of what we call the personality is actual situated in this astral body. We are constantly bombarded with energies, information, thought forms from this astral plane into our brain. and we respond to that emotionally through our own astral body and feed this response back into the system.

The four main bodies of a human being

The four main bodies of a human being

We tend to believe our physical body is the ‘human being’, but in fact the astral body is so much more the basis of who we are. Of course the astral body and the physical are connected, otherwise there was no exchange possible.
Technically this communication proceeds through yet another body, the so called etherical or double. This etheric body is connected with our nervous system and with our glands. Every nervous cell in our body has an equivalent in this etherical called a nadi and every gland has a connection with the so called chakras or centers. Through these two channels the two bodies communicate. Its often depicted as a silvery cord connecting the two. As long as this cord exist we are alive on the physical, when we die it is snapped and there is no return possible. This snapping of the cord is a conscious act of the human soul to end the physical life.

So when we die we don’t really ‘cross over’ as its often called, we merely disconnect from the physical plane nervous and glandular systems. The etheric body is an integral part of our physical plane existence and as such will quickly start decaying after death. The function of the etheric body is much more than just a channel of communication, its the basis of our physical body integration and health. Many of the so called alternative healing practices, which are not chemical, are based on healing the etherical body. At death the etheric and the physical are separated and often witnessed by people around the death bed, but wrongly interpreted of the soul leaving the body. Its the process of disconnecting the nadis and the centers after the silvery cord is severed. Its much like someone removing his overcoat, to regard that as the person ‘leaving his overcoat’ is a bit of an odd way to describe it. So removal of the temporary physical vehicle is more accurate way to describe it.

The function of this intermediary etheric body is also to block the brain from too much astral world awareness and as such is a build in protection to avoid being overloaded by astral impressions during our waking life. Without this protection of the so called etheric webs we would be constantly aware of the happenings and beings present in the astral world around us. Some mental problems people have, often called hallucinations, are basically a malfunction of this etheric blocking system. Alcohol and drugs can have profound destructive effect on these etheric webs.

Its important to understand that the astral world is not placed at some far away heaven or hell as is often portrayed in religions, but fully intertwined with the physical. We are surrounded by it constantly, although most of us cannot see it with our physical eyes. Even those who claim to see astrally are often in reality seeing a temporary etheric counterpart. And since we are surrounded by it, we are also surrounded by all of those who no longer have a physical body. We don’t see them with our physical eyes because the astral plane is like a parallel universe. Do the deceased see us? Yes, they often do if they so desire, especially when they died recently, because they can see our astral bodies which for the most part looks very identical to our physical, at least during our physical life. Difficult to grasp? I bet.
Still its important to have a basic understanding of the connection of the brain and its astral counterpart to better understand the rest of this thesis.

Any scientific bases for this?
Its interesting to note that astrophysical science begins to dabble with the idea of multiple or parallel universes. Its perhaps useful to see this astral world as a parallel universe, but intertwined with the physical. It could also be the beginning of an explanation of one of the greatest scientific problems of these days, the problem of dark matter, 84% or more of our universe is missing. We cannot see it, we cannot measure it, we cannot explain it, but based on the laws of gravity we do know its there. And of course its all around us, just as the astral world is all around us. Bottom line, its interesting to see that the idea of ‘life after death’, which was for a long time only a religious concept, is now slowly gaining some foothold in a more scientific definition.

Everyone who dies spends a certain amount of time in this astral world, although this time period can vary from only a few hours to millennia. Important point is to understand that we don’t ‘go anywhere’ after dying, but our consciousness is permanently shifted from the brain to our astral counterpart, since the brain and the etheric counterpart are no longer available. It seems as if we moved our consciousness to a parallel universe, which some science considers as only one nano meter away (one billionth of a metre 1×10−9 m).
The big question with parallel universes always is, how do we go there? The answer is simple, we are already there, since we carry it within us. All we need to do is shift our consciousness into the astral (Or any of the others for that matter).

In fact this shifting of consciousness at death is a very natural process. Every night when we sleep we leave our physical body to temporarily disconnect our brain and nervous system from the astral bombardment of impressions around us by separating the two. That is the main reason of sleeping. Temporary disconnection of the physical brain to recuperate the nervous system. We retract into a parallel universe at sleep. Medical science will not fully grasp the reason for sleep as long as they remain unaware of this astral-physical interconnection.
Dreams are sometimes a recollection of these nightly astral-physical experiences, although the experience is often interpreted by the brain to create ‘a story’.

It is possible to learn to bring the astral experience consciously back into the brain while we sleep . The trick is to keep consciousness functioning when leaving the body. Much has been written about this and its possible to learn how to do this. Its often called Astral projection or Astral travel. Its probably the best way to prepare oneself for the life situation after death, although its important to understand there are many differences between the astral experiences in or out of physical life.
For those who desire to get a better idea of these nightly happenings, I can recommend the book of Erin Pavlina, ‘The astral projection guidebook‘ Written by a lady who was capable to consciously project from a very early age on and has written this book about her many experiences roaming the astral planes during sleep. She has also created many videos on YouTube explaining this and related subjects.

The questions and answers in this section talk about the technicalities of this astral plane and the experiences people usually have in this world once their physical body is discarded. Although often referred to as the ‘after-life’, its is not really after, since its influence has been present our whole physical life, although for the most part we were not conscious of that. A better description would be to call the astral life the normal life, while having a physical body is more of an exceptional, temporary situation undertaken by the soul for a specific task or learning process.
Roughly 12% of humanity (7 billion) is currently in physical incarnation, the rest of humanity is not. But to avoid misunderstanding, it does not mean the remaining 88% are all currently on the astral planes. It is a bit more complex than that. But in these pages we concentrate on the astral situation since that’s a common experience for most people.

Of course the most important question is any of this true, since for now it cannot be proven in any other way than on a personal level. All we can say it is based on the best available sources the writers could find after decades of serious study. Our hope is this information will prepare you for the time when the bell tolls.

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Q: Does our personality change after death?
No, death of the physical body does not change your personality much. It does not obliterate your memory. Contrary to popular believe, the memory of a person is not only located in the physical brain.
You can see, hear, smell, taste, talk, although the senses are not located in a fixed position but more throughout your astral body, which makes the sensual experience much richer and more real than it could ever be on the physical. More about this later.
For all purposes, nothing changes much when we die, at least not in the beginning. The world as you experience it is very much alike what we are used to when still alive. In fact it’s even purposely created in this way to make the transition for the newly arrivals less traumatic. Especially people who lived in the materialistic west are often under the false believe that everything ends at physical death and find their new situation hard to understand and accept. Often they refuse to accept their physical is gone and for all purposes, they died. Well, they died, but are not dead, far from it.

Q: How do I look, am I still recognizable?
it’s important to understand that the way we look after death is very much a result of how we see ourselves and with what form we identify. So gender, racial traits, age looking, clothing used, hair, facial traits and all that stems from this identification and can and often changes over time. it’s a typical feature of the astral material to adapt itself according to our desires and wishes. We look as we imagine how we want to look, for good or for worse.

Death as such does not change your looks, although most people tend to look as in the prime of their life around 30-45 years old. Unless of course you died in childhood, then the child looks pertain, although people tend to change to a more adult look after some time.
Death does not change your racial and national traits, unless you want to.

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Q: What happens at the moment of death?
There is a certain sequence of events in the process of dying.
Technically it’s the human soul who decides to discard the physical body and by doing so ends its life. If it is an accident or murder, the soul has not much choice, since the physical body is destroyed. This ending is done by snapping a silvery cord that connects the physical with the rest. It’s the point of no return. After this snapping of the cord the physical body starts to decay, the person is clinically dead and consciousness retracts itself in the astral vehicle. Usually the person falls then into an unconscious situation of sleep or coma, duration of which can vary considerable depending on many factors.

After waking up, the experience for the newly arrived is usually one staged by helpers who bring in deceased family members or friends to make the person feel relaxed as he or she often hardly understands, nor is willing to accept the fact they have died. This period of non acceptance can take a long or short time depending on the persons prior believes about death. Often many questions need to be answered to come to grips with the new and utterly strange situation. For this helpers or even better  experienced family members are brought to the scene. They can answer the many questions at a level the new arrival can understand.

Borderland
The astral place of arrival after waking up from the coma  is technically called Borderland or Blue Island. Borderland is the place where everyone, good or bad, arrives to recuperate of the dying process. This can vary widely, people who died of old age in bed or those who for instance were killed by accident, murder or war makes a big difference and need to be treated accordingly. Many experienced helpers (mostly humans) are involved in this first contact situation and try to help and heal (psychologically). Remember 250.000 people die every day, it takes millions of helpers to do this work.

After that period on Borderland, which can take days, weeks or months in earth physical terms, the person out of free will moves to the astral plane level to which his or her consciousness is tuned to, based on the quality of the life that just ended and how this is looked upon by the individual. More on these astral levels later.

Often previous deceased people like parents or friends are requested to be present at borderland to help explain and give a better understanding of the new situation and help the newly deceased to accept it. Not everyone asked can or will do so, there must be a motivational love connection and it’s often seen as a tedious job to come to borderland and help doing all the explaining.

We communicate with others like we did before, by speech. Although its possible to use other means, most people use speech to communicate in the language they know. Yes you need to understand the language of the other to communicate.

The duration of this Borderland experience can vary from a few days to many months. it’s also the place where people can try to communicate with relatives still alive (meaning family, friends still alive), although this is rather difficult and for most an impossible thing, since it requires certain detailed training and abilities. Also the willingness to do so lacks in most cases, since people feel very relaxed and happy at their new situation. But some feel a great need to let the others know they are are well and very much alive. Without some skilled intermediary this is virtually impossible. The well known movie ‘Ghost‘ with Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg illustrates this frustrating situation very well.

The problem of grief
When there is much grief from people left behind, it can cause disturbances since these emotions are felt in a strong way by the deceased. The deceased is often very eager to let the grievers know he or she is fine, but finds it impossible to convey this message and feels pretty helpless in watching their beloved ones grief so much. Grieving over a deceased friend in NO WAY helps them, but only makes their astral life more difficult and in fact is basically a selfish thing to do.

Usually some trained helper is assigned to the newly deceased to answer questions and help them to understand his or her new situation.
Helpers in this work for instance set up scenes with a hospital bed so the deceased feels he is waking up where he left off if he died in a hospital. Understanding and acceptance of the new situation is often very difficult and can take much time, especially for those who always believed there was no life after death.
The more religious educated people usually accept the new situation easier, but have often wrong religious notions of their afterlife because of poor teachings by the churches about hell and judgements.
Of course sudden death by accident or murder makes the new situation even more very stressful since the transition went so quickly and unexpected. Long periods of psychological healing may be needed to heal this.

Seeing past life
One of the interesting experiences in the dying process is seeing a recap of the past life in minute details, more or less like a video documentary. Every happening and every situation of that past life is shown. This allows the person to download his brain memory to the astral vehicle so to speak. It also shows the good and bad things of the life just finished and how it affected others. A sobering experience. Any unsolved problems, or unfinished business becomes more clear and may become a task to be taken up in a future incarnation.

This visual recap is played at the end of every physical life just before the brain dies, but can later be replayed in part as often as wanted. If it was a life affecting others in a bad way, it can lead to getting stuck in feelings of guilt, fear and remorse, which can become a hellish experience of depression and fear of punishment.

Its VERY important for bystanders at the death bed to maintain as quiet as possible to avoid any disturbance of this process. It seems orange light in the room helps in easing the dying process.

Near Death Experience
At the end of every incarnation, no matter how unimportant that incarnation was, the soul becomes aware of the dying personality and directs it’s attention to it. This is often described as a strong light or lighted entity. In cases where this dying process is aborted, a so called Near Death Experience (NDE) takes place. People who experience a NDE are often profoundly affected by it since they remember the details very well. The NDE can also involve meeting (family) people who are dead and are sometimes taken on astral trips before returning. But the silvery cord is still unbroken, since returning into the physical body would be impossible if it was.

Technically it’s not a NDE but rather a conscious trip on the astral planes, often under guidance by someone for a specific purpose. A better term would be an Astral Conscious Experience (ACE).
Remember every conscious astral experience needs upon return be interpreted by the brain into terms the brain knows. So depending on the person, its often seen as some religious happening.

After borderland
After the Borderland experience where everyone arrived and is treated, the person is moved to the astral condition which coincides with the things he or she has done in the just finished physical life. If it was a caring, loving person and mostly unselfishness in their motives, that person will experience the higher astral levels as a world where he or she can learn, enjoy and basically do as pleased.

On the other hand if the person was cruel, very selfish, showed no compassion and did acts which we would call crimes, the person will experience the more dense, darker levels of the astral worlds and spend his time reliving his deeds and feeling the pain he has caused. This can be most unpleasant because he lives with others who are equally bad and is sometimes a real hellish experience. Although there are millions of them roaming these darker worlds, it’s still a small percentage since most people are basically sound and not prone to these kind of bad acts during their life on earth. This differentiation of astral levels and the conditions is a rather complex matter and is described in much more detail elsewhere in this website.

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Q: How does the world after death look like?

The astral world after death is very solid and very detailed, it’s not some foggy, misty place, although there are certain astral levels which are less pleasurable depending on the consciousness of the person.
Objects in this world are mostly created by the inhabitants by sheer desire. Desire creates in the astral matter what is desired. Although the larger structures like landscapes, mountains, lakes etc were constructed by higher developed beings, often many millions of years ago. Certain sources claim the human astral world is about 12 million years old, so much has been created over time
Astral world is 4th dimensional, which means certain things like movement is much easier and  speedier and one sees objects from all sides at the same time. Another aspect is the ability to zoom in on an object until the most basic particles become visible. Which makes study of objects an interesting thing to do. Of course these techniques need to be mastered first and this takes time.

A layered world
The astral world is layered, although it’s not so much a physical layering but more a consciousness layering. All astral layers occupy the same space and its all around us.
Layering is in seven major levels of consciousness numbered 1 to 7, with 7 being the lowest and most dense layer. These layers themselves are subdivided into many sub layers.
layering is from very solid, almost physical to very beautiful, colourful, fluid and lovely.

Note: the recent scientific notion that the universe could well be built of multiple universes all intertwined is a nice model.

All astral layers exist simultaneous and inter penetrate each other and also the physical world, although most people are not aware of that. They only experience what their consciousness can absorb. It extends about 150.000 kilo meters above earth (roughly halfway to the moon) till deep inside the earth.
Its the quality of your pre-death life that determines the astral layer in which you will be conscious after death. About this aspect of the after life much is written in other parts of this website.

On the lower layers all solid earth objects have astral counterparts. So houses, streets, cities, plants, furniture, even people who are still alive do have an astral counterpart, an astral copy. Its these astral counterparts which can be seen by the deceased and many people after death decide to stay on these lower levels, often afraid to let it go, assuming that they will really die if they do. An estimated 15% of the deceased spend more or less time on these lower levels, often occupying their earthly habitat. This situation can last for a long time, sometimes even millennia. This can also develop into a form of haunting which is described elsewhere.

It has to be understood that the astral plane is mostly a plane of emotions. Hence the emotions of people still in physical form are experienced very clearly. Because of the astral counterparts of the physical plane, it’s very possible for people to decide to stay close to their old home or visit the bars or other places they used to while still alive, and so experience and hang on to their old living style.

You would be surprised to see the large amounts of dead people hanging around your favourite pub if you had astral vision. The craving for alcohol is often still very strong if they had this addiction during their life. Its not a pleasant sight and best avoided since these creatures are often preying on drunks to temp take over their body in an effort to experience the effects of alcohol or worse. Its no wonder the next day the drunk often does not remember what abusive acts he did, but still faces the legal consequences.
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Q: Are people immediately aware they are dead?

Often people refuse to believe they actually died. Especially in cases of sudden death like accidents, heart attacks, war, murder and such. Its often very difficult or even impossible to make them understand and accept their new situation. Most have a strong urge to return to their old lives and their loved ones. But even if they manage to find their friends and family, it’s not possible to let them know they actually still alive, unless an intermediary (trained medium) gets involved.
Many so called mediums are people with nothing more than some vague undefined sensitivity to astral energy and often just as scared as the people they try to help. Its NOT a gift, its often a remnant of some previous live in which they been involved in this. Unless they are well trained with the help of some inner guide and can take a more mental attitude towards the phenomena, they can do very little to solve astral problems of others in any meaningful way.
However it would be very useful if psychiatrist and psychologists had a basic understanding of the astral plane entities and the problems it can cause in unstable people.

Many people make it their task to help the new arrivals understand their new situation and are at hand to answer the many questions they have. They even try to locate previous deceased family members or friends and request them to come and visit the newly died, to make the transition less painful and more real. There are millions of these helpers on the astral planes, who see it as their task to do this work. With on average 250.000 new arrivals every day, a formidable task indeed.

Funeral of the deceased
Each soul is allowed to visit his or her own funeral, and they often do. By watching their friends and family, listening to their thoughts, seeing them mourn or rejoice (whatever the case may be depending upon how the soul has lived), he will then understand better that he has died, according to the beliefs of the people present at the funeral. It’s not a very pleasant experience to see your loved ones cry, while at the same time you stand next to them unable to reach them. Think about this next time you visit a funeral.

People present at the funeral will not hear, see, or respond to the deceased, so that even the most ignorant soul will recognize that he is not being seen or heard. He knows there’s a change, even though he, himself, sees or feels none. For he sees his astral body just as real as the physical body. His thinking or memory hasn’t changed. It’s just that he’s hearing people’s thoughts now and he’s seeing clearly things which he was unable to see while in the physical body.

Cremation is the preferred way of taking care of a corpse. It stops a common habit of deceased ones to visit the grave with the buried corpse in its progressing decomposing state. The less attraction from the physical plane, the easier it is to settle in the new astral life. Also grief for a deceased one should be kept to a minimum to avoid undue attraction back into the physical world. They don’t need your grief, they are fine.

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Q: What do people do on the astral planes?

Depends on what they did when still alive. Most tend to continue doing just that and ever so often without really accepting they died. Remember death, just as taking off an overcoat, does not change our outlook.
Don’t expect big revelations, or meet angels or God, it’s a world much as our physical with cities, houses, shops (yes, people tend to go on doing what they did, even when it’s no longer needed like shops or food or any other thing, even sex, believe it or not).
Most live in a self-created house, with their family or friends if possible and do what they want to do, just as in physical life without the usual physical plane burdens with health, finances, food, jobs etc.
Interesting reads are the books of Robert A. Monroe who did a lot of astral travelling in his life and kept detailed notes about it. One day he decides to try to visit his deceased father. After a long trip he finds him living in a small room. Upon entering his father looks up in disbelieve and says “what are you doing here!”

Many people enjoy the freedom of the astral life and enjoy access to all the millions of manuscripts ever written, or the music ever composed. Large libraries with millions of documents and large music halls packed with people listening to performances. Or travel the astral planes enjoying the rich nature.
Also people tend to study in preparation of their next incarnation with the tasks they have set themselves to do. No wonder some call it heaven. Basically you can do what you want, there are no restrictions other than the restriction of your consciousness. Often people are well aware there are higher more refined planes, but cannot access them on their own, they need to be invited by someone of these higher planes for a visit.

Likewise one can choose to visit the lower, more dense planes, although its better to do this with an experienced guide to avoid getting entangled with creatures on these lower planes. Elsewhere in this website the different planes are described in more detail.

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Q: Do I need to eat or drink?

No, the astral body gets it’s nourishment from the surrounding astral sea of energies. Still many people go through the habits of eating, and especially those people who suffered shortages of food while on earth tend to eat large quantities, but this desire will usually die out after a while.
Same is true for housing. There is no need for a house, but people often tend to create one just because they are used to it. Interesting thing is that when one looks closely enough you will often notice the house or dwelling is made in a sloppy way. But it does not rain or storm on the astral, so the house will stay no matter of the quality.

You have to keep in mind that every object is a result of an astral thought form created by the deceased.
Many of our habits we had in earth life carry over, but many of them tend to die out since there is no real need for them. So eating, sleeping and even clothes are not really needed. But most people keep their clothes on, even as a simple garment.

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Q: How big is this astral world?

The astral world is much bigger than the physical and in a vertical sense it extends to about 150.000 kilometres up (half way the moon) as a huge sphere surrounding the physical plane.

The astral world is not only populated by humans, but also by many other races, both human, alien and non-human. Also many artificial, elemental entities created by others roam the planes. Some of these elementals are very powerful and often evil, hostile towards humans.

After death communication is mainly by spoken language, so you can only talk to others if you understand and speak their language. Just as in physical life people tend to flock together with their racial and cultural, religious groups.

People tend to live in horizontal clusters, meaning groups of likeminded, friends, family, all more or less of the same level of development, much as is the case in physical life.
The factor time as we use it loses much of it’s normal physical meaning, people can stay in an astral environment for centuries if they so choose, although they are rarely aware of the amount of physical plane time involved.

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Q: Can you describe the difference between the seven astral layers?

It is a bit technical subject. There are seven main layers numbering them from the highest and least material downwards, we find that they naturally fall into three classes, divisions 1, 2 and 3 forming one such class, and 4, 5 and 6 another, while the seventh and lowest of all stands alone.

Putting aside for the moment the seventh, we may say that divisions 4, 5 and 6 of the astral plane have for their background the physical world in which we live, and all it’s familiar accessories. Life on the sixth division, often called the Stony plane, is not unlike our ordinary life on this earth, minus the physical body and it’s necessities; while as it ascends through the fifth and fourth divisions it becomes less and less material, and is more and more withdrawn from our lower world and it’s interests.

The lowest 7th plane is called The Dark Plane, also known as Underworld, Winterland, Shadow land, “Dante’s Inferno” and ‘Hell’.
The Shadow Land is a very real place indeed; a gloomy murk covers it to which one has to become accustomed; squalid dwellings inhabited by unhappy, tormented beings who jeer and mock and pursue their warped existences. Sometimes these poor souls live in hatred and rebellion, sometimes in apathy and sometimes with fierce denial that there is any other state of existence possible.

Visiting the planes
Most students on the astral planes find the investigation of this section an extremely unpleasant task, for there appears to be a sense of density and gross materiality about it, which is indescribably loathsome to the liberated astral body, causing it the feeling of pushing it’s way through some black, viscous fluid, while the inhabitants and influences encountered there are also usually exceedingly objectionable.

The first, second and third subdivisions, though occupying the same space, yet give the impression of being much further removed from this physical world, and correspondingly less material. Entities inhabiting these levels lose sight of the earth and it’s belongings; they are usually deeply self-absorbed, and to a large extent create their own surroundings, though these are sufficiently objective to be perceptible to other entities and also to clairvoyant vision. This region is often called the “summerlands”.
It is on these planes that “spirits” call into temporary existence their houses, schools, and cities, for these object are often real enough for the time, though to a clearer sight they may sometimes be pitiably unlike what their delighted creators suppose them to be.

Nevertheless, many of the imaginations which take form there are of real, though temporary beauty, and a visitor who knew of nothing higher might wander contentedly enough there among forests and mountains, lovely lakes and pleasant flower-gardens, which are at any rate much superior to anything in the physical world; or he might even construct such surroundings to suit his own fancies.

The Borderland, described in detail elsewhere, is the plane where everyone arrives and is situated on the 4th plane. The bulk of humanity spend their astral lives on the 3rd and 4th planes. These planes are often called the Lower Summerlands. More advanced individuals resided most of their time on the 1st and 2nd planes, often called the  Higher Summerlands.

Note: please be aware that in literature the numbering of these planes are sometimes reversed, the 1st being the lowest and 7 being the highest.

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Q: Is there any form of progress on the astral planes?

In a sense yes. After death the astral body usually rearranges itself in layers, the coarsest on the outside. Over time these outer layers disintegrate exposing the finer materials, so in a sense the person experiences a flow from lower to higher layers, from dark to light during this process of disintegration. So it feels as if they go to higher, lighter and more interesting levels once they cast off the lower astral material. Most people are very much aware of these higher levels because they hear and see visitors arriving from higher astral levels and strive towards it.
Of course, if a person did not accumulate much coarse material during physical life, there is also not much to disintegrate and the rising process is very quickly. And consequently the time spend on the astral is short.

Advanced individuals can choose not to permit this rearrangement of the astral material taking place and prevent this slow ‘peeling off’ process. In that case they are not hampered by this layering condition and can work more freely on the different astral planes. But it takes a definite act of the will of the person and of the ones who are present at the moment of death interfering to prevent this rearranging in layers from happening.
Especially those who are used to work in physical life on the astral planes at night during sleep would be greatly hampered if this rearranging of the astral body takes place.

Study
Many people use the opportunity to study. Libraries with documents of all times are available for study. Also much time is often devoted to better understand that world by travelling and enjoy the many goodies like music, theatre, dance. Everything is available and free to access. For many it’s a heavenly experience free of the physical plane burdens.

Also people often use the opportunity to prepare themselves for their next incarnation by study and training. This explains why people sometimes at a young age already know what their profession will be. Often this is of course in line what they have been involved with in previous lives.

Death does sharpen our emotional awareness considerable. The deceased tends to feel the emotions of those which they are connected with much more intense, both in and out of incarnation.
Also emotions as a result of what we inflicted on others during life can follow us here very strongly and can have a severe limiting influence. Especially acts of cruelty committed tend to haunt the deceased for a long time. The cruel actions done to others in pre death time are often repeated endlessly and are very painful for the deceased to experience again and again.

Its advisable for friends and family who stay behind not to grief too much about the deceased. Its mostly hampering their progress since the strong emotions coming from their friends tend to be felt very strongly and is an unpleasant experience. Not to mention the frustration felt knowing you are well and happy, while your friends are grieving about your death, while unable to prove your continued existence. Think about it.

From the standpoint of the deceased all of this grieving is utterly useless since they are often in a much better condition than before, especially when death was preceded by sickness, pain and fear. If you want to do anything at all for a deceased, the best is to pray and send loving thoughts, that unselfish energy often really helps and stimulates.
Often people tend to return to the place their corpse is buried, which is not a pleasant experience to watch but seem to attract many. To avoid these unpleasant attractions from happening it’s better to cremate and not bury the remains.

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Q: Can we travel in the astral world?

Travel in a horizontal sense (on the same consciousness level) is usually no problem and is almost instantaneous. People can travel in principle all over the world by merely wanting it, although it needs to be learned. Usual mode of movement on a smaller scale is either walking or flying, but also this has to be learned and may take weeks or months to master.

Traveling downward into the lower regions is also possible, but usually needs a proper guide and motivation to avoid being harassed or even attacked and is mostly done while cloaked to avoid being seen by the local inhabitants.

Travelling upward into higher astral levels, or even the mental planes is usually only possible if initiated by someone higher in development and under his or her experienced guidance as a learning experience. These travels are temporary, after the trip you return to your normal habitat.

Astral travel before death
It is a well known phenomena that it is possible to consciously visit the astral planes while still alive. Techniques to acquire this ability have been developed and many books have been written about it.

In more primitive societies this is a common way of contacting on the astral the elders who lived before in the tribes and they can give much advice on how to survive. Its also a common technique to find food, water, medicine, shelter and even enemies by simply roaming the area on the astral levels. This was done by special trained tribe members, often called the medicine men or shaman, but of course their role was far wider than that. In the west these people are often seen as primitive (witch) doctors, but we could learn a lot from them. Also they know much about the astral entities which can cause disease by attacking or obsessing humans or create havoc in the area they live. By going astral they can investigate the problem better and take proper action or striking a deal with these entities. In the developed world this is of course seen as primitive religion…There is also a darker side to this when this knowledge is used as black magic in voodoo or worse.

Visiting the astral world during sleep happens a lot. Especially the more advanced people tend to work on the astral planes during sleep. They can travel and visit the groups and deceased friends and family members they are affiliated with, or to do the work they have taken upon themselves.

It can clearly be seen if someone on the astral plane is still alive and being asleep or has no longer a physical body. Most of all because the astral reorganization has not taken place and the astral body is still connected by a silver shiny cord along which the physical body is kept alive. This cord is also a means of finding the physical body again after an astral trip to wake up. This astral travel can also be done in full consciousness, but it needs some training. Many books have been writing about this subject. One of the best books written about astral travel can be found here.

Although everyone leaves his physical body during sleep, many just hover above it to give the nervous system it’s needed rest from astral stimulation. This is the main reason for being asleep. These people don’t travel and are not engaged in any particular work, but are in a dreamy state waiting till the pull of matter brings them back in their body.

Another frequent activity when asleep is visiting recently departed friends and family, although usually the brain has no recollection of any of these activities. This recollection is prevented by a construction of etheric webs in the etheric body to prevent overload of the waking consciousness of people still in the physical.

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Q: What activities can one employ on the astral?

Death does not mean rest, the well-meant wishes of the family and friends to ‘rest in peace’ is never the case. On the contrary, no longer hampered by physical limitations you can finally do as you please (for good or for worse).

Unless you made a mess of your pre-death life and are consequently haunted by the results, life on the astral planes is usually pretty good.
Activities can range from study, travel, meet other cultures, all sorts of natural leisure like walking, playing, swimming, reading, music, arts, science, anything, even sex, although the lack of physical sexual organs makes it more of an emotional experience. In many ways it’s like one big joyous holiday, it only lasts longer than the usual 2 weeks on earth and cost no money:).

All written material from all ages and all cultures is available in huge libraries with millions and millions of items, free for all.
Musical performances or other art performances are given in large concert halls, often packed with people.
All religions of all times have their temples, churches, mosques, synagogues. All believe systems of all times are present and quite separate from each other. Often people flock around the same religious places they worshipped when still alive. Although the cherished believe of so many a devout person hoping to meet God or suddenly understand everything, or welcomed by 777 virgins for services rendered are not happening. If you want to meet God you need to manifest that quality in yourself, you don’t need to die for that.

You can meet groups of people from ancient cultures like for instance from the Roman days where they still live the lives as they did back then. Difficult as it may be for out brain to understand, but linear time does not exist on the astral planes or any other than in relation to the dense physical.

The astral plane is a parallel world with its own laws, its not even spiritual. Its the normal human habitat, for all purposes we are astral beings. During the short period we are in physical incarnation, this astral awareness is blocked to give us full freedom to do what we need to do to take the next step in our evolution as we have done countless times before.

The psychological state of people is in no way different then when they had a physical body. Heaven is a state of mind, not a locality, same is true for hell. Many people use the opportunity to prepare themselves for their next incarnation by studying and training although of course once back in incarnation there is no consciousness awareness of this. But sub-conscious we carry our acquired knowledge and experience of all previous lives.
If someone has special qualities or virtues in incarnation its not a gift, its the result of hard work in many lives, which is the whole point of this planetary evolution.

Contrary to some believe systems, it’s not possible to reincarnate as an animal, human souls don’t incarnate in the animal kingdom. Although there are extreme cases where a human out of incarnation possesses the body of an animal to have a closer contact with the physical. This is of course a very undesirable situation and leads to no good for the possessor. Werewolf stories and such are based on that.

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Q: Is there any punishment for bad behaviour committed while on earth?

Not in the sense that any revengeful God sends you to hell to be punished, not at all.
But if a person behaved very badly during earth life, he or she will become very much aware of the pain and misery which was inflicted on his victims. That in itself is form of self-punishment. Its a form of self -judgement which can in some cases take a long time to work out.

This aspect of the afterlife is very complex. The situation people find themselves in is largely based on the life they have lived. It is also much dependent on their point in evolution and view of life and what desires they had and consequently still have. People do not change in character because they lost their physical body, just as much as you don’t change if you take off an overcoat.

There is no inflicted punishment for behaviour, Satan and his hell of fire is a fantasy. Satan does not exist, we are out own worst enemy. That does not mean your astral life cannot be a hellish experience, but more of a psychological remorse than one externally applied. Many would prefer to be in a warm hell with friends combating Satan then being utterly alone in a cold, dark and self-created shell for long long periods of time.

In the astral world you cannot really hurt anyone in a physical sense, so murder, torture and such do not exist, although on the lower planes people play out these things because of their desires, often again and again with the same participants.

Millions are engaged in helping newly arrivals, imagine every day about 250.000 people die and arrive on the astral plane. It takes a lot of effort and organization to help them to properly cross into their new environment.

Of course much the same as the 250.000 odd babies which are born every day, and who need a lot of care too.

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Q: Is there a hell awaiting the wicked?

Not in the sense of a place with fire and a Satan poking your butt. But any strong misconduct in which other people were damaged or even worse, tends to be felt by deceased people. Its like they are pondering on it again and again, often even replaying the deeds endlessly in their emotional perception. This in itself can be very painful and in that sense be a hell of your own making.
A sense of being ‘utterly alone’ and often in dark, cold surroundings because the person tends to close off to the rest of the world are common experiences. Unless people formulate a strong desire to get out of it, this can last for a long time. its depression in it’s worst definition.
So hell can be a lonely dark, cold place, being confronted with your own deeds in endless repetition until the person finds enough will power and decides to step out of it and ‘goes to the light’ as it’s often depicted.

Q: Are suicides having extra problems after they died?

Yes, they often do, mainly because the problems which made them commit the act in the first place are still largely present. I don’t mean physical circumstances, but the emotional and mental conditions.
Another problem is that any incarnation has a planned duration and purpose, set by the soul. If the individual decides to shorten that by ending the physical existence, the remaining time still needs to be fulfilled and often this is a painful and drawn out process full of remorse. And of course, the pain and grief of those who stayed behind and also often blame themselves for it, is a most unpleasant experience for the suicide. Don’t kill yourself, find help, it’s not a solution in any sense.
Of course there are situations on the physical level which are so bad that suicide is the best of the two. As always we have free will and can decide to end the physical situation.

Q: What can be said about capital punishment?

Capital punishment is a very bad and barbaric way of ending a person’s physical life. The amount of anger and emotional disturbance because if this act work out as havoc on the astral planes. Also when applied to heavy criminals it often works out very bad, because the person will now be free in his astral body to look for new victims often by possessing weak humans and in this way create much more misery than they ever could while behind bars. So keeping them locked in jail is a far better way of dealing with it then letting them loose on the astral planes.

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Q: What happens with people who die by accident

People who die unexpectedly because of accident, war or murder have of course an extra problem in understanding their new situation. The trauma of the sudden loss of the physical body is hard to cope with. Therefore special teams of helpers are engaged in creating an almost artificial situation in which the person who just died is taken to a new surrounding which is often very pleasant decorated with flowers, plants, waterfalls and he or she meets people they know.

For instance when a plane crashes and everyone died, the panic and distress amount the passengers is very severe. Seeing the crashed plane and often their own physical bodies being heavily damaged or burned is a of course extremely stressful. Usually astral helpers quickly arrive to take the people away from the scene, for instance by creating an apparent floating platform with everyone standing on it and that platform slowly rises up in the air and away from the crash scene hearing an inner voice telling them all will be well, so people understand they are all leaving the crash site behind and are taking care of.
After some time of rising up they arrive at the new situation often greeted by family and friends who passed over before them. All done with the objective to calm them down and make them feel comfortable and understanding better what happened, all this is taken care off.

Depending on the person the duration of the stay at that healing place (borderland) can be very different. From a few days to many weeks or months to heal their emotions. When this is completed, they leave and go to the place in the astral world where they will spend their time determined by their level of consciousness and the past life.
Since often this sudden death was not planned for, the situation of the deceased is frequently different then for those who died in a natural way at old age.

Q: Is his astral world equal to what is seen as heaven in many religions?

Yes and no. Compared to the difficulties on earth in relation to food, money, illness, shortages of all kind this is certainly a great relieve. And as such could be experienced as a heavenly place.
But on the other hand it’s not the place where you will meet God, or hear angels playing harps, or walk in streets of gold, it’s not a religious place. That is for the most part a religious fantasy.

This astral life does not last forever, it can take from a few hours to many ages. Sooner or later this astral body is left behind when it’s all worked out by simply laying off the astral vehicle, much as the physical was laid off earlier, often called the second death. And of course there is a next step, the mental world. After the mental experience (not explained here), which is much fuller and more heavenly because coarse emotions no longer play any role.

Ultimately the soul decides to withdraw even from the mental plane and body and at some point in it’s wisdom may decide to reincarnate again to take the next step in its evolution and we are born again. This process of reincarnating can fill many books to describe, suffice is to say that the new bodies (mental, astral and physical) are build based on the essence of our previous lives, a kind of spiritual DNA which is stored at the end of every live and used to create the new one. In this way a continuation and therefore evolution of the soul on these planes is established.

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Q: Do animals live after their death?

Animals sometimes do when under the influence of a human as a pet, and can exist for some time on the astral planes. But animals, contrary to humans do not possess an individual soul, but are elements of an animal over-soul, or group-soul. So the evolution is not on the level of an individual animal, but on the level of that group-soul.
Still you may encounter animals outside of this. Nothing is set in stone.

Q: How long does this astral condition last?

The time spend on the astral planes is very different for people. A rough indication says that non-evolved and very evolved people both tend to spend little time, but for different reasons. Normally ranging from a few years to a few decades. The more ordinary classes of people can stay there up to many hundreds or even thousands of years, depending on their desires and choice. Time is a not a factor in the conscience of the person on the astral planes. We only incarnate out of free choice, there is no outside force. But from the standpoint of the soul the need for further expansion of consciousness is much clearer seen and there is no better learning and testing ground than the physical plane. Never forget the physical plane is the only plane where the highest and the lowest can meet on mutual ground, its rock bottom, the burning ground. We learn the needed lessons by harbouring the karma that comes with our actions and suffer because of it. its also the place where we can neutralize it.

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Q: Is there an end to this seemingly endless cycle of rebirth?

Yes there is. In fact this cycle, although often long in physical time sense, is only a preliminary stage to reach a condition of relative perfection from the standpoint of this planet. This perfected condition is called Master-hood. A fully soul infused being with no sense of any separation, gifted with tremendous knowledge and hence power, with the sole purpose to serve the planetary plan, although the application of a Masters power is on our level much restricted by the eternal laws of karma and free will. A well-known example of one of these is the Master Jesus. Much on this subject has been written in the Theosophical literature and the books of Alice Bailey.

Q: Why do we hear stories about ghosts and haunted places?

Some people have a very strong connection with the place they lived while in physical life. This can have many causes. Sometimes it’s linked to what they did there, but most often it’s based on their strong desires to control, as it’s perceived as their property.
So after death they stay at that place and can still see the astral counterparts of the place and occupy it. When people who are alive also come to this place as new owners with the intention to live there, it’s perceived as an intrusion in their domain and hence action is taken to scare them off.

So often they revert to behaviour to scare off the new-comers by appearing in horrific ghost like appearances which are temporary created of etheric matter. Its a result of their strong desires, not so much of their abilities to manipulate matter. Although this sometimes is also the case. In some cases even artificial elementals are used as a kind of demon to further their ends.
Its clear that people in these situations are usually of a very low order, and are oft driven by a fear to leave, because they are convinced it will lead to severe punishment or even end their existence.
Sometimes a deceased in that situation tries to take over the body of one of the people living there. This is done to give them more grip on the physical plane to create havoc or worse. The person is basically pushed out of his physical and is not longer in control. A popular way to describe it is called possession. Some people are more prone to possession than others. Typical warning signs are black eyes, growling and foul language. Although its difficult for the obsessing entity to keep in control, it can create a lot of damage while it is.
The expression often used ‘going to the light’ really means letting go of their grip on the lowest astral matter and waking up on a higher level.

Contrary to popular believe it’s not very easy to make a haunting entity leave the place. The sprinkling of so called ‘holy water’ and burning incense have at best a temporary effect. At worst they just rage the entity even more. Often in the case of human haunting the best is to strike some sort of a deal in which both parties can stay in their own domain. Cellars and attics are popular areas used by these people because they are rarely used by the live people. If that is not possible, the only other option is to leave the place.
Not all haunting is done by people, on the astral planes exist many so called artificial elementals. these elementals can appear if called upon or by using so called portals. They enter our domain by using such portals. The only way to stop it is by closing the portal which requires a lot of skill and knowledge.

Demons
In the case of elementals or sometimes called demons, an exorcism may prove successful. Its basically a clash of will power between the entity and it’s exorcist. Of course this can only be done successfully by trained people. Trick to successful exorcism is to have the entity waste so much energy by staying foot, that in the end it has to let go because of sheer lack of power. It helps if a group of strong willed, determined, non-fearing, trained individuals are present combining their powers to send the haunting elemental off to its own domain.

The average priest burning incense and uttering some biblical text, waving bibles is not enough in most cases and only makes things worse. Unless the entity found another abode to haunt, it may return after some weeks or months when it’s energy loss has been replenished. Its similar to getting rid of ants or other pests in your house, a lot of work and often temporary results. It is no wonder that old buildings like castles and churches are loaded with entities having their residence in it. Be aware when you buy an old house, it may contain much more than meets the eye.

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Q: How does Karma fit into all of this?

Karma plays a great role, not only in the human (after) life, but everywhere in the universe. It’s as common as gravity and as little understood.

The Bhagavad-Gita says that none who are embodied can escape it – Shining Ones, human beings, animals, vegetables, minerals, are all evolving within this universal law; even the LOGOS Himself, embodied in a universe, comes within a larger sweep of this law of all manifestation.
So long as any one is related to matter, embodied in matter, so long is he within karmic law. A being may escape from or transcend one or other of its aspects, but he cannot, while remaining in manifestation, go outside this law.

Karma is a natural law, the Law of Consequence and Compensation, the Law of Cause and Effect and is a very complicated matter and very fragmented understood. People often see it as a consequence of their actions, but its much more.

Most important is we learn to take into account the karmic consequences of our actions. This is a long and drawn out learning process which can take many lives. Of course the karmic situation has a profound effect on the after life, for good or for bad.

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Q: If I read all this, I feel the general fear we have for death is not so needed?

The fear of death we experience is based a number of factors. Of course the general upbringing without any religion makes it very clear there is only one life. So consequently death is the end of it all, but there are no consequences after death for any misbehaviour.

Fear of death is a mighty weapon yielded in the hands of the evil ones, a subject we will not further explore in this article.
Within most of the religious frameworks people learn that there are rules. Rules which either benefit the after-life or not. Often portrayed as God and the evil devil or Satan. And of course no one wants to fall in the hands of the latter. Unfortunately for many a devout person, upon arrival after death the expected rewards are missing. Although the life as it is often much better than the previous one in the flesh. Usually the fear for any devil is quickly overcome and forgotten.

So our fear is a learned fear, but also a response to the innate desire of the physical body to remain alive. That’s why we react to great life threatening dangers in an instinctive way.
By learning about the realities of the life after the physical death, the learned fear of death will become less, and also less instinctive.
Still at the final hour we are never sure, so it takes a great leap of faith to meet the physical death in a balanced and controlled fashion.

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Q: Reading all of this I get the impression you better off dead than alive, why bother?

Important point.
You may ask why go into incarnation and all of it’s troubles and find at the end the afterlife much more pleasant in most cases? Although we only have a faint glimpse of the WHY of this all, there are a few things one can say about this.
First of all, our incarnation in physical form is part of a long process of evolution. Both on an individual and on a group level. Because people take live after live they learn, they pick up where they left off and take the next step. They try to round out all aspects of life.

Every incarnation by the soul is taken with a certain objective for that life. Its a kind of contract, an agreement of what is to be achieved. For this purpose the soul chooses its vehicles for the coming incarnation based on that goal. Part of that goal is the karmic situation, what karma needs to be worked off and with what instrument and life circumstance can this best be done.
Often people incarnate at the same time and same group or family to be able to render the service needed to compensate for the karmic links. Such karmic links can extend over many lives, each in a different setting.
Important point is free will. Human free will is sacred and should not be infringed. This means that even the soul cannot do much when the personality refuses to take on the contract and even worse adds new karma. The nett result is that we have to do it over and over again in future lives until we have learned the needed lessons.

Also during the interlude between incarnations many people prepare themselves to acquire skills and knowledge for their next one. That is why some at a young age know perfectly well what they want to do in their new life. You are totally free to spend your time between two incarnations as you want. Unless you made a mess of the last life of course.

Another interesting point is that the physical plane contrary to all the other planes is equal to everyone. Meaning there is no consciousness level that prohibits us to be in contact with others. We are all equal, or so it seems. The lowest and the highest both exist on the same level. Physical plane is rock bottom so to speak. And it’s not the personality, but the soul who undertakes this quest. The soul tries to gain experience on all the lower planes in order to exercise it’s powers and wisdom. The main goal of the soul is service and love. When we look at the current state of the world, much of that is needed.

Of course this subject is much wider than this text can hope to convey and hundreds of books have been written about it. Still it’s good to keep in mind that this incarnation process serves a major purpose in the eyes of the gods, however we see them and as little as we seem to understand it.
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