The astral world can be described as a world that has a close relationship with the stars. The study of hermetic astrology can provide a deeper insight into the connections here. In simple terms, the astral world can be seen as a world between earth and heaven.
The origin of the term “astral” comes from the Latin “astrum”, which means constellation or star. Astral therefore means “relating to, belonging to, or coming from the stars. All descriptions and terminology used to describe these realities are misleading and can only be seen as attempts to describe things that elude the ordinary everyday senses.
Various occult and spiritual currents report that there is not just one world, but several worlds. Depending on the spiritual current, there are different names for the respective worlds, levels, or sublevels.
In the theosophical worldview, there is a physical, an astral, a mental, a causal, and a spiritual world or plane. Each of these worlds has sublevels, and the worlds are interwoven and have fluid transitions. However, these systems and divisions are neither rigid nor immovable, like the geological layers of the earth, but rather represent simultaneously existing and nested realities.
The astral world can be imagined in this context, between the physical-etheric world and the mental world. This is the natural environment of the astral body, which is a more subtle version of the human body.
In the Kabbalah system, the ninth Sephirah Yesod (Foundation) in the Tree of Life corresponds to the subconscious mind on the microcosmic level and to the astral world on the macrocosmic level. This sphere is also known as the Treasure House of Images.
The astral world is primarily concerned with issues such as desires, lusts, inclinations, sympathies, fears, illusions, etc., which take essential or pictorial forms in this world. People experience the astral plane as an intermediate phase during the dream phase or after physical death.
One area of the astral world is therefore also described in Gnosis as purgatory, where all the above-mentioned aspects that were not brought into harmony in earthly life are purified in the human astral body before he can enter the lower realms of “heaven”.
It is in no way a place of eternal torment, as some false religious teachings would have us believe and use as a tool of manipulation or blackmail to make the follower willing.
On the contrary, Purgatory is an important area for the purification of the soul in order to prepare it for higher levels. In the instructions of the Hermetic Academy, these areas are dealt with practically and theoretically.