Excerpts From: “The Astral Plane,” by Charles Webster Leadbeater: (This book is available for free on iBooks or by googling PDF The Astral Plane C W Leadbeater.)
“The astral plane has seven subdivisions, each of which has its corresponding degree of materiality and its corresponding condition of matter. Now numbering these 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.”
“Divisions 4, 5 and 6 of the astral plane have for their background the physical world we live in and all its familiar accessories. Life on the sixth division is simply our ordinary life on this earth, minus the physical body and its 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while as it ascends through the fifth and fourth divisions it becomes less and less material, and is more and more withdrawn from our lower world and its interests.”
“For the seventh or lowest subdivision of the astral plane also this physical world of ours may be said to be the background, though what is seen is only a distorted and partial view of it, since all that is light and good and beautiful seems invisible.”
“The first, second, and third subdivisions seem much further removed from this physical world, and correspondingly less material. Entities inhabiting these levels lose sight of the earth and its belongings; they are usually deeply self-absorbed, and to a large extent create their own surroundings, though these are not purely subjective, as in Devachan [the mental plane], but on the contrary sufficiently objective to be perceptible to other entities.”
“A visitor who knew of nothing higher might wander contentedly enough there among forests and mountains, lovely lakes and pleasant flower-gardens, or might even construct such surroundings to suit his own fancies.”
“It will be readily understood that a man who is torn from physical life hurriedly while in full health and strength, whether by accident or suicide, finds himself upon the astral plane under conditions differing considerably from those which surround one who dies either from old age or from disease. In the latter case the hold of earthly desires upon the entity is more or less weakened, and probably the very grossest [astral] particles are already got rid of, so that the astral body will most likely form itself on the sixth or fifth subdivision of the astral plane, or perhaps even higher; the principles have been gradually prepared for separation, and the shock is therefore not so great. In the case of the accidental death or suicide none of these preparations have taken place, and the withdrawal of the principles from their physical encasement has been very aptly compared to the tearing of the stone out of an unripe fruit; a great deal of the grossest kind of astral matter still clings around the personality, which is consequently held in the seventh or lowest subdivision of the astral plane [for a longer time than usual].
“This has already been described as anything but a pleasant abiding-place, yet it is by no means the same for all those who are compelled for a time to inhabit it. Those victims of sudden death whose earth-lives have been pure and noble have no affinity for this plane, and the time of their sojourn upon it is passed, to quote from an early Letter on this subject, either "in happy ignorance and full oblivion, or in a state of quiet slumber, a sleep full of rosy dreams ".
In fact, as Devachan is a realm guided by devas, there is a corresponding realm in the astral guided by demons [the lowest astral sub-plane]; we might call it Demonchan. The fundamental difference is that lifestreams are magnetized to Demonchan through their negative "wishes," meaning those that can only be fulfilled by harming others. Thus, in Demonchan, you can indeed experience anything you desired to do on earth, including killing Americans, blowing up buildings or bringing down the "Great Satan."
(Extract from ascendedmasteranswers.com/spiritual-realm/37-about-devachan)
Excerpts from The Astral Body, by A. E. Powell. (This book is available for free by googling PDF The Astral Body A E Powell.)
Thus, when an ordinary man falls in love, the astral body is so completely transformed as to make it scarcely recognizable as belonging to the same person. Selfishness, deceit and avarice vanish, and the lowest part of the oval is filled with a large development of animal passions. The green of adaptability has been replaced by the peculiar brownish-green of jealousy, and the extreme activity of this feeling is shown by bright scarlet flashes of anger which permeate it. But the undesirable changes are more than counterbalanced by the splendid band of crimson which fills so large a part of the oval. This is, for the time, a dominant characteristic, and the whole astral body glows with its light. Under its influence the general muddiness of the ordinary astral body has disappeared, and the hues are all brilliant and clearly marked, good and bad alike. It is an intensification of the life in various directions. The blue of devotion is also distinctly improved, and even a touch of pale violet appears at the summit of the ovoid, indicating a capacity of response to a really high and unselfish ideal. The yellow of intellect, however, has entirely vanished for the time — a fact which the cynical might consider as characteristic of the condition!
The time a person may spend in the astral plane in their passage to the heaven-world, may vary within very wide limits. There are some who pass only a few hours or days on the astral plane: others remain there for many years, or even centuries.
For an ordinary person 20 or 30 years on the astral plane after death is a fair average.
Very soon after death, in most cases, an important change takes place in the structure of the astral body, owing to the action of the desire elemental.
On the death of the physical body, knowing that the term of its separated life is limited, and that the man's astral death will more or less quickly follow,in order to make the man's astral body last as long as possible, it rearranges its matter in concentric rings or shells, the coarsest outside. From the point of view of the desire elemental this is good policy, because the coarsest matter can hold together longest and best stand friction.
The re-arrangement of the astral body takes place over the surface of the counterpart of the physical body, not over the surface of the ovoid which surrounds it.
The effect is to prevent the free and full circulation of astral matter which usually takes place in the astral body. In addition, the man is able to respond only to those vibrations which are received by the outermost layer of his astral body. The man is thus shut up, as it were, in a box of astral matter, being able to see and hear things of the lowest and coarsest plane only.
Since he can see and feel only what is lowest and coarsest, the men around him appear to be monsters of vice. Under these circumstances it is little wonder that he considers the astral world a hell.
This process of re-arrangement of the astral body, which takes place with most people, can be prevented by the man setting his will to oppose it: in fact, anyone who understands the conditions of the astral plane should altogether decline to permit the re-arrangement of the astral body by the desire-elemental. The particles of the astral body will then be kept intermingled, as in life, and in consequence, instead of being confined to one astral sub-plane at a time, the man will be free of all the sub-planes, according to the constitution of his astral body.
”On the lowest astral sub-plane a man, having other things to occupy his attention, concerns himself little with what takes place in the physical world, except when he haunts vile resorts."
"On the next sub-plane, the sixth, are found men who, whilst alive, centred their desires and thoughts chiefly in mere worldly affairs. Consequently, they still hover about the persons and places with which they were most closely associated while on earth, and may be conscious of many things in connection with these. They never, however, see physical matter itself, but always the astral counterpart of it.
Thus, for example, a theatre full of people has its astral counterpart, which is visible to astral entities. They would not, however, be able to see, as we see them, either the costumes or the expressions of the actors, and the emotions of the players, being not real but simulated, would make no impression on the astral plane [wouldn't be visible as auras].”
”Those on the sixth sub-plane, which is on the surface of the earth, find themselves surrounded by the astral counterparts of physically existing mountains, trees, lakes, etc.
On the next two sub-planes, the fifth and fourth, this consciousness of physical affairs is also possible, though in rapidly diminishing degree.
On the next two sub-planes, the third and second, contact with the physical plane could be obtained only by a special effort to communicate through a medium.
From the highest, the first sub-plane, even communication through a medium would be very difficult.
Those living on the higher sub-planes usually provide themselves with whatever scenes they desire. Thus in one portion of the astral world men surround themselves with landscapes of their own creation: others accept ready-made the landscapes which have already been constructed by others.”