~ Lesson Two ~
The Complete Awareness and Integration of the Astral Body
The astral body is composed of emotional-energy, as opposed to physical-energy. Unlike physical energy, emotional-energy is not measurable with scientific instruments. Therefore the astral body should not be confused with the aura since the aura, which can be measured, is composed of physical-energy, albeit of a highly rarified nature. An aura is naturally generated by a living physical body and while it reflects the nature of the astral body, it is not the astral body itself.
The astral body is an intermediary body caused by the descent of the mental body, into the physical plane and is dependant upon this connection between mental and physical for its existence. If the mental influx is cut off or if the physical vessel is destroyed, the astral body begins to disintegrate. The raw astral substance is crystallized into an astral body only when there is a descent of the mental into the physical.
Each astral body reflects the descending mental influx that forms it, thus your own natural astral body is just as unique as your physical body. No two are exactly alike.
An astral body acts as a two-way connector between the mental and physical bodies. Whatever transpires in your mental body is reflected in your astral body and passes through your astral body to effect your physical body. Conversely, whatever happens to your physical body affects your astral body and, by extension, your mental body.
The seat of perception is the mental body but the seat of sensation is the astral body. When you experience a sensation you perceive it initially with your mental senses. This is a perception of the essential meaning that underlies the sensation. This essential meaning is then personalized by your astral body and the sensation is given significance.
Significance is a matter of the emotional content that we associate with a particular thing, idea, event, etc. Which emotions we associate with which thing depends upon our upbringing, just as much as it depends upon our self-developed thoughts and experiences. This attribution of emotional significance to our perceptions is a very complex and primarily unconscious, process. The habitual pattern that a person follows in their attribution of emotional significance is know as their personality. This is why the astral body is generally equated with the personality. However, the astral body is more than just a complex of emotional responses. It's also our link to the astral realm.
The first work in Hermetic initiation is the analysis and subsequent transformation of the personality. Understanding the dynamics of one's own personality allows the initiate to more clearly perceive the essential meaning that underlies each sensation, event, thing or idea. When you can see through your instinctual emotional interpretations and understand why you are reacting in that particular manner, you are then in a position to consciously respond, instead of reacting out of unconscious habit. This reformation of the personality removes it from the realm of pure unconscious, habitual reaction and turns it into a conscious tool of self-expression. With this tool in hand, the initiate seeks to clearly express their own essential meaning through the medium of conscious emotions.
One task of this lesson of the Archaeous is the sensing of your astral body. This adds a new dimension to the work of analyzing and transforming the personality by providing a sensory point of reference to a process that is primarily intellectual.
The astral body feels very similar to the physical body but has a vibrancy to it that physical sensation does not. The feeling is very much like the physical sensation of goose bumps or that other-worldly tingling sensation that arises when you encounter something deeply significant.
Since the astral body is so intimately connected to the physical body, the sensing of the astral body feels to the physical nerves like you're hooked up to a mild current of electricity. It's as if you feel the tips of each hair on your body as the electric current forces them to stand straight out. But this is only how your brain naturally interprets the conscious sensing of the astral body.
As I said previously, the astral body is not composed of physical energy, so what you feel of it with your physical body, is not the astral body itself. Instead, it is a physical sensation caused by your brain's habit of translating the conscious awareness of significance into physical sensation. Since your brain is receiving an input of significance and essential meaning that it naturally associates with physical sensation, it is responding by firing off a few neurons that create the physical sensations I've described.
This fact can lead to a great amount of confusion as many will conclude that the astral body is an energetic or etheric body. So please remember as you're sensing your astral body that what you feel as a physical sensation is only an effect of becoming conscious of your astral body. Do not identify it as the astral body itself, but rather, look beyond the physical sensation and try to perceive the significance underlying the sensation. That is where you will find the true astral body.
The physical body corresponds to the Earth Element and the astral body, to the Water Element. The astral body is very fluidic and rhythmic in nature and tends to adapt itself to any vibration it encounters. For this reason, all things perceived through hearing have an especially direct impact upon your astral body. A really moving song, for example, directly manipulates your astral body, evoking specific, predictable emotional responses through sound and rhythm.
Since music is probably the best example of the effect that sound and rhythm have upon your astral or emotional body, I will be using snippets of a few appropriate musical passages as an aid during the exercise itself.
So, let's move on to the practice of lesson two and the complete awareness and integration of the astral body.
Each lesson of the archaeous begins with the relaxation and awareness of the physical body. Assuming that you have mastered lesson one, we will move through the initial relaxation phase fairly quickly.
Situate yourself comfortably, sitting upright, with your hands resting gently on your thighs, and clear your mind of all unwanted, mundane concerns and thoughts.
Now focus your awareness in the Earth region of your physical body and quickly relax all of the muscles in this region. Release every bit of tension.
Now move your awareness upwards to your Water region and relax all of the muscles in this region. Release every bit of tension.
Now move your awareness upwards to your Air region and relax all of the muscles in this region. Release every bit of tension.
Now move your awareness upwards to your Fire region and relax all of the muscles in this region. Release every bit of tension.
Now sense your entire head region as a whole.
Add to this your chest region and sense both together.
Add to this your abdominal region and sense all three together.
And finally, add your leg region and sense your entire physical body as a whole.
Project your roots down into the soil below you and release every bit of negativity you might be holding.
Now return your focus to sensing your entire physical body as a whole. Feel the solidity of the Earth region, the fluidity of the Water region, the lightness of the Air region and the electricity of the head region. Sense how these four regions penetrate each other and are a single, inseparable whole.
Now focus your awareness in the skin that covers your entire body. Sense the surface of your entire physical body.
Now push your awareness outward just a couple of inches or about 5 centimeters. Sense the vibrant energy that exists when you push your awareness ever so slightly outward.
Hold onto the sensation of this energy. Focus your mind exclusively upon sensing this energy. This is your astral body.
Now focus your awareness in the area surrounding your physical body's Earth region. Sense the energetic solidity of this area of your astral body. Here are your foundational emotions. The rudimentary emotions and beliefs from which all the rest of your emotions spring. Sense their solid energy pulsating within the Earth region of your astral body.
Now focus your awareness in the area surrounding your physical body's Water region. Sense the energetic fluidity of this area of your astral body. Here are your emotions that adapt your foundational emotions so that they fit with the outside world. The emotions and beliefs that translate your foundation into action. Sense their fluid energy pulsating within the Water region of your astral body.
Now focus your awareness in the area surrounding your physical body's Air region. Sense the energetic lightness of this area of your astral body. Here are your emotions that communicate your foundational emotions to the outside world. The surface emotions and beliefs that you express every day. Sense their changeable energy pulsating within the Air region of your astral body.
Now focus your awareness in the area surrounding your physical body's Fire region. Sense the energetic expansiveness of this area of your astral body. Here are your most fleeting and most passionate emotions. The powerful emotions whose expression is transformative. Sense their radiant energy pulsating within the Fire region of your astral body.
Now add the awareness of the Air region of your astral body to that of the Fire region. Sense how the energy of these two regions blend, one with the other. Sense these two regions as a single unit.
Now add the awareness of the Water region of your astral body to that of the combined Air and Fire. Sense how the energy of the Water region blends with the energy of the combined Air and Fire and form a single unit. Sense the unity of these three regions of your astral body.
Now add the awareness of the Earth region of your astral body to that of the combined Water, Air and Fire. Sense how the energy of the Earth region blends with the combined energy of Water, Air and Fire. Sense how the Earth region solidifies your astral body, holding it all together as a single unit.
Focus on the vibrant energy of your entire astral body.
Now shrink your awareness back down to your skin and sense the skin that covers your entire physical body. Draw the energy of your astral body inward still further and let it permeate your entire physical body to its core. Draw the energy of your astral body down into the very marrow of your bones.
Sense the bright energy that fills your entire physical body. Sense the Fiery energy permeating the head region of your physical body. The Airy energy permeating the chest region of your physical body. The Watery energy permeating the abdominal region of your physical body. And the Earthy energy permeating the leg region of your physical body.
Now project your roots deep into the soil below you and release all of the excess energy you feel. Just release what ever needs to flow down into the earth. Don't force it, just let it flow. Your physical body knows how much to retain and how much to release, so trust its wisdom.
Now return your awareness to sensing your physical body. Sense the solidity of your leg region, the fluidity of your abdominal region, the lightness of your chest region and the electricity of your head region.
Sense all four regions simultaneously as a unified whole. Now begin your return to normal awareness. Before opening your eyes or moving your body, take a moment to listen to the noises around you, to smell the air, etc.
Now take a deep breath and exhale it gently.
Now move your hands up along your thighs and up your abdomen and chest, up to your face and back down again, awakening your body to normal sensation.
Now gently open your eyes and slowly begin to physically move about.
When this technique becomes easy for you to perform, you may move on to lesson three and the complete awareness and integration of the mental body.