The Theosophical Model of Astral Worlds


[Note: The following are my notes from a work-in-progress research into the model of astral worlds employed by certain members of the Theosophical Society. In my research, these magicians – Charles Leadbeater, William Walker Atkinson, Annie Besant, Alice Bailey, and Rudolf Steiner – explored further into the realms of the Universe-Mind than any before them. Sadly, I know of no one today (myself included) who is even close to the same depth of experience in these matters. Therefore, we would be wise to closely study their work and avoid reinventing the wheel over and over again.]


Reality is comprised of 7 “Worlds” of existence, with each world divided into 7 planes (Note that the original text uses the terms “planes” / “subdivisions” instead of “worlds” / “planes”. The word choice has been updated to make the model less confusing for the modern reader).

World#World Name“Solar” World NamePlane#Plane NameDescription
1PhysicalPhysical7Bose-Einstein CondensatesA form of matter with almost no kinetic energy.
   6Solid 
   5Liquid 
   4Gas 
   3Plasma 
   2[Unknown]
“Ether 1”
 
   1[Unknown]
“Ether 2”
 
2AstralEmotional7  
   6Out-of-Body experienceThe most common subdivision for astral projection experiences.
   5ClairvoyanceMind reading. Includes premonitions.
   4  
   3  
   2  
   1  
3Devachanic
Manastic
Mental7MindThe conceptual plane of imagination.
   6 
   5  
   4  
   3  
   2  
   1  
4Sushuptic
Buddhic
Intuitional7BuddhicConditionally Immortal Plane.
   6  
   5  
   4  
   3  
   2  
   1  
5Nirvanic
Atmic
Spiritual7Spirit WillFirst Immortal Plane.
   6  
   5  
   4  
   3  
   2  
   1  
6AnupadakaMonadic7 – 1Will / WisdomThis plane has been sensed, but no one has ever been able to communicate the nature of a visitation.
[Most likely, this plane is the first world where the concept of “self” ceases to exist. One might imagine the self as a raindrop having just fallen upon the surface of an ocean. The subdivisions of this plane correlate to currents within that ocean.]
7Adi
Logos
Divine7 – 1 This plane has been sensed, but no one has ever been able to communicate the nature of a visitation.
[Most likely, this plane is where the ocean of spirits dissolve into a form of energy that occupies infinite space. This is often referred to as “The Logos”. This plane exists outside of time and outside of all frame of mortal reference.]
Table 1: 7 Worlds and 49 Planes

Man is comprised of the following projections within the context of each corresponding world of existence:

World#World NameProjection TypeProjection Class
1PhysicalDense BodyMortal
2AstralEtheric DoubleMortal
3DevachanicPranaMortal
4SushupticKama-ManasConditionally Immortal
5NirvanicHigher ManasImmortal
6AnupadakaBuddhiImmortal
7LogosAtmaImmortal
Table 2: Forms of Projections

In an effort to keep this information rooted in the familiar, here is how these 7 worlds would roughly map to the classic Kabbalistic 4-world model:

Kabbalistic WorldPart of the SoulWorld#World Name
AssiahNephesh1Physical
YetzirahRuach2Astral
BriahNeshamah3-4Devachanic – Sushuptic
AtziluthChiah5-7Nirvanic – Logos
Table 3 : Kabbalistic 4-World Model Correspondence

The following image is Alice Bailey’s early sketch of the Theosophical Model. Scanned from her book, “Initiation, Human and Solar”.

References

  1. The Astral Plane” by C.W. Leadbeater
  2. The Astral Plane: Its Scenery, Inhabitants and Phenomena” by C.W. Leadbeater
  3. The Astral World: Its Scenery, Dwellers And Phenomena” [Hardcopy] by William Walker Atkinson
  4. How to Know Higher Worlds” by Rudolf Steiner
  5. The Devachanic Plane, Or, the Heaven World: Its Characteristics and Inhabitants” by C.W. Leadbeater
  6. The Devachanic Plane” by Annie Besant
  7. The Astral Body: And Other Astral Phenomena” by A.E. Powell
  8. Thought Forms” by Annie Besant & C.W. Leadbeater
  9. The Masters and the Path” by C.W. Leadbeater
  10. Initiation, Human & Solar” by Alice Bailey
  11. Invisible Helpers” by C.W. Leadbeater
  12. How Clairvoyance is Developed” by C.W. Leadbeater
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