Sunday, 8 January 2017


A peculiar phenomenon of the Astral Plane are the worn-out Astral bodies of the souls who have awakened from the soul-slumber of the Astral Plane, which are aptly called Astral Shells. These worn-out garments of the soul are frequently mistaken for the soul itself.

Each human entity on earth-life has, in addition to the physical body, a finer and more subtle form of body, which is called the Astral Body (sometimes called the etheric double, known to the Hindus as the Linga Sharira). This Astral body is an exact counterpart of the physical body and is the finer model upon which the physical body is moulded or overlaid. Upon the departure of the soul from the physical body, it carries the Astral body with it as its vehicle and dwells in it during the soul-sleep, discarding it only when it awakens from the soul-slumber and passes on to the higher states or conditions of the Astral. The Astral body, thus discarded by the soul, then becomes what is known to occultists as an Astral shell.

The Astral body exists for some time after the death of the person to whom it belongs and under certain circumstances, it is visible to living persons and is called a ghost. The Astral shell, which is sometimes seen after it has been sloughed off by the soul which has passed on is in such cases nothing more than a corpse of finer matter than its physical counterpart. In such cases it is possessed of no life or intelligence and is nothing more than a cloud seen in the sky bearing a resemblance to the human form. It is a shell, nothing more. When discarded by the soul it begins to slowly disintegrate. It floats around in the lower Astral atmosphere until finally it is dissolved into its original elements. It seems to have a peculiar attraction toward its late physical counterpart and will often return to the neighbourhood of the discarded physical body and disintegrate with it. Persons of psychic sight, either normal or influenced by fear or similar emotions, frequently see these Astral shells floating around graveyards, over battlefields, etc., and mistake them for the spirits of departed persons, whereas they are no more the real souls of the persons than are the physical bodies beneath the ground.

These Astral shells may be galvanised into a semblance of life by coming in contact with the vitality of some medium, the prana of the latter animating it, and the subconscious mentality of the medium causing it to manifest signs of life and partial intelligence. 

Life Beyond Death, Yogi Ramacharaka, Yogi Publication Society, Chicago, 1912