C.W. Leadbetter: Excerpts from Astral Plane: Scenery, Inhabitants and Phenomena


The first point which it is necessary to make clear in describing this astral plane is its absolute reality. It goes by other names such as The Hades or Purgatory but Mediæval alchemists called it the astral plane and the Occult followed.

The objects and inhabitants of the astral plane are real in exactly the same way as our own bodies, our furniture, our houses or monuments are real – as real as Charing Cross.

Though for the most part entirely unconscious of it, man passes the whole of his life in the midst of a vast and populous unseen world. During sleep or in trance, when the insistent physical senses are for the time in abeyance, this other world is to some extent open to him, and he will sometimes bring back from those conditions more or less vague memories of what he has seen and heard there. When, at the change which men call death, he lays aside his physical body altogether, it is into this unseen world that he passes, and in it he lives through the long centuries that intervene between his incarnations into this existence that we know.

It is hard for us to realize how partial our sight is – to understand that we are all the time living in a vast world of which we see only a tiny part. Yet science tells us with no uncertain voice that this is so, for it describes to us whole worlds of minute life of whose existence we are entirely ignorant as far as our senses are concerned.

Clearly all about us there are potent forces which yet elude our poor and partial senses; so obviously we must beware of falling into the fatally common error of supposing that what we see is all there is to see.

We are, as it were, shut up in a tower, and our senses are tiny windows opening out in certain directions. In many other directions we are entirely shut in, but clairvoyance or astral sight opens for us one or two additional windows, and so enlarges our prospect, and spreads before us a new and wider world, which is yet part of the old world, though before we did not know it.

In our solar system there exist perfectly definite planes, each with its own matter of different degrees of density. Some of these planes can be visited and observed by persons who have qualified themselves for the work, exactly as a foreign country might be visited and observed; and, by comparing the observations of those who are constantly working on these planes, evidence can be obtained of their existence and nature at least as satisfactory as that which most of us have for the existence of Greenland or Spitzbergen

The names of the planes are the Physical, the Astral, the Mental or Devachanic, the Buddhic, and the Nirvanic. Higher than this last are two others, but they are so far above our present power of conception that for the moment they may be left out of consideration.

But however it may occur, the first actual realization that we are all the while in the midst of a great world full of active life, of which most of us are nevertheless entirely unconscious, cannot but be a memorable epoch in a man’s existence.

First of all, then, it must be understood that the astral plane has seven subdivisions, each of which has its corresponding degree of materiality and its corresponding condition of matter.

It must be understood that the matter of each plane or sub-plane interpenetrates that of the plane or sub-plane below it, so that here at the surface of the earth all exist together in the same space, although it is true that the higher varieties of matter extend further away from the physical earth than the lower.

So when we speak of a man as rising from one plane or sub-plane to another, we do not think of him as necessarily moving in space at all, but rather as transferring his consciousness from one level to another – gradually becoming unresponsive to the vibrations of one order of matter, and beginning instead to answer to those of a higher and more refined order; so that one world with its scenery and inhabitants would seem to fade slowly away from his view, while another world of a more elevated character dawns upon him in its stead.

Visually it is easiest to make the comparison of the planes and sub-planes to concentric shells.

Putting aside for the moment the seventh, we may say that divisions 4, 5 and 6 of the astral plane have for their background the physical world in which we live, and all its familiar accessories. Life on the sixth division is not unlike 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 .

The scenery of these lower divisions, then, is that of the earth as we know it; but in reality it is also much more: for when we look at it from this different standpoint, with the assistance of the astral senses, even purely physical objects present quite a different appearance. As has already been mentioned, one whose eyes are fully opened sees them, not as usual from one point of view, but from all sides at once – an idea in itself sufficiently confusing.

One other point deserves mention in connection with the appearance of physical matter when looked at from the astral plane, and that is that the higher vision, when fully developed, possesses the power of magnifying at will the minutest physical particle to any desired size, as though by a microscope , though its magnifying power is enormously greater than that of any microscope ever made or ever likely to be made.

“What manner of place is this unto which I have come? It hath no water, it hath no air; it is deep, unfathomable; it is black as the blackest night, and men wander helplessly about therein; in it a man may not live in quietness of heart.” For the unfortunate human being on that level it is indeed true that “all the earth is full of darkness and cruel habitations”, but it is darkness which radiates from within himself and causes his existence to be passed in a perpetual night of evil and horror – a real hell, though, like all other hells, entirely of man’s own creation.

This Entities inhabiting these levels are usually deeply self-absorbed, and to a large extent create their own surroundings, though these are sufficiently objective to be perceptible to other entities and also to clairvoyant vision.

It is on these planes that “spirits” call into temporary existence their houses, schools, and cities, for these object are often real enough for the time, though to a clearer sight they may sometimes be pitiably unlike what their delighted creators suppose them to be.

Records of the Astral Light. These records are a sort of materialization of the Divine memory – a living photographic representation of all that has ever happened. They play as projections which live, permanently impressed upon a very much higher level, and are only reflected in a more or less spasmodic manner on the astral plane, so that one whose power of vision does not rise above this will be likely to obtain only occasional and disconnected pictures of the past instead of a coherent narrative. But nevertheless these reflected pictures of all kinds of past events are constantly being reproduced in the astral world, and form an important part of the surroundings of the investigator there.

KB Notes:

There are people there. Masters/Adepts/ i.e. Leaders and Pupils/i.e. Bureaucrats (who work for the Masters). There are also Ordinary People who float in their astral bodies during sleep and they don’t ever wake up to it. If you look carefully you can see them but they are the background of the world. They are not dead because you have to remember that all the planes co-exist and seeing them is a matter of consciousness and perception)

So you can wake to it and enter a world that looks like your own but you can continue further into the world and see that it takes on the shape of others’ ideas. So it looks like the world but a little different. Some people wake on the plane but they don’t really wake to the plane and they end up sitting and thinking and pondering whatever they were thinking about before they went to sleep.

There are evil spirits up there that recruit souls and the word “Dead” only means a spirit not attached to a physical body.

The ordinary Person after death makes up the biggest population on the Astral Plane. Some pass after a few hours or days others stay for centuries. If you lead a good life you pass quickly because it’s easy to shed your body. The higher you go the harder it is to have contact with people on earth.

But if you have led a more troubled life you must stay longer in the lowest subdivision until you disentangled as much as possible from himself from the matter of that sub-plane (i.e. your life on earth) and when that is done your consciousness can be focused on the next concentric shell (you can pass on to the next subplane). Movement from one plane to another: The planes interpenetrate one another so the focus shifts from the outer shell to the next one within.

“Detention” on any level of any plane is in direct proportion to the amount of matter on his astral body and that figure is determined by the kind of life he led, desires he indulged, and the class of matter he attracted to himself by way in which he lived his life. 

CL: Many of the dead who linger on the lowest level of the astral plane are those whose desires are gross and brutal – drunkards, sensualists and such like. There they remain for a period proportioned to the strength of their desires, often suffering terribly from the fact that while these earthly lusts are still as strong as ever they can’t gratify them.

Why do they need mediums to communicate? The reason is that one state of matter can ordinarily act only upon the state next below it and. So, the person on the Astral Plane can’t make the necessary vibrations to move objects on the earthly plane – they need someone to do it for them.


INHABITANTS (Darker Forces/Lighter Forces)


For people who led a baser earthly life – eventually the spirit/ego (or the divine part of their soul) manages to separate from the body but the baser parts stay behind in the form of the body. This body may have its own thoughts (shades) or it may just be a body that searches for possessions (shells). They are otherwise essentially the same and always malevolent.


If the sudden death victim had a good life they will sleep. If not they cling to earthly desires and cling to life. As such they can be “radicalized” by Shades or overtaken by Shells who use them for their own purposes.

These four groups spend a great deal of time in butcher shops, public houses, whore houses – they create for themselves and foster a dark landscape.

Lighter Forces

MASTERS/ADEPTS/aka Leaders – These are the leaders working for the betterment and eventual good of all. They represent things like Truth and Beauty. They’re job is to help humanity evolve towards its highest ideal. Man is still in the lower stages of evolution as evidenced by the constant need for war both internally and externally.

PUPILS/aka BUREAUCRATS – They work for the leaders. KB Note: They function as a kind of Astral Cop, overseeing the plane.



These can be creatures but they can also be ideas. They are formed unconsciously by thoughts. They only last as long as the thought lasts. They live out their life proportionate to the intensity of the thought. So for instance FEAR can create elementals (packs of dogs, attacking creatures etc).


Powerful force that can be ‘ridden safely’ but unskillful attempts are dangerous.


Sounds that create vibrations. You can use them to ride a current. But you can also use them to cause Disintegration.


When the etheric bodies are blown apart and caused to disintegrate. Although, after a time, the Astral Plane regains its etheric body. So a mantra can cause a building and all it’s inhabitants to explode and disintegrate but after a time everything would come back. (KB Note: This is the danger of being on the Astral Plane before you have died).


A living photographic representation of all that has ever happened. These reflected pictures of all kinds of past events are constantly being projected in the astral world, and form an important part of the surroundings of the investigator there.
These images are impressed upon a very much higher level, and are only reflected in a more or less spasmodic manner on the astral plane, so that one whose power of vision does not rise above this will be likely to obtain only occasional and disconnected pictures of the past instead of a coherent narrative. ( KB Note: I picture Doug Atkins’ Sleepwalkers)



Spirits from the plane can appear on Earth as a ‘thought form’, meaning they project themselves to earth in the form of a thought. But they cannot move anything or touch anything. They lack the ability to move matter or be felt. Most people would refer to this as a ‘ghost’.

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