This is an article by Athene Raefiel --- I feel it is fairly accurate and helpful to describe the astral plane as such-----
The Astral Plane
By: Athene Raefiel
The astral plane also known as one of the seven heavens, is the plane of existence through which all-tangible life experiences itself. We are experiencing ourselves and our lives in the astral every moment of everyday.
Often when a person dies and another sees what they think is the soul leaving the body it is actually the astral body that they see. The astral body is the body we generally live our life in once the physical body dies. I say generally because not everyone needs to continue living in the astral plane as some have already moved beyond it before the physical death.
The astral plane is a heaven of visibility, here one can see touch and feel much like they could before death. This accounts for why some beings don’t even realize that they have left the physical world and moved into astral plane.
Within the astral plane there are many dimensions of life and thought. The lower astral or the energy between us and the more heavenly worlds is filled with negative thought forms that many describe as demons or hell. This dimension of energy was and is created by the negative thought and emotional process of humans. It is like a storage container for these energies and we are continually subject to them.
One of the universal laws says that like attracts like. When we are most susceptible to these sad, painful, and angry energies is when we are at our own lowest points emotionally and mentally. It is easy then to become bombarded by a barrage of unwanted feelings and self-loathing.
This lower astral was devised to house these energies, as they were created by individuals who still own them whether they wish to or not. We being the creators of our own realities have the opportunity to address our creations to transmute them and also re-create new ones. There is nothing in heaven and earth that is evil unto itself; it is only our perceptions that make circumstance, events, and people seem evil.
When a person learns to understand perception, they now have the ability, to move beyond the lower astral and heal the tormented thought and feeling process about themselves. This allows them to diminish their need to experience the lower astral and begin to ascend this dimension and move more into the heavenly worlds of beauty, love, and knowledge.
The astral plane is a place of vision and light. Here in the higher astral we have the ability to see the reflections of the heavenly beings and worlds. Some of these things will be seen and spoken of as spirit guides, angels, ascended masters, councils of light, peaceful gardens, temples of light and so on. This reflection that we see is very much like seeing the same things with our physical eyes, yet it so much more beautiful than one could imagine and the experience cannot easily be put into words.
The astral energy is invisible to the naked eye but is nonetheless the life force energy of the physical plane. The astral is the go between for the physical and ethereal planes of existence and consciousness. Within the astral experience we can not only see the heavenly beings from others planes of existence but travel within them through our consciousness.
The astral body and plane have been used for remote viewing for centuries. When a person sees an aura or is clairvoyant, clairaudient or clairsentient they are actually using their astral sensing to experience such things. Some call this developed intuition. When we learn about how we are astral beings as well as physical beings we discover that we are able to travel within consciousness rather than thought. Thinking is a rational experience based solely on the left hemisphere of the brain. Consciousness is the use of the whole brain subconscious and superconscious as well.
The astral is a storehouse of information that can bring about revelations to the why and wherefore of mystical questions for everyone who knows how to use it. Here the Akashic records can be accessed and learned from. The Astral plane cannot be separated from the other planes of existence just as the physical plane cannot be. Once we understand how all things are energy then we can learn to communicate with and through the energy vehicle that we are.
All planes of existence are interacting within all of us at all times, we need to become conscious of this activity if we are to spiritually evolve and survive the current changes currently going on within the earth plane.
Too much talk and hype of moving into different dimensional frequencies of light abound as if we should comprehend and partake. Yet in order to partake we must have at least mastered the physical and astral planes of awareness to do so.
How can one understand what fifth and sixth dimensional frequencies are about when they have yet to comprehend the fourth. Fourth dimensional energy has to do with the mystery of life and the universe. It has to do with the understanding of unconditional love as well as conditional love. It also has to do with becoming and understanding how you are these things. Fourth dimensional learning has to do with wisdom and foresight, awareness of energy and the invisible worlds made manifest. It has to do with purity, trust and innocence.
When one has gone through the mystery initiations of the astral light that teaches you these things then one can move into fifth dimensional awareness and learning, and not before then.
Universal and cosmic laws do not provide shortcuts for those who wish to ignore the process set into play. Like the keys of a piano there is an order laid out which all initiates follow to achieve ascension of each plane and dimension of consciousness.
Fifth dimension has to do with the causal plane and the laws of creation or cause and effect. We cannot readily create our own reality and a reality of loving peace and harmony without first discovering it within ourselves. To have the power and ability to create at will is a dangerous as well as prestigious power. It is a power that is earned through our own dedication to the mystery of soul and spirit life. This mystery school of soul and spirit is taught and learned through the Astral Plane.
When we can transmute our judgments of what is right and wrong, when we can understand that the veil of illusion in life was created through millenniums of time and is simply a distraction from the truth within, then we can move to the fifth dimension of learning and skills. Then and only then will it come about for any individual.
It is true that the fifth, sixth, and seventh dimensional frequencies are open to us as a people and a planet. This has always been true but has during this present era been more easily perceived by the many. It is true that there are dimensional frequencies purer yet that lie beyond these; it is also true that in order to experience such frequencies one must be able to vibrate at such frequencies.
We can imagine wonderful and awesome things. The imagination is great tool. True greatness and revelation come through the experience of truth not the imagination of it.
The astral plane is our stepping stone to other planes of existence and consciousness. It is the stepping stone we can use now and after death to explore the unseen worlds of majesty and beauty that lie within each and every soul. The Astral plane resonates with our third and fourth dimensional frequencies. It is our stairway to seeing illusion and moving beyond it. It is in essence, the intermediary needed to ascend the planes of form and enter into the mysteries of formlessness.
Bio: Athene Raefiel is a teacher of mysticism and enlightenment. She is a visionary, telepath, transformational teacher and healer who helps people to find and connect to spirit. She is an author and a lecturer who has followed her spiritual path of light consciously this lifetime since 1986.