The Afterlife: A Definitive GuideBy DAVID GREGG
26 Questions and Answers About Life After Death On The Astral Plane
Stories about the afterlife -- and what life is like on the other side -- can be found in almost every culture across the world and have circulated in texts and religious doctrines throughout history. We all want to know what happens after we die.
For many people, then, it is enormously life-affirming to know that our brief sojourn on Earth is not just a series of random events without meaning, and that a greater purpose lies ahead for us in another world.
To help draw my own conclusions about the afterlife, I decided to ask the Michael entity for their input, and channeled the following answers using twenty-six questions. Descriptions of the afterlife are as varied as they are similar, and often impossible to validate. In the end it comes down to what resonates the most for you. Some of the answers may be surprising -- even startlling -- but in either case, a fascinating journey lies ahead.
What is the afterlife?
Following the death of the physical body, the soul is released from its earth-bound vessel of flesh and bone, and with the assistance of a guide, passes through the etheric tunnel (the familiar passage with a beckoning light at the end) that exits into a higher plane of existence -- often referred to as the spirit world, the astral plane, the afterlife, or in your Christian terms, heaven.
During a near-death experience, is the person getting a glimpse of the astral?
Near-death experiences, if not hallucinatory, do offer glimpses of the astral. Although, as the soul is still corded to the physical body, the visions get skewed with interpretations related to earth-based belief systems and expectations. More so, the vision lacks clarity and often assumes elements of fantasy and mysticism. This is no fault of the viewer. Unless otherwise trained, a soul still connected to the body tends to see the astral with a little distortion.
Is Heaven the same as the astral plane?
Yes and no. Common depictions of heaven, as recorded in religious doctrine, are fictitious representations of how the astral was perceived from a religious perspective. In some communities on the astral, where beliefs about a Christian deity are deeply ingrained, pearly-white gates may surround the property. Baby souls or young soul priests looking for congregations to inspire, tend to flock to these areas, the astral equivalent of the mid-western United States.
Belief systems, especially those backed by deep emotional convictions, are allowed to manifest on the astral unfettered till the nature of the beliefs change and soul feel ready to choose the next stage of development.
Is Hell a real place?
Hell, under the guise of its biblical associations, is just a way of deferring guilt and not taking responsibility for the evil doings of man. Hell is not real in the sense that the physical is real or the astral is real. In some instances hell can be the internal suffering of a tortured soul made manifest using the malleable clay of astral energy, but these hellish constructs are fleeting and illusionary.
In a more real sense, hell is the state of a mind disconnected from essence (or the true self).
What is the afterlife like? Is it similar to Earth?
The astral plane (or afterlife) is roughly positioned over the same terrestrial space which you would call Earth (or in our terminology, the physical plane as it pertains to the cycle of incarnations in your system). The essential difference is that the astral sphere vibrates at a higher rate, transcending the vibrational rate of the physical plane's molecular structures.
The other notable difference is that areas of terrestrial space are unlimited in this dimension, and the geographical terrain can greatly expand. While the familiar landmarks and other distinguishing features of the Earth still remain (the oceans, the mountains, and so forth) the malleable nature of the plane allows for unlimited deviations of the geography, all dependent on the imaginative and creative desires of those occupying a particular region. On the astral plane, beach front property is available to all who can imagine it. Limitations of space, far too common on earth, do not exist on the astral.
Think of the astral as a giant erector set whose only boundaries are those of the imagination. As we said, certain Earth coordinates still exist, but all familiar landmarks may get enhanced and re-envisioned, dependent on the whims of an individual creator or host of co-creators. Your cinematic depictions of the astral as an ever-changing canvas, with each color and brush stroke charged with emotional intensity, is not far off the mark.
The astral is more about the inner manifestations of its inhabitants, whereas the physical concerns the outer. This is why physical existence is so chaotic and seemingly without order. A connection to the inner self doesn't easily manifest on Earth, giving physical existence a sense of randomness that seems solely driven by Nature.
Is there night & day on the astral?
Since there exists an astral version of the sun, the moon and all the celestial wonders in the Universe, yes, an earth-like equivalent of night and day does exist on the astral. Not all souls choose to abide by such familiar cycles, and in their individual world they may surround themselves with an endless sun or an endless night. Visitors to these unexpected defiances of natural cycles may feel off-kilter or out of sync, so most souls choose to reside where natural earth cycles still continue.
Does the afterlife feel solid to souls?
Solidity is just an illusion and only pertains to the corresponding experiential plane where one resides. For all intents and purposes, this is solid enough for most. The astral plane, then, does have a feeling of solidity for those who vibrate at that level. Unlike the physical, though, the astral has more give and take, and while the walls of a dwelling will feel solid, with a little effort an astral body can pass through them.
What do we look like in the afterlife? Do we have bodies?
Many souls prefer the use of recognizable bodies in the afterlife, although they are not necessary. On the higher levels these bodies are often traded for light forms, but this is the personal choice of the soul. For souls still in the reincarnational cycle, the use of bodies is more common and helps keep the soul in touch with their former and future lifetimes on earth.
As far as a particular look, most souls assume the age level from a previous lifetime where they felt most in the prime of their life. But there is no rule of thumb here. Souls often present themselves differently to people depending on how they were most remembered by that person.
Can souls on the astral see what's happening on Earth?
Earth-time events are not seen as much as they are felt energetically, like waves that crash against a shoreline. The stronger the event, the larger the wave. To actually SEE what's happening on earth requires visitation, and outposts operated by astral ambassadors routinely monitor what's occurring on earth, charting current events to gauge probable outcomes.
Spiritual guides, of course, also help track life on earth at a microcosmic level, and an enormous body of collective information can be passed on to interested parties. In other words, networks in place assist in exchanging and retrieving information, not dissimilar to the information superhighway you know as the Internet.
While some bleed-through from the physical to the astral occurs, these are two different worlds and their natural life rhythms run separately.
Can our deceased loved ones hear us? And do they ever visit?
An energetic bond exists between all loved ones that is even more pronounced on the other side. The connection is well-established and not easily removed. This could conceivably become a nuisance if the channel of communication was perpetually open, and certain buffers are in place. Hence, communication with a loved one is more successful when directed with strong intent and immediacy.
Loved ones do watch over you in an energetic sense, taking note of fluctuations in your auric field that deviate from what is normal for you. They can also make personal visits, and they see into your world from the outside looking in, a quasi-fourth dimensional perspective, as if your life were contained in a fish tank.
Do the souls of animals exist on the other side?
Animals (and beloved pets) do exist on the astral, since all living creatures are endowed with a soul. Animals, however, differ from human beings in the way that their souls are energetically configured. Dogs, for instance, evolve under the umbrella of a collective group known as a hive soul. Lacking the complexity of the human soul, non-sentient creatures rely on the collective experiences of their hive soul to help guide their perception and understanding of the world. The natural instinctive mechanism so apparent in animals comes from this connection to the hive soul, which allows them to quickly tap into the past experiences of their greater soul group when faced with an obstacle or challenge.
The dispersion of animals across the astral is generally in select areas chosen for their continued development as a species. This does not mean animals never intermingle in human populated areas of the astral, but their home base is mostly among their own kind. Domesticated animals are seen more frequently in co-habitations with human souls, but these arrangements are visitations rather than the lifetime durations encountered on Earth.
How do people live in the afterlife? In towns? In homes?
Souls tend to congregate according to belief systems and energetic connections. It is not unusual for astral cities and towns to develop based on ties to cadre groups, cadres, and entities. These groups often incarnate together so the connections naturally draw them together again on the other side. Some souls are content to reside in these comfortable arrangements, but more adventurous souls may choose to live in out-lier regions -- an astral wilderness of their own creation -- yet they are not as isolated as it may seem, since souls can be together within a flash by mere thought or intention.
Do they live in homes?
Many do, especially on the lower astral.
What do people do in the spirit world?
On the astral plane, a soul -- now removed from the daily struggles of survival that once demanded so much -- explores more authentic aspects of self formerly repressed during an incarnation (either out of necessity or from a lack of opportunity). Latent talents, select interests, or personal causes are now nurtured and developed, laying the groundwork for further exploration.
What people do, however, is as varied and unlimited as the stars in the heavens. With no agendas imposed or deadlines to reach, all that spurs a soul to seek another lifetime is an internal mechanism, like a ticking clock still connected to Earth-based time, that nudges and creates a yearning to reach for something more.
Can people read books, watch movies, or otherwise enjoy previous earthly pleasures?
The earthly pleasures once enjoyed do exist on the astral, and in many cases are even grander and more emotionally expansive than they were on the physical. Music, for instance, can reach heights of emotional ecstasy unavailable to those on earth formerly bound by the limitations and audible spectrum of sound waves. As spectacular as the music on the physical can be, when compared to the vibrant richness and wonder of the astral, it is like a flawed imitation of the real thing, similar to paint-by-numbers renditions of great works of art.
What about books and movies on Earth?
Souls who have developed archival skills, that is, souls with an affinity for accessing Akashic energy, can retrieve earth-based documents and related minutiae, such as books and movies. Specialists are also available who will retrieve these records for you, similar to the way a document is downloaded on the Internet.
This retrieval is not as popular as you might think, since the choices for entertainment on the astral are exceedingly more vibrant and rich. An example would be comparing the scratchy reel of an old silent movie to a Blu-Ray disc-- except even the Blu-Ray pales when compared to what's possible on the astral.
Regarding earthly pleasures, what does it look like to see a performance of a musical in the afterlife? Are there cast members or is it all in the mind of the creator? Are performances scheduled?
Musicals, or any live performance for that matter (such as theatrical plays, orchestral concerts, or solo acts) will energetically attract souls most in alignment with the aesthetic values associated with the work. In other words, all expressions of art will resonate with others on a similar wave-length and they will feel drawn to attend a particular performance, without the need of advanced promotions or scheduling. Since a soul on the astral can be several places at once, getting pulled to an impromptu performance by Beethoven, for example, is not the interruption it would seem, and is diametrically opposite from the perspective of those on the physical, where the level of focus is one thing at a time.
In some theatrical plays and musical performances, the writer or composer indeed engineers the entire performance themselves, dividing parts of self to act the roles or perform the instrumental parts. Such virtuosic displays, however, are more rare, and most creators choose collaborative performances where -- in the case of a musical -- familiar performers that the composer once worked with gather for the show.
Rehearsals are rare, mainly because on the astral the physical limitations of a vocal instrument or the memorization of dialogue is not a hindrance. On the astral, the idea of practice or rehearsal is more akin to exploring new ways of expressing the work.
The stage sets used in live performances, such as musicals or plays, are holographic in nature, where the backdrops and props change to suit the settings and context of the story. The phrase live performance is perhaps a misnomer in the exact definition, as these shows can be tuned-in on a psychic level without attending in person, and a resonance of the event can also be found and replayed, the astral equivalent of the TIVO or DVR.
Overall, artistic works are generally performed in two ways: a standard interpretation of the work, where performance practices during the period of its conception are honored and adhered to, and a more improvisatory interpretation, where the writer or composer performs the work in the ways he originally conceived it -- but later rejected for various reasons -- or in a new way that evolves the work further. On the astral, all acts of creativity continuously change and evolve and are never static.
Is there a form of entertainment enjoyed on the astral that's not found on Earth?
Yes. One form of entertainment (that's also highly instructive) is to play out the many forks in the road not taken during a physical incarnation. In some sense this is actually a serious form of study, but many souls also use this as a diversion or a form of play.
So many instances occur during a lifetime where a certain choice may have led to interesting (even delightful) experiences that it can be fun to see where these divergent paths may have led. The possibilities are endless for a soul that wishes to explore every nook and cranny of a particular lifetime. And some souls will replay these experiences, almost like a form of comfort food.
Do these forms of play involve following parallels?
The sense of play we refer to here may involve certain potentialities or parallel threads in a lifetime, but in most cases do not. Parallel paths are likely charted to completion when a certain choice would have led to significant change in that lifetime. The playful scenarios we mentioned are less significant and more like what might have happened if you had gone to the prom with Jennifer rather than Susan -- or similar escapades that would be fun to explore but are not necessarily significant in a life changing way.
As mentioned earlier, these scenarios can also be instructional, and souls on the astral routinely reconstruct events from their life where they choose to behave differently in a situation, or learn, through practice, to handle a difficult encounter with a mindset that is more spiritually awake.
As I channeled about life on the astral, the term Epochal Layers came to mind. Is this valid?
The concept of Epochal Layers is valid.
Significant periods in the timeline of any culture leave indelible markers in the fabric of the astral that resonate long after their ruination on earth. They may be visited and explored.
An astral visitor to Egypt, for instance, would encounter an area similar to modern Egypt, save for the obvious modifications due to the consensus reality of those residing there. With a little training, however, referred to as the shimmering effect, one will receive glimpses -- that seem to shimmer in an after glow -- of what once was in a particular area. It is possible, without getting too technical, to dial through these significant epochs of time that still resonate, and thoroughly explore them.
These time loops, so to speak, are historically factual representations of the area. Some souls even choose to live in these timelines from the past, mostly because they were once comfortable with them or just feel nostalgic.
Ancient Greece is a popular epochal layer on the astral, both for visitors and those who choose to live there. Adventurous souls may even visit earth when it was once an enormous super continent and encounter some of the strange creatures that once roamed the planet. Many find the large insects more unsettling than the surprisingly docile dinosaurs.
The astral plane seems like a joyous place to exist. Is there a dark side?
Some souls on the astral do lack the sophistication and spiritual awareness of others, and souls returning from earthly incarnations where their darker sides ruled their personal choices and behavior, leave karmic wakes of devastation and anguish. Even these souls, however, who now face lifetimes of karmic repayment, are partially cleansed of their prior actions by the healing light of the astral, a universal solvent that helps to restore balance in even the most troubled and damaged souls. This is not to say that the gravity of their prior actions is ignored, but with help from guides and wisdom teachers, their original soul agenda can be restored.
Do people still judge and exclude others?
People are still people, even on the astral. Despite the availability of unlimited love and support, angry souls do exist and their fear may override better judgment. Unlike the physical plane, however, no one on the astral can be harmed when angry outbursts escalate to acts of violence. The astral body cannot be broken.
The violence of the emotion is still not a comfortable encounter, and intense sessions of counseling are suggested for those that wallow in destructive, emotional states. Unresolved issues brought back to the physical for reexamination are not always met in a favorable light, and the vicious circle will continue.
Are there places on the astral that are not safe to visit?
Not as much on the astral. Although earth-bound fragments, bloated by the weight of their ignorance and malice toward those still living, have become too dense in vibration to exist on the level of the astral world. Neighborhoods inhabited by these lost souls are located somewhere between the vibrational midpoint of the physical and astral realms. It is a spiritual dead zone that those visiting the earth plane are advised not to visit.
In many ways it's similar to the skid row districts on earth, and special envoys of missionary souls periodically canvas these areas, searching for souls to save. It is not a place of purgatory or even a hellish region, just a bleak repository of sad and misguided souls whose disheartened beliefs about their reality have temporarily exiled them to a forgotten land. Eventually these tortured beings are rescued from their plight.
How is the astral body constructed? Could it be explained scientifically?
The closest thing in science that would explain the structure of an astral body is particle physics. To simplify our answer, all molecular and atomic structures have astral counterparts that exist at higher vibrational levels. In layman's terms, this means that what exists on the physical is in some ways a carbon copy of what already exists on the astral. The energy has simply been stepped-down to accommodate physical plane constructs and the physics associated with it.
The key to understanding this process is simple: nothing is truly solid. Solidity is just a parlor trick of the physical universe. The table before you, for instance, feels solid, but a life form whose molecular structure oscillates at lower or higher vibrational rates could easily pass through the table. This illusion of substance allows separate worlds of experience to exist together simultaneously in a single unit of mass consciousness, despite their apparent separateness.
Is there a form of government in the afterlife?
Governing bodies do exist in the afterlife, but they are not based on hierarchical positions of ever-increasing power. Instead, these positions are volunteer-based and perfectly matched to the particular talents and personal attributes of the soul temporarily seeking the position.
There are no laws passed or contentious legislature to bicker over, just a collective body of like-minded souls with an interest in serving others. A detailed description of these job positions would be too numerous to list, but the general thrust of most volunteer activities involves an infrastructure of cross-networks that support the spiritual development and aspirations of its residents.
Cooperation is perhaps the chief organizing principle of these governing bodies.
Does the astral consist of multiple levels of development?
Levels of development do exist on the astral, as well as on other planes of existence. Each level consists of certain milestones that act as markers of that development, and souls gradually become lighter and decrease in density as they progress up the ladder, so to speak.
There are seven levels in total, with stages in between. These stages of learning, all in multiples of seven, continue throughout the planes of evolution. The lower levels of the astral are used for the reincarnational cycle involving the earth-plane. The first level is for new arrivals (and some astral projection occurs here), the second level is for temporary settlements (day to day living), and the third is for guides, teachers, or more advanced souls finished with their incarnations but still reincarnating for special purposes or select missions.
Graduation to the fourth level comes after the completion of the reincarnational cycle, with the potentialities of the astral now fully realized and brought to bear.
Levels five through seven brings an increased awareness to connections between larger soul families, and these groups are gradually reunited and energetically coalesced into a unified whole. Students of the Michael teachings would call this the recombining of an entity, a group of around a thousand souls or more.
If Earth were to become uninhabitable as a result of any of a number of catastrophes, would there still be an associated astral plane? Or if it is just not habitable for humans, but some plant and animal life remain, would there be an astral for them?
Understand that the region known as the astral extends well beyond the comparatively small space encompassing your planet Earth. The veil of the astral, in effect, shrouds the entire Universe.
In a mass extinction event, which we do not see as a major probability at this time, the astral does not close its doors for business. The locality is simply less occupied. Any life forms remaining on earth would continue their cycle as long as environmental conditions remained somewhat livable and provided viable opportunities for growth from the experience.
Since astral realms are heavily governed by the consensus reality of its inhabitants, the general appearance of the locality would change to accommodate those life forms still participating in a cycle.
Why is the Universe so big? And does the astral mirror it all?
The enormity of the physical Universe can not even be measured in mathematical terms. The Universe as you know it is just one microcosm of many other universes, all staggering in their enormity, all expanding and evolving in a perpetual state of creative outpouring that, to be quite honest, we don't entirely understand.
The astral is indeed a part of it all, as are the other dimensional realms, reaching all the way back to the Tao (or God).
What is the purpose of an afterlife?
In terms of the reincarnational cycle, the afterlife is a temporary layover (although this can involve centuries) where the soul can regroup, recharge, access what was learned, and lay the groundwork for the next lifetime. Considerable growth results from not only having the experience but from revisiting those life experiences from a place removed from the original drama on stage.
Considerable preparation also goes into planning the next lifetime -- at least on an essence level (or higher self). This involves charting the life task, choosing the overleaves to accommodate, vetting suitable parents, making agreements with others that facilitate the life plan envisioned, and setting up appropriate obstacles for continued growth.
About David Gregg
David is the webmaster of MichaelTeachings.com and also moderates the Michael teachings discussion list at Yahoogroups. He has been a Michael student since 1996 and began channeling as a tool for spiritual enrichment. He is also a professional musician and plays the saxophone, clarinet, and flute, with a lifetime love for jazz and classical music. He enjoys literature and book collecting, and writes short stories in his spare time.
He occasionally writes reviews and profiles of jazz musicians at his jazz blog, Jazz Reader.
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