The astral world

Let us now consider the astral world: It is the world in which we live every night and to begin with also after death. If we no longer open our senses to the physical world, the senses of the astral world disclose themselves. When we become clairvoyant, we first live in the astral world and perceive what has been described as the etheric body and the astral body.

The astral world greatly differs from the physical world. Those who enter it, face a confusing mass of phenomena. What they first perceive, is so different from what they were used to seeing, that they must first grow accustomed to the sight. They will read things wrongly if they begin to read them as in the physical world. For in the astral world everything appears as a mirrored picture, upside down, or in the reverse order. In the astral world the number 365 would be 563. Especially in the beginning, this is very confusing. In the physical world, when dealing with circumstances connected with time, we reckon everything from the beginning to the end. In the astral world it is the very opposite. In the astral world, a human life, for example, is not traced from birth to death, but from the last moment of life backwards. Here in the physical world first see the egg and then the chicken that slips out of it; but in the astral world we first see the chicken and then the egg.

The most important thing to be borne in mind is however that in the astral world all the images of our moral qualities, such as pleasure and displeasure, pain and joy, hatred and love, appear as if they were rushing towards us. A clairvoyant sees as if they were rushing towards him. To an unexperienced person this is very confusing. He may see all kinds of animal-forms, even terrible human forms, and so forth, rushing towards him. There are people who tell us of such experiences. They are really to be pitied, when through some illness they attain such an abnormal vision of the astral world. But when we begin to meditate in a serious way, when we school ourselves, then the clairvoyant power develops in a normal, regular way, and then we know what is taking place in the astral world.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 94 – Popular Occultism: 2nd Lecture – MAN’S ASCENT INTO THE SUPERSENSIBLE WORLD –  Leipzig, 29 June, 1906