Interpenetration of astral and spirit worlds

From Anthroposophy

The three worlds (see Planes or Worlds of Consciousness) should not be regarded as different environments. In reality they interpenetrate, and Man lives in all three worlds at the same time. The astral world overlaps with the physical plane, and also the astral world and the spirit world overlap.

During death and a new birth, in the process of reincarnation and the journey between death and a new birth, Man first goes through the astral world and then passes through to continue to the spirit world.


  • renunciation is the law of the astral world, sacrifice the law of the spirit world (1908-10-26-GA107)
  • Man experiences pain in the kamaloka process and the lower astral world, and bliss in the spirit world


FMC00.508 depicts the overlap or interpenetration between the higher astral world (right) and the lower spirit world (left). The lecture references in the middle column below (all on this page) describe how experientially one blends from the astral seeing to the spiritual hearing and how both faculties combine. The schematic representation is necessarily handicapped to represent such realities, but as most Schemas this is mainly a sigil pointer and reference for a topic of meaning. It is recommended to combine this with Schemas FMC00.261 and FMC00.136 and the descriptitions of the astral and spirit worlds.

The Schema can also be used as a support to contemplate the process between death and a new birth - see Schema FMC00.498. Only the morally good can pass through the Sun sphere which represents the transition between astral and spirit world, the package with lower drives is left behind and picked up later again. Whereas the lower spirit world is one of archetypes of form and individualized, the higher spirit world is 'the spirit world proper' of principles beyond time and space. The causal body and insight in the book of lives of all previous incarnations is at level 5 of the spirit world, mapping to the spirit-self or manas principle. The principle of buddhi, or Christos, of life-spirit (see Schema FMC00.481) is at level 6 of the spirit world; spirit-man or manas at level 7. The latter two represent the divine essence and have their origin in still higher worlds (budhi and nirvana planes).


FMC00.479 illustrates how Man lives in the three worlds. On the right is shown how the worlds interpenetrate and Man lives in all three worlds. On the left is the typical spiritual scientific concept drawing of Man's bodily principles, whereby it requires deeper study to detach from the limitations of the conceptual representation and grasp the realities it represents. In the middle, as a way of mapping or transposing between both, is shown how both the formative forces of the Elementary Kingdoms (EKi) and all spiritual beings involved to generate our reality experience in the physical world called the Cosmic fractal, whereby the spectrum of elements and ethers .


Schema FMC00.474 depicts the fact that contemporary waking consciousness is related to our physical senses and bodily constitution, and acts as a bandpass filter only showing part of the complete (spiritual) reality. This results in a limited worldview (of mineral science), and waking consciousness triggers the feeling of separate-ness as we feel our self is enclosed and corresponding to our physical body.

However hat at the same time Man's structure includes higher components part of the astral world, lower and higher spirit worlds (see green or blue lines). Although Man is not aware, he is really part of a group soul and monad, and all actions towards another person are therefore in a way to one's self. See also FMC00.479


Lecture coverage and references


[Astral regions are like different states of consciousness] Let me only mention one matter. It could seem easily that the single regions of the astral world lie on top of each other like single layers. This is not the case. They are to be understood more like different states of consciousness. Not the place changes in which the human being is, but the state of consciousness changes. The soul land, the spirit-land is everywhere around us. Everywhere a soul-world and a spiritual world is around us, which like colour and light light up if the soul becomes able to use the spiritual eyes, the spiritual ears. This makes the whole physical world disappear to the soul. Just as you could see a veil and if the veil sinks you can see behind the veil, the soul experiences what takes place in the world of desires if it removes the veil of the sensory touching, seeing, and hearing. Then another world comes to the fore round it, a world which was there also round it before, but was not experienced, which is experienced now. It is another state of experience which the soul undergoes. It is a metamorphosis of the human life not a change of place or region. The human being advances step by step on his pilgrimage of life.


When we enter the devachanic world the astral world remains fully present; we hear the devachanic, and we see the astral, but under a changed aspect, offering us a remarkable spectacle. We see everything in the negative, as though on a photographic plate. Where a physical object exists, there is nothing; what is light in the physical world appears dark, and vice versa. We see things, too, in their complementary colours: yellow instead of blue, green instead of red.


He has laid aside the physical corpse and the etheric corpse and now the astral corpse. He now lives through new conditions: those of Devachan. Devachan is all around us, just as is the astral world.


is a lecture with the title: 'Law of the Astral Plane: Renunciation, The Law of the Devachanic Plane: Sacrifice'

see also: Sacrifice#1908-10-26-GA107

Now this is a certain opportunity for answering a question. Misunderstandings can very easily arise through the various theosophical presentations, and one can easily think that the physical, the astral and devachanic worlds are distinguished from one another spatially.

We know, in fact, that where the physical world is, there is also the ,astral and the devachanic — they are in one another.

Now the question could be asked,

“Well, if everything is in one another, I cannot distinguish them as in physical space, where everything is side by side! If the ‘other side’ is in ‘this side’ how do I distinguish the astral world and the devachanic world from each other?”

One distinguishes them through the fact that when one ascends from the astral pictures and colors to the devachanic world, the colors resound. What before was spiritually luminous becomes, henceforth, spiritual resounding. In experiencing the higher worlds there are also differences, so that when we rise up to these worlds, we can always recognize by definite experiences whether we are in this or that world.

[Differences between experiencing the astral world and the world of Devachan]

Today we will characterize the differences between experiencing the astral world and the world of Devachan. It is not only that the astral world is known through Imagination and the devachanic through Inspiration, but we also know through other differences, too, which world we are in.

[Part of astral is Kamaloca]

A part of the astral world is the time during which, a human being has to live through directly after death, which in anthroposophical literature we call the period of Kamaloca.

What does it mean to be in Kamaloca?

We have often tried to show this by description. I have often given the characteristic example of the epicure, who pines for the enjoyment that only the sense of taste can give him. With death, the physical body is stripped off and left behind, and so, too, the etheric body to a great extent, but the astral body is still present with its qualities and forces. These do not change immediately after death, but only gradually. If a person has longed for dainty foods, this longing remains, this pining for the enjoyment, but after death the soul lacks the physical instrument with which to satisfy it. The physical body with its organs is no longer there, and the soul must do without the enjoyment; it pines for something that it must go without. This holds good for all the Kamaloca¬experiences that consist, really, in a condition within the astral body when the soul still longs for the satisfaction that can be fulfilled only through the physical body. And because the soul has this no longer, it has to rid itself of the striving for these enjoyments; it is thus the period of becoming “disaccustomed”. The one who has died is freed from it only when this longing has been torn out of the astral body.

During the whole Kamaloca period, something lives in the astral body that can be called “privation” — deprivation in most varied forms, nuances and differences; that is the content of Kamaloca. Just as light may be differentiated into red, yellow, green, blue tones, so can privation be differentiated into the most varied qualities, and the characteristic of privation is the sign of the one who is in Kamaloca. However, the astral plane is not alone Kamaloca, but is far more comprehensive. Nevertheless, a human being who has


is about the nature of pain, suffering, pleasure and bloss

  • pain in kamaloka, bliss in devachan

also interaction/interplay between etheric and astral, oa

  • privation caused by physical injury and suppressed activity of the ether body in the physical body: pain for the astral body
  • self-chastisement and ascenticism leading to accumulated powers of the etheric body: bliss for the astral body
  • enduring of physical pain as a kind of path of knowledge
  • Savarola's work as example of power gained by negating the physical body

Transfer to spirit land after kamaloka shedding of astral corpse and further with causal body


p 98 contains a key section:

  • In lower areas kamaloka and devachan, some parts of the astral body dissolve.
  • All lower drives are left behind and only with the causal body goes over to devachan.
  • In the fourth region of kamaloka, egotism is totally absorbed, and all that binds Man to the world gets lost, Man realizes how worthless the own lower drives are and how he has to orient also towards all that does not directly concern him
  • and the I then arrives in spirit world

[Fourth region <-> number of incarnations]

The incarnated soul feels as a self because it is in the body. The soul in the body says to its body “I”. However, if it wants to say “I” after death, it gets to know the feeling of the body without being able to live it. If it stopped this, it learns to regard itself as a soul. The human being learns to regard itself as a soul in the fourth region, and the more often the human being has gone through this region, the longer his pilgrimage has lasted, the stronger his sense of self is developed, the more he knows also when he is re-embodied to say “I” not only to his body, but also to his soul, the more he feels as a soul-being.

This is the difference between a human being, who has gone through many, and a human being, who has gone through few incarnations. The advanced human being feels as a soul-being.

Then the human being also gets to know this higher region which we have called soul-light, soul-force and the spirit soul. There the human being settles and works. One is used to calling these highest regions of the astral world the summer land in the theosophical literature. This is that region in which the soul moves on the spheres of sympathy, on the spheres where it learns to live in pure love for the environment and in pure love for the colours.

[Transfer and astral death -> entering spirit land]

Only if the human soul has gone through these different regions after death, his mind, his third part, the highest part of the human being, is enabled to leave behind everything astral that is filled with wishes, desires and passions and which still clings to the sensuous. And only what of the soul belongs to the spirit, what has developed spirit in the soul lives on, after the human being has cast off the tendency, the desire for the sensuous.

The soul now enters that region where it has to do nothing more with the forces which go downward. Because the spirit penetrates it completely, it enters the devachan, the real spirit-land. The spirit-land which the soul experiences takes up the longest time of the life after death. The time of purification in the kamaloka is relatively short. Afterwards, in the devachan, the soul acts out the experiences which it has obtained in the earthly, physical world freely and uncheckedly, so that it can work in love in this physical sensuous world. The spirit cannot come completely to expression in the physical-sensuous world. We acquire experiences between birth and death perpetually. But these are got hemmed like a plant is got hemmed in a rock crevice. In the spirit-land the soul strengthens and invigorates itself. The next lecture deals with this stay of the soul in the spirit-land.

It shows which destiny the soul has to go through in the time longest by far between death and a new birth. The astral world still appears as something depressing destined to take off a lot. The spirit-land is a realm which one not needs to fear. Nothing connects the spirit flowing through a soul with that which tends to the only sensuous-material. We will have to describe the destiny which the human being experiences there and which should reveal the true nature of the human being to us on account of the experiences in the devachan.


When we enter the devachanic world the astral world remains fully present; we hear the devachanic, and we see the astral, but under a changed aspect, offering us a remarkable spectacle. We see everything in the negative, as though on a photographic plate. Where a physical object exists, there is nothing; what is light in the physical world appears dark, and vice versa. We see things, too, in their complementary colours: yellow instead of blue, green instead of red.


[Essential paragraph]

The journey backwards begins with the last event before death and proceeds at triple speed, to birth.

When in this backward passage of remembrance the human being reaches his birth,

  • the part of the astral body that has been transformed by the I combines with the causal body and
  • what has not been so transformed falls away like a shade, a phantom; this is the astral corpse of the human being.

He has laid aside the physical corpse and the etheric corpse and now the astral corpse. He now lives through new conditions: those of Devachan. Devachan is all around us, just as is the astral world.

[Entering the kingdom of heaven ]

When the life has been lived through backwards as far as earliest childhood, when the three corpses have been discarded, man reaches the condition mysteriously indicated in the Bible by the words: “Except ye become as little children, ye cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Devachan, the spiritual world — this is the Kingdom of Heaven in the Christian sense.)


The world of Devachan must now be traversed.


1/ Note that one can only speak of living in the pure spirit world after the astral has been completely left behind, hence .. although the astral and mental world overlap .. the experience of traversing the mental world is spoken off when Man has become a purely spiritual being. Where this pivoting point between astral and mental lies (where the astral is shed, see essential paragraph above) may and will vary.

This is eg also described in 1904-11-10-GA053 essential paragraph and entering spirit land.

Also where Man looses consciousness will vary.

In the 1904-02-18-GA090A lecture is mentioned évery human being (even a ‘wild’ one) for some minimal time always passes through devachan.

So it is really a matter of spiritual maturity how this experience really ‘rolls off’, and actually the description of the seven zones of astral and mental world do map to this.

For astral see 1903-12-02-GA088 seven virtues, 1904-GA009 seven regions, also described in 1904-11-10-GA053 as soul qualities and processes.

Differences between experiencing astral and mental worlds are in 1908-10-26-GA107, different states of consciousness in astral also in 1904-11-10-GA053

2/ Note DL on the above

so Sun sphere would mean .. higher planetary spheres are not astrally perceived consciously if total astral corpse fell away. in other words: depending on how ‘refined’ an individuality is, the backwards passage to birth point may happen in various planetary spheres .. overlapping with Devachan. Steiner mentions in KR eg Schiller/Hugo Saturn and Goethe/Levi Jupiter and Voltaire Mars

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References and further reading