From time to time, I get questions that are interesting enough to share the answers with our online audience. I hope you enjoy- Charles
Question- Etheric Body vs Astral Body & Spirit vs Soul
“Hey Charles. Can you give me your explanation of the difference between the etheric body and the astral body? Does the physical, etheric, and astral body correspond with the conscious, subconscious, and superconscious? Or even the body, mind, spirit? Also, is there a difference between the soul and spirit?” – Linda, Hutchinson KS
I found 2 YouTube videos which might clear this up. Apparently the etheric body is the next layer up from the physical body. It’s an energy template of the body itself, used as an intermediary between the lower physical body-energy and the higher more refined spiritual energies.
The astral body is an energetic body of higher dimension, joined with but not tethered to the physical body. The term ‘astral projection’ implies the ability of the astral body to roam free of the physical plane. The astral body is more associated with the spirit part of our body.
I’m not sure you could use the parallel term of ‘Body, Mind & Spirit’ with astral & etheric bodies. The etheric body seems less conscious than I would call the mind. Although the astral body may be more identifiable with a person’s spirit.
As far as the difference between a spirit and a soul… I talk about the idea that language is NOT our friend in some cases. Our exploration of what we call ‘the other side’ and our understanding of it requires some intellectual leeway. At best we’re trying know something that may be unknowable. In the absence of direct knowledge, we ascribe the best description we can. In our church some people use the word ‘Spirit’ others use ‘Universe’ still others ‘God’. To me they are all referring to a higher power but are choosing their own terminology. I use spirit and soul interchangeably because (for me) I’ve never heard a distinction between the two which resonated with me. In politics there is often an argument between ‘letter’ of the law and ‘spirit’ of the law. I guess I lean toward ‘spirit’ of the law kinda guy in spiritual matters. It’s like I have my own universal translator on at all times. I hear someone say ‘universe’ and I hear ‘God’. Likewise I hear spirit and soul as the same word in my spiritual language. It’s fundamental that people want to define the terms and miss the meaning.
Joseph Campbell & The Hindu Scriptures
Joseph Campbell tells this great story from the Hindu scriptures. There is a field of farm workers harvesting a crop when God appears on the east side of the farm. Everyone grew quiet knowing they were in the presence of divinity. God strolled across the land cutting between the workers. God was wearing a hat that was green on one side, red on the other. Those to the right of God saw him in what appeared to be a green hat. Those on the opposite side saw a red hat.
Experience of the Divine vs the Presence of the Divine
After God passed, the workers began to come together and share their experiences. “Can you believe that God graced US with his presence today?” “He was more beautiful than I could have imagined” “I feel grateful for this experience” “And the way he was dressed… do you think the green hat symbolized something particular?” There was silence for a moment. Some cried out “Green?” “His hat was red!” Tempers flared as each worker held firm to his idea of what he had seen. What the workers quickly lost was that each had been in the presence of God. This is how the Hindus believe the different religions came about. I use the metaphor with words as well. We’ll fuss with each other over a specific word even though we understand the concept in almost the same way. Spirit. Soul. Toma(y)to. Toma(h)to.
I hope I have helped in some way and haven’t left you with more questions than answers.
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