Just what is the “astral plane” anyway?
The astral plane is the vaguely defined and overlapping area between thoughts, emotions, and the five senses.
The astral plane ebbs and swirls around us during dreams, idle reverie, while playing “mental movies,” even when you mistake something out of the corner of your eye for something else. All these are events of the astral plane.
Is Yesod the astral plane?
While the astral plane can most simply be attributed to Yesod, it also includes influences from Hod and Netzach and the paths radiating between all three. In practice, the lower spheres and paths become increasingly hard to separate from each other the closer you get to Malkuth. The emotions of Netzach affect the “rational mind” of Hod all the time, for example.
In this book, the astral plane and Yesod are interchangeable for the most part, but the astral plane is a more open-ended term, while Yesod is much more specific.
Meaning in Chaos
In Yesod, the mind loves to find patterns in chaos. This is the part of the mind where life’s “coincidences” turn into “synchronicities” and “omens.” This part of the mind tends to label things and find patterns where there may or may not be any.
Yesod is the sphere that becomes overactive when cut off from external sensation (Malkuth), which is exactly why powerful hallucinations and extreme anxiety occur in sensory deprivation chambers. However, if the practice of sensory deprivation is taken far enough it can lead to experiences at the very highest levels of the Tree of Life—much like meditation. At the beginning of meditation, all is distraction (an itch or an obsessive thought, for example). If one can make it through this unpleasant and uncomfortable stage of delusion and distraction, enlightenment soon draws near.
The astral plane is also the realm of addictive fantasy situations ranging from online role-playing games to real life swinger’s clubs. All these “alternate” worlds thrive in the lower spheres of Netzach, Hod, and Yesod. It also explains why people who are excessively into these types of fantasy scenarios can be so imbalanced. They have lost connection with the higher aspects of the Tree of Life, and hence writhe around blindly in the lower aspects of their psyche, unconnected to true Godhead.
As the light of the Moon is but a reflection of the Sun, so is the light of Yesod but a murky reflection of Tiphareth. Do not get stuck here. The light of the astral plane is false and illusory.