The astral plane is composed of numerous planes and sub-planes, and divisions of sub-planes. At the lowest level they touch the higher material planes and at the highest they blend into the lower strata of the great spiritual planes. Between these two extremes is to be found the greatest possible variety of phenomena and phases of existence. The astral plane may be divided into seven great sub-divisions or sub-planes which will be discussed in some detail in the next section.
On the lower planes of the astral are to be found certain forms of the ghosts, spooks, and other apparitions of disembodied souls which occasionally are perceived and sensed by humans and some of the lower animals. On some of these planes also, the astral bodies of humans still in the flesh travel and manifest activity, either during the sleep of the owner of the body, or in certain trance conditions. This also is possible when the owner deliberately leaves the physical body for the time being and projects his astral body on the astral plane. Some of the lower sub-planes of the astral are not nice places to visit, or upon which to function for the untrained person. In fact experienced spiritualists have as little to do with them as possible and advise all novices to stay away from them.
Many persons have harmed themselves by attempting to penetrate these lower planes without adequate knowledge; many having wrecked their bodies and minds by foolishly producing or inducing psychic conditions which cause them to function on these lower psychic planes.
Some of these lower astral sub-planes are filled with astral forms of disembodied human-beings, the higher principles of whom are still attached to the astral body, and which are held earth-bound by reason of the attraction of the material world. In this region also dwell for a time the very scum of disembodied human life, having every attraction to hold them down to the things of the material world.
In the astral world, as might be expected, are to be found certain lower planes in which dwell the dis-embodied souls of persons of brutal natures and tendencies, in which the inevitable result of their earth life is worked out.
These hells of the astral plane are not eternal, the disembodied soul in turn may work out into a better environment, may be given another chance.
The Catholic conception of purgatory, also has its astral existence, in the form of these sub-planes in which the foul crimes done during one’s life on the physical plane are burned and purged away, not in the fires of materiality, but the fires of memory and imagination sufficing in these sub-planes of the astral plane.
There are many different kinds of regions on the astral plane as there are on the physical plane and each plane is inhabited by exactly the class of souls which it might be expected to attract.
There are to be found the abodes of degraded souls, so steeped in materiality and animality, that they would be veritable hell to a soul of higher attainment. It may well be imagined that a soul of higher impulses has no desire to travel into these depths of the astral, unless, indeed it is some very highly developed soul which is willing to descend into hell in order to help them.
On the astral plane, the sinner who believes in a hell of flames, which await him due to his deeds on the physical plane, is not disappointed.
The article is taken from the book Life Beyond Death by Anil Sharma