Planes of Existence
current mood: working
I've gone through all of these books on mythology, Aleister Crowley, ritual magick, spirit summoning, faith healing, and at least nine major religions to come up with this cosmology.
Why, yes, I am obsessive.
Also, I'm rather proud of what I've come up with. More coming soon!
Planes of Existence
The physical realm is the normal, everyday world of scientifically identified matter and energy. It also contains the emotional and mental sub-planes. These tend to leave stronger impressions on the other planes than the actual physical body, but they are only aspects of the physical world and don't exist idependent of it. The physical plane and the two sub-planes attached to it make up the ordinary "shell" that most people are aware of. In a normal death, the physical body is the first to die, followed by the emotional and mental "bodies."
This is the plane in which most preturnatural beings interact with humanity. It forms an energetic matrix that in a distorted sort of way copies the physical plane. It borrows heavily from the emotional and mental planes, so what is observed here may not be what physically exists. In a normal death, after shedding the physical shell a mortal will experience the Second Death on this plane, shedding this echo of the physical. Sometimes, a mortal avoids the Second Death and becomes an etheric revenent, which may remain as a ghost, noncorporeal vampire, or other being. However, these other beings are still capable of achieving the Second Death--usually as the result of actions by mortals.
This plane is further removed from the physical world, so doesn't suffer the distortions that the etheric plane does. A being on the astral plane sees things exactly as they are physically, but with training and power can also be aware of what is seen on the etheric plane without any distortions or confusion. In a normal death, this is the point when death becomes more individualized. Before the Third Death, reincarnation may occur. Or, alternately, a being may pass through the Third Death and enter paradise by joining Spirit. A very, very few beings reject this Third Death and Spirit, becoming demons.
This is what is entered into after the Third Death. This is the world of souls in their purest form. This is, essentially, God. Spirit is within everything, but not everything is Spirit. Only after shedding everything that isn't Spirit--the physical, etheric, and astral bodies--can a being enter into pure communion with God and be at utter peace, forever in contact with all loved ones that have also ascended. "New" souls may be borrowed from Spirit, but Spirit is never diminished and never grows. Spirit is eternal.