A friend of mine wrote me asking if the luminous body I always mention, is the same thing as astral body, of which she hear in English speaking countries.
Her question seems important to me to make the difference between the two bodies clearer. That's the reason why I present there my answer, integrating it with other reflections.
1) Luminous body and astral body are different things. Astral body is bound to our energy of life, but it's always an expression of our physical body. It's like we say that astral body is the expression of Living Beings' "anima" ( from Latin; anima is what gives movement, is the difference between animate things and inanimate - we commonly translate it as "soul", but in this case it's not perfectly correct). Astral body has the sensation of moving in the space, but as a matter of fact there are our senses moving in the space, like they come unhooked from physical body and go away as they want. What remains is the sensation of an ethereal body inside a solid world. When astral body comes back inside physical body there's the sensation of a shutter being lowered on senses. All Beings of Nature, and Human Beings, too, have the possibility of using astral body, only culture and social specialization inside the species limit this use. Astral body cannot turn the death of physical body into the birth of the luminous one, even if those who manage to use astral body sometimes in their lives have a great sensibility and intuition that educational conditioning hasn't destroyed or choked.
To make a comparison between astral body and luminous body, I could say that (please overlook my example without having to explain too much) astral body is part of the shapeless energy inside every Being of Nature, while luminous body is that part of energy that the Being of Nature shapes by exerting its will. Will is expression of action. The individual shapes its luminous body by acting, planning, using its aim, following its passions, calling things with their real name, facing the contradictions of life: living as a "warrior" who determines him/herself! Living like this shapes that part of energy which becomes luminous body. It's like the individual gives its Energy a different consistency with these actions. This individual hasn't got more energy than another, but its energy is shaped and built in a different way. It builds a real body.
We can say that the astral body belongs to the individual. The individual can use it, or perceive its effect, by making its sensibility wider or by using relaxation tecniques or estrangement from objectivity tecniques. Luminous body is what is produced by the individual through its activity, choices, strategies of life.
Astral body is bound to the individual's senses and necessities in the world of reason; luminous body expresses its own necessities that reason doesn't understand. Astral body is bound to the form that educational conditioning has in the individual's reason (astral body can see Jesus or the Madonna because the reason was forced to interiorize the idea of the existence of Jesus or the Madonna, for christians, of Mahomet for Muslims, of Moses for Hebrews). Astral body responds to reason's necessities, luminous body ignores them. Reason thinks that those necessities expressed by the luminous body are mad. This is the reason why the Apprentice Sorcerer has to develop a good level of self-discipline and impeccable behaviours to safeguard, by one side reason and relations with the social world in which he/she lives, by the other side luminous body's necessities and its need of growth and expansion.
Astral body is often an expression of those individual who we call sensitives, and who are often marked out by a strong emotional fragility. Luminous body is the product of action, strategy and change of an individual who can be a sensitive, but has learnt to put a mask on his/her sensitiveness in order to keep his/her strategies to carry out his/her Aim.
I agree with what is said in one of the book by Castaneda, when he says that, considering all, being a sensitive is a big handicap in practicing the way of Witchcraft.
When they were flying on a hazel stick or on brooms, women were doing this with their luminous body. They had built that luminous body as an unconscious effect of those strategies of surviving they had practiced everyday. Having to face their fathers and mothers, their husbands, the hard conditions of life, the vexations of catholic church forced them to practice strategies of surviving. They were forced to call things with their real names and don't deceive themselves. In other words, to survive they had to practice the Sorcerer's Crucible. This way of acting shaped their Energy and built their luminous body.
This is the difference between astral body and luminous body. Revealed religions use the sensations that astral body gives in order to prevent Human Being from building their luminous body, saying that their god gave them the astral body, while it's the gift that in millions years of changes, the species of Nature give, with other means, to the new born, so that s/he, as a new Hephaestus, can forge her/his luminous body with which s/he will assault the heavens of infinite, forcing the GODS to open to her/him the Olympus' door!
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