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Astral consciousness, what is it?
What is this thing that is the love affair of so many and so varied Spiritual followings? Is it merely a word touted simply to inspire wonder in impressionable minds? Or is there something tangible to the myth. What is it that calls a seeker to aspire to an Astral connection. Where is the Astral world?
If you have ever asked these questions of yourself, you are not alone. You’ve probably sought an account of an Astral experience, once or twice, or many times, and wondered, what is that all about? I don’t blame anyone who has. If anything, as a seeker, I have come to the conclusion that the Astral itself is probably more misunderstood than any theological concept, and probably because it’s not really meant for a mind to understand.
The Astral story is for the heart.
What is first remarkable about the third Book of the Harry Potter series, is that we Muggles love it so much. Of all the books in the series, Prisoner of Azkaban is the usual answer of any Harry Potter fan asked to specify which book has most touched their hearts. As a seeker who proudly holds Harry’s hand in a joint Quest for Quintessence, I think I can tell you why. This is my account of, what appears to be, a seeker’s Astral Conjunction.
Akh Ka Ba – These are ancient Egyptian words for The Divine Spirit, the Mind or dual Identity of man, and the Soul of man respectively.
Akh alone can be removed from the man long before his death resulting in an afterlife equivalent of the Christian Hell.
If we were to assume that Az Ka Ban was derived from these Egyptian Symbols, then a metaphor follows: An Azkaban can be the existence of a mind and dual identity in a place that changes the divine spirit and soul.
This metaphor describes The Imprisonment in Azkaban of Sirius Black.
The Dementors of Azkaban drain the Joy and spirit from their prisoners, and can eventually take their soul the same way, but Sirius remains with his mind in tact in Azkaban (because of his innocence), as well as his dual identity (the Black Dog).
Az is the common short form of Azimuth – this is a astrological/navigational term for the angle that exists between the line of the Horizon and the vertical line to the base of a Star.
The Azimuth was historically used for Ship navigation, adjusting the azimuth angle through movements of the ship determining the direction travelled.
The analogy of a star is easily applied to a man with the name Sirius, I'm sure you'll agree, so here is where the Astral message of POA begins and ends. The "Angle of Sirius Azimuth" is almost literally translated into the words Astral Doorway. (Star passage)
Akh being the divine spirit would represent the perfect angle; Az, denoting the absence of the divine would be similar to a blanket term for the degrees either side. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” starts with Sirius Black escaping from Az and finishes with him flying free upon his Akh. (Buck Beak-Hippogriff).
Ban is fairly obviously the variant of Ba because its meaning relates to banishment. Sirius is a banished soul, a criminal. Ban would essentially then be denoting the concept that his soul is not free.
At the end of the book Harry and Harry's father reclaim Sirius' soul from the Dementors. Sirius escapes with his Ba freed. He is no longer a Prisoner of AzKaBan. Through the conjunction of divine spirit and soul the Star has been restored to a free man of AkhKaBa, a symbol of the Golden Astral Doorway.
The first thing that AzKaBan as a symbol of a closed and dark astral doorway seems to imply is that the Astral Plane is not a realm of the mind or conscious self. The mind and conscious self is relatively excluded from the Astral. Astral alignment appears to be integral to the concepts of the soul and divine spirit.
Is this not obviously true? Many of us are aware of how the something that fades with the loss of childhood innocence leaves a person with a mind consciousness excluded from something. Dreams, faith and imagination are replaced by physical practicality, limits and capitulation This, I put to you all now, is the metaphor of the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is the everyman Sirius.
How amazing is the fact that the mere title of this third instalment of Harry Potter is so overflowing with potent symbolism?
In the article I wrote earlier about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I explained that Harry gained an awareness of his ethereal body early in the story (house-elf). In Prisoner of Azkaban Harry also gains "awareness" of his Astral body early in the story but Astral terms are different to ethereal ones, so for the sake of clarity, this description of Harry's Astral awareness will introduce new concepts of awareness of the self. I spoke briefly in that previous article about Astral Language and I will need to elaborate on that concept to describe some of the things in Prisoner of Azkaban.
In this abovementioned article, I described “Car” as Astral Language for a soul vehicle. To elaborate on that I will say that a car, a bicycle, a skateboard and shoes are all similarly Astral symbols for the vehicle. The car is the fast, elaborate vehicle that gets to where it's going quickly, while the shoes are slower and less imposing vehicles.
While the Vehicle of the soul is described by vehicles of our physical plane so too is the Home of the soul described Astrally by homes of our physical plane and the parts thereof. We use figurative Astral languages daily in our lives, we call Eyes - Windows and the Body - a Temple even if we are unfamiliar with the pure infiniteness of this conceptual language.
Now that you are partially reminded of it, consider the House of the soul. It has many doors, some leading to impossible dimensions. We don't generally dispute this, and in fact we often embrace it in storytelling as it resonates mystically true within us at a deep level of consciousness. Take for example the wardrobe door to Narnia in CS Lewis’ classic tale. It is not our instinct to question the existence of such a door as Lewis proposes, not at all, in fact it is our heartfelt desire to believe in it and in the depths of our resonant consciousness some of us, especially as children, are openly embracing of it as a fundamental truth. This is the ages old precept we are invariably reminded of in our lives that Children do not just believe in Faerie worlds; they know that they exist.
The Faerie Place is the Astral Plane, and Faerie Legends of mythology describe the transition from here to The Astral. Let's call that the Intoward Door because this is the most accurate description I can give the Astral Doorway, and remembering that in Chamber of Secrets the ethereal awareness was recognising the ourself (House Elf) beyond the physical body (The Malfoy Family) then this intoward door is recognizable as an unfolding of the ethereal body, an expansion via the course of something being found within the greater whole that is larger than the space in which it is found.
An expansion from within, therefore, would be the first Marker Flag within the Prisoner of Azkaban book that the story is Astral.
The sequence of events should be that Harry sees the Astral door and then from within his Ethereal body the expansion begins, dramatically unfolding space within a smaller space. This is the sequence of events in the first Chapter of the book. Harry first sees Sirius on TV, and soon thereafter the expansion begins within his ethereal ourself. He receives a stack of birthday gifts, his first ever, each much larger within than they first appear, the Broom servicing Kit unfolds to reveal a list of goodies within unknowable from the look of the wrapped gift, for example. So Harry begins to unfold from within his greater energetic Astral form. It's messy at first and uncontrollable, and this is why Aunt Marge blows up like a balloon when Harry's emotions get the better of him. The key to understanding this is recognizing the one-eyed bundle of facts that Marge represents in the context of the story. Marge cites her dog breeding laws as infinite wisdom condemning Harry absolutely. The Astral form is the dissolver of absolutes and Aunt Marge threw an absolute into a raging river of Astral solvent. Imagine, if you can, the absolute statement of bitches and breeding splitting and reforming itself into greater parts over and over and over. This is the Astral plane at work dissolving the absolute into infinity. Because Aunt Marge represents herself as this absoluteness it is her body that represents the Astral solvency of it hence she floats away (drifts off) like the proverbial Astrally dissolved mind.
As I have said above, to the mind consciousness, the Astral is a stranger, a rogue alien. While it can perceive an Astral Universe, it can nought but allow it to flicker out like a light and disappear as though it never were. This is because the mind will try to generate a cognitive understanding of what it has seen. Cognition is absolute and Astral is opposite in nature, they do not mix. As you add one the other quickly disappears so there are many things Astral we cannot understand intellectually nor even hold on to.
Pictures and allegories can be drawn, and those we can vaguely grasp on an intellectual level. Some of those things we can understand intellectually are:
The Astral Intoward is a place of impossibles, of miracles and so the Astral chapter of Harry's story is miraculous in itself, as well as full of miraculous occurrences such as:
True, miraculous things seem to happen throughout the series, but in Prisoner of Azkkaban the count is massive for things long awaited suddenly and miraculously coming to the fore for the characters, in totality the other books simply can't compete for pure wish fulfilment content with this one. This is the first reason I was very sure that the seven planes theory through the series held promise, as it first occurred to me that the Astral book would then unquestionably be laden with little miracles.
The Astral is also a widely misunderstood thing, and fascinatingly Prisoner of Azkaban represents this well with the unchanging Ka in Azkaban, in a small digression I will note that some teachings warn of `occult' concepts of the seeker journey, and some measure of that warning is also demonstrated in the unchanging Ka symbol. The AkhKaBa is carefully constructed in the book with profound symbols such as the glorious Hippogriff (symbol of divine Love), transcendent justice, deep wisdom, compassion and selflessness. These things are the cornerstones of the Akh and Ba the pure seat of the Ka. AzKaBan and AkhKaBa are not equal but the inability of the Ka alone to differentiate is well demonstrated by these simple yet profound symbols.
**Vinculum Vinculorum - the Astral Nexus
For Prisoner of Azkaban to be an Astral book, at some point the Bond of Bonds should make its permanent mark on the story. The Astral Nexus is a nether connection, in some teachings it is held to be the connection to those who have died, greater wiser spiritual beings and forefathers of our physical universe. Experiential accounts often hold that this connection manifests artistically through messages from beyond the grave.
A parchment that reveals spontaneous communication from the forefathers of our seeker does find its way into the Third Chapter of Harry Potter, The Marauders Map. And it is a Vinculum Vinculorum – it reveals the connective threads of Hogwarts and the Wizard World around it, and also it is a representation of the bond of friendship of the Marauders crew, the crucial bond of the Prisoner of Azkaban story.
The profundity of Harry's connection to this mysterious map is, within the Astral context, not accidental, nor is the fact that Lupin returns it to him to the end of the story. The Astral Nexus is the seekers connection to his origin, to his home. Harry's connection to his origins in the Marauders Map is a good indication of that which it symbolises.
The farthest end of the Vinculum Vinculorum is where the Seekers Star stands in the peaceful centre of the Astral Universe. Harry has a photograph of Sirius standing between his newly married parents, all three faces are smiling and eternally happy, this photograph is a symbol of the far end of Harry’s VV, the home of his heart where his dearest family stand together in peace and joy.
During the seekers transition into Astral Awareness will have glimpses of this Star which do not seem to be real and disappear no sooner than they appear. Harry sees his Godfather Sirius in Animagus form throughout the book, and these are indeed brief and vague glimpses which seem almost at once to have been imaginary. The seeker will reach his Star by following the thread of his Vinculum Vinculorum But no sooner does the seeker find the star, by following the thread of his vinculum vinculorum and stand at the threshold of this Golden Astral doorway, than the seekers star fades in the distance and is gone as though it were never there.
In Part three of Harry Potter's saga Harry follows the Marauders Map to the Shrieking Shack where he finds Sirius, his Godfather, loyal and loving and true to him. The final miracle and the dream come true for the seeker. But he cannot be with Sirius. The Seeker remains of this world and cannot be with his star; the Astral Universe dissolves physical. It does not sustain it. Sirius has the power and the will to destroy Peter Pettigrew, just as the ego that has previously bound the seeker to an existence without his true home, Peter is the traitor that brought death to Harry’s home in Godric’s Hollow coming between him and his parents and his Star. The seeker however does not permit revenge on the ego, and nor does Harry. The seeker does not seek the star to bring destruction, and likewise Harry does not seek Sirius to be a killer. The Astral star has the power to dissolve ego into nothingness, but a pure noble heart will spare the traitor, a sacrifice of his own desire to honour and preserve the graciousness revealed in his star. Harry spares Peter saying that his father would not want his best friends to become killers for him. This is truly an honour that fits the archetype.
Harry has truly sacrificed greatly because, Peter (The ego) escapes and runs to its master (Voldemort), leaving the star (Sirius) without a basis for being. At this point the Black side of the personality (Snape) is a very great threat to his seekers dream. Without the evidence before him, while the star is faded, this Snape-part of the personality can succumb to disbelief and personal vengeance against the infidel star flitting its way around and never seeming to pay for its teasing ways. Sirius and Snape are a very good likeness of the bitterness of the Black side of the seeker swearing its vengeance on the Astral star for its seeming trickery and falseness. (In fact it’s virtually flawless but it would take a *lot* of adjectives to keep describing) Suffice it to say, that Snape sees Sirius as the deceiver, just as the darker side of the personality disbelieves that the "here today gone tomorrow" Astral star is true.
While the black side of the personality remains in control, although it has much well meaning about it, the new soul of the seeker and its Astral star are in danger of being removed from existence completely by the Dementors. The threat of which the Black side of the personality, who places his faith in other things, is not completely aware of and doesn't understand. Snape fears the Good Grey personality (Lupin), who seems to be fooled by the deceiver, far more than the threat of the new soul and Astral star being swallowed by a rotting darkness.
JKR's third book doesn't for an instant contradict this Astral paradox. Harry's story tells it all in vivid colours, there is clearly a parallel between Harry's experiences and the account of the seeker who has seen the Astral star... This is amazing to me, as usual, but there is more so I must go on.
Before I get to the dimensional paradox, I will just fill in the blanks of information that I won't include explicitly because they have been described in good detail already by others. The new soul can summon the Patronus (A symbol of his prayer and faith) which can protect the seeker and his Astral star from the threat of the being swallowed up in to rotting darkness (depression, anguish) of the Dementors. Harry tries to do this at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape is unconscious, but he is alone in it; the seekers resources have fallen around him due to the divides in his nature. (House disunity at Hogwarts is also a symbol of why Harry is unable to conjure the Patronus in this scene.) His Astral star fades too, weakened also by the disunity that imprisoned him for so long, and the seeker is in very real danger of losing himself and his star to the Dementors.
Harry saves himself and his star by paradoxical means. The Timeturner makes its amazing debut here because it is the ethereal dimension that is both the saviour and the denial of the Astral star.
If you have read the article I wrote on the seekers ethereal awareness you will know that I said then. The Timeturner is symbolic of the layering of realities that is characteristic of the ethereal awareness. Ethereal awareness is paradoxically and conjunctively the reason the seeker can see the Astral star and the reason that it disappears. The nature of the ethereal body is inverse to the Astral body, and because of this they will come into conjunction with each other but will be unable to sustain a connection due to natural physical forces that repel them from each other. The fact that they can conjunct is how the seeker finds his Astral star but in that conjunction is inherent reactivity due to the earthly nature of the ethereal and the stellar nature of the Astral which makes conjunctive coexistence impossible. This can be seen as similar to the gravitational forces in the natural universe that bring stellar objects into alignment and in like fashion repel them from each other. To visualise, imagine the ethereal body of the seeker as a great planet, and the Astral universe as a nova in a plane of its orbit.
In the final scenes of Prisoner of Azkaban Harry is earthbound and Sirius must take flight which is very true of the inverse natures of the Astral and Ethereal. And in paradox, the only way that the seeker will be able to conjunct with his Astral star again to save him from the rotting darkness, is to use his ethereal body. Hermione's Time-Turner.
The movie version of Prisoner of Azkaban adds layers of depth to this allegory which is entirely fascinating also. In the movie Harry and Hermione (the ethereal body) are more instrumental in the conjunction and repelling forces of the Astral and Ethereal than they are within the book. Hermione separates the werewolf from the party at the shrieking shack and they set the party on the path to the shrieking shack in the first place. Hermione's stripping of the Werewolf from the party is slightly more in tune with the paradox than the werewolf leaving of his own accord. The ethereal body is instrumental in the paradox and takes a hand in taking the seeker right back to his new soul alone for the moment of conjunction. Also the throwing of the shell at Hagrid’s hut, also adds depth to the ethereal body's deliberate attempt at conjunction. The movie also places Sirius and Harry alone by the lake, which is quite a brilliant turn as it highlights the truth about the this level of the microcosm, in this moment there are two who are truly threatened by the Dementors, the new soul and his Star. The others there in the book are the seeker’s stripped personality shed around him baring his new soul, they could be miles away and the story remains the same.
The ethereal body brings hope and faith to the new soul and his Star. Just as Harry conjures his patronus from across the lake. When the conjunction is over the ethereal body hurries back to its earthly state and the Astral star takes his flight away from the seeker. Sadly they can not be together, but now they have found each other the Astral Doorway is open and the seeker is Astrally aware.
Just as with the previous new awareness of the ethereal body, in the book following Astral Awareness Harry is demonstrated to have faculty within the Astral plane.
In Prisoner of Azkaban the seekers mind functioning within the Ethereal
existence is demonstrated by the Time Turner that Hermione uses. In
Goblet of Fire the new soul (Harry) having just become Astrally aware will be
able to cogitate conjunctions again, this is symbolized by Harry being able to enter Dumbledore’s Pensieve. The contents of a Pensieve are shimmery silver like a star. A pensieve contains dream-like full-dimensional recordings mixed yet separate which the seeker can enter and observe from within in a profoundly objective manner. This is very like an Astral awareness and the final indication to me that the third chapter of Harry Potter’s adventures is an Astral conjunction.