I extract a chapter from the Book Etheric Doubles written by A.E.Powell that describes the existence of an Atomic Web that helps preventing premature opening up of communication between the Astral and Physical planes. This is useful in trying to understand lucid dreaming and astral Out of Body travelling.
“THE ATOMIC WEB We have already seen that there is a very close connection between the chakrams in the astral body and those in the Etheric Double. Between these two sets of centres, and interpenetrating them in a manner not easy to describe, there is a web or sheath, composed of a single layer of physical atoms, closely woven, much compressed, and permeated with a special variety of Prâna.
The Prâna which normally comes from the astral into the physical is such that it can pass with perfect ease through the atomic shield, but the latter is an absolute barrier to all other forces which cannot use the atomic matter of both planes.
DIAGRAM XIV The Atomic Shield Function of Shield: To prevent astral influences from prematurely entering physical consciousness. Ways of injuring the shield: – (1) Emotion shock, e.g., fear, anger. (2) Alcohol. (3) Narcotic drugs, e.g., tobacco. (4) “Sitting for development”.
The shield is thus a protection provided by nature to prevent premature opening up of communication between the astral and physical planes. Were it not for this wise provision, all kinds of astral experiences might pour into the physical consciousness where, in the case of most men, they could be productive of nothing but harm.
At any moment an astral entity might introduce forces which ordinary man would be quite unprepared to meet, and which would be entirely beyond his strength to cope with. A man would be liable to obsession by any astral entity who desired to seize his vehicle.
The atomic shield thus serves as an effective safeguard against these undesirable happenings. It also serves under normal conditions to prevent clear recollection of the sleep life from reaching the physical brain consciousness; and it accounts for the momentary unconsciousness which always occurs at death.
Occasionally the returning astral body succeeds in making a momentary impression on the Etheric Double and dense body, so that when the latter awake there is a touch of vivid memory. This usually quickly vanishes, effort to recall it rendering success more impossible, as each effort sets up physical brain vibrations which tend to overpower the subtler astral vibrations.
It is clear, therefore, that any injury to the shield is a serious disaster. Such injury may occur in several ways. Any emotional shock, or any strong emotion of an evil character, which produces a kind of explosion in the astral body, may produce such an effect, rending apart the delicate web and, as we say, driving the man mad. A terrible fright may do this, or an outburst of anger. Sitting for development, as spiritualists call the process, may also injure the web and throw open the doors which nature intended to keep closed.
Certain drugs, notably alcohol and all the narcotics, of which tobacco is one, contain matter which on breaking up volatilises, some of it passing from the physical to the astral state. Students of dietetics, especially those who have studied the effect of toxins, will be interested to learn that even tea and coffee contain the class of material described, though in quantities so small that only after long-continued abuse of them would the effect manifest itself. When this takes place, these constituents rush out through the chakrams in the direction opposite to that for which they are intended, and after doing this repeatedly they injure and finally destroy the delicate web.
There are only two ways in which this deterioration or destruction may be brought about, according to the type of person concerned and the proportion of the constituents in his etheric and astral bodies. In the first type the rush of volatilising matter actually burns away the web, and thus breaks down nature’s barrier. In the second type the volatile constituents harden the atom, checking and crippling its pulsations, so that it can no longer carry the special form of Prâna which welds it into the web. The web thus becomes as it were ossified so that instead of too much coming through from one plane to another, we have very little of any kind coming through.
The two types are readily recognisable. In the former case we have instances of delirium tremens, obsession, and certain forms of insanity. In the latter case, which is by far the more common, we notice a general deadening of the higher feelings and qualities, resulting in materialism, brutality, animalism, and loss of self-control. It is well know that those who indulge excessively in narcotics, such as tobacco, will persist in their self-indulgence even at the expense of the pain or discomfort of their neighbours. Their finer susceptibilities have to that extent become blunted.
As the consciousness of the ordinary man cannot normally use atomic matter, either physical or astral, there is normally no possibility of conscious communication between the two planes. As, however, he purifies his vehicles, he becomes able to function in the atomic matter and then is able to carry his consciousness along a direct road from one atomic level to another. In this case the atomic web fully retains its position and activity, permitting the consciousness to pass form one plane to another, while at the same time fulfilling its purpose of preventing close contact with those lower sub-planes from which many kinds of undesirable influences are liable to come. The only safe way, therefore, for genuine students of occultism, is not to force in any way the development of psychic powers, but to wait for these to unfold, as they will unfold, in the normal course of evolution. By this way all the benefits will be obtained and the dangers avoided
The Book: Etheric Double by A.E.Powel :
By Anthony Leong