What Are Subtle Bodies?
The Seven Bodies of Man
Subtle Bodies Allow Us to Exist
Did you know that you have more than one body? Actually, we humans have several bodies which are connected to and interpenetrate us. There is a subtle dynamic energy system which facilitates life. Within this system are energy bodies that are called the Subtle Bodies or the Seven Bodies of Man. They are called “subtle” as they exist outside of our normal range of vision except one. The energy of the Subtle Bodies facilitates all human functions, and without these bodies, we could not subsist. In their entirety, the subtle bodies are the vehicles which enable our consciousness.
The Physical Body is not a Subtle Body. The Subtle Bodies begin with the Etheric Body which is the closest to the Physical Body in density. The Etheric Body can be seen by those trained in perceiving energy. Starting with the Etheric Body, the next bodies in ascending order are *The Astral/Emotional Body, The Causal Body, The Mental Body, The Spiritual/Soul Body, and The Buddhic/Christ Body. Each energy body possesses its own vibrational frequency, from the lowest (etheric) to the highest (buddhic/christic).
The Subtle Bodies interpenetrate one another due to the unique vibrational frequency of each which keeps them separate. Each Subtle Body then interpenetrates our Physical Body. They are often depicted as rings of graduated colors around the human body in an oval or egg shape. As a person spiritually advances, these “rings” significantly expand in size.
Each subtle body “governs” the body below it. For example, the Astral/Emotional Body is shaped and directed by the Mental Body, and that body in turn shapes and directs the Etheric Body. Each body has more density and ‘weight’ than the one above it. Thus, the Astral /Emotional Body is less dense than the Etheric Body, and the Mental Body is less dense than the Astral Body, and so forth.
The Functions of the Subtle Bodies
The Etheric Subtle Body: Everything that exists on the physical plane has its own subtle body counterpart. Therefore the first subtle body is the Etheric Body which can be seen by the naked eye. This body is the template for our physical body. One of the primary functions of the Etheric Body is that it holds a series of channels and our chakra centers which play a significant role in our vitality and well-being. This body also produces our aura or primary energy field which surrounds us.
The Astral/Emotional Subtle Body: The next subtle body of importance is the Astral/Emotional Body. This body can be thought of as a field of energy occupying space within the aura. The Astral Body can separate from the Physical Body at will and does so often–especially during sleep. This body also contains our emotional memories and patterns. It is because our Astral/Emotional body is the receptacle for our memories, this is where we begin to process emotional responses to events in our lives.
The Causal Subtle Body: This subtle body is considered to be the root of the soul. In essence, it is the first level of your individuality that is relatively immortal. The Causal Body is named such because it is the originating source for each personality that incarnates in each lifetime. When your life ends, the essence of who and what you were is then absorbed back into the Causal Body. The cycle repeats.
The Mental Subtle Body: The Mental Body facilitates the process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, and experience. It helps with memory, judgment, evaluation, reasoning, problem-solving, decision making, comprehension and the forming of language. In short, The Mental Body is instrumental in making it possible for humans to discern, hold beliefs, and arrange thoughts in context. As a side note, it is also believed that the Mental Body facilitates elevated psychic abilities.
The Spiritual/Soul Subtle Body: The Spiritual Body is considered the root of the soul. It is the essence of “the divine spark” and contains all of the other “bodies” within its confines. Many believe that this subtle body contains the last remnant of individuality before merging back into our Source. Ultimately, this powerhouse represents the point of contact between the human microcosm and the Supreme Being, in theological terms; we may call God, the Divine, Father, Mother Goddess, The Creator, or Source.
The Buddhic/Christic Subtle Body: Although you may surmise this last subtle body was named after The Buddha and The Christ, it is actually named for the level of consciousness these spiritual icons achieved while on earth. The Buddhic/Christ Body facilitates the expansion of consciousness beyond the separate personality and breaks free of individuality. The Buddhic/Christ level is the true source of happiness for the Spiritual/Soul Mind, Causal/Soul, Mental/Intellectual, Astral/Emotional, and Physical levels. Upon reaching this level, the soul experiences a perpetual state of bliss.
*Please note that some systems will list the Subtle Bodies differently. However, the meanings are the same.