Learn Why Our Etheric Body Is Essential to Life

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The Etheric Body is the First of the Subtle Bodies

What is the Etheric Body? The Etheric Body explained describes an unseen body that we all have. Read what the etheric body is and how it helps us to cross over at death.

Commonly, the Etheric Body (pronounced ēther) is the subtle body closest to the physical body. The Etheric Body is essential to know about as it impacts much of how we operate on a physical level and is the foundation for many of our psychic endeavors.

Additionally, you’ll learn that the Etheric Body leaves our physical body at death. Through it, our consciousness moves into the astral plane, also known as heaven, or Summerland.

The Definition

The etheric bodyether-bodyæther body are names given by neo-Theosophy explaining a vital body or subtle body. In esoteric philosophies, it’s the first or lowest layer in the human energy field or aura. It’s always in immediate contact with the physical body to sustain it and connect it with the higher subtle bodies.

Notably, the Etheric Body is only one of the six subtle bodies we all have. Yet, it’s the foundation for the other five energy bodies. More notably, the Etheric Body serves many vital functions, one of which is to house the chakras. 

I Usually Start Each Psychic Development Class with this…

When I teach Psychic and Mediumship classes, somewhere in the introduction, I ask the question, “Are you aware that you have several bodies?” This question immediately grabs everyone’s attention. 

Amazingly, humans indeed possess more than just the physical body. There are additional subtle bodies interactively linked to corresponding planes of existence. Specifically, each of these different layers of energy, including the one we recognize as the physical body, inter-penetrates the others to work as a complete system.

The Subtle Bodies Are a Natural Part of Our Being

With this in mind, think of your subtle bodies as various layers of vibrating energy. Adding to this, the layers make up the totality of the human energy system. Correspondingly, along with your chakra system, your subtle bodies and additional energy points create an interconnected field of energy that permeates and surrounds the physical body. This energy field creates the human Aura.

Be Grateful for the Chakras

To further explain, each of your subtle bodies connects into the physical body via a whirling energy point called a chakra. The chakras direct the energy throughout your physical body via a meridian system, much like the circulation system of blood.

Certainly, without these ever-spinning vortexes of energy, we humans would have a minimal existence. Or, no exist whatsoever.

It’s a Hierarchy of Energy

All things on earth vibrate with energy! Thus, each subtle body vibrates correspondingly. More to the point, each body vibrates at a slightly faster vibration than the one before it. As a consequence, the etheric body vibrates faster than the physical body, and the emotional body is faster than the Etheric Body, etc.

Back to the Etheric Body

Significantly, the first of the subtle bodies is the Etheric Body. Notably, “Etheric” comes from the word Ether, which means “the state between energy and matter.” In particular. the Etheric Body is considered the vehicle for Prana, life force energy absorbed from the sun’s rays, which keeps us alive.

Everything that Exists Has an Etheric Counterpart

In our earthly dimensional plane, everything that exists has its own subtle corresponding etheric body counterpart.

With this in mind, envision the human etheric body as a constant vibrating web of energy from which our energetic blueprint forms. It vibrates at a slightly higher frequency than the physical body. Therefore, it’s not ordinarily perceived by the physical eyes. However, there are exceptions, which you’ll read about below.

Of vital importance, the subtle body which carries our strength and, ultimately, is essential for our well-being. Chiefly, when compromised by shock, trauma, and extensive drug use as well as unresolved issues, the Etheric Body becomes damaged, and so do our levels of vitality.


 Is the Etheric Body Actually the Astral Body?

According to some, the astral body is an energetic body closely associated with the etheric body. Some claim that the astral body IS the etheric body! Of interest, joined with but not tethered to the physical body, the Astral Body can leave our physical body.

To illustrate, the term astral projection implies the ability of the astral body to roam free of the physical plane. The Astral Body is frequently associated with the spirit part of our body for this reason.

Interestingly, here’s where things get murky. Neither Helena Blavatsky nor the Ascended Masters recognize or mention any body matching the description given to the etheric body by Leadbeater, Besant, Bailey, and other subsequent writers.
Blavatsky and the “Masters” also never used the term “etheric body.” They were clearly remiss.

Interesting Viewpoint about the Etheric Body:

“No-one had ever heard of the etheric body until C. W. Leadbeater claimed to have discovered it by his clairvoyant powers sometime around the early 1900s.

He and Annie Besant then altered the existing description and definition of the astral body to fit the “newly discovered” Etheric Body into the details of man’s inner constitution.

More specifically, at the same time, they altered the definition and details of all the other human components, resulting in terrible confusion for many individuals studying the human aura ever since.”

Early Theosophists

Arthur E. Powell, C. W. Leadbeater, Annie Besant, and other metaphysicians call the Etheric Body various names. The most common of these: the Etheric Double, Etheric Template, and the Vital Body. These early Theosophists proposed that the subtle body is less dense than the physical body vibrating at a much faster rate of frequency. And, that the subtle body is less dense than the physical body vibrating at a much faster rate of frequency. 

As mentioned previously, the subtle body serves as the blueprint for the physical body, meaning it provides the physical form framework of our physical body.

The Etheric Body Occupies the Same Space

Of note, the Etheric Body occupies the same space as the physical body. However, it is separated by its vibratory frequency, as are all the subtle bodies.

Moreover, the Etheric Body also permeates the physical body. But, significantly, it’s the only subtle body viewable with the physical eyes.

As seen, the Etheric Body radiates whitish-blue energy that appears as a tiny pulsating spike of energy surrounding the human body form by those trained in viewing the Aura, such as clairvoyants and energy healers. To be more specific, these energy spikes flare out farther and as quickly contracts as individuals experience different emotions.

How Some People See the Etheric Body

Particularly, some individuals can naturally see the Etheric Body Aura around a physical body. Individuals that can see this faint Aura aren’t aware they see something unusual. To them, it’s so natural; they may think that everyone can see it. Markedly, through **Kirlian photography, the Etheric Body is made evident. It extends outwards from 1/4 inch to 1 inch beyond the surface of the skin.

Pointedly, it’s estimated that the Etheric Body pulsates at about 15-20 cycles per minute. This radiant energy increases and decreases in size, and when observed, will periodically flare out at certain areas in response to continual changes in thoughts and emotions.

The Etheric Body Contains Two Parts:

  1. Firstly, the primary part is the Etheric Double. This double is an exact duplicate of our human body right down to the atoms, cells, tissues, muscles, and organs. Think of the Etheric Body as a photographic negative. Additionally, the first part of the Etheric Body also contains our chakras and countless energy channels called meridians.
  2. Secondly, the aura is the next part of the Etheric Body. It’s an egg-shaped electromagnetic field of luminous waves which surrounds us. Every person has an aura. Comprised of moving colors, the aura extends out roughly three feet from the physical body. The colors of the aura are in constant flux and are continually shaped and reshaped by patterns of thought and feeling. It can reflect our personalities, lifestyles, and physical condition. Likewise, the Aura contains past, present, and even future lifetime data.
  3. Thirdly, find out more about how the aura provides this information in our Akashic Records Course at Imagine Spirit.

The Phenomena of Phantom Limbs

Surprisingly, individuals who’ve lost a limb sometimes complain that they can feel pain at the extremities where the appendage once existed. This phenomenon occurs because the etheric part of the appendage stays with the physical body. And, under certain conditions of stimulus, people claim that feeling sensations happen where the missing limb once was.

The Etheric Body and Reincarnation

Of primary note, the Etheric Body plays an integral part in determining the type of physical vehicle which incarnating individuals move into. At death, the etheric body separates from the physical body. And, like the physical body, it dies and decomposes in due course, releasing the “soul” to the astral body for the next stage of the soul’s never-ending journey.

Amazingly, a series of photograph s taken by Hereward Carrington and John R. Meader in their book, Death: Its Causes and Phenomenon, 1912 demonstrates this. In the first experiment of its kind, Madam Baraduc granted the macabre permission to be photographed at death and in the hours afterward for the sake of science.

The Etheric Body Captured on Film

More impressive, Carrington and Meader set up a camera and took successive images of Madam Baraduc after her immediate passing. Incredibly, the images show a whitish substance leaving her physical body and hovering for several hours over Madam Baraduc before entirely disappearing.


(The complete series of images is in the book by Susan J. Blackmore, Beyond the Body, 1992)

Clearly, the Etheric Body, sometimes known as the Astral Body, has been captured on photographic plates called Kirlian Photography. It’s a vital functioning part of us.

Finally, regardless of esoteric definition wars, there exists a subtle body that is one step up from the physical body. Ultimately, the Etheric Body impacts our lives and allows us to exist through the functioning of the chakras. More importantly, this body moves us to the astral plane, some call heaven, upon death.

*Helena Petrovna Blavatsky: a Russian occultist, philosopher, and author who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875.

Another point of view: »Article: The Etheric Body Does Not Exist

**Kirlian photography: a technique for recording photographic images of corona discharges and hence, supposedly, the auras of living creatures.,
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Author, Carol Nicholson, Ph.D.

Author, Carol Nicholson, Ph.D.

Carol Nicholson is thirty-five years a professional Psychic Medium and author of numerous Psychic and Spiritual courses since 2001. Subscribe for more posts like this, get a FREE Psychic-Medium Starter eGuide, and notification of fantastic coupon deals.


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3 thoughts on “What is the Etheric Body?”

  1. Hi Carol

    Great post. Very clear.

    I am, however, confused about the planes we inhabit before we return back to the spirit world where we plan our next life.

    Before Spirits cross over to the Light, what is the name of the plane they are on? I am referring to the plane where some choose to remain for whatever reason (e.g. ghosts) before they cross over.

    Thank you.

    1. Thank you. A short answer to your question, spirits transcend to the Astral Plane which is the plane of existence just after earth’s 3-dimensional plane. There are many parts of the astral separated by vibrational frequencies that the deceased cross over to. The lower part of the astral contains the souls that choose not to cross over. These souls can move into to the higher astral at any time.

    2. Thank you. A short answer to your question, spirits transcend to the Astral Plane which is the plane of existence just after earth’s 3-dimensional plane. There are many parts of the astral separated by vibrational frequencies that the deceased cross over to. The lower part of the astral contains the souls that choose not to cross over. These souls can move into to the higher astral at any time.

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