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An Outline of Occult Science

in which it has never been before during the time between birth and death,—with the exception of certain abnormal conditions to be dealt with later. That is to say, it is now united with the astral body in the absence of the physical body; for the etheric and astral bodies do not separate immediately after death: they are held together for a time by the agency of a force the presence of which can be easily understood; for were this force not present the etheric body could not detach itself from the physical body. It would remain bound to the latter, as is shown in the case of sleep, when the astral body is not able to rend asunder these two principles of man's being. This force comes into action at death. It releases the etheric from the physical body, so that the former remains united to the astral body. Clairvoyant observation shows that this connection varies with different people after death. The time of its duration is measured by days. For the present, this period of time is mentioned only for the sake of information. Subsequently, the astral body is also released from the etheric body and goes on its way alone. During the union of the two bodies, the individual is in a state which enables him to be aware of the experiences of his astral body. As long as the physical body is there, the work of reinforcing the wasted organs has to be begun from without, as soon as the astral body is liberated from it. When once the physical body is separated, this work ceases. Nevertheless, the force which was expended in this way while the man was asleep, continues after death and can now be applied to some other end. It is now used for making the astral body's own experiences perceptible. During his connection with his physical body the outer world enters man's consciousness in images; after the body has been laid aside, that which is experienced by the astral body, when it is no longer connected with sense organs, with this outer physical world, becomes perceptible. At first it has no new experiences. Its connection with the etheric body prevents it from experiencing anything new. What, however, it does possess, is memory of its past life. The