A.E. Powell, Theosophy and the Bodies of Human Consciousness
Theosophy is a study of spirituality that was originated in the late 1800s by a group of scholars, mystics and yogis that established the Theosophical Society. A great deal of the impetus for the Theosophical Society’s publications came from an extraordinary mystic, H.P. Blavatsky, and her seminal works, “Isis Unveiled” and “The Secret Doctrine.” Both books were an attempt to explain spiritual development in a framework that was compatible with both Eastern philosophies and systems such as yoga, as well as new concepts and terminology that were emerging in science and physics. While “Isis Unveiled” and “The Secret Doctrine” were obscure and not easily accessible to most readers, the subsequent writings and teachings of Theosophists had a great impact in bringing the ancient wisdom from Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism and translating texts to make them available to Western readers.
A.E. Powell wrote a series of books on the subtle bodies of human consciousness that became an important foundation of Theosophy. These books are very enlightening, especially when they are read in a series and as a sequential study of consciousness, starting with “The Etheric Double” and progressing to “The Astral Body,” “The Mental Body” and finishing with “The Causal Body.” The etheric body is also sometimes referred to as the vital body or the subtle body; it is the energy of prana, chi and life force that most people associate with yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, chi gong and the martial arts. The Astral Body is a further extension of consciousness into the realms of emotions and the dream body and dream states, and what is often called “astral projection.” The mental body and the causal body carry the inquiry further into higher states of consciousness and subjective realms.