Astral body is a subtle body posited by many philosophers, intermediate between the intelligent soul and the mental body, composed of a subtle material. The concept ultimately derives from the philosophy of Plato: it is related to an astral plane, which consists of the planetary heavens of astrology. The term was adopted by nineteenth-century Theosophists and neo-Rosicrucians.
The idea is rooted in common worldwide religious accounts of the afterlife in which the soul’s journey or “ascent” is described in such terms as “an ecstatic.., mystical or out-of body experience, wherein the spiritual traveler leaves the physical body and travels in his/her subtle body (or dream body or astral body) into higher realms”.
Hence the many kinds of heavens, hells, and purgatorial existences believed in by followers of innumerable religions may also be understood as astral phenomena, as may the various phenomena of the séance room. The phenomenon of apparitional experience is therefore related, as is made explicit in Cicero’s Dream of Scipio.
The astral body is sometimes said to be visible as an aura of swirling colours. It is widely linked today with out-of-body experiences or astral projection.
According to the Theosophical founder William Q. Judge, “There are many names for the Astral Body. Here are a few: Linga Sarira, Sanskrit, meaning design body, and the best one of all; ethereal double; phantom; wraith; apparition; doppelganger; personal man; perispirit; irrational soul; animal soul; Bhuta; elementary; spook; devil; demon. Some of these apply only to the astral body when devoid of the corpus after death.”
— excerpt from Wikipedia