Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Astral Body

An occult term used in Supernatural Fiction to describe a detachable aspect of the Soul or spirit. The AB is more or less identical in "substance" to the Aura, except for the circumstance that it is often found – in fiction at least – to project itself, or to be projected (see Astral Plane). Many people who have undergone near-death experiences have described themselves as floating in an AB over their corpses, to which they have still been joined by a kind of psychic rope that has, in due course, enabled their AB to haul itself back "into" their physical body. The image is a potent one, and turns up fairly often in fiction. [JC]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.