“Eliphas Levi commits a great blunder in always identifying the Astral Light with what we call Akasa. On the lowest planes of what we call Ether, the noumenon of which is Akasa; and even that would be held incorrect by by orthodox Occultists. The ‘Astral Light’ is simply the older ‘sidereal Light’ of Paracelsus; and to say that ‘everything which exists has been evolved from it, and it preserves and reproduces all forms,’ as he writes, is to enunciate truth only in the second proposition. The first is erroneous; for if all that exists was evolved through (or via) it, it is not the astral light. The latter is not the container of all things but only the reflector, at best, of this all. Eliphas Levi writes:
‘The great Magic agent is the fourth emanation of the life principle … of which the Sun is the third form … for the day-star (the sun) is only the reflection and shadow of the Central Sun of Truth, which illuminates the intellectual (invisible) world of Spirit and which itself is but a gleam borrowed from the ABSOLUTE.’
“So far, he is right enough. But when the great authority of the Western Cabalists adds that nevertheless, ‘it is not the immortal Spirit as the Indian Hierophants have imagined’ – we answer that he slanders the said Hierophants, as they have said nothing of the kind. … No Hindu has ever mistaken Prakriti – the Astral Light being only above the lowest plane of Prakriti, the material Cosmos – for the ‘Immortal Spirit’. Prakrati is even called Maya, illusion, and is doomed to disappear.” ~H. P. Blavatsky
While different sources may think of astral light as different things, I think most of us would naturally relate that light to the Astral Plane, of which we hear much these days. The Astral Plane is, in reality, the fourth dimension, which is one level above the third where we humans dwell in physical form. Being only one level above us, it is not Heaven, it is not the home of angels, it is not the land of truth and knowledge. While in a sense, it may be said that it is the source of creation, it is only the creator of the lower dimensions. The fourth dimension is itself a generated dimension, and as such cannot be the source of all.
The Lowest Planes
What Blavatsky refers to as the lowest planes is what most of us call the material world or material planes. It consists of the lowest three dimensions. The lowest one is the Great Void, called “The Nothing” in The Neverending Story. Nothing is there, not even matter. The next higher dimension is that of pure matter, no spirit is left there so no chance to rise above it to higher levels. It is also known as Hades or Hell. The third dimension is where we are in physical form. The Astral Light does shine down on us, but it doesn’t create us. It may, in some ways, nourish our bodies, but not our souls. Only the spiritual Light of the Spiritual Sun awakens and nourishes our souls.
Reflection of the Central Sun
I don’t think it is accurate to say that our sun is just a reflection of the Central Sun. Calling it the shadow of the Central Sun is closer to the truth, but I think it is still not accurate. It is better to say that the physical sun of our solar systems receives only a small part of the light that is coming from the Central Sun. That light, the Astral Light, it can share with us, but nothing more. But we need to keep in mind that along with the physical sun, there is a Spiritual Sun. That Spiritual Sun is a channel of the Spiritual Light that comes from God, the true Bread of the Covenant that Jesus taught his disciples to pray for. The Astral Light is no match for the power of the Spiritual Light of the Spiritual Sun and the Central Sun.
Blavatsky doesn’t mention it, but another place where Levi errors is in referring to the intellectual as being the same as the spiritual. That may have been true in the way the word was used in his time, I can’t really say, but it certainly isn’t now. We need to distinguish between intellect and consciousness. They are not the same thing. Intellect is related to the body, brain, and the physical world. It can be considered to be generated by the Astral Light or at least fed by it. Consciousness, on the other hand, is spiritual in nature and is tapped into by the awakened spirit and soul. It is fed by the Spiritual Sun and the Central Sun. It is connected directly to God, the highest level of consciousness in which all lower levels reside.
So don’t get too hung up on the Astral Light and the Astral Plane. Turn instead to the Spiritual Light of the Spiritual Sun if your intention is to grow spiritually.