Referred to in the Adyar school of Theosophy the Etheric or subtle physical plane and Etheric body, and by Steiner's Anthroposophy the formative forces body, and by Sri Aurobindo the Subtle Physical - this ontic gradation is transitional between the ordinary Material-Physical plane and body and the psycho-spiritual planes and subtle auras.
In this Plane there exist the formative or energic blue-prints of things (the, to use Rupert Sheldrake's term, "Morphogenetic" - form generating - fields. Rupert Sheldrake presents his theory of Morphogenetic Fields in his two books A New Science of Life, and The Presence of the Past.
The biodynamic technique of agriculture developed by Rudolph Steiner works on the Etheric level, as does the psychology and orgone theory of Wilhelm Reich is again Etheric (his orgone boxes and so on make total sense as etheric, rather than as physical, technology). Other phenomena of this plane include dowsing, radionics, astrology, and various paranormal phenomena such as UFOs, Bigfoot, etc, which all derive from a plane of existence distinct from the gross physical.
This is the region of paranormal phenomena, UFOs, bigfoot etc. Reductionistic science does not owrk on this level because causality is no longer local. The increasing presence of consciousness means that scientific methodology fails completely. Here we have grades of "elemental" or "devic" consciousness that effect us in subtle ways. There are also other beings that are involved in the kingdoms of nature; especially the plant and mineral kingdoms. Rudolph Steiner writes at length about the various types of elemental or nature spirits.
Although conventional contemporary esoteric wisdom (based mostly on Theosophy and New Age teachings) has the Etheric Plane intermediate between the Physical and the Emotional/Astral, it seems to me that the Etheric has organizational qualities lacking in the emotional and astral planes. Hence, despite its lowly station in the proximity of the gross physical, I would see it as inspired and emenated ultimately from the Soul or Mind planes, and embodies those higher organizatuional archetypes with in the material.
The Etheric can thus be considered as constituting the higher subplanes of the Mundane Physical plane, whilst the material-objective physical corresponds to the lower Mundane Physical.
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What is Subtle Energy?
"On The Threshold of a New Science & Technology" - The Theory of Astro Biological Coenergetics - "An unorthodox new look at mind, consciousness and perception with particular emphasis on the electrochemistry and physiology of the human visual system and its associated mechanisms."
This seems to me to refer very much to the dynamics of the Etheric aura and body, and especially confirming the Anthroposophical idea that sensation and perception is an etheric rather than a simple physical process.
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