"This death of the "astral body", is that what you believe is meant by the "second death" in the scriptures?"
Good question Larry, but a point to keep in mind is to remember that the Jews who wrote the scriptures believed there were three interpretations to each inspired work. They called these the body, soul and spirit of the scriptures. Then there were a few who saw up to seven interpretations.
Even so, there are several interpretations of the "second death" which correspond and are correct and then there are a number which are wrong.
The Mormons have an interesting interpretation that fits within the Law of Correspondences. They believe that "man was in the beginning with God" and that the first death was his separation from God by entering into mortality. They then believe that all will be redeemed from this first death, at least to a degree, except for the "sons of perdition" who have committed the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost. These will suffer a second and more disastrous separation from God which they believe to be the second death.
In harmony with the ancient wisdom the early Mormon leaders taught that those who took this extreme path of selfishness and denial would be ground up and "returned to their native element" and have to start their progression all over again which would involve a process of "myriads of years".
Now there is a second interpretation, which you are thinking of Larry, which goes beyond normal religious thought.
The scripture reads:
"He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." Rev 2:11
In this light the first death within a smaller cycle is the death of the physical body. But then after we spend a period of time in the astral world most will suffer a "second death", which is the dissolution of the astral body.
So how can one be "hurt" by this second death?
For some who are of low vibration this second death is met with great resistance for they know not what lies on the other side of it. It thus becomes a terrifying experience for some--like a lake of fire as they go through the process of disintegration.
For those who are the fairly decent people of earth this experience is met with a yielding to the will of God and the fire is embraced rather than resisted.
In one way of looking at it though, even these are "hurt" by the second death because they lapse into unconsciousness for a period of time and then through rebirth they are born into a new body without a clue as to where they came from or where they are going.
He who "overcomes" will not suffer from either of these two "hurts" of the second death. When the pilgrim raises his consciousness above the astral to the mind and then above the mind to the spiritual planes he will either bypass the astral realm completely or have a very short stay and maintain consciousness as he passes beyond the astral and mental bodies. Because the adept can maintain consciousness in the higher spiritual worlds he is then not "hurt" by a second death because his consciousness does not die. In other words, his consciousness is never "separated" from his individuality as it is for a cycle in most humans after passing out of the astral.
As a side note this explains why Houdini was unable to communicate his secret messages to spiritualists after he died. Being a very intelligent man he probably passed through the astral quite quickly and either passed beyond the consciousness of the psychics or entered what some call the devachan where he experienced a semi self-conscious dream state beyond the reach of mediums.
The principle is this:
In the next world one can only rise in consciousness to the realm that one has attained to in this life. It therefore behooves us to place our attention and focus on the highest thoughts and vibrations of which we are capable.
If we continue to do this we will "overcome" and live beyond the hurt of the second death and keep our consciousness high enough so no time or consciousness will be lost between lives.
Do you think it is a disadvantage to be born with no awareness of where you came from, what you are supposed to do and how you are supposed to do it?
Can you see the advantage of keeping your consciousness high and escaping the harm of the second death and sensing your mission, your karma and your place on the path?
Copyright 2001 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved