The structure and nature of afterlife realms is a complex subject. Information supplied by channeled spirits and human consciousness explorers forms the bulk of our knowledgebase.
Below are some useful reference sources, all of which give a different perspective. Each one is discussed in greater detail below. Some explanations about the spiritual realms focus on the "spiritual landscape" while others focus more on a "state of being." It is important to remember that some perspectives are offered from a more enlightened perspective. Those may be more helpful to understanding what is the underlying spiritual truth.
The near-death.com website provides various evidence to support the case for 10 or more afterlife realms. This includes both modern and historical records. Some excellent points made there follow:
Death is described as a shift in consciouness and speed of vibration. We switch over to life in another wavelength. After a period, we go to a place which matches our current vibration. See our webpage on imprints to learn more about this.
On the near-death.com website, it mentions that there are multiple paths through the afterlife realms. Below are 4 different identified paths, in which 5 different realm levels (L0, L1, L2, L3 and L4) and two tunnels are presented:
EARTH (L0) –> EARTHBOUND (L1)
EARTH (L0) –> tunnel1 –> VOID (L2)
EARTH (L0) –> tunnel1 –> VOID(L2) –> tunnel2 –> HEAVEN (L3)
EARTH (L0) –> EARTHBOUND (L1) –> tunnel1 –> VOID (L2) –> tunnel2 –> HEAVEN (L3)
The Earthbound realm is close to our physical realm. The shift is subtle so some don't even realize they have died or left their body in the case of OBE/NDE experiencers. Some NDE's go to the Earthbound realm, while others go to a higher realm. Some NDE travellers have remarked that they bypass any form of tunnel and are led from one realm to another by a being of light. Many people experience going through a tunnel, whether after death, or during OBE/sleep travel.
THE LAWS OF THE SPIRIT WORLD
In this book (see our RESOURCES-1 webpage), the two channeled deceased sons (via automatic writing) explain to their embodied mother that there are (at least) 7 realms each having 10 sub-realm levels within. Inhabitants of one realm may be escorted by a more evolved being, using a cloak of protection, to the next higher realm for a visit. An inhabitant of one realm may also visit a lower realm, if they similarly use a cloak of protection.
Realms #1 to #3 are pretty awful places, with #1 being the worst and #2 and #3 each being slightly better than its predecessor. Realm #4 is like Earth as it is an in-between realm. Realm #5 is the start of heaven. There it is bright and everyone is helpful. Realm #6 is higher still and all souls do work they really love, especially helping others. Realm #7 is even higher and there is no futher need to be reincarnated. The two sons seem to be unaware of what exists beyond realm #7.
This book presents some interesting concepts about the afterlife and God's laws, but the channeled sons do not appear to have full information or the most complete perspective. This suggests that souls receive further knowledge and training but that all is not immediately revealed. There is much to experience and learn.
MASTER RYUHO OKAWA (HAPPY SCIENCE)
In his book "The Nine Dimensions," spiritual master Okawa of Japan explains the nature of the afterlife realms. He says there are currently 9 realms making up the spiritual hierarchy. The different realms/dimensions represent various stages of love. This is accepted by Buddhism, mysticism and theosophy and is confirmed in various ancient manuscripts.
Master Okawa says that when we die, our soul leaves our body behind and, after a time, goes to a staging area in the spirit world where we are welcomed by friends and relatives. There may also be a period of healing depending on the circumstances of physical death. If the soul is ready, a life review (using the Akashic records or "thought-tape") is given where the soul is able to re-examine the incarnation just ended – the lessons learned and not learned. After this, our soul is then taken to its natural place in the spirit world based on the application of the Law of Attraction.
Subsequently, all souls have the opportunity to move up to a higher realm/sphere through spiritual development. This includes those souls that are sent to lower, unpleasant spiritual realms (e.g. lower astral). Spiritual development includes, but is not limited to, reincarnation in the physical realms. By putting love into practice, one can enter the higher realms.
The 9 realms consist of various sub-levels and are described as follows:
Top: El Cantare (Creator);
#9: Realm of the Savior or Cosmic Realm (God's Love);
#8: Realm of Archangels (Existence as Love);
#7: Realm of Angels – World of Love (Forgiving and Unconditional Love);
#6: Realm of Light – World of Knowledge (Nurturing Love);
#5: (Etheric) Realm of the Good – World of Goodness (Fundamental Love);
#4: Posthumous (Astral) Realm – World of the Afterlife (Instintual Love; where we first go when we die); includes "hell" and the lower astral; and
#3: Earth Realm – World of the Physical.
The video below is about Master Okawa's book The Nine DImensions. It includes an interesting anime trip through the afterlife realms.