"The semi-subtle sphere is the chain that links the physical, material world to the subtle plane. During our habitual dreams we make use of the subtle body and in a subconscious way we perceive sensations belonging to the physical, material world. In certain conditions it is possible to make conscious use of the physical senses in such a way that we can contact the semi-subtle sphere. We can, because of this fact, enter into communication with the spirits of the dead. These spirit communications have nothing to do with the spiritual life, nor with subtle spirit, nor with the spiritual planes. There is a vast difference between the subtle sphere and the semi-subtle sphere.*
"After death the spirits of human beings (except for those who have sufficiently progressed on the spiritual path and are beyond the fourth plane) reach the semi-subtle sphere. According to their sanskaras** they go to "heaven" or "hell"; and when they achieve the point they had to attain, they can return to earth with a new body (reincarnate); or otherwise they return to the semi-subtle sphere for a certain time. These spirits are, so to say, in the ante-chamber of the semi-subtle sphere and one can enter into contact with them through the means of spirit communication, whether they have achieved their period of joy or pain, and wait for a new rebirth, or whether they are on the point of going to "heaven" or "hell". The semi-subtle sphere, "heaven" or "hell" with their respective experiences, have no reality. They are merely the joys and pains experienced through the organs of the subtle body.
"It is advisable to attribute only relative importance to certain descriptions of life after death, although they may be exact. Spiritually evolved persons can communicate with high spirits but it is preferable that they abstain. Human beings can never enter into communication with the high spirits who belong to the subtle, mental or spiritual planes; because even if they have to reincarnate they do not sojourn in the ante-chamber of the semi-subtle sphere."
--Meher Baba, quoted by Dr. Abdul Ghani Munsiff in "Treasures from the Meher Baba Journals"
*What Meher Baba refers to here as the "semi-subtle sphere" is also often referred to as the "astral plane."
NOTE: this suggests that every teaching which is channeled is actually coming from the astral plane, and not from a highly evolved spiritual master as is often claimed. "Spiritually evolved persons" as used here means someone physically incarnate who is on the higher planes of spiritual consciousness, i.e., not simply someone who is psychic or has studied esoteric matters and achieved some occult ability or knowledge which allows them to interface with the astral plane.--Stephen S.