Depending on belief they certainly can be considered to house "heaven" and "hell".
I look at the astral planes in resemblance to the progression of the Tree of Life. The higher planes can be drawn parallel to Kether, perfection or the most abstract and least dense form of existence. Kether is eternal, it can be represented by the Universe rather than any one planet for its planetary symbol.
The lower planes then resemble one getting closer to Malkuth, the most complete form of material existence, it is at the bottom and represents the most dense form life can manage. This can be seen as hell for its materialistic tendencies or representing indulgence instead of abstinence.