Hm. So I shall do a reflection on my thoughts and experiences of and on the Astral Plane.
What the Astral Plane is to me and the definition I see is best to fit the bill is:
The Astral Plane is the Plane of existence that is the "inbetween" dimension. It is made from the conscience of all of us humans and other beings in existance. It is like before you get to the celestial planes and abovethe Physical Plane.
Why do I see it this way you might ask? Well the reason being is due to experiences I have had on the Astral Plane. Things that I have heard and experienced on the Physical Plane are mixed in with the Astral. I have talked with a few others who've projected Astrally. They too have experienced on the Astral, that Animes or shows or people they've met have appeared in someway on the Astral.
It gives me the reasoning behind why I see the Astral as a connection of the beings of the universes conscience.
Many wish to learn however, why is that so? Is it like me, the overwhelming curiosity and the sensation of knowing that there's more out there? Or is it to get away from reality, used as an escape. Whatever it may be the reason the Astral is a phenomenal creation.
I have seen myself as something not human. Supposedly, you do not project your soul, but you're more or less a thoughtform created by your conscience.
I would be inclined to believe that, but I have been attacked and felt excruciating pain.
As for the "silver cord" and the thing of getting lost and dying on the physical if the silver cord is severed is a myth. Its flawd and untrue. As far as my experience has shown me. See the "silver cord" is practically the connection between your physical body and your Astral body. However, that connection cannot be severed.
If you die Astrally the effects are: unable to keep energy, temporary loss of connection to the Astral, pain, and headaches.
Eventually your Astral body will regenerate. Or another will just take its place. See you have more than one Astral body. Fragments of your soul basically.
It is basically a playground. You can do anything you want, be anything you wish. I can see why people would say it is basically you, but your astral body is your thoughtform.
So this is my reflection. If you have questions you may ask them here or mail me, however I prefer here.
I tend to see the astral as the template for the etheric, which is in turn the template for the physical plane, which is why when we affect change on higher planes, we also affect change on the physical (through the influence of congruent planes of existence). It is because of that view that I don't necessarily agree with saying the astral plane is 'made up' of conscious beings' thoughts and energy, though they can certainly manifest on that plane. I also tend to view projection as more of shifting consciousness from our physical body to our subtle bodies, so the silver cord has little significance to me, save for when it comes to etheric projection in one sense; out of body experiences that are caused by death or near death experiences. It is said when a person's body is momentarily dead, their spirit or soul loses it's connection to the physical body. However, we use the bones of animals and ancestors to help connect with them, so they never completely lose connection. To me, it is like dimming the connection between the body and the spirit. During an out of body experience during death or near death, our consciousness shifts to our spirit while it's connection with the physical body is dimmed. Some people come back from it, and others do not. However, this is highly unlikely to happen to the average person as not all go through experiences like that before they die.
As for astral forms not being the same as our physical bodies? Nearly everyone who experiences conscious astral projection can identify with that one. For some, they can change their form according to their will (where 'be whatever you want' comes into play), while others change their form according to their spirituality, life lessons, and their needs. It is not to say that one can be something other than human just because they are not comfortable with their human body. There is a saying that "You are not human, you are a soul living a human experience," so having subtle bodies that are not human in form would be natural to this saying. Some work with their higher selves, guardians, guides, deities, and other spirits on the astral (or other subtle) planes, so form is important, yet also not important at the same time. How someone defines themselves is for them to understand, but their forms are as such because that's how they interpret their own energy and other energies. For a shamanic journey to the desert, my subtle form could be a scorpion, though that does not make me a scorpion. That would just be another facet who who I am, how I view myself, and how I would best learn in that journey. It is not limited to entities, either. In my journey, I could be the wind, the sand, the sun, a spike on a cactus; it is about how my subconscious feels I would best learn from that journey.
I also find it less that your astral body is your thoughtform and more that your astral body is a state of being.
Well I see the astral plane as a link between the physical plane (us) and the celestial plane (higher beings). As for the people who claim to be able to create their own plane, they are correct. You can. Picture it as a room in a house. Your room is your plane. It won't be infinite such as the astral but it will exist. You can 'lock' the door making it private. That's my little speach.