When you look at the Superconscious mind, you will find a record of each expansion of human consciousness, resembling the annular rings of growth on a tree. These inner strata within our Superconscious mind are sometimes referred to as "Planes," "worlds of dimension," or "inner worlds of Light."
Paralleling this stratification in the individual are the Macrocosmic planes that contain the great laws of Nature, the phenomena of multiple worlds and myriad possibilities of experiencing.
Humans participate in the Macrocosmic Astral Realm by discovering these inner worlds within themselves and expressing them as creativity and inspiration.
Channeling may represent one attempt to utilize the possibilities of the Astral by allowing the inhabitants that dwell there to communicate with those on the Earth Plane (who are yet in their bodies and yet in contact with their normal waking state of consciousness).
As the process of inner spiritual growth continues, spiritual consciousness passes beyond the Physical Universe into the Astral World.
In this domain of, as William Blake called it, the Divine Imagination, one may find many different varieties of spiritual and celestial beings: fairies, elves, angels, demons, gods and goddesses.
In addition, other possibilities of human communication beyond the physical world may be known. For example, on the Astral Psychic Realm, one may freely converse with the dead, commune with highly advanced "guides" and hear discourses of spiritual teachers.
Like in a school, the lessons of these spiritual teachers are graded according to the capacity of the student to understand. We can describe ten types of teaching that occur on these Astral Planes:
(1) Subtle Domain 1: teaching about the origin of life and man's place in the universe is allegorical, that is, it is taught through fairy tales, myths, or parables.
(2) Subtle Domain 2: principles taught are coupled with the opportunities to try out and express the teachings. These include healing methods and martial arts, counseling and dramatic arts, study and work, abstract thinking and pattern recognition, cultivation of good character, using the occult laws of nature to produce manifestation (Magick), and receiving intuitive revelation.
(3) Planetary Abstract Mental Realm: teaching is through specialized language and mathematical modeling. Here can be found the astral temples of Science, Art, and Philosophy; students learn to use the powers and abilities of the Subconscious and Superconscious mind, and applying the principles of the universal "laws of Life".
(4) Planetary Psychic Realm: teaching is received while in a deep trance state from discarnate entities that act as psychic guides. An individual may be prepared as a channel to speak on behalf of these entities. Information received at this level is often distorted or contaminated by the reader's subjective material.
(5) Planetary Wisdom Plane: the teaching is received as working through and gaining understanding about the meaning of life experiences. The emphasis here is on learning the lessons of life, and gaining wisdom.
(6) Planetary 1st Initiation: reception of information is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. At an advanced stage in this initiation, students are taught the mysteries of the Soul and are shown the principles of ministering to others.
(7) Planetary 2nd Initiation: reception of ideas is through auric immersion. The student is lead to release the power within the core of Being (Mighty I AM Presence) to produce healing, miracles, and to achieve self-mastery through speaking the Word (decreeing).
(8) Planetary 3rd Initiation: reception of ideas is through immersing the Higher Self in the intuitive stream coming from the Masters. Here on the Manasic Plane, ministry is done wholly by reception, contemplation, and radiation of thought.
(9) Planetary 4th Initiation: On the Buddhic Plane one in immersed is "the rain cloud of all knowledge"; ministry and teaching proceed by direct apprehension and revelation to others of the truths of the Soul.
(10) Planetary 5th Initiation and beyond: Here the Soul receives inspiration from Spirit, and communication is Soul to Soul through "the Light."
Looking at this larger perspective, we can infer much of the channeling that is currently being done as being a teaching modality that is largely confined to the Psychic Plane. Rarely we can find individuals who will be overshadowed by and act as a mouthpiece for a more highly evolved beings even up to the Planetary Third Initiation.
For example, some Theosophical teachings hold that the Great Incarnation that took place in Jesus of Nazareth was an overshadowing of Jesus (a 2nd degree initiate, some say 4th) by the Christ (also called the Son of God), the highest Initiate on this planet.
As a general rule, beings beyond the Planetary Third Initiation do not channel entities other than their own Transpersonal Self or their own spiritual heart, or as it is known in the East, they give Satsang—speaking from the Truth of their own Being.
Teachers beyond the Planetary Realms in Cosmic (Higher Astral Realm), Supracosmic (Causal Realm), and Transcendental (Pure Spiritual Realms) teach their students by immersion in the Light. This group immersion in the Grace and Illumination of a Master Teacher creates a mighty force field that is called the "ashram" of the teacher.
Additionally, teachers in these higher realms may have developed additional spiritual powers. They gain the ability to guide the spirit onto higher Planes, lead the attentional principle into union with the Higher Octaves of Consciousness, and can awaken the latent awareness of the student by a word, a touch, or a glance.