|“||The white non-space. The ever-present inverted Black Pyramid. The Board. All linked. Intrinsically tied to the Oldest House. Tied to the Director, the process of choosing a Director. Tied to all Objects of Power, in terms of who controls them.||”|
The Astral Plane is a mysterious dimension studied by the Federal Bureau of Control. The Astral Plane is vitally important to the Bureau due to its connection to a variety of paranatural phenomena, and particularly for being the location of the Board.
The Astral Plane appears to those within it as an endless, pure-white void. It consists of numerous floating structures of blackish-yellow material, which are arranged and shaped in geometric patterns. These structures may vary widely, and often move at the discretion of the Board or at random. An enormous black pyramid is always visible overhead, which is used by the Board to communicate with visitors to the Astral Plane.
The appearance of the Astral Plane seems to change depending on which paranatural entity "controls" the locale of the perceiver. For example, when the Hiss attempted to invade the Astral Plane through Dylan Faden, the Astral Plane took on a bright red, fluid appearance resembling the Hiss itself. Similarly, when the Former is present, the Astral Plane assumes a grayish, dim appearance, and the Black Pyramid is absent.
Due to the leakage in the Foundation caused by the destruction of the Nail, some areas of the Astral Plane are also connected to that area of the Oldest House, and share its appearance, including rocks, crystals, and reddish sand.
The Astral Plane is a mysterious realm that is very poorly understood by the Federal Bureau of Control. According to Casper Darling, simplification does no justice to the Astral Plane due to the fact that it represents staggeringly complex systems in action.
The Astral Plane is described as a "mindscape," a realm that - like many paranatural phenomena - is connected in some way to the human mind. Because of this, the Astral Plane can be reached through astral projection, a process whereby the mind of an individual is projected into the plane. While the Astral Plane was initially hypothesized to be subjective in nature, this was quickly ruled out, as objective observations could be made of it that were shared between individuals. FBC agents known as Astralnauts carry out mental expeditions to the Astral Plane (known as "astral dives") by interacting with Objects of Power, and footage of the Astral Plane can be recorded by monitoring the brain activity of these agents.
The exact nature of the Astral Plane is not known, a byproduct of the largely mysterious and bewildering nature of paranatural phenomena.
Within the Astral Plane is the Board, a paranatural entity (or group of entities) which communicates entirely through telepathic "broadcasting" via the Black Pyramid, which they control. The Board does not control the entirety of the Astral Plane, but still extert their influence over it. Through the Astral Plane, the Board is also connected to Objects of Power, ordinary objects which possess paranatural properties through their representation of collective unconscious archetypes. Individuals known as parautilitarians can bind to these objects and wield their abilities, and the binding process appears to be facilitared by the Board. The Board also possesses a strong connection to the Oldest House, which in turn makes the Astral Plane a significant influence over the House. Because of the connection between O.o.P.s and the Board, the Astral Plane can only be reached via direct interaction with O.o.P.s, with some exceptions (including the Foundation).
The Astral Plane is also host to other entities. Among these are "copies," humanoid entities seemingly created by the Board which are made of the same material as other structures in the Astral Plane. They are often used to test parautilitarians when they bind to Objects of Power, and to demonstrate the abilities of those O.o.P.s. Other inhabitants of the Astral Plane include Astral Spikes, formless and hostile entities which prey on thoughts and minds, making them lethal to humans who come in contact with them.
Another paranatural entity which exists in the Astral Plane is the Former, which has an animalistic appearance rather than a geometric or formless one. The Former, as its name suggests, is heavily implied to be a former member of the Board. The Board views it as a dissenter, and is hostile towards it. The Former shares the Bureau's ability to control and influence parautilitarian powers and Altered Items.
The Federal Bureau of Control regards the Astral Plane as vitally important for a number of reasons. Due to the presence of the Board, the Astral Plane is significant in processes relating to the Oldest House and Objects of Power, particularly the Service Weapon, which is used by the Board to determine the Bureau's Director. The wielder of the Service Weapon thus possesses a direct line to the Astral Plane and the Board and the power to exert control over all Objects of Power; in other words, the Director is an extension of the Board.
Director Broderick Northmoor established a strong tie between the Board and the Bureau, to the point that iconography of the Black Pyramid can be seen throughout the Bureau and the Oldest House, including the Bureau's seal.
- In many religions and philosophies, the astral plane is an immaterial realm of existence, a threshold between the world of the living and the afterlife, through which the souls of the dead pass. It is alternatively viewed as the totality of the spirit realm, a vast meta-reality in which all consciousness resides.