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[[quoteright:350:[[Anime/SpiritedAway http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spirit_world.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:A spirited community like no other.]]
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The spirit world is the {{home|OfMonsters}} of [[OurSpiritsAreDifferent spirits]] and archetypes, little gods, ancestors, totems, elementals, [[OurAngelsAreDifferent angels]] (when they're not in {{Heaven}}) and [[OurDemonsAreDifferent demons]] (when they're not in {{Hell}}), [[AnthropomorphicPersonification embodied ideas]] and symbolical mindscape. It can get quite crowded if AllMythsAreTrue, but fear not, the setting metaphysics will be usually more restrained than [[FantasyKitchenSink that]].

Sometimes characters can reach it when they have an [[ConvenientComa out-of-body experience]], when they enter in a trance (with or without [[MushroomSamba drugs]]) or when they use [[FunctionalMagic shamanistic magic]] or PsychicPowers to [[AstralProjection project themselves into the astral plane]]. They can go there to meet their SpiritAdvisor, [[TrainingFromHell increase]] [[MyKungFuIsStrongerThanYours their power]], go on a [[FetchQuest spirit quest]], learn [[PlotCoupon invaluable information]] and get {{cryptic|Conversation}} [[MindScrew advice]]. Well advised characters are often [[FoodChains warned not to eat or drink anything]] while they're there.

Any depiction of the spirit world is sure to feature some level of MindScrew and RuleOfSymbolism, run high on {{Motifs}} and be under the sign of AbsurdityAscendant.

Compare with the DreamLand and JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind. ''Not'' to be confused with DarkWorld. See also MagicalUnderpinningsOfReality.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/DeathNote'': The shinigami realm is similar to this, except that no human character ever enters it and it's darker than most examples of this.
* ''Anime/{{Kamichu}}'' has one of these. It looks like an Edo-period city, and is populated by various Shinto critters. Under certain circumstances, similar critters can be found operating the underpinnings of our perceived world as well.
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' features five different planes, whereof one is the classic spiritual plane. [[http://skullknight.net/encyclopedia/universe/ This picture explains it better then I can.]]
* ''Anime/SpiritedAway'' has a protagonist who gets trapped in such a setting.
* The oft-referenced "C's World" from ''Manga/CodeGeass''; when [[spoiler:Lelouch is sent there by C.C. in the second season, he finds himself inside her memories, represented as a gallery full of floating paintings and overseen by a spirit guide version of herself in black clothes.]]
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'' and its [[Anime/YuGiOhGX sequel]] [[Anime/YuGiOh5Ds series]] feature worlds where Duel Monsters are real. ''GX'' reveals that there's a grand total of twelve separate dimensions populated by real Duel Monsters.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' the plot is dominated by the two warring spirit worlds: [[MundaneAfterlife Soul Society]], home of the [[TheGrimReaper Soul Reapers]] and [[DeathWorld Hueco Mundo]], stronghold of the [[TheHeartless Hollows]]. There exist three other spirit worlds of differing importance. One is the Palace Dimension of the Spirit King, ruler of Soul Society, that only Squad Zero and the Captain-Commander can access. The second is {{Hell}}, the destination of any spirit that has committed heinous acts before their death. The third is the Schatten Bereich, the hidden dimension where the Vandenreich resides.
* The ''Franchise/DragonBall'' franchise has what is usually translated as "the Other World." It includes Heaven, Hell, and the places in between where all sorts of spirits, gods, and otherworldly bureaucrats spend their time. The spirit world even has a spirit world of its own, the Kaioshin Realm, a place too holy even for residents of the spirit world. There's also a demon realm somewhere.
* ''Manga/{{Amatsuki}}'', although it's ambiguous as to whether it's all an illusion. Or perhaps even [[MindScrew an illusion within a dream]].
* ''Anime/MoribitoGuardianOfTheSpirit'': Nayug is the companion of Sagu, which is the mortal realm. At times, the two overlap while, at others, they can be light years apart. The only way to see it, or physically enter it, is by [[spoiler: drinking the sap of a Sig Salua blossom]]. Nayug seems very alien but magnificent to cast and viewers.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''Comicbook/TheAuthority'', The Doctor has one where previous incarnations of The Doctor act as {{Spirit Advisor}}s.

* In ''MegamanStarForceOrion'', Amaya Takeshi is sent to the spirit world in a couple of scenes to regroup. In both of those instances, he gets a pep talk from Yusuke from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', and Excel from ''Manga/ExcelSaga'' returns Amaya to his home world.
* [[http://archiveofourown.org/works/3188258/chapters/6929609 Betwixt the Black Curtain]], a ''Disney/BigHero6'' fan fiction, is all about Tadashi's undead life after he dies and watches over his brother as a ghost.
* In the ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'', the Spirit World is the dwelling place of the [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Concepts]]. Spirits who have not yet moved on to Heaven or Hell also dwell here until they move on due to UnfinishedBusiness. Demi-Gods are unique in that they're able to travel freely between the two words at will.

* The astral plane is the spirit world in ''Literature/AstralDawn''.
* The Nevernever from ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles,'' suspiciously similar to the Umbra. It contains [[LandOfFaerie Faerie]], the realms of various demons and {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, Hades, and possibly heaven and hell to boot, at least as the places that angels and demons come from. In terms of size, it doesn't have a 1:1 relationship with Earth. In size, it is to Australia what Earth is to the Rhode island[[note]]Roughly speaking surface area of the Earth is 162,443 times the area of Rhode Island. So with Australia having a rough area of 7,692,024 square kilometers, then the area of Nevernever is close to 1,249,517,855,327 square kilometers. For reference, that is about 20 times greater than the surface area of the planet Jupiter[[/note]]. In fact, opening a portal on Earth at a different time of the day can change the location one ends up in.
* In the Franchise/{{Nasuverse}}, this is just another layer on top of the "physical" world -- the only things that humans can interact with would be those with enough power to physical manifest (eg. [[OurVampiresAreDifferent True Ancestors]]). Humans with supernatural perception can see a bit more than the {{Muggles}}.
* Dunmanifestin in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' acts as a Spirit World in that the gods all live there.
* The gods of Nehwon (home of Fritz Leiber's ''Literature/FafhrdAndTheGrayMouser'') live in a Spirit World.
* The Other Place in ''Literature/TheBartimaeusTrilogy'', which we finally get to see in book three, ''Ptolemy's Gate''.
* In ''Literature/AmericanGods'' it's known as "backstage".
* ''Literature/TheSeventhTower'' has the spirit world of Aenir.
* Shadesmar, the realm of living ideas, in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''.
* According to Book 1 of ''Literature/{{MARZENA}}'', the surface of the brain, Cortex Land, can be understood as some kind of dreamworld where one can navigate through either a world of pure context (right hemisphere) or pure content (left hemisphere). Both worlds are inhabited by "biological holograms" the biological equivalent of digital holograms (those pictures of people in your head) which can considered as spirits. Sometimes a spirit goes into the deeper levels of Cortex Land to become a Thalamic Wizard, and then the spirit becomes a self-aware consciousness.
* In Creator/RobertAntonWilson's ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}}'' cycle of books, particularly ''Masks of the Illuminati'', the idea of a separate realm outside normal space-time is frequently referred to. An Irish fisherman blacking out under torture experiences the "crazy-space". A man near death sees his parents and others; an imaginative rich man being initiated into ritual magic experiences it as the [[AstralProjection Astral Plane]]. Wilson dismisses it as the Realm of Thud And Strange Imaginings, ruled over by Maya, Lord of Illusion, who bestows vivid but meaningless dreams to prevent men from walking up to Reality. Yesod (see below) is referenced.
* In ''Literature/TheTygrineCat'', the realm of Fiåney is accessed through AstralProjection. Described as a dark maze where only one's "sixth sense", not the normal five, is truly effective, it is primarily used for meeting with {{Spirit Advisor}}s. If one becomes lost in Fiåney, it is possible to be permanently trapped. In the second book, it is revealed that [[spoiler: {{Heaven}}, the endless desert where life was first created, and the PrimordialChaos from the beginning of the universe]] are all contained in {{Pocket Dimension}}s within it.
* In ''Literature/TheWhiteRabbitChronicles'', the zombies exist in a spiritual realm and this is the only place they can be killed.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Buffy in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' went on a spirit quest during season 5 to meet the First Slayer.
* An episode of ''Series/NorthernExposure'' saw Ed visiting a trailer park full of personal demons (Codependency is arguing with his wife, External Validation has a huge fancy car, etc.)

[[folder: Folklore, Mythology, Occultism, Religion]]
* In the Bible, St Paul writes about a man taken out of his body and unto the Third Heaven, wherein he saw things inexpressible in everyday comprehension and of which it may be forbidden to speak. (Second Corinthians 12:2-5) Scholarly opinion is divided as to whether the saint genuinely was talking about another guy, or about himself, using the third person.
* In the Jewish mystical system, the Kabballah, ''Yesod'' is the sphere of being governed by the Moon, and is the plane of existence immediately above the material ''Malkuth'' plane of Earth which is where we abide. Yesod is the plane of insubstantiality, deception, wild imaginings and distracting visions - this is where dreams and nightmares happen. The task for the explorer is to become aware this is the plane of illusion and to move beyond it to the higher planes, where genuine insight and wisdom may be gleaned from visions.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The Umbra of the ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'' was a big example of the [[AllMythsAreTrue anything goes]] version.
** The ''Hisil'' (Shadow Realm) in the ''TabletopGame/NewWorldofDarkness'' is a more restrained and [[DarkerAndEdgier horror-focused]] version of the Umbra.
** The ''Temenos'' (collective subconscious) and ''Anima Mundi'' (the dreaming earth / soul of the world) in the TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening supplement to World of Darkness are likewise examples of this, housing Archtypes, [[AllMythsAreTrue gods and demons, more-real-than-real flora and fauna and representations of magic itself.]]
** The Hedge is sometimes percived as this for Changeling, as well as Arcadia.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' magicians can project themselves to the Astral Plane.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Earthdawn}}'': the most powerful mages can project themselves to the Astral Plane. It is much more dangerous than ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'', due in large part to the [[EldritchAbomination Horrors]] that make the place their home.
* The Warp of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', one-third Spirit World, one-third HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace, one-third CosmicHorror.
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', primal classes can call spirits from the spirit world, which is described as a usually invisible layer on the natural world.
* ''TabletopGame/RuneQuest'' has shamans whose powers depend upon entering the Spirit World and battling/binding spirits. In Glorantha, the other main schools of magic (Divine and Sorcery/Wizardry) have their own equivalent otherworlds (God Plane and Essence Plane). Gloranthan characters enter Hero Quests on the God Plane and take on roles in myths to gain insights or magical power.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'', the world is divided in a "trinity of realities", which includes the realms of light ([[{{Heaven}} Paradiso]]), dark [[{{Hell}} Inferno]]) and chaos (our world). The neutral ground between these is Purgatorio, basically our world but through a spiritual lenses: whoever is here can't be seen by normal people (though they can affect the normal world just the same), and it is here that the witches and sages interact with the demons and angels, respectively. With it being possibly also the only way to normally access the other realms, it is basically the hub of everything supernatural in the games.
* ''VideoGame/Prey2006'' uses this as a plot element. After protagonist Tommy's grandfather dies, and Tommy himself has a near-death experience, he's pulled into the Spirit World to meet his grandfather again and learn how to spirit-walk.
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'' has The Fade, where demons and other spirits rule. The spirits of earthly humans and elves go there in dreams. Mages can also enter ''The Fade'' using special rituals, but must be wary against demonic possession. While souls can be trapped in The Fade beyond death by particularly powerful spirits or demons, the dead do not generally go there. Not even the spirits know what lies beyond, though many, perhaps because their kind subsides on the positive (or in the case of demons negative) thoughts and emotions of mortals, believe in the god(s) of mortal religions. {{The Ch|urch}}antry teaches the [[{{God}} Maker]] made his home in the Fade in the Golden City which acted as a Heaven for the faithful, and that the creation of the [[TheHorde Darkspawn]] was the result of corrupt mages trying to literally storm heaven and turning the Golden City into the [[OminousFloatingCastle Black City]]. This is what the ''Chantry'' believes, anyway. In the ''Legacy'' DLC for ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' [[spoiler:Hawke meets one of the original Magisters who committed the deed and became one of the first Darkspawn. He mentions trying to steal the power of "the gods" on the advice/orders of the dragon he served and implies that the City was already tainted when he entered it]].
* ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' has multiple heavens and other spirit realms.
* ''VisualNovel/MagicalDiary'' has The Other World, home to all manner of [[OurMonstersAreDifferent supernatural beings]].
* Link can visit them in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword''. They are known as "Silent Realms" and are pretty dang creepy areas where pretty much everything is hostile (this isn't to say the Zeldaverse spirits are an inherently hostile bunch, these particular spirits are testing Link). It's probable that the Silent Realms are parts of the Sacred Realm, the original resting place of the Triforce, because the place the Triforce is found looks and behaves exactly the same, except for the psychotic guardians. The Sacred Realm appears in many Zelda games, but it's usually a DarkWorld due to Ganon's influence.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Mardek}}'', dead spirits go to an afterlife similar to the {{Dream|World}}realm, but this time they're in control of the dream. As such, there are a number of "necropolises" there, composed of the collective expectations of various religions, etc. Also, guilty souls get to spend some time in [[TheNothingAfterDeath the Anti-life]] until they come to terms with themselves, and virtuous souls have the option of becoming one with ARIENDEEN, the god of light.
* The Shrine of Farewell from ''VideoGame/{{Hellsinker}}'' is an unusual take on this trope. The best way to describe is as an spiritual dump where heroes considered unworthy of preservation and generally stuff no-one wants anything to do with end up.
* In ''VideoGame/KultHereticKingdoms'', the protagonist (and other mages) can transition at will between the normal world and the Dreamworld, which is full of spirits and other weird things. Typically, mages can only stay there for a limited amount of time, although an optional [[SkillScoresAndPerks Attunement]] exists which changes this. The landscape of each world is much the same, but many impermanent things (including most characters and enemies) exist only in one of the two worlds, and you can walk right past things by being in the wrong world to see them — as such, the game advises players to check the Dreamworld from time to time. (You may, for example, [[spoiler:stumble on werewolf spies lurking in Corwenth's war camp, invisible to all the soldiers]]).
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series has several flavors of this trope. To note:
** Aetherius is the realm of magic and is sometimes referred to as the "Immortal Plane", in contrast to Mundus, the mortal plane. It is thought to be the origin of the et'Ada, or "original spirits", who would go on to become the series' [[OurGodsAreDifferent various deities]]. Most Tamriellic religions teach that, unless a soul is bound to the mortal world or claimed by another deity (such as a Daedric Prince), the souls of the deceased continue to live on in this realm as spirits. Magnus and the Magna-Ge ("Star Orphans"), et'Ada who abandoned the creation of Mundus after realizing how much of their divine power/very beings it would take, fled to Aetherius, punching holes in reality that would become the sun and stars. Magic is said to flow these holes into Mundus, allowing it to be used by mortals. It is possible for mortals to travel here, though it requires great effort. During the last 1st Era, the Reman Empire and the [[AntiHumanAlliance Aldmeri Dominion]] were in a "space race" to survey and claim parts of Aetherius. The efforts left the Empire with the Royal Imperial [[SomethingNauts Mananauts]].
** Oblivion is the "infinite void" surrounding Mundus. The Daedric Princes make their home here, each having their own [[EldritchLocation plane of Oblivion]] that is also [[GeniusLoci part of their very being]]. There are said to be countless other realms of Oblivion as well, large and small, ruled by different beings or existing in pure chaotic states. Mortals who pledged themselves into the service of a specific Daedric Prince can have their souls claimed by the Prince in question. Their soul goes to the Prince's realm where they will serve the Prince for eternity. Souls can end up in one of the planes of Oblivion involuntarily as well, such as if they are slain by a specific weapon or die while afflicted by a certain disease.
** The Soul Cairn is one of the planes of Oblivion, created and ruled by the Ideal Masters, [[WasOnceAMan formerly mortal]] sorcerers who entered Oblivion as {{Energy Being}}s through an unknown means. The Ideal Masters are most infamous for their [[YourSoulIsMine trafficking in souls]], especially "Black" sapient souls. All souls trapped in soul gems end up in the Soul Cairn and are considered property of the Ideal Masters. The Soul Cairn thus serves as an eternal prison to these souls, being [[FateWorseThanDeath damned to walk its desolate path for eternity]]. The Masters themselves see this as a ''blessing'', seeing it as a place of eternal peace that removes souls from the ViciousCycle of death and rebirth.
* In ''VideoGame/TakAndThePowerOfJuju'', one of the levels is a spirit world that Tak has to traverse in order to find the spirit of [[FakeUltimateHero Lok]] so that he can be [[BackFromTheDead resurrected]].

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The spiritual plane is where ancient spirits come from and generally reside in ''WebComic/CircumstancesOfTheRevenantBraves'' when they aren't in a pact with a human. However, no ''human'' characters have journeyed there . . . yet.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' has ''The Aether'' or ''The Etherium'', which seems to be the same thing. Magic-using individuals can see there, with non-etheric objects becoming grey and powerful beings and objects remaining or becoming colourful and bright. In the Foley house (Gillitie Wood emigrants in mostly human bodies) the lesson appears to be the whole class rapid-typing the equations of orbital mechanics -- for a mundane sight. But then Annie realizes if ''[[TheFairFolk these]]'' students are this diligent for longer than ten seconds, there's something wrong and [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=984 takes a look]]... [[spoiler:and the ether-class looks like a merry out-of-body playground, and they all waited for her to figure it out and join]].
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' the MainCharacters go to one of these in the StoryArc "[[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20080512 A Time for Hair-Raising]]."
* The astral plane of ''Webcomic/{{Concession}}'' has been compared to the [[http://concessioncomic.com/index.php?pid=20090925 internet]], locations within it seem to be created by the spiritually aware. And considering that most of the time it's shown so that the VillainProtagonist can MindRape [[http://concessioncomic.com/index.php?pid=20100321 someone.]]
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', the spiritual plane is an ephemeral plane of existence parallel to the main universe. The beings known as Immortals live in it and normally it, everybody and everything on it is invisible and intangible to denizens of the physical plane. However, those on the spiritual plane can see and hear the physical plane and interact with those on it magically such as through their emotions. What the spiritual plane is not is a place for the dead; neither heaven nor hell nor the spirits of dead characters have been seen there.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Veil, Spirit Space or the Astral Plane in ''Literature/{{Phaeton}}'' is a plane inhabited by astrans, reapers, spirits and ghosts. Some DPIs can access it on their own others have to die. Everyone passes through it as somepoint and can't leave until they are resurrected or reaped, unless they make it there via powers in which case it is generally easy to get out.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Spirit World]] in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' is a classic example. It is a physical world unto itself, though it's generally far stranger than the material world, and has some downright {{Eldritch|Location}} and [[AcidTripDimension trippy]] locations where distances are variable and laws such as gravity don't quite apply. The [[OurSpiritsAreDifferent spirits]] themselves show up in various animal or even plant forms, but are clearly intelligent and varied individuals. Strangely, several of these spirits take the form of regular animals like pandas with the occasional TalkingAnimal in the mix while the "real" world mostly has MixAndMatchCritters.
** Occasionally, spirits will cross over to the material world, and a few have even made it their permanent home. Humans, in turn, can enter the spirit world via AstralProjection through meditation. (For example, if you know where you're going, you can literally stand still and have the ''world'' move until your destination arrives.) The [[PhysicalGod Avatar]] can do this to speak with their past lives. [[ElementalPowers Bending the elements]] while in spirit form is impossible, however, and no human has been able to physically cross over for 10,000 years: [[spoiler:The portals at the north and south poles were sealed by the first Avatar in order to prevent war between humans and spirits, and to keep BigBad Vaatu from escaping his [[SealedEvilInACan prison]]. In Book Two, Korra's uncle forces her to open them, but after his defeat, she allows them to remain open, heralding a new age for humans and spirits. A third spirit portal is created by the explosion of a massive spirit weapon in Republic City in the series finale, making a new spirit age more likely.]].
* Several episodes of ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' deal with "spirit worlds" (yes, in plural). Some of the many dimensions that appeared in the series inhabited by spirits include a BermudaTriangle expy in "Venkman's Ghost Repellers", the genie’s origin dimension in "Janine’s Genie", a MirrorUniverse inhabited by ghost versions of humans in "Flip Side", etc. Besides, the Containment Unity has turn into a spirit world on tis own as shown in episode "X-Mas Marks the Spot".
* The Neitherworld in ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'' is expanded as this. In the movie it was just the AfterLife, in the show is home not only of ghosts of people, but also of all kind of different monsters including giant spiders, skeletons, vampires, witches and whatever is the Monster Across the Street.