The Human Aura.
[Respectfully Dedicated to Those Who Can See, and to Those Who,
Not Able to See, Yet Can Understand Intuitively.]
The Aura of Plants.
The following communication, now reproduced with emendations, was published by Mercury (August, 1896):
"It has been the good fortune of the writer to meet with several members of the Theosophical Society gifted with high psychic faculties; one especially had a very vivid power of perceiving microscopic forms and supernormal or psychic colors through what the Hindus would probably call natural 'Taraka Siddhi,' or what H.P.B. would term seeing on 'the astralized astral.' After studying very thoroughly with the lady, the Human Aura, whereby the writer was favored with the opportunity of satisfactorily testing and verifying the accuracy of her sight, all her findings being in perfect accord with what the Theosophical authorities have made known on the subject through our literature — her interest was directed towards the auras of non-human objects, the verification of which we thought might lead to useful developments. The result of our work is now submitted in the shape of a first batch of observations, subject to correction, but the general reliability of which is considered as sufficiently established, first by the lady's correct perception of Human Auras, and second, by the fact that, while she could not remember the details of her own observations, yet after days of interval, she would accurately repeat the description of any specimen submitted at random to her analysis. Fourteen kinds of plants were examined with results showing that every genus, and even every different variety of a genus, has a most diversified and characteristic aura of its own:"
Honeysuckle, a narrow aura of about one-twelfth of an inch, composed, first of a bright line of light of the thickness of the tiniest hair, which seems to be a current flowing evenly along the edge of the leaf; above this a thread of darkish red emanation blending into a band of yellowish green; through this general aura runs a kind of border composed of exceedingly minute, narrow,  linear figures, which appear to start from the rim of the leaf perpendicularly to it, and run parallel to each other up to the outer edge of the aura, with a curve at the top ; through the length of these linear figures appear horizontal streaks of light, from four to six streaks in each figure.
Violet Leaf, about one-eighth of an inch, first a bright light, then a line of dark blue shading away into very faint light blue, all this following all the indentations of the edge of the leaf; above these lines a scalloped or semi-linear string or border of two rows of little purplish-red figures, diamond-shaped (Apas Prithivi) very regularly distributed so as to form two sets of fourteen little diamonds over the space of each small lobe of the leaf, then above these a crescented wave of dark blue mist shading off into light blue.
Pansy, a very large aura for the size of the leaf, starting by a little rim of light round the edge, then an emanation of yellow, violet and blue, blended like prismatic colors, through which appears a confused multitude of broken and superposed linear figures.
Lamb's Quarter, about one-quarter of an inch, first a dark blue rim, lining the edge of the leaf, then a line of red fading into a pretty orange-yellow, and afterwards into a lilac mist; in the lower colors are seen some very tiny figures like broken waves.
Feverfew, a wide aura of about the quarter of the whole diameter of the leaf, first a rim of light, followed by an irregular chain of colorless, oval and triangular figures on a mist of yellowish purple, and above, a band of dark velvety purple, fading to a light lavender.
Fig leaf, a grand aura — first, two broken lines of light following the indentation of the leaf, then innumerable dots, grouping themselves into geometrical squares (Prithivi-Akasha), on a field of light purple, followed towards the outer edge by a line of greenish yellow light, above which a band of dark red, fading into dark pansy purple.
Peach leaf, a very narrow and rather insignificant aura, beginning by a light line along the edge of the leaf, followed by a purple mist through which is manifest a complicated system of triangular figures impossible to describe without a drawing, and very difficult to draw, unless with the aid of a photograph.
Orange leaf, aura nearly one inch wide, first an edge of light following the rim of the leaf, then several rows of tiny geometrical figures, lozenge-shaped, of pink magenta, from which seems to flow a clear aura of light magenta color, fading gradually away; different trees, however, gave auras differing very materially.
Rose leaf, every variety with a different aura; one, a moss-rose, showed a line of brilliant metallic brick-red passing into two shades of orange, the last being very faint; in this aura, all the minute indentations of the leaf are reproduced and followed by three distinct lines of light; in another variety (the Castile), the aura was a large band, half an inch wide, of bright yellow, at the basis of which existed a design of brilliant white parallel streaks, swollen at their center and inclined towards the point of the leaf, and accompanied on each side by a parallel row of brilliant dots on a field of lavender mist; another variety again, the Jacqueminot rose, offered a pretty design of interlaced "tejas" triangles, covered with brilliant dots (Tejas-Akasha).
Rose petals presented the poorest of the auras examined, being merely a faint reproduction of the colors of the petal, following its form and fading out into nothing, with a faint shadow of outline.
Rose-Geranium leaf, a most beautiful and complicated aura of about one-eighth of an inch; so complicated, in fact, that the accompanying cut had to be divided into two parts, the first, A being intended to show the principal figures isolated, and the other, B, being a very rough attempt at showing how those figures are all crowded up together, although with the greatest symmetry.  To describe this aura in words is a still more thankless task: first a dark thread followed by a thread of colorless light, both following all the indentations of the leaf; above these, four continuous zigzagged lines, one of which, triple in itself, carries along with it a double row of little circles, while another one is bristled up with hair-like sparks; then the whole ribbon of auric manifestation finishes on the outside, rather abruptly, by a bright light. Now, on and through all these lines, as a background, are dispersed the geometrical figures. The most prominent is the singular column-like structure, which occupies, — from its two angular feet up to its phrygian-like cap crowned by a crescent, — the whole of the breadth of the ribbon. Next, and alternating with the preceding, comes a beautiful chain of lovely bluish-lilac and perfectly regular lozenge-shaped bits of undulating emanation, containing in their inside, with geometrical exactness, another smaller lozenge with a dark spot or dot in its centre, all these shaded with various shades of color diminishing in intensity from the inside towards the outside. The other figures are circles and half-circles with circular dots at their centre, making of the whole design a most bewildering combination of the characteristic forms of the Prithivi, Tejas, Apas and Vayu Tatwas. One more remark: the crescent over the top angle of the largest figure is itself formed by a chain of the tiniest half-elliptic dots. The extraordinary richness of this aura would suggest that the plant must be of much greater importance and of a higher development than we can realize.
Nutmeg-Geranium, first a rim of dark, brilliant, metallic blue, shading off into extremely light blue, then into a bright metallic orange, this shading out into light orange, the whole of the space of this aura being further subdivided into the geometrical border of five scalloped-shaped waves, one over the other, with triangular indentations (Apas-Tejas), the whole of the design apparently trying to reproduce on the tiniest scale the general form of the outline of the leaf.
Chrysanthemum, a rather wide aura, the most interesting of  those studied, after the two geraniums; first, a silvery light around the edge of the leaf, then a band of pink lilac, in which are seen delicate tiny figures of an undulating form, putting one in mind of a double scallop of the Tejas tatwa kind, outside of which runs another band of pink lilac.
Carnation, petal, a beautiful aura, one-tenth of an inch, first a bright pink light along the rim of the leaf, above this several rows of faint pink diamonds, oblongated towards the right, with a square transparent hole or opening in the middle, on a general lavender background; above this a reddish-yellow band fading away.
Carnation, leaf, an exceedingly narrow aura, rather similar to that of the petal, beginning by a light rim, then four distinct rows of the minutest wavy greenish figures of diamonds, less regular and less angular than those of the petal, these rows being separated by a background of dark lavender, and above them a yellowish emanation, fading into invisibility.
N.B. — All these auras were observed as they flow from the edge of the leaves held perpendicularly before the observer. It would seem that the more complicated is the outside form of the leaf, the prettier, more complicated in design is the aura; it seems also that the colors disappear with life, since the auras of dead leaves consist merely of a grayish mist. [*]
It is of course too early to try to draw any conclusions from the above findings; yet there certainly is a general indication that the nature of the geometrical forms, seen in nearly all the auras, follows very closely, but with innumerable variations, the laws and types mentioned by Rama-Prasad (Nature's Finer Forces), concerning the Tatwas and their combinations. Thus, in the sweet-smelling leaves of the rose-geranium, in the fig and violet leaves and petals of the carnations, we have a fine illustration of the predominance of variously modified forms of the Prithivi, or odoriferous tatwa, while in the spotted nutmeg geranium the predominant tejas form, on the scalloped waves, shows the working  of color. In a similar way, various indications of the other tatwas appear in other plants, so that it does not seem too bold to suggest that eventually the different beautiful colors and shades existing in the auras of plants will be found correlative with the various properties and essential chemical components of those plants. It is the hope of the writer to be able at some future date to publish further observations and comparisons between the auras of flowers and minerals.
The Aura of Magnets.
It will probably be of some interest, before bringing this study to an end, to compare the above Plant Auras, as well as the corresponding tatwic parts of the Human Aura, with the most commonly known mineral Aura, that of the Magnet. Baron Reichenbach was the first, about forty years ago, to discover that on and through magnets, different forces are acting, which he termed terrestrial Magnetism and Odic force, these last, from his own description, including, — with something else, — what we now call Tatwic currents. From direct experiments — the scientific accuracy of which is now fully conceded — he first ascertained that, to ordinary sensitive sight, the magnet emits what he designated as flames and light, these emanations being afterwards subdivided by him into: 1, incandescence; 2, flames; 3, threads, streaks and nebulae; 4, smoke; 5, spark; and 6, colors (see Dynamics, Ashburner's translation). But these phenomena were visible to his experimenters principally in dark rooms, very few having been able to see any manifestation at all, even in a moderate light, probably because he himself was groping aimlessly in the dark of incipient knowledge and did not know how to guide his helpers. Now, however, more is known on the matter, sensitives are growing more numerous and better educated, and it has been repeatedly verified that the Aura, or Effluvium, from a magnet can be seen both in darkness and in full light; so that it can be correctly, though briefly, described as composed essentially of two principal parts:
A. — An undulating current, running parallel to the surfaces of the metal and corresponding to the Magnetic, Caloric and Tatwic horizontal currents of the Auras of Plants, Animals and Man. In the magnet, this current can be subdivided as follows: first, along the metal, a parallel zone of yellow light, deepening into orange, through which exist a regular series of equidistant slanting lines of a metallic white flame-like light; then a second zone of flowing, deep, dark blue, through which are seen interrupted, broken lines of straight, short electric sparks, running parallel to the sides of the metal; and above these two, a third zone of flowing, metallic red, on the top of which runs a continuous border of very minute, but regular triangular forms, of the same metallic white light mentioned above in the first zone. Independently of the effect, or appearance of parallel lines, produced on the sight by the change of colors from one zone to the other, other continuous parallel lines, nine in all, but less distinct, are also distributed within the space of the three colored zones;
B. — Through all the above, and emanating vertically from the metal, a general overlapping mist, rising far above the third, or highest colored zone; this was first called "flames" by Reichenbach, but afterwards better designated by him, as a "thin luminous veil, like a delicate, dawn-like flame" which corresponds to the Human Auric Egg.
At the poles exist the same three colored zones, both sides  being perfectly symmetrical in size, design and colors, though these are rather fainter on the south pole; and the same luminous veil is also seen extending still higher and somewhat thicker, while through its substance dart innumerable tiny spark-like lights, similar to those which run through the middle blue zone. As Reichenbach notices, the emanations of the south pole generally seem less active and shorter than those of the north pole.
But the activity and brilliancy of the various parts of the magnet's effluvia appear connected with and influenced by atmospheric and other causes.
The above description is far from exhaustive; yet it will suffice to show that, in the magnet, emanations corresponding to the middle and higher auras of man are absent, and also that, in the horizontal zones, the manifestations of the tatwic geometrical figures are far more rudimentary than in plants and animals, the only well-indicated form being in fact the border of Tejas triangles over the red band. However, good astral sight further distinguishes one more phenomenon, common to the aura of all metals. This is that the whole breadth of the colored zones is interspersed, at regular distances, by large, faint circular forms, resembling wheels with their central knobs and spokes.
There is no doubt, however, that the emanations from magnets, though more complicated than the auras of simple metals, are the most material of all similar manifestations, and consequently are the most easily perceived and described by natural or untrained vision. Hence it can be said that the magnet's aura is the first one to be studied, and that anyone to whom that light is not natural, and who, by dint of trial and effort has been able to see the hitherto invisible magnetic effluvium, is on a fair road to master the sight of all the similar auras — tatwic and magnetic — of living entities.
How to Train the Psychic Sight.
The most advantageous method of starting a training for the purpose of perceiving psychic forms and colors seems to be as follows:
1st. In the dark, study the aspect of a good horseshoe magnet, either suspended in the air by a silk thread or placed on a support with poles up, and vary the position of observation until a faint luminosity is realized at the poles and along the edge of the magnet;
2nd. In the light, repeat the same process in view of perceiving the Tatwic zones and their lines.
Here it must be understood that this vision can be obtained artificially only through the action of the will and by a proper focussing of the eyes, the perception of auras requiring a very different focus from ordinary sight; and this focussing is very often — nearly always, in fact — different in each of the two eyes. The attempt at focussing the sight must therefore be made, first on each eye separately, and then on both combined. It may happen that one eye only can be focussed to this special vision, or, when both are found available, if both focusses are not identical, the act of looking with both eyes at one time may destroy the psychic sight of the isolated eye.
It is important to master the faculty of seeing the magnet aura in the daylight, because more complete details can thus be eventually obtained than in the dark, and this is the only way to learn how to perceive the Human Auras.
For the purpose of trying one's vision in the broad daylight, take a good horseshoe magnet, and hold it perpendicularly in front of you, either against the background of an open, outside light, air or earth naturally illumined, such as can be obtained by looking out from the inside of a room through an open window, or against a near, inside back-ground, for instance a white or dark wall, according to the nature of the student's sight. Then look at the edge of the magnet with one eye only, and gradually  approach it or slide it away from you, until you discern the best focus of vision; look steadily along the same point, until it dawns on you that a kind of a quivering, narrow band of mist or vapor flowing from the metal, prevents your sight from freely perceiving the objects back of it, producing, in fact, a sort of refraction of your visual ray. As soon as one realizes the existence on the edge of the magnet of this current of vaporish mist, — which may first be likened to the appearance of the heated air which arises in summer time from hot fields, — the first psychic visual victory has been attained, and the perception of the other phenomena connected with the aura, will only need time, perseverance and practice; and once the magnet is conquered, one may expect to speedily obtain the sight of the beautiful and intricate Tatwic currents around leaves and on the human skin. The flowing currents may indeed at first be perceived only as differentiated lines of light or vapor, more or less bright, but steady application will generally bring out gradually the illuminating colors: then, if the student's eyes are at all gifted with the power of perceiving microscopic objects, — power which Theosophy claims to be inherent with natural psychic sight (see Sinnett's Aura), — the perception of the Geometrical Figures of Organic Life will soon be obtained.* And all this is the road, — difficult for all, impracticable for many, not naturally gifted, — which ultimately leads the student to the faculty of discerning the higher, more subtle, but vastly more interesting emanations which are usually termed the "invisible radiations" of the Human Aura. [†]
The above empirical method may also be supplemented at will by the cautious practice of what the Hindus term the "outer method" of the Taraka system of Raja Yoga. This is based on the effort of discovering one's own various auras, and setting fixedly one's contemplation successively from the lower portions towards the highest. This, the student who has already obtained the sight of the aura of a magnet, may first try by fixing his attention on that part of his own aura which lies at a distance of 4 breadths of his own fingers, horizontally from the tip of the nose, afterwards passing on to the distance of respectively 6, 8, 10 and 12 finger breadths. The Hindu Taraka Yogi further practice contemplation on the "bright rays which are seen near the tips of the eyes" or on "the lustre of melted gold on the side of the eyes or near them." But the simple study of Auras does not necessitate going so deeply into Yoga practices.
Thus it will be found that an immense field of study, of intense interest, hitherto unsuspected and unexplored outside of occult science, is stretching before the willing observer. And it is to be hoped that the announcement of such possibilities may induce those members of the Theosophical Society, who are duly gifted, to contribute their share to the extension of our knowledge by undertaking similar provings and verifying those above described, which, at any rate, show what an endless mine of glorious forms and colors Nature, in her invisible planes, displays to the view of those who are gifted with natural supernormal vision or with trained psychic sight. And if this essay proves a help to intending observers the most cherished wish of the writer will be realized.
Footnotes for Appendix.
- Here it must be understood that the accompanying cuts, which are greatly magnified, are intended only to give some general idea of the aspect of vegetable auras. It is unnecessary to say that no drawing can give a perfectly adequate representation of the exquisite pictures furnished by nature, not any more than it is possible to properly describe in words the fanciful weavings of the microscopic geometrical figures and the delicacy of the colored tint?
- In connection with the psychic faculty of perceiving microscopic objects, the San Francisco papers recently announced, as a new discovery, that a scientist from Pasadena, Prof. F.L.O. Roehrig, had found out that "the human eye possesses hitherto unobserved visual powers, namely, microscopic vision and double refraction of the rays of light, and certain scientific discoveries have already verified his assertion." (S. F. Call, October 13, 1896.) As the Professor is a valued member of the T.S., we can venture to say that he has been training himself on Theosophical lines, and that he merely discovered the manner of focussing his own eyes so as to peer into the Aura of things — into that mysterious region which Science has just been forced to acknowledge in connection with X-rays, "dark light, invisible rays of phosphorescence," and other "invisible radiations."
- This is very prettily expressed by a French Theosophist: "Il n'y a qu'un moyen de s'assurer par soi-même (of the supernormal facts), c'est de développer les sens astraux, mentaux et spirituels. Il n'est pas très-difficile de dèvelopper les premiers (les sens astraux) dès lors, on peut voir, toucher et entendre sur un autre plan. Il faut alors faire L'EDUCATION de ces sens et traduire correctement ce qu'ils transmettent; ceci est plus long, mais alors l'on sait, au moins, que l'on n'est pas hallucine." — (Le Lotus Bleu, VII, 271.)
The purpose of the present study being to complete and corroborate — by the results of direct observations, — but not to supersede, the anterior works on the subject, students who wish to command all the information extant will do well to consult the various articles published in Theosophical or scientific literature, not only on the Aura, but also on Sheaths, Bodies, Principles, Vehicles of Consciousness and other connected subjects, and particularly the following works: *
- Baraduc, Dr., L'Ame Humaine; also Theosophist, Oct., 1896.
- Besant (Annie), Self and Its Sheaths; Man and His Bodies. (Lucifer, XVII-XVIII).
- Blavatsky, H. P., Transactions Blavatsky Lodge, I; Isis Unveiled, I, 168, 281, 432; II, 115; Secret Doctrine, I, 261, 514, 538; II, 124, 233 (old edition), also Vol. III.
- Leadbeater — Astral Plane, Devachan, Dreams; The Aura, Theosophist, XVII, 134.
- Lebon, Gustave — "Dark Light," Comptes Rendus Acad. Sciences, Cosmos (May 23, 1896); Scientific American, LXXV, 41. <Full-text>
- Marques, A — Scientific Corroborations of Theosophy, Theosophist, October, 1896.
- Mead, G. R. — Orpheus; Vestures of the Soul.
- Rama-Prasad — Nature's Finer Forces; also Theosophist, Volumes IX-X.
- Reichenbach, Baron — Dynamics of Magnetism, Electricity, etc.
- Scott-Elliott — Vehicles of Consciousness (Trans. London Lodge, 21).
- Sinnett — Aura, Trans. London Lodge, No. 18; Growth of the Soul.
- Sreenivas-Row, P. — Commentary on Light on the Path, Theosophist, VII, 53, 113, 192, 260, 321, 392.
- Astral Body and Diseases, Theosophist, XVII, 199.
- Augoeides, in Isis Unveiled, I, 218, in Lucifer XVIII, 99;
- Colors, in Theosophist, XI, 545; XIV, 592; XV, 110;
- Hiranyagarbha, in Secret Doctrine I, 65, 89, 359; II, 470;
- Odorigen, in Five Years of Theosophy;
- Tatwas, in Transactions of Scottish Lodge, vol. II and III;
- Theosophist, VIII, 686.
☛ Erratum. Page 39, line 28, read "BY the vibrations connected," etc.
* All the Books and Reviews herein mentioned, can be obtained from the office of Mercury.
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