The Human Aura.

A Study.

[Respectfully Dedicated to Those Who Can See, and to Those Who,
Not Able to See, Yet Can Understand Intuitively.

Chapter II.


We have thus cleared the way for a correct understanding of what the various parts of the complex manifestation that goes under the generic or collective name of Human Aura, do really represent. Now, bearing in mind that some of those parts are simply emanations, while others are fleeting impressions, and others again are true manifestations or portions of the Sheaths or Principles themselves, directly visible on account of their overlapping the material body, "which is the smallest of man's sheaths" (A. Besant, Man and his Bodies), it will be easier to undertake their description as far as our present knowledge will permit. Here, we must congratulate ourselves that the recent advances of scientific knowledge render our task much easier now than it would have been formerly. Our work being based on direct higher optical and psychic observations, would have encountered the same obstacles as did nearly all early Theosophical writings, which had to be accepted on faith, i. e., on their mere plausibility, by those who cannot proceed to verification for themselves. Hence resulted much undeserved ridicule and unbelief. Thus, a few years ago, outside of the authority of our Teacher, H. P. Blavatsky, who so often mentioned it — because she could so thoroughly see and interpret it herself, — and outside of the testimony of some gifted mediums who could, more or less, confirm her statements, the mere existence of the Aura could not have been proven against the possible denial or incredulity of science, the more liberal exponents of which went only so far as to admit the existence of a purely physical, — electro-magnetic — emanation around and from our bodies. But then, the higher optic vision was yet unsuspected, and psychic testimony was decidedly not accepted by official scientists, or was treated merely as the wild vagary of a [17] diseased brain. At present, however, the situation is very different. Since the discovery of Roentgen's X ray, and of other phenomena related to it, science can no longer presume to deny or deride natural or acquired psychic clairvoyance, because this one discovery shows the possibility of the existence of persons gifted with what may be termed true X ray psychic sight, capable not only of supernormal, superphysical vision, but also of penetrative perception through living bodies and various opaque substances, such, in fact, as it has been given the writer himself to meet and test. Furthermore, the subject of the Human Aura itself can no longer be doubted since Photography has come to the help of Theosophy; and new discoveries are daily confirming the first (alluded to in the initial quotation) made by the celebrated Dr. Baraduc, with whom will remain the honor of being the first photographer of the Human Aura. Not only has this patient and clever scientific experimenter just published a remarkable book, [*] not only has he gone even so far as to announce to the scientific world his claim of being able to reproduce the image or form of mere thoughts impressed on the thinker's aura, but photography of psychic planes is further confirmed:

1. By discoveries by a French physicist, Mr. G. Lebon, who states that "dark rays which appear to be related to the invisible rays of phosphorescence (X rays) are emitted by organized beings in darkness, which allows us to photograph them," the "dark rays" of this "dark" light being precisely those self-same auras "which have been so long systematically and stubbornly repudiated by the men of science who ought to have known best." (Lucifer, XVII, I);

2. By some new and very interesting experiments of the well-known savant, Colonel de Rochas, director of the French Ecole Polytechnique.

Therefore we can now submit our description of the Human Aura with more confidence, and — until each and every one can [18] verify the facts for himself, through his own developed powers, — every student of Theosophy may henceforth take for granted and fully accredit and accept the reports of those members of the Theosophical Society who have the good fortune of being in a position to make of this interesting subject a special study. The matter of classification alone, as attempted herein, is liable to revision or modification.

§ 1. Material Portion.

I. Emanations from the Physical Body, Pranic Exhalations — When an observer with proper optic power first investigates the subject of the Human Aura, as it is found near the skin, he realizes the existence of a material, cloudy mist, which he soon discovers to be, not at all a simple, but a very complicated mixture of various emanations still physical in their nature, though very tenuous or etheric. He further finds that the cloud nearest to the skin turns out to contain a system or border of changeable, microscopic, geometrical figures, which the human being carries in common with all other beings and even things down to the mineral, though, in the lower kingdoms, they are fixed, unchangeable. As Theosophy teaches that form is the first material manifestation, so these figures — though belonging to Prana and to its elemental subdivisions, qualified in Hindu physiology by the name of Tatwas — do appear to be the lowest in order as well as in size, whereby they are visible only to eyes endowed with a magnifying faculty. After these figures are located, it becomes apparent that they seem to run or flow on a vaporish ribbon composed of various colored bands. Now, color follows form in the order of kosmic manifestation; so these colored bands, though also belonging to Prana or the Elemental Tatwas, show a step higher in life and evolution; for instance, while the mineral manifests only one color or hue in connection with its rigid geometrical tatwic forms, these colors augment in number as soon as we pass on to the next higher degree of the scale, the vegetable. Following, and mixed up with these two portions of the lower auras, come a magnetic current and a caloric emanation characteristic of a [19] more independent life as shown by animal combustion. Then follows an electric effluvium, radiating like solar rays, showing the full glory of material life. All this, of course, is independent of other manifestations of a higher order, which also interpenetrate the above and will be described in their proper place. It will now be in order to devote a cursory examination to each of these lower auras.

1st. Tatwic Currents or Tatwic Aura. — This is a most protean and complex manifestation. While it is the most material of all our auras and the most easy to perceive, yet it has never before been mentioned, so far as we know, probably because of its being very difficult to analyse on account of the narrow field it embraces and of the extreme tenuity of its components. The fact is, as already intimated, that its study requires the faculty, seldom found in ordinary observers, of magnifying astral objects or of perceiving really microscopical dimensions. The following description is therefore only tentative, and cannot, at the present stage, be fully discriminative, though at any rate it offers an unexpected and wonderful confirmation of the theory of the Tatwas.

The readers who are acquainted with an article by the writer on the "Auras of Plants," published in Mercury (see Appendix), will more readily understand the nature of this division of the Human Aura. The study of vegetable auras teaches that each leaf is bordered, as it were, and enveloped by a film of a very tenuous, ribbon-like emanation, composed of several bands of various colors, through which manifest the most graceful chains of geometrical figures and designs, characteristic of the various elements or Tatwas of Nature which happen to predominate in each plant. In animals, this aura manifests itself in a little more complicated forms: then, in man, it contains all of the others — since man represents all the lower kingdoms and something more besides — with this difference also, that while the Tatwic Aura of plants is permanent, unchangeable and shining with metallic hues, the human one changes or modifies its figures and the disposition of its colors with the flow of the various currents of the solar, lunar and terrestrial Pranas, and its beautiful hues are prismatic and belong to the psychic octave.


The Human Tatwic Aura occupies around the body, just over the skin, a width varying from one-eighth to one-half of an inch, and in this limited area it is plainly divisible into two distinct parts, which shall here be designated the Chromatic and the Geometrical:

a) The Chromatic part embraces the whole depth of the Tatwic Aura, whatever that may be, and is clearly subdivided into five strips, ribbons or bands, sometimes equal, sometimes very unequal in width, one of which is colorless, the other four being respectively blue, violet, yellow and red. These colored strips are permanent, constant, though their hues may vary; but their respective position or order seems to be submitted to a kind of rotation, although the blue and violet lines, and the yellow and red ones generally seem to keep contiguous. At times, however, some particular line or lines are duplicated, and occasionally the colorless line is nearly invisible, or it is transformed into a dark one. Each band starts by a sharply defined line of denser color, and afterwards fades gradually away towards the line above, so as to blend prismatically into it.

The most frequent combinations found by the writer, starting from the skin, are as follows:

(1) Bright-colorless line, blue, violet, yellow and red;

(2) Bright colorless line, red, yellow, violet and blue;

But many modifications have been observed, examples of which follow:

(3) Bright-colorless line, purple, blue, yellow, red;

(4) Bright-line invisible, magenta-red, yellow, light blue and light purple;

(5) Bright-line invisible, dark red, dark blue, yellow, purple;

(6) Dark line, red, yellow, blue and lavender-violet;

(7) Dark blue, very thin line of red, yellow, violet and a thread of dark red;

(8) Red, yellow, bright line, blue, yellow, red;

(9) The same as above without the middle bright line;

(10) Orange-yellow, bright line, blue, orange-yellow and red;


(11) Yellow, bright or white line, blue, line, bright orange-yellow and red.

These colored lines seem to be derived from or to represent the five Elements from which the human body is formed, and, according to the Indian works on the Mahabutas, would correspond as follows:

Colorless line, or dark blue, Ether, Akasha, Sonoriferous Ether;
Light blue or greenish-blue, Air, Vayu, Tangiferous Ether;
Red in various shades, Fire, Tejas, Luminous Ether;
Violet, on a silvery or moonlight substratum, Water, Apas, Gustiferous Ether;
Yellow or orange, Earth, Prithivi, Odoriferous Ether.

These five Elements also correspond respectively to the following of man's principles: Lower Manas, Prana, Kama, Etheric Double and Material Body. Of course, esoterically, the Elements are seven, not five, and so seven is also the number of the Tatwas they give birth to. But, in this Round, the two higher ones cannot be sensed by our faculties and remain invisible, even in their effects on our life-currents.

The tints of the colors in the ribbon-lines vary somewhat in different individuals, according to the nature of the man; their intensity also, in any one person, changes from day to day, and also fluctuates with the operation of the lungs, deepening when the breath is thrown out, becoming fainter at the inspiration. Even the size or width of the whole chromatic ribbon follows the same rhythm, expanding with the expiration, contracting when the breath is taken in. The time of the day also seems to affect the appearance of this aura, and so does the state of repose or fatigue of the person.

Another remarkable fact is that musical sounds affect the Tatwic Aura, inducing, by flashes as it were, appreciable changes in its colored bands, or, at the very least, intensifying the existing colors; this effect is manifested, not on the bright-colored lines themselves, but on the less intense " intervals" between them. Thus certain violin notes have been noticed to change the bright [22] colorless line — which is generally found the first over the surface of the skin — into a dark reddish-brown one. Here, the influence of musical sounds on these Tatwic currents is probably a kind of mechanical, physiological one, of the same nature as that produced by the same causes on the circulation of the blood and the nervous fluid. The emotional influence of music on the Kamic Aura — a description of which will follow — is quite of another nature. But there can be no doubt also that emotions, or any thing affecting the material and ethereal circulatory systems, do also mechanically register a passing impression on the Tatwic colored bands.

b) The Geometrical part of the Tatwic Aura is composed of currents of minute figures, which seem to run over and through the chromatic or ribbon-like portion, assuming regular shapes, traceable back, in all their modifications and combinations, to five characteristic types, viz: the dotted circle (ellipse or ovoid), the simple circle, the crescent, the triangle and the square. This portion represents the flow of the various life-currents of the Universal Pranas. This will be readily recognized by those who are familiar with the grand theory of the Tatwas, and have studied Rama Prasad's classical synopsis (Nature's Finer Forces). According to this theory, each of the forces that give birth to what we call the Elements, is animated by a peculiar mode of vibration, producing in matter as pervaded by each of them, forms represented as follows:

Akasha,Sound,Dotted sphere.Dotted sphere, ellipse or egg-form;
Apas,Taste,Crescent.Crescent or Lotus flower;
Prithivi,Smell,Square.Square or Quadrangle;

These last four forms are either simple or accompanied by a central dot, hole or vortex, and each of their respective forms may be direct or reversed, or modified by their combining with some one or with several of the others, thus producing an unlimited number of variations in tiny lozenges, rectangles, squares with rounded edges, oblong and otherwise modified crescents, scallops and wavy lines, inclined triangles and variously modified circles.


A few samples of these combinations as found in the Human Tatwic Aura are given in the accompanying plates, on a greatly magnified scale, so as to allow some clearness to the details.

Magnified Specimens of Tatwic Geometrical Aura.

Magnified Specimens of Tatwic Geometrical Aura.

These figures are found in the geometrical part of the Human Aura, just as they exist in the vegetable; but while they are stable in the latter, in man they are subjected to the periodical, everlasting changes of the universal Tatwic currents. Thus, every twenty-four minutes, or in connection with the change of the breath from one nostril to the other, they gradually modify their shapes and dimensions; they can even, at the appointed time, be seen pre-assuming the nature of the approaching current, [24] squares, for example passing off into lozenges, circles into half-moons, triangles melting into wavy lines, dots appearing or disappearing, etc.

Changes at Half Hour's Interval.

These figures, for the time, flow evenly and in continuous lines, weaving out, as it were, graceful designs, generally remarkable for their perfection and regularity, though their general aspect varies in different persons; in a spiritual man, the outlines of these figures are light and distinct, in a material man or in old age, they are heavy and blurred. When the flow is simple, each variety of figure keeps running regularly in one and the same band of color; thus the triangles always run in the red band, or the red color is always accompanied by triangles; but the other figures are not quite so faithful, though the Prithivi squares seem to follow the yellow ray and the Vayu circles the blue one. When, however, the figures are irregular in shape, size or distribution, if they are mingled many together of the same sort — as it seems to happen more frequently with the Vayu circles and the Apas crescents — then the design may occupy the whole or the greater portion of the chromatic ribbon, irrespective of color. These irregularities would tend to show that the chromatic and the geometrical currents are not absolutely one and the same thing. But it must be understood that the changes, variations and combinations of both are practically unlimited and may contain other manifestations as yet unclassified.

The Tatwic geometrical currents appear to flow downwards on the left side of the body and upwards on the right. The flow of [25] both Tatwic currents gets interrupted when it meets with a cut, bruise or wound on the skin; they then seem to heap up or bulge along the margin of the wound, and the various geometrical figures losing their regular sequence, are thrown into a hopeless confusion. The chromatic and geometrical displays of our Tatwic Aura — whatever form they may assume — seem to be, at any one time, pretty nearly the same all over the body. Moreover, as the twelve daily changes of breath — though governed by solar and lunar influences — appear to follow the rotation of the zodiacal signs in the heavens, there is reason to anticipate that further studies will establish this fact, viz: that similar Tatwic manifestations occur at the same moment in persons placed under the influence of the same signs. Yet, it is important to notice that there are some limited parts of the body where the manifestations are always different, these among others being the ears, the nose and the forehead; thus, whatever may be the figure prevailing elsewhere, Vayu circles can nearly always be found on the skin around the ears, and a prominent dark blue tinge takes there the place of the colored ribbons.

Furthermore, the forms of the geometrical Tatwic currents are never exactly identical on both sides of the body, thus marking the difference between the positive and negative forces and conditions. Another and still wider difference exists between the various fingers of each hand, the order of the colored bands, and more especially the nature of the geometrical figures showing some characteristic changes from one finger to the other; [*] this is probably due to the fact — taught by the wonderful Hindu occult physiology — that, as the Tatwic flow arrives at the knot of the wrists, it splits up into its component fractions of the five Tatwas, which then run separately into the five fingers: thus, at any time [26] when the Akasha happens to be predominant, the Akashic portion with its characteristic figures will flow along and to the tip of the thumb, while the Vayu portion goes along the first finger, the Tejas along the middle one, the Apas along the ring finger, and the Prithivi along the little finger, these fractions re-combining again into one current as they flow back to the wrist; and similarly with the other four series. This peculiarity gives the Indian occultist the power of knowing — by the variations and splitting of the pulse vibrations, in combination with the finger auras — which of the Tatwas is affected in a disease.

While in the Tatwic emanations can be traced even the idiosyncracies of the nation or race to which a person belongs, they also indicate the state of health, and, in ladies, certain physiological conditions. In fact, every disease, nay every disturbance, is clearly shown in various parts of the patient's aura.

In connection with this fact, Rama Prasad and other Hindu psychologists reveal the great secret of occult medicine, when they say that every disease is only a disturbance of the Tatwas; and this brings them to connect the colors of a disease with those of the medicinal substance that can cure it. To act on a disease, the aura of the medicine must be — both in its Tatwic colors and geometrical figures — as nearly homeopathic as possible to the colors and figures in the patient's aura that are characteristic of the disease. Therefore there can be no doubt that the efforts of the medicine of the future will be directed to the study of all auras and especially to the comparison between those of the remedy and of the patient. However, this question opens such new and unsuspected speculations of immense interest to medical science, that it would lead us too far for the present, though, (D.V.) it may make the subject of a future essay.

It will now be in order to say that the most favorable parts for the study of this complicated Tatwic Aura are those free from epidermic hairs and not covered with clothes. As this aura is so very narrow, the hairs, every individual one of which, it must be remembered, has an aura of its own, only add to the confusion and make it more difficult to distinguish what belongs exclusively to the Tatwas; while the clothes, which also have an aura of their [27] own, hide the Tatwic layers entirely. Therefore the best place to observe them may be said to be on the arms and hands, and, in a limited sense, on the fingers; not at their tips, however, for there again the aspect changes, since, as it was already noticed by Reichenbach: "flames (the Electric Aura) . . . . like streamers of light, of relatively much greater intensity, flow from the points of all the fingers in a straight direction from where they are stretched" (Dynamics, p. 225, 41).

It must however be remembered also, that through all the Tatwic currents, both chromatic and geometric, are constantly radiating, not only the straight vertical lines of the Electric Health Aura, but also the horizontal flow of the Magnetic waves, the Caloric fluid and the Pranic vapor, while the whole of this field is furthermore enveloped and clouded over with the various lights and colors of the Kamic Aura; and this statement will explain how confused and surcharged the whole appearance must be, how difficult to study it accurately, and what patient observations such a study must require, even from a seer whose astral senses are equal to cope with the fearful complications that Nature delights to accumulate in her works.

Here, before passing on to the next division, we must not neglect to register that, at times, other figures than the small Tatwic ones are also seen through the chromatic and geometrical ribbons of Prana, larger, and not forming any continuous chain of design, and — among others — separate, isolated lotus-flowers, stars, crosses, triangles or rectangles, etc. But whether these manifestations belong to that aura seems doubtful, as they might pertain to some of the higher principles, the matter of which interpenetrates the lower ones.

2nd. Magnetic Aura, (horizontal flow). — From a large number of observations collected by the writer, this seems to be an emanation of a faint, bluish-white hue, from which radiates a kind of light which illuminates the parts permeated by it with a soft, silvery-moonlight glow. Its intensity wavers and its quiverings are connected with the pulsations of the heart. It has a rippling, wave-like motion and flows parallel to the skin, as near as one-third or one quarter of an inch, though it is also seen under the [28] aspect of two or three distinct waves or flows, one over the other; in this case, the highest wave may reach to a distance of about half an inch. These variations in depth are in proportion to the sensitive state of life; and, in old age, this is the first emanation to become deadened and dimmed. Under certain conditions its flow is broken, interrupted, producing horizontal striations, this being probably the reason why Mr. Sinnett intimates that this Magnetic Aura (or "Jivic" as he is pleased to call it) "is the influence under which the lines of the Electric Health Aura remain radial in position when the health is good;" and he quotes the case of a person suffering from nervous prostration, in which the more or less crumpled lines of his Health Aura were seen to straighten out and become again parallel under the influence of fresh "jivic" (magnetic) energy poured into him by a mesmeric operator. But the true action and properties of the Magnetic flow are too mysterious and complicated to be yet positively described. Thus Mr. Sinnett asserts that "besides keeping the lines of the Health Aura combed out straight," this emanation "seems to be operative as a protection against the attack of disease germs," which clairvoyant sight can perceive as "repelled, so to speak, by the outrush" of the Electric Aura. "As long as those lines are firm and straight and the jivic (magnetic) flow continues steadily at their basis, the body seems almost perfectly protected from evil physical influences; but, when this outrush becomes enfeebled through wounds, ill-health, over-fatigue or exhaustion," the magnetic emanation "is less energetic in repelling such attacks, and it is probably under such conditions that disease germs generally effect a lodgement in the system." On the contrary, it would seem that contagion or absorption of foreign influences is more easy when this magnetic flow is very smooth, its smoothness coinciding with sensitive passiveness or a negative condition. But Mr. Sinnett very correctly states (Aura, p. 14) "that the flow of this radiation is to some extent under the control of the will," so that magnetizers use it extensively. The Theosophical authorities also say that the dispersion of this force can be "prevented beyond the limits of the aura, in such a way as to form around the body a kind of wall or shell impervious to contagion or to any kind of [29] astral or elemental influences, for a period of from ten to thirty minutes, or as long as the effort of the will is maintained." Thus, an occultist may pass with perfect impunity through the most infected atmosphere. This is done by merely inhaling a deep breath and slowly breathing it out, intensely willing all the time that a strong protective cloud of magnetism be thrown out over the external limits of the aura, so as to tenaciously cling to it, and the object will actually be accomplished, if the thought and will are powerful enough.

There is a rather singular resemblance between the magnetic current around the human body and the magnetic or odic fluid or aura which is seen streaming out of the poles of magnets and from some crystals, and which is well known through Baron Reichenbach's valuable experiments; so it has been suggested that it might be the same kind of effluvium, only modified, individualized by the human being; at any rate, it is probably connected with what the Indian Tantras qualify as the lunar or negative currents.

3rd. Caloric Aura. — Since the body of man is a heat producing machine, there can be no wonder that this heat should radiate away and produce what Mr. Sinnett very improperly calls the "Jivic" aura, but which he correctly describes as something "somewhat resembling in its appearance and the character of its pulsation, what heated air presents when seen in summer rising from ground exposed to the sun's rays," or rising from a clear bright fire; "it may also be likened to the faint condensation of vapor due to the breath when perceived in an atmosphere barely cold enough to render it visible, but just below the point at which it would become completely invisible." The Caloric emanation is stationary, and this enables the sight to distinguish it from the flowing magnetic wave; otherwise it would be very difficult to recognize and separate the one from the other, since both occupy nearly the same space. It causes, along the skin, a luminous, distinct, transparent zone, which is sometimes described as colorless, or bluish or yellowish, but which is generally of a light, though material, reddish hue, varying in tint and density with the physical condition of the body or its power for combustion, or with the state of health or disease and with the nature of the combination [30] produced by the elementary fraction of Prana absorbed by the body.

4th. Electric or Health Aura, (vertical striations). — This is often the first thing that attracts the attention of a seer when examining the auras near the body, through the various clouds that intermingle at this place. It is a system of vertical striations of variable length or alternately long and short, almost colorless and reminding one of the sparks radiating from an electric arc-light, or of the sun's rays, — of course translated to the astral plane. As Mr. Sinnett adequately says, it can best be described as "composed of an enormous number of straight lines radiating evenly in all directions from the body," apparently emanating from the pores of the skin. These lines seem to illuminate with a bluish light the field through which they manifest. They have been termed "Health Aura" from the fact that ill-health seems to affect the aspect and strength of this radiation: in ordinary conditions, its lines are all evenly separated one from the other, keeping as nearly parallel as the position of the radiating part allows ; but, wherever disease, general or local, affects the body, "then the lines in the neighborhood of the affected organs fall into confusion, cross one another in all directions and present the appearance of being all tangled together" (the Aura, Trans., London Lodge, No. 18, p. 13); they are moreover unequal and broken, erratic and faint. On the other hand, in health under certain mental stimulus, these lines seem to stiffen, thus representing porcupine quills, bristling up for the protection of the body, and this phenomenon is probably connected with the bristling of the epidermic hairs under certain emotions. These lines shoot out with varying force and to various heights, from two to three inches on the hand, from four to ten or twelve inches over the head, according to the vitality of the person and to other circumstances. Thus, in the Sivaghama, — Science of Breath, — translated by R. Prasad (Nature's Finer Forces, p. 220), the following are the lengths of the "subtle Prana" that surrounds the human body like a halo of light": the natural length, from the body to the circumference of this halo, is twelve fingers of the man whose Prana is measured, at the time of the expiration of breath, but it shrinks to ten at the inspiration, and lengthens out [31] to eighteen in eating and speaking, to twenty-four in walking, to forty-two while running, to sixty-five in matrimonial congress and to one hundred in sleep. Then again, all these measures are reduced in certain men; eleven fingers in those who restrain their desires; ten in men always pleasant and hilarious; nine in poets; eight in speakers; seven in seers; six in levitation, etc. This aura is probably an emanation belonging to what the Indian Tantras call the Solar or positive currents. It would be very interesting to obtain regular, systematic observations of the variations of this electric effluvium during various sicknesses.

Before dismissing this part of the subject, it is necessary to state that, for a casual observer, all the lower auras intermingle and combine so closely with each other that they produce one general appearance, that of a luminous mist which illuminates the outside of the body, and this light often constitutes the only thing perceived by clairvoyants whose sight is not sharp enough to distinguish any of the higher manifestations. At night, all these material effluences increase in extension and brightness during sleep, and their combination gives to the sleeper, in the dark, the appearance of being bathed in a glowing, shining cloud, the up-shooting flames of which fluctuate over the whole body and present a very interesting sight to the seer. This light is especially bright over infants.

Another point that all the lower auras share in common with the Tatwic currents, is that they all are affected by the state of the health, which they indicate by changes in their appearance, shades of color, density, etc., so that their study must also be of assistance to a knowledge of diseases. Even the mere state of repose or fatigue of the person, can modify their whole aspect, a fact already noticed by H.P.B.: "Ask a good clairvoyant to describe the (lower) aura of a person refreshed by sleep and that of another just before going to sleep; the former will be seen bathed in rhythmical vibrations of life-currents, golden, blue and rosy; these are the electrical waves of life, (Prana); in the latter person, these life currents are quite faded, while the whole of the Pranic sphere is, as it were, in the midst of an intense golden orange (or bright yellow) hue, composed of atoms whirling with an almost [32] incredible and spasmodic rapidity, thus showing that the person begins to be too strongly saturated with life;" in other words, showing that relief for the physical organs must be sought for in sleep, "so that the exhausted nervous centers — especially the sensory ganglia of the brain, — which refuse to act any longer on this plane," should have opportunity to recuperate their strength on another plane or Upadhi (Trans. Blavatsky Lodge, I. 58).

II. The Etheric Body or Double (formerly called Linga Sharira, the first in the reversed order of occult classification of man's Principles, though generally the second manifestation in order of sight, after the material auras above described). — The Double or Etheric model is composed of four grades of etheric matter, on which our physical body is formed and grows as a perfect, densified duplicate, the two interpenetrating each other. Therefore, this is not a simple emanation, as the auras previously examined, but a real principle. However, here is not the place for a description of the Double, which has been elaborately and interestingly treated in several of the recent Theosophical publications. The only thing pertinent to say now is that, to a good sight, it is clearly visible through the general aura as a perfect shadow, in size and shape, of the physical body, which it permeates, an etherealized copy of every part of it, including wounds and blemishes, and reproducing even all the colors of the man, though ordinary observers generally see it merely as a shadowy mass of faintly luminous, violet-grey mist, "coarser or finer in texture as the dense body is coarse or fine" (Ma,n and his Bodies). It ordinarily outlines closely the material shape; yet, — and very strangely, since it is well known that during life the Double cannot separate itself absolutely from its dense copy, — it has the faculty of throwing itself at times more on one or the other side, when it can be viewed protruding, nearly to its full extent, from the body, either preceding or following, though unable to rise above it on account of being tied to it through the spleen; and in such cases of separate visibility, it clearly repeats, like a true shadow, all the movements of the person. When perceived with any tolerable distinctness, the Etheric Double also presents a special auric border of its own, about one inch in width, which contains a very faint, [33] vaporish duplicate or photograph of the colors and geometrical figures pertaining to the Tatwic auras, such as may exist along the material body at the moment of the observation. Then again, through its matter will be seen reflected the flows of the blood and of the vital fluid. It has further the property of retaining the impressions and scars of diseases and wounds which have been cured and have, apparently, disappeared from the material body. But the study of all these peculiarities in the Double is more difficult even than the scrutiny of the other auras, on account of the general faintness of this Principle, and of the overshadowing of the other auric manifestations.

III. Inhaled Prana, Pranic Aura, Vitality, Second Principle (starting from the the lower ones). — We have already seen that Prana, in relation to the human being, must be divided into two portions, the "inhaled" and the "exhaled", as also it can be considered under two aspects, the Individualized Prana and the Universal or recurrent Tatwic currents which merely run through the body. The first portion, the exhaled one, through necessities of classification, has already been described; we now come to the individualized Prana. As we are told that the Etheric Double is the vehicle of Prana, — that positive-negative solar force which unites and gives vitality to all the Principles, — so an observer, while studying the dense body physically, may notice the circulation of this Prana, as it gets individualized in the shape of human Prana: "colorless, though intensely luminous and extremely active in the atmosphere," it is absorbed and transformed by the astral spleen in a similar manner as the lungs absorb the air, and thus becomes the source of all the special vital and electro-chemical phenomena in the body. For this purpose, it reaches the material body through the Etheric one, in the form of a vapor which has been described as "a constant stream of particles of a beautiful color," varying from pale rose to dark-reddish hues, denser in material persons, "flowing all through the body, and especially along the nerves and muscles, just as the blood flows in the vessels"; part of this force forms the so-called nervous fluid, some of it is gradually absorbed by the body and some is exhaled in a nearly unaltered condition, this superfluous, unabsorbed [34] portion "radiating copiously from the body in every direction." While the inhaled Prana, — in healthy conditions, — assumes a clear reddish or lavender color, varying to blue, it becomes smoky in ill-health and ashey-grey in a dying person. This aura acts as a kind of veil over all the lower ones, and the unabsorbed portion appears to melt into the golden radiation of the Electric Aura.

§ 2. Psychic or Soul Portions.

The auras we have so far noticed are the most material or physical. They represent, in fact, the lower kingdoms of nature, the Geometrical and Magnetic corresponding to the mineral, the Chromatic to the vegetable, and the Caloric and Electric to the the animal. But they may yet contain other features which more extended studies will reveal; thus, there seem to be manifestations pertaining to the various chemical components of the body and their auras, to the nature of the food ingested and its action, and to special characteristics of the Etheric Body. But we must now come to the part of the Human Aura which is concerned with something more than material, bodily conditions; we are reaching the real man and the manifestations of his higher faculties.

IV. The Kamic Aura (Kama, Kama-rupa, Animal Soul, true Astral Body, Third Principle). — This is the manifestation of the Kamic sheath of desires and passions, and therefore it is the field on which all such ideas and emotions produce the outward indication of their existence. If we reflect that, in this Fourth Round of ours, Kama is still the predominant, the most developed of our Principles, and that we really are yet under its full sway, we will easily understand that the Kamic Aura must likewise be the most developed of those above the mere material plane, and the most prominent, important and interesting one to study on the psychic plane, while it is also — next to the simple electro-magnetic effluvia — the most easily distinguished by ordinary seers. Its general appearance seems to be that of a colored, cloudy mass, interpenetrating the lower bodies and auras: "The Kamic body of a man whose thoughts are low and animal, is gross, thick, dense and dark in color, often so dense that the outline of the physical body is [35] almost lost in it, whereas that of an advanced man is fine, clear, luminous and bright in color" . . . and "by thinking nobly, we purify the Kamic body even without having consciously worked towards that end" (Man and his Bodies). However, whatever maybe the quality of the Kamic sheath, starting from the skin, it always distinctly shines through the ribbon of the Tatwic Aura and extends above this to about four inches from the body, thus forming the Kamic Aura proper. It appears there to be ordinarily subdivided into three zones of different colors, disposed from the body outward in the following order: Pink or red, violet or blue and orange-yellow, the red being more accentuated and pre-dominant right through in a low material sensualist, while the other hues prevail when the Kamic forces become more subdued, more spiritual and purified, Mrs. Besant correctly notices that, in a man of gross type, the three above mentioned Kamic zones, dulled in hue become dirty reds and greens and browns instead of orange-yellow (Lucif., XIX., 69). But it must be well understood that, whatever may be their tints, on the whole of these three colored zones, as a background, are seen, constantly manifesting, flashing and playing like the streamers of the Aurora Borealis, the chromatic impressions of all our thoughts, passions, desires and emotions, as also those of outside influences, such as sound, music, etc. Our own voice and that of others must also affect our Kamic Aura. Here, bearing in mind the intimate correlation between sound and color, a digression must be allowed. Speech may be defined: "sounds imbued with a personal meaning, expressing modes of the speaking entity." Therefore, while affecting the listener's aura, speech must also be intimately connected with the aura of the speaker. In fact, it would seem only natural that, if we knew how, the character, the moral as well as the physical status of every person, could be sensed through the intonations of his voice and the various characteristics — in sound, forms and colors — given out by his speech. In other words, as manifestations of his thoughts, the special vibrations of a man's speech — what might be termed his personal equation of speech, — ought to induce on a sensitive or trained hearer, impressions of the same nature as those that the auric colors, — which are produced by the same thoughts [36] and manifested on the Kamic Aura, — do on an educated seer. Thus speech must be auric colors materialized, and, in this line of ideas, there must exist a splendid field of observation for students.

As Mr. Sinnett says: "The Kamic Aura is the mirror on which every feeling, every desire is reflected," and representing as it does the animal soul in man, its appearance as a whole "expresses to those who comprehend its significance, the general status of the lower sensual nature in any individual observed." Then again we read that "Clairvoyants can see flashes of color, constantly changing in the aura that surrounds every person, each thought, each feeling thus translating itself in the astral world, visible to the astral sight. Persons somewhat more developed than ordinary clairvoyants can also see the thought forms (that accompany the flashes) and the effects produced by the flashes of color among the hordes of Elementals" (A. Besant, Karma). These "thought-forms" are projected with more or less force and definiteness, and to a greater or lesser distance, according to the mental capacities and positive character of the person; their projection seems to occur generally from the face, in the front part of the aura, but it must also be added that certain Kamic flashes, representing emotions more intimately connected with the essence of the Personality, shoot right through Kama to the Psychic Aura.

Some very interesting "thought-forms" have been published in Lucifer, (September, 1896); yet they do not begin to exhaust the subject, which is as unlimited as the powers of human thought itself. It is not possible here, further than by the accompanying specimen plate, to deal with this special topic, which would require much more space and time than is here given to the whole of the Aura; but the writer hopes to devote another essay to it.

As it must readily be expected from their very character, the difficulty in studying thought-forms is their sudden, often unexpected manifestation and their ephemeral duration. Mr. Sinnett accurately says: "there is very little permanency about the manifestations of Kama, its colors, (those that flash through its substance, not the three permanent zones,) its brilliancy, the rate of its pulsations are all changing from moment to moment; an outburst of anger will charge the whole Kamic Aura with deep red [37] (or scarlet) flashes on a dark ground; a sudden fright (physical or material terror,) will in a moment change everything to a mass of ghastly, livid grey," . . . "If the man feels love, rose-red thrills, through it"; the hues of all these manifestations changing, however, with the nature of the emotion.

The specimens given in the plate refer to the following thoughts:

Figure 1. Fear of detection, emanated from a guilty conscience, the, circles being bright rings spread out in a mist of varying shades of grey, pink and purple;

Figure 2. A beautiful devotional thought, not deep but fervent; soft and mellow lines in a bluish mist;

Figure 3. Pity, reddish-violet cloud in the center, fading outwardly to pale violet; the rings are bright light, and the horns dark pink shading off to light pink;

Figure 4. Deception, an ugly but very characteristic form of varying colors, generally steel or dark blue, appearing in a mist of ashey pink;

Figure 5. Sudden thought of "how time has passed and is fleeting away", showing the crescent horns of desire and regret, the smaller one, inside being blue, the second yellow, and the narrow one outside, white, in a colorless mist;

Figure 6. Mental Fear, accompanied with a shrinking sensation in the knees and stomach, bright balls in a mist of grey, pink and yellow;

Figure 7. Another form, physical Fear with anger, a black and grey mist, with electrical flashes of explosive passion.

It is not here the place to say anything about the nature of the Kamic sheath itself, nor about the formation from it of the Kama-rupa, that other copy of the body by means of which the initiated man can travel out and manifest himself far away from his body, nor tell of what happens to the Kamic envelope after death and after the shedding of the Etheric Double. These points, which have little connection with the present subject, will be found satisfactorily elucidated in various late publications, and especially in Mrs. Besant's Man and his Bodies.


V. Psychic Aura, (Lower Manas, Semi-animal-human Soul, Personality, Fourth Principle). — After that which has been set forth above, of Kama being yet the predominant principle with the majority of our present humanity, what we now have to say of the Psychic or Lower Manasic Sheath, will not be unexpected. Although this ought really to be the most important of our sheaths, since it represents the Personality, — the mental man on the lower plane, — and although it is already more developed in our fifth race than it was in the previous fourth race, yet it is very far, from the development it will eventually reach. Consequently also, its manifestations as aura are generally less marked than they ought to be. From the body outwards, the seer can follow this aura, as it intermingles with the others; but it is ordinarily so faint, its texture is so delicate and so overshadowed by the grosser matter of the lower auras, that it becomes best visible over and above the Kamic field, away from the body. There, it also presents the appearance of a cloudy film, of a much higher and finer matter than the Kamic one, not perceptible to all clairvoyants, but easily distinguishable by those who can analyze it, as composed of two parts or layers: the first is of a green color, the intensity of which denotes the degree of development of this sheath or principle, and therefore the status of the Personality; the other, or upper, outside one, being a sort of yellowish edge or border, of a more or less light tinge, according to the intensity of the lower portion. This aura extends to about six or seven inches from the surface of the dense body. [*] But Mrs. Besant says:

"There is one marked peculiarity about the mind-body (Lower [39] Manas), as its outer part shows itself in the Human Aura: it grows, increases in size and in activity, incarnation after incarnation, with the growth and development of the man himself . . . if we look at a very undeveloped person, we shall find the mind-body even difficult to distinguish . . . . it is so little evolved that some care is necessary to see it at all : looking then at a more advanced man . . . . not spiritually, but in the faculties of the mind, one who has trained and developed the intellect, we shall find the mind-body acquiring a very definite development . . . . it is a clear and definitely outlined object, fine in material and beautiful in color, continually vibrating with enormous activity, full of life, full of vigor, the expression of the mind in the world of the mind." (Man and his Bodies, Lucifer, XVIII., 124). In other words, the Psychic sheath grows in outside appearance pari-passu with the growth of the qualities of the mind. In form it does not, like the inferior sheaths, assume a distinct representation of the physical man, but it is nearly oval in outline though interpenetrating the lower bodies, and surrounding them with a radiant atmosphere as it develops. It thus has the faculty of becoming a very beautiful and glorious object with the growth of the higher capacities of the mind. It is not necessary here to say more about this sheath, merely adding that, as Lower Manas partakes also to a great extent of the nature of the next lower sheath, Kama, so the Psychic Aura represents u indeed the general average of the aura below it, but it is much more than this, for in it appear beams of spirituality and intellectuality which have no place by on the lower level." Most undoubtedly, if the flashes formed by the vibrations connected with any particular desire, are repeated strongly and habitually in the Kamic Aura, they must set up in the lower Manasic aura corresponding vibrations which produce there a permanent tinge of the same color. In this aura, therefore, may also be read some indications of the general disposition or character of the person, his good and bad points, and through currents in connection with this aura, are laid open to clairvoyant vision the picture records of the past earth-life of the personality." (Leadbeater, Theos., XVII., 138) This Mr. Sinnett explains by the fact that, as the Psychic Aura is formed of Akasha, [40] it places the observer in subtle relation with the Akasic planes of which are recorded all the events connected with that plane, and consequently with all the actions performed by the Lower Manas or Personality (see Trans. London Lodge, No. 18, p. 17-18).

Auric Colors and their Import. — Before passing to the description of the higher auras, and since it is in the lower ones that the chromatic manifestations — both physical and mental — are the most numerous and important, it will be proper to say something of the import of the colors seen in them. There is no country where the symbology of color is better understood than in India. Thus, even the statues of Divinities are there colored according to the mystic, spiritual mood attributed to each of them, "white and yellow complexions typifying mild moods, while red, blue and black belong to the fierce forms, though sometimes light blue, picturing the sky, means merely celestial; generally the gods are painted white, goblins, red, and devils, black, like their European relatives" (Surgeon-Major Waddell, Buddhism in Thibet, 337). The guardian angels of the four corners of the Universe are respectively: East, white; South, green; West, red, and North, yellow. Unfortunately in India, the subject of colors, and their true shades and meanings are jealously guarded under exoteric and very misleading blinds. The reason for this secrecy is the power resulting from the true knowledge. For instance, in the matter of the Human Aura, it is correctly asserted that — for one who knows — every color, every flash of light manifested in an aura, during the waking state, has a special meaning, helping to show what the man is, materially and morally; to what degree or development he has reached, and even what are his daily habits, thoughts, passions and deeds. Thus, in an auric enquiry about the nature of a man, character and intellectuality must be sought for in the fourth and fifth (Masanic) auras; the thoughts, desires and passions in the third (Kamic), and the material, physical conditions in the second and first (Pranic and Electro-Magnetic). Furthermore, the general tint which happens to predominate all over, indicates which of the Principles is the ruling one, either ordinarily or at the time of the observation, and its fluctuations or the intensity of its vibrations show the activity of the corresponding Principle.


Many difficulties, however, beset the way to this knowledge:

a) It has been well said that, in the astral and mental planes just as much as in the physical world, colors depend on the number of vibrations that take place in a second; and, the higher the plane and the more elevated the thought or emotion on that plane, the greater is the number of vibrations induced. Therefore, it can be readily understood that the various colors and shades, in their appearance and nature as well as in significance, differ very greatly according to the plane and to the special aura in which they manifest. Thus red, found in the Tatwic emanations of Prana, must have an entirely different bearing from red found in the Kamic or in the Manasic sheaths. Then again, while the colors of Prana are the most material, they are already very unlike the coarser prismatic hues known to physical eyes. Mr. Sinnett conveys a correct idea about the peculiar importance of the ultra rays of the spectrum, (Aura p. 20-21), but he may also be misleading, since he apparently wishes to confine the astral colors to the invisible rays of those two ultra sides, the total number of spectral colors being, according to him, fourteen instead of only the seven known in Physics. But, while incomplete in this respect, since, by following his own statement, the colors ought to be twenty-one instead of fourteen (seven in the luminous part, and seven, invisible to the ordinary vision, in each of the caloric and chemical zones); in reality the psychic or astral colors, seen by clairvoyants, appear to be true astral octaves of the physical colors and their shades are further modified by the fact of their belonging to a positive or negative current (Rama Prasad, Theos., IX., p. 541), thereby indicating in the Human Aura the positiveness or negativeness of any individual character (Olcott, Theos., XVII., p. 142).

b) On the higher planes, the colors of the higher principles or their auras, become still more ethereal, spiritual, delicate, indescribable, — with "hues that no language can describe because they have no place in the earth's spectrum," — so that it requires, not only good psychic vision, but a well-trained student to properly enumerate or qualify those ineffable shades, and to attempt to translate them into words, all the more so, since, according to [42] Mr. Sinnett some are more truly "sensed" than perceived by ordinary observers. It cannot, therefore, be surprising that so much difference of opinion should have been expressed by different seers on the assignment of the various shades of color to the mental or moral qualities they are supposed to betoken; moreover, the value and meaning of each chromatic sensation and its apparent correspondence with character, seem to be modifiable through the "personal equation of the observer, a factor very difficult to estimate on the higher planes. Consequently, as Colonel Olcott very properly says, "it is too early yet to accept without reserve any categorical identification of auric color with phases of character," and many years of study and experiments by numerous observers will be necessary to attain positive results, unless we are helped by Those who know.

There is, however, a perfect agreement so far, in the belief that "brightness and tenderness of colors go with elevation and ideally perfect human character;" blackness and murky, greyish or smoky clouds either with moral debasement, hatred, malice, disagreeable feelings, or with melancholia and physical suffering; blood-red with cruelty and savage passions generally, brown, red and scarlet with anger, slimy, — not clear and bright — green with deceit, treachery and selfishness (see Theos., XVII., 141). This would explain the intuition of the artists who paint angelic entities in an effulgence of light, while demoniacal characters are always accompanied with black clouds and the lurid glow of red flames. Mr. Sinnett conveys very similar ideas: "we do not find," he says, "that the spectrum can be traced throughout the catalogue of auric colors in any way that brings the two series into direct relations;" yet, in a broad way, the auric colors could be classified as follows:

1. The middle tints of the spectrum, yellow and bright green, are suspected to be associated with strong vitality and also with the "more active forms of intellectuality, corresponding to the brightest light of the spectrum;"

2. The lilac, blue and violet shades have to do with spiritual characteristics, "certain unknown tints of the ultra-violet rays being seen in the aura of persons gifted with high psychic [43] attributes associated with a noble, unselfish nature and true spiritual aspirations;

3. Red is directly connected with lower passions of various kinds, especially with anger, though by, no means every kind of red; for it must be remembered that "the color indications of the aura are more numerous than the seven tints of the spectrum, and that, every one of those has very much more than one signification," so that in relation to red especially, while one kind may indicate anger of a brutal and selfish type, another tint may represent "noble indignation, and other clearer and milder shades," are directly "associated with the emotion of love," crimson with animal love and delicate rose "with love in its loftier and purer aspect" . . . . "this rose being also, mingled with brown when selfish, or with dull green when accompanied with jealousy" (Lucif., XIX., 71). Various shades of red can also be produced by sympathetic or by harsh notes of music. But "psychic qualifications associated with nothing but a groveling, selfish thirst for mysterious knowledge, leading to black magic for base and evil purposes, are certainly indicated in the aura by the colors of the ultra red."

Again blue tints, which are ordinarily associated with religious feeling, devotion, and even, in their finer shades, with very exalted spiritual tendencies, when deepened and darkened very much in tint, become indicative of a very narrow, self-involved nature, and even, — if murky and muddy, — of selfishness in its simplest and most straightforward aspects. [*] "Occult advancement shows [44] itself not only by colors, but also by the greater luminosity of the aura, by its increased size and more definite outline." For further information on the knowledge possessed at the present time in Theosophical circles on color significance, the reader is referred to the tabulation made by Mr. Leadbeater (Theos. XVII. 139, also in pamphlet form published by the Indian Section T.S.), which needs to be carefully verified, but wherein will be found a most useful stepping-stone to a wide field of interesting and profitable research.

In connection with the subject of colors, it must also be mentioned that, outside of the general chromatic features of the various auras, some certain parts of the body show special limited emanations of tints which appear to correspond more directly to the peculiar principle with which that part is more intimately related. For instance, dark blue is always found around the ears (as already mentioned) and over the lungs, green over the region of the liver, red shading into orange below the stomach, yellow over the crown of the head, orange, more or less yellowish, over the feet and arms, etc. And these special, limited colors, while throwing out a general shadow over all the auras in their circumscribed areas, also vary in shade or intensity in different persons; but, of course, they can only be seen on the naked body.

Before closing with the subject of auric colors and their significance, it will be well to mention another curious feature of the Human Aura: "Various observers have noticed that the aura of an Adept is not only silvery bright and intense, radiating infinitely farther into space than the aura of the ordinary man, but it is constantly pulsating and arranging itself into geometrical figures." Colonel Olcott, who writes this (Theos. XVII, 142), seems to be rather dubious of the correctness of the fact; yet, from the observations gathered by the writer, it appears that these geometrical pulsations are not by any means confined to the auras of Adepts, but are common property; only in ordinary people, they are so faint as to be nearly invisible, even to expert seers, while in good moral persons of active intelligence, with tendencies towards occultism, they become quite apparent without the owner having any pretension to Adeptship. These figures [45] are described as isolated or irregularly distributed stars, crosses, circles, triangles, etc., which are seen through the colored matter of the Kamic and Psychic auras, apparently formed out of the substance of the aura itself, though their constant motion or vibration communicates to them a kind of dazzling appearance. The import of these geometrical manifestations does not seem to have yet been duly ascertained, though Colonel Olcott is probably right about their being connected with Plato's aphorism that "God ever geometrises."

VI. Manasic Aura, (Higher Manas, Lower Individuality, Human Soul, Casual Body of Mrs. Besant, Karana Sarira of Sinnett, Fifth Principle, sometimes improperly called the Auric Egg). — The same difficulty which interferes with the observation of the Psychic Aura, near the skin, is encountered in connection with the Manasic Aura, and the best place to observe this clearly is where it rises above the Psychic Aura. It is there described as a vapory cloud of the most subtle indigo blue, the intensity and shade of which depend upon the mental development of the person. It is ovoid in shape and extends to about 12 inches away from the surface of the material body, and it is bordered by a bright silvery edge, the brilliancy and intensity of which also depend upon that of the blue portion below it. Mr. Leadbeater very properly remarks that "it is not around everybody we meet that this aura is to be distinguished," although it is latent even in the lowest man, . . . . because, as Mrs. Besant explains: "It follows the law of evolution, and, in the average man, it is barely distinguishable at all, even to the most expert seer, for it is a mere colorless film (of subtlest matter), just sufficient apparently to hold itself together and hold a re-incarnating individuality, but no more. As soon, however, as a man begins to develop spirituality, or even higher intellect," when he practices concentration and exercises the power of thinking, a change occurs, the growing individualized character rapidly showing itself in the enlarged size, the brighter color and luminosity, and the greater definiteness and clear outline of the Causal (Manasic) Body, "just as the development of the Personality shows itself in the lower mind-body (Psychic Sheath), except that the Causal body being the [46] higher vehicle, is naturally subtler and more beautiful, and perseverance for good soon tells on this (Man and his Bodies). Therefore, the more highly developed a person, the more pronounced the Manasic Sheath becomes; it then "outshines all the rest with startling brilliancy to observers qualified to perceive it," and among other changes that it then undergoes, "this vehicle expands considerably in volume." The result of this, as regards the general, total auric aspect, "is that the aura of such a person expands also very greatly, acquiring at the same time an increased precision of outline; and whatever may be the magnitude of the Manasic Aura, the others expand with it; in this way the size of an aura — using here the term in its collective application to all seen together — is very much greater in the case of a person with a highly-developed spiritual nature than in others where the Kamic Aura is the measure of the rest" (Sinnett, Aura)." In the case of a man working on the plane of Adeptship, the sight of his Manasic Aura becomes wonderful and lovely beyond all earthly conception," while "in the aura of an Adept it so immensely predominates over the aura of the Personality, that the latter becomes practically non-existent," . . . . "the Adept's aura being one magnificent sphere of living light whose radiant glory no words can tell." "Anyone," says Mrs. Besant, "who has ever seen this sublime spectacle and compares it with the sight of individuals in ail stages of development down to the colorless film of the ordinary person, can never more feel any doubt as to the fact of the evolution and progress of the reincarnating Ego" But the Adept's aura is a separate study, "quite beyond ordinary powers," and rendered, as said by Mr. Leadbeater, all the more difficult by the preponderant influence and peculiar characteristics of the particular Ray the Adept may belong to.

It may be interesting to students to note here that it was the "silvery edge" above mentioned as crowning the Manasic Aura, which originated the painter's conception of "the hue of innocence encircling the heads of Saints," and we may also add that, according to R. Prasad, this edge is due to the prevalence of the Apas Tatwam (Nature's Finer Forces, 163).


§ 3. Spiritual Portions.

VII. The Buddhic Aura, (Suddhi, Spiritual Soul, Spiritual Body [of Mrs. Besant], Sixth Principle). — We rise here "into a region so lofty, that it is well nigh beyond our treading, even in imagination" (Man arid his Bodies). In his article, already often quoted, Mr. Leadbeater says that no information is at present available about this high Aura. Mr. Sinnett says that the highest component of the Human Aura which "clairvoyance short of Adeptship can penetrate, is the Fifth, [*] Higher Manas, and even that one is not by any means seen at all around everybody." Of course, the potentiality of the sixth aura "resides in every human being," but in the majority of mankind in this Round, it is merely a germ, and consequently invisible; it is only in those cases where the higher self is evolved to considerable activity, that it would not be useless to attempt to discern its emanation within the denser clouds of the lower principles. It is described by those who can see it "as of almost inconceivable delicacy and beauty, perhaps less a cloud than a 'living light,'" and it is plainly divisible into two parts:

1st. Immediately above the silvery edge of the Manasic Aura, a zone or band of fathomless, spiritual blue, of a tint and nature not realizable by any one who has not seen it;

2nd. Above this zone, a border or rim of glorious light, described as the "the very essence of golden light."

It extends above the Manasic Aura to a distance of seventeen or eighteen inches from the skin over the top of the head; it is ovoid in shape, and the golden tinge of its border, — the golden halo of the religious painter, and the "circle of light round our heads" as R. Prasad expresses it, — is due according to this writer, to the general prevalence of the Prithivi Tatwa, (N. F. F., 163). In Initiates, this is the most glorious of all the sheaths," and through it "plays freely the living Atmic fire."


VIII. The Atmic Aura (Atipic Egg, Golden or Luminous Egg, Human Hiranyagarbha, Karana Sarira or Causal Body of H.P.B., Essence of Man). — We reach here to the highest, most mysterious and sacred of the components of the Aura, public mention of which, before this year, had never been permitted by any occult school, "on account of its being too sacred." [*] This is not the place to state what the Auric Egg or Atmic Sheath really is, further than that, as said above, it is the absolutely permanent, immortal (Manvantaric), and most intimate envelope of all immortal Monads, whether they be Globes, Devas or human beings, or still involved in the animal, vegetable or mineral kingdoms. The Auric Egg of a tree is a beautiful sight to one who can perceive it. In the lower kingdoms this principle manifests within Reichenbach's Odic emanations, which, as H.P.B. said, are odic, "but also something else." In man it constitutes the sheath which contains the indication of the Special Ray or Hierarchy which each individuality belongs to, and, at death, this it is that assimilates, stores up the essence of all the lower principles, the "spiritual aroma" of all that these principles, during the life of each successive personality, have gathered that is worth preserving. But, in so far as the Auric Egg in its relation to the human aura is concerned, it will suffice to state that, although it does, at all times, completely envelop the whole of the man, projecting up to 22 or 24 inches over his physical head and several inches below his feet, and though it is in reality the field or background [49] upon which all the other auric manifestations show themselves, it is rarely visible as a whole, except around individuals considerably developed. In that case it is seen as a well-defined, sharply-edged oval or egg-shaped and faintly luminous shadow. The best place to observe and study it is around and above the head and shoulders, from the periphery of which it is seen first intermingling with all the lower auras, then becoming, above them all, distinguishable as a separate greyish-blue-violet, mysterious zone, which has the property of absorbing the reflexion of the tint of whatever may be the predominant lower principle in the person: thus it will be verging into green if Lower Manas is preponderant, becoming dark if it is Higher Manas, or accentuating the red in the violet if Kama has the sway. The Auric Egg is composed of the highest imaginable matter, of indescribable fineness; this matter, though "no matter" in the earthly sense, is characterized as producing on the seer the same impression of incommensurable depth as the sight of the pure vault of the skies does on well-organized physical eyes. When at all perceivable, its general size, shape and aspect being invariable, the legs and arms of the person, in their movements of full extension, are seen to protrude outside of this Auric Egg; and when a person sits down or doubles up his material body, this Egg does not also double up, but merely follows vaguely the direction of the motion, still remaining extended to its full length, but in an inclined position. The Auric Egg of a perfected man is reported as the most beautiful, wonderful, inconceivable, indescribable mass of glorious mist, the very substance of which seems to be composed of millions of tiny living geometrical figures of every conceivable shape, throbbing in incessant pulsations, and in the center of it can be distinguished in glowing ethereal colors the mysterious five-pointed double star, characteristic of Adeptship; and this perfected Auric Egg constitutes the radiant, luminous Augoeides of mystic parlance. As Mrs. Besant very beautifully says: "If the eye be fortunate enough to be blessed with the sight of one of the Great Ones, he appears as a mighty living form of life and color, radiant and glorious, showing forth his nature by his very appearance to the view, beautiful beyond description, resplendent [50] beyond imagination. Yet, what he is, all shall one day become" . . . if we try!

§ 4. Miscellaneous.

Shape of the Auras. — In addition to what has been hitherto said about the shape or form of each of the various auras, a few more remarks may prove interesting. It has been elicited in the study of the "Auras of Plants" (Appendix), that their limited chromatic auras, which belong to the most material plane, follow closely every form, every indentation of the leaves and petals. In a similar manner, the lower auras of man, Prana, Double and Kama, border, and follow in shape, at their respective distances, all the outlines of the body; it is a well ascertained fact that the Kama-rupa, or body of desires, — as it is called in connection with materializations, — can even assume a perfect reproduction of the material body. But the three highest auras viz: those belonging to the higher planes, though still in the "rupa regions," affect simply the regular generic ovoid, they are all absolutely egg-shaped and follow interiorly the form of the Auric Egg; while the fourth, — Lower Manas, — is the intermediate one, in form as well as in nature, being the only one that, although ovoid in form, still follows nearest the sinuosities of the dense body and vaguely outlines, within the limits of its own extension, the shape of the head and shoulders. This would tend to show that the egg form, which is so common on the lower planes in all kingdoms of Nature, — in connection at least with the important phase of reproduction, — belongs to the highest idealization of Divinity; and this the Ancients, who knew more than we do, expressed in the doctrine of the Orphic Egg and in the Indian legend of Brahma springing out of the Mundane Egg, the Hiranyagarbha, while the fact is now recognized as a scientific law by no less a scientist than Professor Babbitt in his theory of Atomic Philosophy.

At any rate, this marked difference of shape may help to recognize the nature of any aura perceived; if delineating the physical body, the aura or auras belong to the lower principles; if [51] assuming the egg form, they belong to the higher grades, with this difference again that the highest, — the Auric Egg, — when perceptible, has its margins always sharply defined, while the Buddhic and the two Manasic are wavy or cloud-like, fluctuating irregularly in outline and shading off into invisibility, as a flame does. Thus, nevertheless, even where the Auric Egg is not discernible, either of those next below it will still give the seer the distinct impression of an ovoid shape, but not clearly delineated. One more remark: The three sheaths whose form is perfectly ovoid, are as nearly immortal, eternal, as the Triune Ego itself, whom they accompany from birth to rebirth, through all its existences, states and conditions, until the end of the Manvantara, when new forms, new bodies, will be assumed by the Ego. But, before that time, the regular course of evolution, we are told, will bring about a final simplification of man's sheaths in the following manner: Kama, that is to say, all red, will be absorbed by the green, Lower Manas, the purified personality; Buddhi, pure yellow, will become one with the higher Manas or indigo; all the yellow and orange of Prana will be absorbed by the Auric Egg, which will then constitute the resplendent "body of light;" while the Etheric Body, also purified and rendered incorruptible, — as the resurrected body of the Bible, — will remain as an outside protection for the real, complete life within.

It will not be out of place here to mention that, taken as a whole, in its present complex composition and aspect, the Human Aura must appear to the eyes capable of appreciating its beauties, as very similar to the manifestations of the Aurora Borealis.

This brings us to mention a singular manifestation which takes place over the heads of persons engaged in mental work, apparently when under the influence of inspiration or excitement. At any rate, it is undoubtedly not connected with the Health Aura. It takes the form of a kind of eruption or Electric display, composed of striations not unlike threads of silvery gold light, shooting upwards from the crown of the head to the height of the Psychic Aura, more or less, and causing a brighter illumination in the auric field which they traverse. Before they reach their greatest height, they curve gracefully to the right and left, [52] according to the side of the head they emanate from. This emanation may persist so long as the person remains under the same influence or stimulus, and its form has suggested the remark that it was not unlike the flames that arise from the sun, in certain solar explosions, and which have been called "sheaves and volutes."

Gold Dust — One more fact has to be mentioned here, which was communicated by a most reliable and gifted observer. The writer cannot yet presume to classify it, or to draw any inference from it, but it is given in this place because, although apparently emanating from the golden rim of Buddhi, it was seen permeating all through the various auras, up to the very border of the Auric Egg. This phenomenon, observed many times, was a thick sprinkling of myriads of brilliant circular specks, so minute that the observer could find no better definition for it than a "cloud of gold dust," each speck revolving spirally on itself, and all of them simultaneously appearing to circulate through the whole aura, filling it up so completely as to produce the impression that this manifestation might perhaps be the most important of any seen.

Influence of the World Thought-Currents — Mrs. Besant very ingenuously teaches us that "a great deal of our thinking is not our thinking at all, but the mere reception of the thoughts of other people." (Lucif. XVIII, 127.) In other words, often-times what we take as the working of our mind is merely a responsiveness to the agglomerated thoughts of Humanity, which constitute what, in Occultism, is termed "World Thought-Currents"; these sweep: around the globe and affect those whose intellect is ready to respond to their peculiar vibrations. This is confirmed by the study of the Human Aura, because, through the two Manasic Auras, expert observers can clearly see the fleeting impressions produced by the general thought-currents: impressions which vary according to the receptivity of man's corresponding Principles. In a similar way, through the Kamic layers, the world thought-currents can be noticed as intensifying, subduing or changing the ordinary substratic colors and producing erratic flashes, which induce corresponding sensations in the emotional part of man.


It must therefore be very important to learn how to render one's Aura independent of, and — when necessary — absolutely impervious to the wandering Kamic and Manasic influences that flow through the Earth's Astral Plane.

The Aura During Sleep and Trance — "Clairvoyant observation bears abundant testimony to the fact that when a person falls into a deep slumber, the higher principles in their astral vehicle (Kamic sheath), almost invariably withdraw from the physical body and hover in its immediate neighborhood . . . the body, with its practically inseparable companion, the Etheric Double, lying quietly on the bed while the Ego, in its astral or Kamic body, floats with equal tranquility just above it," (Leadbeater, Dreams, 15, Lucif. XVIII, 13,) unless the personality is pretty well developed, in which case the Ego takes occasion of this separation to start off in flights and visits of its own. Here let it be said that the fact of this temporary separation makes more intelligible the "inadvisability of suddenly waking a person from deep sleep." (Scott-Elliott, Trans. London Lodge, No. 21, 8.) In the case of sleep, therefore, the aspect of the general aura must be expected to change considerably. The physical body, it is true, still presents the lower auras of Prana, the electro-magnetic emanations especially being much wider and more intense, as it was mentioned above in the proper section, probably for the purpose of serving as a kind of protection for the body during the absence of the higher principles. But all the other colors, the spiritual ones, of the five higher sheaths will be more or less absent, since they accompany in his wanderings the Ego inclosed in the Kamic sheath and enveloped by his Auric Egg. But we are also told that, in such cases of separation, the aspect of this Kamic sheath "varies very greatly, according to the state of development reached by the Ego to whom it belongs; in the case of an entirely uncultured and undeveloped person, it is simply a floating wreath of mist, shapeless and undefined, receptive only of the coarser, more violent Kamic vibrations, and it is unable to move more than a few yards away from the body; but, as evolution progresses, it becomes more and more definite in outline and assumes a more perfect image of the physical body it belongs to, and its [54] receptivity to Kamic vibrations of a purer grade is also increased, while it can also leave the body and travel far away from it." (Man and His Bodies, and Leadbeater, Astral Plane, 18.) Then again, "much as the condition of the astral body during sleep changes as evolution takes place, that of the Ego inhabiting it changes still more; where the former is nothing but a floating wreath of mist, the Ego is practically almost as much asleep as the body lying below him; he is blind to the sights and deaf to the voices of his own higher planes." But this is not the place to follow up what happens or may happen to the sleeping entity or what may be its dreams; the reader is for that referred to Leadbeater's Astral Plane, and also Dreams, p. 21. In the state of trance, the aspect of the aura also changes considerably, and, moreover, a good clairvoyant can learn to discern the difference between the conditions of the real trance, either natural or self-induced, of a Yogi, and those of mesmeric stupor produced by the extraneous influence of another person: in the first instance, the colors of the lower principles — green, red, red-violet — disappear as well as the blue of the Auric Egg, the entity has concentrated himself in his Auric Egg, leaving behind in the body nothing but hardly perceptible vibrations of the compound yellow, orange and gold of the Prana, with a violet flame streaked with gold rushing upwards from the pineal gland in the head and culminating in a point. On the contrary, in the case of a trance artificially induced by hypnotism or mesmerism, the whole set of principles are present, but the Higher Manas and Buddhi are completely paralyzed, to the undue advantage of Kama Manas, "the red and green monsters in us," who are indiscreetly intensified.

From what was said above about sleep, it will be easy to realize that, in the sleeping state, the various inferior sheaths of man are "left more unprotected by the Ego and his Auric Egg, and, consequently, they are more at the mercy of influences of vibrations from the outside currents which produce the ordinary dreams." But it is possible to protect one's self: any one who is troubled by idle dreams, and wishes to avoid them, must, when "he lies down to rest, think intensely of the aura that surrounds him, and will strongly that the outer surface of that aura [55] should become during his sleep, as it were, a shell to protect him from outside influences; and the auric matter will promptly obey his thoughts, forming a shell around him that will exclude outside thought-streams." (Man and his Bodies.)

In connection with this, another point strongly brought out in the investigations of the London Lodge T. S., "is the immense importance of the last thought in a man's mind as he sinks to sleep," this being very similar to what all religions tell about the last thought of a dying man and the importance of guiding it. Yet, as Mr. Leadbeater says, "this is a consideration which never occurs to the vast majority of people at all, although it affects them physically, mentally and morally. We have seen how passive, how easily influenced man is during sleep; if he enters that state with his thought fixed upon high and holy things, he thereby draws around him the elementals created by like thought in others; his rest is peaceful, his mind open to impressions from above and closed to those from below, for he has set it working in the right direction; if, on the contrary, he falls asleep with impure and earthly thoughts floating through his brain, he attracts to himself all the gross and evil creatures who come near him, while his sleep is troubled by the wild surgings of Kama." . . . This gives us an unexpected and elegant explanation of the power and effect of the prayers recommended by all religions before sleep, not as inducing supernatural protection, but simply as a means of bringing the mind into proper channels. Every student will therefore agree with Mr. Leadbeater on the fact that "all earnest Theosophists should make a special point of raising their thoughts to the loftiest level of which they are capable before allowing themselves to sink into slumber." (Dreams, Trans. London Lodge, No. 27, 38.)

The Aura after Death — It will be readily understood that death produces an immediate great change in the Human Auras. All the Higher Principles, together with the Auric Egg that envelops them, disappear leaving the doomed material body with only its lifelong and inseparable Etheric Double floating over it; the Caloric Aura gradually ceases with the disappearance of animal heat; the Pranic Aura, which had begun to fade before the [56] actual dissolution, turns to an ashey-grey light; all the electric emanations, already broken up during the sickness, cease; the magnetic flow alone continues, though in a sluggish and stationary manner; the Tatwic ribbons lose their color, leaving only dead, colorless lines, as in mineral matter, whereby it can be said that the auric manifestation which remains around the body, is only that which belongs to the dead material compounds, until decomposition sets in. Then the auric effluvium again becomes alive, and assumes the aspects and hues of the new lives that issue out of death. Thus, the study of the Human Aura will bring out new and more reliable signs of real death, because to a psychic sight, the aura of a person in coma or cataleptic trance — however well this may otherwise simulate death, — will never be mistaken for that of a body in which life is really and positively extinct. It will be well however here, to state that this same study of the aura also corroborates the teaching of Theosophy concerning the fact that the Higher Principles may separate before death, and — as Isis Unveiled expresses it — many are the soulless persons, living sepulchres, that we elbow on the street, whose souls have deserted them long before the hour of physical dissolution. And so, in many persons, the Auric Egg and the other higher auras may disappear completely, and therefore become invisible, long before death.

Footnotes for Chapter II.

  1. L'Ame Humaine, ses Mouvements, ses Lumieres et l'Iconographie de l'Invisible Fluidique. Paris, G. Carre.
  2. All this leads us to expect that future observations on the various parts of the body which seem to form exceptions to the regular flow of the general Tatwic currents, ought to bring out interesting discoveries.
  3. All the measurements of the various parts of the aura herein given are taken from actual observations, but, to show how accurately they confirm the old Hindu statements, the following quotation from a work on Yoga, will not be out of place:
    • "At a distance of two finger-breadths (taken to be equal to half inches) from the tip of the nose, horizontally, there is the Blue Akasha Tatwam (Caloric Aura);
    • "At a distance of four finger-breadths is the brown Vayu (reddish Pranic):
    • " " six " " red Tejas (Kamic zone);
    • " " ten " " green Apas (zone of Lower Manas);
    • " " twelve " " yellow Prithivi (golden rim of the Psychic Aura).
    "After which, in deep contemplation, flashes out suddenly the sixth Tatwam, Chidakasam (silvery edge of the Higher Manasic Aura), which envelops the observer and everything else with its Chitkala, the steady contemplator of which then sees only one mass of light . . . (Vedanthavartikam, Th. X., 409; see also Raja-Yoga Bhashya, Th. XVII., 484). It will be realized here that the instruction therein given means simply that the Yogi is to fix his contemplation on various parts of his own aura.
  4. A writer on Zoroastrianism, Mr. B. E. Unwala, confirms the above ideas in a general way, by saying: "The Human Aura varies in colors according to the varying tendencies and mental, moral and spiritual development of each man, and according to the quality of the thought evolved by him at every moment of his individual existence. Thus, the color of the aura of a very vicious man is entirely black, while that of a high Yogi is of a perfectly white color; at intermediate stages, it is of a gray, dusky, red, blue, yellow, or dusky-white color, according to the degree of progress made towards spirituality. Thus the character as well as the thoughts of any man can, by looking at his aura, be read by a Yogi . . . . or seen by those who have developed the clairvoyant faculty" (Theost., XVII., 341). Further suggestions can be found in another Hindu article: "The color of the physical man, — that is to say the color of man's skin — is not the real color of the man, nor is it proportionate to his spirituality. The real man is the astral man, whose color is determined by his evolutionary progress. This color is, in one sense, the aura of the man, and becomes perceptible only to psychic sight: the evolution of man, — as that of all kinds of Jivas, — is attended with the evolution of colors" from black towards white "black being the lowest, and the upward evolution being marked by its passage to smoke and smoky violet, dark blue, red or smoky blue, yellow, and finally white, which is the color of the perfect entity" . . . . "the color of an entity on the astral plane thus indicating his essence, his position in the scale of evolution" (Colors, Theost., XIV.- 59?, — XV., 112).
  5. It is said that no ordinary seer can see above the Higher Manas, because seership is only the intensification of the fifth plane faculties; consequently these faculties cannot reach above their own sphere, and only Adepts can fully sense the Higher Planes, by transporting thither their consciousness. But this statement does not seem to be rigorously exact, since the writer is personally acquainted with persons whose psychic faculties are actually capable of distinguishing plainly the Buddhic Aura and the Auric Egg, of course when they are sufficiently developed to be visible at all.
  6. The Rosicrucians knew fully well of the existence of the Auric Egg. But with them it was unmentionable. They alluded to it by admitting that "in the densest, crudest matter there was yet a deposit or jewel of divine light, which gave to matter its possibilities of evolution." . . . "Unseen and unsuspected, because in it lies magic [says H. Jennings in his Rosicrucians, XXIII, 190], there is an inner magnetism or divine Aura or ethereal spirit, or possible eager fire, shut and confined, as in a prison, in the body and in all sensible solid objects, which have more or less of spiritually sensible life, as they can more successfully free themselves from the ponderable material obstruction. Thus all minerals, in this spark of light, have the rudimentary possibility of plants and growing organisms, and likewise all plants- have through it the rudimentary power of transmuting into locomotive new creatures, etc." Thus according to the Rosicrucians, "a spark of the original divine gold or light [lux] remains deep down into the interior of every atom." They also taught that this divinity is the Light made manifest, the Second Light or Son, reflecting the glory of the First or Father, this second being "the Anima Mundi, Light, Breath, Life, Aura or Sacred Spirit" [Ibid. XXXII, 313]; a spark of which constitutes the Aura of every object, this Aura being the eternal vehicle of the Soul, as the Son or Second Light is the eternal vehicle of the Eternal All or Father. Thus, years ago, did Jennings actually reveal, as near as could possibly be done at the time the mysterious character, never plainly divulged by occultists, of the Auric Egg.

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