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What Is The Human Aura?

The above question is frequently asked the student of occultism by some
one who has heard the term but who is unfamiliar with its meaning.
Simple as the question may seem, it is by no means easy to answer it,
plainly and clearly in a few words, unless the hearer already has a
general acquaintance with the subject of occult science. Let us commence
at the beginning, and consider the question from the point of view of
the person who has just heard the term for the first time.

The dictionaries define the word aura as: "Any subtle, invisible
emanation or exhalation." The English authorities, as a rule, attribute
the origin of the word to a Latin term meaning "air," but the Hindu
authorities insist that it had its origin in the Sanscrit root Ar,
meaning the spoke of a wheel, the significance being perceived when we
remember the fact that the human aura radiates from the body of the
individual in a manner similar to the radiation of the spokes of a wheel
from the hub thereof. The Sanscrit origin of the term is the one
preferred by occultists, although it will be seen that the idea of an
aerial emanation, indicated by the Latin root, is not foreign to the
real significance of the term.

Be the real origin of the term what it may, the idea of the human aura
is one upon which all occultists are in full agreement and harmony, and
the mention of which is found in all works upon the general subject of
occultism. So we shall begin by a consideration of the main conception
thereof, as held by all advanced occultists, ancient and modern,
omitting little points of theoretical variance between the different

Briefly, then, the human aura may be described as a fine, ethereal
radiation or emanation surrounding each and every living human being. It
extends from two to three feet, in all directions, from the body. It
assumes an oval shape--a great egg-shaped nebula surrounding the body on
all sides for a distance of two or three feet. This aura is sometimes
referred to, in ordinary terms, as the "psychic atmosphere" of a person,
or as his "magnetic atmosphere."

This atmosphere or aura is apparent to a large percentage of persons in
the sense of the psychic awareness generally called "feeling," though
the term is not a clear one. The majority of persons are more or less
aware of that subtle something about the personality of others, which
can be sensed or felt in a clear though unusual way when the other
persons are near by, even though they may be out of the range of the
vision. Being outside of the ordinary range of the five senses, we are
apt to feel that there is something queer or uncanny about these
feelings of projected personality. But every person, deep in his heart,
knows them to be realities and admits their effect upon his impressions
regarding the persons from whom they emanate. Even small children,
infants even, perceive this influence, and respond to it in the matter
of likes and dislikes.

But, human testimony regarding the existence and character of the human
aura does not stop with the reports of the psychic senses to which we
have just referred. There are many individuals of the race--a far
greater percentage than is generally imagined--who have the gift of
psychic sight more or less developed. Many persons have quite a
well-developed power of this kind, who do not mention it to their
acquaintances for fear of ridicule, or of being thought "queer." In
addition to these persons, there are here and there to be found
well-developed, clear-sighted, or truly clairvoyant persons, whose
powers of psychic perception are as highly developed as are the ordinary
senses of the average individual. And, the reports of these persons, far
apart in time and space though they may be, have always agreed on the
main points of psychic phenomena, particularly in regards to the human

To the highly developed clairvoyant vision, every human being is seen as
surrounded by the egg-shaped aura of two or three feet in depth, more
dense and thick in the portion nearest the body, and then gradually
becoming more tenuous, thin and indistinct as the distance from the body
is increased. By the psychic perception, the aura is seen as a luminous
cloud--a phosphorescent flame--deep and dense around the centre and then
gradually shading into indistinctness toward the edges. As a matter of
fact, as all developed occultists know, the aura really extends very
much further than even the best clairvoyant vision can perceive it, and
its psychic influence is perceptible at quite a distance in many cases.
In this respect it is like any flame on the physical plane--it
gradually fades into indistinctness, its rays persisting far beyond the
reach of the vision, as may be proved by means of chemical apparatus,

To the highly developed clairvoyant vision, the human aura is seen to be
composed of all the colors of the spectrum, the combinations of colors
differing in various persons, and constantly shifting in the case of
every person. These colors reflect the mental (particularly the
emotional) states of the person in whose aura they are manifested. Each
mental state has its own particular combination formed from the few
elementary colors which represent the elementary mental conditions. As
the mind is ever shifting and changing its states, it follows that there
will ever be a corresponding series of shifting changes in the colors of
the human aura.

The shades and colors of the aura present an ever changing kaleidoscopic
spectacle, of wonderful beauty and most interesting character. The
trained occultist is able to read the character of any person, as well
as the nature of his passing thoughts and feelings, by simply studying
the shifting colors of his aura. To the developed occultist the mind and
character become as an open book, to be studied carefully and

Even the student of occultism, who has not been able to develop the
clairvoyant vision to such a high degree, is soon able to develop the
sense of psychic perception whereby he is able to at least "feel" the
vibrations of the aura, though he may not see the colors, and thus be
able to interpret the mental states which have caused them. The
principle is of course the same, as the colors are but the outward
appearance of the vibrations themselves, just as the ordinary colors on
the physical plane are merely the outward manifestation of vibration of

But it must not be supposed that the human aura is always perceived in
the appearance of a luminous cloud of ever-changing color. When we say
that such is its characteristic appearance, we mean it in the same sense
that we describe the ocean as a calm, deep body of greenish waters. We
know, however, that at times the ocean presents no such appearance, but,
instead, is seen as rising in great mountainous waves, white capped, and
threatening the tiny vessels of men with its power. Or again, we may
define the word "flame" in the sense of a steady bright stream of
burning gas, whereas, we know only too well, that the word also
indicates the great hot tongues of fiery force that stream out from the
windows of a burning building, and lick to destruction all with which it
comes in contact.

So it is with the human aura. At times it may be seen as a beautiful,
calm, luminous atmosphere, presenting the appearance of a great opal
under the rays of the sun. Again, it blazes like the flames of a great
furnace, shooting forth great tongues of fire in this direction and
that, rising and falling in great waves of emotional excitement, or
passion, or perhaps whirling like a great fiery maelstrom toward its
centre, or swirling in an outward movement away from its centre. Again
it may be seen as projecting from its depths smaller bodies or centres
of mental vibration, which like sparks from a furnace detach themselves
from the parent flame, and travel far away in other directions--these
are the projected thought-forms of which all occultists are fond of
speaking and which make plain many strange psychic occurrences.

So, it will be seen, the human aura is a very important and interesting
phase of the personality of every individual. The psychic phase of man
is as much the man himself as is the physical phase--the complete man
being made up of the two phases. Man invisible is as much the real man
as is man visible. As the finer forms of nature are always the most
powerful, so is the psychic man more potent than the physical man.

In this book, I speak of the human aura, and its colors, as being
perceived by astral or clairvoyant vision, for this is the way in which
it is perceived and studied by the occultist. The occult teaching is
that, in the evolution of the race, this astral vision will eventually
become the common property of every human being--it so exists even now,
and needs only development to perfect it.

But modern physical science is today offering corroborative proof
(though the same is not needed by the occultist who has the astral
vision) to the general public, of the existence of the human aura. In
Europe, especially, a number of scientists have written on the subject
of the aura, and have described the result of the experiments in which
the aura has been perceived, and even photographed, by means of
fluorescent screens, such as are used in taking X-Ray photographs, etc.
Leading authorities in England, France, and still more recently, in
Germany, have reported the discovery (!) of a nebulous, hazy,
radio-active energy or substance, around the body of human beings. In
short, they now claim that every human being is radio-active, and that
the auric radiation may be registered and perceived by means of a screen
composed of certain fluorescent material, interposed between the eye of
the observer, and the person observed.

This aura, so discovered (!) by the scientists, is called by them the
"human atmosphere," and is classified by them as similar to the
radiations of other radio-active substances, radium, for instance. They
have failed to discover color in this atmosphere, however, and know
nothing, apparently, of the relation between auric colors and mental and
emotional states, which are so familiar to every advanced occultist. I
mention this fact merely as a matter of general interest and information
to the student, and not as indicating, even in the slightest degree, any
idea on my part that the old occult teaching, and the observed phenomena
accompanying the same, regarding the human aura, require any proof or
backing up on the part of material scientists. On the contrary, I feel
that material science should feel flattered by the backing up by occult
science of the new discovery (!) of the "human atmosphere." A little
later on, material science may also discover (!) the auric colors, and
announce the same to the wondering world, as a new truth.

Next: The Prana-aura

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