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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

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.