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Aura (paranormal)

For other uses, see Aura (disambiguation).

See also: Energy (esotericism)
In parapsychology and spiritual practice, an aura is a

Skeptics such as Robert Todd Carroll contend that people

may perceive auras because of eects within the brain:
synesthesia,[8] epilepsy, migraines, or the inuence of
psychedelic drugs such as LSD.[9][10] Other causes may
include disorders within the visual system provoking optical eects. Eye fatigue can also produce an aura, sometimes referred to as eye burn.
Attempts to prove the existence of auras scientically
have repeatedly met with failure; for example people
are unable to see auras in the dark, and auras have
never been successfully used to identify people when their
identifying features are otherwise obscured in controlled

1 Spiritual traditions

The Human Aura in a healthy woman after a diagram by Walter

John Kilner (1847-1920). The picture depicts Kilners inner and
outer auras. Colours have been added for illustrative purposes
and have no other signicance.

supposed eld of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding

a person or object like the halo or aureola in religious art.
The depiction of such an aura often connotes a person of
particular power or holiness. It is said that all objects and
all living things manifest such an aura. Often it is held to
be perceptible, whether spontaneously or with practice:
such perception is at times linked with the third eye of
Indian spirituality.[1][2] Various writers associate various
personality traits with the colors of dierent layers of the
aura.[3][4][5] It has also been described as a map of the
thoughts and feelings surrounding a person.[6][7]

An old Iranian Muslim impression of Jesus and Mary shows an

aura after the style of the farr

In Iran the aura is known as farr or glory": it is depicted

in association with Zoroastrian kings.[15]
Ideas of the aura are well represented in Indian religions. In tantric tradition of Hinduism, aura represents


the subtle body of seven colours. In many Hindu paintings of gods and goddesses, aura is marked on their
backhead. The Buddhist ag represents the colours seen
around the enlightened Buddha.[16] In Jainism the concept of Lesya relates colours to mental and emotional dispositions. To the Indian teacher Meher Baba the aura
is of seven colours, associated with the subtle body and
its store of mental and emotional impressions. Spiritual practice gradually transforms this aura into a spiritual halo.[17] Hindu and Buddhist sources often link these
colours to Kundalini energy and the chakras.[18]

A 1531 depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe, often said to represent an aura

Statue depicting Shiva as Nataraja with auras.

In the classical western mysticism of neoplatonism and

Kabbalah the aura is associated with the lustre of the
astral body, a subtle body identied with the planetary
heavens, which were in turn associated with various mental faculties in an elaborate system of correspondences
with colours, shapes, sounds, perfumes etc.[19]
The symbolism of light found in the Bible is at times associated with the idea of the aura or body of light":[20]
similar interpretations are found in Islamic traditions.[21]
According to the literature of Theosophy,
Anthroposophy, and Archeosophy also, each colour
of the aura has a meaning, indicating a precise emotional
state. A complete description of the aura and its colours
was provided by Charles Leadbeater, a theosophist of
the 19th century.[22] The works of Leadbeater were later
developed by Palamidessi[23] and others.
The British occultist W.E. Butler connected auras with
clairvoyance and etheric, mental and emotional emanations. He classied the aura into two main types: etheric
and spiritual. Auras are thought to serve as a visual measure of the state of the health of the physical body.[24]
Robert Bruce classies auras into three types: etheric,
main, and spiritual.[25] According to Bruce auras are not

actual light but a translation of other unknown sensory

readings that is added to our visual processing. They are
not seen in complete darkness and cannot be seen unless
some portion of the person or object emitting the aura
can also be seen.[26] The British Healer, clairvoyant and
author Paul Lambillion in his book Auras and Colours
writes of three visible bodies or layers in the auric eld
that can be observed whether or not in the physical presence of the individual subject since the aura is not a three
dimensional phenomenon and limited to such parameters.
(see also Sunday Times May 2011 and Transformations
Channel 4 TV 1990)
Glenn Morris, grandmaster of the Hoshin Roshi Ryu lineage, included perception of the aura in his training of
advanced martial artists. His experience was that it consisted of multiple layers. He described the most easily
visible of these as being light and denser than the air in
which the body is immersed, typically half to quarter
of an inch thick and correlating with the etheric body of
an individual. Around this he described a yard thick eggshaped layer reecting hormonal state that he linked to the
emotional body, and outside this, other barely perceptible
layers corresponding to the mental body and beyond.[27]
Recalling the aura of another ske, he wrote, "The rst
time I saw Hatsumi, he was running continuous bright,
lime, neon green a foot wide and was so easy to see he
would ash in bright sunlight".[28]

For holistic healers, aura reading is the art of investigating the human energy eld, or the energy elds of other
sentient beings. It is a basis for using techniques of holistic healing, and includes such practices as bioenergetics,
energy medicine, energy spirituality, and energy psychology.

Astral plane
Aura (symptom)


Tests of psychic abilities to observe alleged aura emanations have repeatedly met with failure.[11]

Classical element
Energy (spirituality)
Etheric Body

One test involved placing people in a dark room and asking the psychic to state how many auras she could observe.
Only chance results were obtained.[12]

Halo (religious iconography)

Recognition of auras has occasionally been tested on television. One test involved an aura reader standing on one
side of a room with an opaque partition separating her
from a number of slots which might contain either actual
people or mannequins. The aura reader failed to identify the slots containing people, incorrectly stating that all
contained people.[13]

Mental body

In another televised test another aura reader was placed

before a partition where ve people were standing. He
claimed that he could see their auras from behind the partition. As each person moved out, the reader was asked to
identify where that person was standing behind the slot.
He identied only 2 out of 5 correctly.[14]

Subtle body

Kirlian photography

Odic force

Walter Kilner
List of topics characterized as pseudoscience

5 References


Bridgette Perez in a review for the Skeptical Inquirer has

written perceptual distortions, illusions, and hallucinations might promote belief in auras... Psychological factors, including absorption, fantasy proneness, vividness of
visual imagery, and after-images, might also be responsible for the phenomena of the aura.[29]
Another explanation for the belief in auras, given that
there is no scientic evidence for their reality, could be
cases of synesthesia.[29] However, a 2012 study discovered no link concluding the discrepancies found suggest that both phenomena are phenomenologically and
behaviourally dissimilar.[30] Clinical neurologist Steven
Novella has written Given the weight of the evidence it
seems that the connection between auras and synaesthesia is speculative and based on supercial similarities that
are likely coincidental.[31]

See also
Astral body

[1] Jack, Alex The New Age Dictionary First Edition: Kanthaka Press:1976; Second Edition Japan Publications, Inc.
Tokyo and New York:1990 (Page locations taken from
Second Edition)--See denition of Aura page 14; Definition of Third Eye Page 200
[2] Glossary of Psi (Parapsychological) Terms (A-D)".
Parapsych.org. Retrieved 2015-03-05.
[3] Oslie, Pamala: Life Colors, What the Colors in Your Aura
Reveal, New World Library, 2000.
[4] Bowers, Barbara, Ph.D: What Color Is Your Aura? Personality Spectrums for Understanding and Growth, Pocket
Books, 1989.
[5] Swami Panchadasi The Human Aura: Astral Colors and
Thought Forms Des Plaines, Illinois, USA:1912--Yogi
Publications Society. Available: here (accessed 4 March
[6] Painter, Sally. Aura Colors and Their Meaning.
[7] Brennan, Barbara Ann (1 May 1988). Hands of Light: A
Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field. Bantam Books. pp. 109110. ISBN 0553345397. Retrieved
22 June 2014.
[8] auras - The Skeptics Dictionary. Skepdic.com. Retrieved 2015-03-05.


[9] Deprez, L.; et al. Familial occipitotemporal lobe epilepsy

and migraine with visual aura <Internet>". Retrieved 16
July 2007.

[28] Morris, Glenn J. (1993). Path Notes of an American Ninja

Master. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books. p. 118.
ISBN 1-55643-157-0.

[10] Hill, Donna L.; et al. Most Cases Labeled as Retinal

Migraine Are Not Migraine <Internet>". Retrieved 16
July 2007.

[29] Bridgette M. Perez. The Aura: A Brief Review - CSI.

Csicop.org. Retrieved 2015-03-05.

[11] Nickell, Joe. (2000). http://www.csicop.org/si/show/


[30] Delgado-Pastor, L. C., Salazar, E. y Gonzlez-Hernndez,

A. (2012). Auras in Mysticism and Synaesthesia: A Comparison. Consciousness and Cognition 21: 258-268.

[12] Loftin, Robert W. (1990). Auras: Searching for the Light.

Skeptical Inquirer 14: 403-409.

[31] Novella, Steven. (2012). http://www.skepticblog.org/


[13] Auras. The Skeptics Dictionary. Archived from the

original on 5 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-15.
[14] James Randi tests an aura reader. Retrieved 2008-0114.
[15] Soudavar, Abolala (2003). The Aura of Kings: Legitimacy
and Divine Sanction in Iranian Kingship. Costa Mesa
(Calif.): Mazda Publ. ISBN 978-1-56859-109-4.
[16] Buddhist Studies: Primary Unit 7. Vesak Festival or
Buddha Day. Buddhanet.net. Retrieved 2015-03-05.
[17] Meher Baba, The Path of Love, pub. Avatar Meher Baba
Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, 2000 pp. 71-76. http:
[18] C Breaux, Journey Into Consciousness: The Chakras,
Tantra and Jungian Psychology, Motilal Banarsidass,
[19] Bloom, Harold (1994) The Correspondence of Walter
Benjamin: 1910-1940. The Free Library. 1994 Artforum
International Magazine, Inc. Retrieved: 30 Jul. 2014
[20] J Damon, The Mystical Shroud the Images and The Resurrection an Ecumenical Perspective, 2002 http://www.
[21] Henri Corbin, The man of light in Iranian Susm, Shambhala Publications, 1978
[22] LeadBeater, Charles: Man: Visible and Invisible, 1902.
[23] Palamidessi, Tommaso: The Occult Constitution of Man
and Woman, 1968.
[24] Butler, W.E.: How to Read the Aura, pp 181-183. Destiny
Books, 1978.
[25] Lindgren, C.E. (2000). Capturing the Aura: Integrating
Science, Technology, and Metaphysics (1st ed.). Nevada
City, CA: Blue Dolphin Pub. pp. 301303. ISBN 09652490-6-9.
[26] Lindgren, C.E. (2000). Capturing the Aura: Integrating
Science, Technology, and metaphysics (1st ed.). Nevada
City, CA: Blue Dolphin Pub. pp. 293296. ISBN 09652490-6-9.
[27] Morris, Glenn J. (1993). Path Notes of an American Ninja
Master. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books. pp. 111
112. ISBN 1-55643-157-0.

6 External links
Auras in the Skeptics dictionary
The Aura: A Brief Review

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