that the colors of the body and clothing in medieval paintings and stained glass are intended to represent the auric colors of the person portrayed.
A theosophical description is as follows: "The aura is a highly complicated and entangled manifestation, consisting of many influences operating within the same area. Some of the elements composing the aura are projected from the body, others from the astral principles, and others again from the more spiritual principles connected with the "Higher Self," or permanent Ego; and the various auras are not lying one around the other, but are all blended together and occupy the same place. Guided by occult training the clairvoyant faculty may make a complete analysis of the various elements in the aura and can estimate the delicate tints of which it is composed—though all blended together—as if each were seen separately."
Classified more exactly, the divisions of the aura are stated to be (1) the health aura (2) the vital aura, (3) the karmic aura, that of the animal soul in man (4) the aura of character, and (5) the aura of the spiritual nature.
The health aura "is almost colorless, but becomes perceptible by reason of possessing a curious system of radial striation, that is to say, it is composed of an enormous number of straight lines, radiating evenly in all directions from the body." The second, or vital aura, is said to be to a certain extent under the control of the will, when it circulates within the "linga charira" or astral body, of a "delicate rosy tint, which it loses, becoming bluish as it radiates outward." The third aura is "the field of manifestation, or the mirror in which every feeling, every desire is reflected." Of this aura the colors constantly change, as seen by the clairvoyant vision. "An outburst of anger will charge the whole aura with deep red flashes on a dark ground, while sudden terror will, in a moment, change everything to a ghastly grey." The fourth aura is that of the permanent character, and is said to contain the record of the past earth life of the personality. The fifth aura is not often seen even by clairvoyants, but it is described by those who have seen it, only in the cases where the spiritual nature is the most powerful factor, as "outshining all the rest of the auras with startling brilliancy." The auric colors, it is declared, cannot be adequately described in terms of the ordinary colors discernible to the physical vision, being very much brighter and of more varied hues and shades.
Aura color meaning
The symbolic meaning of these is roughly of the following order: rose, pure affection; brilliant red, anger and force; dirty red, passion and sensuality; yellow of the purest lemon color, the highest type of intellectual activity; orange, intellect used for selfish ends as well as pride and ambition; brown, avarice. Green is a color of varied significance; its root meaning is the placing of one's self in the position of another. In its lower aspects it represents deceit and jealousy; higher up in the emotional gamut, it signifies adaptability, and at its very highest, when it takes on the color of foliage, it represents sympathy, the very essence of thinking for other people. In some shades, green stands for the lower intellectual and critical faculties, merging into yellow. Blue indicates religious feeling and devotion, its various shades being said to correspond to different degrees of devotion, rising from fetishism to the loftiest religious idealism. Purple represents psychic faculty, spirituality, regality, spiritual power arising from knowledge, and occult preeminence.
Aura Reading Colors
The color red represent a strong and forceful energy, it is raw and passionate and may express itself in various ways. Red takes on the element of fire, giving it a desirous nature with a will to consume. This energy burns with an overwhelming determination and sense of importance, which could be easily thwarted by any unexpected changes (water) that may occur.
lifeforce, survival, raw passion, sensuality, love, hate, anger, aggression, rage, frustration, menstruation, vitality, physical activity, excitability, anger, intensity of experience, excitability, unexpected changes, awakening of hidden talents, impulsiveness, nervousness
The color yellow represents an optimistic and enthusiastic energy as it is the color of the sun. Yellow is the color of mental activity and can reflect new opportunites that open up to an inquiring mind. However, one must take caution in not being overly critical and dogmatic.
intellect, analytical, mental altertness, optimism, exhilaration, enthusiasm, expectant, learning opportunity, wisdom, critical, deprivation, dogma, egotism, altruism
spiritual vibration, motivating, inspiring, divinity
creativity, artistic, courage, sociality, worry, vanity, agitation, lacking reason and self-discipline, ambition, pride
healing, nurturing, growth, peace, sensitivity, compassion, reliability, healing ability, perseverance, adaptability, fear, insecurity, jealousy, envy, mistrust
calm, religious, devotion, idealistic, lofty aspirations, depth of feeling, affection, communicative, sentimental, loneliness, sadness, melancholy, forgetfulness
spirituality, mystical, psychic, charming, independence, humility, nobility, sense of superiority, controling
down to earth, solidity, practical, avarice, lack of confidence, jealousy
malice, hatred, unforgivine, negative intentions, needy
Apart from occult beliefs in the aura, there is also some scientific basis. The most important experimental investigations into the subject were conducted by Dr. Walter J. Kilner (1847-1920) of St. Thomas Hospital in London. In the first edition of his book, The Human Atmosphere (1911), he describes a dicyanin screen that rendered the aura visible to normal sight. The screen was a solution of coal-tar dye between two hermetically sealed pieces of glass. Looking through it in daylight and then turning the eye to view a naked man in dim light before a dark background, three distinct radiations, all lying in the ultraviolet end of the spectrum, became visible.
The first, dark and colorless, surrounded the body to the depth of a quarter to half an inch. Kilner called this the etheric double. The second, the inner aura, extended three inches beyond. The third, the outer aura, was about a foot in depth.
Kilner tried various experiments. He found that the depth of the aura is influenced by a magnet and that it is sensitive to electric currents, completely vanishing under a negative charge from a Wimshurst machine, then increasing to an additional 50 percent after the charge dissipates. It is also affected by the vapors of various chemicals and loses brilliance in hypnosis. Illness affects both its size and color. Impairment of the mental powers causes a diminution in size and distinctness. Nervous diseases result in highly observable changes.
From all this Kilner concluded that the higher brain centers are intimately concerned in the output of auric force. This suggested an identity with the "nerve-aura" of Dr. Joseph Rhodes Buchanan, the first explorer of the mysteries of psychometry, which was postulated as early as 1852, and with the "nerve atmosphere" of Dr. Benjamin Richardson.
As death approaches, the aura gradually shrinks. No trace of it is discovered around the corpse. Kilner also claimed the discovery that the aura may be affected by an effort of will, that it may be projected to a longer distance from the body, and change its colors. He said that the auras of different people may show attraction; they may blend and become more intense. From the influence of the state of health on the aura, Kilner drew medical conclusions. Dr. Johnson of Brooklyn followed in his footsteps and based his medical diagnoses on the change in the auric color.
Important as the researches of Kilner were, he was not the first in the field. Baron Karl von Reichenbach asserted at an early age that the aura can be plainly seen issuing from the fingertips. Dr. Hereward Carrington cited a forgotten book, Ten Years with Spiritual Mediums published by Francis Gerry Fairfield in 1874 in America, in which the author anticipated Kilner's conclusions. Claiming that all organic structures have a special form of nerve aura, Fairfield "constantly observed that epileptics, pending the incubation of the fit, appear to be enveloped in a sensitive and highly excited nerve-atmosphere, which … heralds the attack; or … eventuates in clairvoyance and trance. Though subsensible, observation and experiment seem alike to indicate that the nerve-aura is material—an imponderable nervous ether, possibly related to the odyle. It is thus at once a force and a medium, susceptible of control by the will of the operator, and capable of sensory impression: an atmosphere to take shape of his command, and to dissolve the moment volition ceases, or, when the habit of the medium's will has become fixed in that direction, to come and pass in visible apparitions, without conscious objective impulse on his part."
As the excerpt shows, Fairfield attempted to explain in terms of "nerve-aura" the supernormal manifestations of mediums. To be all-inclusive, he endowed it with a self-directive and self-directing power.
This is essentially the same hypothesis at which Enrico Morselli, Theodore Flournoy, Gustav Geley, and Carrington later arrived, relative to the exteriorization of nervous energy in the case of Eusapia Palladino. Dr. Paul Joire 's experiments in the exteriorization of sensibility also lend support to the theory of the aura, and medical observations occasionally bear it out too.
In the Annales des sciences psychiques (July 1905), Dr. Charles Féré of the Asylum Bicêtre quoted two cases of his own experience in which he had seen neuropathic halos. The first was the case of a 28-year-old woman of a neuroarthritic family, subject to various hysterical symptoms: "It was during an unusually painful attack, accompanied by a sensation of frontal bruising, and by cold in the cyanosic extremities, that I was struck, towards four o'clock in the afternoon (23 February 1883) by the sight of a light possessing a radius of about 20 cm., which encircled her head; the light, which was of an orange colour, diminished in intensity near the periphery. The same phenomenon was manifested around her hands. The skin, which was usually white and matt, had an orange tint of a deeper shade than the halos. The colouring of the skin had preceded, by a few seconds, the lights surrounding the head and hands which had appeared about two hours before my observation. The colouring of the skin and the lights ceased about two hours later at the moment of the habitual vomiting."
The second case was similar to the first, except that, save monthly headaches, nothing indicated nervous trouble.Dr. O'Donnell of the Chicago Mercy Hospital controlled and confirmed Dr. Kilner's experiments; they were, according to a note by psychic researcher Harry Price in Psychic Research (June 1930), also revived by Dr. Drysdale Anderson in West Africa. He detected a distinct band "like a wreath of tobacco smoke." This smoky aura appeared to "envelope the body and stream out of the tips of the fingers like white elastic bands."
Modern scientific interest in the aura was stimulated briefly in 1970 by the development of Kirlian photography, which many believed made the aura visible. Kirlian photography involved taking a picture of an object placed directly onto an unexposed photonegative by sending an electric current across the film. The object would appear with a discharge of energy coming from it. The corona discharge shown surrounding objects seemed to fluctuate in interesting ways. However, when carefully controlled experiments were done, carefully regulating the pressure between the film and the object photographed, the interesting effects disappeared.
Kirlian photography refers to a form of contact print photography, theoretically associated with high-voltage. It is named after Semyon Kirlian, who in 1939 accidentally discovered that if an object on a photographic plate is connected to a source of high voltage, small corona discharges (created by the strong electric field at the edges of the object) create an image on photographic plate.
Kirlian photography is completely different from "Aura photography," in which a colorful image is produced of a persons face and upper torso, using various methods of biofeedback. People commonly use the term "Kirlian photography" to erroneously refer to "Aura photography," and vice-versa. The terms have almost become interchangeable, even though the techniques are completely different. This leads to confusion among those who not familiar with the two different techniques. The Kirlian technique is contact photography, in which the subject is in direct contact with the film which is placed upon a metal plate that is charged with high voltage, high frequency electricity. In Aura Photography, no high voltage is involved as with the Kirlian technique, and no direct contact with the film is made. The images made with an Aura camera do not result from coronal discharge, the colors are projected with fiber optics.
Kirlian's work, from 1939 onward, involved an independent rediscovery of a phenomenon and technique variously called "electrography," "electrophotography," and "corona discharge photography." The underlying physics (which makes xerographic copying possible) was explored as early as 1777 by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (see Lichtenberg figures). Later workers in the field included Nikola Tesla; various other individuals explored the effect in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Yet Kirlian took the development of the effect further than any of his predecessors.
In controversial metaphysical contexts, Kirlian photography, Kirlian energy, and so on, are sometimes referred to as just "Kirlian." Kirlian made controversial claims that his method showed proof of supernatural auras, said to resemble a rough outline of the object like a colorful halo. One of the more striking aspects of Kirlian photography is its reputed ability to illuminate the acupuncture points of the human body. An experiment advanced as evidence of energy fields generated by living entities involves taking Kirlian contact photographs of a picked leaf at set periods, its gradual withering being said to correspond with a decline in the strength of the aura. Scientifically, it is considered more likely that as the leaf loses moisture it becomes less electrically conductive, causing a gradual weakening of the electrical field at the drier edges of the leaf.
Kirlian photography research
Kirlian proposed and promoted the idea that the resulting images of living objects were a physical proof of the life force or aura which allegedly surrounds all living beings. This claim was said to be supported by experiments by the Kirlians that involved cutting part of a leaf off —the Kirlian images of such leaves, it was said, still showed the leaves as whole, as though the cutting had never happened.
Researchers at Drexel University, however, were unable to reproduce the effect when the glass used to capture the original leaf was replaced with new glass before the freshly cut leaf was photographed, leading them to conclude that the "cut leaf" phenomenon was caused by microscopic etching in the surface of the glass which occurred during preparing the images of the uncut leaf. They also reported on a number of demonstrable causes such as surface moisture and pressure which can account for much of the variations in color, shape, and size of the resulting image.
In addition to living material, inanimate objects such as coins will also produce images on the film in a Kirlian photograph setup.
In the United States, Dr. Thelma Moss of UCLA devoted much time and energy to the study of Kirlian photography when she led the parapsychology laboratory there in the 1970s.
Current research continues by Dr. Konstantin Korotkov in the Russian University, St.Petersburg State Technical University of Informational Technologies, Mechanics and Optics. Konstantin Korotkov has published several books including "Human Energy Field: study with GDV bioelectrography" 2002, NY, Backbone Publishing Co. and "Light After Life: Experiments and Ideas on After-Death Changes of Kirlian Pictures" 1998, NY, Backbone Publishing Co.
Dr. Konstantin Korotkov uses GDV (Gas Discharge Visualization) based on the Kirlian Effect. GDV instruments use glass electrodes to create a pulsed electrical field excitation (called "perturbation technique") to measure electro-photonic glow.
The Korotkov methods are used in some hospitals and athletic training programs in Russia and elsewhere as preventative measurements for detecting stress. The Russian Academy of Science has approved the GDV techniques and equipment in 1999 for general clinical use.
There has been some published research in peer-reviewed scientific journals regarding GDV and related material, including several articles in the Journal of Applied Physics.Other people who study this phenomenon are Professor Milhomens in Brazil and Dr. Mandel from Germany.
The accepted physical explanation is that the images produced are those typically caused by a high voltage corona effect, similar to those seen from other high voltage sources such as the Van de Graaff generator or Tesla coil. In a darkened room, this is visible as a faint glow but, because of the high voltages, the film is affected in a slightly different way from the usual. Color photographic film is calibrated to faithfully produce colors when exposed to normal light. The corona discharge has a somewhat different effect on the different layers of dye used to accomplish this result, resulting in various colors depending on the local intensity of the discharge.
Skeptics of the paranormal have long disputed the claims made concerning auras and Kirlian photography.
One of the most disputed studies was actually funded by the US army. During this study, scientist Joe Slate took Kirlian Photographs of the fingertips of both people claiming to be psychic vampires and those identified as their victims. Once the photographs developed they showed the "vampire's" auras to be large and fiery red, while those of their "victims" were smaller and mellow blue. Needless to say, this study is consistently contested.
Kirlian photography In popular culture
Uses of Kirlian photography
A picture showing a hand with an ancient Indian medal is the cover of George Harrison's album living in the material world.
A picture resembling a hand print in the title sequence of the U.S. science fiction TV series The X-Files. The concert programme from David Bowie's 1976 Station to Station tour featured some results of the technique, and in 1975 Bowie claimed to have achieved markedly different results, using his fingertip and his crucifix, before and after he took cocaine.
Science fiction author Piers Anthony wrote a series of five books (Cluster, Chaining the Lady, Kirlian Quest, Thousandstar and Viscous Circle) based around the premise of Kirlian transfer, the idea that a person's identity resides in his or her Kirlian aura and can be transferred to a host, in effect transferring the individual into another body. The host must be a sapient being (i.e. non-beast) but may be of the same or different species and may be many light-years away, thus allowing the main character to traverse galaxies at will and "be" a variety of aliens during the course of a single book. The first track of the album "MIX-UP" (1979) by the British band Cabaret Voltaire is named "Kirlian Photograph". In the movie Omen IV, Delia's babysitter, Jo, takes Delia to a psychic carnival where she and Delia had their picture taken with a Kirlian camera. The picture came out with Delia's dark and evil aura overtaking Jo's lighter, greenish aura. Benn Jordan's eighth album is titled Kirlian Selections, in reference to his electric-influenced music style.
In the comic book The Authority, team member Apollo is said to have a "Kirlian aura." Kirlia, a species of psychic-type Pokémon, is named after Semyon Kirlian. In the World of Darkness book Project Twilight, Kirlian photography is one of the methods available to government vampire hunters to detect ghosts, spirits and auras. The electronic darkwave band Kirlian Camera take their name from this phenomenon.