From AnthroWiki

The aura (Greekαύρα áura "breath, breeze, morning breeze"[1]; Hebrewאוֹרָה aura; related to אוֹר or resp. aur "light") of the human being gives a picture of his supersensible members as seen by the clairvoyant. The supersensible members are the etheric body, the astral body and the I. Accordingly, one can distinguish an ether aura, an astral aura and an I-aura, whereby the astral aura is usually the most prominent. In the visual arts, the full-body aura is depicted as a mandorla or aureola, the head aura as a halo. Originally, in ancient cultures, the forms and colours of the robes were also designed as a sensually visible expression of the human aura.

Auric egg, drawing from GA 93a, p. 75

The perception of the aura

The astral aura of the spiritually developed man, according to C. W. Leadbeater: Man Visible and Invisible, 1902
The occult meaning of the colors of the aura after: Annie Besant, C. W. Leadbeater: Thought-Forms, 1901[2]

The theosophical writers Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater, despite all the reservations one might have against them from an anthroposophical point of view, have given essentially accurate, comprehensive and richly illustrated accounts of the human aura, which largely correspond to Rudolf Steiner's descriptions. However, one must always bear in mind that these are sensualised and thus more or less symbolic representations of supersensible experiences. The "colours" and "forms" within the aura are not experienced in the same way as their counterparts in the sensual world; they can only be described comparatively in this way. For those who know them, they are only a sign that points to the actual experience, just as, for example, the written letter A points to the audible sound A, but is otherwise quite dissimilar to it. And just as the letter A must be written in order to be there at all, so the aura must also be actively produced in the consciousness of the seer through an inner "painting seeing" as imagination, although its reality is quite independent and autonomous from this - similar to how one records what is heard visibly by means of written signs true to the word.

„It must be expressly emphasised that what is here called "colours" is not seen in the same way as physical eyes see colours, but that through spiritual perception one feels something similar to what one feels when one has a physical impression of colours. To perceive "blue" spiritually is to feel or sense something similar to what one feels when the gaze of the physical eye rests on the colour "blue". This must be taken into account by anyone who really wants to gradually ascend to spiritual perceptions. Otherwise he would expect to find only a repetition of the physical in the spiritual. This would have to distract him most bitterly.“ (Lit.:GA 10, p. 64f)

„In my "Theosophy" you will find that the spiritual is seen in the form of a kind of aura. It is described in colors. Rude people, who do not go further into the things, but write books themselves, believe that the seer describes the aura, describes it by having the opinion that there is really such a mist in front of him. What the seer has before him is a spiritual experience. When he says that the aura is blue, he says that he has a mental-spiritual experience, which is as if he were seeing blue. He describes in general everything that he experiences in the spiritual world and which is analogous to what can be experienced in the sensual world in terms of colors.“ (Lit.:GA 271, p. 185)

„One will now find that those people who can make supersensible observations describe what they see in such a way that they make use of expressions which are borrowed from sensual feelings. Thus one can find the elementary body of a being of the sensory world, or a purely elementary being, described in such a way that it is said that it reveals itself as a self-contained, variously colored light body, flashing in colors, glowing or shining, and lets one notice that this color or light appearance is its life expression. What the observer is actually talking about is absolutely invisible, and he is aware of the fact that the image of light or color has nothing else to do with what he perceives than, for example, the writing in which a fact is communicated has to do with this fact itself. Nevertheless, one has not merely expressed a supersensible in an arbitrary way through sensory perceptions; rather, during the observation one has really made the experience, which is similar to a sensory impression. This comes from the fact that in the supersensible experience the liberation from the sensual body is not perfect. The latter still lives with the elementary body and brings the supersensible experience into a sensual form. The description that is given of an elementary being is then actually held in such a way that it appears like a visionary or fantastic compilation of sensory impressions. If the description is given in such a way, then it is nevertheless the true reproduction of the experienced. Because one has looked what one describes. The mistake that can be made does not lie in the fact that one describes the picture as such. There is an error only when one takes the picture for reality, and not that to which the picture, as to the reality corresponding to it, points.“ (Lit.:GA 16, p. 32f)

The aura of man during a sudden surge of affect, after C. W. Leadbeater: Man Visible and Invisible, 1902
Changes in the aura when anger suddenly erupts, after A. Besant/C. W. Leadbeater, Thought Forms

„How much of what is real is revealed to a being depends on its receptivity. Thus, man must never say that only what he can perceive is real. Many things can be real, for the perception of which he lacks the organs. - Now the soul world and the spirit world are just as real, even in a much higher sense real than the sensual world. It is true that no sensual eye can see feelings, ideas; but they are real. And as man, through his external senses, has the physical world before him as a perception, so for his spiritual organs feelings, urges, instincts, thoughts and so on become perceptions. Just as through the sensual eye, for example, spatial processes can be seen as color phenomena, so through the inner senses the aforementioned mental and spiritual phenomena can become perceptions analogous to the sensual color phenomena. However, only he who has walked on the path of knowledge to be described in the next chapter and has thus developed his inner senses can fully understand in which sense this is meant. For such a one the soul appearances become supersensibly visible in the soul world surrounding him and in the spiritual area the spiritual appearances. Feelings, which he experiences in other beings, radiate like light appearances for him from the feeling being; thoughts, to which he turns his attention, flood the spiritual space.

For him, a thought of a human being that relates to another human being is not something imperceptible, but a perceptible process. The content of a thought lives as such only in the soul of the thinker; but this content excites effects in the spirit world. These are the perceptible process for the spiritual eye. As an actual reality, the thought streams out from one human being and flows to the other. And the way in which this thought affects the other is experienced as a perceptible process in the spiritual world. Thus, for the one whose spiritual senses are developed, the physically perceptible human being is only a part of the whole human being. This physical man becomes the center of soul and spiritual outpourings. Only a hint can be given of the richly manifold world which opens up before the "seer" here. A human thought, which otherwise lives only in the thinking understanding of the listener, appears for example as a spiritually perceptible color appearance. Its color corresponds to the character of the thought. A thought arising from a sensual impulse of man has a different coloring than a thought conceived in the service of pure knowledge, noble beauty or the eternal good. In shades of red, thoughts which spring from the sensual life pervade the world of the soul. In beautiful bright yellow appears a thought through which the thinker ascends to a higher knowledge. In glorious rose-red shines a thought which comes from devoted love. And like this content of a thought, also its greater or lesser definiteness is expressed in its supersensible manifestation. The precise thought of the thinker shows itself as a structure of definite outlines; the confused idea appears as a blurred, cloudy structure.

And the soul and spirit being of man appears in this way as a supersensible part in the whole human beingness.

The color effects perceptible to the "spiritual eye", which radiate around the physical man perceived in his activity and envelop him like a cloud (approximately in egg shape), are a human aura. In different people the size of this aura is different. But one can imagine - on the average - that the whole human being appears twice as long and four times as wide as the physical one.

In the aura now the most different color tones flood. And this flooding is a true picture of the inner human life. Individual color tones are as changing as this. But certain permanent qualities: talents, habits, character traits are also expressed in permanent basic color tones.“ (Lit.:GA 9, p. 158)

The astral aura of the averagely developed man, according to C. W. Leadbeater, Man Visible and Invisible, 1902.

„Personality is that which allows the three bodies - physical body, etheric body and astral body - to be irradiated by the I. This can also be unclear, shadowy - and if this is the case, the person concerned is a weak personality.

For the clairvoyant this is quite recognizable. He sees the person surrounded by a colored aura, in which his moods, passions, feelings, sensations are precisely expressed in color currents and color clouds. If we put ourselves in the time in which the three members of the being were only ready to receive the human I, we would also find an aura in this being which had not yet become completely human. But in it the yellow currents would be missing, in which the higher nature of man is expressed. Strong personalities have a strong yellow radiant aura. Now one can be a strong personality, but without activity, one can react inwardly strongly without being a doer. Then the aura shows a lot of yellow. But if one is a doer and the personality has an effect in the outer world, the yellow gradually changes into a radiant red. A radiant red aura is that of a doer; but it must radiate.

But there is a cliff when the personality urges to action. This is ambition, vanity. Strong natures can be particularly easily afflicted by it. The clairvoyant sees this in the aura. Without the ambition, the yellow changes abruptly into red. However, if a person is ambitious, he has a lot of orange in the aura. One must overcome this threshold to get to the objective act.

Weak personalities are those who are more focused on being given than on giving and doing. There you will see mainly blue colors, and when people are particularly comfortable, the indigo color. This refers more to the inner comfort than to the outer.

You see how the strong or weak personality is reflected in the aura of the person.“ (Lit.:GA 96, p. 322)

Astral form, drawing from GA 96, p. 130
Astral forms, drawing from GA 96, p. 130

„You know that the astral body, in which the inner drives, desires and passions of man live, becomes visible to the clairvoyant as a light body. In this light body the most manifold figures and colors appear [figure on the left]. Every passion, every urge has a certain color. All this, even the basic mood is formed in this light body. If you look at the body of light of a person who is very nervous, you will see that it is completely impregnated with glittering and shining points. All this shines and disappears and plays in the most different colors.

If there is a terrible affect, you will find such rays [illustration on the right]:

A person who has a restrained resentment has figures like snakes in him.

But it is difficult to draw this, because it is continuously in motion, like lightning. So inwardly there is anger or resentment or nervousness when the soul is wriggling inwardly. What the person experiences inwardly is his state of soul. Externally, this state of soul becomes visible to the clairvoyant as a light appearance.“ (Lit.:GA 96, p. 130)

„If we look today at a person in whom there is a sharply developed faculty of judgment and combination, if we look at him clairvoyantly today, we find a strong expression and reflection of it in a green glittering and shining of the astral body, the astral aura. The power of combination shows itself in green color inclusions of the aura, especially in those who have a sharp, mathematical mind. The ancient Egyptian initiates saw the god who implanted the faculty of intelligence in man, and they pictured him and painted him green because they saw his luminous astral and etheric form shimmering green. This is still today the glittering auric color when man moves in the intelligence. And much could be studied about these connections, if people really wanted to study this wonderful realism of the Egyptian god figures. By the fact that these representations of the gods' figures are so realistic and no arbitrary ones, they worked like magic means; and the one who could see deeper would see how in the colors of these ancient figures secrets are present in a high degree. One could see deeply into the gears of the development of mankind.“ (Lit.:GA 106, p. 147f)

The aura as the "eggshell" of man

„The ordinary human being is like the chicken that would think its eggshell is the real world. If the chicken could perceive inside its eggshell, it would see it not small, but very enlarged, even as big as we see our world. Like the whole world, it would look at the contents inside the shell. Thus we see our eggshell, that is, our aura, spread out around us as the blue vault of heaven. If we break through our shell, then the sun and moon are eclipsed, the stars fall to earth - in their place the spiritual world spreads out.

People live in their eggshell - their aura. The Elohim gave us our aura, and through the Fall it has become like a shell around us, and we are inside it like the chicken in the egg. The sky and the stars are our limitation, and we have to break through them by our soul power, like the chick has to break through the shell by its own power. Then we enter a new world, just as again the chick has a new world before it when it crawls out of the egg. And since all people actually have the same eggshell around them, also an astronomy could develop, as we have it, which lets the heavenly bodies move on the firmament.

The eggshell is this: Ex Deo nascimur. So that we can break through it and also take something with us into the spiritual world, we must bring with us that which penetrates into our shell from the outer world - that is, from the spiritual world - which is the common thing; that is the Christ. That is why we say: In Christo morimur and hope that when we have broken through the shells with Christ's help, we will be resurrected again: Per Spiritum Sanctum reviviscimus.“ (Lit.:GA 266c, p. 187)

Aura and sense world

The sense qualities perceived by the senses are expressions of the higher worlds. The perception of the aura arises from exactly the same causes, only the impressions are not perceived sensually, but directly psychically.

Just the most imperfect senses, namely the sense of taste and smell, reach highest up into the spiritual world, but express it only very imperfectly. In the colors perceived by the sense of sight, the higher astral world is revealed, while the lower astral world, which already overlaps with the etheric world (→ Kamaloka), makes itself known through the experiences of the sense of warmth. The most perfect sense, the sense of hearing, on the other hand, has already arrived completely in the physical world. This is even more true for the sense of words.

The perfection of the sense organs is connected with their age of development. With the sense of hearing man already entered the old Saturnian development, during which then also the sense of warmth was formed. On the Old Sun man acquired the sense of sight, on the Old Moon the sense of taste and the sense of smell developed only during the actual development of the Earth (Lit.:GA 96, p. 125ff).

„The physical eye sees around itself lights, colors. As the clairvoyant perceives the aura on the astral body red, blue, yellow and green, so the physical eye sees around itself red, blue, yellow and green. In both cases the cause is exactly the same. As behind the red in the astral body lives a desire, so behind the red of the flower is a desire as the "thing in itself". A desire living in the flower is the red in the flower. What the sense of sight does when it passes this point is no different than when you turn a skirt around, turn it to the other side. While in the aura man's astral nature is expressed, behind the whole world of color and light, behind the world of the sense of sight, lives the outer astral nature. There would never be colors in the world if things were not completely permeated by astral beings. What appears in the world as colors comes from the astral beings, which manifest themselves outwardly through the color. By turning the inside out, the entity goes down from the higher to the lower plan. You can achieve the following through meditation: If you have a green surface, say a leaf, in front of you and now go out of yourself to look at the thing from the other side, you would see the astral entity which is behind the green color and which indicates itself through the green color. This is how you have to imagine: By looking out into the world and seeing this world covered with colors, you have to suppose the astral beings behind these colors. As you let appear from your inside the colors of your aura for the clairvoyant, so the color cover of the world is the expression for the cosmic aura. Everything colored in the world is a turned over aura. If you could turn your aura around like a skirt, you would see your aura physically visible on the opposite side as well. This is true of the sense of sight, and thus you see that the sense of sight is intimately related to the astral world.

If you take the sense of feeling, the sense of warmth, this again stands in a universal relationship to the lower parts of the astral world. While the sense of sight is more in relation to the higher parts of the astral world, the sense of feeling or warmth is again in the same relation to the lower parts of the astral world, more with the area in which the astral world already passes over into the etheric world. The sense of hearing is directly related to the physical world, and what you perceive as the sense of hearing are vibrations of the physical air.

Now this is something which I ask you to understand only in the most subtle way and correctly. If you want to see something, there must be an astral being behind the color you see. Also behind the warmth, which you feel, there must be an astral being. If you want to hear something, you have - because the sense of hearing is the most perfect sense - completely entered the physical world, and you can hear a physical being. Only in the word has the spiritual world properly descended to the physical world. Therefore, if we start from above, we can say: the phenomena of the sense of hearing are entirely on the physical plan, those of heat already rise higher, those of the sense of sight are on the astral plan, and the phenomena that we perceive through the most imperfect senses belong to the higher parts of the spiritual world. And that which reaches down to the physical world is only the most imperfect. Thus, that which the sense of smell can grasp, that which it brings down into the physical world, is the most imperfect. If it becomes independent, then it separates itself from the course of the world, from evolution. What manifests itself in the sense of smell, should appear today only in the intimate connection with the highest worlds. - So let us take those beings which once - just when the sense of smell had begun to develop on earth - have separated from evolution and made themselves independent. These are beings, which make themselves noticeable preferably by the sense of smell. Therefore, it is a beautiful feature of the legend that the fallen angels are perceptible to the sense of smell in an unpleasant way. Because they are split off in evolution, they are perceptible to the sense of smell.

So, if you ask yourself what actually lies beyond the skin, which encloses the human sense organs, you must say to yourself: there actually lie the various higher planes and their beings.“ (Lit.:GA 96, p. 130ff)

The transition from sensual to supersensual looking

„In such endeavors we can go even further by facing people, trying to see also the exterior of the person as illusion and maya. For example, try to perceive his face color, hair color, eye color and cheek color in the complementary colors, as well as everything that is elevation on him - nose, etc. - as deepening and vice versa. In doing so, one comes to the negative form, that which is hollowed out from the physical body and which constitutes the spiritual. (Compare "Theosophy": The Spirit Land.) This is also the beginning to live into the aura of the human being. All these experiences can only be felt and sensed. If we go at it with the intellect, one can perform this kind of exercises only up to the turning of the facts, or one experiences only a continuous reflected back of one's own thoughts, without penetrating into the spiritual reality. For example, if a person has very red cheeks, they will have to be perceived as light green in the complementary color, a sign that he is still strongly in the vegetal life. If the face is slightly flushed, a bluish glow spreads over a slightly darker green tint for clairvoyant perception. Thus the clairvoyant can discern the degree of spirituality of the one who stands before him.“ (Lit.:GA 266b, p. 234)

The colors of the aura

„Now, when one enters the spiritual world, one has experiences which are truly not ecstasy, as little ecstasy as life in the geometrical conceptions. If the experience would not be there in full waking consciousness, so that the state of the soul is exactly the same as in mathematical imagining, then one would not be on the right path. So one experiences something that is completely according to the pattern of the mathematical experience in the soul, but one experiences a real spiritual world. And by experiencing this real spiritual world, one does not experience colors at first, but those experiences which we experience inwardly in the sensual colors. Now, of course, one must be so far developed with the soul that one pays attention to these experiences at all.

You see, a certain presence of mind belongs to the spiritual experience. So one must have this inner experience, which is otherwise experienced in the color. This experience is best characterized by the fact that one remembers the color, that one really has the color before oneself. Just as, let us say, one has the triangle experience by drawing the triangle inwardly, so one has that which one experiences inwardly best before oneself, not by drawing a geometrical figure, but by painting a colored picture. This colored picture is then as adequate to the mental experience as a painted triangle with its 180 degrees and angles is identical with the triangle experience. While one must know that it is a kind of sensualization, the experience in colors, if one expresses it in Goethean terms, is incidentally also a supersensual-sensual representation of that which is experienced in reality.

This, of course, points to such subtle experiences that one must not draw them into the rough, but really go into them. But then one will find that in fact a real has appeared there, by describing in colors. I have tried to bring this out very precisely in the last editions of my fundamental books. One cannot help describing what one experiences in such a way, otherwise one would become much more materialistic and would symbolically describe too strongly colors of the aura of man and colors of the supersensible world. In this way, however, one proceeds in the description in the same way as in mathematics, in that the color experience and that which is inner experience really coincide. One is always conscious of this, and there is nothing somehow of ecstasy present.“ (Lit.:GA 291a, p. 194ff)

„A thought arising from a sensual impulse of man has a different coloration than a thought conceived in the service of pure knowledge, noble beauty or the eternal good. In shades of red, thoughts which spring from sensual life pervade the world of the soul. In beautiful bright yellow appears a thought through which the thinker ascends to a higher knowledge. In glorious rose-red shines a thought which comes from devoted love. And like this content of a thought, also its greater or lesser definiteness is expressed in its supersensible manifestation. The precise thought of the thinker shows itself as a structure of definite outlines; the confused idea appears as a blurred, cloudy structure.“ (Lit.:GA 9, p. 160f)

„As the physical world appears to the physical eye as color, so the spiritual world appears to the spiritual eye in a wonderful blaze of color, only on a higher plane. This shows a tremendous mobility of color. We see man surrounded by an oval body of light in which he swims, and which does not appear to be at rest, but as flowing, streaming, which radiates out and loses itself at a certain distance from man. In the Devachan space, which appears continuously in motion, man has in himself a basic color. Permanent mood of man, also permanent character traits betray themselves in the aura by a permanent color tint, formed by clouds, which flow through it in waves. We see how wave-like currents pass through the aura from the bottom to the top, flashing through it like lightnings, how blue-red, brown-red and beautiful bluish colors pass through the aura. We see the most varied and diverse colors, which change according to the different occasions. Go to church and observe the auras of the devotees. You will find there quite different shades of color than in a meeting in which political passions or human egoism assert themselves. You will see the moods of the soul, which the daily needs bring, emanating in formations of brick-red and crimson color, sometimes you will have a darker shade of color. And if you go to a church and observe the devotees, you will see the blue, indigo, violet and rose color playing. And examine the aura of a person who lives in the thought world, contemplating scientific problems, then you will see shining within his aura the thought formations that reflect the thought in the aura that is not flashed by any passion.

When we learn what is reflected in the aura, we read, on the one hand, what moods and temperament live in man and what takes place in his consciousness; on the other hand, we see all ideas, from the most mundane to the highest, most spiritual, to the feelings of worship of God and the most sublime pity reflected in the aura. At first we cannot probe anything, but we gradually learn this and notice that in the aura there are two strictly different entities. At first there are cloud-like formations with indeterminate outlines, which flow in more from the skin periphery. We learn these cloud-like formations but from the appearances which emanate more from the heart, chest, head and which have a radiating character. These radiations always emanate from an inner center. So we learn to distinguish the cloud-like formations from those that have a radiating character. The cloud-like, which plays over from brown into dark orange, comes from the physicality, from the lower nature of man, from the passions and drives. Thus we distinguish in the aura the spiritual part from the lower, the astral part. We learn to understand the most common colors. The aura of today's Europeans has mostly green colors, which often pass into yellow. This green represents the actual mind part, the consciousness part; thus, it expresses the basic mood of the soul life of today's Europeans. In a person who is in a trance, make the strange perception that all green tones disappear from the aura. So, if you know how to perceive the aura, you will not find it difficult to distinguish a simulant from one who is really in a trance. Likewise, a doctor experimenting with hypnosis in a clinic - we consider it something non-physical, but it does happen sometimes - would be able to distinguish quite precisely whether the subject is deceiving him or whether he is really in a state of trance or hypnosis, if he can observe the disappearance of the green color in the aura. The green tones in the aura also disappear in a person who is in a state of unconsciousness, and likewise they always disappear in the aura of a sleeping person.

The ability to see the astral aura is what develops first in the seer. Relatively very soon the seer perceives this manifestation of man, and he learns to distinguish the astral aura from the mental aura. The radiant aura is from the devachan world; it is spirit and belongs to that which goes with man beyond death. It is that which comes from the true spiritual home. That which comes out of the brownish into the greenish, into greenish tones, belongs to the transient; man strips it off with the physical shell or in the Kamaloka, in order to then enter the real spiritual world. This is a higher kind of perception, a higher kind of spiritual sense, when the Devachan sense opens up to us. The devachanic world is quite different from the physical world. The physical world is immobile and dead, while the devachanic world is of a many-memberedness and an ease of movement without equal. It is a world always and ever moving in itself, which is in a perpetual activity.“ (Lit.:GA 88, p. 111ff)

„One can come to the idea, as if that what is described here as "colors" stood before the soul like a physical color stands before the eye. But such a "soul color" would be nothing but a hallucination. Spiritual science has not the least to do with impressions which are "hallucinatory". And they are at any rate not meant in the description here. One comes to a correct idea, if one keeps the following present. The soul does not only experience the sensual impression of a physical color, but it has a spiritual experience of it. This spiritual experience is different when the soul - through the eye - perceives a yellow, another when it perceives a blue surface. This experience is called the "life in yellow" or the "life in blue". The soul now, which has entered the path of knowledge, has an equal "experience in yellow" towards the active soul experiences of other beings: an "experience in blue" towards the devotional soul moods. The essential thing is not that the "seer" sees "blue" in a conception of another soul as he sees this "blue" in the physical world, but that he has an experience which entitles him to call the conception "blue," as the physical man calls a curtain "blue," for example. And further it is essential that the "seer" is conscious of standing with this his experience in a bodiless experience, so that he receives the possibility to speak of the value and meaning of the soul life in a world whose perception is not mediated by the human body. Although this sense of representation must be taken into account, it is quite natural for the "seer" to speak of "blue", "yellow", "green" and so on in the "aura".

The aura is very different according to the different temperaments and the dispositions of the people; different also according to the degrees of spiritual development. A person who devotes himself entirely to his animal instincts has a completely different aura than one who lives much in thought. The aura of a religiously attuned nature is essentially different from that of one who is absorbed in the trivial experiences of the day. In addition, all changing moods, all inclinations, joys and pains find their expression in the aura.

One must compare the auras of the different soul experiences with each other to learn to understand the meaning of the color tones. First of all, take soul experiences which are interspersed with strongly pronounced affects. They can be divided into two different kinds but, into those in which the soul is driven to these affects primarily by the animal nature, and those which take a more refined form, which are strongly influenced, so to speak, by thought. In the former type of experiences, brown and reddish-yellow color currents of all nuances flood the aura in particular places. In those with more refined affects, tones of brighter red-yellow and green appear in the same places. One may notice that with increasing intelligence the green tones become more frequent. Very clever people, however, who are completely absorbed in the satisfaction of their animal instincts, show much green in their aura. But this green will always have a stronger or weaker tinge of brown or brown-red. Unintelligent people will show a large part of the aura suffused with fire-red or even dark-blood-red currents.

The aura is substantially different from such states of affect in the calm, deliberative, reflective mood of the soul. The brownish and reddish tones recede and various shades of green emerge. In the case of strained thinking the aura shows a pleasant green basic tone. This is the appearance of those people who can be said to know how to find their way in any situation of life.

The blue hues appear in the devotional moods of the soul. The more a person puts his self at the service of a cause, the more significant the blue shades become. Two quite different kinds of people are also encountered in this respect. There are natures which are not accustomed to unfold their thinking power, passive souls who, so to speak, have nothing to throw into the stream of world events but their "good mind." Their aura glows in beautiful blue. So does that of many devoted, religious natures. Compassionate souls and those who like to live out an existence full of good deeds have a similar aura. Moreover, if such people are intelligent, green and blue currents alternate, or the blue itself probably takes on a greenish hue. It is the peculiarity of the active souls in contrast to the passive ones that their blue is imbued with bright hues from within. Inventive natures, those who have fruitful thoughts, radiate, as it were, from an inner point, light tones of color. To the highest degree this is the case with those personalities who are called "wise", and especially with those who are filled with fruitful ideas. In general, everything that points to spiritual activity has more the shape of rays spreading from within; while everything that comes from animal life has the shape of irregular clouds flooding the aura. Depending on the fact that the ideas, which spring from the activity of the soul, place themselves in the service of their own animal instincts or in such of ideal, objective interests, the corresponding aura images show different colorings. The inventive head, which uses all its thoughts for the satisfaction of its sensual passions, shows dark blue-red nuances; the one, on the other hand, which places its thoughts selflessly in an objective interest, shows light red-blue hues. A life in the spirit, coupled with noble devotion and self-sacrifice, reveals pinkish or light purple colors.

Not only the basic condition of the soul, but also temporary affects, moods and other inner experiences show their color floods in the aura. A suddenly erupting violent anger produces red floods; offended sense of honor, which lives itself out in a sudden upsurge, can be seen appearing in dark green clouds. - But the color phenomena do not only appear in irregular cloud formations, but also in certain limited, regularly formed figures. For example, if one notices in a person a manifestation of fear, one can see it in the aura from top to bottom like wavy stripes of blue color, which have a blue-reddish glow. In the case of a person, in whom one notices how he waits with tension for a certain event, one can see continuously red-blue stripes radially running through the aura from the inside towards the outside. For an accurate spiritual perception, every sensation that the person receives from the outside is to be noticed. Persons who are strongly excited by any external impression show a continuous flaring up of small blue-reddish dots and spots in the aura. In people who do not feel lively, these spots have an orange-yellow or even a beautiful yellow coloration. So-called "absent-mindedness" of persons shows itself as bluish spots playing into greenish before more or less changing form.“ (Lit.:GA 9, p. 161ff)

The sensual-moral effect of color

„Decisive for the understanding of the colors perceivable in the aura is also what Goethe wrote about the "sensual-moral effect of color " in his paper "Zur Farbenlehre" (On the Theory of Colours) published in 1810. Goethe shows there how every perception of color is accompanied by a quite characteristic, by no means accidental undertone of feeling, which is at first experienced only very subliminally, but can be brought more clearly into consciousness by increased attention. For this purpose, however, it must be separated from the purely personally conditioned and often much more prominent sympathy and antipathy that one feels for a certain color. This is best achieved when one exposes oneself to the pure color effect out of completely conscious willful decision and fades out all other, disturbing external and internal influences. Although this fine undertone of the externally perceived color can only be experienced subjectively inwardly by the observer, it nevertheless does not depend on his personal idiosyncrasy and in this respect has at the same time an objective character. Certain color combinations excite quite certain mental effects. Conversely, certain mental moods correspond with corresponding color qualities, with which one can describe the aura.“ (Lit.:GA 73a, p. 254ff)

Development of the aura

„The physical body is surrounded in a kind of egg shape by the so-called aura. This is always larger than the physical body itself. It is smallest in the undeveloped man, and it is larger the more developed the man is, so that the aura of a highly developed man can exceed his length sixfold. You must imagine that you would get the whole man only if you would apply his height three times upward and three times downward. In this aura we have to distinguish three things: First, the so-called astral body. This is the body which objectively contains for the seer's eye what the human being otherwise feels only in himself: his drives, desires and passions. The seer can exactly distinguish in this astral aura whether man has pure or ugly passions like greed, pity, benevolence and the like. Then, somewhat larger, the mental aura. It contains that which we subjectively feel as our intellect, as our mind power, the lower spirit power. These two auras dissolve after death, just as the physical body dissolves. The astral aura dissolves in the kamaloka, and the mental aura in the lower devachan. They are still to be counted among the transient parts of man. The permanent being of man is objectively visible in the third aura. This is the aura of the causal body, that is, the body that passes through all incarnations. The causal body is only hinted at in undeveloped people who understand little of the abiding. If you look at the auras of an undeveloped person, you will find little of the causal body. Those people who pursue deeper truths develop this causal aura. The more a person develops, the more this causal aura develops. A kind of ray system is then incorporated, so that the more highly developed man emits rays which can be noticed in his causal aura. If we have the aura of an adept, it is much larger than a house, so that the whole man appears infinitely larger than the physical man to the physical eye. The causal aura, which we can see in the highly developed, is also indicated in the undeveloped, and not as a small body, but also large, but it does not yet shine. It is a faint glowing light in the undeveloped and becomes more and more luminous the more man develops. Rays come in through the fact that man gets more and more content. The more man develops in himself what is permanent, what will reappear, the more he has luminosity in himself. It is the objectively visible of what man carries over from one incarnation to the other.

First I will consider man with his astral aura; we can observe him in three successive states. The first state would be that in which the actual imagination is still very little developed. This is the case with the third root race and in the beginning of the fourth, that is, from the middle of the Lemurian to the first half of the Atlantean period. The Lemurians and the first Atlantians did not think from ideas, but purely from memory. Only in the fourth root race the imaginative power was gradually developed; there also the aura changed. In the third root race and in the first half of the fourth, the astral aura developed in such a way that it surrounded the body of man. It was a little bigger than his skin, and it was much foggier than afterwards, it was as if pervaded by dark masses of mist, and due to the passions of man it was much more violent and stormy. Only the first beginnings of the mental aura were present then. The development continued until our present root race, so that today a certain climax has been reached. This is the second stage in which the mental aura is developed to a certain degree.

The third stage is that of an advanced man who develops the so-called astral vision. He is able to see this aura as well. He can see not only what is present in the physical world, but also what is present in the astral world. In such people the astral aura looks somewhat different. In Atlantean and post-Atlantean people, wheel-shaped figures appear within the astral aura. Such figures are in the aura of every present-day man; with the Lemurians they were still hardly noticeable. When these "wheels" are in motion in today's man, vision occurs. When they are at rest, the astral vision is suspended. These are the three states.

The physical body is permeated by the nervous system. Each nerve center is connected with an astral center, so that, for example, the optic nerve is surrounded, enveloped by an astral optic nerve, by an astral substance that belongs to the optic nerve. Now, how does vision come about? Light comes into the eye, goes through the nerve into the brain. But there one sees still nothing; it is still a movement process only of physical kind. Now the astral optic nerve comes into vibrations. These cause the image to appear that one sees. Without the astral body being set into activity, it is impossible to see. It is the same with thinking. The astral body is what is actually active. Now, if you imagine how it is with the seer, it is not impressions that come through the ear, through the eye, but it is impressions that come through his astral organization itself, without mediation of the physical brain and the nerve center. This occurs when the chakrams, the lotuses, come into motion. This means that the astral body is an organism that has sense organs.

When man is in the ordinary state of sleep, usually the astral body is outside the physical body. The more highly developed a person is, the further away the astral body can be. The complete psychic development consists in leaving the body behind and walking freely in the astral. There are other stages as well. The astral body, while one is asleep, can make the strangest wanderings, only you do not remember these nocturnal wanderings. You can have an awareness of it during the night, but not bring it with you into the day. The highest stage is when you are aware of the astral consciousness both in sleep and in the physical body. You can seek out familiar people during the night; however, you will not be able to have experiences of a similar nature as in the physical. For example, you will not learn what a person in Asia is doing now - you cannot learn that. But if you want to learn something from him, you can, if you take over this completely into your daily consciousness. The chela could not learn whether a master in Asia writes or does not write or whether and what he eats and drinks. But he can be taught in the astral space and consciously take that over into the day consciousness.“ (Lit.:GA 88, p. 234ff)

The head aura

6th-century depiction of Christ with a cross nimbus, detail from a mosaic in Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna.

The halo (Latinnimbus) is the head aura perceivable clairvoyantly in spiritually highly developed people. Thought emanations appear as a crown of rays, as found in many representations of Christ, but also, for example, of Helios or Apollo.

In every human being a stream of etherized blood rises from the heart to the head and surrounds and illuminates the pineal gland. These etheric forces, rising from the heart through the etherisation of the blood, penetrate the brain and radiate even beyond the head; if sufficiently strong, this appears to the imaginative eye as a halo.

Only through these etheric forces we are at all able to grasp thoughts which are not completely bound to the egoistic needs of the organism. Aristotle still suspected this. Since the blood of the Christ was shed on Golgotha, the Christ force can unite with this etheric current. At the same time also astral forces rise, which however cannot penetrate the skullcap, but accumulate and condense here. But they attract outer astral forces, which lay themselves over the skull like an astral cap. The inwardly rising astral forces, in which there are desires, but also tremendous wisdom, meet here with the outer astral world wisdom.

The three types of astral color appearances

In the human aura one can distinguish three kinds of astral color appearances, which correspond to the physical, mental and spiritual aspect of man:

„For a more highly developed "spiritual seeing" three types of color appearances can be distinguished within this "aura" flooding and radiating around the human being. First of all, there are those colors which more or less bear the character of opacity and dullness. However, if we compare these colors with those which our physical eye sees, then they appear fleeting and transparent in comparison with these. Within the supersensible world itself, however, they make the space they fill comparatively opaque; they fill it like misty formations. - A second kind of colors are those which are, as it were, completely light. They illuminate the space they fill. Through them, the space itself becomes a space of light. - Quite different from these two is the third kind of colored phenomena. These have a radiant, sparkling, glittering character. They do not merely illuminate the space they fill: they shine through and radiate through it. There is something active, moving in itself in these colors. The others have something resting in themselves, unglamorous. These, on the other hand, produce themselves continuously out of themselves, as it were. - Through the first two types of color, space is filled as if with a fine liquid that remains calmly in it; through the third, it is filled with an ever-fanning life, with never-resting activity.

Now these three kinds of colors are not located next to each other in the human aura; they are not located exclusively in separate parts of space, but they penetrate each other in the most manifold way. In one place of the aura one can see all three types playing together, as one can see and hear a physical body, for example a bell, at the same time. Thus the aura becomes an extraordinarily complicated phenomenon, for one has to do, so to speak, with three interpenetrating auras. But one can come into the clear if one directs his attention alternately to one of these three auras. One then does something similar in the supersensible world as when one closes one's eyes in the sensual world, for example, in order to devote oneself completely to the impression of a piece of music. The "seer" has, so to speak, three kinds of organs for the three kinds of colors. And he can, in order to observe undisturbed, open one or the other kind of organs to the impressions and close the others. In a "seer" at first only one kind of organs can be developed, the one for the first kind of colors. Such a person can see only the one aura; the other two remain invisible to him. Likewise, someone can be impressionable for the first two kinds, but not for the third. - The higher stage of the "gift of sight" then consists in the fact that a person can observe all three auras and, for the purpose of study, direct attention alternately to one or the other.

The triple aura is the supersensible-visible expression for the essence of man. The three members: body, soul and spirit, are expressed in it.

The first aura is a reflection of the influence which the body exerts on the soul of man; the second marks the soul's own life, which has risen above that which is immediately sensual, but is not yet devoted to the service of the eternal; the third reflects the dominion which the eternal spirit has gained over the transient man. When descriptions of the aura are given - as has been done here - it must be emphasized that these things are not only difficult to observe, but above all difficult to describe. Therefore, no one should see in such descriptions anything but a suggestion.

For the "seer" the peculiarity of the life of the soul is expressed in the nature of the aura. If he encounters a soul life which is completely devoted to the respective sensual urges, desires and the momentary external stimuli, then he sees the first aura in the shrillest hues; the second, on the other hand, is only weakly developed. One sees in it only sparse color formations; the third, however, is hardly indicated. Here and there only a glittering sparkle of color appears, indicating that even in such a mood of the soul the eternal lives in man as a disposition, but that it is pushed back by the marked effect of the sensual. - The more man strips off his instinctual nature from himself, the more unobtrusive becomes the first part of the aura. The second part then enlarges more and more, and fills more and more completely with its luminous power the body of color within which the physical man lives. - And the more man proves himself to be a "servant of the Eternal," the wondrous third aura appears, that part which bears witness to the extent to which man is a citizen of the spiritual world. For the divine self radiates through this part of the human aura into the earthly world. In so far as people show this aura, they are flames through which the Godhead illuminates this world. Through this part of the aura they show to what extent they know how to live not for themselves but for the eternally true, the nobly beautiful and good: to what extent they have wrested from their narrow self to sacrifice themselves on the altar of the great work of the world.

Thus is expressed in the aura what man has made of himself in the course of his embodiments.“ (Lit.:GA 9, p. 165ff)

Ether aura, astral aura and I-aura

In the heart an etherisation of the blood takes place. An etheric current rises from the heart, through which the etheric body is renewed. At the same time, an astral current also goes up from here. The etheric aura part goes up to the brain and even radiates beyond the head, while the astral aura is held up in the head and only puts on a kind of astral cap from the outer astral world. This then becomes visible to the spiritual eye as a halo. The I-aura, on the other hand, is already stopped in the region of the heart and encounters here a spiritual current that comes from the macrocosm and intertwines with the I-aura rising from below.

Ether aura

The etheric body becomes visible when one can completely block out the physical body in clairvoyant perception. It then first appears as a delicate peach-blossom coloured ("incarnate") double image of the physical body.

„For the sake of completeness, reference should be made to a part of the aura that has not been discussed so far. It is the one that corresponds to the life body. It fills approximately the same space as the physical body. The clairvoyant can only observe it if he has the ability to completely imagine away the physical body. Then the life body (linga sharira) appears as a complete double image of the physical body in a colour reminiscent of that of apricot blossoms. In this life body, a continuous inflow and outflow can be observed. The life force contained in the universe flows in, is consumed by the life process and flows out again.“ (Lit.:GA 34, p. 136)

Peach blossom, however, is only the general color of the etheric body. To a closer look it shows itself, especially in its lower parts, in manifold multicolored flooding colors.

„If you take the etheric body and explore it directly with clear-sightedness, it is a marvelous structure of shimmering colors flowing into each other. What then are these colors that flood in the etheric body? Yes, these are the forces that build up the physical body, the forces that not only build up its organs, but also work in what is done during life by the organs of the physical body. But the human organs are of different importance. Let us take two such organs as the viscera and the brain. The external anatomy examines the tissues and everything that comes into consideration as equal. But things are not, they are quite different. If we look at the human brain, it is something perfect as a physical organ; this comes from the fact that those floods of colors are processed in the brain. When we look at the etheric body of the human brain, we see it in relatively pale color, because the colors have been used to produce the structure of the brain. When we look at the viscera, we find the flood of colors shimmering brightly and wonderfully into one another, for the viscera are really coarser organs, there is not yet so much of the spiritual to be used, there the forces still remain in the etheric body, there a smaller part is used only for development. That is why the etheric body of the brain is pale, but the etheric body of the intestines is beautiful, of wonderful, flowing colors.

Now think, someone comes to clairvoyance as I have described. Two things can happen: Clairvoyance can occur when the etheric body of the brain is loosened, but clairvoyance can also occur when the etheric body of the intestines is loosened. During clairvoyance man often becomes aware of his own inner self. The one who gets out the etheric body of the brain will at first have a rather pale world before him; but the one who gets out the etheric body of his viscera can wonderfully reflect floods of color into the etheric world. In order to bring the pale of the cerebral etheric body into contact with the flooded colors of the cosmos, it is necessary that we first draw the flooded colors from the whole sphere of the cosmos. In order to develop the flood colors of the etheric body of the intestines, we can radiate them out of us, and thus a quite marvelous structure can be seen on the way of clairvoyance. Certainly, it is a real clairvoyant structure, but if you examine it, what is it? It is nothing else than one's own digestive process, it is that which the etheric body does during the digestive process of man; that projects itself out into the etheric space.“ (Lit.:GA 174b, p. 72f)

„He who has reached a certain level of clairvoyance has also acquired the ability, the strong power, to control his mind in such a way that he is able in a much higher degree to direct his attention to something or to divert it from it. If you ask the ordinary man to divert his attention in such a way that he can, so to speak, deny himself the physical form, he will be able to do so only extremely rarely; the clairvoyant, however, is quite capable of doing so. The space, in which otherwise the physical body is, is then filled for the clairvoyant, shone through by this etheric body or life body. It has approximately the human form of head, trunk and shoulders. The more it runs downward, the less similar it is to the human form. In animals, the etheric body is very different from the physical body. In the horse, for example, as you know, the etheric head projects far out. And if you could observe the etheric body of the elephant clairvoyantly, you would be astonished what a huge structure it has. The more we come down in the human form, the more the etheric body changes in relation to the physical form. Otherwise, however, left and right in the physical and in the etheric body correspond in a certain respect. Somewhat to the left lies the physical heart; the corresponding organ in the etheric body is the etheric heart, which lies on the right side. But the greatest difference between the physical and etheric bodies is that the etheric body of the man is female and that of the woman is male. This fact is very important, and many riddles of human nature can be explained on the basis of this occult research. Thus, in man there is a kind of correspondence, in the animal a great difference between this second member of the human being and the first.“ (Lit.:GA 109, p. 181f)

Astral aura

„Besides the physical body, man has the so-called etheric body, visible to him who has etheric vision, a faithful double image of the ordinary physical body. Then these two bodies are interpenetrated by a soul body, the so-called astral body. This protrudes above the physical body; it is somewhat larger and has the form of an oval, an egg, since it protrudes somewhat above the head and is somewhat narrower there. In it all passions, feelings, desires, which are caused by the physical life, are visible as dark cloud formations. The purer it is, the more it reminds of the stars. It has a color that plays from orange to yellow. So if you think away the physical body, you have a kind of elongated circular form, which has the orange color as a basic tone, in which the various cloud formations flicker. The most grotesque figures can be seen playing in it; this is visible to the seer.“ (Lit.:GA 291a, p. 183)

„The movement in the physical body cannot be compared with the extraordinary mobility of the etheric body. In the healthy human being this has the color of the blossom of the young peach tree. Everything on him shines and glitters in the peculiar nuance, in rose-red, dark and light up to the white-glowing; thereby the etheric body has a definite limit, even if the same is fluctuating. With the astral body it is quite different. It shows the most manifold colors and forms, like a cloud flowing in constant change. And that which is formed in the cloud is expressed in the feelings and sensations which the human being brings to the human being. If the clairvoyant sees the bluish-red color appearing in the astral body, he sees, as it were, love flowing from man to man, but he also sees all the ugly sensations playing from man to man. And as the soul activity of man changes continually, so also the colors and forms of the astral body change continually, they appear and vibrate off in colorful play and form their inclusions.“ (Lit.:GA 109, p. 182f)


„While the etheric and astral auric parts go up to the brain and since the astral auric part is stopped, the etheric one comes out as if as a corona, we see that the I-part of man as an inner aura is already stopped in the heart region. The actual inner I-aura is already stopped in the heart region, penetrates only up to the heart region and connects with one of the outer aura parts of the corresponding macrocosmic aura parts. In the heart, in fact, two elements intertwine, the one element which comes in from the macrocosm and which is tied together with the I-aura, which comes up from below, but already accumulates at the heart, is already stopped at the heart. Just as the astral aura is held up in the brain, so the I-aura is held up in the heart and touches there with an outer I-aura element. Therefore, basically, according to the facts, the real I-consciousness of man does not come about in the brain. What I have told you for the old Atlantean man, that his I is drawn in, we have to imagine still more exactly as a drawing in of the outer macrocosmic I, which since the old Atlantean time has now penetrated up to the heart, has connected itself there with another I-current, which flows up from below and which comes together in the heart, so that we have organized in the heart the place where through the instrument of the blood the actual I of man, as it appears in our consciousness, comes into being.“ (Lit.:GA 129, p. 200f)

The outer macrocosmic I-aura, which has entered man only towards the end of the Atlantean time, appears to the clairvoyant as an egg-shaped bluish sphere situated at the root of the nose behind the forehead, somewhat drawn out in length.

„Again, this expresses itself to the seer in a peculiar way. When he examines the astral body, everything is in perpetual motion except for a single small space; this remains, like a somewhat elongated egg-shaped bluish sphere, somewhat behind the forehead, at the root of the nose. It is found only in humans. It is no more perceptible in the educated than in the uneducated; it is most evident in the savages who are low in culture. At this point there is in truth nothing, an empty space. As the center of the flame, which is empty, appears blue because of the ring of light, so also this dark empty place appears blue because the auric light shines all around. This is the outer expression for the I.“ (Lit.:GA 95, p. 17)

„The I-bearer, the fourth member of the human beingness, is like a kind of oval figure, whose origin can be traced into the forebrain. There it is visible to the clairvoyant as a bluish-glowing sphere. From it flows out in oval form, like a space-egg, one could say, which plays into the human being, a kind of blueness. How is this I-bearer to be seen? Only when the clairvoyant is able to deduce the astral body of man, only then he is able to perceive the I-bearer. Man has the three other bodies in common with the three kingdoms of nature, the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom. But through the I-bearer he differs from these, through this he is the crown of creation.“ (Lit.:GA 109, p. 183)

The lotuses or chakras as spiritual organs of perception

Johann Georg Gichtel: Theosophia practica, 7 Tle., Leiden 1722, "Der gantz irdische natürliche finstere Mensch in Sternen und Elementen" (The whole earthly natural dark human being in stars and elements).
Johann Georg Gichtel: Theosophia Practica, Berlin/Leipzig 1736, "Der wiedergeborene Mensch In seiner Geburt in Christo, im Herzen, Welcher die Schlange ganz zermalmet" (The reborn man in his birth in Christo, in the heart, which crushes the snake completely).
Main article: Chakra

The lotuses or chakras (from Sanskritm., चक्र cakra [ʧʌkɽʌ], literally: "wheel, discus, circle") are organs of the astral body and as such are well visible in the astral aura of spiritually appropriately developed human beings. There is a system of seven main chakras and besides them a number of subordinate lotuses, for example in the palms of the hands. To the clairvoyant, the lotuses appear in a circular, flower-like form, which justifies their name. According to Johann Georg Gichtel, a student of Jakob Böhme, they are related to the planetary spheres. In modern man they stand still, but can be set in motion by spiritual training. With the advanced secret student they turn clockwise and thus open to him the view into the spiritual world. Modern clairvoyance is associated with strict mind control.

With the Atlantian the lotuses were still movable, with the Lemurian even very violently moved, but turned counterclockwise. This is also the case with today's mediums with atavistic clairvoyance. The clairvoyance of the mediums is however an unconscious one which is not subject to any thought control (Lit.:GA 94, p. 173).

The aura in the waking and sleeping state

In the state of sleep, the I and the astral body are partially lifted out of the living physical body. The clairvoyant impression of the human aura also changes. The shape and structure of the aura depends very much on the spiritual development of the human being.

„In undeveloped people the aura is formed cloud-like. When the human being sleeps, it hovers above the physical body, because the astral body separates from the physical body. It is then visible like two spirals curled into each other, like rings of mist. In this way they intertwine to disappear in further spirals into the indefinite. Such two intertwined rings form the aura in the sleeping person. When man undergoes occult development, the aura becomes more and more definite. The ends of the spirals, which go into the distance, disappear, and the two intertwined spiral formations will organize themselves. More and more they will become a definite, closed structure, and then they will show certain organs which appear in this aura, and which are called chakras. These are the sense organs of the soul.“ (Lit.:GA 53, p. 199)

„When this astral body is out of the physical and etheric body, then connections begin to form, as it were currents from this astral body to the cosmic environment. When you return in the morning from the sleeping state to the waking one, you have, as it were, drawn the strengthening forces from the whole cosmos during the sleeping state. In a certain respect your astral body during the night was incorporated by its currents into the whole surrounding cosmos. It was in connection with all the planetary beings belonging to our earth. It sent its currents to Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and so on, and in these planetary beings are the strengthening forces that send into the astral body what we need in order to be able to continue the waking state when we return to the physical and etheric body. As it were, our astral body is poured out and enlarged to a world existence during the night. The clairvoyant consciousness sees the astral body leaving the physical body in a certain way when falling asleep. Of course, this is an imprecise expression. Like in a spiral, the astral body winds its way out of the physical body, like a spiral cloud it floats. But what you see there is only the beginning of the currents that join out of this astral body. They actually go out into the world space and get forces, imbue themselves with the forces of the planets. And if someone wanted to tell you that the astral body is what one sees with gross clairvoyance as a cloud hovering, as it were, near the physical body, then he is not telling you the truth at all, for this astral body is poured out during the night over our whole solar system. It is during the sleeping state, so to speak, in connection with the planetary beings. That is why we speak of an "astral" body. All other explanations for the expression astral body, which was coined in the Middle Ages, are not correct. We speak of astral body for the reason that in the sleeping state of man it is in certain inner connection with the stars, with the astral world, because it rests in it, because it absorbs its forces.“ (Lit.:GA 122, p. 146f)

„So, if we consider the ordinary waking state of man, we would draw the auric context of man approximately in the following way:

Drawing from GA 141, p. 77

the physical body the sharper line; within the dotted line the etheric body; what is more densely hatched is the astral body; and the I-aura would have to be drawn approximately in such a way that it penetrates the whole man, but I draw it as rays, which surround him, without actual boundaries, radiate upward and downward. Next to it I will draw the difference in the auric composition in the sleeping state of a man who would sleep about the midnight hour, respectively the auric picture of him (see drawing): physical body and etheric body as in the first drawing; the dark shaded area would be the astral body;

Drawing from GA 141, p. 78

Its downward indeterminate continuation would stand out, but would still remain in a vertical position. I would then have to draw the I-aura radially in the way you see it here. In the region of the neck the I-aura is interrupted and begins again only in the region of the head, but in such a way that it is directed radially outward and goes upward into the indefinite, when the human being is in the horizontal position, but is directed upward, from the head upward. So that essentially the sight of the aura of the sleeping man would be such that the astral body is essentially condensed and dark - in the region shaded dark in the drawing -, in the upper parts it is thinner than during the day. In the neck area the I-aura is interrupted, below it is again radiant and then continues into the indefinite.

The essential thing is that in such a state of sleep what can be called the auric image of the I is in fact divided into two parts. During the waking state the I-aura hangs together like an oval, during such a state of sleep it separates in the middle, and during sleep it consists of two pieces, one of which is turned downward by a kind of gravity and spreads out downward, so that one has to do not with a closing but with a downward spreading I-aura. This part of the I-aura appears to the clairvoyant consciousness as an essentially very dark part of the aura, which has dark threads, but is tinged with strong, for example dark reddish nuances. What separates upward from it is again in such a way that it runs narrowly from the head area, but then spreads out into the indefinite, so to speak spreads out upward into the starry world. The astral aura is not divided in the same way in the middle, so that one cannot speak of a real division of it, while the I-aura is divided, at least for the sight.

Thus we have also in this occult sight a kind of pictorial expression of the fact that man goes out into the world-space with that which pervades him as I-forces during the day-waking state, in order to gain connection with the star-world, in order to suck in the forces from the star-world, so to speak.

Now that part of the I-aura which constricts downward and becomes dark, more or less like opaque, while that which goes upward is bright and shining, shining in bright light, is at the same time that which is most exposed to the influence of the ahrimanic forces. The adjacent part of the astral aura is the most exposed to the Luciferic forces. We can therefore say: The characteristic which is rightly given from a certain point of view, that the I and the astral body leave man, is absolutely true for the upper parts of the I and astral aura. For those parts of the I and astral aura which correspond more to the lower parts, especially to the lower parts of the trunk of the human form, it is not actually true; but for these parts it is even the case that during sleep the aura of the I and of the astral body are more inward, are more connected with the physical body and the etheric body, than is the case in the waking state, that they are more dense, more compact towards the bottom. For one can also see how, on waking, that which I have so strongly drawn below emerges again from the lower parts of the human being. Just as the upper part goes out when falling asleep, so the lower part of the ego and astral aura goes out in a certain way when waking up, and only a kind of piece of these two auras remains inside, as I have drawn it in the first figure.

Now it is just so extremely important to know that by the evolution of our earth, by all the forces which have played a part in it and which you can see from the "Occult Science in Outline", the arrangement has been made that the human being does not take part in this more active working of the lower aura during sleep, that is, does not take part in this working as a witness. For from these parts of the lower I-aura and the lower astral aura are stimulated the vitalizing forces which man needs in order that what is worn out during the waking state may be repaired. The restorative forces must emanate from these parts of the aura. That they act upward and restore the whole man, depends then on the fact that the part of the aura going out upward develops forces of attraction, which it sucks in from the starry world, and can thereby attract the forces coming from below, so that they have a regenerating effect on man. This is the objective process.

Now the understanding of this fact also gives us, so to speak, the best understanding of certain messages which man receives when he follows the various occult documents or documents based on occultism. You have always heard the characteristic, as I have just said, which is quite justified from a certain point of view, that sleep consists in man leaving his physical body and etheric body in bed and going out with his astral body and I; which is therefore quite correct in a certain sense for the upper parts of the I and astral aura, namely for the I-aura. But if you follow Oriental writings, you will not find this characteristic, but just the opposite. You will find there characterized that during the state of sleep that which otherwise lives in the human consciousness is drawn deeper into the body. So you find there the reverse characteristic of sleep. And especially in certain Vedanta writings you can find the thing characterized in such a way that this, of which we say that it draws itself out of the physical body and etheric body, sinks itself deeper into the physical and etheric corporeality during sleep, that what otherwise causes seeing draws itself into deeper parts of the eye, so that seeing can no longer come about. Why is this characterized in this way in Oriental writings? It is because the Oriental still stands on a different standpoint. Through his kind of clairvoyance he sees more what is going on inside the human being, what is happening inside. He pays less attention to the process of the upper aura going out and more to the fact of being permeated during sleep with the lower aura. Therefore, from his point of view, he is naturally right.“ (Lit.:GA 141, p. 77ff)

Planetary influences on the three soul members during waking and sleeping

During dreamless sleep the sentient soul is under the predominant influence of the Mars sphere. In dreams, the Jupiter sphere acts in the intellectual or mind soul. If the influence of the Saturn sphere on the consciousness soul predominates, the person becomes a sleepwalker.

„Thus, for the sleep state, we can state three clearly distinguishable influences on the inner man, which is separated from the outer during sleep. These three influences to which man is exposed during sleep are always there, and spiritual science can really investigate by means which we shall yet learn in the course of the lectures, that they are present in every man. But in the vast majority of people the first influence is so predominant that they spend the greater part of their sleeping time in dreamless, peaceful sleep. Then for almost all people the second influence occurs from time to time, that the dream state intrudes into their sleep consciousness. But these two states have such a strong effect on most people that speaking and acting out of sleep is a rarity. But the third influence, which occurs with the nightwalker, is also present with every human being. But in the case of the sleepwalker the third influence is so strong that it drowns out the other two and gains dominance over the two weaker influences, while in other people the other two influences are so strong that the third influence does not come into play at all and does not drive the person to any actions. But it is present in every human being. Every human being is predisposed to be subject to these three influences.

These three influences have always been distinguished from one another in the research of spiritual science, and we must assume three areas within the soul life of man, which are such that one area can be more subject to one influence, the second area more to the second, and the third more to the third. The soul of man is therefore a threefold being, for it can be subject to three different influences. Now that part of the human soul which is subject to the first influence characterised, which in general drives the human soul out of the body shells, is called in spiritual science the sentient soul. That part of the soul on which the influence is exerted which has been characterised in the second place, which forces the dream-images into the human soul-life during the night, is called the intellectual or mental soul. And that part of the human soul which, for most people, does not reveal its peculiar nature during sleep, because the other two influences predominate, is called the consciousness soul. Thus we have to distinguish between three influences during the sleeping time of man, and the three members of the soul-life which are subject to these three influences, we distinguish as the sentient soul, the intellectual or mind soul, and the consciousness soul. When, therefore, man is put into dreamless, quiet sleep by the one power we have described, an influence is exerted on his sentient soul out of the world into which he enters. When a man's sleep is interspersed with the images of the dream world, then an influence is exerted on his intellectual or mind soul, and when he even begins to speak in the night or to act out of sleep, then an influence is exerted on his consciousness soul.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 64ff)

Drawing from GA 119, p. 75

„So we have three forces that act on the human being during the state of sleep. These three forces have had very specific names in spiritual science since ancient times, and I ask you now not to think of these names as anything other than what has just been described. You know these names, of course, but I ask you to think of nothing else at all than names given to the respective forces which act at night upon these three parts of the human soul. For in fact, if you were to go back to ancient times, these three names were given to these three forces, and if they are now used for other things, they are not original but borrowed. Originally these names were given to these three forces. That force which acts on the sentient soul when it falls asleep and wakes up was given a name which in ancient languages would correspond to the word Mars. (During the following explanations, the names Mars, Jupiter, etc., will be added to the drawing on page 69; see drawing on page 75.) Mars is nothing other than a name for that power which acts on the sentient soul, which in the evening drives man out of his bodily shells and in the morning sends him in again. That power which acts on the intellectual or mind soul, after falling asleep and before waking up, it is that power which drives the world of dreams into the intellectual or mind soul - this power bears the name which would coincide with the word Jupiter. And that force which in special circumstances would make man a night-walker, which therefore acts on man's consciousness soul during the state of sleep, bears the name Saturn in the sense of the old spiritual science. So that one is speaking in the sense of spiritual science when one would say that Mars has put man to sleep, Jupiter has sent dreams into man's sleep, and the dark sinister Saturn is the cause which rouses man, who cannot resist its influences, in his sleep and drives him to unconscious actions.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 69f)

„Thus we have traced the human soul-life through the sleeping and waking states. We have found that it is divided into three separate parts, that it is subject to three different influences. When during the night man is devoted to that world which we must call the spiritual world, then he is devoted to the forces which in spiritual science are called the forces of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. When, during the day awakening, he unfolds his soul life through the sentient soul, through the intellectual or mind soul and through the consciousness soul, then he is devoted to those forces which in spiritual science are called the forces of Venus, Mercury and the Moon. Thus we have designated man's daily path, the path which he travels within twenty-four hours.“ (Lit.:GA 119, p. 74f)

The aura of the child

„While what we call the "aura of the child" hovers around the child in the first years of life like a wonderful, human-superhuman power - hovers around in such a way that this childish aura, the actual higher part of the human being, has its continuation everywhere into the spiritual world - at that point in time, up to which the human being can remember back, this aura penetrates more into the inner being of the human being. The human being can, up to this point in time, feel himself as a coherent I, because that which was formerly connected with the higher worlds is then drawn into his I. From then on, the consciousness of the human being is more than the spiritual world. From then on, consciousness everywhere places itself in connection with the outer world.“ (Lit.:GA 15, p. 15)

„The clairvoyant sees in the child how, in the very first days and weeks of its development, it is surrounded by powerful forces belonging to the second part of the human being, the etheric body. We know that in the human being of today the etheric body is about the same size as the physical body, but in the child it protrudes far beyond the physical body, especially at the head, and there this working of the forces, which looks like a play of light to the clairvoyant, is particularly vivid. It is wonderful to see how certain forces shoot up from the body from below, how it then radiates down from above, from the nape of the neck, from all sides, and where the hair whirls, radiates into a lively play of forces, becomes an astral-etheric play of light in the etheric body of the child, which then loses itself more and more in time. In this play of light lie the forces which create those physical connecting links in the brain. The brain is only formed in time, when the child is already born, and that out of a spiritual substance. You can see forty to fifty currents of force working together there - the light body is composed of them - a wonderful spectacle when you observe the child like this in the first weeks of life. Gradually this body of light penetrates into the child's brain and is then inside. First the etheric body of the child was outside, it surrounded the head, was quite primitive; it was surrounded by a light body from which it gathered forces, and now it gradually enters the child's head, sits there inside as the complicated etheric organism. That is the wonderful thing about development, that everything physical is constructed out of the spiritual world, is worked out of the spiritual, which we then absorb ourselves. The soul has first worked out the dwelling in which it then dwells.“ (Lit.:GA 109, p. 168f)

The aura of male and female

In the aura of the male and female organism, Lucifer and Ahriman work in different ways. These differences are not caused by the I and the soul, but by the different construction of the physical-etheric body.


„So let us take the female organism again. It radiates, as it were, a Luciferic aura. But by radiating it, it pushes back the life or sound ether, so that a kind of ahrimanic aura is formed around the female organism, so that then the female organism has the luciferic aura in the centre, and the ahrimanic aura further out. But this female organism can now, if it is not so inactive that it stops at seeing its own aura, develop further. And this is precisely what matters, that one should not remain in an unhealthy way with the first-formed imaginations, but that one should use all one's will powerfully in order to penetrate through these imaginations. For in the end one must go so far that one's own aura does not appear to one, but that what appears is reflected back, as it were, from a mirror plate, which is now an ahrimanic aura. One must not look into one's own aura, but one must have reflected back from the outer aura that which is in one's own aura. In this way, you see, the female organism receives the Luciferic reflected back from the Ahrimanic and is thereby neutralised, thereby brought into balance. Thus it is neither ahrimanic nor luciferic, but it is defeminised, it becomes generally human. Really, it becomes generally human.

I only ask you to feel how man really, by ascending into the spiritual, by escaping either the Luciferic or the Ahrimanic power of his own aura, does not look into the Luciferic or the Ahrimanic, but allows the one to be reflected and thereby receives it back, asexually, without it being male or female. The feminine is neutralised to the masculine in the ahrimanic, the masculine is neutralised to the feminine in the luciferic. For just as the feminine-Luciferic aura surrounds itself with the Ahrimanic aura, so the masculine-Ahrimanic aura surrounds itself with the Luciferic aura, and there radiates back just as much that which one has within oneself as in the feminine. One sees it as a mirror image.“ (Lit.:GA 272, p. 187f)


„If we look at the male organism, Ahriman has woven his power into his aura, but now into the sound and life ether. And as with the woman it is preferably the warmth ether, so with the man it is preferably the life ether. In woman it is preferably the warmth ether in which Lucifer works, and in man the life ether in which Ahriman works. When the man comes out of his consciousness, when the cohesion which expresses itself in him as I-consciousness is damped down, when a kind of passive state sets in with the man, then it is so that one can again see how the aura around him asserts itself, the aura in which Ahriman has his power within.

But it is now an aura which contains mainly life ether and sound ether. There is vibrating sound in it, so that one does not really see this aura of the man so directly imaginatively. It is not an imaginative aura, but something of vibrating spiritual sound that surrounds the man. All this has to do with the form, not with the soul of course; it has to do with the man in so far as he is physical. So that the one who looks at this figure from the outside can see: the man radiates - one can now say - intuitions. These are the same intuitions from which his form was actually formed, through which he is there as a man in the world. There is a living, vibrating sound all around you. Therefore there is another danger in the man when his consciousness is damped down to passivity, the danger of only hearing this own aura, of hearing it inwardly. The man must take special care not to let himself go when he hears his own aura mentally, for then he hears the Ahriman who rules in him. For he must be there.

You see now how on earth the masculine and feminine would not be in humanity if Lucifer and Ahriman had not worked. I would like to know how woman could escape from Lucifer, how man could escape from Ahriman! The sermon: one should escape them, these powers - I have often emphasised it - is quite foolish, for they belong to that which lives in evolution, evolution having already been what it is.“ (Lit.:GA 272, p. 184f)

The aura of the earth

Main article: Earth aura

The aura of the earth glows bluish-purple in the east and burns and sprays reddish-yellow in the west. In between lies a green belt. The Mystery of Golgotha has brought about a significant change. In the bluish eastern half, exactly where Jerusalem lies, a gold star shone with the death of Christ on the cross, from which the formation of the New Jerusalem emanates.

„We get a picture of the earth when we imagine a sphere floating in the space of the world, glowing bluish-violet on one side, burning reddish-yellow on the other, spraying; and between them is a green belt. Figurative ideas gradually carry the human being over into the spiritual world. That is what matters. One is naturally obliged to present such pictorial ideas when one speaks seriously of the spiritual worlds, and it is further necessary that it should not only be believed that such pictorial ideas are some kind of fictions, but one is dependent on something being made of them. - Let us consider again: the bluish-violet glowing Easter earth, the reddish-yellow spraying West earth. But there are still various differentiations that come into it. When the dead man looks at certain points in our present cycle of time, he sees something of a golden structure, of a golden crystal structure, in the midst of the bluish-purple, which is signed here on earth by the fact that it is Palestine, that it is Jerusalem, and which then comes to life: that is Jerusalem, seen from the spirit! That is what also plays into the Apocalypse - by speaking of imaginations - as "heavenly Jerusalem". These are not imaginary things, they are things that can be seen. Spiritually, it was the same with the Mystery of Golgotha as one can experience in physical observation, when today the astronomer points his telescope out into the space of the world and then looks at what astonishes him, such as the shining of stars. Spiritually, seen from the universe, the event of Golgotha was the shining of a gold star in the blue earth aura of the eastern half of the earth. There you have the imagination for what I developed at the end the day before yesterday. It is really a question of procuring through such imaginations ideas of the universe, which place the human soul in the spirit of this universe.“ (Lit.:GA 181, p. 174f)

„Where does the blue-violet on one side of the earth aura come from? When one sees this side of the earth's sphere, the physical of the earth, seen from the outside, disappears; it is more the aura of light that becomes transparent, and the dark of the earth disappears. That is what the blue does, what looks through. You can explain this phenomenon from Goethe's theory of colours. But because the interior of the earth sprays up from the western half, so it sprays up that what I described the day before yesterday is true: In America, man is determined by the subterranean, by what is under the earth, therefore the interior of the earth also radiates and sprays out into the universe like a reddish-yellow gleam, like a reddish-yellow spraying fire.“ (Lit.:GA 181, p. 176)


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  1. In Greek mythology, aura is the goddess of the morning breeze.
  2. Quelle: