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In parapsychology and many forms of spirituality an aura is a field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object like the halo or aureola of religious art.[1] The depiction of such an aura in religious art usually connotes a person of particular power or holiness.

According to the literature of movements (such as Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Archeosophy, etc.) each color of the aura has a precise meaning, indicating a precise emotional state. A complete description of the Aura and its colors was provided by Charles Leadbeater, a theosophist of the 19th century.[2] The works of Leadbeater were later developed by Palamidessi[3] and others.

Skeptics such as Robert Todd Carroll doubt the evidence presented for the perception of auras, contending that auras may be seen for explainable reasons such as migraines or synaesthesia.[4] Some people see auras as the result of a migraine, epilepsy, a visual system disorder, or a brain disorder.[5][6] Eye fatigue can also produce an aura, sometimes to referred to as “eye burn”. (See Aura (symptom) and synesthesia.)


W.E. Butler has connected auras with clairvoyance and etheric, mental, and emotional emanations. He classifies aura into two main types: etheric and spiritual.[7] Robert Bruce classifies auras into three types: etheric, main, and spiritual.[8] Various books have been written that derive various personality traits based upon the specific colors of the different layers of the aura.[9][10] Auras are thought to be related to the etheric subtle body and to serve as a visual measure of the state of the health of the physical body.[11] Auras are not thought to be actual light but a translation of other unknown sensory readings that is added to our visual processing. According to Bruce they are not seen in complete darkness and cannot be seen unless some portion of the person or object emitting the aura can also be seen.[12]

Debunkers of paranormal activity deny claims of the existence of auras, labeling them pseudoscience. One test, which was televised,[13] involved an “aura” reader standing on one side of a room with an opaque partition separating her from a number of slots which might contain either actual people or mannequins. The aura reader failed to identify which partitions had which behind them, claiming that all were concealing people.[14] According to Bruce’s criteria for the visibility of the aura, this test would have been impossible.


  1. LeadBeater, Charles: Man: Visible and Invisible, 1902.
  2. Palamidessi, Tommaso: The Occult Constitution of Man and Woman, 1968.
  3. The Skeptic’s Dictionary by Robert Todd Carroll, entry on auras, Retrieved Oct 13, 2007
  4. Deprez, L. et al.. “Familial occipitotemporal lobe epilepsy and migraine with visual aura <Internet>”. Retrieved on 16 July 2007.
  5. Hill, Donna L. et al.. “Most Cases Labeled as “Retinal Migraine” Are Not Migraine <Internet>”. Retrieved on 16 July 2007.
  6. Butler, W.E.: How to Read the Aura, pp 181-182. Destiny Books, 1978.
  7. Bruce, Robert: Auric Mechanics and Theory, “Capturing the Aura,” pp 301-303. Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2000.
  8. Oslie, Pamala: Life Colors, What the Colors in Your Aura Reveal, New World Library, 2000.
  9. Bowers, Barbara, Ph.D: What Color Is Your Aura? Personality Spectrums for Understanding and Growth, Pocket Books, 1989.
  10. Butler, W.E.: How to Read the Aura, page 183. Destiny Books, 1978.
  11. Bruce, Robert: Auric Mechanics and Theory, “Capturing the Aura,” pp 293-296. Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2000.
  12. “James Randi tests an aura reader”. Retrieved on 2008-01-14.
  13. “auras”. The Skeptic’s Dictionary. Retrieved on 2006-12-15.


  • Alfred, Jay, “Our Invisible Bodies: Scientific Evidence for Subtle Bodies”, Trafford Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1-412-06326-4.
  • Baltz, Jennifer and Carl Edwin Lindgren, Eds. (1997). Aura awareness: What your aura says about you. Nevada City, CA: Blue Dolphin Publishing. (ISBN 0-9652490-5-0)
  • Brennan, Barbara Ann, Hands of Light : A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field, Bantam, 1988, ISBN 0-553-34539-7.
  • Brennan, Barbara Ann, Light Emerging : The Journey of Personal Healing, Bantam, 1993, ISBN 0-553-35456-6.
  • Cayce, Edgar, Auras, ARE Press, 2002, ISBN 0-87604-012-1.
  • Kilner, Walter J., The Human Aura, Citadel Press, 1965, ISBN 0-8065-0545-1.
  • Krippner, Stanley and Rubin, Daniel, The Kirlian Aura: Photographing the Galaxies of Life, Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974, ISBN 0-385-06574-4.
  • Larson, Cynthia Sue, Aura Advantage, Adams Media, 2004, ISBN 1-58062-945-8.
  • Leadbeater, C.W., The Chakras, Theosophical Publishing House, 1987, ISBN 0-8356-0422-5.
  • Carl Edwin Lindgren, Ed. (1999). Capturing your aura: Integrationg science, technology, and science. Nevada City, CA: Blue Dolphin Publishing. (ISBN 0-9652490-6-9).
  • Carl Edwin Lindgren (1995). A review of Aura imaging photography by Johannes Fisslinger. Journal of Religion and Psychical Research, Volume 18, Number 1:49-50.
  • Carl Edwin Lindgren (1995 Jan.). Capturing your aura on film. Fate, 48(1), 32-35.
  • Moss, Thelma, The Body Electric: A Personal Journey into the Mysteries of Parapsychological Research, Bioenergy, and Kirlian Photography, Los Angeles, J.P. Tarcher, 1979, ISBN 0-87477-109-9.
  • Swami Panchadasi, The Human Aura. Astral Colors and Thought Forms, Advanced Thought Publishing, Chicago, 1916. (PDF)

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