For centuries, mystics and people with “second sight” have purportedly been able to see and describe an energy field around all living beings. When this energy field is very strong, it is visible to most people, hence the depicting of the halo around pictures of saints and holy souls. Look at the painting of DaVinci’s Virgin of the Rocks- the Madonna, the infant Jesus, and John the Baptist are shown with halos (auras).
However, the acknowledgment of the “aura” in mainstream Western culture has been traditionally confined to religious motifs. In Eastern traditions, the aura is a part of their cultural heritage that dates back about 5000 years. Ancient Hindu philosophy teaches that there are subtle sensory organs in the human body, which channel psychic energies and vital force. These “energies” centers, which we refer to as Chakras, are related to the nervous and glandular systems.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means a spinning wheel or disk. In this context, the Chakras are a series of wheel-like vortices that exist in the human energy field. Collectively, the Chakras process our incoming energy; the totality of chakras’ “output” determines the “look of the aura.”
With the advent of the Renaissance, European scholars rediscovered many of the ancient traditions and knowledge of the Orient. Some of the ideas concerning the human energy system influenced esoteric and alchemical traditions, as we see in this illustration of the seven Chakras according to Gichtel, a 17th century German alchemist and mystic.
The awareness of these seven energy centers remained a theme in Western esoteric teachings. In the 19th century, this knowledge went "mainstream" when the Spiritualists popularized Eastern philosophical traditions such as the Chakras. The Theosophical Society, founded in 1875 by Blavatsky, Olcott, and Judge, promoted, amongst other ideas, the awareness of the human energy field.
C.W. Leadbeater, (1847-1934) combined his clairvoyant abilities with scholastic research when he authored The Chakras. In this classic work, Leadbeater recounts his personal observations with the knowledge of the Hindu and Buddhist teachings on this subject. As well, he relates why we need to pay attention to our Chakras in order to maintain our physical, mental, and spirituals bodies.
Edgar Cayce, (1877-1945), the famous American “sleeping” psychic, described the colors of our aura and their influence on our physical body. This information, related in his trance states, assisted the scientific research of doctors for many years.
Jack Schwarz, (1924-2000), naturopath, author, educator, humanitarian, and founder of the Aletheia foundation, shared his natural abilities to see beyond the accepted range of the visible spectrum of light. In the early 70’s, Jack toured several university campuses, teaching two six-week classes about voluntary controls of internal states as well as human energy systems. The latter covered the energetic field surrounding the body - the aura - and provided exercises that promoted our innate abilities to become aware of the aura and interpret what we discovered. Two of Jack’s early books, The Path of Action and Human Energy Systems covered the material of these classes respectively.
Barbara Brennan (1939 -), a former atmospheric physicist with NASA, details in her book Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing through the Human Energy Field how our physical bodies exist within a larger "body, " a human energy field or aura. In this work, Brennan discusses how the seven major energy centers, the Chakras, relate to this “energy body.”
We create our experience of reality, including health and illness via this energy field. Our most powerful and profound human interactions take place in our aura. According to Brennan, the human energy field is the starting point of all illness as well as the vehicle to heal all physiological and emotional disturbances.
Despite the Hindu and Buddhist literature regarding the Chakras, the observations of respected clairvoyants, and the empirical evidence resulting from such observations, the existence of the Chakras and the human aura, or energy field, was only scientifically “verified” in the 20th century. The science and technologies that permitted us to communicate over vast distances and examine the universe from the infitessimally small to large led to devices that can detect and measure the frequencies emanating from the human energy system.