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Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


The name given to a subtle envelope of vital energy which alledgedly radiates around natural objects, including human beings, animals and plants.

The aura is said to be invisible, but is seen by Clairvoyants as a halo of light, although not all Clairvoyants describe the auras of similar objects or people in the same way.

Although the body does have a magnetic field - a biofield - it is far too weak to account for a light-emitting halo of energy and, aside from the accounts of Clairvoyants, there is no scientific evidence that the phenomenon exists.

Belief in the emanation of vital energy from the body was present in ancient Egypt, India, Greece and Rome.   In the 16th Century Paracelsus discoursed on the Astral Body and its 'fiery' aura; the theory of Animal Magnetism advanced in the late 18th Century by Franz Anton Mesmer prompted a variety of scientific experiments to try to isolate and identify the phenomena.

In the years before World War I Dr Walter Kilner at St Thomas's Hospital in London developed a method of viewing auras, which he claimed appeared as a faint haze around the body, using an apparatus which rendered ultra-violet light visible.   He developed a theory of auric diagnosis of illness, from his observations of the correspondence between the appearance of the aura and patient health.

Kilner's work was greeted with scepticism by the medical profession, and his work was interrupted by the onset of World War I.   In 1939 Semyon Davidovich Kirlian, a Russian electrician, developed a technique which he claimed recorded the aura on film, but this technique remains controversial to say the least.

According to Theosophy, the human body is actually composed of seven distinct elements.   The first three (solid, liquid and gas) form the physical body.   The fourth, is known as the Etheric body and interpenetrates the physical body extends beyond the confines of the physical body by about one inch.

Next is the Astral Body which extends beyond the etheric body by several inches.   Beyond the Astral Body are the Mental and Spiritual bodies.   Because of their elasticity, and the speed at which they function, it is impossible to define the physical limits of these last two elements.

Although the vibrations of the non-physical bodies cannot be detected by the naked eye, the energy patterns which they display are detectable by an adept.   Such energy patterns are known as the aura.   It is suggested that three different auras in layers surround the body.   The first two are very close, while the third extends several feet.   The inner layer is said to be yellowish in hue and is suppose to indicate the state of the nervous system.   The second aura is normally red and indicates the bodily heath of the person.

These auras are referred to as the "nerve aura" and "body aura" respectively.   Unlike the first two the third aura is made up of many colours.   The pattern are seen as flowing, ebbing and spiraling similar to the Northern Lights.   No two persons observing the same aura may observe the same colour configuration because each may be more or less receptive to different colours.   Where one may detect blues the other may detect yellows.

As previously stated the third aura extends several feet extending in every direction as if it is surrounding the body with a shell of energy.   Inside of this shell colours swirl and pulsate, conveying the individual's character and thoughts.   Frequently colours are suggested to be layers, one upon the other, revealing the deepest characteristics.   Still other claim colours shoot from the body accompanying changes in moods and emotions.   A person in a deep spiritual state will display a blue or lavender shade of colour, while a person deeply in love will display pink.

It is claimed that any state of the individual being causes reactions in the aura.   Emotional states primarily cause changes in colour.   Physical states not only affect the colour, but also cause peculiarities in the patterns of the auras such as vortexes, holes, and sometimes dark spots.   Such peculiarities are not always full proof indicators to be used alone when treating an individual.

The pattern of an aura is said to be able to indicate a serious physical problem.   Before attempting to treat the person for such a problem, it is best to ask the person if he has a problem in the area indicated.   If the person say no, them do not try to treat it.   What may appear to be a major problem may be just a minor irritation.   Sometimes more harm can be done.   The power of suggestion can have serious consequences.   If treatment is forced upon this person, he may eventually come to think he has a serious problem.

Many believe that everything has an aura, both animate and inanimate material, but auras are best detected in humans.

The aura is also referred to as odic force.   According to ancient Hindu medicine the aura can be revitalized by prana, a vital force which is said to exist throughout the universe.

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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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