As we have seen, the human aura is never in a state of absolute rest or quiet. Motion and change is ever manifested by it. It has its periods of comparative calm, of course, but even in this state there is a pulsing, wave-like motion apparent. The clouds of changing color fly over its surface, and in its depth, like the fast driven fleecy clouds over the summer sky, illumined by the rays of the setting sun.

Again, fierce storms of mental activity, or emotional stress, disturb its comparative calm, and the wildest scenes are witnessed in the aura by the observer. So intense are the vibrations of some of these mental storms that their effect is plainly felt by the average person, though he is not able to distinguish the colors or the great whirls and swirls of auric substance accompanying them.

A person sunk in reverie, dream-states, or sleep, presents an interesting auric kaleidoscope, which possesses great beauty if the person be normal and of average morality. In such a case there is a cloudy-clearness (if the term may be used) tinged with tints and shades of varying colors, blending in strange and interesting combinations, appearing gradually from previous combinations, and sinking gradually into new ones.

To the observer of the aura the term “opalescent” instinctly presents itself, for there is a striking resemblance to the opaline peculiar play of colors of delicate tints and shades in a body of pearly or milky hue. Color shades into color, tint into tint, hue into hue, as in the color scale of the spectrum of which the rainbow is the most familiar example. But the rainbow or spectrum lacks the peculiar semi-transparency of the auric colors, and also the constantly changing and dissolving body of colors of the aura.

At this point, I wish to call your attention to a phase of the aura which I purposely passed over in the preceding chapters. I allude to the phase of the aura which presents the “pearly” appearance of the opalescent body, which we have just noted. This appearance is manifested neither by any of the mental or emotional states, nor is it the prana-aura or vital force which I have described in a previous chapter. It is the manifestation of what is known to occultists as “etheric substance,” and is a very interesting feature of the auric phenomena.

This etheric substance, which manifests this peculiar radiance in the body of the aura, composes that which is called by some occultists “the astral body,” but this latter term is also employed in another sense, and I prefer to use the term “etheric double” to indicate what some others know as “the astral body.” Etheric substance is much finer form of substance than that which composes the physical body. It is really matter in a very high degree of vibration—much higher than even the ultra-gaseous matter of physical substance. It may be sensed, ordinarily, only on the astral plane, which is its own particular plane of activity.

The etheric double, composed of this etheric substance, is the exact counterpart of its physical counterpart—the ordinary physical body of the individual—although it is capable of great expansion or shrinking in space. Like the physical body it radiates an aura, and this combining with the other forms of the auric body, gives to it its peculiar pearly appearance, which is the background of its opalescence previously noted.

The etheric double explains the phenomenon of spectral appearances or ghosts, for it persists for a time after the death of the physical body, and under some conditions becomes visible to the ordinary sight. It sometimes is projected from the physical body, and at such times appears as an apparition of the living, of which there are many cases recorded by the societies investigating psychical subjects.

The etheric double, or astral body, is referred to here, however, merely to explain the peculiar pearly tint of the background, or body, of the aura, in and through which the mental and emotional auric colors play and move. It may interest you, however, to know that this phase of aura is always present around and about a “ghost” or dematerialized disembodied soul, or “spirit” as common usage terms it.

The aura of the wide-awake person is, of course, far more active and more deeply colored than is that of the person in reverie, dream, or sleep. And, again the aura of the person manifesting a high degree of mental activity, or strong feeling or passion, is still brighter and deeper than the ordinary person performing his daily routine work. In the state of anger, or love-passion, for instance, the aura is violently disturbed, deep shades of color whirling and swirling in the depths and surface of the auric body. Lightning-like flashes shoot forth and great bodies of lurid smoky clouds fly on the surface. Looking into the aura of a man wild with rage and passion, is like peering into Inferno. The astral plane, in the region of a lynching mob, or other body of persons filled with rage, becomes a frightful scene of auric radiation.

A person filled with the emotion of pure love, fills his aura with the most beautiful tints and shades of high rosy color, and to behold the same is a pleasure fully appreciated by the occultist. A church filled with persons of a high devotional ideality, is also a beautiful place, by reason of the mingling of auric violet-blue vibrations of those therein assembled. The atmosphere of a prison is most depressing and presents a most unpleasant appearance to one possessing the astral vision. Likewise the astral atmosphere of an abode of vice and passion, becomes really physically nauseating to the occultist of high ideals and taste. Such scenes on the astral plane are avoided by all true occultists, except when the call of duty leads them to visit them to give aid and help.

There are two distinct features connected with the auric coloring of every person. The first is the coloring resulting from the more habitual thoughts and feelings of the person—from his character, in fact; while the second is the coloring resulting from the particular feelings, or thoughts, manifested by him at that particular moment or time.