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Image Removed by request of Barbara Brennan School of Healing
The Physical Etheric Body as it appears to clairvoyant perception; showing chakras
[by Barbara Ann Brennan, Hands of Light].  Note the lines of energy flow and the chakras.

Energy-field body: The Etheric Body

Expression of Consciousness: Physical sensation

Statement Consciousness makes: "I feel physically"
Consciousness is expressed in terms of sensations like physical pleasure or pain.

Expression of Health: Natural metabolism of of energy, which maintains structure and function of etheric body; yin/yang balanced, "we're OK"

Expression of Disease: Physical pain - Tangles, breaks or disruptions in the etheric layer (imbalance of yin/yang, overcharge in solar plexus

Plane of existence: Physical Plane

Chakra: Base (Coccygeal) (or Muladhara)

colour: Blueish


Barbara Brennan on the Etheric Body

The Etheric Body (First Layer)

"The etheric body (from "ether" the state between energy and matter) is composed of tiny energy lines "like a sparkling web of light beams" similar to the lines on a television screen. It has the same structure as the physical body including all the anatomical parts and all the organs.

The etheric body consists of a definite structure of lines of force, or energy matrix, upon which the physical matter of the body tissues is shaped and anchored. The physical tissues exist as such only because of the vital field behind them; that is, the field is prior to, not a result of, the physical body. This relationship has been supported in the observations of plant growth by Dr. John Pierrakos and myself. Through the use of High Sense Perception, we observed that an energy field matrix in the shape of a leaf is projected by the plant prior to the growth of a leaf, and then the leaf grows into that already existing form.

The web-like structure of the etheric body is in constant motion. To clairvoyant vision, sparks of bluish-white light move along its energy lines throughout the entire dense physical body. The etheric body extends from one quarter to two inches beyond the physical body and pulsates about 15-20 cycles per minute.

The color of the etheric body varies from light blue to gray. The light blue color has been connected to a finer form than the gray. That is, a more sensitive person with a sensitive body will tend to have a bluish first layer whereas a more athletic, robust type of person will tend to have a more grayish etheric body. All the chakras of this layer are the same color as the body. That is, they will also range between blue to gray in color. The chakras look like vortices made of a net of light, just like the rest of the etheric body. One can perceive all the organs of the physical body, but they are formed of this scintillating bluish light. As in the leaf's energy system, this etheric structure sets up the matrix for the cells to grow; i.e., the cells of the body grow along the lines of energy of the etheric matrix, and that matrix is there before the cells grow. If one were to isolate the etheric body and look only at it, it would look like a man or woman made of bluish lines of light in constant scintillation, rather like Spiderman.

By observing the shoulder of someone in dim light against a plain white or plain black or dark blue background, you may be able to see the pulsations of this etheric body. The pulsation rises, say at the shoulder, and then makes its way down the arm, like a wave. If you look more closely, there appears to be a blank space between the shoulder and the blue hazy light; then there is a layer of brighter blue haze that slowly fades as it extends from the body. But be aware that as soon as you see it, it will be gone, because it moves so fast. It will have pulsated down the arm by the time you take a second look to check yourself out. Try again. You will catch the next pulsation."

from Barbara Brennan, Hands of Light pp.49-50

My comments on the Etheric Body

What Barbara Brennan terms the "Etheric body" I would understand as the Physical Etheric Body, the lowest resonance of the Etheric Body.  Hence the adjective "physical", to distinguish it from higher etheric bodies. It was originally described by the Theosophists like C. W. Leadbeater and Annie Besant (Adyar School), and following them by Rudolph Steiner (as the formative force body), by Alice Bailey, and many others. It could be presumed to be the locus of the lowest, densest form of ch'i energy, which is the immediate life force that sustains the body from moment to moment.

Clairvoyantly, this etheric body is usually described as a blue, grey, or violety colour, although accounts by different psychics differ.

Along with the higher Etheric bodies, it is also the locus of the "subtle anatomy" of chakras, nadis, meridians, etc, This is the body that responds to homoeopathy, Reiki, and other alternative treatments.  Western materialistic medicine criticises these alternative medicines, because it cannot explain them in terms of the gross material body, and is unable to recognise the existence of more subtle bodies in or upon which these therapies do work.

The following table presents some associations and correspondences with the Etheric body; some of which are quite close, others more abstract.

Some correspondences regarding the Lower Etheric Body
Philosophy/Worldview Paradigmatic Approach Term Comments
Vedanta Subtle body prana-maya-kosha The "sheath" or kosha of prana or vitality, can be associated with the etheric formative bodies in general, as well as with the Etheric proper and Lower Etheric in particular.
Adyar Theosophy Subtle body Subtle Physical Body The Etheric is considered in theosophy to pertain to the subtle or fine part of the Physical Plane. Note that Blavatsky used the terms Astral Double and Linga Sharira rather than "Etheric Body". She also considered Prana a separate principle above the Linga Sharira.
Rudolph Steiner Subtle body Etheric Body Steiner associates the Etheric body variously with feeling, will, the plant kingdom, the Cosmic Christ, etc etc.
A. R. Colton Subtle body The Mental Body One of the four mundane bodies, along with the physical, lower etheric, and emotional.
R. Beesley Subtle body The Mental Body Described as yellow in colour, the body of thought and mental life, wisdom and knowledge.
J. Ostrom Subtle body Lower Mental Auric Body Yellow in colour, pertains to everday conscious thought. In those intellectually edeveloped it is a bright and wide band, 4 to 20 cm wide, especially in the region of the head.
Semnani (Latifa) Sufism 1. "Adam of your being" Described as in the form of the body, a direct influx from the spiritual realm; an embryonic mould of the new spiritual body. Colour black or smokey grey. All of Semnani' Latifa pertain to the development of a higher spiritual body orr bodies; in this they are distinct from the etheric auras which are innate, but could be taken as the actualisation of those bodies or auras.
Vajrayana - Vayus Tantra Earth, Water, and Fire element Vayus These are the vayus that support the physical body.
Modern Hermetic and Astrological Elements Hermetica The Fire Element?? Also associated with the magickal instrument of the wand, Tarot suite of clubs, tattwa of fire, etc
Hermetic Kabbalah Sefirot and Astrological Planet Hermetica Malkut / Earth alternatively - Fire? of Malkhut Malkhut or Kingdom is associated with the physical universe (universe of Asiyah), but it can also be considered the archetype immediately behind the physical. Alternatively this auric body could simply be asosciated with one of the four quarters of Malkhut, these being all spheres of mundane consciousness.
Ken Wilber Psycho-spiritual development Pleromatic Wilber would consider the etheric body (through its equivalent the prana maya kosha) a higher stage than the Pleromatic - I disagree. See instead correspondences with Eric Jantsch's evolution diagram (below)
Eric Jantsch Evolution Metabolic Mind These are stages of organic consciousness that precede the development of the Neural Mind

physical body emotional body


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original content by M.Alan Kazlev
page created 6 December 1998, format upgraded 16 January 2009
aura artwork © Bantam Books