The various levels of the aura, from the center to the perimeter, from above the head to below the feet, and from front to rear, have correspondences with the complete range of experience of the human psyche— throughout the different levels of consciousness as well as physically, through time and space.
Religions, spiritual philosophies and mystical schools have developed symbols which represent these levels of being. The Chakra system from the Eastern yoga tradition and the Tree of Life from Qabalah are two such symbols, each of which displays centers of power overlaid across the human energy field. These symbols provide us with a kind of algebra of the soul, by means of which we may not only conceive of the things of higher mysticism, but also maneuver and manipulate them.
These vortices correspond to different levels of consciousness and their corresponding planes of manifestation. If a given center is awake and functioning it will form a channel of ingress onto the corresponding inner plane, and between the inner function of mind and its natural sphere of life there will be balanced and healthy correspondence.
These energy centers do not actually exist anatomically, yet experience proves that a properly trained practitioner can, by means of visualizing these energy centers in the etheric double, induce flow and concentrate magnetic force within these locations.
Interestingly enough, these centers do approximately correspond to the glands of the endocrine system; therefore, stimulation of the centers has marked implications of the hormones secreted into the blood. This may be the secret which underlies the ancient conception of blood as the receptacle of the mind.
Foundations of Life
There is much in common between the Eastern and Western conceptions of the aura. Both schools maintain that energy feeds into the aura from two sources: spiritual energy from above and elemental energy from below.
Both schools also agree that this etheric body or aura is the link between mind and matter. Thus, in each tradition, the culture and conditioning of the aura is paramount, since the aura is the key to physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual health and power. One who is master of his own aura, it is said, is master of the entire universe.
The eastern tradition uses yoga to this end, aiming to affect the energy streams by a regime of strict diet and posture. Yoga techniques also manipulate the subconscious mind through visualization of the etheric currents in the aura, and by these means a yogi may gain conscious control over normally automatic functions such as the heartbeat and breath.
Yoga has tremendous effects upon both mind and body, yet the greatest results of this work are not merely physical nor merely psychological; indeed, through yoga one opens the whole being to higher psychism and mystical experience.
The Western tradition uses meditation slightly differently to the same ends, inducing changes in states of consciousness by means of visualization techniques. Meditation is used as a practice of concentrated and directed thinking designed to build up an attitude of the mind which can be held and sustained in mind with intense concentration. The magical imagination is trained to induce expanded states of awareness within which one gains access to the same infinite power that is at the disposal of the greatest yogis.
Lotus of the East
There are, however, fundamental differences in the aims of the yogis of the East and the Qabalists of the West. This is exemplified in the positioning of certain psychic centers as well in the principal meditation posture.
The traditional Eastern glyph displays a person sitting crosslegged with seven lotuses or wheels falling along the central line of his body. The bottom Chakra, known as the Root, is found at the base of the spine, and the highest one, known as the Crown, is situated at the top of the head.
The Root chakra is held to be the basal chakra of all, from whence the slumbering force of kundalini is called up. It is by that force that all the other chakras are vivified.
The Eastern yogi meditates in lotus position, with his feet tucked up so that they are either in close contact with or physically above the base of the spine. This effectively closes off the circuit from the elemental energy of the earth for the purpose of opening up exclusively to the higher spiritual forces.
The aim is to raise the kundalini from the Root chakra, which leads to a dramatic opening of consciousness, as the primordial force of the aura is sublimated from the physical into the spiritual. This technique is quite effective, but it demands a strict regime of seclusion and restriction.
Rose of the West
The Tree of life, on the other hand, shows a set of ten power centers in a triple column. The uppermost center, also known as the Crown, is outside of the body, above the head, while the lowest chakra, corresponding to the Earth or sphere of the four elements, is shown also outside of the body, beneath the feet.
The Western initiate is shown standing upright, receiving a current from the earth’s aura below, which rises into the personal auric system, while receiving another current from above— in each case representing a link with objectivity or the Universal. Neither center “belongs” to the individual, as the Root and Crown chakras do; they are instead points of access to transpersonal bands of energy outside of the individual which he “plugs into”, and from where he receives life force.
The Moon center is the lowest center falling inside of the body, and it is shown at the base of the spine. The current derived from the earth’s aura rises straight to the Moon center in the sacral plexus, and it is there that the magnetic flow becomes personal to the individual.
The Moon center is a transformer of the universal, elemental energy into personal magnetism. In the aura, this is the psychic center associated with the sexual organs, and so the energy manifests as primordial urges, needs and appetites.
While in the Eastern conception, the “kundalini” or primordial energy slumbers in the Root Chakra, which is to say within the energy field of the individual, in the Western conception, this energy is picked up from the very earth, and then transmuted into sexual energy. From there, the power needs to be raised yet further to the heart center— that is from the personal, sexual magnetism to the mid-point, whereby though the building of images subject to will it can be consciously controlled and directed to higher aims of the spirit.