I recently wrote about synesthesia – and since it is mostly my friends and family that read this blog, I wasn’t surprised that those of you who responded were curious and entertained by the idea. Some of you had heard of the idea before and for some of you it was a new concept.
Someone commented about people seeing auras. Now, I have to admit, that I had never connected the two before. But I decide on the spur of the moment, when I responded to the comment, to admit, that yes, I also see auras. And I committed to writing about that sometime soon. So, here we are. I hope you’re still entertained and curious instead of horrified or praying for my soul.
You can imagine, that if I’ve rarely talked about synesthesia before, I have practically never spoken of auras. If you know me, you know that I am quite rational and practical. Why I, of all people, should have something as extraneous and other-dimensional as synesthesia or seeing auras, I have no idea. I guess maybe to help me – and maybe some of you – be open to the idea that there are other dimensions than what we rationale people can readily touch and see.
Just to be clear – I hate incense. I have no use for crystals. I have never seen a psychic or had my fortune read. I am a Presbyterian. I have an MBA degree. I live a very structured, time-managed life in suburbia. I am not your typical aura-seeing, pyschic-reading, crystal ball-consulting, long hair-flowing, tie-die-wearing new age follower. (Wow – lots of stereotypes there, huh?!)
I first learned about auras in 10th grade geometry class. Yes, geometry! There was a substitute teacher that day – and she pretty much fit the stereotype I outlined above. She evidently didn’t know much about geometry, so she skipped the day’s lesson and spoke of other topics – most of which I don’t remember. But then she started talking about auras. She said little children can usually see auras but that at some point along the way, people are told that they “can’t” see them and they start believing that and no longer see them. I immediately knew exactly what she meant. I saw auras but had never for one second distinguished them as separate from a person. I had never named it, or discussed it. But I definitely saw a ring of light around people and had never once paid attention to it or thought about it consciously.
I was vaguely curious about it, but even then, thought it was just too far out there to think too much about. I don’t remember discussing it with anyone at that point, although I have told a few people this story over the years.
Once I read briefly in a book about auras but didn’t get too far as the whole topic just made me uncomfortable. Really, you should try it. Google “auras” and you’ll see what I mean. Every site is just a little too new agey for me. I want someone as reasonable as I am to research and write about it so I can understand it without all the new age babble.
In the little bit I read years ago, I learned that almost everyone has a clear layer around them, then a yellow one, and then other colors from there. Maybe I just have a mild form of aura seeing, as I don’t see beyond the clear and yellow layers. And yes, they are alway there. But I hardly ever consciously think about it. Now and then, they’ll pop out at me when I am watching a particularly energetic speaker or sitting across from a friend at dinner. But most of the time, I don’t think about it.
So, are auras the energy our bodies give off? Maybe. Do the colors change as moods or health change? Maybe. I believe any of this is possible. I am actually a very open minded person (in spite of how this post may sound), but like so many people, I need it translated into a language I can understand – even though the evidence is right in front of my eyes. Literally.
I was going to do a little new research on auras for this post, but I couldn’t get past all the new-age sites. Except for one piece – taken from the Skeptic’s Dictionary. You can read the entire piece, but here’s the excerpt that I found most interesting:
In the October 2004 issue of Cognitive Neuropsychology (vol. 21 no. 7), Dr. Jamie Ward of University College London’s Psychology Department “documented a woman known as GW who could see colors like purple and blue in response to people she knew or their names when read to her,” a condition known as emotion-color synesthesia.
Synaesthesia is a condition found in 1 in 2000 people in which stimulation of one sense produces a response in one or more of the other senses. For example, people with synaesthesia may experience shapes with tastes or smells with sounds. It is thought to originate in the brain and some scientists believe it might be caused by a cross-wiring in the brain, for example between centres involved in emotional processing and smell perception. Synaesthesia is known to run in families.
Dr. Ward writes:
The ability of some people to see the coloured auras of others has held an important place in folklore and mysticism throughout the ages. Although many people claiming to have such powers could be charlatans, it is also conceivable that others are born with a gift of synaesthesia.GW does not believe she has mystical powers and has no interest in the occult, but it is not hard to imagine how, in a different age or culture, such an interpretation could arise.Rather than assuming that people give off auras or energy fields that can only be detected by rigged cameras or trained seers, we need only assume that the phenomenon of synaesthesia is taking place.
Some synesthetes perceive numbers or letters as having colors or days of the week as possessing personalities. A rare form of synaesthesia was discovered by Dr Melissa Saenz of the California Institute of Technology: people who hear sounds, such as tapping, beeping, or whirring, when they see things move or flash.
Thus, perhaps some cases of seeing auras can be explained by synesthesia rather than assuming that auras are energies given off by chakras or signs of delusion or fraud.
So– we are back where we started. Maybe there is a connection between my synesthesia and seeing auras! Can you believe that I had never connected them before? I think that it is because synesthesia seems rational (believe it or not! and at least they documented it on NPR!) and auras so out of the ordinary.
Have any of you had an experience with auras? Willing to share? Enlighten me? Open my mind a bit?
There are multiple morals to my story – maybe some I don’t fully understand yet. But at the very least – remember to ask your kids about what they learned from the substitute teacher last week. You might be surprised what they tell you.