Vedic Tradition of India, Alice A. Bailey, Barbara Brennan, Packer and Roman
On this page, we summarize a variety of models of the human energy field. Visit our Subtle Energy Bodies page for a general discussion of the energy bodies or layers within the aura.
Vedic Tradition of India — The Five Koshas
Perhaps the earliest, and certainly the most influential, understandings of the human energy field come from the Vedic tradition of ancient India. Yoga and Ayurveda, which have become quite popular in the West, have introduced many people to the model of the five koshas.
In the Vedic understanding, everything in creation is considered to be an expression of one consciousness which manifests in many different forms. All of creation is said to be structured in layers. Human beings are said to exist on five levels or “koshas”. Kosha is translated as “sheath”, “layer” or “envelope”.
In energy healing terms, we can think of consciousness as vibrating with different frequencies and patterns, thus forming the koshas. Other models speak of the layers of the field as being constituted of universal energy. In the Vedic tradition, this universal energy is called “prana”, which is consciousness in motion as vital energy. (Read about the five koshas.)
The understanding of the nadis, kundalini energy and the chakras also come from the Vedic tradition.
Models in Alice A. Bailey’s Books
Alice A. Bailey wrote a number of books, reportedly with the help of an advanced master, Djwhal Kul, from whom she received ideas telepathically. Regardless of the source, her works are extremely influential with many energy healers, including both Barbara Brennan and Brugh Joy whose work has in turned influenced many students of healing.
The description of the energy field presented in Bailey’s works includes descriptions of the nadis and the major and minor chakras. These are presented with an evolutionary perspective, and her discussions include descriptions of various planes of existence, states of consciousness and stages in human evolution.
She describes four major “mechanisms” of human existence. She defines mechanisms as different aspects of the body or “form nature” through which the “soul” expresses itself. The four mechanisms are: the dense physical body, etheric energy body, astral or emotional body, mental body. These constitute that which is specific to the human experience.
Bailey also speaks of the soul and various planes of existence and energies which impact human life. The four mechanisms of Bailey refer to those aspects of life which are strictly human, whereas the soul and the other energies Bailey refers to would likely be considered to be spiritual. Usually descriptions of the energy anatomy include both the strictly human and spiritual energies that affect our lives.
Esoteric Healing and Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle contain descriptions of various types of energy which compose the human aura. By careful study, combined with ones own observations in doing energy healing, it is possible to gain tremendous insight through these books. (Read a description of Bailey’s four energy body model.)
Barbara Brennan’s Seven Layer Model
Barbara Brennan has popularized a 7 layer model of the energy field, described in her book Hands of Light. Each layer is structured of differing frequencies and kinds of energy and performs different functions. The three innermost layers, like the three lower chakras, are associated with our life as human beings — the physical, emotional and mental aspects of our being. The three outer layers, like the three upper chakras, are associated with the spiritual aspects of our being. The fourth layer, associated with the fourth chakra (at the heart), is the mediator between the inner and outer layers.
In Brennan’s model, the outer layers correspond with the spiritual aspect of our existence, and are actually part of other “realms” of existence where various beings such as angels exist. When working with these energies, healers are often aware of other beings participating in the healings. (Read about the seven layers.)
Relationship between chakras and layers. The seven chakras are often seen as related to seven energy bodies within the aura. It is as if the role of the chakras in “sorting out” specific energies in order to govern specific functions in the body generates a field of its own. Each major chakra is related to an “energy body” or “layer” of the human energy field, and yet, each chakra exists in all seven layers of the field. The appearance of the chakra would differ if viewed on each layer of the field. This includes the color of the chakra. Please note that this correspondence is limited as a model. Due to the interplay between chakras and subtle bodies, what is actually occurring is much more complex.
Duane Packer and Sanaya Roman — The Light Body
Duane Packer and Sanaya Roman have developed a number of tools and courses for spiritual growth which they say have been channeled from their guides, Orin and DaBen. Although their courses are primarily for spiritual growth, they do teach how to enliven and use certain energies for healing. The courses are not described as professional preparation for healing, but a number of healers have incorporated this knowledge in their healing work. We want to include reference to their work in order to give some idea of the many different ways that the energy field is described and some of the concepts which are emerging in modern times. It may be that these more current descriptions represent an evolution occurring within the human energy field.
In their Awakening Your Lightbody course, Packer and Roman help students enliven “vibrational energy body” centers and “light body” centers. While they do have some materials for working with the chakras, their emphasis is on these centers which they describe as being more subtle than the chakras. You could envision these centers as being deeper, more powerful “layer” of energy than the chakras, just as the sub-atomic level of reality is deeper and more powerful than the atomic level. Work on a deeper level affects all the more superficial levels.
The light body has seven vibrational energy body centers and three light body centers, for a total of ten centers. These centers are said to be awakening in human beings as higher energies are coming to our planet. The course helps awaken these centers through sounds, imagery, guided meditations and written exercises.