The Etheric Body is only one of the six subtle bodies we all have. It serves many important functions. For example, the seven primary chakras are located in the Etheric Body and roughly align with the spine from the base to the crown of the head.
When I teach certain classes, I start off with the question, “Are you aware that you have several bodies?” This immediately grabs everyone’s attention. Yes, it’s true that we humans possess two and even more bodies. These additional “bodies” are considered to be the non-physical subtle bodies that are interactively linked to corresponding planes of existence. The first of these subtle bodies is the Etheric Body. Etheric comes from the word Ether which means “the state between energy and matter.” The Etheric Body is considered the vehicle for Prana or Life Force Energy from the sun which keeps us alive.
In esoteric writings by Arthur E. Powell, C. W. Leadbeater, and Annie Besant, the Etheric Body has been called by various names such as The Etheric Double, Etheric Template, and The Vital Body. It is less dense than the physical body vibrating at a much faster rate of frequency. This subtle body serves as the blueprint for the physical body meaning it provides a framework of formative energies upon which the physical form is built.
The Etheric Body occupies the same space as the Physical Body. It permeates the physical body and can be seen as a radiant whitish-blue energy by those trained in viewing the aura such as clairvoyants and energy healers. It extends out ranging from 1/4 inch to 1 inch beyond the surface of the skin. This radiant energy increases and decreases in size, and when observed, will periodically flare out at certain areas responding to changes in thoughts and emotions.
Illustration: The Etheric Body of a Boy
The Etheric Body is considered to be broken down into two parts. The first is the etheric double; an exact duplicate which might be thought of as a photographic negative of our human body right down to the atoms, cells, tissues, muscles, and organs. The first part of the Etheric Body, as mentioned, also contains our chakras and many energy channels called meridians.
The second part of the Etheric Body is called the Aura. The aura is an egg-shaped electromagnetic field of luminous waves which surrounds us. Every person has an aura. The aura is comprised of moving colors and in a healthy person extends out roughly three feet from the physical body. The colors of the aura are in constant flux and are continually shaped and reshaped by patterns of thought and feeling. It can reflect our personalities, lifestyles, and physical condition. The aura also contains information about our past, present, and even the future lifetimes. You can find out more about how the aura provides this information in our Akashic Records Course at Imagine Spirit.
Individuals who have lost a limb sometimes complain that they can feel pain at the extremities where the limb once existed. This is because the etheric portion of the limb is not removed with the physical appendage and under certain conditions of stimulus, feeling sensations can be experienced in the missing limb.
The Etheric Body and Reincarnation
The Etheric Body plays an important part in determining the type of physical vehicle which an incarnating individual moves into. At death, The Etheric Body separates from the physical body. And like the physical body, it dies and decomposes in due course, releasing the “soul” to the Astral Body for the next stage of the soul’s never ending journey. This was demonstrated by a series of photographs taken by Hereward Carrington and John R. Meader in their book, Death: Its Causes and Phenomenon, 1912. In the first experiment of its kind, a certain Madam Baraduc granted the macabre permission to be photographed at death and in the hours afterward for the sake of science. Carrington and Meader set up a camera and did just that. Successive images show a whitish substance leaving the physic body and hovering for several hours over Madam Baraduc before completely disappearing.
(The complete series of photos is in the book by Susan J. Blackmore, Beyond the Body, 1992)