According to ancient esoteric thought, we not only have a physical body, but also subtle or energetic bodies surrounding the physical body.
These subtle bodies are visually perceptible to certain very sensitive people. In the modern era, Kirlian photography has been used to support the classic notion of the subtle bodies. These bodies form 'layers' to the aura, rather like the layers of an onion. In energetic medicine, we are concerned not only with the health, strength and balance of the physical body, but also with the health, strength and balance of the subtle or energetic bodies. In fact, problems with the subtle bodies often precede some kind of physical expression of the problem.
Moving outwards from the physical body, there are the following 'layers' to the aura.
The Etheric body
This is the subtle energetic body that interfaces closely with the physical body, chakras and meridians. It is where the energetic growth template is held and assists with the on-going development of cellular growth of our body. The etheric body can sometimes be detected with the naked eye when someone stands next to a dark wall. It is the subtle light close to the physical body and has the most physicality of all the subtle bodies. It vibrates at a slightly higher rate than the physical body.
The Astral body
This body is often referred to as the emotional body and is where we hold our emotions and desires. These emotions can often take on a life of their own and can attract other like energies both positive and negative for our life; with the result that we carry not only our own emotions but others as well. This subtle body vibrates at a different rate than the more physical etheric body.
The Mental body
The mental body is the subtle body that is closely involved in the energy of our thoughts, ideas and creativity. It vibrates at a different frequency than the astral or etheric bodies.
The Spiritual or Causal body
The Spiritual or Causal body is considered by eastern thought to be the subtle body that holds a record of past-life memories or the karma of the soul. This is the subtle body where the higher-self operates from and oversees the higher perspective of our soul's journey. It is the level from which our true inner knowing flows.
Click The Subtle Bodies - Which Essences? to learn what essences are best suited for each subtle body.