The human body exists in a sea of energy and is itself surrounded by a globe of energy, the “aura,” says former NASA physicist Barbara Ann Brennan. Now a healer, teacher, and author, Brennan, fifty-one, says that she has been healing illness through the aura, or “human energy field,” for more than fifteen years.
In her first book, Hands of Light, she describes her vision of the auric field and explains how to work with it. Apparently, people are getting the message. Hands of Light, at first self-published, is now a Bantam book. Approximately 135,000 copies have been distributed in English alone, and the book is published in seven other languages. Brennan’s healing message has found voice in much of the mainstream press, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Self magazine. The Chronicle called Hands of Light “the definitive work on psychic healing. “Her next book, Light Emerging, will further detail her healing work and ongoing discoveries.
Brennan hopes to influence the conventional medical community, which has a long way to go before accepting the existence of energy fields. “I know about the aura field,” says William Jarvis, Ph.D., a professor at the Loma Linda School of Medicine in California and a volunteer on the National Council Against Health Fraud. “It doesn’t exist.”
Jarvis contends that people who claim to see auras are being fooled by retina fatigue: a viewer stares at a subject; the subject then moves away but the image is retained on the retina for a few moments. But how can I develop my psychic powers? Brennan counters that she easily distinguishes aura reading from retina fatigue. She instructs students to look away at a blank wall after staring at the subject. If they still see a haze, they are experiencing retina fatigue. With her method of “seeing” she can detect physical and emotional problems, she says.
Critics and skeptics abound, but Brennan has convinced some medical practitioners, such as Marty Minniti Hill, a critical care nurse from Philadelphia and president of Skilled Nursing, Inc., a Flourtown, Pennsylvania, company that brokers nurses services to hospitals and intensive care units. At a healing workshop several years ago Hill volunteered to let Brennan work on her. Brennan’s healing technique, which looks like a laying on of hands, triggered a rush of energy, says Hill: “I thought about the world and world peace, and the origins of disease.”
Later, in private conversation, Brennan told Hill that she had seen something to check. She drew a sketch of Hill’s cervix, indicating trouble spots at “12 o’clock and 3 o’clock,” Hill recalls, using the jargon of the medical community. Hill had had a Pap test-a few months earlier, but she went back to her doctor after Brennan’s examination. This time the test revealed dysplasia, the presence of precancerous cells. A biopsy confirmed unusual cell growth at 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock. Hill’s doctor recommended laser surgery, among other procedures, but Hill opted for treatment with Brennan, which involved physical hands-on work that “balanced and cleansed the aura.” Six weeks later another biopsy was done. This time there was no abnormality, and Pap test results were negative.
“The physicians asked themselves, Did we have the right tissue samples? They did anything they could to say, ‘This can’t be real,’” says Hill. Through more work with Brennan and through therapy, Hill came to believe that her problem originated in guilt feelings about a terminated pregnancy and detachment from her femininity and sensual feelings.
During a healing session for George Sarant, M.D., formerly with the department of emergency medical care at Doctors’ Hospital, New York City, and currently resident in psychiatry at Bronx Municipal Hospital, Brennan saw discoloration in the heart area. Sarant informed her of past heart surgery. “Part of my heart tissue had died. I believe that she was seeing this abnormality,” says Sarant.
Brennan says that she has seen tumors, heart disease, acute hepatitis, and a host of other problems by reading the human energy field. She sees at least seven layers to the aura, which correspond to the seven main “chakras,” or energy centers, located in the body. Illness, she says, begins in the auric field at the level where people carry their belief systems and can, if not treated there, manifest in the body.
Having put aside her one-on-one healing practice, Brennan is dedicated to teaching at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing in East Hampton, New York. During the winter months as many as two hundred students come from throughout the world to learn her techniques, which including seeing and feeling the aura and the hands-on practice of chelation (“charging” and “clearing” the aura of psychic debris by the laying on of hands). She teaches “high sense perception” healing, which shows the student how to visualize the subject’s energy field that surrounds the body. The past year’s freshman class was made up of 105 students, five of whom were M.D.’s.
Brennan began to see auras as a child on the Wisconsin farm where she grew up. “I saw energy around trees and animals. It was a kind of haze around things,” she recalls. “When I sat still in the woods, the animals would walk on my feet,” says the slightly built, blond-haired Brennan. It never occurred her to describe those experiences to others–she believed that everyone could “see.” The family was more concerned with survival than esoteric matters.
Although they belonged to a branch of the Evangelical church, Brennan’s family was not particularly religious. She does recall making a spiritual commitment while spending a week at a church camp: “They asked, ‘Who will give their life to Christ?’ I went up to the front of the room. I took it very seriously.”
During high school, Brennan’s experience of seeing energy faded as she became interested in schoolwork. She excelled in art and physics, and chose to commit herself to the latter “because it was harder.” She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in upper atmospheric physics, then went on to NASA. She was with the organization during its heyday in the 1960s.
As part of her work for the space agency, Brennan studied the reflection of sunlight from various surfaces: cloud cover, the Amazon jungle, the Pacific Ocean, and the Arctic. To test instrumentation, pilots often had to fly at angles. She recalls, “I was once in a plane that was flying on its side, and my feet straddled a window that looked down on the North Sea. I thought to myself, perhaps this is a dangerous job.”
Until the late 1960s, Brennan lived in the quantitative world of scientific theorems. As the social climate began to change, she became interested in the issues of the day. Says Brennan, “In Wisconsin, there were no blacks, there were no Jews. Then, I was only aware of being poor.”
It was a different world in her new home, Washington, D.C., a predominantly black city. Women in the consciousness-raising support groups she sought out didn’t wholly endorse Brennan’s NASA connections. “People asked me, ‘How can you work for this evil organization?’” she laughs. “I thought I had done well for myself, being from the farm and coming as far as I had.” But in 1971 she cut her ties with NASA. She was tired of the relentless circle of doing research that would get money so that more research could be done. “I became disillusioned,” she says.
Brennan and her husband at the time planned a long sailing trip. They ended up going to Yucatan in Mexico, in a Volkswagen bus. During their year there, Brennan had a baby daughter and suffered through a change in lifestyle. “i went from NASA to being pregnant in a country where I didn’t speak the language,” she says. “It was rough.” Meditation kept her moving forward, she remembers. “It was in Mexico that I made a spiritual link. I would climb out on the roof and meditate every day without fail.”
The family moved back to Washington, where Brennan studied then began to practice and teach bioenergetics and core energetics, bodywork therapies that release emotion through movement. She became a counselor and continued to meditate. She says that visions eventually accompanied her meditations–”incredible, beautiful visions”–and that those experiences answered a deep longing. “I’ve always been interested in how the world works and in trying to find the answer to ‘Why?’ I looked to science, but it taught me ‘how’. I looked to philosophy, but it taught me ‘what’. Meditation finally answered the ‘why’. It was a time for exploring inner space.”
As her counseling work continued, she says, she began to have spontaneous visions of her patients’ energy fields. She remembered her childhood experiences of seeing a haze around the trees and animals on her parents’ farm. She also began to see clients’ “past lives.”
The experiences were both fascinating and frightening, she says. “I had come to something very powerful, and I knew I needed help with it. I started praying for help.” Help came in the form of a spiritual experience one night while camping in Maryland: someone called her name and she awoke, but no one was there. She says that the voice called twice more, and that she then had a deeper experience as she looked at the stars. Not long after, she went to the Pathwork, a spiritual community in Phoenicia, New York, where the writings channeled by resident spiritualist Eva Pierrakos are studied. Brennan says she was comforted that John Pierrakos, Eva’s husband, also saw aurus. She had someone she could talk to after being “isolated with this for years.”
Brennan, newly divorced, lived in the spiritual community for nine years, initially assuming such duties as assistant kitchen manager. She says that the change was a challenge: “I went from scientist to therapist to pot washer.” She had given up her outside practices to concentrate on her spiritual work. She eventually became a “senior helper” at the community, teaching core energetics and other healing practices.
Today Brennan, who has remarried, says that she communicates with spirit guides and consults often with one named Heyoan. She also works with a technique called “internal viewing,” which, she says, allows her to see inside the body. In Hands of Light she writes about sightings of tumors, blood cell abnormalities such as leukemia, and bone problems.
Science cannot yet explain many of the concepts that Brennan teaches, but she says she is working toward the day when her ideas can be validated scientifically. She encourages people to be open-minded until then. “As a scientist, I can’t deny the phenomenon just because it doesn’t fit rational thinking,” says Brennan. “I see science as making observations to test theory that then becomes accpeted as physical law. But laws are limited by equipment that a scientist can build; they are limited by the five senses. A true scientist would not deny the phenomenon, but rather would acknowledge that we can’t explain it yet.” Brennan envisions equipment being built to analyze the aura the same way machines currently test the physical state of the body.
Brennan has already participated in several experiments. In the late 1970s she worked with a group of scientists at Drexel University in Philedelphia to try to effect a change in a small, 2-milliwatt laser beam without touching it or using heat or wind. She says that she and another psychic were able to make a measured amount of light from the beam decreased in brightness. The goal was to be able to repeat it at will, which Brennan was able to do. Another piece of equipment was needed,
however, for the next stage, and at that point the experiment was canceled for lack of funds.
Arguing about what phenomena are valid is an empty exercise, asserts Brennan. She doesn’t ask whether something is real as much as whether it is useful. “We can take responsibility and learn how to heal,” she says. “There is a problem in this culture–we dissociate from the earth and the body and then depend on someone else to tell us what to do.” She goes on to explain that healing is remebering who we are, remembering that we are one with and part of God, the “life force” or any other term we want to use for spiritual energy and power. Conversely, illness comes from “forgetting,” and is rooted in fear. Love, Brennan says, is the basis of healing.
Brennan contends that all illness begins when the “creative force” is blocked. This entity, she says, is in the present, “the unfolding moment.” She adds, “The creative act is expressing the self through every part of life in the now. Illness is a blocking of this creative force.” The blockages begin in our belief system and may eventually manifest in all levels of the auric body.
Brennan is specific about what she sees in the auric field. She says that the lower levels are dense, and the first, third, fifth, and seventh layers have definite structure. The ones between are composed of fluid-like substances. The first layer of the auric field, which is closest to the body, is the layer that revels our physical sensations, our connection to the earth, and our will to live. To Brennan, this layer looks like a web of tiny blue lines. The second layer is related to our emotions and to our sensuality. It is in this layer that Brennan sees the colors that are frequently associated with auric readings: red (first chakra); orange (second chakra); yellow (third chakra); green (fourth chakra); sky blue (fifth chakra); indigo (sixth chakra); and violet-white (seventh chakra). The third layer of the aura is associated with our thoughts and mental processes. To Brennan, this layer is mostly yellow and reveals thought forms as blobs of varying brightness and form. The fourth layer is related to love of others and the world, and carries colors similar to the second layer, except that it has a rose tint. People in love, she says, send each other arcs of rose-colored energy. The fifth layer has to do with giving and receiving, “speaking your truth,” and “connection to divine will.” This layer looks to Brennan like a photographic negative. It is a blueprint of the physical body. The sixth layer is the level at which we experience spiritual ecstasy. This level, to Brennan, looks like shimmering light composed of pastel colors. The seventh layer is an integration of spirituality and personality, the connection to God or to a creative life force. The outer form of this layer is an egg shape around the body that contains all the other layers. It is composed of tiny threads of golden-silver and also contains a grid structure of the body. Within these seven layers, Brennan sees current traumas and belief systems, as well as past-life events.
Brennan says she also sees the seven main chakras, located at the front and back of the body. Each chakra center has a spinning vortex that relates to one’s physical and emotional characteristics.
The ability to perceive the body this way could dramatically change conventional medical thinking. “With high sense perception, the healer can see the disease in the auric field before it happens in the body,” says Brennan, “and can then set the field the way a physician would set a bone.” Her goal is to add another dimension to medical science so that it can truly become preventive.
Everyone like a good show. Brennan, like other healers, has been invited by professional skeptic and magician The Amazing Randi, as well as others in the entertainment world, to do healing demonstrations. She was a guest on the television show “Geraldo” because she hoped to take her message to a national audience, but she says she was given little time to explain her philisophy. She adds that Geraldo Rivera was highly skeptical, almost contentious. He asked her to touch his shoulder, after which he told the audience that nothing happened. “What does that prove?” Brennan asks, “That there was no healing energy or that he can’t feel?”
When Brennan reads an auric field, she appears to be looking at the body but actually sees much more than the physical. At times her gaze focuses on points that surround the body. Her healing modality is the laying on of hands, and she actually touches the body and, she claims, the auric layers that surrounds it. Because each layer holds unique information, Brennan teaches students to work on each one.
Out of curiosity, I asked Brennan to read my aura. She agreed, and began by telling me that my left ovary needed energy. This disconcerting information verified the sensitivity I had been feeling in that area, although my gynecologist found nothing unusual during my annual examination. “These are things in the energy field,” Brennan explained. “A doctor would not yet see it.”
She told me that an energy block in the second chakra was related to my relationship with my father. She said she could “feel” my father in my energy field and she described our relationship. He was not overtly cruel to me, but he did not acknowledge me, especially when I was growing up and becoming a sensual female. There were blocks and emotional distance in our relationship. Brennan advised me to “get in touch with the fecund eart” and to “move that area”–to dance, to exercise, to “send warm thoughts” to the area. She also talked about the deep-rooted anger that can accompany such a parent-child relationship. She cautioned me against working to achieve just for my father and straining for his attention.
She did not feel my mother in my energy field and asked if I was an orphan. “No,” I replied. “But my mother was.”
Next she focused on my solar plexus–the third chakra. She saw some digestive problems of which I was more concretely aware. Indeed, I had been seeing a holistic physician since the fall of 1988 for what was diagnosed as hypoglycemia and a yeast problem, which we began to heal through supplements and diet. The digestive problems cleared up.
As Brennan explains it, what was happening in me was that energy related to sensuality and emotions was being blocked in the second chakra, creating an imbalance. The third chakra was then being called on to compensate. It was overworked and weak. She warned me that the imbalance, if left untreated, could eventually create an ulcer.
She went on to read my “purpose in this incaranation” and saw me surrounded by children “who didn’t get what they needed.” Interestingly, for the past three and a half years I had done volunteer work with a youth organization that ran support groups for teenagers coping with alcoholism and other issues.