Rainbow Body: Outline

Part 1. East Is East and West Is West

  • Deals with the early evolution of the chakra system in South Asia
  • Develops useful definitions of key Sanskrit terms, such as Tantra, yoga, chakra, nadi, and kundalini
  • Indicates what I mean by Eastern and Western chakra systems
  • Provides guidelines for classifying such systems

Part 2. Esoteric Matrix: The Chakra Teachings of H. P. Blavatsky (1879–91)

  • Demonstrates the key role played by Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society  in transmitting Eastern teachings on the chakras to the West—and radically altering them in the process

Part 3. Whirling Wheels: Theosophical Clairvoyance (1890s–1920s)

  • Details the contributions of Theosophists such as Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater to the Western chakra system
  • Deals with Rudolf Steiner and lesser known figures, such as Rama Prasad and Ella Adelia Fletcher, who produced early manuals of yoga practice

Part 4. Chromotherapy: Science of Rays, Colors, and Glands (1920s–1950s)

  • Provides original research on how the rainbow colors and the endocrine glands became associated with the Western chakra system
  • Treats Alice Bailey and Edgar Cayce, as well as relatively unknown figures, such as Ivah Bergh Whitten, S. G. J. Ouseley, and the mysterious American yogini Cajzoran Ali, whose true name and story are revealed here for the first time

Part 5. Scholars and Swamis and Shrinks, Oh My! (1930s–70s)

  • Presents contributions to the evolution of the Western chakra system by European and American scholars, such as Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, who were inspired by Sir John Woodroffe’s famous book, The Serpent Power, first published in 1919
  • Deals with two Indian spiritual teachers who had a profound effect on the development of the list of chakra qualities familiar from many New Age books: Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Aurobindo
  • Focuses on the Esalen Institute’s human potential movement, a loose-knit band of psychologists, philosophers, and bodyworkers—including Esalen’s founder, Michael Murphy—who were instrumental in formulating the standard list of chakra qualities
  • Announces the birth of the Western chakra system as we know it, in June 1977, a result of Esalen’s unique concatenation of Eastern mysticism, Western occultism, and European/American psychology

Part 6. Light-Wheels Roll On (1980s and Beyond)

  • Deals with the fallout of the birth of the Western chakra system, such as several competing systems, now forgotten
  • Details the controversies caused by differing numbers, names, locations, colors, and functions in these systems and how they were resolved by writers such as Anodea Judith (Wheels of Life), who began consolidating information from various systems and reinforce the hegemony of the system we now consider traditional
  • Closes with speculations on what could be considered the last stage in the development of the Western chakra system—the codifying of esoteric teachings on chakras, subtle bodies, and planes by Barbara Brennan
  • Speculates on the use of the chakras in astral projection