My aura is so pretty…


What is the connection between aura and calming the waves of your mind?  Read on for the unexpected answer!

Studying the aura is a fairly common thing in various New Age circles, and these people take it quite literally. I have briefly seen my own, but I still believe it is just a way for the mind to visualize something that is really invisible.

Auras also appear in entertainment.  In the online game City of Heroes auras are available to high-level characters, and can be subtle or quite remarkable.  In Japanese anime, it is not uncommon to use auras to illustrate strong emotions or a contest of wills.  They are also used to animate magic or psychic powers.

But unfortunately the aura I am writing about today is my migraine aura.  Not all migraine patients have it, but for me it is actually the most spectacular part of the migraine.  As usual with migraine aura, it starts as a small point, kind of like the after-image after you have accidentally seen a reflection of the sun.  Gradually over a period of (in my case) a quarter of an hour to half an hour, it expands. It takes form of a circle (although in my case I seem to only be able to see the left side clearly) and it looks to me like it is made of many glittering shards.  Tiny shards, in many colors, hanging restlessly suspended in the air, making up the bright portal of the aura.

In the center is absolute nothingness.  Not black, not gray, just nothing. When the hole is small, my brain just pastes whatever is around int the hole, as if it abhors a vacuum. So when I look at a person’s face at that time, they seem to miss their right eye.  There is just no eye there.  The face is otherwise there, but the eye is missing.  Creepy!  Today it broke out on my way from the bus to work, and by the time I came to the office, it had advanced to the point where I was surprised to see that someone had removed the door handle from the locked door into our apartment.  Then I remembered the missing eyes from earlier episodes, and of course the door handle was there, it was just invisible when I looked at it.

I have used the image of my aura in at least one fantasy story I wrote.  I think it was “Shadow of Cneko” but it would take more time than it is worth to read through it looking.  It may have been a similar story, or both.  It certainly looks like something that could take you to a different world, once it has grown large enough:  A glittering portal surrounding a hole of absolute nothingness. Not the darkness you see when you close your eyes, but a lack of the very sense of vision. As if part of your brain is no longer aware that sight exists.  If you have not seen it, then I don’t think anything I say can get it across.  Our brain always creates images, but how to you imagine not being able to see a certain part of what is in front of you?

I have actually only had migraine a few times in my life!  I am lucky in that regard.  And I think I have had a spectacular aura every time.  Some people have no aura, just the pain.  For me, the aura comes far ahead of the rest. The first time I had migraine, I was a fairly young adult.  I had never had it before and only knew that migraine was a headache, which I did not have. Only a glittering portal to nothingness.  I was sure that my brain was severely damaged by stroke or a formerly hidden tumor.  At that time I lived only minutes’ walk from a family that were close friends, and I somehow made my way there.  They managed to get a doctor.  Neither I nor they had any idea that it was migraine. The doctor arrived after the aura was fading but before the headache had set in.  The queasiness may have started, I am not sure.  The doctor thought it was stress and prescribed some relaxant that would probably have fetched me a decent amount at the black market.  I don’t think I ever fetched it.  The “real” migraine set in shortly after, and I did not have much doubt after that what I experienced.

Today followed the same pattern, except I knew what was coming.  It was years since last time, but today I was careless. Reading in direct sunlight is the only thing I know that will set it off. The sky was lightly clouded and I thought it would be OK, especially since I have glasses that automatically darken in the sun.  I have barely had an attack after I bought them.  But today I had.

First thing after I came to the office, I put on my headphones and started playing LifeFlow 8, a brainwave entrainment track.  Until just recently, it was believed that migraine originated with the blood vessels in the cranium.  But today we know that the start of the attack is in the actual neurons, where a wave of intense activity arises and gradually spreads.  This makes me think it may be vaguely related to epilepsy, which also has some kind of aura warning in some people, but is far more drastic of course.  In any case, brain waves is something I have been experimenting with this spring and summer.  I reasoned that if I could create a standing wave in by brain through the use of the sound track, this would compete with the spreading wave of the migraine.

I would call the result a partial success.  The nausea and accompanying gut wrenching was quite unpleasant, but I have had worse. And the pain was a bit distracting, but I was able to do my work.  (Admittedly, this particular work is so familiar I could probably do it while too drunk to walk unaided. Not that I ever intend to find out.)  I am also lucky in that I am fairly resistant to moderate pain, although intense pain affects me like other men.  Still, I will say that this particular migraine attack was weaker than those I have had before.

To further put things into perspective, I had a surprise visit by a coworker who had just returned from 4 months of cancer treatment.  I’d pick the migraine, thank you very much.  And if you have a problem with migraine too, you may want to learn about brainwave entrainment and see if it can help you as well.  Especially if you don’t have a pretty aura, but even so, I think I will sacrifice the pretty if I can avoid the queasiness, malaise and hours of headache.  After all, I can always see a pretty aura in City of Heroes if it is that important…