I had heard the word “aura” thrown around here and there. Both the loose definition that suggested a sort of atmospheric vibe — and the more technical sense referring to a field of energy that emanates from living creatures. But what exactly was an aura? Who or what has one? And what do they mean? Despite the ubiquity of talk about auras, they were still an enigma to me.

“Is it a color? A ball of energy? An extension of my higher self?”

I found that in the worlds of mysticism and self-discovery, the term “aura” emerges in excited tones with an air of intriguing speculation. I made it my mission to demystify auras by speaking to these very experts on the subject, and now I’m going to share what I learned with you. Read on to find out what exactly an aura is — is it a color? A ball of energy? An extension of our higher selves? — and how to use this knowledge in our daily lives. 🌈

What exactly is an aura?

“Simply put, an aura is the energetic field surrounding a living body,” says owner of Twelve Month Aura, Stephanie Gunther, “All beings exude energy via energy centers known as chakras.” Gunther explains that when these auric energies pass through specific chakras, they vibrate at unique frequencies. Chakras are a concept that comes from the Hindu tradition, and they are core to many holistic medical practices.

Psychic medium Angela Lovell, also known as Dear Witchypoo, adds, “Your aura is your life force.” It radiates from the energy produced by your chakras which creates a set of energy bands that graduate in frequency and color as they extend from the body. Intrigued? Keep reading. These energies and frequencies correspond to colors and meaning.

If auras are connected to energy, do auras change? How does my aura represent me?

“As living beings, our energy is constantly moving,” Gunther says. “Because of this, our auras can absolutely change.” This means that every time you get a snapshot of your aura (or go to a reader who can see ‘em), those colors can shift and evolve. Pretty neat!

“Your aura intricately shapes aspects of your life, your identity, and your personality.”

On a basic level, your aura intricately shapes aspects of your life, your identity, and your personality. This means that your aura could be connected to or even dictate your job preferences, exercise regimens, and communication styles. 

Lovell explains that it’s the outer aura layers that change constantly, making their interpretation a good tool for checking in with yourself. She suggests that diving into all of your aura’s interpretations can enhance self-awareness and compassion which puts you on a more genuine and grounded life journey.

How is it possible to see auras? 

In short, some people (like a psychic or medium) may be able to see auras, but both Gunther and Lovell agree that auric photography is an ideal way to see your aura and document your progression over the years as those layers change color.

“These frequencies or wavelengths are typically invisible to the naked eye, but with the use of an aura camera or specific training we can see them in color,” Gunther says. 

As for people who can see auras without the use of cameras, Lovell explains: “Many energy readers can intuit a person’s aura without the use of electronics, and clairvoyants can usually see the variety of colors within someone’s energetic field.” Both aura readers and auric photography have become more popular in recent years, and are readily available for most anyone with an interest in understanding their aura.

Aura colors, explained

Auras can look like expanses of color, cloud-like shapes, large drops, airy zigzags, and more. Since the aura is in layers, it’s very common for these splotches to overlap. “The first layer, closest to your skin, will remain the same,” says Lovell. “But the layers around that will change color due to illness, depression, physical pain, and even just your daily range of emotions.”

“Auras can look like expanses of color, cloud-like shapes, large drops, airy zigzags, and more.”

There is no such thing as a bad or negative aura color. But, if a certain hue gives you the “ick” for some unknown reason, don’t fret. The variety of aura colors signifies distinct strengths within individuals, implying that each person should direct their attention to specific aspects to discover true fulfillment in life.

So, if you’re feeling some kind of way about a particular color that shows up in your reading, instead of feeling fear or disdain, turn your attention to how that shade can help you get on the pathway to feeling more fulfilled or balanced.

Ready to learn about aura colors? Check out this handy color guide, annotated by Lovell and Gunther.

  • Red (Root chakra):  Energetic, passionate, grounding, fiery
  • Orange (Sacral Chakra): Independent, courageous, creative, sensual, adventurous
  • Yellow (Solar Plexus): Knowledgeable, confident, charismatic, individuality, ego
  • Green (Heart Chakra): Clear headed, growing, nurturing, abundance, healing
  • Pink (Heart Chakra): Loving, affectionate, compassion, connection, sensitivity
  • Blue (Throat Chakra): Healing, peaceful, communicative, expression, personal truth
  • Indigo (Third Eye Chakra): Intuition, empathic/psychic energy, inner guidance
  • Purple (Crown Chakra): Intuitive, spiritual, intense, divine connection, healing capabilities
  • White (Crown Chakra): Spiritually connected, pure of heart and mind, wisdom, enlightenment
  • Brown or Tan: Practical, earthy, sensual, logic, thinking, rationalization
  • Rainbow: Energy movement, openness, higher purpose, receptivity

Lovell notes that rainbow auras — unlike most auras — can often show up in regular photographs.

What can I expect from an aura reading?

Whether you’re sitting for an aura photographer, a reader, or trading interpretations with a friend, there are a few things you can expect during a session. If you’re looking for a professional, Gunther and Lovell both agree it’s vital to find a trusted practitioner. 

“Like anything in the wellness world, there will be charlatans out there trying to make a fast buck,” Gunther says. “Do your research and look for someone who you feel comfortable with.”

If you’re meeting with an auric photographer, Gunther explains the process and how to prepare for the photo experience. “The first step of reading your aura includes capturing your aura photograph,” she says. “The camera uses hand plates to pick up the frequencies you emit and show them as color on your photo.” 

“Don’t be afraid to get creative to open yourself up for an aura reading”

After that, the reader will look at the location, saturation, and brightness of the colors in your aura. They will then explain how this reflects the current energy in your life. Gunther says to keep preparation simple by taking a few deep breaths before your photo is taken, and you can always ask the reader to give you a minute to ground if needed.

For those interested in further optimizing their aura reading experience, Lovell has some recommendations. To start, she suggests preparing for the session at least 24 hours in advance and refraining from alcohol, caffeine, and animal products to help brighten up your inner and outer self. You can also unwind with physical activity, sunlight exposure, or engaging in a creative task. And, don’t be afraid to get creative to open yourself up for an aura reading: “You can raise your vibration instantly by dancing, singing, or even just letting out a scream in your car!” she says.

How can I cleanse my aura?

Anyone can cleanse their own aura and it’s not a service you need to pay for. Lovell and Gunther both note that there’s a lot of misinformation out there and to be careful. 

“For starters, do not fall for the aura cleansing sold by fake psychics,” Lovell says. “Think of your aura like your skin. Just like radiant skin, a healthy aura has to be achieved from within.” 

“Think of your aura like your skin. Just like radiant skin, a healthy aura has to be achieved from within.” 

– Angela Lovell

To begin an aura cleanse, Lovell recommends overall chakra health maintenance. “This can get complicated, but the easiest methods are Kundalini yoga, regular reiki sessions, and having a healer examine which of your chakras might need extra attention,” she says.

Taking these points a step further, Gunther also recommends getting back in tune with your body. “Being present and noticing what your body needs — be it exercise, nutrition, rest, or meditation, your body is an amazing tool for moving energy,” she says. “You can also use the assistance of crystals, massage, acupuncture, and other healing modalities to release unwanted energy and create connection to more positive energy.”

Like all mystical practices, aura reading offers a creative way to tap into yourself and the world more deeply. Seek out your truth — and remember, only you hold the keys to the ultimate understanding of what your aura interpretation means. Happy aura exploring!

Stephanie Valente is a copywriter and editor covering wellness, commerce, lifestyle — and more — for publications like Brooklyn Magazine and The Good Trade. Based in Brooklyn, she’s often writing poetry, getting lost in a book, or hanging out with her dog.