Your Guide To Understanding Your Aura

You're sitting at your local coffee shop with your friend for some girl time, and she's discussing her latest dating adventure. Upon asking how the date went, she responds by saying, "I don't know — his vibe was just off." Without batting an eye, you completely understand what she means. The word "vibe," these days, seems to have become somewhat of a codeword for, well, anything. The good vibes at the new restaurant in town. The vibes you're going for when decorating your new apartment. The cool vibe of your fun new coworker. 

Our generation is the era of vibes, and while this phrase has become somewhat of a cliché, there's actually some background and meaning behind the popular word. Vibrations are the "state of being, the atmosphere, or the energetic quality of a person, place, thought, or thing," per Chopra. So, essentially, a vibe is quite literally just energy. When you meet someone new, you can tell pretty quickly what kind of energy they're giving off — whether that's good or bad energy, it's all part of a person's vibration. But what if there was a way you could actually see someone's energy? According to Mystic Mag, you can do so through something called an aura. A person's aura is your physical guide to understanding the type of energy someone is carrying with them.

What exactly is an aura?

Historically, auras can be seen referenced in a number of different cultures, including Ancient Egypt, China, and India (via Spirit of Ra). Each culture had its own name and belief system centered around auras, but they all had one common ground: glowing energy encompassing a person, animal, or thing. All living things need energy to survive. Because of this, everything that is alive has an aura, which is composed of a multitude of layers that operate together. In fact, according to Healthline, your aura can be thought of as a radiant, brilliant atmosphere of light that surrounds your body. Each layer inside this light encompasses any problems, situations, or feelings a person may be harboring; the layers play off of each other, causing an effect on your overall health and well-being. 

Believed to have come from a Sanskrit word meaning "spoke of a wheel," your aura is said to radiate from within just as spokes would emerge from a wheel hub, per Universal Class. It's pretty cool thinking that we all have our own energetic operating system inside of ourselves, right? Because everyone's energy is different, this will cause each individual aura to present as a different color, which is said to align with a person's dominating chakra at the present moment. What's ore, spiritual expert Audrey Hope tells Woman's Day, "Each chakra wheel in our body is associated with a unique color. Starting at the root chakra, these colors go from red, to orange, to yellow, to green, to blue, to indigo, to violet."

What is each layer called and what do they mean?

Referred to as the seven layers of etheric energy, per ADORAtherapy, the seven layers that make up an aura all have unique purposes. The first layer, the Etheric Layer, is connected to the root chakra. This layer is the easiest to see with the naked eye, representing the physical body, your life force, and your will to live. Furthermore, this layer is light to dark blue (via ADORAtherapy). The second aura layer is associated with the sacral chakra. This layer is said to fluctuate with your feelings, representing emotions and feelings. All colors of the rainbow can be aligned with this layer (via Healing Journeys With Energy).

Connected to the solar plexus chakra, the Mental Layer vibrates at the frequency of the ego and self. Bright yellow, it's most commonly emitted from those with overactive minds (via Healing Journeys With Energy). The fourth layer is connected to the heart chakra and embodies love and relationships. Pink or rosy shades represent the Astral Layer (via Healing Journeys With Energy). The Etheric Template goes along with the throat chakra and represents personal truth. Within the fifth layer, the soul can manifest through the body. This layer is assigned to cobalt blue, per Barbara Brennan's "Hands of Light (via Academia).

The sixth layer is connected to the third eye chakra. As it represents bliss, grace, and peace, it carries a powerful vibration. It's also associated with pastel rainbow colors (via Healing Journeys With Energy). Representing being one with the universe, the seventh and final layer is connected to the crown chakra. The Ketheric Template supposedly holds all information about your soul — all while vibrating at the highest frequency and emitting gold (via Healing Journeys With Energy).

What color is your aura?

The color of your aura says a lot. According to Healthline, your aura color will change over time, simply because our energies change over time as well. There are a few different ways to tell what color your aura is, including online quizzes. Something that might be a little more fun and challenging, though, is to try to see yours — or even others' — aura colors with the naked eye. 

Per The Times of India, seeing your aura with your own eye can be done using a little trick involving tuning into your peripheral vision. In a well-lit room, hold your hand up against a completely white or completely black background. Gently focus on your hand, trying to keep your eye on the same spot. Soon, your peripheral vision will begin to kick in. You'll start to see a shadowy outline of your hand (this is how you'll know you're on the right track). Don't get too excited and start looking at the shadow, The Times of India reminds us. While staying fixated on your palm, you'll notice that the dark shadow begins to transition into a color. Within a few moments, you'll be able to clearly see what color your energy is emitting from your body.

What the warm colors mean

Now that you've figured out a basic idea as to what color you may be radiating, you're probably wondering what it means. If you picked up a warm-toned color, e.g., red, orange, or yellow, know that these shades tend to reflect more energetic, confident, and fiery personalities.

f your aura is red, chances are you're a pretty fearless individual. Professional intuitive energy reader and stylist Susanna Merrick tells MindBodyGreen, "They're unapologetic, grounded, confident, loyal humans. They tend to be more analytical and they love truth," she says. "They're outspoken and in touch with the physical world around us."

Always up for a challenge, those with an orange aura are positive, energetic thrill-seekers (via Mind Easy). They're always down for an adventure and are quite loyal, quick to defend those they love. If you have an orange-colored aura person in your life, chances are your relationship with them has been a wild, but unparalleled, bond.

Eileen Lee, founder of aura portrait company AURA AURA tells MindBodyGreen that "yellow auras are confident, inspiring, and of course, happy." These people are a joy to be around and bring a dose of sunshine to everyone they come across. Their strengths lie in their compassionate nature; they do best in careers like teaching, activism, and humanitarian work.

What the cool colors mean

Green, blue, and purple/indigo colors tend to be the more sensitive or expressionistic colors.

A green aura "deals with things like compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, self-understanding, and our connectedness with ourselves and also our environment, including our relationships," Eileen Lee explains to Women's Health. Green auras coincide a great bit with relationships and transformation, as does green's correlating chakra, the heart chakra. So, if you're sending out a green aura, you're likely to be going through some internal changes.

According to Keen, those with blue auras are tranquil and serene, just like calm blue water. They are sensitive and deep thinkers, and like blue's chakra, the throat chakra, they love to speak their truth. Because of blue's calm nature, they are said to pair well with yellow aura people; they create a perfectly balanced harmony together.

Spiritual author Gabriela Herstik tells MindBodyGreen that a purple aura is a reflection of your current energetic state: "Even though we might have a lot of purple in our aura one day, it may not be as prominent the next." Furthermore, aura expert Rachelle Terry tells MindBodyGreen that people who pull shades of purple in their auras "tend to be highly sensitive, highly intuitive, and more introverted than those with the fiery colors." She adds that they may be prone to indecisiveness, preferring to think things over rather than act impulsively.

How to utilize aura photography

You may have seen the massively popular trend on Instagram (pictures of happy and glowing headshots of men and women surrounded by effervescent colors) involving aura photography. Essentially, these photographs are supposed to capture your aura on camera, thus giving insight into the energy you're giving off at that very moment. 

Throwing it back all the way to the 1970s, aura photography's popularity started with a man named Guy Coggins; Coggins used a method of connecting a camera and a person's energy through biofeedback, which is actually a type of therapy in which sensors connected to your body monitor the body's major functions, per The Picture Show. The result — basically a colorful "mood image" of your aura produced by Coggins' camera — is how all those fun Instragam pictures came to fruition. Though Coggins didn't discover this type of photography (per Adobe), his development of the AuraCam for the masses allowed anyone to have access to an AuraCam, which you can still purchase today. 

Many spiritualists and energetic researchers, like Eileen Lee of AURA AURA, have constructed businesses solely focused on getting an aura portrait done. You can easily book a session with Lee to have your aura photographed with Coggins' camera.

Aura readings

While aura photography sessions are a funky and aesthetic way to capture your energy, some people prefer to take what their aura is telling them a little bit more seriously. Aura readings are a much more personalized experience to help you understand your aura. Mystic Michaela, a psychic medium, tells Coveteur, "An aura reading is the process by which I begin to tap into a person's energy field. We each have a purpose in our lifetimes, and my personal path with aura readings is about revealing one's authentic motives and purposes. The aura colors are a tool the Spirit has given me in which to do this." 

According to Healthline, aura reading is really what you make of it. But what can you expect at one of these readings? "When I do an aura reading personally, I become the conduit for spirit messages. Because I can see auras without a camera, I don't usually look at aura photos. I also teach people that even if you can't 'see' an aura, you can definitely feel it," Mystic Michaela explains (via Coveteur).

Here is where colors comes into play, too. "Each color has its own vibration. Reds are direct, purples are creative, blues are very compassionate, etc. When getting an aura photo, the most common issue I see is that people aren't clearing their energy before having the photo done," she adds. "What we don't realize is many of us have 'empath auras' or auras which hold others' energies. We walk through our lives holding others' energies and thinking we are making choices for ourselves, when actually it's because of the inauthentic aura colors we pick up." This isn't to say that you've done something wrong but rather that you're in tune with others — and that your aura isn't always 100% your own.

Cleansing your aura

With all of this talk about energy and the transmitting and emitting of it, you might be wondering about the negative energies that go hand-in-hand with that. The Asian Age describes your aura as a shield: the way a warrior's shield can get damaged in combat is the same way your aura shield can carry the damage shot at it.

We're all human, meaning that avoiding any type of negative energy is impossible. We all deal with stress, anxiety, family and relationship issues, sadness, loss, and more. All of these factors and situations play a role in our energy, of course, and upsetting the balance of energy is only natural. Fortunately, there are things you can do to repair and cleanse your battered energy shield. In fact, Mystic Michaela tells Byrdie, "A cleansed aura helps you make better choices because you've removed barriers between your authentic self and the needs, emotions, and wants of others which are not about you."

Get creative with water

Water has long been an element shared across time, religion, and literature as a symbol of purification (via Symbol Sage). It cleanses our bodies every day and can even cleanse our minds with the proper techniques. This goes for our energy as well. According to the Deccan Chronicle, choosing to cleanse your aura with water is a great option because of the healing properties found within it. Deccan Chronicle notes how the importance of temperature and aroma can play a factor in your healing; choosing a water temperature you're comfortable with and adding soul-calming aromatics to your experience will make all the difference. 

In order to get an energy cleanse in the shower, allow the water to cascade down your entire body, visualizing all negativity leaving your being as you watch the water evade down the drain (via Learn Religions). If you have access to nature, a cleanse can be done with earth water, too. Standing in the rain or under a waterfall will act as a powerful cleanser — just repeat the same steps done in the shower, letting all negativity flow away from you.

Positive visualizations

We have probably all heard the phrase "the power of the mind," but many people underestimate just how powerful our thoughts actually are (via Forbes). While taking physical steps to cleanse your aura elevates a step further for a deeper cleanse, where most of the actual cleansing lies is in your mind and thought process. According to professional witch Michael Cardenas, visualizing blowing six roses from a gold-colored light shooting from your hands can reactivate any negative charges your aura may be encapsulating (via Teen Vogue). 

Cardenas suggests closing your eyes. Then, "hold your hands open like you're opening your wingspan in the shape of an inverted 'A.' Visualize light shooting out of your hands and project colored light out of your hands (gold is ideal, but any color your higher self vibes with is adequate)." However, that's only the beginning. "After that, visualize six roses (which are a magical symbol of healing and protection) starting at the top and back of your head, both sides of your body, and behind you. Ask these roses to activate and clear all of the negative attachments from your aura or chakra field," he adds.

Smudging with sacred herbs

Time-old energy-clearing herbs like sage, sweet grass, and palo santo are said to use the elements in smoke to trap negativity and carry it away from the body and your space. While not much scientific evidence backs up the usage of smoking away negativity, certain research suggests its benefits. For example, according to WebMD, flavonoids (found in sage) have medicinal properties: in some studies in animals, depression and anxiety seemed to subside upon the burning of sage. 

In order to begin a great smudging cleanse, start with some simple steps: pick your herb of choice, open a window to allow smoke to escape, and set your intentions (via Healthline). After lighting the herb and blowing out any fire, direct the smoke towards your body with one hand while holding the herb in the other, allowing the smoke to linger in certain areas where you may feel an extra buildup of negative energy (via Healthline). Envision all bad energies being carried away with the smoke out the window.

Purify using crystals

There is a vast collection of crystals to choose from when trying to select which ones are right for you and your healing. While it's scientifically proven that crystals conduct energy, especially electric energy (via Britannica), it's important to note that different crystals have different properties, meaning the way they absorb energy will be different for everyone. "Crystals are made up of different elements or compounds, which our bodies react to in different ways," Sonali Saujani, a master crystal healer, tells Healthline. She continues, "Crystals are minerals that hold energy, and as we as humans are made up of energy, we can exchange energy with the crystal when we work with it." 

While this might make it seem like you'll have to spend forever trying to find the right crystals to cleanse your energy, there are actually a few you can turn to right off the bat that are known for being best for aura cleansing. Colleen McCann, a certified shamanic energy medicine practitioner, discloses to Goop, "The seventh chakra stone (the crown of the head), clear quartz is known as the master healer. It amplifies the energy, thoughts, and vibrations of other crystals. It's used for connecting you with your higher self, intuition, and spirit guides." Black tourmaline and selenite are also great crystals to try due to their grounding properties.

Why you should periodically check your aura

Naturally, your aura color can, and will, change over time. Keeping an eye on the color of your aura, or taking advantage of aura readings can help you stay in check with your current energy and vibrational patterns. This can make sure you retain an overall positive and fresh well-being (via Healthline). As Elaine Lee tells Women's Health, if your aura color is looking a little on the dull side, you're most likely suffering from some type of burnout. "Anytime your colors are a little bit more dulled, basically what's happening is it looks transparent, like a cloud you're seeing through to the background," she says. 

If you're serious about tracking your aura, a professional who specializes in aura readings will tune into your energies, helping you to discover things about yourself that you may have, possibly, had no idea about. They can work with you to correct negative retained energy and offer you a new perspective on the way you go about your current habits and patterns.