What is an Aura?

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Some people believe every living being emits an aura. Image by Three Images/Stone/Getty Images

In many metaphysical practices, you’ll hear people talk about auras. But what exactly is an aura, and what is its significance?

Depending on whom you ask, there can be a variety of interpretations and definitions, but in general, an aura is considered to be a luminous energy field that surrounds all living beings. Many people believe that they can see colors in someone’s aura, as well as the aura’s strength.

Although the existence of auras hasn’t been scientifically proven, some people claim that the use of special cameras allows us to take photos of a person’s aura. You may encounter these occasionally at metaphysical fairs, where vendors will offer to take a picture of yours with Kirlian or aura imaging photography. While this can be a fun novelty item, a lot of people have worked hard to debunk the pseudoscience of aura photography. Regardless, many individuals in the metaphysical community place some degree of importance on auras, and believe that you can learn a lot about a person by the color of their aura.

Aura Colors

It is believed in some traditions that we can attribute various traits to the colors of the aura. The aura consists of several layers, each emitting its own energy, and these layers are said to create a field of varying size and color around the entire physical body. These are the common color correspondences in many magical and metaphysical belief systems.

Keep in mind that interpretations may vary from one tradition to the next.

  • White: If someone is projecting an aura that is mostly white, it can be seen as a symbol of physical purity. Someone who is very spiritually enlightened and content may have a white aura.
  • Silver: A silver aura is considered a color of spiritual and physical abundance and blessings. A person whose aura is silver may be very intuitive and empathic.
  • Red: If your aura is red, it can have a variety of meanings depending on the shade. A bright clear red often indicates someone who is confident, powerful and passionate. A darker, muddier red may show anger or immaturity. This is often associated with the root chakra, located at the base of the spine.
  • Orange: An orange aura is the color of energy and creativity. You’ll see this color often in artists, writers, musicians, and other people who use their creative talents. They are typically individuals who are outgoing and high energy, as well as a little bit adventurous.
  • Yellow: Depending on the shade and intensity of the color, a yellow aura can have different meanings. Dark and mustardy yellows can show someone who is stressed out and overwhelmed, not knowing where to turn next. A pale buttery color is often representative of a person who is on the brink of developing their psychic or intuitive gifts, but isn’t quite there yet. A bright sunny shade of yellow can indicate a fear of losing control. In some traditions, this is tied to the sacral chakra, located around the spleen, and in others it is connected to the solar plexus chakra.
  • Gold: In many traditions, gold is the symbol of enlightenment. People who have achieved a great sense of spiritual tranquility are said to emit a bright gold aura.
  • Green: A green aura is often associated with healers, and those who find themselves called to do things to help others – teachers, medical personnel, social workers, and charity volunteers often display a bright green aura. This color is often tied to the heart chakra, and our capacity to feel and show love for others. A dark, dirty green can indicate someone who is unhappy with his or her own shortcomings, and fails to take personal responsibility for anything that has gone wrong.
  • Blue: The color blue typically indicates someone who is intuitive and sensitive – if you identify as an empath, your aura may be blue. People who are strong communicators often appear to have a blue aura, and it's no surprise that this is the color of the throat chakra. If the blue is more of an indigo color, it connects to the Third Eye, and can represent a feeling of spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment, as associated with the brow chakra.
  • Violet: People with violet auras are generally creative, intuitive, highly spiritual, and live a life that leans towards the magical. Occasionally they’re so involved in the magical world that they forget to pay attention to the mundane. In many traditions, this connects to the crown chakra, which shows us how we relate to the Divine.
  • Black: The general consensus is that it’s rare to see a completely black aura, and when you do, it’s not so much because the person is “bad” or “evil,” but because there is a profound and deep sense of unhappiness. It’s often the color seen on people who are grieving a loss, or those who may be harboring a long-term pain or trauma that has impacted them their entire life.
  • Brown: A brown, earthy color will typically appear on someone with a very deep connection to nature. People who work outside, or whose livelihood depends on the outdoors, often display a brown aura, as do those who spend a lot of time in nature-based activities such as hiking, camping, or even gardening.
  • Rainbow: Most people have more than one color in their aura, because none of us can really be defined by just one label. However, if you believe you can see auras, and encounter someone who has an entire rainbow of colors radiating out of the body, instead of just surrounding it, chances are good you’ve just met someone who is a highly attuned healer. Reiki Masters often generate rainbow auras, as do others whose primary calling in life is to provide healing and hope for those in need.