What the Heck Is an Aura, and What Do All the Pretty Colors Mean?


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There’s also red in my aura, she says—but that’s not supposed to be there. That means I’ve been letting logic guide me rather than my emotions and intuition both in life and in my business, which is not my authentic way of being (how on earth did she know?). 

Suffice to say, my first-ever aura-reading experience was pretty spot on. Curious to learn more about all things auras—what even is an aura, and what do the colors signify?—I called upon Michaela, as well as Mama Medicine founder Deborah Hanekamp, who reads auras as part of her healing offerings, to clear things up. Color me intrigued.

What is an aura?

The term "aura" is often thrown around haphazardly. But what does it actually mean?

“An aura is your life force energy field around you,” Michaela says. “I see it in color. We all have our own inherent combination. It’s like a snowflake.”

“An aura is your life force energy field around you. I see it in color. We all have our own inherent combination. It’s like a snowflake.” —Mystic Michaela, aura reader

Hanekamp adds, “Just like we have a physical body, we also have an energetic body. The aura is then the energy that we radiate.” This explains why you can pick up on a person’s vibe just by being in the same room, and you can literally feel when some is staring at you so you turn around. “Their energy is being sent to your energy, so you feel it,” she says.

How do auras look?

While some say auras have seven different layers, neither Michaela nor Hanekemp see them that way. Similar to the rainbow-hued aura portraits, they see them as splotches of colors around people.

And just like each reader sees auras differently, they also might see different colors and interpret them differently as well.

For example, while Michaela saw predominantly purple and blue in my aura, Hanekamp picked up on lots of bright yellow and green. (But more on what those colors mean later.)

Both of their interpretations rang true for me, but pointed to different facets of my personality—meaning, the readings were different, but equally accurate.

How many colors does a person's aura include?

Our auras can change a bit depending on what’s going on in our lives, Michaela says. But, typically, people have two main colors that are always around them. We can also “wear” an inauthentic color, she says (kind of like the red in my aura). This can happen due to programming or environmental issues like being in the wrong job or a tough relationship.

Hanekemp adds that whatever you’re experiencing emotionally or physically can also influence the way your aura looks on a day-to-day basis. “If somebody is in pain, their aura is going to look completely different to me than the day before when they weren’t in pain,” she says.

She can even tell when someone is hungover because their aura appears weak and dull. Alternatively, someone who is feeling confident and comfortable being seen likely has a strong and bright aura.

What role do auras play in our lives?

Our auras essentially inform all areas of our lives and personalities, from what type of jobs we enjoy and how we best work out to how we communicate with others socially. “If you understand yourself better, you can lead yourself on a path that feels more authentic to you,” Michaela says.

So if nothing else, auras can help us learn and understand ourselves and the people around us better. Think of it as another spiritual tool in your tool belt, right alongside Human Design, astrology, and Myers-Briggs.

What do the different aura colors mean?

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“The vibe for yellow is inquisitive, busy, and curious,” Michaela says. “You always see a little to do list in their head. They’re very scheduled.” Yellow people also love immersing themselves in practical forms of art such as baking, interior design, and sewing. You’ll often see them in jobs like therapists, directors, and accountants. And when it comes to working out, they love things with form like yoga and Pilates.  

Hanekamp adds that yellow has a strong focus on joy. “It’s usually around incredibly intelligent people,” she says.

Photo: Stocksy/Lyuba Burakova


For Hanekemp, green in an aura means “compassion, natural healing energy, a deep connection to the earth, and a lot of divine feminine wisdom.”

Michaela sees a green aura as as super intelligent visionaries who are very innovative and driven by logic. “They exist in their own reality,” she says. Greens are known to be lone wolves who love being outside doing solo activities like hiking

Photo: Stocksy/MaaHoo Studio


Conversely, purples are creative, artistic, emotional, and intuitive. “Spiritual evolution is big for them,” Michaela says. “They have an It factor.” This helps explain why many artists, like Prince and Lady Gaga, have big, purple auras.

When it comes to fitness, the activities at hand have to fun for purples (think: dance cardio and Zumba). Career-wise, you often find purples working as teachers, therapists, and writers.

Photo: Stocksy/HEX


“Red is focused more on the material realm,” Hanekemp says. “They aren't just thinking about things but are actually doing them.”

Michaela sees reds in a similar way, noting that they’re “strong and assertive natural leaders who need to be charge.” They love risk and are motivated by their desire to win, which explains why many pro athletes and entrepreneurs have red auras. They can also be quite intense, so cardio-heavy workouts, CrossFit, and cycling are their jam.

Photo: Stocksy/Alexey Kuzma


Blue auras are the total opposite of reds; they have a compassionate vibe but don’t like being in the spotlight. Blues are the selfless healers of the world—think nurses, teachers, and caregivers, Michaela says, emphasizing that they tend to be empaths who absorb and feel other people’s emotions as their own. And they’re not huge fans of working out, so doing low-impact things like walking (which does count as exercise, BTW!) is best for them.

Photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma

Peachy, sunset colors

“Peach, oranges, pinks—that has a lot to do with creativity,” says Hanekemp of sunset-esque auras. “They [also] have a focus on relationships, togetherness, and having fun. Their family is everything. Their friends are everything.”

How to cleanse your aura

“Your aura field can pick up some funky things from other people,” Michaela says. “So cleansing your aura is an important ritual.” To do this, she recommends saging yourself and setting the intention to remove anything toxic for your aura. Taking an Epsom salt bath is another a good option.

“Your aura field can pick up some funky things from other people. So cleansing your aura is an important ritual.” —Michaela

Crystals also hold aura-cleansing powers: Simply program your fave crystal with an intention and hold it whenever you’re feeling a little off. “Imagine it cleaning your energy field out and removing anything that's not you out of there,” Michaela says. One crystal that's particularly great for cleansing is selenite. “It’s actually a salt, and salt is very, very powerful for neutralizing energy,” Hanekamp says. 

Sage, salt baths, and crystals aside, the best way to cleanse your aura, Hanekamp says, is to “stand outside with bare feet on the ground.”

How do you read auras?

While the skill of aura-reading is a gift only a special few are born with, it's possible to hone your aura sensing muscle. “We all have the ability to feel other people’s vibrations,” Michaela says. Case in point: Getting a bad vibe from someone without any real explanation other than a “feeling."

So although you might not see literal splotches of colors around people, you can feel energy and then just call it a color that matches the vibe you're feeling (i.e., red feels intense; blue feels compassionate).

Now that you know all about auras, become a tarot expert. And with this glossary of astrology terms, you'll be a guru in no time.

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