The aura is a concept known to hippies and other new agers, that describes an ethereal energy body that is part of us, yet seperate from us. This article describes what the aura is and how to pretend you have photographed it.
This word is used widely to represent a variety of different similar concepts. Essentially, it means the spiritual body of an animal, usually a human being. Beginning with the assumption that the mind and body are separate entities, the aura is the spirit, the etheric body, the Merkaba, the Pullmanian daemon, the non-physical presence of a person, the astral body. The higher self. That sort of thing.
The aura is supposed to be a shifting, fluid ether of colour that "represents" our current psychological state. In the absence of a means of interpreting these colours, early aura seers did the normal thing and simply borrowed the interpretations from other forms of hippiedom, so that red means anger, green means balanced, purple means hippy etc.
The real problem with auras is that most people cannot see them. Given that the majority of the people who claim to see auras are either mystics, or people who take lots of psychedelic drugs, or both, this has led the majority of the population to dismiss auras as, well, bullshit.
The book "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield was surely the worst work of fiction ever written, having a storyline about as convincing as a George Bush peace negotiation. However, the book was hugely popular because it introduced many ideas around spirituality in an easy to follow way. Notably, the book focused on the idea of chaos theory and synchronicity, but it also talks about the aura and how to see it.
Unfortunately, the method described in the book of how anyone can see auras is...well...it's garbage basically. I imagined loads of people sitting in their living rooms squinting their eyes at each other at sunset as if they are viewing a magic eye picture, before concluding that, yes, like I thought, there are no such thing as auras.
Other books that describe how to see and read the aura state that anyone can learn to see it, and describe various exercises to train your eyes so that they can see auras. For example, gazing at a picture of a spiral and focusing on different parts of it, looking at stars and spots on different coloured backgrounds and other such games often used by opticians when you go for an eye test.
Ever met anyone who has taught themselves to read the aura? No! They all say it is a gift from God, they are chosen, they are lucky, they are in the final few lives of their time on earth, etc. etc. Books like these are crap. You can spend weeks and weeks doing the exercises religiously and you won't see auras. What is more likely to happen is that you will damage your vision such that you see things in a strange, blurrey new way, and if you are really stupid you will interpret that as being able to see auras.
This works rather well at healing fairs, or festivals if there is enough electricity. To start with, after charging $40 for the 5 minutes' work, you place the subject's hands on a kind of detector plate. This measures changes in the activity of your sweat glands in a process called galvanometry, used by a lie detector. You then, using concepts from reflexology, make wild claims about which parts of the body correspond to which parts of the "aura". You then assign a colour to the different ranges of electrical conductivity measured by the galvanometer, and use a bit of software to plot the corresponding colours to the corresponding section of a photograph of the subject that you take while their hands are on the plate.
Hey presto! A picture of the subject that is smeared with blurry colour (see example above). You are then free to make even wilder claims about what the colours mean. People usually do this by doing the normal thing and simply borrowing the interpretations from other forms of hippiedom, so that red means anger, green means balanced, purple means hippy etc. Depending on what style you choose, passages from astrology books can also be stolen to guide the subject.
Finally, to complete the illusion, sit the subject down, convince them that you are the channeled embodiment of some tribal God that walked the earth tens of thousands of years ago and chant some mumbo jumbo that sounds vaguely like it's from a Shamanic Native American ritual. You can just make up these chants, no one will know the difference. Give them a printout of their picture with some standard colour interpretations you downloaded off the internet, then send them away!
There are companies that offers equipment for sale to achieve the above mentioned miracle. It costs around $10,000 for a set, but it's OK because there are guides on how to maximise you profitability from using the equipment. If you want a smaller home unit that plugs into Windows, you can pick one up for around $6,000. It nourishes my soul to learn that selfless people such as these are leading the way to our spiritual enlightenment as a race.