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Do You Believe In Auras?

I ventured to Chinatown for an aura reading at Magic Jewelry on Canal Street because I wanted to find out what was going on in inflamed psyche. This campaign had left carnage and I needed levity, some clarity for my soul. The ancient tradition of aura reading is based on the idea that the energy you generate – the aura – can be seen as a color or colors that represent your essential/spiritual self. That seemed like a good place to start my quest especially since Magic Jewelry had been written up in the New York Times, quieting the anti-woo-woo side of my brain.

I wandered into the one-room store, which felt like an apothecary shop on Diagon

Alley. Crammed with muggles, ok customers, each vied for turns at the Aura Camera 6000, a Polaroid in a sapphire blue box that sat primly on a tripod. This technology, based on

Kirlian photography, was invented to capture the energy emanating from you on film. Pretty neat. Further down, two wise women interpreted results and then matched them to stones that would heal one’s mental wounds. Like in the mood ring days of my youth, I predicted my aura would be black. Or maybe it would register as a Roy G. Biv flare-up -- a mushroom cloud of tormented rainbow color.

As I got in line, I was careful, lest I knock down a tray of semi-precious gems that were everywhere. An azure-eyed gentleman pushed himself in front of me.

“I’m an actor,” he said at such close range I could feel the warmth of his breath. “I want to do my audition monologue for you, first holding this gem based on my aura reading. Then holding this pendant.”


The man, in his 30s, launched into a monologue from The Dreamer Examines His Pillow by John Patrick Shanley. The scene was so intense that I couldn’t tell if he was acting for me or he really did have a drinking problem.

“Good,” I said. And meant it. As he began his second recitation -- this time holding the pendant -- I glanced over his shoulder and saw it was my turn at the camera.

“It’s good,” I interrupted. “But I didn’t believe you this time. I think you sounded more authentic with the first stone.”

“Really?” he asked, disappointed. “That one is $230.”

"Maybe buy the cheaper rock and try to remember how you delivered your lines the first time.”

A round-faced employee prepared to take my picture. She had me place my palms on the glove-shaped sensors as I waited for the lens to evaluate me from the inside out. After a few minutes, my photo was complete. The woman led me over to a counter. This picture, she said, would suggest my state of mind from the last 21 days.

She ripped off the cover. We both gasped. My $20 Polaroid was a pulsating red orb with a yellow arc on top. In the lower right corner, I could faintly see my image, the only distinguishing difference between my snapshot and the pics taped to the outside of the store.

“You’ve been very angry lately,” she said, pointing to her chakra chart. “You’ve been thinking about your career and haven’t been able to communicate your knowledge to others.”

This was so true. At work, I had ideas that kept getting rejected.

"But the yellow shows that you are moving out of your red chakra in the base of your spine into your middle chakra.” She asked if I’d had stomach issues recently. I sure did. Like a python eating mice, I’d started eating at Thanksgiving and hadn’t stopped. Lighter shades near the top of the photo showed my most recent condition. My confidence was strengthening, she said. Woohoo! Something good! She hesitated. A dim finger-shaped white line indicated a relationship that didn’t work out.

I smiled remembering the finance guy I’d really liked. On our second date, he exposed his privates to me in a public garden at Rockefeller Center. A live-action Anthony Weiner moment, without a phone, would definitely leave a hex on my aura.

“Let it go,” she said. I concurred.

Pleased with the experience, I asked if I could purchase a rock based on my reading. She returned with trays of black obsidian to remove negative thoughts and green phantoms to move my energy into the green heart chakra. I chose the green phantom because it wasn’t really green, more like a pretty purple, and was inexpensive. The total, including my reading, came to $26, including tax.

The actor came over and showed me his aura. Unlike mine, his was all blues and purples, an indication of higher chakras, which made me slightly jealous. “I’m a tour guide during the day,” he said. That made sense. An actor/tour guide should be a natural talker. But he was having lots of racing thoughts, also possible when someone isn’t rooted into his lower energy channels.

“Good luck,” I said, waving goodbye. He gave me his card in case I ever wanted a free bus tour.

I left Magic Jewelry with it in my pocket. I may not be a complete believer, but the next 21 days started off with a grin.

--Ann Votaw

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