KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The hypnotist looked at a brilliant blue halo encircling Julie Crawford’s picture.
“My guess is you don’t work with broken people," she inquired. "Is that right?”
Crawford burst into tears.
"I found it to be very accurate," Crawford said. "I sat in a meditative state one time and was asked to be able to see aura. And I saw blue."
All through the afternoon at Shanti Yoga Haven in West Knoxville it was like that. People trickled in to get their aura photographed, cautiously put their hand to the scanner and waited for results. That scanner picked up their electromagnetic field. From deep violets to sunny oranges, each individual had a different reading, and those colors corresponded to emotions and traits: courage and power for red, caring and helpful for blue and so on.
Hypnotist and aura expert Sondra Lambert says the colors that show up on the aura photo is your energetic signature in living color.
“Your aura and your chakras are continually shifting and changing,” she says. “They hold and act out the vibrations that are created as you go about your day to day living.”
For people at Shanti Yoga Haven who utilize alternative or holistic healthcare methods as a form of self-care, the visual impact of seeing your electromagnetic field can be a reaffirming one.
Laura Beth Gilbreath was nervous about her reading. After a year of four surgeries and countless attempts to heal herself, she wanted her aura to reflect the spiritual work she'd done.
"What's coming down in your core...the core of your spine is that deep green. That's love," Lambert told her during the reading. "There's a teaching ability. It doesn't mean you have to be a teacher. What that means is when you speak, people listen."
As it happened, teaching had been Gilbreath's life work.
"I had been a teacher and I'm a minister now," she says. "So everything fit in and was very supportive of my life work. That was reassuring."
Aura photography was first invented in the 1970s by Guy Coggins, who built a camera that picked up the electromagnetic field surrounding people's bodies. The cameras are rare, but the clues they pick up are based in ancient study. In Ayurvedic medicine - an Indian healing practice that's a sister science to the practice of yoga - those electromagnetic fields correspond to the seven chakras. The chakras are seven different energy wheels circulating throughout the body.
The aura photos, then, can offer clues to a person's energetic balances and imbalances. Visual keys, says studio owner Shanti Free, can be instrumental in an individual's self-care journey.
"Certainly those who are on a spiritual path, a path of self-discovery, a path of self-development ... those are the ones that are going to be interested in this," Free says. "We have things that are coming at us ... and affecting us in ways that we may not be aware."
For now, Lambert is traveling with her aura-reading equipment across the country and isn't sure when she will return to Knoxville. But Free hopes she comes back. And for people wanting to take advantage of this technology, The Crystalline Light Expo in Knoxville is the next time it will be available.
Until then, the people who were able to get theirs read today will analyze the information to help them heal.
"It's more to live a colorful life," says Free. "Rather than a black and white one."