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Art from auras: Denver’s metaphysical color palette

Photo // Sarai Nissan


Since its inception in the 1800s, photography has invoked a strange sense of magic because of its ability to flatly capture a pure sense of reality. Radiant Human takes that magic one step further.

Radiant Human is the creation of Portland-based photographer and visual artist Christina Lonsdale. It’s a nomadic enterprise that snaps Polaroids of individuals all over the country to capture their auras. The Radiant Human Project is not simply used for metaphysical purposes, but is the artistic portrait practice of Lonsdale herself. “We come to you,” the Radiant Human website states. On Feb. 26, the aura photographer followed through and came to Denver’s own metaphysical shop, Ritualcravt.

Lonsdale has magic in her blood. Her mother is an energy painter and her father founded multiple communes. “Lonsdale was raised on mysticism at the dawn of the digital age—the formative years when science and spiritualism occupied equal bandwidth,” her website says. “In Radiant Human, she finds a sort of parity between these opposing faiths; a discipline that shores up the distance between New Age self discovery and New Media self(ie)-actualization.” The Radiant Human Project has curated thousands of aura photographs.

An aura is a distinctive electromagnetic field that surrounds a person. It is a subtle luminous radiation, the colors that surround each person often connote emotional energies that are influencing that person. These are the energies that people radiate from themselves into the world.

A red aura symbolizes strength, action, practicality, and passion. Orange represents creativity, independence, great people skills, and a love of challenges. Tan represents someone who is very detail-oriented, cautious, results driven, and very structured. Yellow represents an optimistic person; green: growth and determination; blue: a depth of feeling, intuition, and sensitivity; and purple: a visionary someone who is unconventional and loves to be inspired. White represents someone who is openminded and intense.

“Denver was predicted to have a lot of blue and green auras,” a shopkeeper said at the Ritualcravt storefront.

As people bustled in for their appointments, the storefront never got too crowded—it was a calmly curated environment that certainly aided in the manifestation of someone’s aura.

Radiant Human created their own “aura cheat sheet” stating what each color symbolizes. When someone gets their photo taken by Radiant Humans, they are invited to sit in what looks like a large dome and place their hands on small metal plates while being photographed by a modified large format camera made to look like a Polaroid. Once the photograph is taken, Lonsdale walks her subjects into a corner and explains their aura to them.

“Don’t stress too much about trying to figure out what each color is,” Lonsdale said warmly. “We are complicated humans, so there is going to be a large mixture of colors.”

The Radiant Human experience is extraordinary for those who want to delve into some of their own self-realization or merely have a penchant for the metaphysical. This event is not to be missed when they next arrive in Denver.

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