Eamon Allan confronts his true colours and finds out he's really just an orange blob.
In religious terms I’m what some people call non-practising. But I wouldn’t say that I am a sceptic. For example, when I get chain mail I can’t help thinking that, by not forwarding the mail, I will become the man who, within 15 hours of receiving the mail lost seven fingers, or whatever curse lays before me. So I have some reservations about getting my aura photo taken.
I arrive at Rosebank’s legendary House of Isis half an hour before closing time, assured telephonically that it takes only 10 or 20 minutes. Linda Long, the owner for the past 18 years, will see me any time in the afternoon. I introduce myself and Linda says that she will be with me in a few minutes. She looks tired.
I look around the shop. There is droning Indian music playing and incense burning and Buddhas and Shivas and Ganeshes, but then also some Madonnas and Lord of the Rings posters.
I browse a bit, then Linda comes to tell me she’s ready. She shows me to the photo booth at the back of the shop and there I sit on a little stool. She tells me to put my hands on two little blue boxes. There are metal strips on top where I put my fingers; they look like robot hands and I can’t help thinking of the robot from Futurama.
“Sensors in the blue boxes measure energy from the vibration of your fingers and translate them into the colours of your aura,” Long tells me. She shows me where to look. There is a flash and a high-pitched whining ping that sounds like a tiny missile.
Long peels a layer of white paper off the photo and fans it. She looks down. “Yours is mostly oranges and reds. That’s the base chakra. It’s creativity. It can be energy, passion, youth. It can be a lot of things. I don’t know.”
A few stray wavy hairs fall across her cheek. Her tie-dyed shirt seems at odds with her wizened face. I nod.
“You have this yellow on your throat that’s for intellect and confidence. The throat chakra is about expression. You like to talk to people. You are good with people and expressing yourself. For the rest it’s mainly oranges.”
I nod. I am an orange blob.
“Is there any way I can make my aura look better? Because this picture is going to be in the paper.” She looks down. “Let’s see — if you look here it progresses from right to left.” I wonder if she is changing the subject. “This part is what you take in and this is what you give out. See these yellow balls? They mean you are stressed. Stressed or angry. Maybe nervous.” I think she has misunderstood me.
“I was just kidding. I meant is there any way for my aura to look better in the picture?” I ask. “Well,” she says, “you could look at why you are so stressed and angry.” She registers the surprise in my face. “You don’t look too stressed, to be honest.”
“I guess I was worried about getting here before closing time and being able to talk to you,” I say.
“It can be affected by your emotions but it’s more about where you are in your life. If you look at mine it will be all green, for healing.” She pauses: “I’m dealing with a break-up.” I am quite moved that she shares this; it is more reciprocal than therapy. And at R150, it’s cheaper too.
She takes me back to the counter. “What do people do with the photos?” I ask.
“Well, some people keep them and compare them with other times in their life.” She indicates a wall of aura photos behind the counter. “These are all mine.” There is an amazing array of rainbow colours.
I shrug, say goodbye and tell Linda that it was nice to meet her. I don’t think I’ll be making my own aura photo wall. Still, I don’t think that I’ll be throwing it away either.
There is a story about Newton having a horseshoe over his front door. When someone asked him if he really believed in that kind of thing he said: “No, I don’t, but I’m told it works anyway.”
I won’t be throwing away my aura photo either. I’ll probably put it in my bottom drawer with my old rosary beads.