By Mardi Ford
Observer Staff Writer
At a time when self-exploration and spirituality are a high priority for some Americans, a La Grande couple has found a way to share greater insight for their clients through what they call "aura photography.''
"It's another tool for greater understanding," Carl McClellan says.
McClellan, along with wife and business partner Karen Goodwater-McClellan, have been operating Carl and Karen's Aura Photography since March.
Aura photography is the process of photographing subjects and capturing the presence of their bio-energy field, or aura. That energy activity is revealed in the photograph as glowing, multicolored light, which some interpret as spiritual energy.
Although there are other photography systems out there, the McClellans chose the Aura Video Station because of the software program and its unique blend of aura photography, color psychology and mind-body knowledge.
"It's a better way to get more personal information," Carl McClellan says.
The Aura Video Station allows clients to see their aura in color as it fluctuates.
Depending on a client's daily activity, thoughts and emotions at the time of a reading, the colors surrounding the core of the aura change, McClellan says.
"But the base color," he adds, "the core of the aura, remains the same and that is the indicator of the spiritual identity."
The AVS provides an extensive reading and color analysis, including pictures and energy level readings of a client's chakras.
Chakra, from the Sanskrit word for "disk" or "wheel," is an ancient spiritual concept. Each of the body's seven chakras signifies one of the basic energy centers within the body and correlate to the major nerve ganglia that branch out from the spinal column. When the chakras are out of balance, a person's spiritual and physical energy are affected.
Along with aura and chakra analysis, the AVS also provides insight into stress and relaxation levels; energy vibration levels within the different channels of the body; the overall mind/body condition with an overview of how energies are distributed between mind, body, and spirit; and analysis of the client's current emotional state.
The analysis takes approximately 30 minutes and costs $40, which includes two large color photos and 20 pages of information of the aura reading.
The AVS is portable, so the McClellans are able to go mobile for group analyses and private parties.
"It really is a lot of fun, too," Karen Goodwater-McClellan says with a smile. "We have done a lot of groups and everybody is always amazed at their results."
The McClellans recall one woman at a party who sat before the computer with her hand on the biosensor watching her aura on the screen while others came up behind her to see if their presence had influence over her aura's color fluctuations.
Carl McClellan remembers how her husband "kinda sneaked up behind her" and placed his hand directly over her head.
"The aura around her heart immediately turned pink," he smiles, "and pink revealed in an aura is the color of love."
The McClellans hope their aura photography business will grow to allow Carl to work with it full-time, enhancing the special orders he does for tie-dye work.
The couple purchased the Aura Video Station planning to expand an existing business, the former tie-dye store "Indigo Child." But after Carl, who was also working full-time at a local factory, was hurt in a car accident last year they had to close the store. He has recently been released to go back to work, but can't continue to do the factory work he once did.
Then last November, Karen had a routine major surgery, which has left her with a recurring staph infection. So far, the doctors have been unable to cure the infection. She is hoping to get a referral to OHSU in Portland for diagnosis and cure in time to start back to work in the spring.
Karen works seven months a year in the public park system for the state.
The insurance covers her only when she is working. The couple is trying to keep up with the insurance payments through COBRA for all her medical expenses, but Karen's also worried about losing her job if she isn't better soon.
"If I can't work because of this," she worries, "I don't know what we'll do."
The McClellans thought about selling their aura photography business to have enough cash to pay the insurance premiums, but friends encouraged them to pursue the business themselves.
"We really enjoy doing this," says Carl McClellan, who makes it clear they are not in the business of dispensing medical or psychological advice or diagnosis. They provide insight into aura energy, personality traits, energy levels and emotional states.
"People are trying self-exploration for better understanding," Karen Goodwater-McClellan says, "and we provide them with really accurate information to do that."