Merrick’s earliest super-visual experiences come in the form of tinted luminescent orbs, seen during road trips in the family car at the age of four. The daughter of an intuitive mother and a father who was a preacher in the church, Merrick saw hues throughout her childhood in the veins and anatomy of her eyes. Later on in early adulthood, Merrick suffered from halo migraines where she would see discs of color radiating from people and objects.
The fact that women have a distinct advantage over men concerning the discernment of color differentials has been well documented by scientists, with one popular theory stemming from the traditional gender duties of male hunters vs. female gatherers. Some people, mostly women, are even considered tetrachromats—a condition describing anyone with “superhuman” color discernment who are born with a fourth receptor in the eye (the normal number of receptors is three). Merrick thinks she might fall into that category: “I believe I have more receptors than most, and that’s why I’m able to sense and see the way I do.”
Sensory perception, as one might assume, is integral when it comes to aura reading. “There are two massive theories we understand about color: either color exudes energy and we experience it and see it, or color absorbs everything except the color we see,” Merrick explained, “which is generally the more popular theory. Color comes from so many natural things we have in this world, like bugs—there’s energy still coming from that.”
Above: Susanna Merrick gives the author a reading and closet cleansing.
Visual advantages aside, intuitives and people with extra-sensory gifts are prone to excruciating migraines. Part of the reason for that, Merrick thinks, is due to information overload. But she doesn’t limit the explanations of her intuitive senses to just visual advantages. You’ll find a lot of information on the web about women’s intuition and whether it is or isn’t, but Merrick strongly believes in the tie between her intuitive abilities and moon cycle.
Merrick explains: “During the follicular phase, testosterone is high and estrogen is low—you have good ideas and energy and creativity but your intuition is at its lowest, and you’re out of sync with emotions. Ovulation is when you’re more balanced and in tune with your body, and then your egg drops—and shit hits the fan; that’s when you get PMS. But for me, that’s when I’m most intuitive!”
Whether you experience a menstrual cycle or not, colors affect all of us all the time. Merrick uses her extra-visual and sensory abilities to guide clients in their own personal color and energy journey. “I use the gifts I have to tune into someone’s energy and explain it through color—color is just a tool. For instance, green can mean stress but if the energy is different it could mean something else.” The differences between shades of color can mean multitudes, and an intuitive reading gives much more insight than a photo from Magic Jewelry. “Aura photographs give you a very specific shade and I don’t see that. I see those different shades.”
Merrick advises her clients on when to wear color, why to wear color, and how to reflect their own personal energy through style. Her readings tap into what’s happening internally with the client so it can be reflected on the outside. One service she offers, the “Closet Cleanse”, serves as much more than a simple wardrobe clean—a service I experienced first hand when Merrick visited my Brooklyn apartment for coffee, cherries, and some light philosophical discussion on religion and perception.
With little reference as to what to expect other than styling shows on TLC I used to watch as a teenager, Merrick walked me through her standard color and style consultation process. Take your basic closet cleanse, for example; a stylist will pull out items in ones closet and assess from there. “I was really trying to connect with clients,” Merrick reminisces of her old closet cleansing sessions, “but I found that those who were out of line with their energy because of a divorce or breakup or something major would have this issue with themselves and as a result hated everything in their closets—and I can’t fix that.” In stark contrast, clients going through exciting life changes, or those who were otherwise aligned and happy, were much more fun and experimental. Now Merrick encourages people to get a reading first.
My reading session consisted of an explanatory review of two previous aura photos—each taken a year apart—plus an energy and color card reading. Both of my aura photos are radically different: the oldest is a starkly aggressive bright red (taken at the beginning of the work day on-site at a previous job, a high-stress production based position) while the newer photo is a rainbow portrait with yellows, reds, and turquoise blending together in a counterclockwise swirl. “This is more along the lines of what I see,” Merrick explained.
It’s true that our dynamic aura—the energy being put out in the moment—is constantly changing based on a number of factors such as stress, partners, and other influences. However, we all have a static or intrinsic aura, which for the most part stays the same. Merrick’s insight concluded that my intrinsic aura was yellow, but becoming increasingly turquoise. Merrick explained that this shift demonstrates a transition to a different life phase; that while I was a purer yellow aura as a child (yellow is often associated with creativity and intelligence and, she noted, many writers have yellow auras), my energy was shifting more to a turquoise blue as an adult—a color indicating communication and education.
Above: Susanna Merrick explaining her reading; the author in one of Merrick's completed looks.
After the initial reading, Merrick drew four energy cards for me. The purpose of this energy card drawing is to map the flow of energy in different aspects of our lives, and to explore what type of fluctuations are being experienced. Then, Merrick gives counsel on how to navigate those changes. My cards, predictably, were incredibly transitional (I recently quit my job, I have basically no routine, am constantly bouncing around 7 half-baked business ideas, and am feeling generally stuck in most decision-making affairs). The reading was helpful as it reflected what I already knew was happening in my life, all while giving me the agency to look at those things with the help of a translator through an objective lens.
Once the readings were complete, we moved on to the styling portion of the consultation. While one might be inclined to think that the “closet cleanse” portion of Merrick’s service would be the star of the show, I found it to be more of the necessary send-off, a translation of the insight she had just given during our reading. Merrick took command of my closet as she pieced together two main looks based on our discussion of my energy and needs: the first, a powerful “creative-in-charge” look, pairing a favorite chartreuse button up with black wide-legged pants, while the second encapsulated a sexier, daring and incredibly bright pink blazer and purple dress combo that she spiced up with my grey straw beach hat and a tribal necklace. I would have never put those outfits together myself, but the confidence Merrick instilled in me with the combinations left me feeling powerful, energized and incredibly stylish.
The fundamental goal for Aura Wear is for people to understand the science and the spirituality of intuitive services, tapping into how they operate and why, and how to manifest positivity. Merrick admits that, however, oftentimes people just don’t seem to understand what she does. “I don’t believe intuitive is a fad that’s passing. There are intuitive hairstylists, tattoos, doctors. I think it’s a new platform for holistic care. People think it’s so outside the box, and as someone with innate magenta energy I’m like, ‘No it’s not, this is normal!’”
As with any service that requires trust and any type of faith whatsoever, not everyone is a believer. Often at events and gatherings Merrick finds herself explaining ad nauseam exactly how and why she is able to perceive and translate auras. “I always have to tell people that I’m not a magic 8 ball. People always think what I do is a magic trick. It’s not that way—it’s about the here and now.”