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Meet Trailblazer Justina Aura

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justina Aura.

Justina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Making jewelry is something I have been doing since I was in fashion school. I took a wire wrapping course and fell in love. While in university, I sold the majority of my designs to my professors. However, after graduation, I worked in communal service and even obtained a degree in Public Administration from USC in 2003. For almost two decades, my jewelry was mostly created as gifts and tokens for friends or loved ones. This creative outlet became a venture for me in 2010, when a friend of mine who was consistently homeless and struggling asked me for prayer or talisman to help her. I truly believe it was faith in my ability to assist her that truly sparked something within me.

Utilizing the inherited knowledge of both my Jewish amulet maker and Black Native American healer great-grandmothers, I created a simple key and jewel necklace for her. The piece was crafted around an energetic intention with the materials as the anchor, using the powerful blessings I learned as a child to set it. When completed, the necklace radiated power and strength. I had created something truly special for my friend. Less than a month later I was informed that the recipient’s situation had stabilized for the first time in ten years; it has remained that way to this day. She wears this always. Recently, she married her long-term girlfriend and the love of her life. I am filled with joy at their happiness.

Mermaid Tailoring was born with a heartfelt wish and continues today.

Has it been a smooth road?
However, this road has not always been a smooth one.

In the same year that I started Mermaid Tailoring, I suffered a traumatic brain injury plus serious damage to my left shoulder and spinal cord. The resultant brain bleed caused me to need to relearn how to walk, be taught basic actions like feeding myself and speak again as well as to regain the use of the left side of my body after paralysis. I also underwent two related and painful surgeries. A repair was done to my torn left shoulder plus broken discs were removed, and a metal plate was added to my upper spinal column.

Today, I continue to experience severe chronic pain, extreme fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Nevertheless, my love of what I do is such that I find ways to work around my disability to help others. The first few pieces of jewelry made for Mermaid Tailoring were accomplished one-handed since my left was still partially paralyzed.

Prior to starting Mermaid Tailoring, from 1998 to 2000, I helped care for my father who was fighting a losing battle with cancer. This period of my life taught me the power of perseverance and compassion. I gained the ability to hold space for someone suffering and in need of empathy. My mother, whom I was already close with, and I became a team during this time. Throughout everything, she has been my rock. She is incredibly supportive, and nothing I do would, frankly, go as smoothly without her. We currently live on the same property to provide mutual assistance, hugs, and some much-needed Gilmore Girls style patter.

Shortly after my father’s death, I entered into a relationship and eventually married with a man who was physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive towards me. It was a very dark period of my life. After close to five years, I finally found the strength and will to leave. I immediately sought healing and help. I learned a lot about myself: such as healthy boundaries, especially in romantic relationships. For instance, what is and is not acceptable between partners. I also rediscovered an ability to not only empower myself but to inspire others to make positive changes in their lives. Through Mermaid Tailoring, I continue to use the skills I learned during these periods of my life to help others today.

We’d love to hear more about Mermaid Tailoring/Sacred Spirit Healer’s Market.
Over the years, I have continued to add to my skill set by studying metalworking, beading, metal crocheting, and leatherworking. I create a variety of jewelry ranging from necklaces to talismans to festival crowns to hair ornaments to earrings to armlets and bracelets. Each piece of jewelry made is imbued with an individual intention. When worn, the piece can guide the wearer towards their true life path. Therefore, I continue to do what I do.

When my friend, Reiki Master Kailea Crommett, told me over tea about her dream of establishing a healer’s market in North Park, I was eager to help. I have always believed in the power of women to come together in friendship and inspiration to accomplish big things.

Sacred Spirit Healer’s Market is located at our friend’s beautiful Soul Flow Studio at 3095 El Cajon Blvd. It is a monthly pop-up healer’s market with an array of vendors and practitioners of different modalities offer affordable mini sessions to the public. Our mission is to reach those who would not normally seek out holistic healing. We empower our fellows to promote themselves and their businesses through the experience.

I made a conscious decision not to sell my jewelry online, rather seeking personal connections. Mermaid Tailoring pieces can be found exclusively through Soul Flow Studio, monthly at Sacred Spirit Healer’s Market, and as custom orders. For custom pieces, I sit with clients, speak with them about where they are in their lives, help them to chart where they ultimately want to be, and design a power piece that supports that journey with them. Each project usually takes about two weeks to a month to complete depending upon the complexity. Upon delivery, I do an included 90-minute intuitive reading or healing session for the individual. My purpose is to assist each patron in walking her or his path towards personal empowerment.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I was always a creative and imaginative child. My adopted dad (who married my mom when I was eight) was an architect and classically trained artist. He saw this piece of me that was incredibly curious, wondrously creative, and encouraged that. I had access to art supplies and classes. My parents allowed me to follow the flow of my imagination which was wonderful. I was also classically trained in dance and voice from a young age.

Additionally, as an empathetic and intuitive child, I was a natural healer. As the descendant of women whose gifts are legendary within both sides of one’s family, inheriting their gifts was a very different experience than many others might have enjoyed from an ancestor. I found my young self-soothing crying babies I didn’t know or pulling pain from people’s energetic bodies. I was always very aware of what people around me were thinking and feeling. Fortunately, my Grandpa Al taught me shielding along with how to read tea leaves and people’s energy. I learned palmistry in the first grade. On the one hand, I knew this was unusual. On the other, I understood that this was all merely part of my reality. Something I didn’t necessarily discuss on the playground either. I feel extremely lucky to have had these experiences. They allowed me to feel comfortable with my gifts as well as my skin when in other ways I was not.

I was mixed when most other children were not, nerdy when it was uncool, and a more than a little shy until college. Within the realms of my identity being a multi-genre artist and an intuitive were, in a way, my first languages. When creating, dancing, singing, or healing here is the song of my soul.


  • Pre-made Jewelry Pieces $25 to $175
  • Custom Jewelry $80-$200
  • Custom Hairpieces & Crowns $50-$150
  • Wedding Veils $250-$400

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Lissah Udeh, Justina Aura, Bianca Zepeda, Leon Galek, Anne Wolf

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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