Demystifying Spirit Guides

The term spirit guides can provoke a range of reactions. For some it brings pangs of irritation, sounding like new age psychobabble. Or stirs religious trauma, or challenges the idea of free will. Or it has no real meaning at all, a blank space with nothing to attach to it. For me personally the term never bothered me but it didn’t always resonate either.

Like many other terms in the field of spiritual awareness, it’s imperfect. When discussing matters that range far beyond our human experience it’s hard to capture the idea in words, and yet we have to call them something in order to talk about it. This particular concept assumes that in a multi-lifetime energetic experience, that certain spirits would choose to remain close to another to help them navigate the challenges of their incarnation in support of energetic progress. There is a tendency to personify things when we view it from a human perspective but we could also see this an an energetic presence. To say a spirit is ultimately an energy doesn’t make it any less real or lacking in “personality.”

There are other types of guides and benevolent energies too, examples could include deities, orishas, guardian angels, elemental energies, ancestors and the beloved dead, archangels, archetypal and mythical figures, and the spirits of plants and animals. All of these can take on the role of a “guide” but they are universal and potentially available to all. As much as I try to explore and approach energy work from highly non-denominational perspective and do not believe that you need to have a certain spiritual practice to do it, this part about connecting to forces and presences greater than yourself is integral to the concept of spirit guides. Energy channeling (in the context of reiki or dual frequency at least) is about connecting to something outside yourself and moving it through your body in a neutral way. Spirit guides is another way of thinking about connecting with the consciousness of a certain energy. We can benefit from cultivating a relationship with the individual spirits that are more supportive of our particular energetic signature. They can weigh in more directly on our individual circumstances.

I’m frequently surprised by how many people I meet who are extremely receptive and curious about the idea of spirit guides. And others are more skeptical and perhaps see me as a little “out there” when I say it. I’m not interested in prosthletizing or converting anyone. I also feel it is important to the quality of my relationship my with my own guides not to diminish it or conceal it.

I believe in choice. Especially during reiki training people often ask “how do you present this idea to those who may be really turned off by some of these ideas” and while I do have some good strategies for putting it in plain terms, I usually say that if they are really turned off that means they’re not interested 😅
We all have layers of personality and beliefs that help us, and the ability to have different relationships with different people; I like to think that part of accepting the wholeness in each other is to allow for connecting in some ways even as we may disagree in others.

Part of me wants to tell everyone I know “talk to your spirit guides!” but I also know that if there’s anything I’ve learned from my guides it’s that they have superior boundaries and don’t take things personally. They will hold you accountable, but they won’t intervene without your permission and invitation. Sometimes their communication punches through the resistance or lack of awareness during moments of crisis, but there still needs to be a willingness to connect. They don’t have anything to prove and they’ve got all the time in the world.

The first step to establishing that connection is to start talking to them and invite them into your life (consent). Ask them to connect with you, to guide and intervene, to help you understand yourself better. Spirit guides are not omniscient or omnipotent. They usually don’t like to answer questions about “what will happen” or weigh in on what might be happening with another person. Guides are about the big picture across large scales of time, they are about the truth and nothing but the truth** although there are often many truths. They are also mainly interested in the overall progression of your spirit energy, and are less concerned with the immediate day-to-day stuff. Like all relationships, sometimes they can seem out of sync or disappoint us. Especially when we feel that we can’t connect, or they seem to be repeating themselves or withholding information. Sometimes we disagree, and that’s the beauty of free will. We can ask and then we can also have our own opinion.

Guides have their own language, they require some practice connecting on a regular basis to find a shared form of communication. Some guides prefer certain psychic senses, and others communicate in a variety of ways depending on the situation. Our guides (in my experience) often communicate in a unified voice when we are first developing the relationship. And over time we can tune into their unique voices and personalities.

Some guides are with us our whole life, and others come and go. Some guides are oriented to more universal concepts and others work with us for a specific purpose in our life. I have found that some of my guides have a personality that better suits certain relationships I have with others, and they will take the lead while others step back in those situations.

Some of the general ways we can “listen for answers” from our guides include:

  • Divination tools (Oracle and tarot cards, pendulums, scrying mirrors, etc)
  • Noticing our environment and acknowledging repetitions (certain images, events, interactions, animals and plants, words and numbers)
  • Synchronistic timing (correlation of certain events or interactions)
  • Physical sensations and experiences
  • Hearing sounds, words, songs and music, clicking sounds and ears ringing, general phenomena of hearing (some of my guides like to interrupt the audio playback of electronics)
  • Sudden emergence of ideas or insight
  • Elemental feedback (wind, change in light, change in temperature)
  • Smells that appear to come out of nowhere or have no explanation
  • Directional movements (for example birds keep flying from upper right of your vision to the lower left as you’re walking around, and you find that if you look to the upper left of your field of vision you can perceive responses to questions)
  • Glimmers and floaters in your vision
  • Sensations that correspond to “yes” and “no” (could also be movements like the above, or sounds)

Just to name a few…

Some spirit guides have had embodied human lives, and others have different origins. This informs their perspective too. One of my guides Sarah has a much more human perspective on boundaries, she’s blunt and opinionated and to be honest she’s kind of a hardass sometimes! She weighs in heavily in when I have anxiety, and reminds me that with awareness comes choice. Whereas Jorelemon sees much value in the struggle, is inclined to advise staying with something uncomfortable and learning from it; he also is more inclined to push me towards a situation that will be challenging to help me activate something (more of a “trickster” energy at times). Bernard is extremely gentle and loving, almost more like a compassionate parent figure. I’ve shared before that often our intuition offers new information, and Bernard is an example of a guide who taught me who to treat myself more kindly and with unconditional love when honestly no one had even spoken to me like that before.
All our guides love us unconditionally, but just as we receive love in a variety of ways, they express it in a variety of ways. There’s a tremendous support to be found through intentionally connecting with our guides. When we ask them to intervene and be present in our lives, usually our lives start to change. New timelines open up and others become inactive.

How to you relate to the idea of spirit guides?

Have you ever experienced a guide “intervening” in a challenging situation?

In what ways do you “hear” them, or in what ways do you wish to connect?

If you would like space held for you to practice your psychic skills, I hope you’ll consider joining Tuning In this May, where we’ll be honing our psychic senses to better receive information. You can also participate by recording if you are unable to attend live.

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