What is a spirit guide? Where do they come from? Are they real?
If you’re new to the topic, there are a lot of questions about spirit guides, which are good to get out of the way before you go any further…
Here is everything you need to know about the basics of what they are and how to meet your spirit guide:
What are spirit guides?
Many people believe that spirit guides are archetypal forces or the embodiments of energy which have the purpose of helping us.
The exact nature which people ascribe to spirit guides in general, or their own spirit guide in particular, can be unique and is often linked to an individual’s belief system.
They might include:
- Other or extra-dimensional beings
- The personification of natural forces
- Purely mental creations or forces
Believers in the power of spirit guides tend to agree on one thing though, that they are here to help. They may be:
- Trying to teach us something important
- Attempting to support or comfort us in difficult times
- Warning us against certain life choices
- Reminding or revealing things about ourselves to help us learn or grow
Types of spirit guides
There are many different types of spirit guides.
Some of the most well-known fall into certain categories, including:
1) Angels or Devas
Angels or devas are archetypes belonging to different religious and spiritual belief systems that have similar roles. They are strong forces and are generally thought to be protectors, messengers, comforters and teachers of universal principles. These can also be higher aspects of our self that we are not able to consciously experience but are linked through another dimension.
2) Ancestor spirits
Many people believe that their spirit guide is a kind of ancestor spirit, tied to them through their bloodline.
They are often said to be guardians or protectors or occasionally healers of familial trauma.
3) Ascended masters
Ascended masters are said to be a type of spirit guide who were, in life, spiritually enlightened people.
Famous examples are Jesus Christ, Confucius, and Gautama Buddha. But the category also includes a huge number of scholars, teachers, elders and wise women.
They are most often said to communicate through the medium of stories or to teach lessons which promote the understanding of life or one’s self. They are also said to encourage the sharing of the lessons they teach with others.
4) Elemental spirits and plants
The type of spirit guide known as an elemental spirit is often thought to live in wild places or be part of or personify natural features such as the weather, mountains, rivers, trees or waterfalls. It is commonly said that in order to gain any sort of guidance from an elemental spirit, a person would need to be very close to nature.
5) Gods and goddesses
There are a huge number of gods and goddesses believed in by various cultures and groups in different parts of the world and through different periods of history. Many of these are thought to act as spirit guides.
Most are said to control or have strong connections with various aspects of life or human existence, such as Gaia, the Earth Goddess.
There are many beliefs around the world which are based on the concept of plants as a teacher. Sacred plants such as ayahuasca, san pedro, peyote, mushrooms are part of many cultures that have ritual ceremonies to ingest and commune with the plant. These plants are also termed Entheogens as they have the ability to generate the feeling of being connected with the divine within. Meeting spirit guides can be experienced during a plant-based ceremony such as the ayahuasca ceremonies during our retreats.
7) Spirit animals
Spirit animals are usually said to personify or embody the general characteristics of an entire species of animal. These might be the animal’s actual characteristics, or the strengths and weaknesses ascribed to them by tradition.
They are most often thought to be a force for personal growth and balance.
How to find your spirit guide
Figuring out how to contact your spirit guide is something which a lot of people put a great deal of effort into. We advise doing this under the guidance of an experienced facilitator that knows their way around the spiritual realm.
There is a range of different ways to do it:
1. Scrying: this involves gazing into a pool of water, mirror, crystal ball or any reflective surface to gain insight. It is essentially a way of clearing your mind. Thus, it has a great deal in common with…
2. Meditation: practicing meditation or mindfulness (there are a huge number of how-to guides available online to help you try it) are often thought to be good ways to contact your spirit guide.
3. Natural immersion: “getting away from it all” into a place of serenity and natural beauty is a common practice when finding your spirit guide. Choose a national park or even your local park if you can get some privacy – anywhere you know you’re going to be surrounded by greenery, wildlife and be able to enjoy the sky.
4. Sacred plants: probably the best example of this is ayahuasca, the traditional brew which has been used by various South American communities for millenia. Modern retreat centers, such as Spirit Vine are based on integrating these ancient practices with modern techniques. The primary ingredient in ayahuasca – the Chacruna leaves containing DMT – has psychoactive properties. These have been traditionally used for spiritual research and healing. Meeting spirit guides is a common experience during an ayahuasca ceremony.
5. Dreaming: spotting synchronicity (see below) and repetition in your dreams is a common practice when searching for spirit guides. The general idea is to “decide” you are going to meet your guide every night for two weeks before going to sleep. This should be enough time to train yourself to start to make things happen in your dreams.
There are also various others, including visualization and trance-based methods.
Signs that your spirit guide is contacting you
There are many different signs that your spirit guide is contacting you.
Some of the most commonly-ascribed spirit guides signs include:
- 1. Gut instinct: have you ever done something spontaneously, knowing that it made no sense at the time – but later discovering that it worked out to be a brilliant choice. Some people say that this is your spirit guide helping you make the right decision.
- 2. Insight: those times when you sit back on your heels with a sudden realization – a sudden flash of insight – that something is happening or someone is doing something, some people think, is a little hint provided by your spirit guide.
- 3. Synchronicity and coincidences: synchronicity is the phenomenon when multiple seemingly unrelated incidents happen to coincide within a short period of time, which can be interpreted as a sign of contact from unseen forces. Interpreting messages from spirit guides is a whole other ball game, however!
- 4. Sending people into your life: have you ever been walking down the street, thinking about an old friend, only to later bump into them? This is a simplified example of something which many people attribute to the actions of their spirit guide – sending them the right person they need to help them with a decision or to teach a lesson at the right time.
- 5. Arranging “lucky” coincidences: those times when someone might say “the stars seemed to align” – you missed your bus but met a special someone, you had to stay at home for a parcel which meant you actually took the call about that job interview – are sometimes thought to be helpful little nudges provided by your spirit guide.
Are spirit guides real?
Of course, whether spirit guides are real is a matter of debate. Some people say they are all in your head. Others may argue that yes, they are – and that’s not a problem.
There are certain questions which you can ask about the kind of advice you believe your spirit guide is giving you to judge whether they might be real:
Does it feel like advice from yourself or from outside yourself? Does it make any sense to you?
Because basic questions like “what is a spirit guide?” and “how do I meet mine?” will only get you so far. It’s really the quality of advice that you receive and what you do with it that really matters.