Spirit guides can be a confusing concept when you take your first steps in spiritual or psychic development, but once you understand what/who spirit guides are, what they can and cannot do and how they are of use to you in your development, you can take some very strong leaps forward.
It is commonly believed that every soul has many spirit guides during its time on earth. The general idea is that before incarnating to earth, you (yes, you, not anybody else) decide what lessons you wish to learn on the earth plane and what the purpose of your incarnation will be. Your soul then chooses spirits to assist you in staying true to your purpose. Once you are born, however, you have no memory of these choices, and your spirit guides therefore have an important job to do in helping you stay true to your chosen path.
Typically, you will have at least one guide who is with you throughout your lifetime, but there will be many others who come and go as your life develops or as circumstances dictate. Spirit guides are not the same as guardian angels, by the way – angels have never had a life on the earth plane, but spirit guides usually have. Having said that, it’s not uncommon to have at least one guide who has never taken human form on earth. Many people have animal guides, and some have what can only be called extra-terrestrial guides.
So what do your spirit guides actually do, and how do they do it? Well, they offer guidance, as the name suggests. Spirit guides cannot force you to do anything, and will never interfere with your free will, but they can and do leave signposts for you, and will try to encourage you back onto the right path if you stray from your purpose. Your spirit guides always act from a place of love and respect, and are always supportive – they don’t criticise, get angry, get disappointed or give up. Think of them as the closest friends you’ll ever have – they know everything there is to know about you, even things you don’t know yourself, and their intent for you is always pure.
In order to get the most from your spirit guides, it’s important to develop a relationship. But how do you develop a relationship with people you can’t see and don’t remember choosing? The answer is through meditation – when you sit in the power, or sit in stillness, you open up your higher self and your open your mind to receive communication from your spirit guides. This communication can take many forms – sudden flashes of insight, a sudden “knowing”, or a significant sign or symbol which comes to you later in the day, or in your dreams. Although you’ll often hear people saying “White Feather told me….” or “My guide Tom says that…” it’s rare for someone to literally see or hear their guides in everyday life. Some mediums do, but most people mean that they’ve seen or heard in their minds, not in physical reality.
Although there seem to be a preponderance of Native American or ancient Chinese guides, your spirit guides can be absolutely anyone. It could be a deceased loved one that you know, or it could be a soul from any time in history, and from any culture. If you don’t already know who some of your guides are, ask to meet them! Take a guided meditation designed especially for this purpose, or simply ask in your mind during a normal quiet meditation. Take your time to absorb the detail of what your guide looks like and how he or she presents him or herself to you. Spirits present to us in a form they think we are expecting and will understand (which might explain the popularity of Native American looking guides!) but a knowledge of how your guide looks is just a useful short hand when you need to call upon him or her.
Different guides have different purposes; if you are developing mediumship, you will almost certainly have a “doorkeeper” whose job it is to marshall the spirits wanting to communicate, and to maintain some kind of order in the queue! Other guides may have specific lessons to help you with, and your lifetime guide will be on hand to assist with all kinds of spiritual and philosophical manners. Don’t expect your spirit guides to find you a parking place or help you win the lottery, however – their role is to guide your unfoldment and purpose, not to make your wildest earthly dreams come true!