The belief in spirits ranges from ancestors, guides, and saints to evil entities. Here’s a list of common questions and answers about this subject.
The Big Spiritual Picture
We have a body but our essence is spirit. So, it’s natural to be curious about spiritual things. Spirit Guides are an interesting subject. Many religions talk about different spirits and angles.
Much of what we about this comes from the folklore of early man. Religions are versions of this folklore. And, religions program our cultural narrative. Our task is to aid spiritual travelers in sorting out the facts so that you can make informed decisions on this subject.
Here’s our approach to this task. First, we will look at the origins. Then, take a brief tour of how Western organized religion handles this subject. These religions have over 3 billion members. Last, we’ll address the most asked questions. So, here we go.
What are Spirits and Spirit Guides?
What are spirits? They are entities without material form. Many people believe in good and bad spirit beings. For instance, there are guardian angels and protective spirits. Then, there are also evil spirits or demons.
Beliefs about spirits come from the folklore of the early indigenous cultures. Later, folklore becomes a part of religion through cultural programming. The people within a culture assimilate this programming in various degrees. It depends on several factors. These include:
- the level of indoctrination
- the freedom of thought in their social sphere
- and educational background.
What are spirit guides? These guides are friendly spiritual life forces. They give us advice and guidance to deal with the challenges we have as spiritual beings living in a material world. There are some guides known as “guardians” in many Shamanic worldviews. They are scary in appearance. This keeps people from going places they shouldn’t go. So, their intent is to protect. These guides are just one type of spirit in the spirit world.
Another way to understand them is energy vibration. Science tells us everything from a rock to sunlight has a vibrational frequency. Thus, everything is vibrating with life. This includes the spiritual beings of our inner world.
Many people who do not follow religion believe in spiritual entities. They may prefer to call them unseen supernatural and paranormal forces. It is also common for people to believe they have a link with their ancestors. The idea of contacting spirit guides transcends religion. It stretches back in time to the earliest cultures.
The subject of spirits leads us to animism. Animism is the belief that everything has a living spiritual force, a spirit. Ancient cultures sought ways to connect the world and the spiritual essence. These spiritual entities are one way we connect to this essence.
Some people love lists of things. Even though it would be impossible to list every type of spirit and spirit guide. There are texts from the middle ages known as Bestiaries. These works contain drawings and explanations for many things real and supernatural. And, they are a rich source of mythology and superstition connecting objects with meaning. These books are available in some libraries. And, there are reproductions available.
Spirits in the Abrahamic Paradigm
The Abrahamic religions are those of Semitic origin including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These religions are the rebranding of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions. Today there are over 10,000 versions of these religions. They each have their own way of addressing the idea of spirits.
The Church has an interesting relationship with spirit guides. For instance, Catholicism promotes praying to Saints. Saints come in two types. First, those that have done some type of outstanding service for the Church. Second, those suffering torture to death as heretics. They also seek spiritual guidance from Mary the mother of Jesus.
Other sects contact the Holy Spirit using various types of ritual and prayer. There are several processes for contacting spirits guides within the Church. For example, charismatic or word of faith movements use praise and worship sessions to reach a trance-like state. This can cause speaking in unknown languages (gibberish). Some people fall on the floor in a hypnotic state. And some act like animals, barking like dogs or acting like a monkey. The main reasons for doing this is for healing or prosperity.
Islam also has its guardian angels. They do not pray to them but acknowledge them by looking at their left and right shoulders where these spirit guides, Kiraman Katibin sit. Muslims believe these guardian angels will report to God at the end of their lives. Whether God sends their soul to heaven or hell for eternity depends on this report. Muslims take their presence seriously.
“Angels take turns around you, some at night and some by day. And all of them assemble at the same time of the Fajr and ‘Asr prayers. Then those who have stayed with you throughout the night, ascend to Allah, who asks them… ‘How have you left my servants?’ They reply, ‘As we have found them praying, we have left them praying.'” — Bukhari Hadith 10:530, narrated by Abu Huraira
Islam also has its evil spirits known as Jinn. The class of spirits known as Jinn is similar to Demons in the Christian belief system. As spirit guides, they inspire everything from poetry to evil deeds. The Jinn are the al-ghaib the unseen. Their abilities differ depending upon the teacher or sect. For instance, some Islamic scholars think Jinn can possess people, others do not.
This is the predecessor of Christianity and Islam. Jewish believes in connecting with ancestors, angels, or guides. They also believe there are both good and bad spirits. So, connecting with a guide is essential. So, they use a “mashpia” or spiritual teacher to lead acolytes in a guided visualization. This is to make sure you meet good spirits not bad.
For example, an “Ibbur” is a good spirit. These spirits inhabit a person for a specific period to complete a task. They are an “extra soul.” But this kind of possession is a good thing. Once this quest or task is complete, they leave.
In contrast, they also have evil spirits. For instance, a “Dybbuk” is the soul of someone who did something bad. It can not enter Gehenna for purification. Since it can’t go to heaven or hell, it roams the Earth searching for someone to enter. It looks for someone who has committed a similar act or is otherwise vulnerable.
People are vulnerable when undergoing some transition in life. For instance, those who are about to marry, preparing for a bar mitzvah, or pregnant. Once it finds a suitable match, it will attach itself to their soul. This type of possession isn’t a good thing for either party.
Mainstream Judaism does not believe in demons in the same way as Christianity. However, several influential Rabbinical sources support evil beings like Golem and the Dybbuk. These beings are numerous among people, but with less influence than in Christianity. That is unless we permit them.
“If the eye had the power to see them, no creature could endure the demons. Abaye says: They are more numerous than we are and they surround us like the ridge around a field.” Abba Benjamin, Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Berakoth
The shamanic journey pre-dates Western religion. It’s one of the first processes for spiritual exploration going back eons. And you can find it in every part of the world. Almost every ancient culture practices it in some form. This process has undergone a rebranding effort to make it more palatable for Western consumers. Today people call it guided meditation.
The Shamanic Journey is a process that opens a doorway to a unique state of consciousness. It is this meditative process where one can reach several kinds of spirit guides. Michael Harner is an anthropologist, author, and modern-day Shaman. He calls this state, “The Shamanic State of Consciousness” (SSC). In this state, the brainwaves are the theta-wave are around 4 to 7Hz. SSC is useful in the healing of mind, body, and spirit. This state presents in many forms. There are both seated and moving types of SSC.
Without a doubt, the Shamanic Journey is the safest method for contacting your spirit guides. If a qualified teacher is available all the better. However, it is effective and safe to journey alone. All that’s needed is the right audio drum track. This process affords the most control over what happens and the duration of time while in SSC. Using a recording affords you the ability to journey for any length of time almost anywhere. We’ll give some resources at the end of the article.
The Modern Spiritualist Movement
Now let’s look at how one of the later movements capitalized on contacting spirits and other types of guides.
The Modern Spiritualism movement is a semi-religious forerunner of the Christian Faith movement. It began in the late 1800s. For a price, a spiritualist could contact the spirits of the dead on your behalf.
In short, it’s parlor entertainment for the rich social elite led by celebrity Spiritualists. This entertainment included a variety of mystical practices, séances, spirit channeling, fortune-telling, tarot card readings, and divination. This movement only serves to cloud the information about spirit guides. However, several people became wealthy and famous, like Kate and Margaret Fox.
The Fox sisters (1814-1892) set the bar high for showmanship. More and more people became mediums. Channeling took on new heights with the likes of Esther Hicks and Abraham. Séances and automatic writing became staples on the spiritualist tour. This profitable showmanship caught the eye of the early Christian faith movement. The stage theatrics of these con-men and women are still in use today.
We bring up this sidebar here because of the confusion this movement creates around the subject of spirit guides. The spiritualism movement has also undergone several rebranding efforts. This type of spiritual grandstanding is part of many popular Faith Christan Churches. The Toronto Airport Vineyard for instance. They would become drunk in the spirit and mimic animals such as dogs barking. Then others would interpret the animal noises for the congregation. Many feel that both movements are the same counterfeits which only exist to make money from their showmanship.
Contacting Spirit Guides Q & A
Next, we’ll cover the most asked questions about this subject. It would take a book series of several volumes to answer every possible question. So, if you have a question that isn’t here, please put your question in the comments section. If we can’t answer you, chances are one of our readers may do so. Keep in mind that there is a great deal of folklore about spirits. It’s common to find the exact opposite meaning and answer for the same question depending on the worldview.
Where did the term Spirit Guides Originate?
The term comes from Shamanism. It pre-dates all of Western religion. It represents a significant common discovery among people investigating consciousness. Somehow people around the world came upon the same formula for altering awareness through the use of sound. It’s more than a coincidence. It provides proof of a common spiritual realm.
Is there a safe way of Contacting Spirit Guides?
That depends on two main factors. The first factor is your mental health. Good mental health is a necessity. If you are under treatment for any type of mental health issue consult your physician before you try this. In other words, if you know you are bat shit crazy, don’t attempt this.
Second, use a safe method. We find the Shamanic Journey or guided meditation provides the safest method. Experienced personal instruction is the best. However, there are several good books with CDs that have drum tracks. These are a good choice for many people. Do your research. The more you know, the better. We’ll share a few of the best resources below.
If you think a live session with a Shamanic teacher is the way to go, check references. Unless you have several years of solid spiritual practice, don’t use psychotropic drugs. It’s tempting for beginners to want to jump-start their practice. But we don’t recommend this approach.
When you use drugs, you lose control of the length and depth of the journey. You can’t control the potency of the plant material or your reaction to substances. So, don’t jump into the deep water until you know how to float and swim in shallow water.
Can a Medium or Channel help me find my Spirit Guides?
These are roles that come from the Modern Spiritualist Movement. The medium or channel is in complete control. Any method that depends upon intermediary increases the risk of a bad experience. A medium or channel is in complete control of the process. This differs from the role a Shaman plays when guiding you through your journey.
When you submit to a Medium or Channel, you are opening your subconscious mind. Many use hypnosis techniques to gain control of their clients. In a state of hypnosis, people are vulnerable to suggestion. So, we do not recommend the use of mediums and channels. It can cause more problems and roadblocks to your spiritual development. It’s a strategy to separate you from your hard-earned cash.
Can I find my Spirit Guides with Wicca or Witchcraft?
Rituals are another way to contact these spiritual entities. You’ll find the same rituals in witchcraft and Shamanic practice. The most effective rituals are those you infuse with personal meaning. It’s a matter of building on the historical legacy. It pays to research the symbolism behind the ritual so you understand what you are doing.
Western religions still persecute those who practice any other path. Persecution is an admission that other paths offer something of substance. The practice of what we know as Witchcraft pre-date Western organized religion. They are the legacy of the earliest cultures of man and so offer many things that religious doctrine does not. For instance, our modern medicines come from the research done by indigenous people. Their work with medicinal plants forged the way for all pharmaceuticals.
So, yes, Witchcraft and Wicca are paths to contact spirit guides. Using processes known as the Craft is another method for contacting them. Many of the earliest cultures of man incorporate various rituals within their Shamanic practice. This enables a systematic and repeatable way to reach SCC.
How do you find those with the same spiritual interests?
People often want to partner with others on the same quest. It’s simple. Ask the universe to help put you in touch with like-minded freethinkers. Use common sense when contacting people.
What’s the best way to connect with my Spirit Guides?
Words have power. That’s why they call it spelling when you write or speak them. That being the case, choose your words carefully. Be specific about your request. If you want to meet your spirit guide. Say it. “I want to meet my primary spirit guide.”
Be patient but persistent. Many experienced teachers will always tell you to take your time. Become familiar with the terrain of your spirit world. And, these spirit entities want to make sure you are ready to meet them.
What will my Spirit Guides look like?
Spirit entities come in all shapes and sizes. They manifest as people, animals, or Anthropomorphic beings, creatures with both human and animal characteristics. They could be plants or trees. Some have rocks, crystals, or other precious metals as guides.
What’s important is for you to be ready when you venture on your spiritual quest. Pay attention to everything that is going. Watch for patterns or changes. Sometimes guides use subtle methods to get their message across. They may also communicate with you while you are engaging in ordinary day-to-day activities. These will the synchronicities and other patterns.
Is there a list of Spirit Guides?
There are spiritual mentors, communicators, and guides for many tasks and purposes. Everything you can imagine can become a guide. They will appear when you are ready. Your primary guides are there to protect and offer guidance. There are also guides with specific skills. Some promote healing of mind, body, or soul. It is common to meet gatekeepers. Gatekeepers may look scary. They keep you from going places you aren’t ready to go.
How Many Spiritual Guides Can I have?
You’ll have as many as it takes for them to fulfill the quest at hand. You may have only one, or an army.
Can my Spirit Guides become Angry?
As we mentioned above, there are gatekeeper spirits. They appear ominous and scary. They do this to keep travelers from venturing where they should not go. If you aren’t ready, they protect you.
You’ll find many guides have distinct personalities. The more time you spend with them the better you will understand their unique personalities.
How to interpret the messages from my Spiritual Guides?
Spiritual guides will try to give you a message in a way meaningful to you. They speak directly and plainly. However, sometimes they speak in riddles. And if the message comes from an animal that doesn’t speak, they will try to get the message across. When you encounter other signs, then you will need to figure out what it means. It’s important to remember only you can interpret their messages.
A knowledgeable Shaman or Guru won’t tell you what something means. They will ask you questions to help you find out the answers. So, you can do this on your own. Here are some questions that you can use to interpret the messages:
What is the lesson? What does this symbol mean to me? Is this similar to some other symbol or situation? What was happening either before or after I saw or heard this message? What emotions did this bring up? Is this a reoccurring message? Where were you when you received this message? What are you doing?
Meditate on it. The answer may take some time to percolate. Above all, use your spiritual journal. be sure to record your message and thoughts about it. You may find your answer tucked away in something you recorded in the past. Or, you may discover a pattern, a symbol, or a pattern of thought.
What about the use of the Ouija Board?
The Ouija board or talking board is a prop from the Modern Spiritualist movement. By the 1900s, they became a part of popular culture. Child’s game companies began marketing them as a toy. Some think they are harmless while others see them as a doorway to evil.
One way to understand them is through the ideomotor effect. Ideo is from idea, and motor relates to muscular action. The ideomotor effect is how a subliminal suggestion brings about an unconscious action. This explains the mechanics of talking boards, as well as, hypnosis, dowsing rods, and automatic writing. These are simply the reflex actions of the subconscious mind. We see how this works with other reflex actions. For example, the body reacts to painful stimuli by pulling away. So, whether you see this as a way to contact your ancestors, parlor game, or doorway to hell depends on our worldview.
Can I connect with my spirit guide through prayer?
The short answer is, no. Prayer in Western theology is a petition to a higher power. It’s asking the higher power to intervene. Whereas, your spirit guides exist in the realm of Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC). And, this realm exists within your consciousness. This requires a process enabling you to reach SSC. So, the Western idea of prayer is not a way to do this. Many with this worldview discourage people from seeking any advice from outside their belief system.
If you think of prayer in terms of an invocation, then you are getting closer to the use of meaningful rituals. The key is understanding the symbolism of the ritual. Indigenous cultures use meaningful rituals to enter and exist SSC. They often use a rattle and drum for this purpose. The tempo and volume are cues that slow or speed up heart rate and respiration.
Resources for Contacting Spirit Guides
- Shamanic Journeying: A Beginner’s Guide Paperback — 2008, by Sandra Ingerman One of the best step-by-step books. It comes complete with a CD including and drum tracks.
- Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation — 2010 By (Sandra Ingerman, and Hank Wesselman
- The Way of the Shaman — 1990 By Michael Harner
- Ono Teave, Drum tracks for the shamanic journey. Some of the best tracks with a variety of lengths.
What are Spirits and Spirit Guides? We are spiritual beings existing for a time in this material world. Our essence is what we call the spirit or soul. It’s only natural for us to seek spiritual help. What better source for help than your spiritual advisors. Use the shamanic to journey safely. This is one of the basic tools of spiritual exploration.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
List of religious populations, Wikipedia
Kiraman Katibin Muslim Recording Angles, Learnreligions.com
The Fox Sisters, Wikipedia
Modern Spiritualist Movement, Wikipedia
Jinn Possession, Islamqa.info.com