Spirit Guides: who are they and how do we communicate with them?

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Did you know that you're never really alone? 

Your team of helpers in Spirit - your Spirit Guides, Angels, and Archangels - are always around, ready to assist.  And they're so very happy when you talk to them, recognize the signs they send you, and try to make a connection!

Let's talk about our Spirit Guides, what they are, what they look like, what they do for us, and how we can communicate with them.

So who are our Spirit Guides?

They are not the same as Guardian Angels!

Our Guides are souls that have previously experienced a number of lives in a physical body, but choose to no longer incarnate.  They now choose to serve by helping incarnated souls just like ourselves go through our life experiences, stay on our path, and learn our lessons.

While I don't know that much about Angels, I've often heard that Angels tend to be overly positive all the time, while Spirit Guides are more practical and specific in their messages and guidance.  Unlike Angels, Guides are very familiar with our physical reality and what it's like to be a human living in a physical body, so they may have a more realistic take on our situation and even give us some "tough love" when we need it.

Some of our Spirit Guides have incarnated with us in the past and may have been our family members, friends, teachers or coworkers in other lifetimes, while other Guides are brand new to us.

Can your late grandmother be your Guide?  Very unlikely!  Our family members (from this lifetime) are very attached to us and would find it hard to be objective and neutral when, say, you're going through a traumatic event that you'd planned for this lifetime for your own learning and growth.  Your grandma would probably do her darndest to keep that event from happening, while a Guide would just stand by and allow you to experience the event (and then help you handle it, learn from it, and heal from it in the best possible way).

Even though Guides are simply "hired" by your Higher Self to work with you for this one lifetime, they all love you very much, which they often convey in their messages! 

What do our Spirit Guides look like?

 (My sketches of some of the characters that have come through in Spirit Guide readings)

(My sketches of some of the characters that have come through in Spirit Guide readings)

Well, Guides don't have a body - they are souls.  However, they do often identify with an appearance, or at least project one for us to make themselves more relatable.

I believe that sometimes Guides identify with a physical appearance they had when they used to incarnate, and other times they would "create" an appearance that we can relate to.

When doing Spirit Guide readings for folks, I ask to see their Guides' appearances in my mind's eye, and it's always a surprise - I never know what to expect!

  • Many Guides present to us in human form, whether as a modern person or someone from centuries ago.  They could be wearing clothes of another time period, and look like any of the ethnicities we have on Earth.
  • Some Guides can present to us their extraterrestrial form.  (Many souls on Earth, including many of you reading this, have lived in other star systems and looked very different in those worlds from how we look here on Earth!)  When a person may not be cool with having an alien-looking Guide, the Guides may all try to project a human appearance instead, not to freak them out. :)
  • Some Guides don't bother to appear as a physical form and rather look like an energy field, for example.  It can be associated with a color, and maybe even emotion.  I see a green aura for Guides from a certain soul group pretty often, and they tend to be healers and very loving souls (green is the color of the energy of love and healing).  I've heard of Guides that look like animals or geometric shapes, but haven't personally encountered that yet!

How can we see our Guides?  Well, very few among us have developed their clairvoyance to the level that allows them to easily see beings in Spirit.  Most of us have more luck seeing our Guides in our mind's eye during meditation (with an intention to meet them!), guided or not, or even in dreams.  Search for the many "meet your Spirit Guide" guided meditations on YouTube, or ask to see your Guides in your dream next time you're going to sleep!

Are all Spirit Guides pretty much the same?

Absolutely not!

Even though our Guides are souls that aren't currently incarnated, they still do have their unique personalities as well as unique perspectives on the world - and on your life!

Some Guides can be very chatty, while others don't say much.  Some are very positive and uplifting, while others will occasionally get sarcastic or give you some "tough love".  Some look at things from a very practical and grounded perspective, while others look at things from a place of higher wisdom that's way beyond our human understanding.  Yet they all seem to have a sense of humor!

Each Guide brings their own gifts and expertise to your team.  (In fact, your Higher Self hires individual Guides based on what you need help with as you grow!)  Some of your Guides may be focused on helping you with your career or finances, while others advise you on your relationships, yet others may be in charge of your spiritual development and keeping you on your path.  That's why we need a whole team of them to get us through our complex modern life!

It's fascinating to me that Guides can even use language in their own unique ways.  While I believe that messages from beings in Spirit originate as thought forms/energy/concepts and then get translated into language in the receiver's mind, the shape and feel of the sentences that result can still be different for each Guide.  Some Guides will sound a little "dry" and to the point, others will use fancy sentences or metaphors.  Some may even sprinkle in a few cuss words! :)

How can we communicate with our Spirit Guides?

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First of all, you don't need to do anything special to make your Guides hear you – they always do!  They are tuned into your thoughts, emotions, energy, they're telepathic, so whenever you talk to them in your mind, be assured that they can hear you.  (By the way, it's not true that your Guides are around you 24/7 - they do have a life of their own on the other side.  However, if you call on them, they should immediately hear that and come to your side.) 

Now, how you receive information from your Guides is a different question.  Most people are completely unaware of the existence of Spirit Guides and that they are personally assisted by beings in Spirit all their life.  Does that mean their Spirit Guides can't get through to them?  Not necessarily – they're able to influence a person's thoughts, give them ideas (which the person would think were their own), affect their emotions, put some signs in their way, etc.  The person may not always honor or listen to that guidance, but they will still be guided on some level.

However, if you're reading this article, you're probably wanting to know how to consciously connect and communicate with your Guides.  So let's talk about that. 

There are many ways we can receive messages from Spirit, and it's best to figure out how you tend to receive intuitive information most easily and use that as your primary channel for communicating with your Guides!

  • Many of us get messages most easily through clairaudience, or "clear hearing": messages will come in as words or complete sentences.  Once you're comfortable with the process, you can even hold lengthy conversations with your Guides!  Usually the messages will sound like your own voice, like it's you talking to yourself in your head, although occasionally folks do report hearing a voice coming from outside of them.
  • Some of us are more visual and will tend to get messages as images in our mind's eye.  For instance, in response to your question, you'd receive an image that either directly answers your question or is a metaphor for the situation you're dealing with.  It's called clairvoyance.  If this is you, it's easier for you to see your Guides in your mind's eye as well!  Other signs of clairvoyance are seeing energy or even beings in Spirit with your own eyes. 
  • Many folks receive information from Spirit as direct inner knowingClaircognizance can be tricky in that it's harder to distinguish between messages from Spirit and our own thoughts when none of our senses are involved.
  • Most of you have probably gotten a "gut feeling" about things at some point in your life: you just feel that something is a bad idea, or that an opportunity is right for you.  Clairsentience is a little "binary" in my opinion (yes/no, good/bad kind of feeling), but it's another channel through which Guides can communicate with us.  Closely related to that is empathy, where you would get a message as an emotion.
  • A few of us may get messages in the form of a smell (clairolfaction) or taste (clairgustance)!  An unexplained smell in the air can be a sign of presence of Spirits or our deceased relatives, and some beings may use a specific smell (e.g. of a certain flower or perfume) to let us know they're around.
  • Physical sensations are used by some Guides to get our attention.  A frequent itch on the nose, a ringing in one ear, a subtle pat on the shoulder...  If a sensation tends to occur at interesting times (when you need to be paying attention, etc), there's a chance it's your Guides' work.  When I first started trying to connect with my Guides using a type of consciousness exercise, I would often feel as if physically warm, loving energy was surrounding me, as if I was in a warm cloud or someone was holding me, and it felt so comforting and unconditionally loving that I just wanted to cry.  That's another way we can feel the presence of our Guides. 
  • Signs are often used by our Guides (as well as Angels!) to communicate with us.  Signs could be something in nature (a bird, a feather, a rainbow...), a message on a billboard you drive by that confirms something you've been pondering, a song that comes on the radio "randomly" and inspires you right when you need it, or an article you stumble upon online that answers a question you had...  You can even ask your Guides to use a specific sign chosen by you - just be sure it's something that's possible (don't ask to see a polar bear if you live in Alabama!), but not something you already see every day (a squirrel, if you see them daily where you live). 
  • Numbers are often used by our helpers in Spirit, so pay attention to any repeating sequences of numbers that you keep seeing everywhere - on license plates, store receipts, street addresses... 1234 is "you're on the right path", for example, and 4444 is "your hard work will soon be rewarded".  And who hasn't heard of 11:11! :)  If a number keeps following you around, look up "Angel number ###" online to see what it means!

Your Guides and Angels will probably try several different methods until they figure out how to "get through" to you, and once they see what type of signs or messages you do recognize, they'll be giving you more of that! :)

As part of my Spirit Guide readings, I do an intuitive senses profile to help a person learn or confirm which intuitive abilities they are naturally gifted at and can develop with greater ease.  While I believe that we all can develop any intuitive ability with lots of hard work and dedication, it may be wise to put our efforts into refining the abilities we are naturally most gifted at and can develop without too much of a struggle.

  • When we're still developing confidence in our intuitive abilities, a pendulum can be an invaluable tool for communicating with Spirit.  Once you have your pendulum cleansed and programmed, you can receive Yes/No (and more complex) answers from your Guides by dowsing.  (Here's an article I wrote a while back on how to use a pendulum.)
  • Automatic writing is another great tool one can use while learning to communicate with Guides.  Clear your mind, set your intention to connect only with your own Spirit Guides, ask for protection from any interfering entities (you can ask Archangel Michael for help with that), then ask your Guides a question and start typing or writing by hand anything that comes to mind.  At first, you can start by deliberately writing random nonsense that comes to mind without any judgement, just to "warm up your hand" and get into that "autopilot mode" (or a more receptive state of mind, or a different brain wave state), and soon you will find that sentences are coming through your writing that actually make sense and address your questions.  The words are now coming from your Guides!  Don't analyze anything in the process – just keep writing until the flow stops.  Once it stops, don't force it.  Ask your next question.  Guides can be very concise!
  • Finally, don't discount imagination as a tool to help develop your intuition!  If you don't like the idea of automatic writing, you can close your eyes, visualize one of your Guides in front of you, and imagine having a conversation with him or her.  Start with small talk, just make it up... what would he or she say if you asked about the weather or what it's like to be your Guide? :)  Just go with your imagination, and soon you may notice the conversation shifting and answers coming through that are meaningful and not something that you would have thought of on your own.  That's another way to kick-start communication with your Guides!  Of course, it's a good idea to then confirm with a pendulum whether the messages you received were indeed from your Guides. 

How do we tell if a certain communication is a message from our Spirit Guides?

When starting out, it can be very difficult to tell the difference between your own thoughts and messages you're getting from your Guides.  Even in the case of those of us who are clairaudient, the sentences usually come in as our own voice, as if we were talking to ourselves in our head.  It's even more challenging for those who get information through claircognizance, or direct inner knowing, because none of the senses are involved: how can you even tell where the information is coming from?

While we're learning to distinguish between guidance and our own ideas, a pendulum can be very handy: you can always dowse and confirm whether a sudden idea you just got was your own or from your Guides or Higher Self.  Eventually this will help you learn the difference in how guidance feels as opposed to your own thoughts. 

Something happened to me just recently that I think is a good example of how we can tell when a message is from Spirit.

I was walking around the house, doing some small chores after finishing breakfast, when I heard in my head: "colloidal silver".  Then again, same words a few moments later.  This caught my attention because:
1. While I've heard the term before, I didn't really know what colloidal silver was used for, other than that it was something to do with medicine/healing.
2. When the message came in, I was not thinking about anything health-related at all, nor did I have any physical issues at that moment.

After looking up online what colloidal silver was used for, I broke out my pendulum to verify how and why those words popped into my head.  I confirmed that it was from my Guides, and that it wasn't to suggest to one of my clients but for me to take.  I asked why - I wasn't having any physical issues at that moment - and was told that there was a new infection that I wasn't yet aware of.  So I went ahead and ordered the thing from Amazon.  I trust my Guides enough to do that! :)

A day after the package with colloidal silver arrived, I suddenly became very sick and it was clear: my Guides must have known there was a process starting in my body and they wanted to warn and prepare me ahead of time.  After a couple of days of taking the silver, I was back to normal.

So what do we learn from this example?

  • If a message is very clear but unrelated to anything you're currently thinking about, there's a chance that it's coming from outside of your own mind.
  • If the message is not something you've considered or would have thought of yourself, that's another indication it may be guidance.
  • Sometimes though, relevant guidance will come while you're working something out in your mind, and in that case it's a little harder to tell the difference, but if you're surprised by the unusually great or unexpected idea or inspiration you get, that could be your clue.

Most of us have been receiving intuitive guidance from our Team all our life, and now it's not so much a matter of learning to hear your Guides as much as learning to recognize that some of the hunches and ideas in your mind are actually guidance from them.  However, as one client's Guide pointed out recently, it's actually okay not to know the difference: Guides are not supposed to stand out too much in our life, they're there to gently steer us, so don't worry too much about the source every time you get an idea!  I would also add: don't worry about the source as long as the message is positive and not fear-based, because negative and fear-based stuff is unlikely to come from our Guides and Angels! 

Whether or not you decide to invest the time and effort into developing your intuitive skills to communicate with your Guides, know that they're always there for you and can hear you.  You can always request their assistance with something in your life and then watch for signs and clues and new ideas that appear to you - those are often the work of your Guides.  Talk to them even if you can't hear the response, and you'll be strengthening that relationship and learning to feel your Guides' presence. 


If you'd like someone to help you get to know your team of Spirit Guides and receive the messages they have for you at this time, I offer Spirit Guide Team Profile readings (as well as Spirit Guide sketches!)  Learn more...