I used to be a doubter. Not anymore. Here’s my story.
I was in a small room full of cigarette smoke and fierce Australian sunlight when the clairvoyant I was having a reading with told me I had spirit guides. A bunch of guides? A gang sprang to mind, looking something like The Village People.
Spirit guides. Oh come on. It sounds nice, but really?
He insisted we all have them to help us through our earthly lives. Apparently one of mine was a Mayan goddess called Itzel, meaning rainbow lady. Part of me wanted to dismiss the whole thing with a smirk, but another part of me was hooked. I wanted to know the truth of it.
I left his house, and even half-believing I had spirit guides helped me feel less alone at a very lonely time. The connection felt personal. And fun. Me and my guides heading out for a latte.
I started talking to Itzel.
I’m not ranting to myself. No, I’m talking to my guide. Nothing nuts about me.
It made me wonder about children and their imaginary friends. Maybe they’re talking to their guides, because kids are much less blinded to the spirit world. (I also think when they’re painting their mums and dads with purple hair and orange and blue faces, they’re probably seeing their parent’s auras.)
Talking to Itzel was easy.
Hearing her definitely wasn’t.
Speak up, rainbow lady. When I got words or sentences as guidance I’d be delighted, then I’d doubt myself. Was I making it up? Was the guidance true? Headf**k. Headf**k.
The hardest things were listening and trust. Trust and listening. One more time, with feeling: listening and trust. But there was a voice that was different to mine, both in tone and language. And over time I built a kind of trust; I built a kind of love. A connection.
At first I saw Itzel as much wiser than me. More evolved. A spirit guide would surely not have the challenges I did. She’d have her sh*t together.
But what has landed in every bone of me since is this: We are all part of the one same source. All facets of one beautiful diamond. So spirit guides are aspects of ourselves, not separate. Or greater. They are with us to help us know our greatness.
I‘ve heard people say that guides are kin from other lives, or departed folks from this one, or avatars or angels or ascended beings, or even our passed beloved pets. I’ve no doubt guidance and support come from many sources. My dad died not long ago; at times I call on his spirit and often get a tangible sense of his presence and dry Irish wit. I have a huge love for the goddess Tara. When I reach out to her, what comes back is strong, loving energy. It’s palpable.
When I’m communing with Tara on an energetic level, I’m reminding myself: I too am this. I too have within me the love and compassion of Tara, or the wisdom of Ganesh or the peace of Buddha. I might not fully realise it, but just merging with these deities can deliver a strong energy hit and cellular reminder. Just by tuning into Christ, or Buddha or whomever we feel love and connection with, there is a kind of vibrational transmission.
And that’s where I feel guides and deities and other non-fleshy types can really help us. As well as giving guidance, these connections can be another way we tap into the energy of the cosmos, the universe, and feel its truth. Its depth. Its love.
I’ve seen people do some pretty nutty stuff when it comes to spirit guides. One guy drove from one end of the state to the other saying his guides had told him to. Huh? But why? He didn’t know.
He thought they might be testing him. No. No. And thrice no. Like true friends, guides are not going to send us on road trips to nowhere, misuse our time or suck our energy.
They are also not a form of hierarchy or identity. Having Mother Mary with me doesn’t make me more spiritual or special. It’s ripe ground for my ego to run amuck and play me. Most importantly, above all else, when we feel we have received guidance and are wondering if it’s for real, we can ask:
Is it wise?
Is it useful?
Does it point us back to ourselves and deeper truth?
Is it honouring and compassionate?
Does it in some way resonate?
How Do We Best Work With Guides?
We need to get our heads quiet, so I meditate a little bit, then invite in my guides. If I’m asking a question, I repeat it several times really softly and focus on my heart. This is a good time to try and sense if there’s a particular feeling or frequency.
When listening for answers it helps to be aware of how we feel and watch for changes. As well as words, feelings, smells, fragrances, images and body sensations like goose bumps or pain are also ways we receive. We all gather guidance differently. Some people like to ask for insight then write, and oracle cards are good too, of course.
Guidance doesn’t always come on demand. Be patient.
Sometimes my head is too busy to receive anything clearly. Answers and insights can come in many different ways—for example, the lyrics of a song, an encounter with somebody, a word or phrase that keeps popping into mind.
Guidance has a certain resonance or feeling. An aha moment. A knowing. A truth.
Author: Dettra Rose
Apprentice Editor: Tameca L Coleman // Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Alice Popcorn/Flickr