Sometimes when I talk about spirit guides, regardless of how spiritual the person is, I’m met with a dubious look or awkward silence that conveys I might as well just be talking about imaginary friends. Though, perhaps there is a bit of a projection on my part, as there are instances I find myself reacting similarly to others’ accounts—which is especially damning given that I’ve actually seen these beings in or around people on occasion. Spirit guides and angels are frequently mentioned within metaphysical circles, but are seldom discussed beyond reference. What exactly are spirit guides, and what roles do they play in our lives?
In my experience there are innumerous types of guides. A lot of the information I’m about to share is very generalized, as there are many roles a guide can fill that are not necessarily determined by the form it takes. These are some of the observations I’ve made thus far:
Ancestral guides can be deceased loved ones or distant relatives we never physically met. I find ancestral guides are readily visible around someone dealing with issues regarding: family, marriage, parenting, or home. Ancestors are often contracted (usually subconsciously) to assist us in overcoming or resolving dysfunctional patterns we learned from our families or that were passed down through many generations. Close relatives may work with us to “tie up loose ends” they weren’t able to find closure with during their lifetime, whereas more distant ancestors often come through to resolve generational issues. Sometimes we lose a relative at a young age as a means of fulfilling a pre-life contract for that individual to serve us as a spirit guide. We only get to know them long enough so that we may recognize their energy or image as they assist us throughout our lives. While I was giving a reiki session to a friend of mine, I actually saw an elder man “come out” of his throat chakra. After asking him about it, he showed me a picture to confirm that the man I saw was his grandfather. My friend also shared with me that right before his grandfather died, he had placed his mezuzah pendant (a protective charm in Jewish tradition) around his neck. When I wondered if this aspect of his grandfather was trying to learn about truth and expression through him, my friend went on to explain that his grandfather was secretive and repressed, which seemed to support my theory.
There are actually some beings that appear to us in the form of deceased loved ones as well. This can be done to convey the familial connection they have for us, and to put us to ease; or it could be done for nefarious or deceptive purposes. If you feel you are being “attacked” or haunted by a deceased relative or ancestor, this may be a malevolent entity in disguise.
Angels are actually a diverse order of beings, featuring many races, orders and ranks. If you’re interested in learning more about the hierarchy of angels, I recommend looking into angelology. Generally speaking, there are two types of angelic guides: personal or guardian angels and archangels. Personal or guardian angels assist an individual, or a small group of people, whereas archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Rafael, et cetera) serve humanity as a whole, and work with and through many people. I usually don’t perceive angels as appearing human at all, but rather, as a ball or even constellation of light that sometimes possesses wing-like extensions. Angels often come to us to deliver messages from source itself. These beings are often associated with ringing in the ears, feathers, and repeating number sequences.
Finally, it is common for guides to come in the form of Animals. The keyword for animal guides is: nature. In my experience, these guides help us understand the nature of a situation, our psychology, or our aptitudes. They are excellent teachers in connecting us back to who we are. There are actually many types of animal guides—they may work with us throughout the course of our lives or only offer guidance for a period of time. Some animals are connected with our lineage, while others actually embody our fears that we are meant to resolve and even integrate into ourselves.
Animals are, in my opinion, some of the most useful spirits that assist us, as they are deeply in tune with the natural world. I may also be a bit biased, as I have been offered a great deal of insight and perspective from the Animal Spirit Deck by The Wild Unknown.
While there are many other types of guides, as well as spirits that do not neatly fit into any one category, I think it’s important to not get overly caught up in the way a guide appears to us. Spirits often assume forms that best communicates a specific message to us, and our minds also translate their energy into a format that we can comprehend. Given that these beings come from higher dimensions, they don’t necessarily possess what we would consider an “embodiment” at all. Our consciousness often projects an image onto them. Sometimes I wonder if this is why there are so many different interpretations of the gods or spirits that seem virtually the same—humans get so distracted by the appearance of an entity that it overshadows the feeling or deeper messages they share.
And so, before I depart, dear reader, I gently remind you that connection resides in the heart moreso than the mind.