Spirit Guide

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Kai-An Tatok created the topic: Spirit Guide

Just fishing for peoples thought's on shamanism and native american spirit guides or animals. I've had an interesting experience with it this summer, so I was just wondering about other's experiences. Is the guide a separate entity, something from your/my subconscious, or something else? Sharing is good. :)
Much love,
Kai-An

"Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it's always been there. It will guide you." -Maz Kanata
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inari replied the topic: Re: Spirit Guide

I became interested in learning more about Shamanism at about the same time as the 2007 Louisiana gathering. There were a few Jedi there who were also Shamans and I found it interesting enough to do a bit of reading on the subject. I also decided to try to work out what my totem animal was. It took me a few months and some false starts, but eventually my totem revealed himself as a black jaguar.

In my minds eye, I could (and can) often 'see' him sitting or lying near me in my 'real' surroundings, and if I was meditating it wasn't (and still isn't) unusual to see a black leg and a tail tip hanging out of the nearest tree, if he isn't actually communicating with me. At that time, I hadn't read the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy, but have since and it reminds me very much of the 'daemons' of the fiction, except those of humans from our world that could only be seen with effort or magic.

The thing which may or may not be unusual about my jaguar is that he operates as my spirit guide. I know many people who have one (usually several) guides but none of them are animals. Jax had a theory for a while that he may have been human in a past life but took the shape of the jaguar because he revered them. He was mildly offended by that suggestion.

Apparently, it is his task to teach me the shamanic path. He usually only answers questions related to spiritual matters, those that are directly related to my training; or sometimes volunteers information on issues I'm pondering to myself. Often he will not answer at all, or not at that time. I have a specific meditation/visualisation I do to contact him, but when he comes of his own accord I can 'see' his shape against the darkness behind my eyes, mostly he will do this when I'm almost ready for sleep. Sometimes he pops up in other meditations.

I've always wondered if he is an aspect of my subconscious or a genuine 'spirit'. He insists he is a spirit, but I still wonder, it is in my nature to be skeptical but since he has done me no harm, his advice has always been helpful and positive and if anything my personality is becoming calmer and more stable I decided that if he is evidence of some sort of psychiatric problem, it is harmless to everyone including myself. I have also learned that I cannot 'force' him to appear and speak, and when he does though his 'voice' sounds similar to my own internal voice the syntax and vocabulary are different, and there is no hesitation or uncertainty in the voice. If he is a part of me, then it is a 'higher' aspect of myself.

There is some speculation between Icarus and myself that the figure of the 'Doctor' who appears very regularly in my dreams may be another guide taking a familiar form. At this time I have no real idea on that one way or another, I have had no luck as yet contacting this figure by meditation.

I am looking at learning the shamanic path as taught by the Four Winds Society, that of the South American shamans. It feels right, and I'm not sure if it is related to my jaguar (one of the four archetypes in Laika shamanism) or not. Currently I've undertake the first four Munay Ki initiations and will do the remaining five in November. My goal is to eventually travel to the US for further instruction, and to undertake the yearly trip to Peru that they run. This will probably take me a lot of time and money, but hey, I'm not in a rush. Got the Jedi path to deal with first  ;D. I will share the Munay Ki initiations with my fellow Jedi when the opportunities arise.

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Kai-An Tatok replied the topic: Re: Spirit Guide

Your experiences seem really similar to mine, especially in terms of when he talks to me. Mine is also an animal- a raven. He's been very useful in helping me understand my mistakes or in correcting flaws in my own opinions and logic when it comes to my path.
Whether he is a spirit or not, He is useful.
Thank you so much for your information- I'd love to hear more about your path as you expore all this. :)

Much love,
Kai-An

"Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it's always been there. It will guide you." -Maz Kanata
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Jax replied the topic: Re: Spirit Guide

I don't recall what our guides said about why people have animal vs human type guides.  It seems to me that there are a lot with either and a lot with both.  For instance, I have a wolf totem.  I also have a primary human spirit guide, Chuckma.  I also have his 'boss' Manthis.  Who helps with what depends on the situation it seems.  My wife has multiple guides because of her unique challenges and purpose in her life.  Therefore she has a high level guide and a series of rotating lower level guides who basically live with us.  Right now that entails two spirits that help her with the two sides of herself.  We have T, the Marine who is her warrior side and is also a guide for me as well.  Then there is Leah who is Carrie's loving and compassionate side. 

Plus, our cats perform special roles not entirely as guides, but as protectors.  There is a lot of spirit involvement in this house - yet at the same time they know their limits and we are also left with a lot of questions.

They are separate entities at one level, as we are separate consciousnesses at our level of awareness.  Yet we also all are connected at a higher level, where our soul spends it's time.  And higher than that, we are all truly one, with no separation at all.  So the answer to your question depends on which level you are looking at. 

Now, I don't have direct interaction with the guides.  I talk to them directly when they borrow Carrie's body and channel through her.  That was weird at first, but I'm more used to it now.  Otherwise I ask and she tells me what they say.  If I need answers from Chuckma they can try to ask him, but he doesn't say much.  He's more of a hands off guide so that I have to find my own answers.  Except for the times when he does give feedback in the form of smacking me in my 3rd eye.  It gets my attention, though it doesn't help me understand why I should or shouldn't do something, it just makes me think whether I should.  I think I still make mistakes that way that I would rather avoid, but it's his way. 

What I do know is that our guides present themselves to us in a way that we will be receptive to, along with providing a bit of information about their prime purpose with us.  Chuckma is Native American, which I have always associated with wisdom since I was a young child.  He is also incredibly large and intimidating, leading to his role as protector.  Anyone who's 'met' him, including our Marine guides and guards have always mentioned that he's intimidating. 

Also, for the randomly curious, many Marines spend time before moving on completely as guards and guides for people.  This seems to be particularly true for those who died while Active Duty.  They aren't ready to move on yet because of a sense of duty, so they are put to work in a way that works very well for them.  In the Marine Corps hymn the last stanza states "If the Army and the Navy every look on Heaven's scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines."  Most people have no clue just how realistic this line is.  But it isn't heaven they are guarding, but people here on earth. 

I think that's enough to think about, and I'm pretty sure I was allowed to tell you all of that.  lol  Sometimes I forget that we shouldn't be telling everyone everything.  Discretion is important.  That's also why we're not allowed to know the real names of the guides and guards that live with us, in case we accidentally say something to the wrong person and create complications for the spirit and their family still living.  :-) 
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inari replied the topic: Re: Spirit Guide

Something else I forgot to mention about my spirit guide, and presumably others as well. I'll say that 'telepathy' seems to be his favourite method of imparting information, actually using words is secondary or for when I'm really not getting it. I'll try to describe this adequately, sorry if it doesn't seem clear enough.

Generally, rather than using words, the conceptual meaning of what he is trying to teach me will be imparted as a sort of lump of information. It's just suddenly there, and it is then up to me to try to mentally 'digest' this lump, pull it apart, sort it and integrate it. I could liken it to being given a box labeled 'co-creation', for example, and inside are a whole lot of papers. I have to take the papers out, look them over, ask for clarification on the ones I don't get, find there's one or two I'm not going to get anyhow, and file the rest away in my mental system.

It is very efficient, but it has taken me quite a while to get used to.
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Jax replied the topic: Re: Spirit Guide

Last night I asked T about this whole animal vs human guide.  She said what I said above, that it really depends on what the person needs to support their path.  If someone has issues with people, they may start with an animal guide.  Or, it seems to me that the shaman paths lead to more animal guides as well.  I mentioned I have issues with people, but she said that my core is that I want to help them, and that is why I still have a human guide.  Also, that my cat has had a role of a guide in my life, and that's why my wolf hasn't had much presence in my conscious life.  I would expect my wolf becomes more present after my cat dies (she's 16). 

Not sure if any of that information helps, but I find it interesting. lol
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inari replied the topic: Re: Spirit Guide

Further on the whole spirit guide thing, it seems that mine is gone, or at least on holiday. Ever since I moved to NZ I have not been able to contact him. I've been engaging in meditation over the last few days, listening for my guide but there has been nary a peep.

It is possible, I guess, that this move was a major change, perhaps that my guide was supposed to get me through. Hopefully I'll soon get a new guide or he will return. However, the only hint of guidance I had during my meditations recently is that I may have my priorities wrong. I have thought that a guide could help me make some decisions regarding how my life is going to be here in Dunedin, since my slate has been practically wiped clean. What may be happening, however, is that I will not get a new guide until I have made these decisions on my own, to help with the next stage in my life. Perhaps until I've done this an appropriate guide cannot manifest.
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Jax replied the topic: Re: Spirit Guide

That sounds like a very strong possibility Inari.  They are here to guide, but there are certainly times when we have to just make decisions on our own - which I'm not sure any of us likes.  lol 
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inari replied the topic: Re: Spirit Guide

I have decided to bump this topic after receiving some questions about the nature of spirit guides. Rather than answer just the one person, I thought I'd share with whomever has questions on this subject at this time.

But first, a disclaimer. I am a student myself in these matters, I do not profess to have all the answers. I have done quite a lot of reading, and have been lucky enough to discourse with some spirits, but only a few different 'types'. Thus these answers are based on book learning and experience mostly over the last two years. I have learned a bit more since this thread was started.

A couple of books I can recommend: 'Walkers Between the Worlds: The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus' by Caitlin and John Matthews.
                                :  'The Intercession of Spirits' by Ted Andrews (actually any of his books on this topic)
                                : Any book on this topic by Sonia Choquette

I recommend these authors because I found them to be clear in their writing, low on the mystical bullshit, and basically very common-sensical. Good 'ol common sense is one of your greatest assets when working with the spirit world.

The questions I received are as follows:

how can I contact my guide(s) and how do I know I'm communicating with my guide and not with something else?


If you've googled on this topic, you probably know already that there are many different ways of contacting guides. I will talk about some of the ways that I have used and that I know of, I'm sure there are more.

Firstly, determine what your sensory strengths are.For myself, these tend to be vision and sound. My first contacts with guides came about through visual meditations, which I 'started' and then progressed on their own. I've also had the occasional clairaudient experience (voices only) but more often it is voices and visuals. I may 'see' a spirit only inside my head or (more recently) I have started seeing them occasionally in front of me (superimposed on the 'real' world, you might say). So I would say that if you have similar strengths, visual meditation would work as a contact medium. If you are more sound based, I would suggest doing the opposite of meditation. Clear your mind of all thought, and instead of suppressing any thoughts that arise, wait, watch, and see what arises. Formulate your question in your mind and then just float with it.

Some people do better with writing (Neale Donald Walsh, for example) and they can write out their questions and wait for answers. Tarot cards can also be good for guidance, it is not that a 'spirit' will pick the cards out physically but will combine with your intuition to give you an answer. The tricky thing with these methods (and we'll talk about this more later) is to discern what is wish-fulfillment answers and what is genuine answers.  Our other senses such as smell and touch can also be used to contact guides, but I have no personal experience with these matters and you'd have to research them yourself.

Then of course there are the 'traditional' methods such as vision quests, psychoactive drugs (e.g. peyote), sweat lodges etc where the mind is basically forced to be open through physical trauma or chemical agency. I don't recommend these methods as some are now illegal and others must be supervised by an appropriately qualified person. Of course physical trauma's such as near-death experiences and suchlike can open you to the spirit world too. But we don't want to go to that extreme, do we?

Basically there are many, many ways of contacting spirit guides. You'll have to find what works for you. The funny thing is though that the phrase 'contacting spirit guides' is actually pretty misleading. There are basically always some guides around you, but the thing is listening to them. It's like having someone talking behind you while you listen to music on your headphones, then taking your headphones off and noticing their talking and then thinking you've contacted them!

I actually think I had a guide when I was a child. For a long time, I had an 'invisible friend' who was a dragon. I would talk to her about my problems at school etc and she gave me very good advice. Adults often said I had 'an old head on young shoulders' but I would have to attribute a good bit of that to my invisible friend. As I got older I 'visited' her less, as one does. I can still go and talk to her if I wish though (she never visits me). If you had an invisible friend when you were a child it's possible they were actually a guide.

I'm sitting here thinking about 'how to contact guides' and it such a vast topic I'm feeling overwhelmed at how to describe it. It depends so much on what you want guidance on. For a start, I would suggest either imagining a scene (with you in it) that you feel relaxed and comfortable in, and then work to really build that place, get it 'solid' in your mind. When it is, I would suggest asking to meet your guide in that place and then wait. It might take a long time, and you may get several spirits drop in before a 'main' guide arrives. This is what I did and the first spirits I met seemed mostly focused on moving me out of a particular situation (the word nag is not inappropriate here) and it was not until I did so that a longer term guide arrived. And then I thought he was my totem, he sneaked in while I was looking for something else.

Once you've made contact with something-or-other, it can be hard to figure out if they are really a guide there to help you in some way or the spiritual equivalent of an attention seeking, energy sapping human. You may also think it's just imagination...and to a point it IS imagination, that is the contact medium you might say... but either way you can tell after a while. Some ways to distinguish are:

- A true guide will not get offended if you question its reality or the information it gives it. It will understand and even encourage that you do so. In my personal experience, I am usually given information that can be verified in some manner (someone who has trained longer, books, or the use of logic and reason against the information). Sometimes the info is more esoteric, but clearly builds upon earlier lessons that could be verified. Sometimes I have been given 'signs' to verify a contact, for example after being visited by a griffin one day. I was quite skeptical about this but subsequently had both a vivid dream with griffins in it and an unexpected visual encounter with a griffin symbol (at a school I was doing kendo training at) and these were hard on the heels of the visit. So if it is a true guide, you may experience several synchronistic events after your first contact that will help to verify it was a true encounter. Another way of testing is to use a 'holy name' three times in the spirits presence. A good way to do this is to say the word aloud (on the out-breath) and then mentally on the in-breath. This may be the name of God, or of a high angel such as Gabriel or Michael, or some other name that holds a strong spiritual meaning. I do not think that you have to personally be a Christian to use the name of God in this fashion (or angelic names) as the power of the name comes from the archetypal energy infused in it over a long period by its worshippers. You could probably use Grandfather Mantis or Spider Woman and have those work too (I haven't tried this though). Use of the sacred name in this fashion should dispel any 'not true' guides and hopefully imaginary artifacts too.

Take time to get to know your spirit guides. After a while you'll be as familiar with their personality as with your human friends and will be able to tell if someone is pretending to be them.

If an entity is making you feel uncomfortable, tell it to go, firmly and decisively. Use a strong voice and the attitude to back it up. Repeat it if necessary. If that is not enough use the sacred names. YOU are in charge of the relationship between you and spirit, and in the same way you wouldn't tolerate a person coming into your home and making a mess etc, don't tolerate it in spirits either.

How are my guides helping me?

I'm not really sure I can answer this to the satisfaction of the person asking it. A guide may provide support and advice but they can't 'do' for you. They help you in the way that you ask for. For myself, I mostly get taught stuff, this is after all what I asked for. Sometimes I'll get some support (the spirit equivalent of a sympathetic ear). Some people get help finding things they've lost, spirits can help in physical ways too but these aren't guides so much that do this (e.g. nature spirits and gardens).

I've also encountered discussions about totem animals. Are they different from spirit guides?


I hope that Angelus or someone will pipe up if I get this wrong. A totem animal is a spiritual embodiment of the original Spirit Animal of that type (think of it as an energetic template). I tend to think of this in terms I'd use in object oriented programming, for some reason. Say the spirit animal is an object, which has a certain set of properties, both positive and negative. The 'medicine' of this object relates to these properties. The 'totem animal' then is an 'instance' of these properties.

Now that I'm writing this, I'm realising what a complicated and subtle subject this is. Totem animals require a different way of thinking and looking at the physical and spiritual worlds. Really it is all one, but it's a bit like physics…it's all so detailed and complicated that it's easier for our human brains to break it all down and categorise it.
Anyway, in the way described above, a totem animal is different from a spirit guide, though a totem can ALSO be a spirit guide in the way that we are discussing here (advice, teaching, support).

There are various types of totem animals and they will manifest in different ways. Some are protectors, they usually accompany you when journeying to the spirit world and may not appear anywhere else, though you might be able to call on them elsewhere (I simply don't know the answer to that). Many are messengers, and these may appear to you physically (a run in with a bear, for example) or in dreams. Usually either the physical encounter will be pretty dramatic or you'll encounter them physically, symbolically or in dreams a number of times. Sometimes they'll regularly intrude in your meditations. This is where I usually find the internet to be useful, it takes some time and work to learn enough about the animals and it's habits to determine what its properties, its 'medicine' has to say to you and your personal circumstances. You'll then need to figure out what its message to you is. Intuition comes in handy at that time, as does good observational skills.

It also seems that some spirit guides come in the form of animals. I'm not certain why, you can see some discussion above on this subject but I can offer a couple of reasons:

- the person feels more comfortable with animals than people
- a more subtle reason where the choice of shape reflects the associated medicine of the animal whose shape has been taken (energy, vibration, shape) and in some manner this choice of shape gives further information about the guide themselves or the path of the one being guided.

See what I mean about subtle and complicated?

Well, this has turned into a really long answer. I hope that the questions have been adequately answered.


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Angelus replied the topic: Re: Spirit Guide

Another good book for those just beginning is Shamanism for Beginners: Walking With the World's Healers of Earth and Sky by James Endredy. I just came across this book and it would have been helpful in my early stages of exploration on shamanism. It gives you some of the basic concepts and helps with the distinguishing of several things asked in the post (i.e. between guides and totem; between meditations and journey). It even hit on topics most other books wouldn't (like drugs, sex, and sexuality) in a very matter-of-fact manner.

Inari is pretty much "on the mark" with everything. I agree; the differences are so subtle that we "categorize" things so that it is easier for our brain to handle.

It also seems that some spirit guides come in the form of animals. I'm not certain why, you can see some discussion above on this subject but I can offer a couple of reasons:


To add to the complexity, a third reason is that the guide itself is a "shapeshifter". This is an area about which I am just beginning to learn. It is an extension of Inari's second stated reason about associated "medicine." It is why you will see a shaman wear pelts, bones, etc (as a reminder of the strength of the bear, the sight of a bird, etc). The archetypal image of the shapeshifter is represented in various traditions either as half-human, half-animal like the Eqyptian god Anubis, or humans who became animals like the werewolves of European lore.
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