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Spirit Guides are entities or beings that are currently in the spirit realms or dimensions. These are individuals, or groups of individuals, who have agreed with a person on the earth plane to act as their guide or guardian. Usually we enter into this agreement with at least one "primary guide" prior to being born into a physical body. These "primary guides" are often other members of our Soul Group, and we have quite likely traded "guide duties" with them during various lifetimes. (That's a generalization, of course, and there are undoubtedly a frequent number of exceptions. ) We can also call other guides to us as we need or desire their extra help, and it is not uncommon to have two or more guides assisting us at a given moment. Many of the guides with which we work are beings who have lived on this earth plane at one time or another (or many lifetimes), but there are guides who are from other worlds as well. Also, many of the "special guides" that come to help us with special needs or learning experiences seem to be more evolved beings, or 'old souls' who are willingly sharing their expertise and expanded knowledge with those of us still working on our evolvement and enlightenment.
Guides, while similar to Angels, are different, in my opinion. I do think that their "duties" or influences can overlap each other. Many people believe that Spirit Guides and Angels are one and the same thing, and that's fine too. And there may be some validity to that viewpoint anyway. Angels, though, seem to be on a slightly different plane, and seem to have a slightly different purpose for working with humans. Angels, I think, especially Guardian Angels, seem to be more the type to hover nearby and assist in emergencies even without our asking them to. While Spirit Guides, although they will help unasked, seem more to be teachers and guides rather than specifically guardians. A fine line of distinction, but a very real one, to my way of thinking.
One of the "separations" that I sense is that Angels are working on a little different "plan of evolvement" than are Spirit Guides. While Spirit Guides are often beings who have lived on this earth plane themselves, Angels seem to be beings who have worked through their evolvement elsewhere and are now serving as Guardians and 'inspirers' for those of us evolving here. However, I am aware that in some instances, it does seem that some humans achieve 'angel status' upon their passing over into the next dimension, and then to work from that perspective. And, of course, we do know that Angels can and do appear in 'human form' from time to time, just as Spirit Guides can and will show themselves in a 'physical manifestation.'
One of the primary purposes that Spirit Guides seem to have is the guiding and teaching of those under their care. They agree to help us remember the lessons we set up for ourselves in this life, and to instruct us with regards to those lessons. They can, and will, teach us as much as we want to learn, in my opinion. Their guidance, though, is of a very gentle nature. And they will not give us any more than we are ready to receive and capable of perceiving. They're here to help us to learn, but they won't shove the information on us if decide we really don't want to do that after all. They'll counsel and help us see other perspectives, but they won't make the decisions for us; the choices are ours to make and to live with afterwards.
It seems that we usually have one or two "primary" Spirit Guides. These are the ones that we make the arrangements with before being born, to guide us and help us learn the lessons we set up for ourselves. And to gently remind us when we're a bit "off path" from our original plans for this lifetime. But we actually have an unlimited number of Spirit Guides available to us. We can call "special guides" to us to teach us specific lessons, and once those lessons have been learned, they will move on to help others. Also, as loved ones pass over, they can choose to act as additional Spirit Guides for us either 'full time' or on an 'as needed' basis.
While we usually keep the same "primary" Spirit Guides, the rest of our guides can often vary and fluctuate. As I said before, we call to us those guides we need at a specific time for a specific purpose. Also, if we have loved ones who are acting as some of our guides, they will also have work of their own to do in the other dimensions. Hence they will go about their work, and be "a little removed from us" for periods of time. But they can, and do, hear us when we call, and return to assist us in whatever way they can.
There are many ways to contact Spirit Guides! Each of the books I'll give you as references have various ways in which to do this. One way, though, is through meditation. Meditating and asking for communication with your guides, and then listening for their response, is a really good way, in my opinion. Guided Meditations aimed specifically at meeting a guide can be very useful. Dreams are another way. Often if we are too busy living, and we don't remember to meditate and listen, then our night dreams become the only time we're quiet enough to receive their messages. Automatic Writing is another interesting way of receiving direct communication from guides. When you combine Automatic Writing with meditation, it frees your mind to allow the incoming messages to be recorded. These are only three of the many ways in which to receive guidance from your Spirit Guides. By the way, synchronicity can often be an indication that you've got a Spirit Guide trying to get your attention! (Be sure to check out the Metaphysical section for more information about meditating and dream work, including using them to contact and communicate with guides.)
There are many ways that Spirit Guides will alert a person to their presence. In other words, many things can let us know that we've got a guide around us. One that jumps instantly to my mind is the use of fragrances. Many guides and spirit entities use scents and odors to signal they are there. If this happens, you'll get a whif of some fragrance that has no "physical source" or explanation. It can be any kind of scent: sweet, sour, pungent, floral, obnoxious, etc.
Sometimes the guide will just use something that is unique, or maybe something familiar from one of their own past lives. Other times they will use a fragrance that has specific connotations or memories for you! For instance, my maternal grandmother uses a lilac scent to let me know she's around and wants to talk to me. One set of "temporary guides" that spent some time with me used an odd floral scent that I couldn't identify. I later found out, with the help of a friend, that this was a fragrance of a plant indiginous to Brazil. . . apparently where they had spent a lifetime.
Sounds are another way. Some guides and entities will use auditory signals such as the sound of "chimes" that you seem to hear. In some cases the sound will be audible to anyone in the vicinity; sometimes only you will hear it.
There are many other ways including chills, goose bumps, and "energy brushes." Synchronicity is also a sure sign, in my book, that guides and/or angels are trying to get our attention! To borrow a phrase: Spirit energy definity, at times, seems to move in mysterious ways. So never discount any possibilities.
While most of the time, when you're communicating with your Spirit Guides, you're relatively "closed" to any other contact, there is the potential of "inviting in" other entities. Especially under some circumstances like with Automatic Writing. But if you take some basic precautions, you need never encounter or experience negativity or negative beings.
Whenever you sit down to meditate, or do Automatic Writing, or in any way try and contact your guides, take a few seconds to do a "protection" for yourself and your surroundings. There are several ways of doing this, and all will work and are "good." Basically, any prayer or spoken 'intent' that you will invite only "beings of light" to enter the area and communicate with you is effective. Here's one that I use:
While visualizing this you can say, either in your mind or aloud a protective chant like:
White light of protection fills me, surrounds me, this room, this
House; repelling negativity and evil influences; I invite my loved
Ones, guides, and other beings of light to enter.
In my opinion, you have to ask your Spirit Guides for their assistance! This is one of the very subtle ways in which Angels and Spirit Guides differ from each other, I think. Angels, especially Guardian Angels, are much more apt to help without being asked, or so it seems. And while Spirit Guides will help up to a point without being asked, they are bound by certain "laws" from interfering with our lives. Before we were born, we set down certain lessons and experiences for ourselves in this lifetime. Our guides will help to set these things up for us, but they do truly need for us to ask them to help us in more specific ways. There's a little thing called "free will" or "free agency" at work here which says that we have the right to do as we please. . . even to the point of ignoring the lessons we originally set up for ourselves. And our guides, and most of the angels, cannot interfere with our freedom to choose. It's a very fine line, in my opinion, between helping us and interfering with our "free agency" and one they have to walk very carefully, I think.
So do we have to ask our Spirit Guides for their help? Yes and No. They will help unasked to a certain extent, and try to get our attention if we're not tuning into them. That's part of the reason they agreed to be our guides, but I do believe that beyond that point, we do have to ask! If we want the wonderful teachings they have to offer us, we have to ask for it, and then listen! If we want the extra boost over a particularly rough spot, we have to ask. The "bottom line" maybe is that our guides are willing to help in any way they can, but we have to live our own lives! And they can't interfere with that living of our lives. In my opinion!
I'm finding in my own life that one of the really "key" points in working with my guides, seems to be 'asking questions.' If I just meditate, and listen, I'll probably hear a little bit, and at the very least feel a presence. But it's only when I remember to ask questions -- and the more specific the question seems to be the better -- that I begin to get strong answers and more insights. Then the challenge becomes figuring out which questions to ask.
Here are a couple of quotes which I've garnered in talking with others on this question whether or not Spirit Guides will assist us without our asking (used with their permission):
"I've been led to understand that our Guides will endeavor to help us whenever they can, but will stop short of "living our life for us" (unless asked to do so). No, I don't mean they'll take over our life for us if we ask them too, but rather they cannot interfere with our "free will" (except in cases of dire emergency). They prefer the role of "helper" to the role of "ruler." If we invite them to help, they will. . . if we don't, they're limited in the kinds of help they can offer without violating our right to free will."
"That's my understanding, too Goldfish. . . about guides not helping without an invitation. Though I do think mine have invited the invitation at times. . . there's a tightening at the solar plexus that does tell me it's time to ask for help before I make trouble for myself again and occasionally a brief chill or sense of being hugged that says I'm doing okay." (Mary O)
While I know the identity of several of my guides, I do not know who all of them are. Some have given me names while others choose not to. This seems to be pretty much "standard" for Spirit Guides from what I've read. Some have no problem with giving you a name to identify them by and some will give you a symbol to use as a "name." For instance, one of my husband's guides showed him a domino when asked who he was, so now he calls him Domino as a "name" which is okay with the guide. And there are those who choose for one reason or another not to reveal their identity or a name. Some feel that we will be distracted by names and identities, I think, and choose to work unfettered by that.
Seeing Spirit Guides is very much like all the other psychic-related things. Some see their guides and some don't; some see them part of the time. The book The Eagle And the Rose, and it's sequel Proud Spirit, by Rosemary Altea is an excellent example of someone who does see her guide, and does so consistently and constantly. I suspect the majority of us, though, don't actually see our guides. We can and do, however, sense them on many levels. Personally, I haven't been able to open up too much to psychic vision (or physical manifestation of a guide), yet, so I haven't seen my guides for the most part. (I do see some of them in the bathroom mirror, though, when I choose to! Check out the section on psychic experiences for more details on this one.)
There are other ways of being aware that our guides are around. Many of the guides will "signal" you of their presence with scents or auditory sounds or by a touch on your arm. Several of my guides have chosen these methods of letting me know when they're nearby. In fact, you can even pick out one of these means of contact, and request that your guide use it to initiate communication with you.
Apparently the "standard" form of most spirits in the next dimensions is basically an energy form. And while all spirits seem to have unique energy forms -- at least they can tell each other apart -- we might not be able to. The thing, though, is that they also have the capability of "molding" that energy form into the form and appearance of any and all of their incarnations on the earth physical plane. So, if they show themselves to us, or we are able to see them by some manner (psychically, etc.), then it is most common to see them in the form/incarnation that we will most likely recognize. For instance, if a grandmother has passed over and then reappears to us, she's going to look pretty much like we remember her.
The "exception" to this is that they do seem to favor the appearance where they looked the best. In other words, if they were 70 when they passed over, and maybe not in the best of health, it's likely that they will choose to use the form of how they looked at age 40 or 50. That sort of thing. In the case of a guide we've not met or been acquainted with in this lifetime, if it's a deceased loved one that some other family member will recognize, the same still holds true. However, if no one now would "recognize" the person, then they will usually use the form from a lifetime that was especially important, memorable, or significant to them in their own soul growth. (This all holds true with any spirit contact such as my channeling sessions, "random visits" from deceased loved ones, dream visits, etc.)
When I was first asked this question, my initial impulse was to say no, but as I thought more about it, I had to change my mind. The basis for my revised answer to this question is the multi-dimensionality of our being. If you discount or disbelieve that (which is okay ), then you'd be much more likely to answer it no, I think. Anyway, I do have to say that, yes, I believe it's possible for this to happen.
A case in point is my maternal grandmother. She is definitely one of my spirit guides, and one with whom I communicate on a fairly regular basis. Now here's the interesting part: according to information that a psychic friend of mine has picked up, she -- or rather, a part of her essence -- has already reincarnated and is currently living as a young (about 12 years old) Indian boy somewhere in western Wyoming or eastern Montana (probably a member of the Lakota tribe). There's that multi-dimensionality again! And yes it does seem to bare out a 'yes' answer to this question.
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