Like shamanism itself, the idea of communicating with spirit guides dates back at least 40,000 to 50,000 years. While this idea has fallen out of favor in Western civilization, it has persisted in various places throughout the world even to this day.

When I went to grammar school I learned that each of us have a Guardian Angel. As the prayer to the Guardian Angel stated, they were there “to light, to guard, to rule and to guide” us. Over the years I noticed that I got good ideas from my inner voice, but I never focused on my guardian angel as much as I should have. In fact I sometimes ignored the good ideas, and later regretted it.

As I ‘matured’ I learned the value of paying attention to that voice. The more you listen for it, the more likely you are to hear it. As you know, in shamanic practice that inner voice may represent a message from a power animal as well as a human-form spirit teacher, or perhaps our guardian angel as well. Yet most Western people today think of spirit guides as something that are imaginary. It’s unfortunate. As human beings we have predispositions to make decisions in a certain way, limiting the variety of our choices. When we listen to spirit guides, we open our hearts and minds to a greater variety of possibilities and therefore a greater number of positive outcomes.

Sometime after Marilyn died in 1998, I read a book about souls, reincarnation and the time between lives. I read it again recently. Titled Journey of Souls, by Dr. Michael Newton, it was based upon his experience using hypnotherapy and life regression techniques to help his patients. He accidentally discovered patients who described previous lifetimes in great detail, and sometimes the past life contained answers to their current problems. He decided to specialize in past life regression and as a result wrote the book which was based on hundreds of such cases.

One chapter is titled “Our Guides”. On page 107 Dr. Newton states, “I have never worked with a subject in trance [past life regression] who did not have a personal guide.” He went on to write that most people have more than just one guide and that different guides possess different attributes, each of which are useful to the person they are helping. The doctor found that each guide has a name and that while some names are ‘ordinary’ by our standards, some are whimsical sounding or even unusual. I can personally attest to the unusual name because one of my guides, whom I refer to as the Ancient One, told me his name once and I had to ask him to repeat it a couple of times before I could figure it out. It’s not like any other name I know.

The doctor’s conclusions were that guides are highly helpful beings; none of his clients ever feared their guide. The guides also give us a positive outlook on Self that helps us in our mundane world. He says that it is easiest for us to hear the guides ‘voice’ if we are relaxed but focused and open to hearing the message.

While not associated with any form of shamanic practice, the doctor’s statements affirm my personal experiences with spirit guides. I also find it interesting to note that the shamanic journey itself provides us with a relaxed but focused method of communicating with our spirit friends. As with any practice, the more frequently we journey to the spirit world, the more worthwhile our experiences will be.

Next blog – I don’t know what it will be yet. I’m waiting for inspiration. Come on, helpful spirits!