Many cultures around the world believe that the spirit realm is a helpful one and that spirits are charged with helping humans in seeking wisdom, insight and guidance. These spirit guides, as they are collectively known, are described in various ways, depending upon the culture.
Christianity speaks of guardian angels, spiritual beings that were always spirit and never human, as protectors of humans.
St. Michael the Archangel is often invoked by paranormal investigators for his protection against evil spirits. Muslims believe that each person has with him two angels, one good, one bad. These angels strive to persuade their human host to follow their inclinations for good or evil. Think of those cartoons in which an angel is depicted whispering into one ear of a person while a devil is depicted whispering sinful temptations into the person’s other ear and you will get the picture.
But not all spirit guides are angels. Spiritualists believe that we continue to grow and learn after death in an afterlife they call Summerland. Further, they believe that it is possible for those of us here on Earth to communicate with our loved ones that have passed into spirit, as Spiritualists would say. Those that are now in spirit take on the role of helping their living relatives by communicating with them through mediums.
I visited a Spiritualist medium in Cassadaga, Florida as I researched my book Ghosthunters. As my reading progressed, the medium said that he saw two women standing behind me. He identified them as my grandmothers. The medium said that the women were there as my spirit guides.
He said that Anna, my paternal grandmother, was always with me because she had never known me in life but that my maternal grandmother, Francesca, popped in and out of my life, checking up on me as it were. My paternal grandmother died when my father was just a boy so I obviously never knew her. My maternal grandmother died when I was seven years old but I do have fond memories of visiting with her.
The concept of spirit guides has been around forever and, even though it may not be as defined for us as it is for Spiritualists, the popular notion that spirit guides exist is found in almost all cultures and throughout the ages. I have examined that concept in some of my writing.
In my e-book novel Shantok the spirit of Uncas, a 17th century Native American leader in New England appears to Ray Dawes, a modern-day Native American imprisoned, accused of murder. Ray is a spiritual person and does not think it unusual that Uncas appears to him several times to give Ray hope and guidance.
In The Savage Apostle, my novel about the outbreak of King Philip’s War in New England, the spirits of the sachem Philip’s father and brother appear to him at a time when the sachem was conflicted about how to lead his people away from war. The two spirits sit and smoke a pipe with Philip and leave him with advice, as well as a warning, before departing for the Happy Lands.
Are spirit guides real? That’s a loaded question. Are spirits real? Is God real? If we accept that there is mystery in the universe, that it is not necessary for us to see, hear, or touch something in order for it to be real, then there is no reason why spirit guides cannot be real. Certainly, they are real enough for those of us that have experienced them in some way.
And many of us have experienced them. When we are tempted down a wrong path, but choose more wisely, or when we are led down that wrong path but then come to understand the error of our ways, we say our conscience has corrected the situation. Where does that conscience come from? Is it something innate in all of us, something organic to our nature, or is it something else? Might it be possible that when we hear our conscience speaking to us we are actually hearing our spirit guides coming to our aid?
I maintain a daily practice of meditation and during that time I sit quietly, listening for whatever might want to speak. Disregarding my own thoughts I try to go deeper to a place where my mind unlocks, a place where all doors open.
It is in that place where I have sometimes discovered a voice not my own. Her voice—for it strikes me as female—is heard inaudibly, with my mind rather than my ear, yet it sounds as real as though she were in the room with me. “Elizabeth,” as her name came to me, has given me some creative insights into my work and I continue to seek her out in meditation.
How many of you have come in contact with your spirit guides? What stories do you have to tell?