~The Spirit World and Spirit Guides~

Many people in the Pagan community work with spirits and otherworldly beings, particularly when Samhain is approaching and the veil is growing thin. Sometimes you may call upon these beings on purpose, other times, they might just drop in unannounced! Today, we’ll talk about how to identify the different types of guides, how to tell if a spirit doesn’t really have your best interests at heart, contacting the spirit world, and how to get rid of spirits that you don’t want hanging around.

What Is a Spirit Guide?

Benevolent Guides:

Many people believe they have spirit guides. Some refer to theirs as angels or guardians. Regardless, if you believe you have one, a spirit guide is there simply to guide, not as an entity that you need to give yourself over to. If a spirit guide has a negative influence on your behaviour, then chances are good that it’s not a spirit guide at all, but something else entirely. These are some of the more commonly found types of spirit guides:

Ascended Masters:

These are guides often found by people who do energy work, such as Reiki. An ascended master who appears as a spirit guide is often a being that led a physical life and has moved on to a higher spiritual plane — for example, Buddha, Krishna, even Jesus. Ascended masters usually work with collective groups of souls — in other words, if you’ve got an ascended master hanging around you, you’re not the only one he or she is helping. Their primary focus is that of helping all of humanity. It’s not uncommon for an ascended master to have access to Akashic records. Also referred to as Master Teacher guides.

Ancestral Guides:

An ancestral guide is one who can claim some sort of kinship with you, such as your dear Aunt Tillie who died when you were ten. It may also appear in the form of a long-dead ancestor. In some schools of thought, these entities are seen as reincarnated guides, because they are the spirits of someone who loved us during their physical lifetime, or who had some sort of blood connection to our family. Some people, depending on their religious upbringing, may see these types of guides as guardian angels.

Common Spirit Guide, or Teacher Guide:

A typical spirit guide is archetypical, symbolic or representative of something else. For example, you may find your guide appears in the form of a warrior, a storyteller, or a wise woman, and they have appeared to you for a purpose. Typically, that purpose is to teach you and guide you along a particular path. They may also introduce you to other archetypes along your journey, and help out with problem solving, based upon your needs. They are known to provide insight by way of dreams or meditation, and may only hang around as long as you need them, then move on.

Animal Guides:

Although many people claim to have animals as spirit guides, often these entities are more companions than anything else. It’s not uncommon for a deceased pet to linger around, keeping you company through the grieving process. In some spiritual traditions, such as various Native American or shamanic paths, a person may have an animal totem, which provides teaching and/or protection.

How To Hold a séance

A séance is an event that can either be fantastic, or a real mess. Which one it is will depend on how much preparation goes into it. With a little bit of planning and thought ahead of time, you can pave the way for your séance to go smoothly. Certainly, it’s a good idea to expect the unexpected — after all, the dead are hardly predictable — but by setting yourself a few guidelines in advance, you can make sure that everyone has the best experience possible.

Here’s How:

  1. Plan your guest list: Figure out how many people you’re going to have — and make sure the space you’re using will allow them all. If your living room only seats eight people comfortably, don’t invite fifteen! Also, be sure that everyone attending is open-minded to the spirit world. People who are adamantly “non-believers” bring a certain amount of negative energy, and this can be disruptive. You may also find that it adversely effects your communication with the spirits during your séance.
  2. Create a Spirit-Friendly Atmosphere: Most people like to conduct a séance at a round or oval table, but if neither is available, don’t worry. Drape the table with fabric or sheets — some people prefer light colours to attract “friendly” spirits, but it’s a matter or personal preference. If you use incense, be sure that no one in your group is allergic to it. Place incense somewhere away from the table, rather than on the table itself.  Candles are a nice addition as well — not only do they provide some visibility, but there’s a school of thought that believes spirits are attracted to heat and light sources.
  3. Common Sense: Help everyone get comfortable by offering refreshments before you begin. Make sure that guests will be respectful of the spirits, and of other guests. Turn off all cell phones. If anyone needs to go to the bathroom or have a smoke, do so before you begin. Set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature — remember that spirit activity can cause some fluctuation in levels of cold or heat. Once everyone is seated, you can help everyone relax by doing a short guided mediation, offering a prayer, or casting a protective circle, if your tradition requires you to do so.
  4. During the Seance: Although many people like to do this, you don’t have to hold hands to raise energy. In fact, if a séance goes on too long, it can get downright uncomfortable. Whoever is acting as the leader of the séance — the medium — should ask the spirits to join the group. If there is a specific spirit you are trying to contact, ask for them by name. For example, now would be the time to say, “Dear Auntie Gertrude, we respectfully ask that you honour us with your presence this evening.” In some séances, spirits are summoned by chanting — this will be up to your medium to decide on.
  5. As long as the spirits seem willing to reply, you can carry on a question and answer session with them. Bear in mind that spirits respond in many different ways. Sometimes there will be a tangible reaction — a tap, a thump, a soft breeze. Other times — particularly if you have a room full of very psychically gifted people — the spirit may choose to respond through another person. This may be the medium, or any other guest. The individual may simply “get a message” to pass along, which they would then share, such as, “Your Auntie Gertrude wants you to know she isn’t in pain any more.”
  6. Party Time: Sometimes, particularly if you have a group of psychically gifted individuals as guests, you may get several spirits arriving all at once, chattering away. This is not cause for alarm, but it does take some managing, because they’ve all got something to say. Treat it like you would any other conversation with a large group of people, let each spirit get their turn to deliver the message they came with, and then move on to the next one. Also, bear in mind that not all spirits are from departed humans — deceased pets may also have a message to pass along.
  7. Unwanted Entities: Just like at any other party, sometimes a séance will bring an uninvited guest. In this case, when you have a spirit that seems malevolent or mischievous, someone needs to let them know they’re unwelcome. Typically, this will be the medium who is leading the séance, who will usually say something like, “You are not wanted here, but we thank you for your presence. Now it is time for you to move on.”If an entity arrives that seems angry or hostile and will not leave, no matter what you do, end the séance. Chances are good that it’s been attracted to someone in your group who is dysfunctional.
  8. Closing the Door: When you’re done with the séance, it’s important that guests thank the spirits for coming to visit. After all, you would do so if you had living guests drop in!If one of your attendees seems to have slipped into a trance or a sleep-like state during the séance, allow them to return gradually, on their own. Do NOT shake them awake. Chances are they’ll have a message for someone once they’re back among the group.
  9. Close the séance by telling the spirits farewell, thanking them, and asking them to move along. You may want to offer a small blessing or prayer as a way of ending the formal séance, but bear in mind that some spirits like to hang around after the séance has officially finished. If they do, it’s okay. They’re probably just curious, and they may return to visit you later in the evening during a dream sequence.

Tips:

  1. Before you begin your seance, smudge the area with sage or sweetgrass for ritual cleansing.
  2. Make sure you’ve eliminated potential distractions, such as children or ringing telephones. Interestingly, many pets seem to come and go through spirit activity without causing any disruption. Cats in particular tend to be very curious about what’s going on.
  3. Your guests may wish to bring an object that belonged to a deceased person, as a way of strengthening the connection. Photographs are also good links to the dead.

Is Your Spirit Guide Really There To Help?:

Every once in a while, someone will manage to contact what they think is a spirit guide – perhaps by way of a Ouija board or other method of divination — and the next thing you know, things are getting weird. If any of the following scenarios seem familiar, then chances are that what you’ve connected to is not a spirit guide at all.

How to know your spirit guide isn’t really there to help:

  • You’re the only person the spirit has EVER contacted, and you’re really super special, which is why they’re sharing their message with you and not two hundred other people.
  • Your guide talks about magical doorways, secret portals to other worlds, or gates that you somehow managed to open, and nobody else ever has.
  • The spirit doesn’t mind you bragging about it to friends, but gets grumpy whenever anyone questions its existence or purpose. Not only that, it encourages you to isolate yourself from friends who think the spirit guide may well be full of poo.
  • The spirit claims to be hanging around in order to protect you from some other spirit that you’ve never encountered. Weird stuff happens, and your spirit guide is handily there at all the right times to help you out.
  • Your spirit guide claims to be from another planet or world that is as yet undiscovered by scientists.
  • The spirit claims that it needs your help — and only yours — to help it do things like write, talk, etc., and basically wants you to become its instrument of operation. In exchange for this voluntary form of possession, the spirit will impart you with all kinds of nifty new wisdom, that only you will be privy to.
  • The spirit seems to have no real purpose other than to share information with you, but the information you’re receiving is of no real use, other than to make you believe you are way more enlightened than everyone else.
  • The spirit informs you that people who love you and care about you are secretly plotting against you, and that the only one who truly understands you is the spirit itself.
  • All the information you’re being given by the spirit goes against common sense, logic, laws of science and physics, and basic human decency, and yet it all makes sense to you now, because you’re the only one special enough for the spirit to talk to.

Getting Rid of Unwanted Spirits

Every once in a while, people who work with spirit communications may find themselves dealing with something that isn’t quite what they expected. Perhaps an entity has come along that isn’t the one you thought you were talking to, or worse yet, maybe something negative has decided to pay a visit. Much like an uninvited houseguest, sometimes you’ve just got to send them away.

Obviously, your first line of offense is a good defense. Before you get started doing any sort of spirit work, be sure to cleanse the area you’ll be practicing in. This can be done by way of smudging, prayer, or casting a circle. Creating a sacred space, in which the boundaries are clearly defined, is a good way of keeping out anything you don’t want to stop in and hang around.

Despite our best efforts, however, sometimes things can sneak in. It may be a spirit who has attached itself to a guest at your séance, or just a curious entity that wants to know what you’re up to. Perhaps it’s something that needs to deliver a message, and then just doesn’t feel like leaving afterwards.

If this is the case, there are a couple of ways you can get rid of unwanted spirits. The first way – and one most people don’t even consider – is very simple: tell it to leave. Be firm and blunt, and say something along the lines of, “This is not the place for you, and it’s time for you to leave.” You may wish to offer a blessing or well-wishes if it makes you feel better about things, and say, “It is time for you to move on, and we wish you the best in your new place.” Frequently, this will do the trick and your problems will be solved.

Sometimes, though, you may encounter an entity that’s a bit more stubborn. It may be really interested in hanging out with you, and in this case, you may need to take slightly more aggressive steps. In situations like this, you may want to create a cleansing ritual to rid the place (or person) of the attached spirit. By incorporating smudging and other purification practices, along with being assertive towards the entity (“I order you now to leave this place!”), you should be able to eliminate the spirit attachment.

Every once in a great while, people run into a spirit that’s not just stubborn, but downright hostile. In this case, you’ll need to bring out the big guns. Cleansing, smudging, and banishing are all called for. This may even be something you’d like to get assistance with – a small group of psychically gifted individuals can work wonders when it comes to getting rid of the nasties. Again, the key here is to be assertive and reclaim your space from whatever entity has attached itself. This means you’ll have to take charge of the situation. Don’t be afraid to shout out, “You are NOT welcome here!” to whatever’s hanging around.

Once you’ve gotten rid of whatever it is that has been lurking, make sure you do a final cleansing of the space to help prevent further recurrences from unwanted visitors. Use the tips included in Magical Self Defense as a way to keep negative entities away.

 

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  1. Trackback: Spirit AnswersSagittarian Sun, Inc. * Readings * Parties * Classes

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