Lets start with what is a spirit guide?
I think of a spirit guide as a non physical entity that I can communicate with when in a relaxed (altered or trance like) state of mind. I experience my spirit guides as Norse Gods & goddesses which reflects my personal spiritual tradition (I usually work with Frey, Freya & Hel, though Odin is around a fair bit too).
Other people have seen my spirit guides, and described them exactly as I see them, when I work with other people I can-at times- connect with their spirit guides. These can seem to be angels, animals, Norse Gods/ess, or deities form other pantheons. They have also been people that seem to have been alive at some point.
I know when my main spirit guide, Frey, is there as I feel a slight change in energy, usually a touch on my shoulder, and I start to “know” things- perhaps about my client, & often what card/s is coming next in a spread- or the general way a spread will unfold.
I don't think you need to work with guides to work with Tarot, or even believe in spirit guides, that is what I love about tarot- it's diversity. But as my shaman path has deepened so my tarot reading as changed too. So I thought I'd share some thoughts on how to deepen your connection with spirit guides.
I think meditation is the single best move to deepen your connection with your spirit guides. I believe our brains, in a deeply relaxed state, are able of connecting with our guides. So training you brain to be used to this deeply relaxed state only make sense.
Meditation can be physical as well as simply sitting still. Perhaps walking, swimming, dancing, playing an instrument, crafting, baking (I believe for some cleaning- but I don't get that), yoga- anything that captures your mind into a clear focus so that you are not “thinking” but totally “doing” is a form of meditation.
Focusing on the breath is a fantastic way to start meditation, or before tarot reading. It focuses the mind & relaxes the body.
I like to use earth breathing; As you breath in focus your mind on the soles of your feet. Imagine/visualize waves of energy flowing up the legs & up the spine. As you breathe out let the out breath be a release of stress.
As you do the breathing- in the through the nose, out through the mouth, notice how your belly, shoulders & chest move with each breath.
If you use a specific breathing technique already, perhaps through yoga, yoga can use that. But breath control is a simple & effective way to still the mind to be able to connect.
#Be aware of all your senses.
Try to be sensitive as you connect through meditation, or tarot. I tend to “know things” yet am unsure how, sometimes I hear voices (strange I know) or see images. I know other people who feel strong emotions, sense things in a way they can not explain, hear songs, smell smells that then have a meaning. So don't just expect your spirit guide to contact you in one way- be open to subtle changes, or awareness.
Synchronicity is a key way ( where you see certain numbers, or animals over and over again) & dreams.
Do you have one of those annoying minds that just struggle to keep quiet? (don't worry, I have one too). Automatic writing is another great way to connect with your guides, though it can take regular practise.
Decide how regularly, and how much time you can dedicate to this. (perhaps every other day for 20 minutes)
Then start with some focused breathing.
Set a clear intent- perhaps write (or type) “ I am ready to connect with my spirit guides”
Then write, let it flow. Or just write “I feel stupid, what do I write” until you are ready to write. It may take a while, and if like me the Shining was a movie that got to you- this may not be the best way.
This is also excellent practice to try and connect with your spirit guides through a tarot reading;
#1 lay a tarot reading in your normal way (or follow my suggested reading at the end of this blog)
#2 Read the spread as you normally would.
#3 Do some focused breathing.
#4 Start your automatic writing with a clear intent (perhaps “My guides want me to know”) then write!
#5 Try this several times, you may need to get used to the process.
I know some people get a little edgy about connecting with spirit guides, wondering if they are welcoming in all sorts of energy.
My personal experience is that this work is very personal & I have yet to experience anyone connecting with any difficult energies this way. The simplest way to protect yourself is with intent at the start (or a blessing, prayer, affirmation- if that word better suits. )
Perhaps at the start “I ask that this is for my highest good” & at the and a moment of thanks & gratitude. If you are of a pagan/Druid background, or similar you may have a way of opening & closing sacred space that works for you already.
Any tarot reading can be used to connect with your spirit guides, but I share a reading & process here that I have used.
#1 start with a brief blessing/intention. (perhaps “ I ask my guides to stand close and help me to find the best path forward, for my highest good”
#2 Nine breaths of earth breath.
#3 Shuffle the cards, cut and lay the cards in your normal manner where;
#4 Read the spread as you normally would.
#5 Set aside some time to either”gaze” at the spread- meditating on it, or use automatic writing if you prefer.
You can see here a reading I did for myself using this spread;
Cards 1-3. I can validate these cards. I am very focused on being a mum (Empress) though as my children are growing I am a little sad (in a natural way) remembering their babe-hood (6 cups) whilst also trying to be still & find the best way forward in my life, a very spiritual quest for me (4 cups)
Cards 4-6 This is slightly strange for me, I normally head to the shadow lands & talk to my guides! The 4 of swords is a slight telling off, reminding me to slow down a little, I tend to over work. I often interpret the lovers as “I choose” & the 3 of wands is a happy card of early, stable growth. My guides, as ever, are telling me not to fight to make life work. But to relax a little and choose growth, and then it will flow with more ease.
How to connect with my guides a little more- these are action cards- try to translate them as things you can do (or stop doing!)
7 of cups- a little more time to dream. Day dream, vision board. Fair point, I could do with this!
2 of wands- a bit cheeky of the cards really. This is the long man, quite near my home and my husbands favourite walk. I can take this literally, I need to head to this spot a little more often!
Ace of wands- I see this as inspiration, good ideas, a sense of knowing- which can only really come in the stillness moments. I need to find a little more time to be still. Which connects with the previous two cards.
For me working with spirit guides cam before tarot, and is an essential part of who I am & what I do. I am still learning to integrate tarot into my shamanic work, but they really are a perfect blend.
Tarot deck shown- DruidCraft