One of the hardest parts of working with spirit guides is how to know if it is your deepest self you are connecting with, or something outside of yourself.
In essence- if it is helpful- it does not really matter.
I can remember the first time other people saw “my” spirit guide. It was a group Seidr session (Nordic chanting). I had had a tearful conversation with my guide Frey. He told me I needed to work with other guides, and he would be stepping aside to let these relationships develop. I was bit pissed off and frankly devastated. As he walked away I watched him and I wept. As far as I was concerned this had all happened silently, in my head. But other members of the group asked who the gorgeous chap was who walked off into the trees- pointing to the exact place I had last seen Frey. I was even more astonished when the group leader explained to the others who he was, and what had happened.
I have had many people stare resolutely behind me whilst I gave or received a tarot reading -they eventually ask who “that handsome chap is” He has been described as gorgeous, forest god, horned man, and even once as James Bond. I have seen him dance with another person’s female spirit guide, then find she saw it as clearly as me.
Luckily for me- as you can gather- Frey came back. I did work with other guides, still do on occasion, but Frey is there for me when ever I do spiritual work. I feel a gentle pressure on my shoulders and I know he is there. When I do healing work he is often at my clients feet, when I am at their head.
This validation has helped me to work deeply with my spirit guides- often Frey, Hel, Freya & Odin. When I am journeying they help me to find the way, perhaps giving me advice, healing, or challenging me in a way I find to useful at a later date. It can seem strange to people who aren’t used to working with guides, but they are real to me, and a great joy in my life (well not always Odin- he can be especially challenging…)
This is one of the reasons I love to run shaman circles and workshops. It is so helpful to work with others, to talk about and share experiences, a gentle validation from people in the group. Otherwise it is all too easy to think you are going slightly mad.
I remember once setting up the barns in winter. It was all by candle light, it is a little remote, and I felt a tad unnerved. I tried to connect- was I at risk? Had I spotted something threatening out of the corner of my eye, and those shivers were a realistic warning? No, I couldn’t trace that. So I finished setting up, then sat on the stairs feeling my anxiety rising. The fist person arrived, looked straight at me and seemed to jump out of his skin. Then he said “There’s a bloody great big wolf sat next to you” As I have a deer as my main power animal, it is only natural that I would be unnerved by a wolf! The wolf was a guide for a while, and had lots to teach me. But it was yet another eye opener to have something I felt but couldn't explain validated in such a clear way.
The great thing about working with spirit guides is the gentle unfolding of the relationship. It grows deeper, changes. I get cross when people tell me they don't need to work on developing their relationship with their guides, all relationships take work!
My top tips for getting to know your spirit guide?
#1 Work out how you best pause your inner chatter and allow your mind to receive rather than process. This might be music, craft, yoga, dance, meditation, drumming, tarot. We are all different.
#2 Practice doing whatever allows your mind to receive! This is a skill, in the end practice is the simplest way to develop this.
#3 Ask, set a clear intention. This is so important. Any type of esoteric work is best done with a clear intention. Spend some time on this. Work out what it is you are trying to achieve and create a clear affirmation. Perhaps "I am developing a working relationship with my spirit guide". Use this affirmation regularly, and trust the process.
#4 Keep an eye out for synchronicities. The world whispers in strange ways. Watch out for strange coincidences, dreams, peple saying things that seem to reflect your experiences. Be open to the messages coming.
#5 Share the journey with others. Whether this is in a formal group, chatting with friends, or online. Validating your experience by sharing it with others can help you to distinguish between mad ramblings and clear meaningful spiritual experiences. Sometimes it is a fine line!