Shamanic work is based primarily on the connection with Spirit Guides, by whatever name you may call them, conceived both experientially and in accordance with one’s belief system.
The Spirit Guide, far from being accessible only to psychic or visionary people, is an experience available to anyone who sincerely wants it. This connection has always existed in your life and it is only a question of becoming aware of it, remembering how it works and rediscovering its keys of identification.
The most difficult side of this relationship is indeed its simplicity.
“We live in a world which teaches us that for a thing to have value it should be difficult to achieve and take a long time to accomplish. […] The Guide waits for each of us, sometimes throughout an entire life-time. Our collective belief that the outer material plane has more reality than the inner planes blocks our contact with our personal Guide figures. The Guides are so easy to get to that we’ve forgotten how. In the distant past the relationship to one’s Inner Guide was probably so taken for granted that no one ever thought to write down how simple it is to do it”.
The ways in which you can understand the Spirit Guide, or CMI, change according to belief systems and spiritual lineage. Although the terminology and the description may differ, the practical effects of the experience are always the same. The terms CMI and Spirit Guide are synonyms that depict qualities such as unity, unconditional love, ecstasy, light, joy, or whatever you relate to the Divine. Although their essential meaning is the same, their different expressions serve to cover some prevalent models common in the imagery of most human spiritual cultures.
If your aim is that of truly connecting, and not of going into theological or philosophical speculations, what indeed counts is to open up to the most effective form of communication which you have personally and pragmatically experienced so far with the Spirit Guide and all related qualities, and work on it.
From a limited psychological view, the Spirit Guide represents the positive qualities that have been separated or repressed in the conscious mind during the personal history of the subject involved. The integration takes place here through the retrieval of such unconscious components and the analytical confrontation with the object on which they are projected. Another approach considers Guides as detached from the personal history of the individual. In this case they correspond to archetypal figures of the collective unconscious or representations of the higher Self, both united with and detached from the ego. Another approach considers Guides as detached from the personal history of the individual and corresponding to archetypal figures of the collective unconscious. In his Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung describes this type of relationship when he refers to one of his Guides, Philemone.
“In my fantasies I held conversations with him, and he said things which I had not consciously thought. For I observed clearly that it was he who spoke, not I. […] At times he seemed to me quite real, as if he were a living personality. I went walking up and down the garden with him, and to me he was what the Indians call a guru.” This way of looking at Guides, also outlined by other researchers such as Edwin C. Steinbrecher and James Hillman , shows how it is possible to access one’s inner wisdom in a direct way and without becoming dependent on outside beings (gurus, priests, analysts, partners, etc.) or being influenced by the parental or social context.
In spiritualism and occultism, according to various mediums, such as Edgar Cayce, Guides are regarded as beings who, after living for a long time on Earth, have accepted the role of helpers for humanity. This help is usually considered as part of their own spiritual journey. As a result, the relationship between human beings and Guides is, in this case, meant to produce positive effects on both sides. According to many occult and spiritualist traditions, it is possible to relate with more than one Guide: some of them have specific functions, while others appear from time to time or only during a given period. Only one of them, however, remains at his place throughout all the life of an individual. This is often called the Guardian Angel, Deva or, by the Romans, genius. It can be described as a permanent Guide that operates as the linking agent between the material reality and the spiritual world. In the recent developments of spiritualism, such as channelling and contactism, Guides, as they often tend to point out, express themselves through languages, messages and images that appear different only because they adapt to the level of awareness of the receiver.
In the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn the main initiatory focus is on the connection with the Holy Guardian Angel, representing one’s higher self or true will and involving the sacrifice of the personal ego. According to the Catholic teaching the Guardian Angel is the companion that God Himself places to watch over each person. This angel acts as counsellor in all circumstances of life and after-life. “Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared.” (Exodus 23:20-2) In the opinion of many Christian saints and holy beings, such as, for example, St. Clement, Origen, St. Gregory the Great, St. Francis Xavier, every country, village, church, family and individual has a special Guardian Angel.
In A Course in Miracles the Spirit Guide is identified with the Holy Spirit. He is described as “God’s answer to the ego” with “the task of undoing what the ego has made” (T79) or as the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception. The Holy Spirit is considered as a sort of bridge between illusion and reality or fear and love. It is “the part of the mind that lies between the ego and the spirit, mediating between them always in favor of the spirit” (T132), a transformative force that operates within our consciousness to guide toward an ecstatic perception of life.
“You have set up this strange situation so that it is impossible to escape from it without a Guide Who does know what your reality is. The purpose of this Guide is merely to remind you of what you want. He is not attempting to force an alien will upon you. He is merely making every possible effort, within the limits you impose on Him, to re-establish your own will in your awareness” (T160). “He came into being with the separation as a protection, inspiring the Atonement principle at the same time. Before that there was no need for healing, for no one was comfortless. The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind.” (T74).
The Atonement, according to A Course in Miracles, is the Plan of Salvation or correction aimed at undoing the ego and healing the belief in separation so as to fully uncover the true universal experience of union and love. “Salvation is undoing in the sense that it does nothing, failing to support the word of dreams and malice. Thus it lets illusions go. By not supporting them, it merely lets them quietly go down to dust. And what they hid is now revealed; an altar to the holy Name of God whereon His Word is written, with the gifts of your forgiveness laid before it, and the memory of God not far behind” (W407). The Holy Spirit is motivated by this Plan, whatever the form or the ways He uses to achieve that. The list of the denominations and appearances that He has used throughout the history of the universe is never-ending. His Function has however always been the same.
The experience of Guides is one of the most typical features of shamanism. Their presence is essential for they provide a sense of security and protection which is a strict necessity in order to move beyond the borders of ordinary reality. The Spirit Guide operates as bridge between dimensions and is a constant source of balance in all shamanic enterprises. In situations of weakness he is able to stimulate and generate the required power. Yet, whenever you are decoyed by the illusion of separation, he can also be the cause of frustration, pain and despair. For your true nature the Guide is the deepest companion just as for the ego he is the fiercest enemy. Without a direct connection with the Guide life becomes a forlorn search for altered states of consciousness through the addiction to relationships, sex, work, food, entertainment, drugs and God knows what else.
In Gnosticism, the Spirit, or Transcendental God, reveals himself through fragments of light which already exist in human beings and form a bridge between this world and the world of the True God. This God abides beyond any possible universe and has not created anything, yet he has emanated the substance of everything that exists in the visible and unseen world. During the process of emanation His essence moved far away and underwent considerable mutations, at times corrupted or alien. The Gnostic myths consider different layers of divinities or superior beings existing between the True God and us. One of them (Sophia) generated a perverted entity (Ialdabaoth, or the Demiurge) who, unaware of his origins, imagined himself as the ultimate God and became the creator of the material and psychic universe where we live. Gnosis means “inner knowledge”, which is the capacoty to see the divine essence through layers of apparent reality. Here the Guide operates as a filter and manifests differently according to the nature of each individual.
In astroshamanism the Spirit Guide is also defined as Core Multidimensional Identity (CMI). This term is aimed at firmly setting the Spirit Guide on a multidimensional level, avoiding certain misinterpretations caused by the term Spirit Guide due to cultural conditionings. CMI abides beyond our separated reality, or HAC, and at the same time is capable of comprehending it. CMI is a crucial point uniting all our possible identities into one harmonious whole.
According to astroshamanism there are different strategic typologies of Spirit Guides or Sadoha, as they are called in the Epic. The first distinction is that between Vertical Guides and Horizontal Guides. The former are three and act as the main basic Spirit Guides. Each one of them is associated with one of the Three Worlds (Higher, Lower, Middle). The One to whom I generally refer as the Spirit Guide in this text is the Middle World Guide, Spirit Guide of the Middle World, Prime Guide, CMI or Ur Sadoh. The connection with him is a basic requirement as, with his help and assistance it is possible to do most healing shamanic work.
Horizontal Guides or Auxiliary Guides are specialised entities that correspond to the four Directions, the Twelve Sectors and to further subdivisions of the Sacred Circle. Their task is to guide us in specific areas and to provide assistance in the development of particular talents. These Guides often appear at the start of the exploration of a Sector to accompany us to the point where the Totem Spirit abides. Other differences in Guides are related to nature, age or aspect. They can use forms connected with the human, animal, vegetal and mineral kingdom, employ bodies of being that are not seen by ordinary human eyes (angels, fairies, mythical beasts, etc.) or even take other less conventional forms (for example: refrigerators, traffic lights, washing machines, vacuum-cleaners, trains, etc.).
Bhi Jinah are other relevant beings of the Epic. Their function is to fill the gaps that exist in the physical reality which is perceived by ordinary human beings. This perception supports the hallucination of separation as physical forms are seen as independent units. Bhi Jinah draw the attention to the linking space that exists between all forms and which the conditioning system of ordinary mankind refuses to accept. Their work is meant to gradually reveal what lies beyond the limitations of ordinary perception. In astroshamanism Spirit Guides are part of the Spirit Circle. The latter comprises the spiritual essence of whatever and whoever is perceivable in a visible physical form. The Spirit Circle also encompasses the concept of Spirit People or Etnai and also their Land or multidimensional geographical location.
According to Edwin Steinbrecher a strategic portrait of the Guide can be drawn astrologically by shifting the Ascendant of the natal chart to the 9th house. The cusp of the 9th house (according to the Koch’s house system) seems to identify the Ascendant of the Guide, i.e. his appearance and main distinctive features especially as they are perceived in the first stages of the relationship. Through this perspective also other information can be gathered as all the planets are going to be in specific houses. Being aware of the above can be useful when dealing with subjects that create blocks with, or are afraid to meet, their Guides. To intensify the experience of the Guide, a useful place to sit in the Sacred Circle can be that of the Sector of the 9th house and the house where the Sun of the Guide is. Be aware that this is only a strategic device and is not meant to prevail over the actual shamanic experience. The 3rd house can relate with false guides. This does not imply that it has a negative energy. On the contrary, it can offer the precious function of providing the shadow aspect of the Guide.
Also the position of the Lunar Nodes can give further clues and insights regarding the basic features of the Spirit Guide and the false guide. As an advanced development in the work, if your Spirit Guide agrees, it can be helpful to work together with false guides. What counts is that the relationship with the Guide is adamant and that he is always in charge. In this way, instead of fighting or trying to ignore the false guide, you can take him with you in your journeys. This gives the chance to be aware of where the false guide is, to learn his ways and gradually undo the programmes that were given him in a far distant past and that cause him to behave in the way he does.
Excerpts from Franco Santoro, Astroshamanism, Book One