Authentic guide or nosy neighbour?

When you immerse yourself in the spiritual world, it is hard to miss the concept of the spiritual ‘guide’. You can enrol in workshops and courses to ‘meet your spiritual guide’, people will contact, channel or even draw your guide for you and apparently, everybody has one. But is this true, and what is a guide anyway? And what is it not?


About twenty years ago, when I had been practicing spirituality for a while but in my very own way, I decided to do a little meditation to see what it was all about, this ‘guide’ thing. I put myself into a light trance and travelled through the roots of my favourite tree (a nice visual way to enter the subconscious) and after a short while, I found myself in what looked like a prehistoric cave. It most resembled the home of a Palaeolithic shaman: skins and hides on the walls and floor, attributes of horn and bone, bunches of herbs hanging from the ceiling. A little fire burning in the corner of the cave. It felt homey and cosy, and very familiar, but besides myself there was no-one in the cave.

I walked outside and decided to climb a little hill. I sat on the hilltop, staring at the starry sky and waited for my Guide to arrive. I waited and waited. Finally, it dawned on me and I laughed. No Guide was forthcoming, no man with a beard and staff or a lady in glorious attire, because: I am the Guide! I am my own guide! The connection with the wisdom of my own soul, or higher self, my own connection to Source is my guide. Chucking, I left the hilltop and went home.

The need for a guide

The need for a guide from outside ourselves, someone to take our hand and lead us, is a very human desire. As children we are dependent on the guidance, protection and nurturance from our parents and other adults around us, and at that time, we need it dearly.
Many of us never received it in the way we needed it, and so the inner child within us still yearns for guidance and acknowledgment. Therefore, as adults we often still subconsciously search for the perfect mother or father, the authority figure from without that should lead, nurture and protect us. We try and find it in religion, in spiritual concepts like guides, Ascended Masters, spiritual teachers. But as spiritual adults we are meant to find our own authority within ourselves, to support and nurture ourselves so we can stand strong and manifest our qualities in the world and have relationships based in equality – including with the aforementioned spiritual beings.

False guides

But there are beings in this world that like nothing more than to step into this hole of our lack, and prey upon our need for an authority figure from outside of ourselves, to subtly or not so subtly boss us around, or use us for their own ends. They often pretend to be guides or ‘higher’ spiritual beings. I meet all kinds of them in all sorts of guises, with clients in my therapy practice:

Many times, I have seen clients who were ‘guided’ by non-corporeal entities who, when examined closer, turned out to be the not-so-enlightened spirits of people they had known in past lives and still wanted to control them in some way. Sometimes they weren’t even aware of the fact that they had died. Some were aware of it, but simply didn’t want to let go of their earthly desires and wouldn’t go to the Light. Some were quite domineering and even threatening: then, we needed to do an extensive therapy session to help the past life of the client heal, stand in their own power and release the controlling entity.

Other ‘guides’ turned out to be deceased family members, who still wanted to have some say in their descendants’ lives – sometimes with the best of intentions, but from their limited understanding of reality and of ‘what’s good for you’ – and that never turned out to be good for the client. A deceased family member who used to be a busy-body in life often turns out to be the same after death!

Sometimes ‘guides’ didn’t turn out to be any sort of guide at all, but beings of the dark side – beings who are masters of illusion, can take on any guise and are only out to dis-empower, bring down and even destroy human beings.

Assistance and cooperation

That’s not to say, we should throw the whole concept of guides into the dustbin.

As eternal beings with an earthly incarnation, it is wonderful to receive the support and love of our ancestors, friends and lovers from past lives, Ascended Masters, Crystal beings and other elementals, angels, fairies, animal spirits etc. But always as a form of cooperation, with mutual respect.

As soon as we make ourselves small and behave in a dependant way, we give our power and authority away and open the door to less authentic, self-serving beings that act from ego and sometimes even with the intent to deceive and harm.

Examples of true guides and helpers

In the book ‘The boy who saw true’, a moving and sometimes hilarious diary written by an eight-year old psychic boy in Victorian England, the child author is visited at night by a luminous being that talks to him and helps him understand life in the confusing, puritanical world of England in the nineteenth century. Because of his religious upbringing, the boy first thinks he is being visited by Jesus. When he gets a little older, the being tells him he is not Jesus, but simply a wise spirit who has lived many lives and is there for him when he needs some assistance.

I myself have had a lot of loving support from ‘guides’ who turned out to be loved ones and children from previous lifetimes and dimensions, human spirits but also fairies, angels and animals. They contributed to my life in an invaluable way with their love, inspiration and support.

Loved ones who have crossed over, be they human or beloved pets often function as ‘guides’ – and they are never pushy, but always modest and kind.

I have experienced baby brothers, aunts, even dogs on the ‘other side’ appear and support therapy clients when they needed them most. With their loving messages and energy hugs, they are an immense source of loving care and inspiration.

So how do you know whether you are dealing with an authentic ‘guide’ or a false one?

A false ‘guide’:

  1. Pretends to know what’s good for you, better than you know yourself
  1. Is usually craving power and control of some sort
  1. Often communicates in a more or less subtle condescending way, making you feel somehow less or small
  1. Dictates and issues orders, not respecting your own authority, free will and choice
  1. Can assume a friendly guise but often feels cold, distant, bossy or even scary and intimidating
  1. Pretends to act ‘for your own good’ but has a hidden agenda: to have his or her own way, have power and control over you

On the other hand, a true ‘guide’:

  1. Always respects your free will and autonomy
  1. Acts only in accordance with Divine Will and your higher Being and for your highest good, from unconditional love
  1. Never acts from self-interest, fear or ego
  1. Never acts against your free will or without your permission
  1. Treats you as the equal, divine being you essentially are, no matter how old or wise the guide
  1. Always feels good, loving and caring under the surface (even when they are stern)
  1. Always has your greatest good AND the greatest good for All in mind


So, when you are dealing with a being who claims to be a guide: listen to your feelings. One way to check whether contact with a non-incarnated being is pure, is to bring your attention to your heart. There you can feel whether the connection is authentic, pure and stemming from unconditional love. Only then are you dealing with a true guide.

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