Here is my first Pagan Blog Project post for “G.” I am so shamefully behind. This parenting-a-two-year-old thing plus running-own-business is like walking through a sand pit, sometimes, for how unproductive I’m feeling. So, this is one of those Paganism 101 articles.

People I meet who are just getting into paganism often ask me: “Does everybody have Guides? How do I find out who they are?”

Here are five simple and effective ways in which to get in touch with your guides. I have collected these through talking to many pagans over the years and asking various people I know, “How do you know your Guides are your Guides?”

  1. Observe nature.

Nature is vibrant and alive, and no matter what region you live, your guides can contact you through your habitat. Take any note of animals you see or hear. Mind what plants you feel drawn to. An attraction is a strong indication of affinity. If you are in an urban area, even visiting the smallest park can lead to sacred experiences.

  1. Remember when…?

Did you have a fascination with learning about or imitating a certain animal as a child? HC, my daughter who is two, was born under the Native American sign of the Wolf. Since infancy, she has communicated by howling. When I was a child, I was drawn to foxes. I had a dream where I turned into one, when I was in college, and ever since then, Fox medicine has served me well. From talking to many people, another common means of discovering guides comes from affinity to a certain period in history or a certain culture.

  1. Dream.

A simple and easy ritual to invoke a dream is to cut a small square of cloth and wrap up some lavender and mugwort, and ask your Spirit to send you dreams of your guides.

  1. Study.

Read lots. Take classes. As I mentioned earlier, affinity indicates a connection. I recommend D.J. Conway’s books as a broad survey of deities (Maiden, Mother, Crone and Lord of Light and Shadow). Go where you feel led. If you don’t know where to start, think of your childhood as step 2 advises.

  1. Invite.

Design your own ritual where you invite your Guides to contact you in the easiest way you can understand. Pay attention to synchronicities, books that you come across, conversations you overhear. Your Guides will surprise you.

What if I do something to call my Guides, but they scare me, or I just don’t like them?

If you feel frightened or overwhelmed by your Guides in any way, or have a hard time getting in touch with Them, then you are experiencing a block between you and your Power. Some of your Guides have been with you since before your birth. They can be Animal Spirits, Deities, Ancestors, Archangels, Fairies, or just about anything you could imagine.

I’ve searched the world over and haven’t found any Guides connected to me. Is there something wrong?

One possibility is that your Spirit chose to incarnate without any “outside help” so to speak, cutting all energetic contracts before birth. If this seems to be the case, then you can ask your former Guides to return to your presence, and make themselves known. If you suspect that you have chosen a new path altogether, then you can choose energies to invite into your life. If they don’t accept your invitation, accept this experience and move on. If you don’t get an answer, wait for that energy to get back to you, and ask another energy to get in touch with you. Do not under any circumstances attempt to force an energy to respond to you.

How do I know that this entity is my Guide, and not some evil spirit trying to take advantage of me?

See this article for some good rules of thumb. Reading the article, I felt extremely lucky to have been spared any hard core attempts to fool me into giving something of my own away. I work with dark spirits, some would call them demons, but I have found that not all demons are evil. Some of them are working off karma so they can ascend. Some abide in their own nature, and work to equalize the balance (the angels can be bastards, too, and not all ascended beings have the best interest of humanity at heart – some are cruising for a fall). I have always asked an unknown spirit to identify themselves, and I use the rule of recognition – if I have to ask their name, they aren’t who they appear to be. I have always been able to recognize an entity’s energy signature in dreaming.