Sitting on the Hag’s Chair at her temple, I could feel the power of the land rising through the hill beneath me. The power of the place enveloped me and flowed through me. And in that moment I heard her whisper in the wind: “I am your bones.”
The Goddess who guides me is ancient. More than 5000 years ago, people built a temple complex on the tops of two adjacent hills in Ireland. The best preserved of their passage cairns is aligned to the sunrise on the Equinoxes. We cannot know what gods they honoured. All that is left is the site and the clue in the name the later Celtic people gave the place: Slieve na Caillaigh.
I know, in my soul, that this Goddess chose me that day. She has been walking with me ever since. She is old as stones. She made the hills. She holds the dance of the heavenly bodies within the darkness of her womb. She is too old to have a name, though sometimes I call her after the name of that place: Cailleach.
As an animist and shamanic practitioner, I see the gods as powerful spirits of Nature. These spirits are simply the spiritual side of the natural world. If we learn how to listen, how to open our physical and subtle senses to that reality, they become an abundant source of guidance and inspiration.
As I listen, the goddess of Slieve na Caillaigh teaches me. She is one of my spirit guides. When I open my heart and ask sincerely, my small council of guides and teachers will give advice on anything from major life questions to what to eat for lunch.
In my council, there are spirits who present themselves as human, and others who present themselves as animals. Some of them are vast as the Night Sky, others are ostensibly tiny, but full of power none the less. All of them have come to me through experiences like the one I had in Ireland, or through shamanic journeys in the world of spirit.
You don’t have to be very experienced to make a magical connection with your own spirit guides. Just follow these seven steps:
- Sit down in meditation. Take a few deep breaths, and then let your breath return to its normal rhythm. Pay attention to your breath for a while, just as it is.
- When you feel calm and centred, imagine yourself in a place in nature. Make it a place that you have visited in real life, and where you felt safe and comfortable. Take your time to really become present there. What does it sound, smell, feel and look like?
- When you have a clear sense of the place, call to your spirit guide. Ask sincerely that you may meet your spirit guide. Wait and see who turns up. It might be that nobody shows the first time. If that happens, just enjoy being in that place and finish your meditation. You can try again another time.
- If a being, in whatever shape, does turn up, ask them if they are your spirit guide. This is a crucial step that shamans call ‘spirit discernment’. If you ask, they will answer clearly. They will either show you recogniAsk sincerely that you may meet your spirit guidetion, or move on.
- When you have met your spirit guide, spend some time with them. Ask them what they would like to do. Play, dance, talk, collect autumn leaves. Just get to know this spirit.
- When you feel ready to leave, thank your spirit guide and the spirits of the place where you have spent time together. Then gently let the images subside and return back to your body, back to your place of meditation.
- Ground your experience by writing it down in your journal. Meditations like this can be powerful, but they are also ephemeral as dreams. It’s good to make a record. Eat something, or do something physical if you still feel ungrounded.
You can go back to that place in nature as often as you like. Spend time with your spirit guide. Ask them what you can do for them, and how you can make them a part of your daily life. Build trust gently and slowly, as you would with any new friend.
And as you would with any new friend, don’t give away your power. You are a divine soul in your own right, and if your spirit’s advice doesn’t agree with your personal ethics, you don’t have to follow it. You can talk about this with your spirit guide and come to a compromise that works for both of you.
Magical connections with the world of spirit are crucial. The spiritual aspect of our world has much to teach us about how to live together with all forms of life. They even have teachings about how to undo some of the harm that we have done. Together with our guiding spirits, we stand for the flourishing of all beings.
I hope your relationship with your spirits is long and fruitful. Do please share your experiences in the comments section.
Image from Tripadvisor.ie