Many people who believe in spirit guides and have the sensitivity to feel the presence of a relative in spirit have a tendency to feel that this relative is a personal guide. This may or may not be true, but, as a rule, relatives are not usually our guides.
It is a natural conclusion, though, to believe that our relatives, parents, spouses, and friends who have made the transition to the other side can and want to become our guides. If a person happens to be very sensitive, he or she may unexpectedly receive a visit from a recently departed member of the family. If that person believes in the existence of spirit guides prior to the visitation, he or she may automatically jump to the conclusion that "Aunt Ellie" is a new guiding force.
In healthy families, it is normal for parents to help their children by providing guidance, comfort, and assistance. It would be illogical to think that parents suddenly would be unwilling to help simply because they were not in the physical world. When in spirit, they continue to love, they continue to care. Their feelings have not changed because they have crossed over to the spirit world. The bonds between a child and parent are especially strong, not unlike an umbilical cord from the spirit world to the earth plane. Parents would certainly manifest in spirit to lend guidance or to share in a joyous experience with a child on earth. But that doesn't automatically mean they are spirit guides.
Our spirit relatives, friends, and spouses cared about us, loved us, and wanted only the best things life had to offer for each of us while they were in human form. It is common for any relative to visit a loved one, especially when the loved one is distressed or during special events such as religious holidays, weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays. It should be anticipated and thought of as a natural occurrence that a spirit relative or friend would have a desire to visit during trying times and happy events.
Don, my former husband, was about twelve years old when he had his first visitation from his grandfather, shortly after the gentleman passed away. He came to Don in the middle of the night to tell him that he had died. In the morning Don was told by his mother that his grandfather had passed during the night.
Thereafter, when important events in Don's life warranted direction, his grandfather would come to him. One such occasion was shortly after I had met Don. His grandfather visited him during the night to inform Don that he was going to marry me. We were married three months later. The prediction set into motion events in my life that would eventually lead me to Cassadaga, Florida, after the marriage ended seven years later. If the grandfather had not communicated with Don, it is unlikely I would be where I am today. Was the grandfather a spirit guide to Don? I do not believe so, but this is an excellent example of how spirit relatives can assist us.
The Rev. Marie Lilla has a brother in spirit who she calls upon for assistance. One case in particular was in 1992, when Marie and her husband traveled to Italy. The couple decided to return early from their trip, but the airline could not accommodate them. They were directed to come to the airport to be on standby for a flight. Once at the airline counter, Marie began to call upon her brother, telling him how much she wanted to go home and that she needed to get on that plane.
The Lillas were sixteenth on the standby list and began to wait. Many people grew tired of waiting, so they left. Before long, the man at the counter called the Lillas' name. He told them he had room for two, and they would be seated in row number nineteen. Now, it is important to mention that the number nineteen is very significant for Marie. Her father died on the nineteenth of September at the time when this particular brother in spirit was nineteen years of age. Later, when the Lillas arrived in Greenland to make a connection, they heard that the plane had been overbooked by two people. Marie gives full credit to her brother in spirit for helping with their speedy return. Is Marie's brother a personal guide? I believe he is a very caring relative, not a guide.
Haven't we all heard of someone who is recently widowed receiving a visit from his or her partner in spirit? What could be more natural then a spouse returning in spirit form to bring comfort to a grieving loved one? I should think any widow or widower would find such an experience heartening and a confirmation of eternal life.
A friend of mine named Gracie relayed a story to me about her experiences after her husband passed away. She was having a very hard time adjusting to his passing and decided to get out the Ouija board. Gracie found no difficulty operating the Ouija board alone. With her hands placed on the pointer, it began to move about in such a manner that she knew she was not manipulating it. The experience left her feeling that she had truly communicated with her husband in spirit, because the things that came through were messages only he or she would have known. Gracie felt great consolation afterward.
Gracie then happened to read a book about automatic writing and attempted to receive communication by this method also. She felt that some of her Old English ancestors communicated with her. Two of several entities that came through were a lady organist from a church and a man who was a director of a school. Gracie felt these encounters were rewarding also. Were any of these spirits her guides? No, they were visiting spirits who brought either consolation or joy.
On occasion, people require the comforting knowledge that a deceased loved one is all right. Frequently, a person will seek out the services of a medium in order to receive this knowledge.
The Spiritualist religion became extremely popular after its inception on March 31, 1848, for this very reason. The attraction to Spiritualism was so great, especially prior to the turn of the century, because women desperately needed confirmation that their deceased children still lived. We must remember that at that time in history, women did not have any rights. They could not vote, inherit property, and were thought of as being personal possessions to be owned by a husband or father. Women were required to submit to their husband's sexual desires and, as a consequence, became pregnant year after year. (Those of you who venture into family genealogy will most likely discover eight to twelve children being ordinary occurrences in families throughout the 1800s.) Repeated pregnancies were too much of a physical strain on many women, so they did not always bear healthy children. As a result, a great number of these children did not live long. Women flocked to mediums for messages from their deceased children, hoping for any soothing words to prove their offspring still lived on in some way. These were certainly difficult times in which the voices of spirits brought immeasurable comfort to those seeking answers.
Our parents, friends, relatives, and spouses are definitely available to us for comfort and guidance, along with many other spirits than those who knew us on the earth plane. But a willingness to help does not make every one of them a spirit guide. For example, every woman blessed with a maternal instinct who shows us motherly gestures is not our mother. The visitation of a relative is usually an additional guiding force not associated with a person's regular band of spirit guides. But, there are exceptions to every rule.
Ever since Louis Gates' great-grandfather, Chief Joseph, passed to spirit, he has been keeping order within Louis' life. He brings Louis peace and understanding of situations around him. Louis, who is one-half Seneca Indian, remembers his great-grandfather wearing a full headdress. Chief Joseph still wears a full headdress, even in spirit, as a means to identify himself to Louis.
Another example would be that of Eloise Page, who came to Cassadaga, Florida, in 1948. She studied mediumship with a gentleman named E. B. Page, who later became her husband. E. B. was Eloise's mentor and groomed her into the fine medium she became. When he passed to the spirit side of life, the spirit of E. B. assumed the role of Eloise's teacher guide. This would have been a natural position for him, in particular, to assume. No one could have been better to serve as her teacher than the man who was instrumental in her spiritual development. But again, these examples are not common occurrences.
Excerpted from How to Communicate with Spirits, by Elizabeth Owens