I have been meaning to ask some questions about spirit guides for a long time, but haven't been able to get to it.
Is the modern emphasis in the New Age and Spiritualism on "guides", "ascended masters", "animal guides", "angels" etc. all bad or somewhere in the gray.
I wonder if there is any correlation between angels and guides or if the former are Christian and the later demons.
Is someone who claims to have a guide necessarily being influenced by Satan (if the guide is real and not simply a manifestation of the psyche).
I don't think i am asking the questions in the right way, does anyone have any thoughts on the subject?
Allow me to share my thoughts...
With most of the people that I have met who claim to have such guides, it seems to be a case of projection, based on a deep-rooted psychological need for guidance. In some cases that may be innocuous, but in others that I have encountered, it definitely struck me as being unhealthy. This has particularly been the case where the person in question claimed to have contact with "a guide", and gains self-esteem by offering guidance to others -- often people who have significant internal struggles or have lost direction. Perhaps even gathering a Group around their own person. That can set up some very unhealthy dynamics!
And "following a guide" may also be a cop-out, the refusal to take responsibility for tough personal decisions.
However, I have also met two or three people who have had one-time encounters with Angels (or what they perceived to be Angels). This has invariably happened at an extremely critical critical time in their lives, in a time of deep spiritual turmoil or despair.
My honest opinion in these latter instances is that the experience was completely sincere, and that the effect of the encounter was overwhelmingly positive. It changed their lives!
A Catholic nun in San Diego who once advised me during a time of my own difficulties, pointed out that some of the "voices" we may hear belong to real sentient beings, who may not necessarily be more evolved than we are.
If we face voices or perceived beings, while firmly established in Prayer, and carefully listen with/to our Hearts, I do not think evil will flow from it.
However, I don�t think it is necessarily fruitful to try to generalize, or to try to adamantly judge the situation of a fellow Traveller -- unless of course you are blessed with a Clarity of Vision. Some are. Furthermore it might worthile to ask what (possibly unhealthy) personal need one might be trying to satisfy by "trying to stand in judgement"!
I feel a need to approach the whole issue, and specific instances, in a humble way.
It is a question of Reality, of Truth -- and not of "Rules".
Thanks for your thoughts heartprayer,
I am sorry if i came across as seeking to "stand in judgement", I hope I am not. It is more that I am trying to understand the true nature of things, i think it is a question about Reality and Truth. I suppose I wonder why none of these guides are pointing to Jesus, surely any truly good spiritual being would point people to Jesus?
I�m not saying you were, just noting what I perceive to be numerous potential dangers.
And your latter point of pointing to Jesus:
Some of the people whose experience I referred to were, and are, Christian. Their experiences confirmed and deepened their faith.
I'm not much into spirit-guides of any kind, certainly not if this means letting an external agent make decisions and chart directions for one life. Authentic spiritual growth entails a transformation of mind and will so that one comes to want what God wants and to do what God wants one to do.
I believe there's too great a risk in opening oneself to guidance from external entities, even if it is thought to be one's angel. This is the problem I have with channeled material as well, including works like A Course in Miracles.
Of course, there is the distinction between spirit guides who are summoned for the sake of some intervention and there are angels who appear unbidden and possibly to 'assist' in Christ's plan. Please permit me to share some of myself here�
I know of several serious Christ-followers who see and feel angels pretty regularly. Mahesh Chavda, Todd Bentley, David Herzog, Bobby Conner to name a few. These folks simply worship God through Christ and multiple signs and miracles follow them, including angel appearances. I was at a conference with Mahesh and heard him make this gentle roaring, happy sound, and he said,"Oh, I feel my angels have shown up...they are around me!"
I have experienced what I feel were angels of the Lord on a few occasions which, like HeartPrayer suggests above, served to confirm and deepen my faith. These are distinct from other entities in the supernatural that I have talked about before.
First, when my father was dying and I had prayed and prayed for "angels of mercy to come to take him to the Lord." I prayed this over and over again for several months during his terminal illness. Just a few minutes before he passed away, I was in the next room trying to fall asleep with my two boys when I suddenly opened by eyes and saw these moving lights, kindof amorphous shaped "beings" in front of me--two, maybe three. I thought I had my eyes CLOSED and was seeing lights (as I often have with kundalini), so I kept trying to open my eyes but they were open! I sensed that this was the moment that my father was to leave his body. Just then, my mother opened the door and announced that it was time. As I got to my father's bedside, he took just one more breath, and he was gone. Could it have been angels responding to my prayer?? I don't know...it is interesting that they came to show themselves to me...to demonstrate that my prayer was being answered perhaps.
Once when I was hosting worship night at my house and about 6 of us were around my dining room table in prayer, where we also "take communion" of the Lord Christ Jesus. I had my eyes closed and gradually 'felt' the room literally fill up with beings. I was confused for a moment and wondered, "Wait a minute! Didn't I invite just 6 folks?? To check on reality, I opened my eyes and, sure enough, just 6 people sitting around the table. I closed my eyes, and again was absolutely sure the room was packed shoulder to shoulder with bodies! After doing this a few times, I realized these must have been angels I was sensing in the spirit realm...maybe they were praying with us...? Interestingly, that night after everyone left and I was cleaning up, I remember blowing out all the candles I had lit except one. I decided to let it burn as I thought with great awe, "Jesus, you are the Light of the world�what an incredible mystery!� The candle wick was burned all the way to the bottom with a little wax around the sides. I was sure there was no danger in allowing it to burn out by itself. The next morning, would you believe! that candle was still lit. It had remained lit for over 12 hours when it was down to virtually nothing!
The other time was recently when I was reading Francis MacNutt's book on praying for healing in the family, which I actually brought up on a thread here a few months back. At the end of the book, the author has a beautiful prayer for the readers, which I tenderly and hungrily 'imbibed' because I was so moved by the love and compassion of the author.
That night, I experienced an encounter with a beautiful angel which I somehow KNEW was connected to Francis. It was like being touched by a love and peace beyond description. I could just 'see' that this angel, in a sense, 'accompanied' the healing prayers of Francis, an awesome servant of God.
Thank you, Father. Thank you, Jesus!
Many blessings to all of you at Shalom Place!
That�s a wonderful definition of "authentic spiritual growth". And I couldn�t agree more with the rest of your post.
Shasha: Thank you for your beautiful sharing! You�ve enriched my day.
I don't feel i can address your question
per say but can perhaps address a small part
of it. People with Native American Heritage
when deep in their contemplative work may
experience the Archeltypes as animals.
I do not feel this is the same thing as what some
are calling Finding ones animal guides.
So since your question i have wondered if those
with a very long ancestory of Christianity may
experience the archeltypes as different Angels..????
Thanks for the question.
Shasha: Thank you for your beautiful sharing! You�ve enriched my day.
Wonderful, HP. It brightens my day to know I've enriched yours.
I have heard metion often of these 'archetypes', what are they, have you ever discussed them on shalom, where could i get more good info online?
WC started a line under Christian Spirituality Issues called "Archetypes seeking personhood in Him. Dated Sept 2, 2006
There was a good outside link that showed up on one of the posts for other opinions. Hopefully it will answer some of your questions.
Remember the "Angel of God" prayer we learned in catholic grade school? "to light, to guard, to rule and guide". Also I would think we can ask the Saints to help us along, to be on the safe side, rather than ascended masters.
My humble contribution.
Good point, Katy. I think we can affirm the importance of spiritual guidance, which can come from a wide variety of resources, including angels, Saints, spiritual directors, etc. I don't have a problem with that, especially when God wants to steer us in a particular direction, as Shasha noted above. I do believe primacy must go to the Holy Spirit, here, who is the guide/paraclete/coach given to us by Christ to lead and empower us along the way.
I have tremendous respect for w.c., but the concept of archetypes from the collective unconscious influencing us is a complete waste of time, in my opinion.
I know this deviates greatly from some folks here, and I apologize for being so frank, but permit me to briefly explain what is behind my statement.
I have never met anybody who was, in any way, aided by the use of archetypes, images/symbols from the theoretical "collective unconscious." When powerful experiences that emerge in meditation or therapy concerning any image or symbol of any kind, it is always connected to the individual's personal life experiences. And it's those associations and processing the unique and personal meaning of those images/symbols that lead them to integrating stuff in their unconscious.
In other words, I have never heard of anybody benefit from "archtypal" work whose processes couldn't better be explained by accessing feeling states, memories, images, etc. from their personal lives, not some external place.
Archetypes presumably "reside" in the theoretical "collective unconscious." Nonsense. If somebody has an image of the "devouring mother archtype," for instance, it only has meaning to them insofar as it brings up something of their own experiences stored in their "personal" unconscious. Otherwise, it has no meaning and no utility.
One of my clincial supervisors published a paper a few years ago. He relayed a conversation he had with a Jungian psychologist who said he noticed that his patients are able to make use of archtypal images when those images resonated with their childhood experiences!
Maybe I'm too rigid-minded about this, and I'm open to opposing points of view, but I'm thinking, why call something a zebra when the thing is just a horse?
much love to you all,
Shasha, I'm not quite sure whether you're denying the existence of archetypes or the value of spending much time working with them. The concept is, as you've noted, theoretical, but with strong explanatory power and much evidence in favor of a collective unconscious shared by the race, with energetic tendencies that account for common mythologies worldwide. Those who are interested might check out chapters 4 and 8 of Jim Arraj's book, Jungian and Catholic?
I do agree with you that information from the unconscious can come to us through many different channels, and that for most, it's best to work with this material using journaling, reflection, etc. But it can also be helpful to know and understand how a few basic archetypal energies work. E.g., male and female energies -- what Jung called the animus and anima, repsectively. Understanding how they show up in dreams and influence our attractions to people of the opposite sex can be very illuminating. It can even affect our spirituality and devotional life. Check out Arraj's little essay on Priests, Women and the Anima.
If one is a spiritual director, it can also be helpful to understand how some of the various archetypes show up in our dreams. Spiritual directees often report dreams, and one can get a sense in them of deep inner dynamics. One need not be a Jungian analyst to come to a few basic understandings, but, as you've noted, these might come from other means as well.
You seem to be saying that you've not come upon dream or other inner symbolism that cannot be explained in terms of one's personal experiences. That's certainly not the case for me, nor for many others I've worked with. The idea of a "collective unconscious" does not imply that it is "external" to us, only that it underlies even our personal unconscious, which it also influences. Some of the energies and symbolism coming from the collective unconscious can seem very strange indeed from the standpoint of the Ego -- even demonic, or sublimely divine. The energy we call kundalini, for example, is probably archetypal in origin (deep Self archetype), and we see how that can seem dark or light (or both).
In the context of this discussion, then, it's important to understand that our own human unconscious can sometimes account for experiences of what we call demons or angels. (See this link for an example). I'm not saying that's always the case, and we need to recognize, too, that the Spirit can make use of dreams and archetypal tendencies to lead us along. Nevertheless, the Ego cannot and should not relinquish its privileged role as the responsible agent of consciousness. God always asks and invites, then leaves us free to respond. You'll find that to be the case throughout all of Biblical history.
Let me get back with you on this when I have more time...thanks.
I'm starting a new thread on the SP Lounge to continue this discussion.
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