6 Types Of Spirit Guides & How To Communicate With Them

mbg Contributor By Tanya Carroll Richardson
mbg Contributor
Tanya Carroll Richardson is an author and professional intuitive, giving readings to clients all over the world.
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No matter who you are, where you come from, or what your life looks like, spirit guides are always sending you helpful messages. Here's how to identify your unique guides, open yourself up to their wisdom, and communicate with them at any time:

What are the different types of spirit guides?

Some spirit guides have been with you since before you were born. Others came on your team as you needed them at different times in your life, and you can use your free will to request more spirit guides still. Your particular spiritual guidance squad, the team of spirit guides assigned to you, could include any or all of the following:

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Archangels

Archangels are leaders in the angel world and have a powerful, very large energy signature. If you're an empath or are sensitive to energy, when you call on an archangel you might feel an energy shift in the room. Each archangel has a specialty, like Archangel Raphael's specialty of healing, and can work with countless humans at once.

Guardian angels

Guardian angels are yours exclusively, and we each have more than one! Guardian angels have devoted their lives to helping just you. Call on them anytime for immediate assistance. They love you unconditionally, forever. Remember that angels are nondenominational and work with people of all faiths and spiritual beliefs.

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Spirit animals

Spirit animals might be a pet you once had who passed away and is now part of your spiritual guidance squad. Spirit animals can also be any animal that has something to teach you, like the peacock teaching you the importance of beauty or confidently owning your gifts, or the wolf showing you the importance of getting your survival needs met. Spirit animals could show up in a dream, in your backyard, or on your co-worker's coffee mug.

Ascended masters

Ascended masters like Buddha or Mother Mary were once human, living journeys of deep spiritual growth and influence. Now they have a special place as leaders in the spirit world and as guides/teachers to humans like you. My guides have told me that all ascended masters are partners and work together in harmony, no matter what culture or religion they were part of when they were alive.

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Departed loved ones

Loved ones who've passed on may choose to be one of your spirit guides and actively support you from heaven by helping you in very practical ways, like sending career opportunities or nurturing relationships your way. One of your grandmothers could be an important spirit guide for you, whether you knew her well in life or not.

In fact, any human who has passed on might become a spirit guide for you. If you're a dancer, you could have a spirit guide on your team who was once a dancer and performer too and now wants to help guide and inspire you as an artist.

Helper angels

Helper angels are "freelance angels," so to speak, who are just looking for humans to help with specific situations, like finding new friends or finding a new office space.

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How do spirit guides communicate with us?

Spirit guides will often enter your life by sending you signs, also called synchronicities. Carl Jung defined synchronicity as "a meaningful coincidence." An example would be realizing you need to improve your romantic relationship after having a fight with your partner before bedtime, and out of the blue the next day you notice a book about communication in romantic relationships sitting on a co-worker's desk.

Spirit guides could also communicate to you through numbers or number sequences like 111, or you might have a lucky number, and when you go for a job interview, your lucky number is in the company's address. Spirit guides could talk to you by sending musical messages, like a song that always inspires you playing on the radio when you get in the car after a rough day. Spirit guides might send you a dream that gives you an idea about how to handle a situation, or a guide could even appear to you in a dream.

Spirit guides even send helpful people and opportunities your way, another form of communication that often requires you to take action (asking an interesting new person in your life out to lunch, buying a ticket to a transformational workshop) regarding the person or opportunity your guide has sent or somehow put on your radar.

10 ways to start communicating with your spirit guides.

Here are some practical strategies for connecting to your guidance squad and recognizing their signs and synchronicities:

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1. Be more present in your everyday life.

Part of getting more guidance from your spirit guides is recognizing the messages they are already sending. Many times the messages our guides send are lost on us because our lives are too busy or our minds are too busy.

Action step: Try opening up some space in your schedule or taking some responsibilities off your plate, if possible. When you're not rushing around, you'll notice more messages from your guides. Help quiet your mind by finding a meditation practice that works for you so you can get better at creating more space in between your thoughts.

2. Stay on the lookout every day for signs from your guides.

The more you watch for signs from your guides, the more you'll recognize the signs they send. But something else magical happens too—as your guides sense you are more aware of them and their helpful messages, they will send more.

Action step: Remind yourself on your train commute to work or while you're showering in the morning that every day your guides are sending you messages. If you're trying to make a major decision, or you're going through big changes or challenges, expect the guidance coming at you to increase to help you navigate this situation.

3. Start a spirit guide journal.

Get a special journal and devote it solely to increasing communication between you and your guides. This is a sacred place where you can write your guides a letter and ask them for assistance in specific ways. While your guides know you and your life well, it can be powerful to use your free will to ask for help and guidance. You can also use this journal to record any important signs they send.

Action step: Write your guides a letter at the beginning of the week and express gratitude for a sentence or two about anything in your life you think they've helped with recently. Then spend a few sentences asking them for help or guidance on a specific issue. For the rest of the week, watch for synchronicities from your guides regarding this issue.

4. Get to know your guides, and give them names.

You might give one of your guardian angels a name you've always loved, like Emily. Or you could be thinking of your guardian angel as you read a name in a novel, like Javier or Gigi, and that becomes their name. Giving a guide a name makes them feel more real and may encourage you to connect with them more regularly. You may also come to know the personality of one of your guides after working more closely with them over time.

Action step: See if a name comes to you for one of your guides via your intuition or a synchronicity, or get creative and give them a name. If a guide is always offering you help taking your career to the next level, they might be serious and motivated. Yet another guide could be playful and always send you humorous guidance, encouraging you to lighten up and enjoy the ride.

5. Surrender something to your guides.

When you're frustrated about a situation, confused about the best next step, or feeling that you don't have enough control, surrender an issue over to your guides. Even if it's just to give yourself a little break. This can allow fresh insights to come to you as well as let your guides have more freedom to do their thing and help. 

Action step: Practice energetically releasing an issue to your guides, perhaps just temporarily. Try to quiet your mind instead of strategizing and worrying. Use a mantra like, "I'm surrendering this issue over to my guides to see what they can do."

6. Learn more about spirit guides.

Just researching spirit guides will help increase your communication with them. Look for experts and information that resonates with you and is positive, empowering, and healing.

Action step: Attend a workshop, take an online class, or read a book about spirit guides, like one of my most recent, Angel Intuition. Notice if simply learning more about them magically opens you up to more communication. Your guides will be excited they have your attention!

7. Improve your intuition.

Everyone has intuition, and everyone can improve their intuition with study and practice. There are actually four main intuitive pathways that you can play with and develop: You can hear gentle voices in your mind (clairaudience); see guidance as images in your mind (clairvoyance); know guidance as breakthrough thoughts or mental downloads (claircognizance); or feel guidance as energy, emotions, or physical sensations (clairsentience).

Action step: Practice using your intuition to make small decisions the outcome of which aren't a big deal, like where to go for lunch with a co-worker. You can also play a game with your intuition right now by asking it which method here you should emphasize to communicate more with your spirit guides. Ask for a number between 1 and 10. Did you hear a number in your mind, see a number in your mind, have a strong knowing about a number as a thought, or feel drawn to a certain number when you looked back over this list?

8. Develop daily, weekly, or monthly spiritual practices.

Spirit guides are of the spirit world and have a powerful ability to ground you in your own spirituality or help you discover it. Having regular spiritual practices—like drawing an oracle card every morning for inspiration, taking a meditative yoga class once a week, or attending a spiritual gathering once a month with other people—will create more intimacy with your spirit guides.

Action step: Do something in the next few weeks, like a new moon or full moon ritual, to create more regular spiritual practices in your life. You can also make a list of some of your most important spiritual beliefs. For example, you may have a strong belief that the soul lives on after the body dies, or feel closer to Spirit whenever you spend time in nature.

9. Simply send your guides a message in your thoughts.

This may sound like the quickest and easiest way to connect to your spirit guides, but it really works. You can make a formal prayer or blessing, or you can simply tell them what you need in your thoughts with a brief sentence or two.

Action step: As soon as you finish reading this article, ask your spirit guides for help in your thoughts with something you've been worried about. Then also ask for help from a loved one, co-worker, expert, or health care professional. You deserve all the support you need!

10. Use a divination tool. 

Humans have been using divination tools to communicate with Spirit for as long as humans have been around. Oracle cards, tarot cards, runes...there are many divination tools. Try different methods and see what works best for you. 

Action step: Before you work with your divination tool, take your cards or anything else in your hands and hold them for a minute, closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths to center yourself. Then silently ask your spirit guides to send you a helpful, healing message through this tool.

What to do when you feel disconnected from your spirit guides.

If you're feeling disconnected from Spirit, don't worry. You have a connection to Spirit and always will. Your spirit guides are there, working on your behalf behind the scenes, whether you sense them or not. Sometimes it's during the most challenging times in our lives that we can feel disconnected from Spirit, yet this is when Spirit can and wants to help us more than ever.

When you're going through big changes, it can help ground you to feel connected to your spirituality and your spirit guides. Watch a documentary or movie with spiritual themes, listen to a podcast by a spiritual leader who resonates with you, or read an uplifting and inclusive book about spirituality for 20 minutes every night before bed.

Your spirit guides very much want to have a closer relationship with you. As you open up to and attempt more communication with them, you may be pleasantly surprised by how many messages you notice. Your spirit guides already send you so many messages. For most people the invitation is to start recognizing the communication that's already happening.

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