Pagan Blog Project – Guides on our path

Everyone talks about guides. Everyone has one or two or fifty. And they are all big, sexy, strong predators, right? Lol. Guides of all kinds seem to be in vogue at the moment. A quick google search will find hundreds of pages on animal guides, totems and other spirit guides. It’s very in to talk about your spirit guide. But these are not toys we collect, but big energies in their own rights who chose to help or not help us.

I am not sure I want to teach you guys yet another guided meditation to find your totem. The truth is this: guides are not static, they come and go from your life as needed. So whatever we could find today in a meditation may not help much 6 months from now. Whatever creature I could pull from the eather for you may not be what you want. That being said, I am a huge fan of spirit guides. I adore mine, the ones who stick around and the ones who have moved on.

Mountain Lion was the first guide I met. She used to laze in the sun with me on the red rocks of our plateau. She taught me he basics of journey work and how to be safe. She snuggled me when I was depressed and introduced me to other animal guides. Through her I met Badger. Badger kicked my ass as I struggled to find a job. Badgers only care about one thing: food. Remember the honey badger? Oh yeah. Badger, with his nose to the ground, ran me ragged till I finally was employed. Badger didn’t care about excuses or me being tired or depressed. Badger had one focus and I was it.  And it worked, I found a job and Badger trundled off into the sunset.  Mountain Lion also took me around and introduced me to some others. Bear, Sea Otter, Hawk, Wolf and Horse all came to greet me. Each one sat for awhile and chatted, telling me what it was like to live as a totem and interact on a mega-scale. Not all of these hung around very long, each had their own message and purpose. Hawk taught me to shapeshift into a bird and fly. Otter rolled with me in the currents. But I was learning, not only how to interact with acceptable social etiquette, but also the basics of journeywork and the landscape of the Otherworlds.

When Mountain Lion passed me off onto Tiger, I was very sad and cried. Tiger popped up everywhere. I would turn the radio on and “Eye of the Tiger” was playing. I saw tiger artwork and figurines in every store I went into. A friend bought me a fake tiger’s tooth necklace, just because. And so I accepted the transition and said goodbye to Mountain Lion. Tiger taught me to fight, taught me not to bow my head. But Tiger wanted to hunt and kill more than I was comfortable with. Tiger was in my head, craving raw meat, wanting to rip into people who made me mad with her razor sharp teeth. It was slightly disconcerting. I found myself pacing rooms like a caged animal in the zoo and baring my teeth in anger. And so I slowly started seeking out human guides.

Human guides too have come and gone. The Gods train us in specific ways, till we have the skills we need to be who They need us to be. I have met the Morrigan, Airmid, Lugh, Rhiannon, Cerridwen, Nokomis, and some humans whose names were never mine to know. They each passed me skills. They each taught me magic in their own way. Today, beyond my 2 patron Goddess’, I recognize Raven and Snake as my birth totems, Snake especially as being a rebirth totem, and Barn Owl as my fylgja or soul totem. I also work with Wolf, both as a shapeshift form and as the tribe I was initiated into. Ok, I know thats a lot of information, but I wanted to show you how guides can… guide us. They have the ability to help us mold our path, not necessarily keep us safe but keep us alive and whole.

One of the ways to recognize a guide is to start to pay attention to the patterns in your life. Do the ravens and crows follow you around? They might be trying to talk to you. Do you start to see mice everywhere, living and representative? You might want to look up what Mouse has to offer you. Don’t discount the smallest guides, snails, frogs, ants and bugs of every type all have something to teach us.

Once you begin to build a relationship with the guide, the best thing to do is start honoring them. I love tattoos and tend to get a new tattoo for each guide that sticks around in my life. My last one was raven feathers, for my birthday. Does your guide belong to an animal group that is being threatened with extinction? Do what you can to preserve their habitat. Volunteer when you can. Sign petitions. Speak up. Listen to what they have to say and really try to follow the advice. These Beings don’t have to help us, they aren’t sitting around waiting for the right “hooman” to notice them in the store window. So when someone takes the time and energy to advise you, it behooves you to pay attention. Does someone want you to be bolder/kinder/sleep more/take better care of yourself? Do it. Of course, as with Tiger, it helps to have a grasp on boundaries and be willing to say no when needed. But most guides are truly here to help.

Its also important to remember that these animal guides are representations of the entire community of animals and as such, can act in ways entirely foreign to us. They will have an agenda, that goes with the territory. But that doesn’t mean that the agenda and the Being behind it are necessarily good or evil. Just realize they have their own power, their own goals, their own eccentricities. This comes with working with an energetic representation of an entire animal species. For example, I think the reason I was having issues with Tiger stems from the fact that tigers are notoriously solo creatures, they don’t like anyone else in their territory.

Of course, the same applies for any human or humanoid guide as well. (I will use the term human here to simply.) Pay attention. Follow their advice. Be polite. Don’t offer anything you aren’t willing to give up. Human guides though can be trickier. Not every human you will run into is going to be your guide, please don’t run up to the first entity you meet and demand they train you in anything. Not every human is doing it from the goodness of their heart. Like a twelve year old wandering in New York City by themselves, we are all susceptible to cons and trickery. Test everything.

One way to do this is to double check with other practitioners. UPG is a wonderful source of knowledge. “So-and-so told me to strip naked and dance in the town square. Have you ever heard of this?” Chances are, your friends will be able to point out the traps pretty quickly. Another way to test is divination. Ask again. And a third time. And even a fourth. Ask until the divination system and the Universe at large gets angry and tells you to stop asking. Have a third party do divination on your behalf. How else can we test? Read the lore. Read other culture’s lore. Read as much as you can from the original founts of knowledge.

Ok, I’ve run out of steam. That happens when you work nights and type this at mad speed at 8 am. The point I was making here is that guides are good, they are a resource to help us grow and mature on our path. And I like adding pictures to my posts.



  1. SpiderGoddes says:

    I, too, have seen a great deal of discussion about totems and guides recently. I attribute this to a raising consciousness among people and the return to awareness.

    Badger was a guide in my life for a short time as well. I wanted to mention as I have never met another who shared this guide. Badger, though only with me for a short time, taught me much. I am grateful.

    Thank you for the beautiful post!

    1. lcward says:

      Oh how I love Badger! He can dig through anything, cant He? I am always happy to talk totems and guides. 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed.

  2. phoebefields says:

    I enjoyed your post immensely! My totems have all been very restrained with me. One of my most long term totems has always been the earth worm. My daughter’s animal guide sound more in line with yours. But Black Pather was too much for her. She was not considering her personal space and was talking to her when at school – all the time. She became my daughter’s biggest concern. So, I sent her away in a ceremony that I had my daughter participated in. And then we asked for this guide’s grandmother to come in as her guide instead. It has worked out very well so far. Than you for your important post!

    1. lcward says:

      We forget sometimes that we are allowed to say no to the Spirit Beings in our life. At a certain point, it just becomes too much, too much fire energy especially in the big cats, especially if you are a water sign. It burns us out. I find that working w/ many different totems balances out that energy. Owl is air energy, Wolf and Fox are earth. I don’t do well with more water though, it makes me too emotional and depressed.

      I should tell you guys how I found Owl sometime. Or rather, how she found me.

      I have never heard of an earthworm totem before. That is awesome. I’m gonna go research that!! Yay new project!.

  3. Creations Jessy says:

    I very much enjoyed your post! I am glad to see that I am not the only one who’s Guardians shift and change. As a teenager, I was guided by the Raven, who taught me of mysticism, and trust in magick. When I created the Silver Roan Circle a few years ago, I became a teacher, and was guided in this by the Wolf. Now, my Guide is the Serpent. He is always wrapped around me, emitting comments, helping me become,not necessarily cold, but emotionally stronger.

    This is going in my Favorites for Week 13!

    1. lcward says:


      I looooooooove talking about the things no one else seems to talk about. Yeah, we change, things change. We aren’t any better or worse if we seem to change totems or Pantheons or traditions. Its a part of life and growth.

      In the house I used to live in, we had a nest of garter snakes living under the basement. They adored me. They would climb up on the evergreen bushes in the spring and catch the sun. They always said hi, never ran from us. I used to know each adult on sight.

      And my boyfriend has taken to pointing to the Ravens and Crows and asking if they are mine. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Pagan Blog Project 2012 – Favorites of Week 13 | Créations Jessy
  5. ladyimbrium says:

    I loved this rant! Yes, spirit guides have been much on my mind lately, primarily I think because I’m dealing with one that makes me very uncomfortable. I too have had guiding energies come and go, some stick around longer than others. Crow has been around longer than the others, but I also get regular visits from Snake and Owl. I’ll never forget the few months I spent learning from the Heron who lives near my workplace. Quite a few interesting conversations. But now he’s moved on. Things shift and change as we grow. I’m glad you took the time to write this 🙂

    1. lcward says:

      I think I’m beginning to see Loki’s presence in my life, I’ve become obsessed with saying the things no one else wants to say. Which totem is making you uncomfortable? Is it because you dont want to grow in that direction or because of boundary issues?

      1. ladyimbrium says:

        Crow, Snake and Owl are my regular teachers- at least at this stage of my life- but the one that I’m still getting used to is Tarantula. I detest all things with more than six legs (I know they’re useful beyond measure but I have a very hard time getting past the icky factor) and Tarantula is very… large. He’s been teaching me sensitivity and connectedness, neither of which is easy for me.

      2. lcward says:

        Cool Tarantula!! I can see how that would be scary.

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