The concept of the Genius spirit and Juno spirit seemed to have evolved into the Catholic concept of the Guardian Angel. This idea then moved into western mysticism and occultism. Nevertheless, the idea of a Guardian Spirit or Spirit Guide is also found in several cultures and magical systems.
Shamans usually have a personal spirit guide and probably several. Shamanic guides or guardians will manifest in a number ways. They do not always manifest in human form. These spirits are frequently animal, but may be a plant or even an inanimate object. A friend of mine told me about someone who also had a bucket as a spirit.
American folklore said that a "would-be conjure man" would put an open small empty liquor bottle out on the front veranda after dark. Then he would walk out to outside a cemetery at night, and look up at the moon. If everything went well, there would be some sort of a sign. He would return and collect the bottle, which had an invisible spirit in it, and cork it. This spirit would now assist him in conjurin', acting as his guardian and guide. He was supposed to feed the spirit in the bottle from time to time.
Nemesis posted on TraditionalStregheria@yahoogroups.com on June 13, 2008 that this practice was similar to an English cunning folk practice. "In some English variance of folk magic, a would-be cunning person houses their familiar in a spirit bottle. This bottle becomes a microcosm and is periodically refreshed with whiskey, with the familiar as a faithful servant."
Having a special place for a spirit to sit--altar, statue, fetish, glass bottle, or pottery jar--seems to be a pretty universal idea in human thought. In some Hoodoo traditions, a practitioner might create a spirit pot to house a guardian spirit, which contains dirt and other sundry items for that particular spirit.
It is believed in some African cultures one's personal Guardian Spirit could be an ancestor spirit.
Very occasionally a Neo-Pagan or Wiccan will ask me for methods to get in in tune with their Spirit Guide(s) or Guardian Spirit(s). There seems to be no specific Wiccan ritual which focuses on this. Most people I know use quiet meditation, pathworking, or singing and chanting.
Nevertheless, I am going to print a ritual here to assist those interested in communing with a Guardian Spirit. It incorporates a bit of old fashioned scrying--a practice many Wiccans are familiar with.
The ritual "Communing with your Guardian Spirit" is not specifically Wiccan. I can see how it can be easily adapted to a Wiccan format. Specifically a Wiccan would cast a circle and invoke the four Guardians of the Watchtowers just before lighting the Altar Candles. After the two Altar Candles had been lit, the Great Goddess and the Powerful God would be invoked, rather than simply the Great Divine.
I have not used this ritual, but I would think it would be most appropriate to use the two deity names which you invoke regularly.
(Someone on a monotheistic path might stick with Great Divine--or they may prefer something like Holy Mother-Father God or Lord God of Mercy. Lord God of Mercy is suggested in the Orison in the ritual to contact one's Holy Guardian Angel in The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage. I have pasted it below the "Communing with Your Guardian Spirit" ritual.
At the end of this ritual, where it states, "When you have finished communing with the spirit, thank the spirit in the name of the Great Divine." A Wiccan must also give thanks to the Great Goddess and Powerful God, under whatever names they were invoked. The Wiccan must thank and bid farewell to the four Guardians of the Watchtowers, and erase the circle.
As written, the ritual seems to be a hybrid of Thaumaturgical Ceremonial Magic and New Age practice with a touch of Christian Spiritualism.
I seem to recall having read versions of this before. I do not know its specific origin. Clearly it is one of those rituals that has been passed around and adapted and changed a lot.
The scent of Sandalwood, incense and oil, is used in magical operations of high spirituality. Rose oil is also consecrated to impart a blessed or hallowed scent. Interestingly, jasmine and lemon oil are tied to the moon. My personal advice is never use any scent you have allergic reactions to. Plain olive oil can be used to anoint any candles.
The three purple candles or Offeratory candles set in a triangle supposedly will create a beacon for the spirit to manifest. Spirits are said to be attracted to candle light. In magical operations, the color purple is associated with psychic awareness and spirituality. Some New Agers use purple for contacting Spirit Guides.
Interestingly, water is also said to be attractive to spirits.
--Myth Woodling, 2008
The area in which you work this ritual should be clean, clear, and swept before you begin. It is beneficial to have green plants growing, such as potted flowers and herbs, in the area. You should have some type of furniture with a study flat surface to serve as your Altar. A small cabinet with a cupboard is ideal as it provides storage space for sundry items.
Make certain you have all of the following items:
Cleanse yourself in a lustral bath and meditate. Towel off. Dress in comfortable clothes.
Breathe deeply and visualize a ball of protective light surrounding you.
Prepare your Altar. Light the Sandalwood incense. With the Oil of rose, jasmine, lemon, or sandalwood dress the two Altar Candles. Set them in their Votive holders. Offer praise and invoke the Great Divine, Eternal One, Creator of All.
Light your Altar Candles. Pour spring water into the Cup and set the Cup of water to one side or the other.
State your intent for this ritual:
"I am here to make contact with my Guardian Spirit, and to acknowledge this spirit who is already about me, though invisible, who offers good council to my heart."
Pour some spring water into the bowl, or if you are using a crystal "wash" it with couple of drops of water from the Cup and wipe dry.
Inscribe white candle with the word "Truth" and anoint each candle with Oil. Say aloud: "Here I light Truth. Truth puts darkness to flight and illumes all." Set this candle in its Votive holder, between the two Altar candles.
Arrange the other three Votive holders in a triangle. These will be for the unlit Purple Candles.
With your blade, inscribe the first Purple Candle with the word "Spirit." Dress it with Oil. Light this Purple Candle, direct your energies into it and say: "Here I light the Light of Spirit. May its light reach out across the veil from this world to the next. May it make contact with that World of Spirit from whence all come and into which all eventually will return."
With a feather, waft the Sandalwood incense around the altar, censing the whole area.
Pick up the second Purple Candle. Inscribe it with the word "Spirit" and dress it with Oil. Put it back on the altar, light it and say: "Here I light the second Light of Spirit. As it makes contact with that World of Spirit, may it help spread illumination ."
Again use the feather waft the Sandalwood incense around the altar, sweetening the whole area.
Take the third Purple Candle and inscribe it with the word "Spirit." Dress it with oil. Light it and say: "Here I light the third Light of Spirit. May the light dispel all darkness and light the way that my Spirit Guide may come to me and commune with me here today. Enlightenment is a gift to those who ask."
These candles burn throughout this ritual. Address your Guardian Spirits:
"Benevolent and protective spirit, I call you to reveal yourself to me. Open my heart to understanding. Open my eye to inner sight. Manifest visibly to me."
Sit comfortably. Chant, "Open my heart to understanding; open my inner eye to sight." Or use another suitable chant.
Gaze into the glass Clear bowl of water. Continue chanting until you feel it is right to let the chant taper off.
Continue to quietly look into the clear water. Do not trying to picture anything. The purpose is to permit your physical eyes to look at something while your inner eye opens. Keep your mind blank. As you look into the water, blink naturally. Please don't try not to blink. Eventually an image should appear. If no conscious connection is established within approximately 20 minutes, you may want to try again another time. Extinguish the candles in the order in which they were lit, leave the altar set up, and try this ritual again in three days.
If an image or figure does appear, inquire the spirit's name either out loud or mentally. Names may come as pictures, abstract images or ideas as well as words inside your head. There may be more than one name for a Spirit . The form you see may be taken from your mind and may serve as an archetypal message in itself. You may get something like "Brown Sparrow" or "Fortitude." After you think you have a name, verify if this is indeed a true name. Then ask if this Spirit is serving as a guardian or guide for you. If you get an affirmative response, you should ask this spirit to assist you to become more aware of guidance.
Do remember some people only get an undefined image or beautiful colors. Sompe people only receive a sensation of radiant warmth. These are more able to feel the energy of this Spirit, rather than translate it into a concrete visual image.
Ask if there is anything this spirit wishes to communicate to you. You can also ask if, and how, the Spirit ever aided you directly.
When you have finished communing with the Spirit, thank the Spirit in the name of the Great Divine.
Before you leave, sit for a moment with your eyes closed, meditating on all that you have learned. Extinguish the candles in reverse order they were lit. Visualize the ball of light fading away counter clockwise. Be sure to write down your impressions when you are finished while everything is fresh in your mind. Pour out the spring water in the Bowl and in the Cup. Cleanup all your items and put them away. With practice this meditation will become easier.
A daily prayer which is useful in continuing communion and atunement with your Guardian Spirit is:
"Guardian Spirit, whom God has appointed over me, come to me; enlighten, protect, and direct me this day."
Here are some things to remember when working with a Guardian Spirit.
Take your spiritual path seriously.
Speak clearly and know what you are saying during any ritual, know what your intentions are, and keep focused on these intentions during a ritual.
Remain mindful of and honor the Divine and your Guardian Spirit. When you honor the Great Divine during religions celebrations, remember to atune yourself to your Guardian Spirit by remembering the spirit with a cup of water.
In service, we are served. Remember you are tied in with the greater community. Try to give something back to the community around you.
Shun as far as possible an ill-regulated life; try to live in balance.
Be mindful of your food and drink in your spiritual life, so that when you are working you be more healthy, feel freer and more tranquil both in body and mind.
Always remember, a Guardian Spirit is a spiritual entity who will heal, teach, and aid you. Guardian Spirits guide you to the positive. If you heard voices in your head that confuse you, frighten you, or place you in conflict, please seek professional help and get evaluated.
""O LORD GOD of Mercy; God, Patient, Most Benign and Liberal; Who grantest Thy Grace in a thousand ways, and unto a thousand generations; Who forgettest the iniquities, the sins, and the transgressions of men; in Whose Presence none is found innocent; Who visitest the transgressions of the father upon the children and nephews unto the third and fourth generation; I know my wretchedness, and that I am not worthy to appear before Thy Divine Majesty, nor even to implore and beseech Thy Goodness and Mercy for the least Grace. But, O Lord of Lords, the Source of Thy Bounty is so great, that of Itself It calleth those who are ashamed by reason of their sins and dare not approach, and inviteth them to drink of Thy Grace. Wherefore, O Lord my God, have pity upon me, and take away from me all iniquity and malice; cleanse my soul from all the uncleanness of sin; renew within me my Spirit, and comfort it, so that it may become strong and able to comprehend the Mystery of Thy Grace, and the Treasures of Thy Divine Wisdom. Sanctify me also with the Oil of Thy Sanctification, wherewith Thou hast sanctified all Thy Prophets; and purify in me therewith all that appertaineth unto me, so that I may become worthy of the Conversation of Thy Holy Angels and of Thy Divine Wisdom, and grant unto me the Power which Thou hast given unto Thy Prophets over all the Evil Spirits. Amen. Amen.'
"This is the Prayer which I myself made use of in my Consecration; the which I give not here to confine you (to a certain form), nor to oblige you to employ the same, nor to tell it you over as I would to a parrot whom I should wish to teach to talk; but only and solely to give unto you an idea of the manner in which we should pray."
The instructions also state:
"Have confidence in God, because if even until then ye have faithfully observed mine instructions which I have given unto you, and if your Orisons shall have been made with a righteous heart and with devotion, there is no manner of doubt that all things will appear easy unto you, and your own spirit and your understanding will teach you the manner in which you should conduct yourself in all points; because your Guardian Angel is already about you, though Invisible, and conducteth and governeth your heart, so that you shall not err."