Introduction to Spirit Journeying: Meeting, Honoring and Working with Your Spirit Guide

Walking in the world with spirits, journeying with them, and experiencing their teachings is a tremendous way to deepen your own spirituality and connection to nature.  In the druid tradition, we primarily focus on relationships to nature, so spirit journeying is often tied to your relationship with the living earth, or perhaps through a nature deity that embodies some aspect of the earth.  In last week’s post, we delved into spirit journeying preparation: how to prepare for spirit journeying, dealing with believability and safety, and set up your space. As we delve deeper into the world of spirit journeying, today we tackle one more preliminary aspect, which also represents a first spirit journey: journeying to meet or deepen a connection with a spirit ally.

As I shared last week, journeying into the world of spirits requires some basic protection and common sense. There are many good spirits out there who are interested in working with you, but there are also those out there who would seek to cause you harm and many more who are neutral but perhaps curious. In order to safely travel in the world of spirits, one of the best defenses you can have is to have a trusted guide/deity/spirit ally who journeys with you.  This ally can help you navigate the spirit world, share insights on other spirits you encounter, and generally help keep you out of trouble if you are new and learning.

Some of us may already have established relationships with deities, plant or animal spirits, or other spirits who may guide us on our paths.  If you already have established relationships, then before doing the ritual here, reach out to your existing spiritual guides and see if someone is willing to support you in spirit journeying.  If the answer is yes, you can skip the ritual and move to the “working with and honoring your ally” section at the bottom of this post. But if not, read on, as this will help you develop that important connection for spirit journeying.

Meeting Your Spirit Guide Ritual

Smoke cleanse yourself or use other cleansing methods.  I recommend

Establish a safe, sacred space. To begin your ceremony to meet your guide, open up sacred space in whatever way you typically do.  I use the AODA’s Solitary grove ritual, which includes a full casting of the Sphere of Protection. What this particular ritual does is create a protective space that is full of the positive qualities of the elements while banishing away negative qualities.  What I like about it this kind of work is that you are already establishing boundaries on who and what can come into this space to meet you when you call.

Ask for assistance. Speak aloud your intentions for the ritual. “Spirits, I ask for your assistance in finding a guide for the practice of spirit journeying.  Someone to help me navigate the inner realms and keep me safe.” Feel free to add any additional language here that fits your needs.

Guided journey.  You can use the following guided journey to enter your sacred grove and meet a spirit ally.

Close your eyes and imagine that you are standing on top of a small hill surrounded by grasses and wildflowers.  Before you, you see the welcoming entrance to a forest with a path that leads inward. Walk down the hill, taking note of the flowers, the breeze on your face, and all of the other features of this place. As you get to the entrance of the woods, envision the trees branching up overhead, sheltering you, welcoming you, and offering you safety.  Follow the path into the woods, seeing where it leads. Eventually, it will come to a sacred grove: a grove of trees and stones.

Take a moment to pay attention to the grove itself–what the grove looks like and any unique features the grove may have.

Now, pay attention as a spirit guide walks into the grove to stand in front of you–a spirit who will help you on your journey. Pay attention to this guide–what they look like, the energy that comes from the guide, and any other identifying features.  Perhaps this is someone you already know, or perhaps it is someone new.

Go up and greet the guide. Have a conversation with them–find out more about who they are. Perhaps you know this spirit already, or perhaps they are someone new. One of the things you want to do with your guide is to establish safe procedures.  In your conversations with the guide, ensure that the guide agrees to your basic terms: to help you have safe passage, and to make sure no harm comes to you.

Ask the guide how they would like to be honored for their support so that you may honor them properly.

Ask them also about spirit journeying and what you’d like to do.  See if they have any insights for how you can best prepare for spirit journeys.

Once you feel the conversation reaches its natural conclusion, thank the guide.  Then, take the path back out of the forest, and up to the hill itself.  Open your eyes.

Write and reflect on the experience. Write about what you experienced.  You can also meditate on the experience further.

A few notes about this ritual: There are three parts to this ritual that are designed to help you find a helpful, safe spirit guide for inner journeying.  In this case, establishing a protective sacred space offers you one layer of protection for doing this ritual.  By creating a safe space, you are already establishing who can and cannot enter the space.  The second is that by establishing your intentions for a guide that will help keep you safe, you are establishing who can meet you.  And third, by doing the guided journey, you are using an established “safe route” into the realm of spirit.  I suggest keeping all three of these aspects in the ritual.

Working with and Honoring Your Spirit Ally

One example of an ally you might meet!
One example of an ally you might meet – the Elder Elk from the Plant Spirit Oracle

Now that you’ve established a spirit ally who can travel with you, it is important to learn to honor and get to know your ally better.  Spirits are just like human teachers and mentors: each one is unique, with their own lives and experiences, and they bring that to their work with you.  It is important to understand that these spirits are individuals, just as you are.  Their contributions, energy invested in you, and support should be honored and recognized as the gift that it is.  Think of this relationship like any other friendship–it needs to be nourished, grown, and both individuals contribute to that relationship.

Before moving on to work with more journeying techniques, spend some time getting to know your ally. Your ally is your primary partner on this journey, and building a relationship with this spirit first, before moving on to others, can help you journey safely and securely. It is also very wise to reflect and meditate on your interactions with the spirit themselves—think about it like a gift box. You’ve received a beautiful gift; further reflections, meditations, and interactions will help you open, and appreciate, the gift you’ve been given. Here are three suggestions for continuing to work and honor your spirit ally.

Learn more about your ally. If a particular kind of being came to you, it can be helpful to learn more about that being. Perhaps a plant, tree, or animal spirit came to you–if so, spend time learning about them. Perhaps your ally is a mythological being or deity.  Whoever they are, learn what you can. This is one way of honoring them.  You can also talk to your ally–learn from them by learning who they are, what they value, just like you would learn about any other mentor or friend.

Find ways to honor your ally. Many guides, allies, deities, and spirits appreciate you taking time to express your gratitude and honor them. If you were able to talk to them about how to honor them in your initial conversation, great.  If not, you can always talk with them the next time you interact.

I have found that each of my allies have different preferences for how to honor them. One ally prefers that I take a bag with me anytime I go hiking and pick up all the trash in the forest or do other direct acts to support nature. Several of my primary allies participate each day with me in a smoke cleansing ritual. As part of the ritual, I cleanse myself and then offer them a smoke-cleansing blessing. Another ally has a small shrine in my house where I burn incense regularly to honor them.  These are small things, simple things, but they make a difference.  You can see it just like offering your mentor a nice thank-you note or maybe a small token of appreciation. Gratitude builds and deepens relationships. And it is nice for you to take time to honor them when they are investing in you.

Creating space for your guide. Another thing is, just like any other relationship, you should create space for your guides to share, teach, and talk with you. Setting aside a little time often (every day or every few days) just for clearing your mind and opening yourself to their teachings is another way of honoring that relationship. In the same way that you would call your close friend on the phone regularly. Don’t only be asking for their help when you want something, but rather, see what kinds of interactions they may also want as you engage with them.  Deepening this relationship helps build trust between you and also allows you to understand and build your relationship.

Conclusion

At this point, we’ve covered many of the preliminaries for spirit journeying. In next week’s post, we will delve into establishing a safe space on the inner planes that you can journey from and to, the druids’ sacred grove.  I will also note that this post is adapted from my book The Plant Spirit Oracle: Meanings, Recipes, and Journeys (which you can find in the Druid’s Garden Etsy shop). In the book, I specifically share ways to establish guides and do journeys with the Plant Spirit Oracle or another spirit-filled oracle deck. In this case, the guides come from the plant spirits themselves, as depicted in the oracle.  If you are looking for a more structured approach, this might help you!  In the meantime, blessings to you this week and always!

Dana O'Driscoll

Dana O’Driscoll has been an animist druid for almost 20 years, and currently serves as Grand Archdruid in the Ancient Order of Druids in America. She is a druid-grade member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids and is the OBOD’s 2018 Mount Haemus Scholar. She is the author of Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year through Earth-Centered Spiritual Practice (REDFeather, 2021), the Sacred Actions Journal (REDFeather, 2022), and Land Healing: Physical, Metaphysical, and Ritual Approaches for Healing the Earth (REDFeather, 2024). She is also the author/illustrator of the Tarot of Trees, Plant Spirit Oracle, and Treelore Oracle. Dana is an herbalist, certified permaculture designer, and permaculture teacher who teaches about reconnection, regeneration, and land healing through herbalism, wild food foraging, and sustainable living. Dana lives at a 5-acre homestead in rural western Pennsylvania with her partner and a host of feathered and furred friends. She writes at the Druids Garden blog and is on Instagram as @druidsgardenart. She also regularly writes for Plant Healer Quarterly and Spirituality and Health magazine.

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1 Comment

  1. Very good

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