Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Spirit Guide as Healing Strategy (by Franco Santoro)

The Spirit Guide, like many elements in astroshamanic work, is a strategic and educational tool aimed at promoting an expansion of awareness in the limited perceptual context of the person’s belief system of reference. This is also a way of creating a gradual shift and bridge between consensus reality and non-ordinary dimensions. Hence, in the first approach with the Guide, it may be advisable to employ indications derived from acknowledged sources and traditions. 

For example, I may identify the Guide as a Christian angel, a Celtic goddess, a power animal, etc. This preliminary structure entails coming to terms with the outer expression employed to define the inner world. Here I need to be aware that the key factor is the direct experience. The outer expression is a translation attempt. It is meaningful as long as I am in the outer. 

Once I am in the inner, the access is direct and I open up to another definition, which will eventually require a shift in perception. The outer level is a circular bypass that may in due course allow me to find the access to a specific route of initiation. Until I find this route, I can continue to drive along the bypass and ideally, in order to gain awareness of all the main existing routes, I may need to take one or more complete tours of the bypass itself.

Once I select an exit, I gradually come across a distinct landscape along the route. I may refer to additional models. Yet I still draw from external sources. I continue to employ a charted route. I am not paving my own way. This is because I still feel hesitant and need to learn. As I progress, my true experience may appear different from the model. Step by step, I will trust my connection and release the previous cultural background. I will get a fresh definition of the Spirit Guide, which I can hardly describe from any established cultural perspective.

A way I can use to describe the Guide is as a space where I truly feel totally at peace and in a state of unity. As long as I am conditioned by a model, this space won’t be totally there. 

For many years I would refuse this peaceful space. I did not consider it to be my Guide. I thought it was a form of escapism. I had models about what a Guide should be. Yet these paradigms did not correspond to my authentic experience of peace and unity. Since I did not trust my experience and considered it wrong, trying to connect with the Guide according to established frameworks was rather frustrating. 

It took me a lot of effort and awareness to acknowledge my true experiential connection with the Guide. After years of practice I was so exasperated by the repeated failures. 

I then decided to take a resolute action. I chose to withdraw in an isolated location without moving from there until I had received a vision. I was determined to face all sorts of ordeals. For example, I had glimpses of Christ spending 40 days in the desert. 

I felt excited for I was ready to cope with any challenge. I went to a small house by the seaside. It was the middle of winter and the whole area was very cold and deserted. I prepared myself for a vision quest. There was only me and a madman. He would shout and speak on his own, sometimes in the middle of the night. One day he told me: “What are you doing here? Don’t you know that you can get mad?” 

After some days of preparation I made it very clear that I would not move from that place until I had received an answer. I wanted to know the truth, no matter what it was. I explained that I was not expecting an accommodating truth.

I was also ready to put up with a gloomy truth. I wanted only the plain truth. Upon saying it, I heard a subtle voice whispering: “Do you really want to know the truth?” 

I felt challenged and replied “Yes, no matter what it is!” 

I then started a shamanic journey and the answer came in 30 seconds. I was given the truth in 30 seconds. This was a bit disappointing for I had planned to endure harsh conditions and fast for weeks and weeks. 

In those 30 seconds, I met what vaguely seemed to be my Spirit Guide. It was a spirit animal. Actually, it was an animal because according to my system of reference it had to be an animal. I realised that the Guide was a bit restricted in this animal shape and was wearing it only to comply with my model.

This Guide took me to a place I had always been since I was a child. When the Guide arrived there, he took another shape. This was very familiar in my early years, though it did not seem to relate to any belief system regarding Guides. 

As a child I used to spend hours in a fantasy land, as I perceived it then. It was my room, which I would see as a huge metropolis, the capital of a vast country. I was the Emperor of that realm. The books on the shelves were buildings, the table an enormous square, the carpet a multi-coloured park… 

I felt very happy in that dimension. It was my favourite game. I would write maps about that place. I could decide everything: the names of the town, the feature of the territory. Whatever I would see in my outer life I would integrate it in my reality. For example, since soccer was a popular theme in my childhood environment, I would organise fantasy soccer teams and championships with various divisions. 

I continued to be involved with such fantasies even in adult age. It was a sort of addiction. In newspapers I would read about many kinds of addictions, but nobody would talk about my addiction. 

On that day at the seaside I had given my word that I would accept any truth no matter what. I had promised it. What came to me was the last thing I could accept: to be the Emperor of my realm. 

It was so powerful that I began to laugh. I realised that what I had always looked for had always been with me. This made a lot of sense. It sounded real and spontaneous and logic. I felt a lot of love and tears. 

I then began to change my attitude about Guides, yet carefully.

As I began to go deeper in my vision I realised that it was connected with other visions. I began to meet people who were related with it. At first I thought it was just my vision. Then I found out that it was a deeper vision that many people shared, yet it involved facing first some time in solitude and getting rid of some conditioning. 

What followed allowed me to develop this work…

(Excerpts from a workshop)

© Franco Santoro,

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