Being Your Own Guide

Recently, a friend and I were discussing personal responsibility around doing any sort of “healing” work, especially in regards to emotional effects. We talked of how these days it seems like many of us are seeking alternative means of improving our condition and often that leads us to seeking a spiritual aid in the matter.

As we as a people moved further away from the ancient tradition of apprenticeship, expertise began to be bought through universities or trainings that ended with some sort of certification. But these days, as the new generations shift against the ways of our parents—and especially against the idea that knowledge must come at a price—there’s a tendency to feel justified in doing work with very little experience. In fact, with so many spiritual practices being taught in weekend workshops, and so many people feeling naturally inclined to the work, there’s an idea that we can begin practicing right away and even charging people for our services or calling ourselves “healers.”

I see little harm in refining natural skills and learning to connect again to magic, even the kind that we might use to help friends and family. But I do see many people practicing energetic skills with not only little expertise, but no true teacher and no real guide but through trial and error. When we practice for ourselves, just as our ancestors might have played with common magic or even divination techniques and the like, there was little harm to it. But when we live in an age where anyone and everyone can look professional through curated images and words, it can be difficult to know if you’re hiring someone with adequate skill, especially for the price they are charging.

In the interest of transparency, even I overestimated my skill at the beginning of my work. Natural inclination toward the spirit realm and a deep connection to the Otherworld that I felt born with gave me the ability to often overcome my own shortcomings, but had I been doing more than just acting as receiver of divine messages, I would most definitely have not done much good and may have even done harm. I would occasionally get those twinges of titling myself to with words like healer or counselor, but I always felt a discomfiture from it. Oftentimes, I was reassured that that came simply from not trusting my own skills, but the truth was that it came from knowing that, truly, I was not a prime vessel for such a divine and ancient skill yet. Not in this lifetime, at least. Of course, the skill would not be mine and, yes, that could mean it was possible—such is the mystery of these things—but the instrument still must be crafted well even if its wielded by a master (Source/Spirit) and I was all but a blunt and rusty stick of steel at that point, not a finely balanced blade. Even today I cannot claim such, which is why I constantly refine myself in the fires of the Otherworld to be of better use and why, I think, education is much more reasonable a purpose than enacting results that only the wisest elder may be capable of.

I don’t believe in a certification process. I don’t believe in shelling out thousands of dollars to claim mastery. Even the most educated people out there can be terrible at their chosen field and no piece of paper can change that. Even those who might apprentice under great names may not follow in their teacher’s footsteps. It’s a false sense of security given to us by the overlords that tells us that notations after someone’s name means they’re qualified to be an authority over us and our bodies and mental states. What it truly comes down to is trusting ourselves enough to know when something feels off and to remember that you are sovereign over your life and choices. If someone seems too good to be true, if their methods feel gimmicky, if their images seek to convey perfection, something might be wrong and there is no reason why you cannot say no. You see, when you hire someone to aid you—in whatever way, spiritual or otherwise—you are not indebted to them. The exchange and benefit should simply be mutual. To you, receiving what you desire; to them, compensation in whatever they have deemed correct for their work.

Living in a time where we do not trust ourselves and are more willing to trust the image of professionalism means that discernment in this way can be difficult. That is why I always stress in my work that I want you to feel drawn to me in some way. I do not want to sell to you. It is also the reason for my taking some time away from avenues of my work to study and do more journeying to the Otherworld. It is also why I emphasize education in my work and say over and over that I am not guru, not a teacher, I am a companion on your journey whose experience, should you feel it, might aid you. Nothing more.

Ultimately, the uptick in spiritual practitioners, especially those of a professional nature, means that we are inundated with options selling us healing; and, as a sickened culture so detached from our spirit-selves, we are looking for it anywhere we can. In addition to the desire for any way to find ourselves in this manner, we can overlook so many other avenues for healing that are just as valid as energetic and spiritual work. Eating correctly for our body type, using other methods of therapy to unravel traumas, physical healing modalities such as bodywork or physical therapy. There are so many options and so much potential that it can be overwhelming. But finding people in your community you trust means finding specialists who are qualified in their fields. And seeking out someone for the work you see them do and not the latest meme or trendy language used on their latest post is key.

Should you find yourself seeking for something more, ask yourself your motivations. And should you be drawn toward working with someone, question yourself as to why. Do they look like who you want to be? Or are you finding yourself stirred and moved deeply by their work? And if you see someone doing work you believe in, open a dialogue with them to get to know them better to be sure. If they aren’t open to that or are too busy to provide you with that kind of attention, they may not be who you want to trust with your spiritual journey. Back in ancient times, the healer, the wise woman, the medicine man, they would be people that were known. They may have existed on the edge of society and felt somewhat mysterious, but their work had seen results. Even testimonials can give false hope as people have initially wonderful responses to something that later fades and their ailment or unhealthy pattern returns.

All of this to say: trust your instincts, speak up and ask questions, and know that when you’re seeking spiritual guidance oftentimes the answers are within. Ask those you trust to point you to educational materials and if they’re disinclined to share any, but offer you something of theirs for a price, engage enough to know whether it is because the desired information truly doesn’t exist or can be difficult to find or if they simply want to make money. And remember that you don’t have to distrust people who want to make money. We all need money to survive these days. So when they have put in the work to collect ample information and distill it into educational material, it is perfectly acceptable to feel good about supporting them and gaining something from their materials. As busy people with little time to do hours of research ourselves, these things can be invaluable. But ask. Question. And trust yourself. Always, always trust yourself.

Jordan North