Exploring the psychic world
with Hay House authors

Many mediums find that they can enter the spirit world more easily with the help of a spirit guide. Sylvia Browne, who is known around the world for her skills in contacting the dead, explains what spirit guides are and how they can aid you in your quest to speak to the world beyond. Sylvia also explains the different ways spirit guides can enter your path to subtly guide you.

Finding Your Spirit Guide by Sylvia Browne

Many people are bewildered when it comes to what a spirit guide is. I understand this confusion, because each of us has angels (ten categories in all); our loved ones who have passed before us to the Other Side; and ghosts, who are souls who haven’t made it to the Other Side and feel that they’re still alive. We also have what can often be hard to discern: energy implants. With an energy implant, there isn’t any entity present, but a trauma is implanted by an individual at a particular place and time, and a psychic can then pick up the events imprinted in that soul’s energy.

What Is a Spirit Guide?

Spirit guides are entities who have lived life on this earthly plane. They can be male or female, and they’re very solid in their own dimension on the Other Side. They study your chart (our program that we choose to come into life with) and help you decide the lessons you’re here to learn, and also how they can help you do so. To put it in the simplest terms possible, you made a contract with this particular entity to watch over you while you’re in life.

Many guides often study for a long time to be your guide so that they can get your chart right. Of course you have help from the Council, too—the spirit guide will approach the Council before your birth and even after you come into life for advice and guidance with their charge (that’s you).

Sometimes spirit guides have lived lives with you, but this is fairly rare. Guides can’t be relatives who died when you were three years old or younger, because that would mean that you went unattended for a period of time. No, the guide is with you when you enter, and it’s there throughout your life. The guide even helps to take you to the Other Side, along with your loved ones, angels, and souls you cared about before you came into life, but whom you haven’t necessarily known on Earth.

Spirit guides come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re from all different cultures. They can assume any visage, but I assure you, they’re trusted, valued friends who will never disappoint you. They have great wisdom and courage, and you’ll hear from them if you’re quiet and listen. Guides don’t always have an audible voice, although the more you believe in their existence, the better they’re able to communicate.

Maybe I had an edge because I came from a long line of psychics (going back 300 years!)—but I actually heard my guide speak to me when I was seven years old (I’ll discuss this in detail later in the book). In the beginning, she didn’t give me a running commentary, but she did give me messages. Please understand, this all started 61 years ago, and it was a much different world back then—one where people couldn’t even begin to accept this concept—not to mention the fact that I was born into a Catholic/Jewish/Episcopalian/Lutheran household. None of this lent itself to making contact with a disembodied spirit. When people now tell me that they’re struggling with similar confusion and fear, I understand completely.

I found out back then that my guide’s name was Iena, and how my family and I got Francine out of this is beyond all of our memories. Maybe I just didn’t like the name and changed it. Who knows? A guide’s name isn’t really critical, but I’ve found that it’s significant to at least know what sex your guide is and to have some identity basis—if nothing else, it makes them more real to you. I’m also convinced that when we call upon them and believe in them, it helps our guides pierce the veil of the dimensions from the Other Side to this side. (And since this is a question that is often asked, let me clarify: It is possible to have more than one guide, as I do—Francine, my primary guide; and Raheim, my secondary guide—but usually you’ll have just one.)

To go back to the name issue, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people their spirit guides’ names, and they’ve either exclaimed that this has always been their favourite moniker, or that they called their dog that, or their mother was going to give them that very name. It seems that the name of the guide is often imprinted in our consciousness. I’ve even had people come up with the right name after they “met” their guide during one of the meditative exercises that follows later in this book.

Now, you’ll get as many as 20 or 30 messages a day from your guide, but you’ll have a tendency to chalk these communications up to your own thoughts, or to coincidence. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have your own infusion of psychic knowledge from God, but your guide certainly has a voice as well. For example, what made you call Susan and find out if she was sick? What caused you to put on your seat belt the day you had an accident (something you should wear each time you’re in a vehicle anyway)? These small and even larger episodes can very well stem from your guide. Unlike angels who protect and heal, your guides, as clairvoyant Ruth Montgomery once said, are “the nudging companions along the way.”

How Spirit Guides Make Themselves Known

Francine, whom I’ve received mountains of information from over the years, has always stressed that guides are continually trying to be recognized or accepted so that they can have easier access to us, thereby infusing us with knowledge or telepathically helping us fulfill our chart.

People get aggravated because guides don’t always make audible contact, but with patience, you will receive their messages, and if you follow the exercises that are presented later on in this book, I’m convinced that you will. Let me tell you right now that you won’t necessarily hear the voice in the way you expect, though. It’s not some soft, ethereal, melodic tone—rather, it’s high-pitched and has a fast, almost chipmunk-like sound to it.

My dear friend Lindsay, who has written with me for years, recently heard her spirit guide for the first time. She called me and said, “Sylvia, I heard Rachel, but her voice had a tinny, high-pitched quality.”

I replied, “Well, that’s just what I’ve been trying to explain to you all this time!”

In fact, over the years, I’ve heard the same story from people who’ve heard this high-pitched voice and want me to clarify what it is. The answer is simple: It’s their spirit guide. Francine says that it’s hard for guides to manifest and speak, much harder than it is for angels. Not that one phylum (particular sect of beings) is more advanced, per se, but since guides are on a higher, more elevated level, they find it difficult to tune in to the dense atmosphere in which we live. Francine describes it as trying to wade through a thick pea-soup fog.

(Strangely enough, while angels don’t audibly verbalize, you can hear them in your mind, although they’re not the talkers that the guides are. Also, your deceased loved ones can have a voice that you recognize after they pass over. This is because they were here so recently that they haven’t ascended yet, after which it becomes more difficult to communicate. By no means should you feel that you can’t hear him or her; it just becomes harder.)

Notwithstanding the fact that an ear infection or sinus drainage on our part may block a guide’s ability to communicate, they do give us signals. They can create that hollow, dead-air feeling when external sound disappears for a few moments and the air gets still. They can also create a high-pitched whining sound or popping sensation in your ear.

A friend of mine was just dropping off to sleep when she heard a female voice inside her head clearly say, “My name is Heidi, and I wish you goodnight.” She wasn’t asleep yet; in fact, she was doing a very visual meditation about spirit guides. My friend sat bolt upright in bed and felt for a few minutes as if she were losing her mind. But that wasn’t the case at all—spirit guides will simply use any avenue to make themselves known to us. Francine says that when the person a spirit guide is helping has a breakthrough, the guide experiences what we’d call a sense of jubilation.

Now, the guides are always happy, but since they have to become more humanized in order to be effective in helping us, I can understand why they get even happier when there’s a breakthrough. I mean, think about it: What if you were always helping someone but there was never any recognition? It’s not that the guides’ egos are out of whack—it really helps you more than it helps them to acknowledge their existence. The guides are going to do their jobs, regardless. I also feel that it’s good that the guides have lived earthly lives, so at least they can have some conscious memory of the pitfalls and tragedies—as well as the joys—that life can bring us.

What Do the Guides Look Like?

Some guides will appear in what I call their own definitive mode of dress. Some have actually dressed in Roman togas, but they can show up in regular street attire, too. Francine usually appears to me in a flowing chiffon dress, while Raheim tends to wear a white Nehru jacket with a white turban. This doesn’t seem to have any particular significance except that it reflects their own individual preference, which proves that we not only keep our own personality on the Other Side, but our taste in dress as well.

Francine begin to physically manifest to me when I was 18 years old. When she told me in advance that she would try to do so, my family members quickly took up seats all around the living room. I began to see the folds in her skirt; her long, tapered fingers; her tall, slender form; and a black braid. That was enough, and I closed my eyes. My family watched the full manifestation, but I couldn’t. I’ve often wondered why I wasn’t able to, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I was visionary and auditory enough, and besides, I had to live in this world. (Even though I have psychic ability, I try to stay grounded as much as possible. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself in this esoteric, “airy-fairy” world where no one can enter except you. This leads to your doing things just for yourself and not for others. Psychic ability is bestowed upon you by God—and it’s not supposed to be used for exclusively selfish reasons—it’s given to you so that you can assist others.)

But even though I didn’t want to see Francine then, she appeared to me anyway. Many years ago when I was living in a low-rent apartment with my kids, I was tucking them in when out of the corner of my eye I saw her in a fully condensed form. She was dressed in this flowing aquamarine dress that seemed to billow out. Her face was oval, with slightly slanted eyes, high cheekbones, and full lips. She smiled and was gone. It was as if she was telling me, “You didn’t want to view me earlier, but you’ll see me now.…”

All Kinds of Spirit Guides

For a while there, it seemed that the popular trend was for everyone who consulted a medium to get the name “Running Water,” “Standing Bear,” “Silver Fox,” or something like that for their guides. Now I’m not trying to dispute the fact that there may be some Native American spirit guides, but it just seems that during my many decades of research, I would have encountered one of them. However, as with everything else, if you do hear a name, roll it around in your mind, see if it feels right, and then use that name—or change it, as I did with Francine. Just do whatever feels comfortable to you. Even though it makes it more personal to call a guide by name, I fully believe that it doesn’t matter what you call them—as long as you do call on them.

Some guides will appear to us as children when we’re kids ourselves. My son Christopher, whose guide’s name is Charlie, came to him in the form of a little boy and grew up with him. Francine, on the other hand, always seemed to be about 30 years of age and stayed that way. This is somewhat aggravating to me, since I’m now 68 and she’s still 30!

I’ve done enough research to believe that given my childhood (which featured a somewhat absentee mother figure), Francine took on the persona of an older and matriarchal person, while Christopher, who had a strong mother figure (me), might have chosen to have his guide be a helping buddy. In fact, imaginary playmates are spirit guides 99 percent of the time. Guides will come in as children to make it easier for their young charges to learn from them.

Parents should be indulgent and even go so far as to set a place at the table for “Joey,” “Sissy,” or whomever the playmate may be. If we allow our children to talk freely, they’ll not only tell us about their guides, but also about angels and past lives.

When my ministers and I teach Sunday school at our church, the Society of Novus Spiritus, we sometimes hear kids go into long, detailed stories about their guides or angels when we tell them that God always has someone watching over them. Their faces light up, and the words just tumble out.

This sometimes brings back a memory of when I was in the first grade, and the nuns at my school had flip charts that showed saints and angels. I remember raising my hand and saying, “I already know about them; I hear mine.” I was promptly told to stay after school.

My teacher, Sister Stephanie, told me to never voice that type of thing again. Even as a child, I can remember thinking so vividly, If you tell us they’re there, and I tell you I know it, then why am I in trouble? My grandmother got wind of this and was up to see the nun the very next day. I don’t know what Grandma said to her, but I was never disciplined about this again. Of course, the reason might be that after that incident, I kept quiet in class and only confided in a select few. As my oldest girlfriend, Mary Margaret, once said when asked what it was like to grow up with me, “We’d stand around on the playground and ask Sylvia what was going to happen, and it did!”

I’m very sympathetic when my clients tell me that they have a belief in God, angels, spirit guides, and an afterlife, but their families or spouses do not. Be patient with them. Everyone comes upon their own truth at their own time, and it doesn’t help to shove it down anyone’s throat, no matter how close they are to you. I always tell my clients to try to have their spirit guide give their loved one a validation. If a guide doesn’t do that, then I advise them to believe quietly, in their own way, and not try to convert anyone.

It’s amazing to me, though, that through my research into both recent and ancient writings, biblical or otherwise, I’ve learned that in every religion, without exception, followers believed in prophecy, the concept of a third eye, and in the foretelling of the future; as well as messengers, angels, warning voices, and so on. It seems that the more technologically advanced and capitalistic we’ve become, the more we’ve lost our innate ability to get in touch with ourselves, as well as with the Other Side. Like “E.T.,” we want to phone Home, but we seem to have lost the number.

Do Guides Give Out Psychic Information?

Spirit guides can help you with your chart, your lessons, and your life in general, but their purpose is not to infuse you with psychic abilities. That gift comes from God, and it’s your vehicle through which the record of your life (and others’ lives) can be accessed. Can a guide tell your future? Yes … if he or she is standing right there reading your chart. But when you’re attempting to be precognitive, it should be between you and God. That’s why even though I hear what Francine has to say, I also ask God before I go to sleep to talk to me or infuse me with knowledge so that I do the right thing and stay on my chart.

In addition, throughout all my years of research—not only with my own clients, but through the study of other mediums such as Edgar Cayce, Margaret Leonard, Douglas Johnson, Arthur Ford, and others—not one of them, including myself, can honestly say that we’ve gotten much verbal psychic help for ourselves. The guides seem to be virtual fountains of knowledge for others, but not for us.

Spirit guides don’t give us mediums Lotto numbers or great insights into our future. Certainly guides will nudge us and give us some advice, and they talk to the Council and help us behind the scenes with different situations, but as far as giving us personal, hard-core data—never! Now, Francine will give me information about Novus Spiritus and pass on spiritual knowledge, which helps, and she’ll also answer specific personal questions in trance sessions for those who ask her … but not for me.

It’s almost as if mediums are in a tube that allows information to come in for everyone else, but not for us. If you consider this concept further, it makes sense, because if spirit guides verbally instructed us every step of the way, we’d never make mistakes—and therefore, we’d never learn. If I do encounter anyone who gets specific day-to-day guidance, I’m suspicious, because life doesn’t work that way. What would be the purpose of coming down to this earthly plane if everything always went perfectly? Mediums have to take their knocks just like everyone else.

Over the years, my friends and ministers have laughed about this situation, and it has become a standing joke, because no matter what happens, Francine’s statement to me is, “Everything will be all right.” Years ago, out of sheer exasperation, I screamed, “Of course it will! I’ll eventually die someday, too, and then everything will definitely be all right!”

I don’t want to give the impression that Francine hasn’t been right on the mark about some very important milestones in my life, it’s just that, like so many of us, I didn’t listen. For example, several months before my first marriage, she asked me, “Are you sure you want to do this?” You’d think that this would have been enough of a clue to me, but no, I had to have it my way. She also told me years ago that I’d have two boys and would end up living in California. So, while there are definite bullet points, what I’m trying to convey here is that the day-to-day verbal guidance that people may expect … well, it doesn’t happen. Daily occurrences are, nevertheless, imprinted in our life chart, and we feel them in our solar plexus.

Remember, angels and spirit guides are truly the beloved messengers of God, and they are never to be replaced—not even by our loved ones who have passed over. And the true infusion of knowledge comes from God, so we can never, ever forget that Divine source.

What About Dreams?

My clients have reported to me more times than I can count that they keep dreaming about this same entity who appears to them over and over to talk to them or deliver a message, and they want to know if it’s an angel, a soul mate, or a disguised loved one. Well, it’s none of the above. Not that we can’t dream and get a valid message from angels and loved ones, but the so-called stranger who keeps showing up and leading you through situations is your spirit guide.

I have a client who, when he feels distressed, will dream of sitting on a park bench, and a tall, very artistic- looking male will come and sit with him and give him advice. Yet our guides’ help is not always as direct as you might think, which can be strange. For example, as I mentioned earlier, the message I got from Francine before my first marriage was, “Are you sure you’re doing the right thing?” This was more a thought-provoking question than a directive telling me what to do, and it was also very profound, psychologically. I don’t mean to say that guides can’t get adamant, especially in times of extreme stress or danger, but most often they’ll communicate with you in a way that makes you rethink what you thought you were sure of.

A more clarified directive came to one of my clients one night when she dreamed she was at a party. She was surrounded by many people she knew when, all of a sudden, a young man in a long robe approached her. She thought how out of place he seemed to be: Everyone was in evening wear, and here was this man in a plain muslin robe. Anyway, he grabbed her arm, looked deep into her eyes, and said, “Don’t let your son go to school tomorrow.”

My client awakened and immediately checked on her seven-year-old, who was his usual happy self. He wasn’t running a temperature, and nothing seemed amiss, but the dream really nagged at her. Finally, she gave in and reluctantly kept her son home, the whole time feeling that she probably needed to check herself in somewhere for an examination.

At about 10 A.M., the phone rang—another mother called her hysterically to report that the school bus her child would have been on had had a terrible accident, some children had died, and the rest were injured. Thank God my client listened to the message in her dream!

September 11, 2001

There are so many stories that came out of the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center tragedy that it would take another book to report them all, but several people I’ve spoken with had dreams that told them to delay going to work—or not go at all—that day. In a strange way, some were even blocked from going to the city. Why were they spared when the rest were not? It’s very simple: It wasn’t their time, and their guides were making sure that they didn’t leave before they were supposed to.

The blessed majority that did go on that day were the saintly sacrificial lambs who chose to make this world aware of our renewed patriotism, as well as our need to deal with the evil influences that have been so profoundly affecting our world.

Questions and Answers

The following questions about spirit guides have been posed to me by readers of my books, by my clients, and by miscellaneous individuals over the years.

Q. Sylvia, how many spirit guides can a person have?

A. I’ve never found anyone in all of my years of research to have more than two guides. Even if that’s the case, there’s always a primary guide (such as Francine) who helps us with our written chart that we completed before we came into this life.

Q. Can guides ever move objects?

A. Guides have been known to move things, but this is rare. Since they’re of such a high vibration, they can operate electrical items, such as making lights go on and off. I remember one client who did an exercise to get in touch with her guide, and soon afterward there was a loud popping noise that came out of the speakers of her television—and her TV was off!

Q. Do we ever become guides?

A. Yes, everyone gets the chance to be a guide. It isn’t that complicated, except for studying the chart with the entity. We choose to help each other before we ever come into life.

Q. Why do some people have male guides, while others have female guides?

A. Well, Francine says that it’s related to our left and right brain. In other words, I have a female guide because I needed to expand my emotional side more. A male guide will be there if you need to balance your intellect. This doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily ineffectual in this area; it just gives us an extra boost.

Q. Can guides change our charts?

A. No, but they can help modify our chart, give solace during the pain, and often petition the Council to, let’s say, give us some light at the end of the tunnel. Think of our guides as trusted friends who unconditionally love us and go through everything with us, who encourage us, and who aren’t beyond giving us a gentle but effective kick in the backside.

Q. Can guides heal?

A. Our guides can heal and help us mentally, but they always call on angels or even “spirit doctors” to assist us. Because they’re so advanced, the guides have the ability to call on any and all entities at their disposal.

Q. Do guides ever leave us?

A. No, our spirit guides never, ever leave us—they’re with us every waking moment. They do have the ability to bilocate, though, which means that they’re able to be in two places at the same time, in full consciousness. This is hard for our finite minds to comprehend, but on the Other Side, our essence is so strong that we can fully be in two places at once. For instance, a guide could be watching over you and still be before the Council pleading your case to modify your chart or get some advice or extra help.

Q. Can a guide be mistaken for a ghost or loved one who’s passed over?

A. Rarely can a guide be mistaken for one of these entities, because he or she won’t manifest in the same way. The reason we see ghosts is because they haven’t made the transition to the Other Side and are therefore closer to this dimension. In the case of deceased loved ones, it takes a period of time after they pass to reach the elevated vibration level of guides, because they’ve so recently come from this dimension. If the guide does manifest, it will be a brief appearance, like when I actually saw Francine and Raheim. Instead, there’s a real sense that they’re with me, but not in full-body form.

Q. Do people share guides?

A. No, although guides can visit each other or get information from other guides. Many people have even tuned in to Francine briefly at my lectures. When I’m speaking, I always have this strong sense that many spirit guides are getting together and saying things such as, “If you think you’ve got problems, look at what I’m dealing with.”


Sylvia Browne: Contacting Your Spirit GuideThis article is an edited extract from Contacting Your Spirit Guide
Order for Kindle
(£12.99 £5.69)

Also in Contacting Your Spirit Guide
  • Learn about Trance mediumship
  • Meet Sylvia's own spirit guides, Francine & Raheim
  • Find out how spirit guides can influence your dreams
  • How to tune into your spirit guides
  • Spirit guide meditations included

An Introduction to Mediumship ebookFinding Your Spirit Guide features in Hay House's free ebook,
An Introduction to Mediumship
Download for free on Amazon