When you get out into the Pagan community, you ultimately find people with guides, or Friends in High Places. And in some circles, it’s almost a taboo to not have a guide, or to not be looking for a guide. Some people do believe that everyone should have a guide, or has a guide and you just can’t see them, hear them, feel them, etc.
Guides, or the concept of guides, does some funny things to people.
Having a guide can make you feel special. It can give you an ego boost, or turn you into an ego-maniac. It can be your saving grace. It can also be your detriment because you stagnate or don’t grow- out of reliance upon said guide. It can also be a point of envy or jealousy from those who have no guides. Many people pine and swoon over the idea of finding their guide. Many forums are filled with How do I find my own guide??!! Can someone teach me how to find my spirit guide??? (the same could be said of finding a god).
In response to this, I would like to suggest a radical idea- be your own guide.
But Devo! That is preposterous! I am too X Y Z to do that! We all need/have/desire/should have a guide to help us! Nonsense, I say.
In Devo-land, I am my own guide.
Yes, it’s true, I have people I can seek for advice. I have a few Friends In High Places that I can learn from, who do take turns ‘guiding’ me (this is a really loose term- telling you “go fix your shit” and disappearing until your shit is handled doesn’t really count as ‘guiding’ to me). And of course there are a few trusted friends and family members I can ask for advice as well. But, at the end of the day, I guide myself. I am my compass, my map, my tour guide. When I am lost, I sit with myself and tap into me. Into what I feel is the correct course of action deep down. And then I act upon it. It is rare that I heavily consult outside sources for information. I rarely divine for answers, or ask others to divine for me. Even when I’m asking for advice, it’s usually only to check against the decision I’ve already made (or sometimes for the lols). Because at the end of the day, I’m going to go where I feel is best for me (and my situation). No one knows where I’m at better than myself (usually), and so who is better to guide me than me? (I will add that I usually heavily consider what S and O tell me- because they have shown me that they have their shit together. Even so, they don’t tell me much, and I don’t rely on them to tell me much).
Of course, there is a bit of a crux to this- self confidence. If you’re going to be your own guide, you have to believe in yourself (or learn to in time). You have to believe that you can sort out what is best for you. You also have to take the responsibility in that you might end up in a pickle a few times- and that’s okay. Even our failures and shortcomings are teaching us something. Sometimes it’s only through failures that we really learn (see this post for a more thorough example). When you’re guiding yourself, there is no one to blame but you- and that can be quite the burden to bear. I think it’s also worth stating that even with a guide at your side, it’s possible to doubt yourself, or your guide. It’s possible that you could do exactly what the guide asks or tells you to- and you’ll still end up in a bad situation. In everything that you do, you need to own your decisions – with or without a guide by your side. And I think it’s often forgotten that the point of having a guide is to teach you. They teach you to stand on your own, they are supposed to force you to grow and to become more self-sufficient, even though many people treat their guides like crutches and butlers.
Of course, you can sometimes go in the opposite direction and accidentally delude yourself into believing something that is false (though this can be just as true when you have a guide). These delusions can obviously lead you into the hands of trouble- but that is part of learning, in my opinion. You can sometimes be at a complete loss- and have to seek outside help because you are that flustered at the situation. That being said, sometimes a guide can get just as lost as us. They aren’t perfect or infallible (same can be said of the gods). It’s entirely possible that they don’t know what the best course of action is in a situation and that they also need guidance. Most everything is a two way street- each lane has it’s ups and downs, highs and lows.
I think that more of us should consider leading ourselves more often. It teaches you to learn yourself. To trust yourself. And it can stop you from using all of your spoons on people and things that don’t matter. You learn to have a self interest in yourself. Ultimately, you learn you.
And, at the end of the day, you never know if a guide will be around forever- nor do you know that a guide will ever show up. But you are always stuck with you- you can’t get away from that. To work on knowing yourself and learning yourself can only take you bigger and better places. And when it’s all said and done, you can have pride that you are self-sufficient and self-reliant. Because you know your mettle and your worth, you know that you can handle anything life throws at you. And that way, when and if a guide ever appeared, you will be more ready to handle any tasks they throw at you. It really sets up a strong foundation for you to build upon.
So the next time you feel pangs because you see others with a guide and you’re feeling left out- just remind yourself that you are your own guide. Remind yourself that you already have all the answers within you. You just need to listen for them.