Types of Spirit Guides: Angels, Ancestors, and Animal Guides

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In our Introduction to Spirit Guides post we go over what we believe our spirit guides are and how they can help us. In that post we provide a high level overview of spirit guides and mention that people have different concepts of what spirit guides are. In this post we break those concepts down and go into more detail about each type, and how communication and assistance from them might differ.

In this post we examine three types of spirit guide

  • Angels or Guardian Angels
  • Ancestral Guides
  • Animal Guides

You may have a number of different guides and may have one or more from each category. Or you may only have one particular type. Personally I believe I only have Ancestral Guides – although they exhibit qualities of Angelic Guides on occasion and may give me guidance through my dog sometimes too.

guardian angel spirit guide

Angels or Guardian Angels as Spirit Guides

Understanding Angels

Angels are celestial beings that are usually associated with the monotheistic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It is believed that Angels are created beings (directly by God) as opposed to being born from a mother. They’re therefore pure spirit being and have never existed in a physical form. In most of these cases Angels seem to be a direct messenger from God and so the messages we receive from them are considered to be divine in nature. They can also help protect us from evil – although again, in the monotheistic religions they do so only at the behest of God. In this way, if an Angel helps you with something it is the will of God for that help to be given.

Many people also believe in Guardian Angels. They believe that Guardian Angels are a specific angel that has been assigned to one person (i.e. you) when you were born and this Guardian Angel will remain with you for the entirety of your life. This Guardian Angel is specific to you and provides you with specific life assistance and protection.

Finally, there are also the Archangels, who are said to be the leaders of all the Angels and have specific roles and areas of expertise. For example, the Archangel Michael is believed to be a fighter and protector. Archangel Raphael is often called upon when someone is in need of healing as this is believed to be his specific forte.

Angelic Communication

Most people believe that Angels can communicate with us through a variety of different ways. These might be dreams or just intuition – that random answer that appears in your head one day. People also believe that Angels often communicate with us through signs or symbols like repeated number sequences that you might see over and over again. These are called Angel Numbers and form a part of Numerology – which is how people believe Numerology has spiritual meaning for us, since it involves communication from the Angels.

Numerology is a massive topic which we cover in other posts on the site (check our Numerology category for more on this) but here is a very brief overview of some of the numbers that people might see regularly and a very quick description of what it might mean;

Number SequenceGeneral Meaning
111 or 11:11New beginnings, spiritual awakening, manifestation
222 or 22:22Balance, harmony, partnerships
333Presence of ascended masters, spiritual growth
444Stability, protection, guardian angel presence
555Change, transformation, personal growth
666Balance, healing, self-reflection
777Spiritual growth, divine guidance, intuition
888Abundance, prosperity, positive energy flow
999Completion, endings, new cycle preparation

Many people find, for example, that they wake up at a specific time every morning – to the minute. When they look at the clock they find it’s 03:03 or 04:04 showing. Others see repeated numbers regularly in things like car registrations, or on posters for different things. These numbers are taken as a sign that our Angels are trying to communicate something to us.

Your angels might try to give you guidance through dreams or visions in which they place you in specific circumstances or show you symbols, perhaps just from everyday life. We have a whole area of our site dedicated to the spiritual meaning of different dreams which may help you interpret what it is your Angels are trying to communicate with you through your dream.

Of course, these Angels might simply orchestrate ‘chance’ meetings or even (for your protection) prevent you from going to a certain place at a certain time so that you avoid harm. We call these synchronicities but it’s quite possible that it’s actually your Guardian Angel looking out for you, arranging for your prosperity or avoidance of harm.

Connecting with Angels

Of course, whilst it’s possible that your Angel or Guardian Angel attempts to communicate with you through signs, symbols, dreams or numbers you may want to be able to get in touch with them. Signs and symbols are a one way street – what if you want to ask your Angel something? Well, you can – though it won’t do you much good to leave numbers laying around the place for them.

But you can communicate with your angels through meditation or prayer. I believe that prayer is a shortened form of meditation that takes a little less time to prepare and can be done anywhere. Sometimes that is simply stopping for a moment, closing your eyes and asking a question. If you’re familiar with your Angels or Guardian Angel (and many people know them by name) you can simply stop where you are in the hustle and bustle of the day and talk to them.

Whichever way you communicate with your Angels never forget that the fuel of the universe is gratitude. Always thank your Angels for their guidance and never ever take them for granted. They’re performing a voluntary service for you and your betterment so be grateful and appreciative.

Ancestral Spirit Guides

Understanding Ancestral Guides

Ancestral spirit guides, unlike Angels, are deceased family members, relatives or individuals with a significant connection from your past lives or shared lineages who’ve now decided to remain in the spirit realm and guide you instead of returning to the 3D realm this time around.

Ancestral spirit guides can offer insights into your own ancestors heritage and familial patterns. Importantly, particularly for those trying to resolve past life issues, ancestral guides can be very helpful in helping you to heal unresolved issues from previous incarnations as they may be able to offer insight that no-one else can.

Although we use the term ancestral spirit guides, they may not have been actually related to you. But they likely would have been involved with you in a previous life in some way whether as friends or family. Indeed, I believe my own ancestral guides were not actually related to me, but I spent time with them in a previous life. The connection with ancestral spirit guides can be as strong, or sometimes stronger than those of the animal or angelic guides due to this previous connection.

Methods of Communication with Ancestral Spirit Guides

Like Angels, your ancestral spirit guides can communicate through various channels such as dreams, intuition, synchronicities, signs or symbols. You may be able to sense their presence if you notice weird changes in temperature in the environment you’re in (for example, cold or warm patches in a room with no physical reason). You may instead experience seemingly random comforting sensations or feelings that you’re being watched over and protected. These are what we mean by signs that your ancestral spirit guides are communicating with you.

Instead of signs though, you may find yourself having dreams about ancestors that you simply somehow know were related to you. If you do, then you need to look for the symbolism of the dream, what it might mean for you will differ from what that same symbol might mean for someone else because these are personal to you from your own ancestors. Sometimes you may dream of someone who is dead just as a way of your guides letting your know they’re now OK, or the person who has died has some special message for you at this time.

A good way to help you decipher your dreams is to write them down as soon as you wake up. You can use a dream journal to record your dreams or you can just use a plain notepad beside the bed. But whatever you use make sure you write them down as soon as you wake up because the memory of dreams fades quickly once you are fully awake and going about your daily business!

Connecting with Ancestral Guides

Whether you know it or not, it’s quite likely that you have some ancestral spirit guides with you right now. They may be trying to communicate with you using some or all of the methods we listed above and you’re just not aware of it. You may be too embroiled in the 3D world to notice them and might need to take some time out of everyday life just to try to connect with them.

There are multiple ways to help deepen your connection with ancestral spirit guides and you can use any or all of them. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some of those ways:

  1. Honor your ancestors: Create an ancestral altar or space to honor and remember them.
  2. Learn about your family history: Research your genealogy and gather stories about your ancestors.
  3. Practice meditation: Developing a regular meditation practice can help you to cultivate a deeper connection with your ancestral guides.
  4. Engage in ancestral healing work: Address any unresolved issues you might have and look for patterns of traumas or other issues that may be within your family lineage. Now may be the time to break that cycle.
  5. Celebrate your heritage: Embrace and celebrate your family’s cultural traditions, rituals and customs.
  6. Consider a past life regression: Past life regression can help take you back to the time when those relationships were happening in your life. You can use them to help understand what was going on at that time, and perhaps meet your guides in the flesh (as it were).

Animal Spirit Guides

Origins of Animal Spirit Guides

Animal spirit guides are often also known as totem animals or power animals and have their roots in various indigenous cultures. These cultures view animals as embodying specific animal qualities or attributes that can provide guidance and wisdom to us as humans. The connection with animal spirit guides can arise from various factors such as cultural or familial background, personal experiences, resonance with specific qualities and various spiritual practices.

Methods of Communication with Animal Spirit Guides

Animal spirit guides communicate with humans through dreams, intuition, synchronicities, signs, and symbols. They may also manifest as physical encounters with animals in the natural world.

Connecting with Animal Guides

To connect with your animal spirit guides and understand their significance in your life, consider the following approaches:

  1. Observe the natural world: Spend time in nature, observing animals and their behaviors.
  2. Research animal symbolism: Explore the symbolic meanings and attributes associated with various animals.
  3. Engage in meditation or journeying: Practice meditation or shamanic journeying to connect with your animal spirit guides.
  4. Create an animal totem: Make or acquire a physical representation of your animal spirit guide.
  5. Honor your animal guides: Show gratitude and respect for your animal spirit guides by learning about their natural habitats and behaviors and supporting conservation efforts.
  6. Listen to your dreams. Dreaming of dogs, or dreaming of cats can be a message from your animal guides. Similarly dreams of horses or even rats can be your animals guides trying to get your attention.


Spirit guides, in whichever form they present to you, can offer valuable guidance, wisdom and support throughout your lifetime. In order for you to connect with these spiritual entities you’ll need to practice patience and show reverence and an open heart. When you develop your intuition and spiritual sensitivity you’ll begin to see the signs and symbols they use to communicate. This can enable you to develop a deeper relationship with your spirit guides and benefit from their guidance on our life journey.

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Featured Image by Angela from Pixabay.