Clarissa Johal: Guardian Spirits, Angels and Totemism

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Guardian Spirits, Angels and Totemism


Guardian spirits, angels, totemism, whatever you wish to call them, they are the gentle nudges or voices in your head said to guide you throughout your life. My paranormal novel, Between, touches on the concept of guardian spirits but personally, it's been a topic I rarely discuss. Why? Because people give you "that look" when you talk about intangible things. And even though I should be used to "that look" (I'm a writer and as you know, we all have whack-a-doodle things going on in our heads) it makes me self-conscious.

My father was a brilliant math professor and logical thinker, my mother a dental hygienist and devout atheist. Growing up in my household, things like guardian spirits just didn’t figure into the equation. But it was always in the back of my mind. As a child, I was convinced that somebody was watching over and guiding me. Whether it was a voice popping into my head to “make another choice” or a stray thought, I always managed to avoid dire situations. And there were plenty of them because that’s just the type of kid I was.

Perhaps it’s wishful thinking but recently (and maybe because I’m getting older) I’ve wondered if there isn’t something in the concept of guardian spirits.

My trusty definitions:

Guardian spirit: a benevolent spirit who guides an individual throughout their lifetime. The concept of guardian spirits is shared among many different cultures and belief systems. In some traditions the guardian manifests itself through dreams or other portents. In other traditions it is the individual who sets out to discover his guardian by undertaking a vision quest.

Guardian angel: an angel believed to have special affection for a particular individual.

Totemism: a system of belief in which humans are said to have a connection or a kinship with a spirit-being, such as an animal or plant.

I’ve had a number of things happen over the past few years which have led me to re-examine the concept of guardian spirits; I'll share two of them. This isn’t to say that I couldn’t attribute these experiences to my “inner voice” or some such thing, but my inner voice is telling me it isn’t my inner voice.

Several years ago, I went through a period of nine months where I was convinced I had cancer. Obsessed, I found myself opting for medical tests, including an MRI, and probably saw my doctor more within that time period than I had in the past ten years. The thought was quite literally, making me sick. I rarely get sick, nor do I give it any energy if I do, so this kind of thinking was highly unusual for me. One day, I noticed a small spot on the part of my hair which I thought was a bug bite. After a couple of days of seeing that it wasn’t going away, I decided to have it checked. It turned out that it was cancer. Not the “bad” kind but the kind that could be removed through a process called Mohs surgery.  A week later I was missing quite a bit of hair and had 32 staples in my scalp. Though it had looked small, the cancer had covered a larger area than they expected and had probably been there for awhile.
Do I attribute my obsession with having cancer to a guardian spirit tapping me on the shoulder? I don’t know. But I can say, I’ve never had health anxiety issues before and they disappeared after my surgery. (I'm happy to say too, that my hair grew back and hides a killer scar)

My second experience was a bit different. One evening, it was pouring with rain and I decided on a quick trip to the bookstore. I was sitting at a traffic light with the choice to turn left or right, either way would get me there. Suddenly, the voice of Austin Powers popped into my head, "Left, baby!"  Kind of amused with the fact that apparently Austin Powers was paying me a visit out-of-the-blue, I turned left. Immediately, I heard a loud screech and crash and looked in my rear view mirror. The car in front of me had turned right and was involved in a five-car pile up.
One that I missed completely.
Which means that one of my guardian spirits is an Austin Powers wannabe. Kind of funny and fitting because I can totally see that if I had a guardian spirit, Austin would be my guy.

These experiences can be shrugged off, sure. But things that have happened over my lifetime do add up and give me pause for thought: What if?
If there are such things as guardian spirits, let me just take the time now to apologize to mine because seriously, I've probably kept them very busy.

How about you? Have you ever had that “little voice” in your head nudging you in another direction? A thought to do something different that ultimately kept you out of trouble? An animal affinity? A brush with death? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

8 comments:

Sharon Ledwith said...

Oh, yeah baby! Don't neglect the language of the Universe! Mine was quite profound - said 'You can write.' That was it. It struck me odd, then I started having a string of coincidences that led me to pursue a writing career. Damn, that voice was bang on! And have never regreted that sage advice. Cheers!

Clarissa Johal said...

Heehee, thanks for commenting, Sharon! Good thing you listened to your voice because you are an awesome writer (just started your book)

Rhea Rhodan said...

What a great post, Clarissa! Can't wait to get over to FB and share it. I've had too many experiences not believe in guardian spirits. None as dramatic as yours (nor do any of them have such a catchy voice), but I've come to rely on them nonetheless. I often use a sort of cosmic bulletin board to post for specific "jobs" or questions, and I've never not received an answer. How do I know it's not just me? Because some of the answers suggest doing something the hard way, which is SO not me. I give thanks every day and every night for all of the help and support I get--seen and unseen.

You've really got me looking forward to BETWEEN.

Clarissa Johal said...

Very cool, Rhea! I know what you mean by that. An "out-of-the-blue" thought or "voice" in your head as opposed to an inner thought that was kicking around in there to begin with. Thanks for stopping by (:

Joanna Fay said...

Great post, Clarissa. Hmm, I don't know where to start on these sort of experiences...but yes, plenty! :)

Clarissa Johal said...

Thanks for stopping by, Joanna (:

Jennifer R. Povey said...

Austin Powers as a guardian angel? That's awesome.

Clarissa Johal said...

LOL, that's what I thought. Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer (: