Difference between Loved one and Spirit Guides

Loved ones will work with what we’ve got, so to speak. If you are clairsentient, as you suggest you are, then you would most likely “feel” the presence of your loved one around you. Here are several ways that you might experience that:

  • Feeling a shift or change in the energy around you, or feeling movement in the air.

  • Feeling as if your loved one is sitting or walking beside you, and if you were really close to your loved one, you might even feel them lying beside you in bed. Feeling your loved one with you as you are working on something you used to do together or visiting a place or location that was one of your loved one’s favourites.


  • Feeling as if you are being hugged, your hand is being held, feeling a hand on your back, or feeling as if you are physically being touched in some way. Loved ones in spirit love to do this and it is quite common within the few days after their tradition into spirit. It can happen at other times, too.

  • Simply having a strong sensation that they are there.


These experiences will come with a sense of familiarity and will have the energetic quality of the loved one. And, though these experiences can happen anytime and anywhere they will most often happen when you are on your own and in a situation where you are able to be more aware of your surroundings. Which is to say that although it could, it is unlikely to happen in the overcrowded local java joint on a busy Saturday morning. Simply put if you sense the presence of a spirit and your loved one comes to your mind, it is likely the spirit of that person who is with you. Your loved one will make his or her presence known in other ways, too. The most common way is to come into your dreams. It’s easy to talk yourself out of a spirit visitation dream but please try not to do that. If you are dreaming of your loved one in spirit, your loved one is there with you! It is the easiest way for those in the spirit world to get our attention, spend time with us and send us messages and encouragement. Loved ones in spirit will also send you signs and symbols (similar to the way spirit guides do), arrange for a certain song that has special meaning to play on the radio or randomly show up in your iPod shuffle. They love to leave feathers or coins in your path, send a brightly colored bird, butterfly or dragonfly your way or even use your companion animal to get your attention. They will use sound, too. You might hear your name being said, a whisper, or the loved one’s voice saying something. They also work with smells and scents. Smell a cigar and no one in your home smokes cigars, but your deceased grandad did? It’s him. Your mom loved and wore lilac perfume. You get a random whiff of her particular lilac perfume in your space. Mom is there in spirit! Here’s a fun one: have you ever seen your pet staring off blankly into a corner of the room? That usually means a spirit is there (animals can see, hear and smell things that we can’t!) and it is most often the spirit of someone close to you, especially if your pet doesn’t freak out, become super protective and appears curious but calm about it all. That is because your pet is also feeling the familiar loving presence of your spirit person and feels comfortable with this. (This depends on your pet’s personality, too - some animals are more reactive to spirit presences than others.) Pet’s on the other hand do not sense the presence of your spirit guide. Only you do that. Spirit loved ones will make the phone ring (you’ll pick it up and no one will be on the other end of the line) and will play with electrical activity (volume knobs, lights flickering on and off). One of my best friends managed to make a smoke detector - which had no batteries in it at the time - located just outside our bedroom door go off loudly and clearly in the middle of the night to let us know she was there after she passed over. She was a funny woman with a keen sense of humor and loved a good practical joke. It was a sign that was typical to her style of humor - her “calling card” as it were. Lucky us! So that gives you some idea of how spirit loved ones show us they are with us. Your own loved ones will have their unique “calling cards” or ways of showing you they are there. Spirit guides present themselves in a similar manner as I have described above. They send signs and symbols your way. They will plant a certain song strategically in your day if it is one that will facilitate a message or lesson that they are trying to send you. They will put you in the path of a much needed book or a picture that holds guidance or message for you. Both your spirit guides and your spirit loved ones are what I call “light” energies or spirits. They come with the energy of love for you. Both feel light, good, loving and caring. So how do you tell the difference between the presence of your guides and your spirit loved ones? The presence of your spirit loved one will have more of a physical experience component to it. With a spirit loved one’s visit you will usually:

  • feel him of her both physically and clairsentiently, sensing them there via a touch, a dip in the bed.

  • hear them both physically and clairaudiently - your name whispered, words of encouragement, something dropping to the floor, a door creak shut, etc.

  • see something in your peripheral vision, a flash of light, or some other fleeting physical vision, sometimes, but very rarely, even seeing the actual spirit there with you, especially if you are clairvoyant

There is a spirit (one of the previous male owners) who lives in my house. I see him out of the corner of my eye when he shows up - I am clairvoyant. That’s how I know he is here. At that point I can chose to tune in clairvoyantly with him if I want to. That is an example of the type of experience I am describing. Spirit guides energy feels a little different. It is loving but more neutral than that of your loved one. They tend to bring an energy of mentoring or teaching when they come. That is precisely why they are in our lives. To teach and guide us. If the presence of a spirit energy is accompanied by any of these things:

  • a sustained ringing in your ear

  • seeing things in sets of threes for example three red cardinals or a number sequence such as 2:22 or 4:44

  • in conjunction with something that is spiritually significant for you such as a creative project you are working on or a test of a limitation or an opportunity to overcome a temptation

  • a flash of inspiration, that, if followed allows you to move forward in some area or with a challenge in your lift

…then one or more of your spirit guides is present. To help you figure things out with even more clarity you can take identification one step further. You can go into meditation and ask your spirit guides to let you know what his or her (or their) particular “calling card” is. Ask them to impress you with the physical sensation, symbol, word, sound or whatever it is that indicates that he is present with you. Whenever you receive your guides calling card your will know he is there. I hope this helps you to figure it all out. Whether it is your spirit loved one with you or your spirit guide be sure to talk to them when they come. Say “hi”, or “thank you” or anything that you have in your heart to say. Communicating with them nurtures the relationship and opens the door even wider!

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