The modern shamanist does need wisdom and guidance that our modern society seems to not have. This society knows little of the subtle energy and vibration. The answer to this absence, indeed one that shamanists have always had, is that of spirit guides and allies. A willingness to look beyond the physical enables the shamanist to tap into beings that have knowledge and wisdom. These beings exist within the expanse of what the shamanist calls reality, but outside of what could be considered physical reality. The allies cannot be measured or recorded, but they are very real to the shamanist and those who can see beyond the veil of the five senses.
How does one contact a ally? Cultivation of the six sense, the third eye, the intuitive factor, holds the answer. What are these things? Are they magical? No. Instead of expanding our senses, we are instead merely recognizing a sense that was there all along. The spirit world, the elemental world, or whatever you wish to call that place of otherworld allies, was always there. The shamanistic student is merely like the blind man who is seeing for the first time.
The blind man seeing for the first time is a valuable analogy. It expresses the thrills and dangers of expanding the perception of the universe. The blind man, while always living in the same world that they can now see, does not readily recognize the dangers that were there all along. Fascination with the colors may put common sense aside and the newly sighted man may walk into traffic, not knowing what a truck looks like. Their safeguards are down and the same, but new, world becomes potentially harmful when precautions are not made. This is the place where a trusted spirit guide comes in. The spirit guide is like the person who tells the newly sighted man what a truck looks like, what fire looks like, what different drinks look like. Their guide has knowledge about the “new” surroundings that can benefit the shamanist and keep them from harm.
Spirit allies come in many forms. They can be angels, elemental spirits, ancestral spirits, animals spirits, people spirits, and non-human spirits. The word entity, guide, helper, keeper, and so on can be substituted for the word spirit in the previous sentence. The energies are similar if not identical. The type of spirit ally can be dependent on the intent of the shamanist. The culture that a shamanist taps into can predispose them to animal guides. Another culture may seek angels, while another may seek elemental spirits. The shamanist attracts the spirit allies that they seek/intend.
Is one spirit ally better than another? No. They have their own relative strengths and weaknesses as people do. Some embrace the idea of spiritual unity more than others, but all are valuable as teachers. A shamanist will recognize when a spirit ally is not longer useful. Indeed, sometimes the spirit ally will recognize this before the shamanist and the spirit ally will leave by their own free will. Another spirit ally will then come. In the balance of things, a shamanist has both the challenge and opportunity to be served by those beings or energies that exist somewhere beyond the physical world.