Traditionally, within the spiritualist churches, spirit guides were often stereotyped ethnically, with Native Americans, Chinese or Egyptians being popular for their perceived ancient wisdom, saints, or enlightened individuals. Nevertheless, the term can also refer to animals or totems, controls, angels, or nature spirits.
American Spiritualists of the 19th and 20th centuries often described their guides as resembling Native Americans. One popular spirit guide of this type, encountered by many Anglo-American Spiritualists, was named White Hawk. Among African-American Spiritualists, especially those in churches that were founded by or influenced by Mother Leafy Anderson, the Native American guide was named Black Hawk, and was presumed to be the spirit of the Fox tribe warrior of the same name.
Today, Sylvia Browne still follows the standard of having a guide with a Hindu-like appearance, with her hair in a long braid and loose-fitting clothing. Browne's Spirit Guide is to be named "Francine". Francine has said she has a close friend on the Other Side named "Rahim", who is also another Spirit Guide, who is said to have a middle-eastern appearance, wearing a turban.
Derek Acorah, a British medium often refers to his spirit guide, Sam, and while communicating with spirits often calls the spirit by his name. (i.e. "Can you tell me his name, Sam?") Sam is an Ethiopian male who Acorah was a friend of in a past life some 2000 years ago.
These techniques range from astral projection techniques to simple mind visualization exercises. It is said that the spirit guide is not on the Earthly plane, but rather is communicating from "The Other Side." "The Other Side" has a much less dense atmosphere than Earth, and therefore it is believed that we must be tuned in to our guides by freeing the mind or doing one of many meditations. Lucid dreams can also help with contacting a spirit guide.
Some people who claim to have these abilities and see spirit guides say that their or other peoples spirit guide look like normal people that have died before, and have decided to help the people who are still alive and be almost like "guardian angels" to those people. Most people have them and they always bring good into someones heart, unless the guide is possessed by a ghost of bad nature. They contact them by concentrating on the planes of the guides and the humans and then the spirits appear.