The concept of spiritual guidance has been around for thousands of years, and it is common in many religions. The actual meaning of the term can vary quite a bit from one tradition to another. Sometimes spiritual guidance is provided by a priest figure, or it can be provided by a higher power. Some traditions even believe that daily life experiences provide spiritual guidance if they are interpreted correctly.
The most common use of the term "spiritual guidance" relates to the priest figure and his relationship to his parishioners. Spiritual leaders in these positions often help a person find a spiritual truth or deal with certain life problems. People may go to their priest when they are having a difficulty and seek guidance from a spiritual perspective. In some traditions, people believe that their priests have a direct line to a higher power, and this makes their guidance more trustworthy.
In some traditions, the concept of spiritual guidance can be like a mix between psychology and religion. A spirit guide will work with individuals to help them find practical solutions to their day-to-day problems just like any other counselor, but they approach it from a more spiritual perspective. They may help an individual reclaim their faith or find a deeper connection with a higher power as a way to solve problems. Some groups offer this kind of counseling without attaching it to any specific religious belief, and many of them are associated with the New Age movement.
Spiritual guidance can also be seen as direct communication from a higher power or even a lower spirit like a ghost. These communications may come in the form of visions or dreams. Some people believe these visions are often symbolic and difficult to interpret. Important figures in many traditions have been associated with receiving this kind of guidance, and there are many ancient religious texts that describe these kinds of communications.
Certain individuals claim an ability to directly connect with higher beings at any time they choose, allowing them to channel ancient wisdom to others on command. These people may give spiritual guidance in response to direct requests, and some offer predictions about the future or talk about things that happened in the ancient past. These individuals may describe themselves as prophets or channelers, or they may prefer to be called clairvoyants. Many religious movements are founded around people that claim to have these kinds of abilities.